Sunday, July 31, 2011

Six Blogs After More Than One Year of Blogging

I have learned about blogging last year through a seminar conducted by Mr. Jomar Hilario.  It was an internet marketing seminar and blogging was one of the subjects. 

After more than one year of blogging on and off, I have managed to create six blogs.  Of all the six blogs, I decided to maintain only the four blogs with niches which I believe I can give helpful information to many readers out there. 

The first one of course that I'll be maintaining is this blog ... my “Pinoy Working Mom” blog.  This is my personal blog where I can write anything especially my experiences of being a mother, a wife and an ordinary citizen.

The second blog I’m going to maintain is my “Honestly Speaking” blog.  Here I’m writing about reviews and information of anything we have personally used, inquired and experienced.  I hope this can help others to decide whether to try those products or services which we have already tried.

The third blog is “My Portfolio” blog where I’ll be writing information about investing and trading in the Philippines Stock Market.  I had been trading/investing in the stock market for two years now and so far, I’m earning decently from this market.  Only a small percentage of Filipinos invest/trade in the stock market because of the risk it entails and because of our fear of that risk, our opportunity of building our wealth and be financially independent is being robbed from us.  I believe that proper information will get rid of our fear and we can start to develop strategies that will minimize the risks.

The last blog I’m going to maintain is “Our Big Toy”.  Actually I have not updated this blog for more than a year now but I’m determined to update this blog once I already started working at home.  With the help of my husband, we can make this blog helpful for all those individuals who are first time car owners just like us.

I hope you can visit these blogs and learn something from it.

Happy blogging everyone!

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Weekend in Cebu City

The historical Magellan's Cross
Two weekends ago, I was in Cebu together with a friend.  I had been to Cebu a long time ago but I don’t remember much of the city so when I’ve got an opportunity to visit this city once again, I never hesitated to go.  Thanks to my husband who has been so understanding and allowed me to spend the weekend in Cebu.

We don’t have any itinerary of our trip, our plan is just to be there in Cebu and get the most of our days there although we decided not to miss their famous landmark which is Magellan’s Cross and of course the famous Cebu’s lechon (roasted pig).

Basilica de Sto. Nino after the mass
My friend booked us at Radisson Blue Hotel and she didn’t make a wrong decision to book us there.  The hotel is just new and is conveniently located adjacent to SM City mall.  It is so accessible that getting a ride is so easy but of course since we are not familiar with the routes, hiring a taxi was always our option.  Taxis in Cebu are no different that taxis here in Manila, they drive like crazy, always blowing their horns as if they are the owner of the road.

After checking in at the hotel, the first thing that we asked from the hotel attendant is the restaurant that serves their famous lechon.  He directed us to a nearby restaurant, just a walking distance from the hotel.  We later discovered that it is the CnT lechon, we don’t know that it’s the famous lechon in Cebu until we asked some of the locals.  We were asking if there are still other lechon they can recommend but most of them told us that CnT lechon is the best.  Well, no question about that because their lechon was really delicious … so tasty, tender, juicy and most of all the skin is so crispy … hmmm, my mouth is watering. 

One-fourth kilo of delicious CnT lechon ... finished it in one sitting.
On our second day in Cebu, we decided to visit the famous Basilica de Sto. Nino where the historical Magellan’s Cross is also located.  We wanted to try going there using the public utility jeepney but when we asked one of the locals, she told us that it would take us a little longer because the jeepney route plying that area is far if we will be coming from the hotel.  So again, we hired a taxi and in less than 15 minutes, we were at the cathedral.  The taxi fare from Radisson Blue Hotel to Basilica de Sto. Nino cost us 80 pesos.

A mass was on-going when we arrived at the cathedral and there are just so many people.  If you are standing at the back, you can’t concentrate on the mass because there are just so many people passing mostly tourists taking pictures.  There are some people in-charge who reminds tourists not to take pictures while the mass is on-going but with such a huge crowd, it’s really hard to control. 

After the mass we went to where the historical Magellan's Cross is located.  Still tourists are swarming this place, waiting to get a good pose without someone on the background.  Some locals are offering candles and chants with a matching dance steps for good health and good life.

The weather was really cooperative when we were in Cebu.  It was raining in Manila during that weekend but in Cebu it was really sunny so it was perfect to go around the city.  We planned to go to another lechon restaurant, the Zubuchon lechon which I saw in one of the blogs I visited that day, but to my dismay, the taxi driver don't know about it so instead of going there, we went to 7D Mangoes production plant somewhere in Banilad town and we bought a lot of preserved mango products ... dried mango, mango puree, mango nectar and mangorind.  The place was so far from the basilica and it's a little far from the highway so we just let the taxi wait for us.  From the 7D plant we asked the taxi driver to bring us back to SM City.  All in all, from the basilica going to 7D plant and back to SM City, the taxi fare was 280 pesos.

Radisson Blu Hotel

It was already around two o'clock in the afternoon when we reached SM City and heavy breakfast we ate at the hotel was already burnt out of all the walking we did.  We can't decide what to eat at lunch and we found ourselves going to CnT Restaurant once again.  Another encounter with lechon ... hehehe.
The rest of our weekend in Cebu was just used in exploring Radisson Blu Hotel which is really a nice place to stay and looking for other local goods found in SM City.

We haven't really explored the city that much but there is always some other time and looking forward for it together with my family.  They will surely enjoy it.

Until next time, Cebu.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Umbrellas Are Prohibited to be Hand Carried Inside Passenger Planes

In case you have to travel by air especially this rainy season, be sure to put your umbrellas inside your check in baggage otherwise it will be confiscated by the airport authorities.  I think this is just a new ruling because last April we went to Iloilo and I have my folded umbrella inside my hand carried bag and there was no problem with it.

Two weeks ago, I went to Cebu and I was surprised when the check-in attendant told me that umbrellas are not allowed to be hand carried inside the plane.  There is also a notice posted on check-in counter.

It was a problem for me because I have a folded umbrella inside my small bag and since I booked a "no check-in baggage" from Cebu Pacific, I can't check-in any baggage.  Of course, I really intended not to check-in any baggage since I'll be staying in  Cebu for just two days so I'll just be bringing a small bag.

I asked the check-in attendant if they can consider checking in my umbrella, she told me that they can but with an additional fee of 400 pesos because it is considered as an excess baggage.  Wow, that was really harsh ... just for a small umbrella they will charge me with 400 pesos?  I asked if they have any storage facility where I can just leave my umbrella and I'll just get it back after two days.  She directed me to an airport storage area but to my dismay, they charge a per hour rate ... it will cost me more than an excess baggage charge.

Determined not to pay anything for my umbrella, I just put it back in my bag.  At the scanning area, just before going to the assigned departure gate for my flight, the scanner of course detected the umbrella inside my bag so the airport officer asked me if I can just go back to the check-in counter and have my umbrella checked-in.  I told her that I have a travel lite booking and that I will be charged with 400 pesos for just an umbrella.  I asked her if she can just consider me bringing my umbrella since it was just small.  She told me that it's an airport regulation so she can't do anything about it.  Ok fine, if it's the regulation then I don't want to argue about that.

Still taking my chances on my umbrella, I asked the airport officer if I can still get my umbrella when I'll be back two days after ... of course she said no, since it is already confiscated.  I rest my case and just said good bye to my umbrella, my ever dependable umbrella.

So on my next flight, I won't put my umbrella and any liquid 100 ml and more inside my hand carried bag. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

It’s Time to Give Up

Last weekend I spent time trying to make an onion costume for CJ.  It will be his costume for their school’s coming Nutrition Month celebration on Thursday.  I spent the whole Saturday morning trying to construct something like a Japanese lantern that will fit him but I just can’t get the look that I want.  I tried to make the costume using papers, next I tried to use a piece of cloth but nothing worked out the way I want it to be.  The costume doesn’t look like an onion … it looked like a piece of trash, haaaay.

Yesterday, I again tried to make the costume but still the same, it’s not good.  I was really irritated because I can’t get the look that I want.  There even came a time that I’m already bad mouthing … so bad of me, I know, but sometimes when I’m irritated I just can’t control my mouth which is a very bad example to my children.  CJ although a little scared still managed to tell me “O mama, bad yon ha!”

Okay, that’s it.  I have to stop what I’m doing.  I know I’m not really that creative type and even if I’ll try to make that costume the whole day, I won’t be accomplishing anything so it’s time to give up and just leave this costume making to the hands of the experts.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Nutrition Month

I received a text message from our house helper telling me that CJ’s school will be celebrating the nutrition month next week and in line with this, there will be a presentation where all their students will be participating.  This time, the students will wear a fruit/vegetable costume.

At first, she gave me the vegetables and fruits to choose from but later on she told me that the teacher asked if CJ can wear an onion costume.  Well, I said yes.  Anyway, it is nutrition month and it’s good that children will know that there are other fruits and vegetables which are also beneficial to their health aside from the common fruits and vegetables they know.  My children doesn’t consider onion as a vegetable, in fact, whenever they see slices of onion on their viand, they always see to it that it is taken out of their plate.  It is as if they have seen dirt on their food.  So I’m happy that the teacher will showcase not only the common vegetables and fruits in their program but also those which are not usually eaten by children and adults.  One example of that is onion. Click here for more health benefits onion has to offer.  

As for the costume, I don’t plan to buy one this year.  For the past years, we bought costumes for the children’s activities in school and now they are just clogging our cabinets so this year, I’m planning to just make their costumes and make use of my husband’s talent for drawing and maybe we can save on some money for this children’s one day activities.   

I already have an idea in mind and we’ll just see what I can do with this costume this weekend. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Will be a WAHM/SAHM Soon

After almost two years of planning, finally, my dream of becoming a Work/Stay-at-home-Mom will come true.  I have the best reasons why I want to be a work/stay-at-home-mom but it’s hard to just quit and say good bye to the corporate world.  There are a lot of things to consider and preparations to make so it took me years to realize this dream.    

I submitted my resignation letter last Friday and I’m happy that our department manager took it well. Well, he’s already expecting it because I have already told him of my plan since last year.

It’s more than six months since I verbally informed our department manager of my plan to resign and thankfully he’s really nice and understanding.  All he asked of me is to just finish the project I’m involved with so I gave him my word that I won’t resign until the project is finished.

Now, the project is 99% complete and in a few weeks time, it will be 100% complete which is just in time for the 30-day notice period policy of our company.  It really feels great to leave a company with a good exit record, I had been with this company for more than eight (8) years and they have given me a lot of opportunities to grow not only with my career but most especially financially.  This company may not be the perfect company (which I think doesn’t exist) but it’s just fair that I will give them the respect that they deserve by exiting properly and not leaving any project unfinished.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It Takes a Lot of Patience When Transacting with DMCI Homes Finance Section

Last 2006, hubby and I purchased a condominium unit from DMCI Homes at one of their projects in Taguig.  After paying a 10% down payment, we were able to move-in.  At first, we decided to avail of their in-house financing with a 10-year term.  Everything went on smoothly for more than a year until we decided to transfer our loan to PAG-IBIG Fund to avail of a much longer term so our monthly amortization will be lesser.

We signed the papers for PAG-IBIG Fund housing loan application last December 5, 2008.  Because it was a developer assisted loan, the preparation of all documents was done by DMCI Homes finance section and the person in-charge assured us that once the loan application will be okay with them, PAG-IBIG Fund will automatically approve the loan.  He even informed us that usually it takes 3 months before the loan is released.

We relied on what the person in-charge told us and thinking that DMCI Homes is a known real estate developer and our qualifications to apply for a loan is more than enough, we just waited for DMCI Homes to inform us when the loan is already approved.

Three months passed and we heard nothing from DMCI homes so we decided to contact them … that time we learned that we have to sign some papers which were revised because PAG-IBIG Fund had lowered their interest rate (if we did not call them, we wouldn’t know that we have to sign additional set of documents).  Again, the person in-charge told us that the loan is already okay and they will just submit it to PAG-IBIG Fund for approval.  Since DMCI told us that the loan is already okay, we asked them if we can stop paying our monthly amortization with them since the calculation of our loan application from PAG-IBIG Fund was based on our remaining balance as of November, 2008 so the amortizations we are paying from December of 2008 up to that time (more than 5 months after), will just be reimbursed to us once the loan will be released.  DMCI agreed and they stopped to encash the checks we have issued them. 

Months passed that we have already stopped our monthly amortization with DMCI Homes and our loan application with PAG-IBIG Fund was not yet released and almost monthly we call the person in-charge and asked about the status.  All he can say is that it’s already with PAG-IBIG Fund and we just have to wait.  We waited for months … now it’s been more than two years since we signed the loan application form for PAG-IBIG Fund and yet nothing happened.  The reason according to DMCI … PAG-IBIG Fund is requiring them to submit additional documents for them to continue to be an accredited developer so all the loan applications coming from them were put on hold until they comply with those additional requirements. 

Last April, 2011 after calling them for the nth time, DMCI gave us an option to either wait for the release of our loan from PAG-IBIG Fund which has no definite time yet or we can apply for a loan from a bank where they are accredited.

We really wanted to finish the transaction with DMCI so we applied for a housing loan from the bank they referred to us … it is with the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB).  We were approved for a housing loan and last June 6, 2011, we had signed documents with the bank.

I thought it was the end of it but I was wrong.  UCPB will issue the check payment to DMCI Homes once all the legal documents (title, tax declarations, etc.) are turned over to them so they sent DMCI a guarantee letter that the loan is already approved and that they can now turn over the documents to UCPB.  The bank representative told us that mostly the turn-over of documents takes two weeks.  So we waited.

Two weeks had passed and now it’s more than a month since we signed the documents at UCPB and we still heard nothing from them.  So we called DMCI if they already received the letter of guarantee from UCPB and they confirmed to have received the letter but there’s a problem with our papers.  Our account was already tagged as “delinquent” and is subject for foreclosure because we haven’t paid our monthly amortization since middle of 2009.   I asked the person in-charge how this happened since we have a pending loan application which they themselves are processing and it’s not our fault why the loan cannot be released.  He said he doesn’t understand either but he assured us that they are getting all the records straight and they are going to prioritize our account so they can turn over the documents to UCPB as soon as possible.

I was really irritated with how DMCI Homes handle their customer’s accounts but there’s nothing I can do but to once again request for them to expedite the processing and maybe this time they will act quickly since the payment is just waiting to be released to them. 

So here we are again, waiting and keeping our fingers crossed that this time, the transaction will be closed.