Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Building a Home

IMG_2807We started condo constructions sometime in August by creating a doorway and joining the two units together. Things didn't go as scheduled as they were held up by our unprofessional carpenter, nonetheless, although  the work was not  100% finished by the time December rolled in, we did not hesitate to host my family for Noche Buena. Packing 30 people (babies and adults alike) in 60sqm made for a very tight space and it was inevitable that things would get knocked over and for people to bump into things, but I would gladly do it all over again. My secret dream of becoming a hostess with the mostest, ala Nigella Lawson and Ina Garten, is finally making itself known.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Nativity_tree2011-1


Before anything else, Merry Christmas to all my dear readers! I sincerely hope that you welcomed Christmas the way it should be done, surrounded by those you most love dearly.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Why Throwing Money at a Problem Hardly Ever Works

throw_money


A funny thing happened at work a few weeks ago during budget deliberation. After my boss made an impassioned plea about the government actually doing something to help the education sector, specifically higher education, instead of merely declaring it a priority with no concomitant action, a senator offered to increase the budget of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). Not wanting to be outdone, another senator went further and proposed to provide free tuition fee for all students in state universities and colleges (SUCs).


And the CHED commissioner declined their offer.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pray for Humanity




“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

Martin Luther King

* Post was edited in light of the almost synchronized attacks in multiple locations around the world. Let us pray for all of us.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Beauty of Enough

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I first read about the Fulfillment Curve a few months back and promptly tucked it away for further research, eventually forgetting about it. It was only recently while reading the cult classic "Your Money or Your Life" that I was once again introduced to this concept.


In a nutshell, studies have repeatedly shown that happiness eventually peaks at a certain level, afterwards, happiness or satisfaction tends to dip slowly, regardless of how much effort we expend on it. That peak is known as Enough and it's the proverbial sweet spot that lets you maximize your pleasure for any single thing or experience.


The Beauty of Enough


I first read about the Fulfillment Curve a few months back and promptly tucked it away for further research, eventually forgetting about it. It was only recently while reading the cult classic "Your Money or Your Life" that I was once again introduced to this concept.

In a nutshell, studies have repeatedly shown that happiness eventually peaks at a certain level, afterwards, happiness or satisfaction tends to dip slowly, regardless of how much effort we expend on it. That peak is known as Enough and it's the proverbial sweet spot that lets you maximize your pleasure for any single thing or experience. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

When She Brings Home the Bacon


what-is-a-working-mom-worth


Growing up, I used to hear anecdotes about my Lola, a public school teacher, giving my Lolo, a public prosecutor, a monthly allowance to spend on his tabako and haircut, while the rest of his salary went to her. She micromanaged their family's budget to the peso, which is why all five of their daughters were able to finish college, with the two youngest daughters even going on to become doctors. My mother mused that she used to resent my Lola for her tightfisted ways, but as she grew older, she realized that if my Lola had not done what she did or if she had left the management of household finances to my Lolo, then they would have been mired in debt and would have had trouble finishing school.


In my own family, my mother outearned my father until I was in law school, and this was mostly because she went into semi-retirement from her medical practice.


Suffice to say that having a financially dominant female figure has always been the norm in my life and I didn't think it odd that the mother provided the monetary support and/or handled the family's finances. I only began to realize that this was an "aberration" when my schoolbooks talked about daddies going off to work while mommies stayed home and kept house.




When She Brings Home the Bacon


Growing up, I used to hear anecdotes about my Lola, a public school teacher, giving my Lolo, a public prosecutor, a monthly allowance to spend on his tabako and haircut, while the rest of his salary went to her. She micromanaged their family's budget to the peso, which is why all five of their daughters were able to finish college, with the two youngest daughters even going on to become doctors. My mother mused that she used to resent my Lola for her tightfisted ways, but as she grew older, she realized that if my Lola had not done what she did or if she had left the management of household finances to my Lolo, then they would have been mired in debt and would have had trouble finishing school.

In my own family, my mother outearned my father until I was in law school, and this was mostly because she went into semi-retirement from her medical practice.

Suffice to say that having a financially dominant female figure has always been the norm in my life and I didn't think it odd that the mother provided the monetary support and/or handled the family's finances. I only began to realize that this was an "aberration" when my schoolbooks talked about daddies going off to work while mommies stayed home and kept house. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Making It Official




This certificate, together with the membership card and a pack of calling cards, was delivered today. There you have it, I'm officially a Registered Financial Planner. Yay me!


Now what the hell am I going to do with this new credential?!


I ran a free financial coaching contest a few weeks back and since people have been asking, I already picked the winner. In fact, I have met with her and we have hatched a plan to put her financial house in order. I also get in touch with her frequently, guiding her through the plan and giving her the support and encouragement that she needs to overcome her financial woes.


Of all the jobs I've had, this is turning out to be the most satisfying I've had yet, since I am able to interact closely with another person and I get to witness the results of my effort. It's just ironic that the job that gives me the most psychic satisfaction is also the one that I don't earn a single peso from. It's just as well that I do also enjoy my day job and it pays me well enough so that I can do this sort of thing from time to time for free.

Making It Official


This certificate, together with the membership card and a pack of calling cards, was delivered today. There you have it, I'm officially a Registered Financial Planner. Yay me!

Now what the hell am I going to do with this new credential?!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Buy Nothing Project

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I first got wind of the Buy Nothing Project when it was mentioned in one of the US based personal finance blogs that I follow. The blogger mentioned that he won a slightly wonky refrigerator, but with a little Youtube search, he was able to pinpoint the problem and fix it, so now he had a perfectly usable refrigerator. Another blogger I followed also wrote about how she was able to score gently used baby clothes and a stroller for her soon to be born bubba through BNP.


Of course by then I was super curious about this group that gives away free stuff. However, as I dug deeper, I realized that more than simply passing around stuff that you no longer need, BNP's ultimate goal is to connect neighbors and build a community. That's why it's not surprising to find people asking for volunteers when packing up for a big move, and for their neighbors and strangers to actually show up on the day of the move to help out.


The Buy Nothing Project


I first got wind of the Buy Nothing Project when it was mentioned in one of the US based personal finance blogs that I follow. The blogger mentioned that he won a slightly wonky refrigerator, but with a little Youtube search, he was able to pinpoint the problem and fix it, so now he had a perfectly usable refrigerator. Another blogger I followed also wrote about how she was able to score gently used baby clothes and a stroller for her soon to be born bubba through BNP.

Of course by then I was super curious about this group that gives away free stuff. However, as I dug deeper, I realized that more than simply passing around stuff that you no longer need, BNP's ultimate goal is to connect neighbors and build a community. That's why it's not surprising to find people asking for volunteers when packing up for a big move, and for their neighbors and strangers to actually show up on the day of the move to help out.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Third Quarter Net Worth Report


 

After crunching the numbers for last quarter's net worth report, all I can say is: "UGH!!!"


Ladies and gentlemen, my net worth went down :( :( :(


Third Quarter Net Worth Report


After crunching the numbers for last quarter's net worth report, all I can say is: "UGH!!!"

Ladies and gentlemen, my net worth went down :( :( :(

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Quick Updates

It's killing me how little I've posted these past two months. From 5-6 posts in April to July, to only 2 posts in August and September, I've definitely not been the most conscientious of bloggers. Despite the lack of posts though, I have had a bunch of ideas for posts swirling inside my head, so before they totally disappear, let me write them down as a reminder of the topics I intend to tackle in the next few weeks:


Quick Updates

It's killing me how little I've posted these past two months. From 5-6 posts in April to July, to only 2 posts in August and September, I've definitely not been the most conscientious of bloggers. Despite the lack of posts though, I have had a bunch of ideas for posts swirling inside my head, so before they totally disappear, let me write them down as a reminder of the topics I intend to tackle in the next few weeks:

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Construction Woes

Our condo still looks as if a bomb exploded in it because I made the mistake of giving in to the carpenter's repeated requests of payment advances. So now that he has been fully paid, it's become a headache to get him to come in and finish the work. My husband was supposed to be the one managing the repairs, but he was suddenly bedridden because of horrible back pains almost right when we began our condo renovations, thus, the task fell to me. And silly me, with my little experience with managing workers, didn't know that the balance of fees has the effect of the proverbial carrot on the stick. Now that the carpenter has eaten, digested and crapped out the carrot, what's his incentive for coming over and finishing his work?


His word.


Construction Woes


Our condo still looks as if a bomb exploded in it because I made the mistake of giving in to the carpenter's repeated requests of payment advances. So now that he has been fully paid, it's become a headache to get him to come in and finish the work. My husband was supposed to be the one managing the repairs, but he was suddenly bedridden because of horrible back pains almost right when we began our condo renovations, thus, the task fell to me. And silly me, with my little experience with managing workers, didn't know that the balance of fees has the effect of the proverbial carrot on the stick. Now that the carpenter has eaten, digested and crapped out the carrot, what's his incentive for coming over and finishing his work?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

My Son, the Investor

photo_0153340612shhcydFor his birthday this year, my son received some cash from his godparents. Instead of starting a savings account or spending it on toys, I opted to open a stocks brokerage account for him since I've always entertained the thought of buying stocks in my son's name considering that the yield is far superior than a savings account and it's a good way of introducing him to stocks and investing in general at an early age.


My Son, the Investor


For his birthday this year, my son received some cash from his godparents. Instead of starting a savings account or spending it on toys, I opted to open a stocks brokerage account for him since I've always entertained the thought of buying stocks in my son's name considering that the yield is far superior than a savings account and it's a good way of introducing him to stocks and investing in general at an early age.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Freebie Alert!

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before but I finally made my Registered Financial Planner status official by paying the membership fee last July, after my financial plan got approved in February. At first I was hesitant to shell out the Php5,000 fee because I still had no clear idea what to do with my RFP status, but with the six month grace period about to end and the thought of wasting all those months I spent on the course and my financial plan bearing down on me, I finally bit the bullet and just paid up.


Right now, I'm still not certain if I want to go full steam ahead as an RFP because I do enjoy my day job and I'm hesitant for a major change at this point in my family's life, so I'll go at it with baby steps. And this is where you, my readers, will benefit.


Freebie Alert!

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before but I finally made my Registered Financial Planner status official by paying the membership fee last July, after my financial plan got approved in February. At first I was hesitant to shell out the Php5,000 fee because I still had no clear idea what to do with my RFP status, but with the six month grace period about to end and the thought of wasting all those months I spent on the course and my financial plan bearing down on me, I finally bit the bullet and just paid up.

Right now, I'm still not certain if I want to go full steam ahead as an RFP because I do enjoy my day job and I'm hesitant for a major change at this point in my family's life, so I'll go at it with baby steps. And this is where you, my readers, will benefit.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Construction Updates




As I am writing this (Day 5), the carpenter/ worker is working on the cement finish to the doorway and has just brought out the grinder, so excuse me while I duck into the bedroom to escape the noise and dust.


(After a minute or two)


Now where was I?


Construction Updates


As I am writing this (Day 5), the carpenter/ worker is working on the cement finish to the doorway and has just brought out the grinder, so excuse me while I duck into the bedroom to escape the noise and dust. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Privilege of Waiting for Death

Bro Harry

I visited a high school teacher at his retirement home in Dasmarinas, Cavite a few weeks back and I was dumbstruck when he casually told me that he was just waiting for God to call him. The conversation pretty much went like this:


Me: Brother Harry!


Brother Harry: Oh my! Hello! Hello you precious girl!


Me: How are you doing? 


Brother Harry: Doing fine considering everything and waiting for God to call me.


The Privilege of Waiting for Death


I visited a HS teacher at his retirement home in Dasmarinas, Cavite a few weeks back and I was dumbstruck when he casually told me that he was just waiting for God to call him. The conversation pretty much went like this:

Me: Brother Harry!
Brother Harry: Oh my! Hello! Hello you precious girl!
Me: How are you doing? 
Brother Harry: Doing fine considering everything and waiting for God to call me.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Our First No-Spending Weekend

monopoly nights 2

This happened quite by accident. It was the weekend that followed successive school cancellations because of Typhoon Egay, hence, we had no choice but to stay indoors because of the bad weather. Surprisingly, we survived our very first no-spending weekend without going nuts or tearing each other's eyes out. I'll probably add to this list in time, but here's what we did right to achieve zero spending last weekend.


Our First No-Spending Weekend

This happened quite by accident. It was the weekend that followed successive school cancellations because of Typhoon Egay, hence, we had no choice but to stay indoors because of the bad weather. Surprisingly, we survived our very first no-spending weekend without going nuts or tearing each other's eyes out. I'll probably add to this list in time, but here's what we did right to achieve zero spending last weekend.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Personal in My Personal Finance

The good news is I am finally on the payroll and will be receiving my salary on schedule. The bad news is my net pay is not enough for my household's monthly expenses. When I tallied our expenses vis-a-vis my net pay, there was a Php900 deficit. And I hadn't even included my lunch and commuting expenses in yet.


Here's how our monthly expenses look like and the percentage they take up of my paycheck:


The Personal in My Personal Finance

The good news is I am finally on the payroll and will be receiving my salary on schedule. The bad news is my net pay is not enough for my household's monthly expenses. When I tallied our expenses vis-a-vis my net pay, there was a Php900 deficit. And I hadn't even included my lunch and commuting expenses in the tally.

Here's how our monthly expenses look like and the percentage they take up of my paycheck:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Second Quarter Net Worth Report





The last few months with my new job have been so challenging. I couldn't wait to get my paycheck and give my savings a break, but a new requirement just seemed to pop up every time I turned in a document. I've been suspecting though for a long time that the requirements weren't really given piecemeal style as I was made to believe, it's just that the person in charge of my documents is kinda scatterbrained so she would relay the requirements to me one at a time, even if she already had a list of the needed documents. The lesson learned here is to go directly to the person in charge and not rely on the office Ate, who is nice and sweet but kinda slow on the uptake. Anyway, bygones. My family and I survived the four months of drought, so it's all good.


Second Quarter Net Worth Report


The last few months with my new job have been so challenging. I couldn't wait to get my paycheck and give my savings a break, but a new requirement just seemed to pop up every time I turned in a document. I've been suspecting though for a long time that the requirements weren't really given piecemeal style as I was made to believe, it's just that the person in charge of my documents is kinda scatterbrained so she would relay the requirements to me one at a time, even if she already had a list of the needed documents. The lesson learned here is to go directly to the person in charge and not rely on the office Ate, who is nice and sweet but kinda slow on the uptake. Anyway, bygones. My family and I survived the four months of drought, so it's all good.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Spendy Weekend

The weekend isn't over yet but I'm already reeling from how much we've spent so far. Not good at all.


It started when my mom called yesterday as we were getting ready to go to the SMX MOA travel fair. She said that their Ormoc-Cebu ferry had been cancelled because of bad weather so she asked me to rebook their Cebu-Bacolod flight that afternoon to Monday (there's no direct flight from Ormoc or Tacloban to Bacolod). Rebooking fee was Php1,500 with PAL and then multiply that by 4, so that's already Php6,000. Ouch.


A Spendy Weekend

The weekend isn't over yet but I'm already reeling from how much we've spent so far. Not good at all.

It started when my mom called yesterday as we were getting ready to go to the SMX MOA travel fair. She said that their Ormoc-Cebu ferry had been cancelled because of bad weather so she asked me to rebook their Cebu-Bacolod flight that afternoon to Monday (there's no direct flight from Ormoc or Tacloban to Bacolod). Rebooking fee was Php1,500 with PAL and then multiply that by 4, so that's already Php6,000. Ouch.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Balay Indang at Indang, Cavite


Work has been pretty hectic these days, which is surprising considering that it's the session break. In fact just last week, I attended an overnight planning session in Indang Cavite. It was my first time in that part of Cavite and I was surprised at how lush and quiet it was, a far cry from one of my least favorite places, Bacoor. I thought all of Cavite was like overcrowded Bacoor, but apparently gems like Indang also exist within the province.







The seminar was held at Balay Indang, a bed and breakfast that also provides a venue for bigger events like weddings and corporate gatherings. Because of its lush surroundings and numerous shaded pathways, it was such a treat to go exploring around the property even in the middle of the day.






I couldn't help but compare Balay Indang to Sonya's Garden because it more or less evoked the same feel. But while Sonya's Garden boasted manicured gardens with a very strong country theme, Balay Indang had a confused, or eclectic if you're going to be kind, vibe going on which added to its charm IMHO.






Balay Indang had a very strong religious undercurrent, but there were also harlequins  and buddhas mixed in with the biblical reference. Maybe it's a suggestion to keep things fun and unpredictable? Whatever it is, I found myself smiling several times during my stay there because of the blatant ironies.







Let's talk about the food now. It was awesome. Again, there was no pervading theme with the menu, but it would probably what would be served in your house if you had a fantastic cook with generations worth of recipes in her arsenal. 








Balay Indang is near enough for a daytrip, but I think spending the night there would be a much better deal as you can take your time in doing nothing. Stroll the gardens, take a nap in one of the many couches and benches dotting the property and gorge yourself on the food. Solb.



Hello from the titos and titas of Manila! 


* Balay Indang, Indang Cavite is at 88 Mahabang Kahoy Cerca, Indang Cavite. There are several ways to get there, but from what the other participants said, the Tagaytay route seems to be the most convenient way to get to Balay Indang. Here's a map using the Tagaytay route: