New Authentication Process: Red Ribbon versus Apostille



Effective May 14, 2019, the DFA will be replacing the “red ribbon” process of authenticating a document with “apostille”. What is an apostille and when do you need it? Below is an excerpt from the DFA website:

“An Apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document. It is issued by a country that is party to the Apostille Convention to be used in another country which is also a party to the Convention.

On 14 May 2019, the Philippines will officially become a party to the Apostille Convention. Authentication is still required for all Philippine documents to be used abroad, but this time with an Apostille instead of an Authentication Certificate (“red ribbon”) as proof of authentication.

After authentication (Apostillization) by the Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of Consular Affairs (DFA-OCA), as Competent Authority, there is no more need for authentication (legalization) by the Foreign Embassies or Consulates except for countries that have not acceded to the Convention and countries that objected to the Philippine accession.”

Here are some of the many questions that are expected to come out of the implementation of this new process which the DFA has already prepared an answer for. All succeeding graphics are from the DFA.

For more questions or inquiries, contact the DFA hotline at 556-0000, 651-9400 and 234-3488.



DFA Online Payment System: Where to Pay?




As of May 2019, the payment system of the DFA Passport Appointment process is actually not an "online" transaction. So much for an appointment that is created through the internet.

Upon submitting your application, you will receive an email that contains an instruction on how and where to pay. There will also be a reference number that you will use to process the payment:

Related post: I did not receive an email for the appointment code of my DFA online passport application

So, while we wait for the DFA to actually upgrade their system to include credit card payment or at least via mobile banking apps, we'll have to settle to what is available:

To pay in cash via Bayad Center outlets (USSC, 7-11, ECPay, SM, Robinsons, Pera Hub, True Money, Cebuana, etc.) or download Bayad Center Mobile App for both iOS and Android Devices.

I went around Quezon City looking for an actual Bayad Center branch not knowing that I can just tap on that machine inside a 7-Eleven branch! Yes, that's what I did and it worked.

Once paid, you will receive the confirmation email in less than three (3) minutes. I made my payment on a holiday so the email is obviously auto-generated. It also includes an attachment which you will need to print prior to making an appearance to your selected DFA branch to complete your passport application.


DFA Online Passport Application: Blank Payment Facility Page




I’ve been trying to book a new passport appointment via the DFA website in the past two weeks. I tried three times using three different email addresses (Yahoo and Gmail), but everytime I click on the "Proceed to Payment" option, the page gives me this "Invalid Transaction Request" error:

The above error is showing up in Chrome. The error did not appear when I used Internet Explorer but the page remained blank despite refreshing it multiple times:

If you encountered this problem while processing your DFA passport application online, you may try doing any of the following as suggested by their Consular Information Center:

  • It may not work on your mobile phone or tablet so use a laptop or a desktop.
  • Copy the payment facility URL and paste it in a new tab or a different browser and try to open it from there.
  • Clear your browser’s cache and cookies and try again. You can use the same email address but you can only do so after two (2) hours. The system still recognizes an active application for the same email address if you attempt to re-book within the two-hour time frame. Nonetheless, a different email address can be used.
  • Make sure that you are not accessing their website from your workplace. Your internet connection in the office may be blocking their system which is the reason why the page is not loading correctly. This is what happened to me and it finally worked when I tried at home. If you are in an internet café, you may seek help from an attendant or move to another one.
  • From my experience, the payment facility was blank in Internet Explorer. I copied the URL and pasted it in Chrome and it worked!

Per the staff whom I spoke with when I called, you will NOT get an email notification from the DFA if you were not able to reach the payment facility page. They can only assist you in obtaining an appointment code if you made it through the payment page but did not receive the two emails mentioned below:

"Applicants should receive two (2) emails:

1. Reference number for payment
2. Appointment reference number
If your appointment booking was successful and you were able to pay for your reserved appointment, the appointment code will be sent through your email. Appointment details may also be filtered in the spam/junk folder. If you did not receive your appointment details, you may contact the following number for more information: 556-0000."



Paying my AMILYAR in Quezon City



Just the thought of paying my real property tax for the first time sounds stressful already – spending hours inside a dreadful government building coming face to face with their often disgruntled, lazy employees.

I intended to visit the Quezon City hall on a Valentine’s day. I was hopeful that no one would attempt to run such a very sad errand on any given February 14th, and the line leading to those ugly windows may be shorter.

But thankfully, I learned the day before that payments are accepted in satellite Quezon City treasure’s offices. After a quick Google search, I decided to go to their SM North EDSA-Annex branch.

I was there at around 2:45PM, and believe it or not, I was done in less than 5 minutes! That was the quickest transaction I made in a Government office so far, so you could imagine how delighted I was with the experience.

So, if you are wondering how is it like to pay for your AMILYAR or real property tax, it would be perfect if you do it in the most inconspicuous days and way before the deadline.

In Quezon City, the 20% discount is applicable from January to March. After that, you will be paying for a penalty already instead of a discount. I recommend making your payment in a branch instead of the city hall. Make sure to bring any of the following:

1. The receipt of your last payment, or
2. A copy of your property tax declaration.

And if you get lucky, you might be done in less than 5 minutes just like me. Good luck!



Saving on Scandinavian Furniture, Pinoy Style

Where to buy IKEA furniture in the Philippines?

I never really understood the obsession towards certain types of furniture. Even when I was studying Architecture in college (we had three units dedicated to interior design), I was not focusing on a furniture’s value as I see it as a mere accessory.

I did not get it. Not until I found myself looking for pieces for my home!

Before I moved in, I already had a plan in mind on how I would want my space to look like – a warm, cozy, café-themed interior. Of course, things didn’t go as planned. I don’t have the budget to hire a professional, and I had to make peace with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to complete everything at once.

I comforted myself by looking at interior design inspirations almost every day. My feed in the Pinterest account that I created for my blog went from displaying Pinnable images for blogging and budgeting, to photos of someone else’s home. And I found my taste on interior design gradually changing.

All walls and ceilings in my unit are painted white and I didn’t like it at first. I tried looking for a paint color that I like but I couldn’t decide on any. Wallpapers caught my eye and I thought I’d be covering my walls with those.

But when I finally learned the name for the style that I was slowly falling in love with, I thought the all-white enclosure is meant to be.

The Scandinavian interior fits my personality – it is simple, clean and neutral. I don’t want a lot of things going on, I live by van der Rohe’s “Less is More”.

So while I still have plans to install wallpapers in the future, I am making the most of my white walls for now. I have just started buying furniture and after looking at thousands of Pinterest and IG images, it looks like IKEA is the way to go!

There are several Scandinavian furniture stores here in Manila, but mostly “high-end” which you could tell by their locations alone.

On the other hand, a majority of the Scandinavian spaces that I see online are furnished with IKEA pieces. Why not? Their products are almost all in white and neutral colors. Above all, they’re affordable!

The problem is, there is no IKEA branch in the Philippines yet. I had to find out where Pinoys are buying their IKEA furniture, and after some Google searches, I was led to the following stores.

1. Furniture Source Philippines

You can look them up on Facebook and Instagram, their social media feeds are well-maintained. I ordered a personal work table and chairs here. I’ve been eyeing on these chairs since I first saw one on a window display a few years ago, and when I found it on Furniture Source’s online sale, I immediately clicked Add to Cart!

I was disappointed with their order processing though. It took them two days to get back to me for the instructions on how to pay for Shipping and Assembly fees. I also learned that it will take them another week to ship the items.

I live just 5 km away from their warehouse so I find their P750 delivery fee quite unreasonable. And the P550 assembly fee? I’ll make sure to assemble my purchases myself next time. I just love the chairs so much that I got scared to put the parts together on my own.(Whoever is handling their Viber account needs to find another job not related to sales and customer relations. They are so detached from their customers by the manner that they are responding – very impolite, no empathy, no connection at all. Their customer service is definitely NOT a reflection of their impressive, well-captioned Instagram posts. 

This is common with stores being frequented by celebrities, and for this case, interior designers. They tend to develop a bias towards their famous customers that they would treat regular customers differently. As “normal” people, we know who gets all the best treatment.

I say they have the most complete selections amongst other stores, but you’ve been warned! My apologies if this is almost a “Furniture Source Philippines Review” post).

2. Doozy Furniture

It took me a while to figure out that their shop is just a kilometer away from my place. This is because I found their sister company’s Facebook page first (Lulu Furniture Philippines) and their location is not published, you can’t find it in their “About” or comment sections.

Anyway, talking about bringing my business somewhere else. I like Furniture Source, they have an outstanding social media presence but their customer service is a huge disappointment.

And because I’m on the topic of saving money, I am factoring-in every cent when I make a purchase, so saving on delivery fees is very very attractive! Doozy Furniture has cheaper shipping charges and is not a flat rate which is unfair if your location is very close.

I collected these stools from Doozy less than 24hours after messaging them on Facebook. I asked them to kindly also reserve the side table if it’s available and advised that I’ll be in their store at 11 AM the next day.

I got there five minutes before 11 and I immediately saw my orders already neatly stacked near the counter. Note that these were not paid in advance, so them trusting me to actually show up is just awesome. I got all three for only P3,198 so I’m sure it’s a different story if we’re looking at an over P10k order, nonetheless.

3. Shopee and Lazada

I was never a fan of these two, but when I learned that I could find IKEA products here, I outrightly installed the apps. In fact, I got my first IKEA furniture from Shopee:

The good thing about Shopee and Lazada is that you could easily compare prices, and the customer ratings and reviews will help you make your decision. I was switching between these two apps for a few days, and when I found this side table being sold at the same price as Furniture Source, I made my first Shopee purchase. The best part is, the delivery fee after the discount is only P95!

That’s P655 cheaper than Furniture Source, and arrived eight days faster!

4. Facebook and Instagram

If they don’t have a website and they’re not on Shopee or Lazada, you may find them on social media. I am following these accounts, and while I haven’t purchased from all of them, it’s a good place to check and compare prices:

1. connerfurniture (Instagram) – They are still new and in fact have just opened their showroom. It looks promising, and I hope they won’t follow Furniture Source’s example in dealing with customers. But based from their replies to my inquiries, it looks like they do.

2. ScandiHomePH  (Instagram) – By their IG handle alone, we already know what to expect. They may have what you’re looking for.

3. thedenwoodpanels (Instagram) – Highly recommended. They don’t sell IKEA pieces, but if you love all things in natural wood finish, they have the perfect offerings. The best part is, everything can be customized. They politely respond to messages, and ordering is quick, they only require a 50% deposit. I ordered my dining set from them (see below).

4. ikearesellerph (Instagram) – This seller is shipping IKEA products from Thailand to the Philippines. You simply need to check IKEA Thailand’s catalog and ask how much she would sell it for.

5. mobelph (Instagram) – Another IKEA personal shopper.

6. hefurniture (Instagram) – Their IG account is also worth checking.

7. Lulu Furniture (Facebook) – As shown above, I got my stools and side table from them.

Not all of them posts prices and other product details, so you may need to scan the comment sections to look for those information, or send them private messages to inquire.

When it was time for me to get a dining table, I did not want a set. I initially wanted a foldable table, but when I saw it in a showroom, it was way bulkier and heavier than I thought. I then looked at a different model and decided to get the 80x80cm version of an Scandinavian dining table. However, all the stores that I inquired from did not have it in stock.

And then I found one that includes crates as stools! I immediately contacted The Den Wood Panels and I received a reply in less than an hour. I placed my order two days later, and I couldn’t wait for my order to be delivered! I’ll be updating this post by the end of October.

Here are my tips when looking for affordable furniture online:

1. The best deals are on Facebook. If they do not have an active Facebook account, they are not “pang-masa”.
2. Avoid stores or sellers who do not reply to comments or direct messages, that’s a red flag.
3. Surprisingly, it is easier to deal with Shopee and Lazada sellers.
4. Always look at every item’s specifications. I see a lot of customers who are complaining about colors and sizes when these are clearly indicated in the product specifications.
5. Try to visit their physical store or showroom if they have one, and when you do, I recommend bringing a tape measure.
6. Do not try to shop for multiple pieces in a day. That would be exhausting!

A few more pieces and I should be done furnishing my home. I hope I’d be able to fill it with all the basics by the end of this year. Lighting and decorating will be my 2019 projects.

Are you also into Scandinavian or IKEA furniture? Where are you getting them? I can’t wait for IKEA Philippines to open its first branch!

Citibank Personal Loan Review



In a previous post, I mentioned my plans to have my unit renovated this year. As the second half of the year is about to begin, I suddenly felt the urge to start looking at my options and make this plan happen.

And because my savings is not enough to cover the expenses, I decided to apply for a personal loan. I looked at several banks and made comparisons through their online personal loan calculators.

I went for BPI first. They have one of the lowest interest rates, and because they approved my home loan application two years ago (but I eventually declined the offer), I was confident that my personal loan will also be approved.

Surprisingly, BPI denied my application. I never received a call, just a rejection text message.

I took this as a sign that I should not pursue my planned interior renovations yet. But I wanted to check on how weak or strong my credit history is (two years after I got cleared of my credit card debt with HSBC), so I submitted another personal loan application this time with Citibank. If I get declined again, that will confirm my fears.

Citibank approved my personal loan application. And it came with a credit card too!

So how was it like applying for a personal loan with Citibank?

It was very quick! The 24-hour approval is, of course, a myth, but everything happened so fast within three days. Here’s how the process went:

Day 1: I received a call a day after submitting my online application. The agent went over my personal details and she asked me to submit the required supporting documents.

Day 2: I got another call from the same agent. She confirmed that the documents have been received and were submitted for final assessment.

Day 3: I was informed via text and call that my loan has been approved. I was asked to prepare post-dated checks to be submitted upon delivery of the manager’s check.

All payments need to be done with a PDC. Which means you have to prepare several checks prior to the delivery of the manager’s check. In my case, the term was 24 months, so I signed 24 checks!

Day 9: I received the manager’s check. The courier also has to take the 24 PDCs that I prepared. He did double-check everything before handing me over my check. So I got the manager’s check after nine business days. I believe it would have been faster if I opted for a branch pickup. I wasn’t in a hurry so the slow courier is not an issue for me.

However, the delivery of the credit card took over a month. From what I’ve read from online forums, delayed card deliveries have been an issue with Citibank ever since; the posts that I saw were dated as far as 2009 and 2010.

I had to call Citibank a few times to confirm that I am actually getting a card. Apparently, their courier never attempted to deliver the card to my address so when I called again after nearly a month, the agent suggested that we request for a new card instead. The new card was delivered to me after four business days.

Nonetheless, it has been a good experience with Citibank overall. Their personal loan application process is seamless, and getting an actual feedback after three days is the icing on the cake!

So I used the money for a minor interior renovation. I will be sharing how I maximized my budget, with a goal to provide tips on how to save on renovation costs.

Why I am Not Recommending SMDC to my Friends

So far, three friends already asked me if I recommend SMDC. My answer was neither positive nor discouraging. But for some reason, I felt relieved when I found out that they ended up buying a property from another developer.

That made me realized that I don’t really want to recommend SMDC to my friends after all.

It’s been over a year since I moved into my unit at MPlace, South Triangle. I have been blogging about my experiences, which is overall I’d say, also neither satisfied or unsatisfied.

In this post, I am writing a review about being a unit owner of an SMDC property.

What I like about SMDC

I wanted to be very fair in my assessment, so let me start by highlighting the things that I do appreciate about SMDC, or at least with MPlace.

1. Location

MPlace is just two blocks away from an MRT station. ABS-CBN is our neighbor, and we are sandwiched by two major roads – Timog and Quezon Avenue. Needless to say, I couldn’t ask for anything more in terms of location.

This is true for most, if not all, SMDC condominiums around Metro Manila. This is their biggest asset which I think even outweighs the fact that Sarah, Kim, and Anne are/were their celebrity endorsers.

2. Security

I work in the afternoon until early morning, and I would often be greeted by a sleepy security guard who would ask for my name and my unit number as I enter the building. That would go on for a week, will stop for awhile, and will happen again when a new guard is assigned on the night shift.

I find this annoying so I sent an email to the building administrator and explained my case; I attached my photo for their “reference”. I was never asked the same questions again.

Delivery guys are only allowed at the lobby. Whether a tenant likes it or not, they will need to pick up all deliveries at the reception. And we are required to meet and fetch our guests in the lobby too.

I understand the tight security, so while it is an inconvenience sometimes, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

3. Rules on Pool Usage

Only owners and registered tenants are allowed to use the pool for free. Guests will need to pay Php150 if they want to go swimming.

I find this to be ridiculous initially until I realized that Pinoys are fond of inviting guests to their homes. And by guests, we are talking about an entire clan, if not the whole Barangay.

Imagine them all jumping into the pool if it’s free.

The strict rules about the use of swimming pools are just and fair as there are also owners who don’t invite in guests regularly.

Before moving to the things that I don’t like. There are several others that I am 50-50 with:

Cheap Finish – my previous exposure in building construction and design, despite being far from extensive, gave me a critical eye towards substandard building materials. I understand that SMDC is not a high-end condo developer so I take that into consideration. Besides, most of their units are unfurnished and they now put emphasis on “bare finish”. This is to give buyers the impression that they could freely replace everything during interior renovations, as they wish.

Small Windows – I prefer big windows for an open and airy feel. But I figured, I am mostly asleep during the day, so I guess small windows work for me at the moment.

What I don’t like about SMDC

I’ve read all these horror stories in online forums and other blogs, and I never thought I would also experience them myself. When I did, I realized that SMDC is consistent when comes to not meeting their client’s expectations.

1. Delayed Turnover Schedule

I thought I was prepared for this as I did not really expect them to follow the original turnover date that they set.

True enough, it was rescheduled twice. And before they would send me the next rescheduling notice, I gave them a deadline. They complied because I started talking about the leaks on their ceilings.

2. Water Leaks on Ceilings

Yes, this is for real. And upon Googling “SMDC leaks”, it looks like this is already an SMDC trademark.

They kept on moving my turnover date because it turns out that the unit below mine has a defect. There’s a leak on their bathroom (supposedly coming from my bathroom), and Engineering thought that they should fix mine. The unit owner won’t sign the turnover papers unless the problem gets fixed.

Engineers visited my unit only twice in the span of three months. In the fourth month, the Admin texted me and asked when they could start the renovation. I demanded that they get me a unit or a hotel room to stay while the renovation is going on. They never contacted me again.

A few months later, I found out that the owners already moved in. I feel bad for them.

3. Malfunctioning Elevators

All four elevators in our building were in good condition when I moved in. I understand that maintenance is needed from time to time, but when the service elevator stopped working and was never fixed, I thought that confirms the management’s inability to address issues quickly.

Everyone can use all elevator cars including the service elevator. Now that only three of them are serving 28 floors, tenants would encounter long waiting lines at the elevator lobby. And yes, all of them can now be used as service elevators too.

4. Poorly Laid Hallway Tiles

This alone is more than enough reason for them to let go of their “5-star living” tagline.

Hearing a cracking sound when I step on the floor tiles in our hallway is rather amusing. They eventually replaced the tiles surprisingly in two batches, over six months apart.

5. Very Poor Customer Service

I have a lot to say about this because I was once a customer service representative myself. I understand why some SMDC clients are fuming mad about how bad the customer service is.

The answer is, most (NOT ALL) of these agents don’t really care about your problems. They are just there to answer calls or emails, not to fix leaks on your ceilings or process the title of your property. They simply are passing on your complaints to different “concerned departments” which probably are understaffed with tons of work to do.

This explains why you need to repeat yourself every time you call. And the agent for sure have already heard thousands of similar issues from other customers before, so they are so done empathizing and apologizing.

In the end, the poor customer service is still accounted for the fact that different departments across SMDC are seemingly inefficient at addressing their client’s concerns.

Conclusion

So, why am I not recommending SMDC to my friends? Simple – I do not want them to go through the nightmares that many buyers, including me, have experienced. Nonetheless, this is not to say that other developers are not causing their clients headaches too. I’m sure, none-SMDC condo owners have some horror stories to share as well.

Our building is being managed by a third party. Again, this is comparable to a company whose customer service is being handled by a call center (which is a third party).

All the company’s customers will be dealt with at the call center. Their grievances and complaints will be falling on the deaf ears of the call center agent on the other line. It is the call center’s job to limit escalations that will reach the management of the company itself. In short, it is their responsibility to “block” customers from directly contacting the company.

Hence, I won’t be surprised if the SMDC guys are not even aware of the details of their client’s complaints. Everything is being held in the Project Management Office, and SMDC is probably just receiving their reports in the form of charts and PowerPoint presentations. As in any business, their concern is only on the highs and lows of Php figures on those sales reports.

My advice? Don’t get a condo if at all possible, invest in a house and lot instead.

What I Learned From Joining a Networking Company

Networking has become synonymous with the line “open-minded ka ba?” But people who once joined an MLM group have some positive things to say about the business that everyone loves to hate.

I vividly remember the day when my P.E. teacher asked if there’s anyone in our class who wanted a part-time job. Four students raised their hands, myself included. We were asked to stay after class.

An hour later, we found ourselves getting introduced to networking, right at the bleachers of our school’s basketball court. Out of the four, I was the only one who got convinced. 

I was barely sixteen.

I was excited, managed to afford to become a member, but I didn’t know what I was doing. I left when the semester ended.

Related post:
Sidelines: How Some Pinoys Earn Extra Income

About three years later, I was recruited again this time by a total stranger. After several days of attending orientations and getting introduced to a lot of “successful” people, I decided to give it another try.

It was fun, and I was learning a lot. But I was not really making any money just like the first time. 

I left after over a year and never returned.

Personally, networking may not have given me the wealth that I was hoping to attain, but I learned a lot of things that I still keep until now.

The Strategies.

There were marketing strategies that we were practicing in order to convince people to sign up. In fact, using the word “convince” is a big no-no as it implies being pushy. We did not want you to feel that we are forcing you to join.

We are not recruiting you either, we are”inviting” you. And we do not want you to sell products, you simply need to “share”.

By being mindful of the words we use, things become easier between us and a potential future member. I believe this to be true in any endeavor that one would venture into.

If you Dream, Dream Big!

This is probably the biggest thing that I learned from joining an MLM company. We were encouraged to create vision boards, to be very ambitious, and be a believer in endless possibilities.

We became dreamers who did not want to be limited by our current realities.

I took this learning with me until now. The only difference is that I have also learned to be more accepting and gracious of anything that the present moment is giving me. And with being grateful comes the continuous hard work towards achieving my goals based on what I have now and what I know now.

Prepare to be Hated.

Many experts say that you must be willing to be hated in order to be successful. Famous people are being bashed left and right, but because they long accepted this to be a part of the formula to greatness, no amount of hate could bring them down.

Successful people have the most haters because they achieved something that the haters could only dream of. Rejections are common for people who are into networking, but when you look at it, it happens to everyone, all the time.

Have you also been invited to be one these networking groups? How was your experience?

Sidelines: How Some Pinoys Earn Extra Income

Having a sideline is something that’s very common for Pinoy workers.

We all have that one co-worker who passes around brochures at the workplace – selling food, clothes, bags, and the like. Some of us just feel the need for an additional income, or perhaps just business-minded by nature.

That is probably something that I lack: a business mindset. Which is why I am surprised that looking back, I actually engaged into a few sidelines over the past few years.

I remember joining a networking company twice, which oddly enough, is the same company. I joined them when I was barely 16, then left, and joined again four years later. I failed in both instances, which I took as a sign that talking in front of people is not the right path for me to get somewhere.

Anyway, here are some of the most common sidelines that anyone can explore.

1. Photography Services

If you have an expensive DSLR camera, or if you can afford one, why not make money out of it if you have the talent and skill at photography? Most photographers started as a hobbyist, and slowly gained experiences from there.

How to start? Obtain the knowledge and skills to be a professional photographer. The money in this industry largely come from wedding photography, so it is important to enhance your skill at taking portraiture. Join photography groups as a freelancer, and while at it, learn the ins and outs of the business.

My team ran a wedding and events photography group for four years, and while the business was good, we parted ways and some of us went on to put up their own photography businesses.

Pros: Big pay! We started at a very competitive rate at the beginning and consistently increased the rate for every six months or so. The experience is definitely worth it.

Cons: The task is often too demanding. Weddings often require at least 2 photographers and 1 videographers. Depending on the package, a one man team can do the job, nonetheless.

2. Sell Food

I use to receive a weekly “non-work” email from someone at the office for meal orders. I asked her to exclude me from her mailing list as I am not a fan of Asian foods, which is what she’s selling.

But if burgers or sandwiches are on the menu, I would probably placing my order every week.

Pros: You won’t run out of people who are getting hungry.
Cons: When selling is not allowed at work.

3. Become a Financial Advisor

It was 2011 when I got interested about insurance and investment. Luckily, an advisor was kind enough to teach me the basics all via email. But I was too scared then to put my money at “risk”, so I never purchased a policy.

Five years later, I got introduced to this again when a co-worker became a SunLife advisor. As I still don’t fully understand insurance and VULs, I asked her to do all the paperworks for me and show me my options.

I trusted her because I see her at the office everyday, and I can ask her questions at anytime.

Yes, she’s able to do her regular office job and her sideline as a financial advisor at the same time.

Pros: Big commissions! Plus, it’s easier to sell insurance these days.
Cons: Needs your time and commitment. Consider this only if you see yourself doing it full time later on.

4. Try Blogging

Blogging, if done right, can be profitable. In order to make money with a blog, you need to drive a significant amount of traffic into it. That’s the first factor to look at when you want to start a blog with profit in mind: quality contents that people will consume.

In choosing a topic or niche, what people need is more important than your interest or passion. Your brilliant piece of writing wont really translate to cash if no one wants to read it. Ask yourself, are people searching for these topics on Google?

Your content should attract netizens because they find it interesting, educational, or helpful. Always aim to offer “value”, and people will notice. When they do, that’s when the monetization begins.

Pros: There are lots of free online resources about how to make money blogging.
Cons: It takes time and huge patience to build a large following in order to keep a steady flow of traffic.

5. Online Selling

Why not bring your products online? There are several apps that you could take advantage of such as OLX and Carousell.

The good thing is, you can sell almost everything online – from your “pre-loved” clothes and accessories, to used gadgets or appliances. Take this as a hint: my last online purchase was a pack of ground Arabica coffee!

The possibilities are endless. And with the current technology, you can do almost all of these at the comforts of your home.

What other sidelines do you have in mind?

4 Financial Mistakes to Avoid in your 20’s!



Your life decisions in your 20’s are crucial. Everything that you do in this third decade of your existence will determine how your future would be like. And while you still have a lot of years to correct them, you may be up to a surprise later on when everything feels like it’s too late.
How you handle money is very important as a twenty-something. I learned this the hard way, and that’s what I aim to share in this article. I am listing down a list of money mistakes that I made in my 20’s that I wish I avoided when I was your age.

Don’t fall into the same trap. I’m telling you, it is so difficult to get out!

Getting a Credit Card

Don’t get me wrong, credit cards are good if you know how to use them properly. There are many ways on how to make them work for you, and enjoy them without accumulating debts.

However, I got my credit card without having any knowledge on how it works. I knew nothing about the annual fees, interest rates, and the difference between outstanding balance and minimum required payment. Never get a credit card if you are that uninformed.

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After your first year of being in the work force, you may find yourself receiving credit card offers from banks. That’s how easy it is for young people to get a credit card. This is because you are still starting fresh, no credit history, and practically an easy target.

Not Saving Now

I still remember a co-worker who shared her story about having been working for six years but still without savings. She wonders, in a regretful manner, how and where all her money went. I just signed my regularization papers at that time and I had no savings too, so hearing this from someone who’s been working way longer than I am was a relief. It means I am not alone.

Yes, I was not alone. But NO, feeling relieved about that is just bad. Not saving money shouldn’t be normal at all.

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Start saving money as early as you can. It doesn’t have to be big, in fact I am an advocate of starting small. If you do not have a saving mentality like me, saving small amounts every payday is the key. It’s like working out in a gym, you need to start from lifting lighter weights until your muscles get used to it. Then you can slowly add more weights as you go.

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You need to practice your brain to get used to saving money until it becomes a habit. A habit comes naturally, and always easy. Imagine how awesome it is like to be saving money so easily.

Getting Loans

Unless it’s for an emergency, never ever get loans. But again, that’s why you should be saving in the first place, to be always prepared for any urgent financial needs.

Salary loans are very enticing, but why not convince yourself to save an amount equivalent to a month of salary instead? Because then you won’t need to apply for a salary loan anymore.

Don’t apply for loans just because everyone is doing it. Loans are good only if you plan to use it to start a business.

Living the Social Media Life!

Shopping, traveling, and eating out just to make your social media feeds look luxurious. If you do this with a business plan in mind, that is great. A lot of social media influencers are making money because they have that business mindset. They know how to turn their social media following into cash.

But if you are spending money on luxury just to impress, you know for sure that this is a mistake that you just love doing.

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What I learned now is to always look at how I could make money out of what I am spending for. If I buy clothes, can I sell them out online later? I am so jealous of young people who are making thousands from selling their used stuff online. Whatever it is that they are selling, provided it’s all legal, I sincerely admire them for that.
If you haven’t already, you should start saving while you are young. Start today!

Never ever think that you have a lot of time to do that later on. Yes, it’s never too late, but as a 30-something, I really do wish that I started saving when I was younger.

You know when they ask you about what you would like to change in your past, if given the chance? Saying nothing and declare that you are happy with everything you have become is politically correct, but my honest answer would be to go back and make myself a lot more smarter, financial wise!