Resolved: Plugin & Theme Status is Unavailable Due to Site Customizations

GoDaddy: Plugin and Theme Status is Unavailable Due to Site Customizations

This error came up after I updated a plugin or theme. I couldn’t tell which one because I simply clicked on the “Update All” link when I saw it in my dashboard. My site went offline for over 24hours and I didn’t do anything about it as I thought it is just an issue with GoDaddy or WordPress (which often gets resolved quickly). I could not access my WP dashboard or CPanel. My site is just blank when viewed on mobile, and is displaying an Error 500 when accessed via web but the error is not specific. I looked up for solutions online but all the suggestions directed me to disable plugins which I couldn’t do because my dashboard is inaccessible.

I called GoDaddy but the waiting time was too long. Thankfully, I was able to find the link to their chat support and got someone from the other end after 8 minutes.

The agent checked my account and confimed that a certain plugin is causing the error. I asked him to go ahead and delete it but it turns out they’re not authorized to do that. He instead offered to walk me through the process. Here are the steps:

IMPORTANT: Make sure to backup your files; or contact GoDaddy directly for assistance in performing these steps.

1. Login to your GoDaddy account, go to WordPress > Settings. Look for “phpMyAdmin“, and click on View.

2. Click on “phpMyAdmin URL” and login using the given Username and Password.

3. On the left, look for and click on the very small plus (+) sign beside your username (ex: phdo412345678) to expand the selection, and click on “wp_mbsmpvk2n3_options“.

4. A table will be displayed, go to the Browse tab and look for “Active_plugins“. Go to page 2 if this is not on Page 1. Click on the edit option (pencil icon) beside “Active_plugins“.
5. Clear or delete all the texts inside the box. Make sure that the Save option is selected before clicking on “Go” to save. Clearing this box will NOT delete the plugins, it will only DISABLE them.
6. Try logging in to your account again, or check your webpage if the issue is resolved. (NOTE: Your site may look different because of a disabled plugin.)

7. Enable your plugins again one at a time. Doing so will help you determine which one has caused the problem, while bringing your site’s appearance back to normal (if it changed).

If this does not resolve the issue, contact GoDaddy for assistance. From my experience so far, their technical support agents are helpful, and knowledgeable. You may just need to be patient at their often long waiting time.

Anyway, have you experienced similar error before and got it resolved? Which plugin was causing it? This actually made me hesitant to update my plugins since. 

My Most Rewarding Experience with Sodexo Gift Certificates

A few years ago, a friend from a real estate company invited me to cover the ground breaking ceremony of one of their projects. It was my first time to go to such event so I didn’t really know what to expect. I had a scheduled engagement photoshoot with a client that day so I told my friend I might need to leave early, to which he said it is okay. Because I had it handy, I was able to put my camera to good use. I took several photos which I later on posted on social media including a blog post which I published a few days after.

I get to witness the ceremony, enjoyed listening to the speeches of the company’s top leaders, and dined with other guests. They gave us a token, a pretty hourglass with the company logo on it. We were also handed an envelope containing a DVD where soft copies of their press releases are saved, and a few other documents, which I didn’t check until I got home that day.
To my surprise, the envelope also contained Sodexo GC’s as a giveaway! I couldn’t remember how much the monetary value was but it was enough to buy me four pairs of pants! It was very timely because at that time, I needed to shop for new clothes for my upcoming overseas trip. I was attending a meeting with my colleagues in the United States, and because I didn’t think I will have time to do laundry in the hotel, I thought I should bring a two-week worth of clothes!

And so, while I was aware that Sodexo GC’s have always been and forever will be valid (and the revalidation and replacement of Sodexo GC’s are free of charge once the validity date is reached), I headed to a department store right the next weekend, and shopped using my Sodexo Gift Certificates. I was really glad I said yes to that invitation! It gave me a pretty hectic day but it was all worth it. I remember, the next payday is still over a week away so the Sodexo GC’s which I unexpectedly received, really helped!

Speaking of gift certificates, it is a very convenient gift giving option for the Holidays (which is very fast approaching!). Call me lazy but for someone who dreads long lines and crowded malls, a GC is a practical and perfect alternative! Bet you agree!?

Buying a Condominium in the Philippines: In-House or Bank Financing?

In one of my previous posts, I talked about my experience in applying for a home loan to several banks in the Philippines. If you are deciding whether to go for in-house instead, here are some fast facts about these two home financing options.

In-House
– Shorter loan duration, normally 5-10 years
– Higher interest rates compared to banks, basically due to the short loan terms
– High approval rate
– Less paperworks and requirements

Bank Financing
– Longer loan terms, between 10-25 years
– Lower interest rates, each bank offers different rates, and may change every 3-5 years
– Approval depends on your capacity to pay, and credit history
– More paperworks and requirements

If you have the money, I would recommend going for in-house financing. You can’t get rid of the paperworks, but it is a lot lesser compared to when you apply for a home loan in a bank. While the terms are shorter, and interest rates are a bit higher, it would still be more practical in the long run.

Related Articles:
All the Costs You Need to Know When Buying a Condo
Buying a Condo Unit: What You Need to Know
Condo Living: Expectation vs Reality

Get a home loan from a bank if your priority is the lower monthly amortization. You may also find a bank that offers home loan promos such as rebates or low interest rates when you apply during a certain period of the year.

I went for bank financing because SMDC is not very keen at accepting in-house financing applications. They were not very enthusiastic about it when I inquired, almost discouraging me not to continue. Nonetheless, the chances of getting approved is high, at least according to the agents that I spoke with.

Are you also looking at these two home buying options? Which one are you more inclined to get?

How to Get a Health Certificate or Health Clearance from your City Hall

Did you know that you could get your pre-employment medical exam from your city hall? That is right, at least for most, if not all cities in Metro Manila.

From my two employments in the past ten years, I did both of my medical exams in a private medical clinic and were paid by the company. However, if you need a medical clearance and your would-be employer directed you to the city hall, you may find these information helpful.

Requirements

Make sure that you bring at least one valid ID (NBI clearance would do), and a cedula from your Barangay. You can get a cedula right at the city hall but often more expensive. In Pasig for example, it would cost you 180 pesos.

Nature of Work

You will be asked to declare the use or purpose of the certificate, and for non-food handlers or food servers, you will only need to comply with the basic procedures:

1. X-Ray – Php120.00
2. Drug Test – Php150.00
3. Photo Capture
for the Health Certificate – Php70.00

Payment

A receipt will be issued to you upon payment. Below is a breakdown of fees (from Pasig) as of October 2017. More or less this would be the same in most Metro Manila cities. 
Results

Health certificate/ID.

Overall, you may spend a good three to four hours inside the city hall for all the procedures. Results are normally released after a day. It could be longer for those whose jobs fall under the food industry. You will be issued with a Health Certificate in the form of an ID card.

Applying for a Home Loan in the Philippines

The biggest questions that I asked myself when I was looking for a condominium are; where should I apply for a home loan? Which bank will approve my home loan application? Which has the fastest home loan approval process? Is it going to be difficult? Or should I opt for in-house financing instead?

I went for bank financing, and at that time I had over four months to get a bank’s approval.
The realities started to sink in when I got my first rejection, it was from PSBank. PSBank was my first bank of choice because my friend who also applied to them a few months earlier got approved. I, on the other hand, never heard from them.

After two weeks, I anxiously submitted my application to China Bank upon the suggestion of my agent. I received a call after a few days for the usual verification process. Over a week later, the lady called me back and dropped the bomb – my loan application was denied because of an unsettled credit card debt with HSBC. I discussed this in this article:

How I Settled My Credit Card Debt

My biggest fear just came back to haunt me again. My agent was now asking me to call HSBC but I refused. I insisted that HSBC will no longer entertain me, and if they do, I might need to go through all the legal stuff which I was not prepared to do. The third rejection is from Metrobank, and next was UCPB. Both banks never get in touched with me; I imagined them literally throwing my application forms in the trash.

Four rejections in a row. That was my life already telling me to pay attention; it has almost gotten me into depression.

So which banks eventually approved my home loan application? And how fast?

First, I am giving a special mention to BPI.

My agent, being so patient urged me to try one more bank. He said he knows someone from the bank who could help. I started to not believe him anymore as that has been his usual line since we started. I completed the paperworks anyway, and he submitted them to BPI.

BPI called me and my brother (who is my co-borrower) after three days. The next week, they came back and advised me to get a Letter of Full Payment from HSBC. This is the bank clearance that I was talking about in this article:

How to Get a Bank Clearance for your Credit Card

That gave me the strength to ask; will my application be approved if I submit a clearance? The answer from the other line was a positive YES! And so days later, I decided to make that call. And the rest is history.

BPI eventually accepted my application but the total approved amount is less than what I needed. It turns out that they did not include my sister as a co-borrower, and me and my brother’s combined salary only qualify for a certain loan amount. To be fair with BPI, they kept my application active for at least a month and was regularly contacting me if I wanted to proceed.

UnionBank to the rescue!

With my permission, my ever persistent agent filled-out the UnionBank application forms himself and submitted them to UnionBank. He has copies of all my supporting documents so he did not even have to meet me that point.

Their process is quite traditional. On the first week, an agent actually visited me at my apartment and conducted a C.I. and background investigation. Someone also went to our hometown in the far-flung province, and looked for my brother at our Municipal Hall where he works. My sister who is working abroad also had to give her employer’s email address for further checking. Overall, it was lots of work but quite fun. After all that we’ve been through, we readily complied to all their requirements.

On the third week, I finally received the best news I would hear that year.

Overall, UnionBank was quite strict but after having been denied by four banks, I did not feel being subjected to a long process anymore. My home loan was booked after two months, and before 2016 ended, I made my first monthly payment.

You might wonder, why didn’t I try BDO? For some reason, I did not think that BDO will approve my application. It was probably due to the quite strict and long process that I went through when I applied for a checking account with them a year earlier. I maybe wrong though, anyone who have positive experiences with BDO in terms of loans? Or do you have a similar story? Feel free to share by leaving a comment below.

How to Get a Pag-IBIG MID Number?

You will need your Membership Identification Number or MID when making transactions with Pag-IBIG. If you do not have an MID number yet, follow the steps below to obtain one. You can get it in less than 15 minutes.

1. Visit https://www.pagibigfundservices.com/ and click on “Membership Registration”.

2. On the next page, click Continue.

3. Enter your complete name, date of birth, and the code on the box then click Proceed.

4. Fill-out the form completely. The form has eight (8) tabs, you cannot proceed to the next tab without finishing the previous one.

5. Double check all the information that you entered before clicking Submit. Make sure that the mobile number and email address that you used are active.

6. Click “Print MDF” to view Membership Identification Number (MID).

7. Your membership form will open as a PDF file. As of this writing, there is no option to save this file. You may choose to either print it or simply copy your MID number (this is located at the upper right hand corner of the form).

Related posts:
PAG-IBIG Home Loans: What is the Maximum Loan Amount?

The MID number is required when you need to get a Pag-IBIG ID or loyalty card, and when applying for Pag-IBIG salary and home loans.

Why Do You Need a Checking Account?

“Please prepare twelve (months) post-dated checks”. That was the message that I received from the landlord when I was inquiring about the studio apartment that they are renting out. At that time, I didn’t even know what a post-dated check was, which makes me not the tenant they want.

Years later, I was again in need of a checking account in order to pay my downpayment to SMDC. They referred me to BDO, where it felt like my application was treated as a credit card application.

Do we really need checking accounts here in the Philippines?

We couldn’t pay in cash and card all the time. A checking account has the same function as a savings account, plus more. It has no transaction limits. I think, the added security is probably the best privilege it could offer. There is a paper trail to every issued check, while cash or card can be spent by anyone and could be difficult to trace. A check is regarded as the safest form of payment.
I have yet to find out if this is true in the Philippines, but if you are re-building your credit history, a checking account may also help. If you have just paid off a defaulted credit card like me, consider your checking account an asset. Along with my Security Bank secured credit card, and a home loan amortization which I get to pay in full and on time, I have high hopes that I’d be able to get a regular credit card again in the future. Although, I am more than happy with the secured credit card, quite honestly.

Condo Living: Expectation vs Reality

This time, I’ll talk about the expectations versus realities of condo living in the Philippines based on my experiences. For this topic, I will turn to SMDC since I am dealing with them first hand. Nonetheless, I think these are generally applicable to the all developers, and if you are a condo owner, you may have the same or better experiences than me. Let me list down a few points on the expectations and realities about buying and owning a condominium unit from SMDC.

1. Let’s start from the inquiry phase, always check for “other charges”.

To be fair with my agents, they were vocal about these charges from the very beginning. I am glad that this was upfront else, I would also be calling it a “hidden charge”. From the initial breakdown of fees, other charges, although not itemized, is already listed. Make sure to always ask about other fees when you do not see it in the initial or sample computation. You do not want to be surprised with these fees when they suddenly appear in your payment schedule later on.

2. The unit itself

Because the building was already built by the time I was making inquiries, my agent was able to arrange a viewing schedule within two days. I get to check the unit, and had a glimpse of the building amenities.

I am not using a photo of the model unit since I already know that that is not what the actual turnover unit will look like. The floor plan is pretty accurate although I was a bit disappointed that a huge part of columns and beam are exposed. If they say 30 square meters, do not expect to have a livable space of exactly 30 square meters. A good portion of that space is covered by walls, columns and beams.

3. Payment terms

My agent discussed the different payment terms and I opted for the 10% downpayment, and 90% bank financing offering. The 10% downpayment is payable in one year. I recommend that you start applying for bank financing way before the downpayment gets fully paid. In my case, I started submitting my home loan applications to different banks after six months. It was a good move for me as it took me awhile to get an approval due to a credit card issue which I discussed in this post:

How to Get a Bank Clearance for Your Credit Card

Payment terms are one of the things that agents talk about first when you inquire. If you are a serious buyer, your agent may be able to arrange a special term for you with his supervisor or manager.

Now, on to the stuff that you will never know during the inquiry and buying phase. You only deal with these as they happen, and it may need you to be very patient sometimes.

4. Unit turnover

I was initially promised of a turnover date not later than February 2017. It has been moved twice, and before they would contact me for another rescheduling, I made numerous phone calls and emails with my demands. I was eventually allowed to move-in in April 2017, already four months into paying my home loan amortization. In one of their letters, April is just the target unit completion date, not the actual turnover date.

This is probably the worst experience that I had with SMDC so far. Anyone who could relate?

5. Move-in fees

Prepare at least Php25,000 for the move-in fees. This will cover advance payment of monthly dues, and a few other requirements such as fire extinguishers, grease traps, vent, and curtains. Verify with your agent that the other fees I mentioned above already cover utility expenses (water and electricity installations), otherwise, you will be also be paying those separately. If that’s the case, Php25,000 will not be enough.

6. Amenities

It’s been almost six months since I moved-in. In general, my expectations are being met so far. The two swimming pools get cleaned at least once a week, and conditions regarding the use of pools by guests are quite strict. I do not mind paying for my guests for pool usage for as long as everyone else does. This explains the almost empty swimming pools during weekdays, and only get crowded on weekends.

SMDC condominiums are a bit congested so I already had my expectations before I moved in. I am a bit surprised that there are not much elevator traffic which is great. The lobby is sometimes full of people lounging but not really a big deal for me. MPlace is probably the only SMDC development I know that doesn’t have a gym.

7. Admin and Staff

From what I see, most of the staff including house keeping and security personnel are courteous and polite. There are a few exemptions, such as the impatient lady at the building admin office but I don’t take that personally. I haven’t experienced or witnessed anything extreme happening.

8. Cleanliness and Maintenance

The lobby and other common areas get cleaned regularly. I don’t know how often they conduct pest control, but they’ve done it once in the past six months. I live in the top floor and I often notice water leaks from the ceiling at the middle of our hallway during heavy rains. In the past three months, I received visits from engineering due to yet another water leak in the unit below me which is supposedly coming from my bathroom. I am not sure if these have been fixed. Coincidentally, I have also heard similar stories from unit owners of other SMDC condos. Our office building is also owned by SMDC and water leaks from the rooftop and pipes have been a problem since we occupied the building in 2014. It took them over two years to fix those.

My educational background is Architecture, so I know a thing or two about design and construction. I understand that these are unavoidable, but the manner at which a developer or contractor respond and address the issue sets them apart from the others.

9. Your neighbors

We had a general assembly last July but I was not able to attend. It would have been a good opportunity to get to know other owners. Of course some people are just untidy, they would sweep strands of hair out of their rooms and leave them in-front of their units expecting the house keepers to pick them. There are also tenants who would leave their doors open while cooking, and would litter bits and pieces of onions at their front door. I’m glad the unit owners next to me don’t do that. Our floor is not that noisy except for a few occasions where interior constructions are being done, which I understand.

Pets are not allowed, in case you are wondering. I have a friend who wanted to inquire from SMDC but turned to other developers since she can’t be without her pets.

10. Security

Visitors are required to sign the logbook and their hosts need to meet them at the lobby. While it is a bit of an inconvenience, I like the fact that all deliveries can not go beyond the lobby too. Nonetheless, tenants may request for especial arrangements such as when he or she is sick. A form needs to be signed and submitted for every piece of large furnitures and appliances that you bring in. The same is required when bringing them out. Some tenants feel that security is too tight, but I do not have any problems with that.

11. Free Wi-Fi?

Free Wi-Fi at the lobby. All I can say is, it is slower than the Wi-Fi signals at all SM Malls. I thought, it was due to multiple connections but I would try connecting when I arrive from work (which is always around 2AM or 3AM), but the speed is the same.

Overall, living in a condominium despite all the negative notions and opinions is actually good. Yes, it is not perfect and the realities are sometimes far from what you see in all those advertisements. But personally, the security and convenience are more than enough to convince me that I made the right decision. For someone who have been renting for over a decade, it is comforting to know that I am actually paying for my own property now. And every time I fill out a form that asks for my personal information, I can’t help but smile when I put a checkmark on the “owned” box instead of “rented” beside the Home Ownership field.

Do you have condo living experiences that you’d like to share? Feel free to comment; let’s help future condo buyers make their decisions.

Do You Have an MRI for Your Home Loan?

I was checking my loan amortization yesterday when I noticed the “MRI Premium” beside fire insurance. I’m sure the bank representative discussed this when I was signing my loan documents, but with hundreds of papers to be signed, I could no longer remember what this is (it took me an hour to sign all the documents!). All along, I thought fire insurance and MRI are one and the same. Obviously, I was wrong.
So what is a Mortgage Redemption Insurance or MRI?

It is basically a form of life insurance, or we could say, an insurance for our home loan. This means that in the event the borrower dies, the remaining balance of the loan will be taken care of by the insurance company (because it is insured). So the family of the borrower won’t have to worry about choosing to pay for the remaining balance, or have the property foreclosed.

Do we really need an MRI? 

Upon learning what an MRI is for, I felt better now that this is included in the monthly amortization of my home loan. Just like fire insurance, MRI is an inclusion to home loans from most (if not all) banks in the Philippines. If you do not have a life insurance, an MRI would be a good alternative.



But what if you have a life insurance, can you use that to replace an MRI?

PhilLife Financial discussed this in this article:

http://phillife.com.ph/how-to-avoid-paying-premiums-for-mortgage-redemption-insurance/

To quote a portion of their article;

“If you have an existing life insurance plan, you can negotiate with your bank by telling them that instead of the MRI, you would rather assign the bank as your beneficiary, allotting a portion of the sum assured to cover the amount you owe.

For instance, if you have an insurance plan worth P2 million, and the amount you owe the bank is, say, P800,000, you can ask your life insurance provider to assign P800,000 in favor of the bank. You can present this to your bank as proof that they will still get the money you owe in case something happens to you.”

I do have a life insurance with SunLife, but I haven’t really considered talking to my bank regarding this. I assume that they would not accept this option, since the MRI is a mandatory inclusion to the home loan.

Are you also paying for an MRI? How much?