How to Create a Free Blogger or Blogspot Blog

It’s 2018, and you want to start a blog. Should you buy a domain and hosting right away? It depends. If you are really serious about blogging and you have the budget for domain and hosting, that would be a good option for you. However, if you are having second thoughts and you just want to give blogging a try, or you simply do not want to spend money on domain and hosting yet, take advantage of a free website from Blogger or Blogspot.

Now, what is the difference between Blogger and Blogspot? Don’t be confused because they’re one and the same. Blogger if where you login, Blogspot is your domain extension. In short:

Login to www.blogger.com if you want to create a blog called phdocuments.blogspot.com.

I have two old and un-updated Blogger blogs – phototecture.blogspot.com and litratorama.blogspot.com. I created them both back in 2007! I can’t believe they’re still out there in the world wide web. That’s the good thing about having a free Blogger of Blogspot domain; it will be kept for as long as Blogger or Google wants it to be there, and without you having to pay anything.

Here’s a quick guide on how to create a blog on Blogger this 2018, in six simple and easy steps.

  1. Go to www.blogger.com and create an account. Blogger is owned by Google so you might want to use your Gmail if you have one, but any email address will do. Either way, Blogger will accept it.
  2. Upon signing up, you will be directed to your dashboard. This is where the posting and editing happens.
  3. You may want to start on your blog’s layout. Click on the “Layout” section on the left, and the below options will appear. Always click on the “Save arrangement” button for any changes you make.
  4. One of the first things that you need to add are Widgets, or Gadgets. Click on the “+ Add a Gadget button” to view your options: This pop-up window will appear. You can simply select the basics from amongst these selections. You can always add or remove a Gadget later:
  5. To add a post, click on the “New Post” button on top: You will then get this window where you could put your blog post title, content, and labels. You can use any labels, and utilize them as categories later on. Make sure to click on “Save” before clicking on “Publish”. You will be redirected back to your Dashboard. You will then see the new post that you created. Click on “View blog” at the upper left portion of the window to view your blog. This is a preview of your plain blog, how do change it’s layout? Proceed to step 6.
  6. Go back to your Dashboard and click on “Themes”. You will then be given a selection of free themes from Blogger. Select and preview any theme that you want. For this example, I selected the first theme under “Contempo”:

This is the preview of the theme:

This is now your new blog using the theme we selected:

These are only the basic steps and you can finish them in less than 10 minutes! Work on your theme and layout as you proceed. You may want to try all free themes to see which one you would like, along with adding or removing gadgets. You can also upload and apply a theme from external sources; there are lots of free Blogspot themes available for download online and most of them are easy to customize.

Take time in building and organizing your blog, don’t try to finish everything overnight. It will take hours and days of work until you get the layout and look that satisfies your taste and preferences. It’s a long process and that is fine, I guarantee that it will be a fun and exciting experience! I wish you all the best.

Cheers!!!

When Should you Upgrade your Computer?

At the office, our IT department has decided that our laptops can only be mandatorily replaced after six years. While this can be disputed whenever there’s a valid reason or justification, we were surprised at their confidence towards the lifespan and performance of laptops these days. I guess they are being reasonable in a way – I realized that I only owned two laptops in the past nine years, and both are still working fine.

My MacBook Pro is turning three this summer; it feels like I just got it last year. It is still performing like it did when I first used it. I was reading an online forum today where the “Average Life Span of a MacBook Pro” is a topic and someone candidly replied “As long as you want it to!“. Amusing.

My 2008 Dell laptop, and 2015 Macbook Pro.

It’s true, I think a MacBook can survive for many years, and that makes me a very satisfied customer. While there are moments when all those Apple restrictions give me headaches, a MacBook’s longevity is undeniably one of its best selling point.

Not to be left out, however, I have to mention that my nine-year old Windows computer is still alive too! It’s a Dell Inspiron 1420. It did crash after over a year where I unfortunately lost all my files, and the battery stopped working after less than three years. For a span of five years, I had to reinstall its OS twice, using two different installers until I decided to eventually go back to its original OS. It has been running fine since the last OS reload. I still use it for minimal computing needs as it starts humming after an hour of continuous use.

I think, laptops can be upgraded anytime within 3-6 years. It really depends on the usage though. If it is being heavily used, the chances of it getting slower over time is definitely higher.

After purchasing my MacBook in 2015, I am happy that I never had to upgrade, nor do I need a new one yet. In fact, I’ve never checked on new laptops ever since, not until now that my nephew needs one for school. I was asked to look for a good laptop, and I honestly am not sure which one to get for a limited budget. Looks like online is the way to go? What would you recommend?

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A Parent’s Unconditional Love

Sunday mornings are my favorite. It is always silent and calm, and even a noisy and chaotic place like Metro Manila share a few moments of such stillness. Too bad, I couldn’t wake up early on Sundays anymore. My body clock keeps me asleep until noon that when I am ready to get up, the reality that the weekend is about to end starts sinking in. I will then go back to bed in total surrender of the fact that the dreaded Monday is coming.

Waking up to this view.

That Sunday was different. I was at home and I woke up to the pleasant noises associated to the provinces – dogs, chickens, old songs playing from a neighbor’s transistor radio, and the occasional shouting of kids running around the neighboorhood. I reached for my phone to check the time – it was 30 minutes past 10AM. My mom’s text message popped up on my screen. I can’t help but smile while reading it, it’s in Ilocano:

Roughly translates to “Are you awake? Get up and eat. Your father didn’t come to church for he cooked for you, the food is ready.”

It was lovey and bittersweet. I spent the next ten minutes staring at the ceiling, trying not to feel disappointed of myself for oversleeping. I missed joining my parents at the breakfast table. I was returning back to Manila that afternoon, and thinking that I only have a few hours left made me feel bad.

It was a sudden change of emotion in contrast to what I was feeling before I left Manila. That week, I didn’t really wanna take the long, eight-hour journey home. I use to enjoy it during the first five years, but over a decade later, the thought of it alone is already exhausting.

But my father would ask me the same thing when he calls: when are you coming home? I would often make excuses, and I must have ran out of alibis one day that I answered “this weekend”. He got excited and quickly requested me to buy a new stove (of all things) to bring home. I didn’t want to break his heart so I reluctantly packed my bag that Friday, bought a stove, and took the early morning bus bound for the North.

My parents and I.

I went downstairs, and was greeted by the nostalgic smell of home-cooked food. My father was already busy preparing our ulam for lunch. I made my coffee, and munched on the fried fish and egg that he served for breakfast.

A moment that’s so simple but so precious.

It was over ten years ago when I moved to Manila. I would go home at least once every two months, or during especial occasions. And some things never change. My parents still cook for me. When I arrive, I’d leave my shoes and socks outside by the door. My mom would later pick them up and neatly place them on a shoe rack, then bring them out under the sun the next day. In my room, my bed is always carefully made. That distinct smell of freshly laundered, dried in the sun sheets, still gets me.

They would ask me what I want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They make sure that I get enough sleep and rest knowing how long I have travelled.

That day, something dawned at me that I made the decision to visit them more often.

My parents are old, and now that their children have lives of their own and are oceans apart, their joy every time they see us is overflowing. They still look forward to our gathering together in the living room for our customary long talks. They still ask me the same questions – how’s my job, my health, do I experience flooding in my area, is my commute to work safe, when is my next holiday. My answers are always, I’m fine and I’m safe, and I’ll be home when I can. But they never get tired listening to my rather short stories.

Late afternoon conversations, over coffee.

That day, I was suddenly consciously present. I treasured every moment with them knowing that those simple times would make great memories. Indeed, we are too busy growing up that sometimes, we forget that our parents are getting old too. Looking back, life hasn’t also been very easy for us, but we’ve had countless memorable experiences together which are all priceless.

A selfie with (from L-R) my niece, aunt, mom, dad, and nephew.

Leaving is always the saddest part. They still wave and say their goodbyes as they did long time ago when I first left home for high school, when I moved even farther for college, and when I eventually decided to make Manila my second home. They still even ask me if I have enough money for my fare, believe it or not. They still give me the same last minute advices that they’ve been giving me ever since – stay safe, be careful when crossing the streets!

I see it now. In their eyes, I am still their child, and they will never get tired looking after me, guiding and helping me along the way in every way they can.

I see it now.

I see that unconditional love from parents that I am so blessed to experience. I am really glad that I get to recognize that today and not when it’s already too late. It’s true, life’s most beautiful moments could happen even in the most mundane situations. For someone who tends to overthink and over analyze, God sent me home that day and made me perceive above my thinking mind. He made me recognize, understand, and appreciate the simplicity of that which we often find too deep to define: unconditional love.

A faint reminder of our humble beginnings. I was the baby in this photo, and the bahay-kubo behind the bushes at the back is where I was born.

#OPPOF5 #CaptureTheRealYou

A Coffee Addict’s Way to Save Money on Coffee!

Aside from finding ways to saving on food and transportation, another thing that I needed to address is my coffee addiction.

While I am not really a Starbucks fan, I use to get coffee from them at least once a week. When I moved to my new place, there’s a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf beside our lobby, and a fancy Starbucks branch across the street. I would spend my Saturday and Sunday afternoons in any of these coffee shops for about five months. I am so glad I made a decision to take saving money seriously before things get out of hand.

My love affair with cafés is another thing. There’s something about these cozy places that I find irresistible, and I use to not mind spending money just to be there. Well, it has everything that attracts my soul – the warm ambiance, unique and artsy interiors, nice looking people, and of course the smell of freshly brewed coffee. But again, it comes with a price.

Back home in the province, this is where I sip my coffee every morning. If only I have a similar view of my own here in Manila:
How do you save money on coffee if you are a coffee addict? I’ve tried my best in the past three months, and I am making a slow but consistent progress.

I don’t buy coffee for more than P50.

Yes, fifty pesos is the highest I would go when buying coffee outside. So far, I have two sources:

McDonald’s – P45 for a large cup, with FREE one-time refill.
Country Style – P50 for a small cup (they don’t have size variants), also with FREE one-time refill

I’ve been a drinking coffee from McDonald’s since 2013. I tried Country Style’s coffee three years ago, and I’ve been their loyal customer since then. Not only that their coffee is cheap, they don’t cater to the usual young, loud customers, and I love that.

I am now brewing my own coffee at home.

Putting these mugs that my sister gave me four years ago to good use.

I had to start by buying a coffee maker which is actually not that expensive. You can get one for just P600 here in the Philippines; I bought mine for P799. As much as possible, I bring my coffee at work (that would be my second cup for the day). Buying the fifty-peso coffee that I mentioned above is just an alternative. I think, brewing your own is the best and most effective way to save money on coffee.

When comes to coffee beans, I buy local.

I never really paid attentions to coffee beans before as I thought I could just pick one from coffee shops or grocery stores. But when I was in Sagada last November, I fell in love with their coffee that I had to ask the server where they’re getting it. I learned that it’s an Arabica coffee from Atok, Benguet. I wasn’t able to get one from Baguio, so I searched for stores that sell them here in Manila. They’re a lot cheaper, and I say local farmer friendly. Here’s a sample price list that a Quezon City-based seller sent me:

No to 3-in-1 coffee.

Not only that they are too sugary, but what’s with all those powder? They fill up almost 1/4 of my cup! I have to be honest though, we use to love them especially in the province. I see them a lot at the office too. It’s cheap and instant which we all like, but I also decided to stop buying and drinking them. It is more of a health issue for me, but actually, you won’t really need them if you are brewing.




Creating my own coffee corner at home!

I am planning to have my condo unit renovated this year, and I want a café interior as a theme! I’d like to find out if that would further keep me away from cafés, I hope it will. I have lots of ideas on my mind and I can’t wait to make them happen. With this, I can imagine my social life going from zero to negative zero.

Don’t drink coffee at all?

I don’t think I could do this, ever. There were others who were able to do it, but I do not think this is an option for me at the moment. That would be too much of a challenge. Could you actually get rid of coffee?

I don’t know where my coffee addiction came from exactly, but drinking coffee is nothing but normal in our household for as long as I could remember. When I moved to the city for high school, learning that kids there don’t drink coffee came as a culture shock to me. I was amused that I was the only one in our class who drinks coffee.

I eventually stopped drinking coffee during my mid-teenage years until I graduated from college. Years later after landing my current job, it suddenly became a daily routine for me to go to a coffee shop. The addiction came with the feeling of no guilt at all for spending P100 or so for coffee everyday. Not until I created this blog, went through a financial crisis, and made saving money a priority that I realized P100 a day actually totals to P36,500 a year! That’s enough to keep me motivated and continue with what I’ve started.

Are you addicted to coffee too?

Is it Cheaper to Replace or Repair a Broken Appliance?

Lazada PhilippinesI bought an American Home coffee maker as a pasalubong for my parents last Christmas. Yes, it was more of a pasalubong than a Christmas gift. I wanted us to use it right away so I also brought home with me the ground coffee that my former boss sent me all the way from Costa Rica.

We used the coffee maker for a good five days, and it was working fine. I got back here in Manila before new year, and I was surprised to receive a text from my mom telling me that the coffee maker has suddenly stopped working. I called them and made sure that they are operating it correctly. My background in tech support was put to good use while asking them questions.

tightly plugged in to the wall outlet? – yes
power light on? – yes
does it make any boiling sound? – no
is it getting warm? – no
coffee dripping on the glass carafe? – no
is there water on the water tank? – yes
are you sure the power light is on? – yes
any damages on the unit? – none

Well, it looks like the coffee maker is not really working. By the end of January, I was back home and checked it myself. It is indeed broken and I was ready to bring it to the American Home Appliance repair center here in Manila.

I understand the rules about warranty, and I am confident that the one-year warranty for my purchase will be honored. There is no physical damage on the item, but in case they won’t honor the warranty, I made the decision of not paying anything for repair.

When is it cheaper to simply buy a new one instead of spending for repairs?

First, most electronics are always better when they’re brand new. Any repairs done to to the product often lead to more repairs. Before you know it, the total cost of getting it fixed is already almost the same as its original price when you bought it.

Second, this coffee maker is only P799. If it gets repaired for anything more than one peso, I’d rather buy a new one from a competing brand which I’m sure will last longer. I bought an Imarflex coffee maker for personal use this January, and I’m not seeing any sign that it will also malfunction anytime soon.

So when making a decision to whether or not get your broken appliance repaired, evaluate the costs. If it gets fixed, is there an assurance that it will take long before it starts malfunctioning again? Compare the repair cost versus the price of a new one, is there a huge difference?

The major rule is: if the repair will cost more than 50% of the price of replacing the appliance, you should get a new one.

How to Save Money on Your Phone Plan Subscription


Can you save money on your phone bill without totally cutting your plan subscription? I was asking my self the same question while reviewing my payment history with Globe. I can’t believe I’ve been paying P3,000-P4,000 for my phone plan in the past eleven months:

A quick throwback to almost a year ago when I decided to extend my 30-month phone plan subscription with Globe. I was originally subscribed to Plan999, and I upgraded to Plan1799 with an iPhone7 Plus handset (for P800 a month). That turns my total monthly bill to P2,599 for 24 months. Where does the additional P1,500 coming from? Excess usage!

What is the Excess Usage for?

Basically, the Plan1799 includes unlimited call to Globe and TM numbers, unlimited text to all networks, and a 10GB worth of data. I only call Globe and TM numbers, so I know right away that these charges are from my excessive data usage. We are all aware about the data capping that Globe and Smart are imposing. Well, because I do not allow myself to be limited by this data cap, I made the decision to pay the price. How much? P1,500 it is.

So if your plan offers a 10GB data for a month, every KB of data in excess to that is automatically worth P1,500. You’ll be paying for the excess charge anyway, so why not go unli with it? Here’s how my recent data excess charge was computed:

P1,339.29+%VAT equals P1,500 excess usage.

I understand that data is expensive so I feel that the excess charge is reasonable for a 55.6GB volume. This is the reason why I do not want to get cable as I could watch everything online. I am still hesitant to make that move to DSL or Fibr as I am more mobile as I thought; I can’t be without data when I step out of the house.

Now, how can we save on our phone plans???

Ask first if you really need the plan. Maybe consider cutting it after the contract expires, and go for prepaid. Nonetheless, if you feel that you are better off with a plan, decide on which plan is the best for you. Globe and Smart are quite flexible with their offerings, so determine which inclusions you would really want to spend on:

Data

If you have DSL at home, you definitely won’t need a high volume of data. Unless you travel all the time or you cannot live without streaming videos wherever you are, maybe it’s time to get a lower data plan. I would say 3GB is recommended for a month of regular mobile surfing:

Call and Text

Are you actually calling and texting all the time? If yes, the unli-text and call is perfect for you. Otherwise, get rid of it and look for a plan that includes a consumable option. Make sure to stick within that limit to avoid extra charges.

Other Inclusions!

Do you actually want all those inclusions? Perhaps your data allowance is already enough to cover everything, so check your bill for any unused inclusions. Ask your service provider to remove them if there are any.

Free Subscription that Auto-renews

Your plan may include free subscriptions to Spotify, Netflix, etc. They are free for a certain period, normally around 3-6 months and will auto-renew after that. If you do not want to keep the paid subscription for the succeeding months, contact your network and unsubscribe before it starts appearing on your bill.

Paper Bills

Do you really need the paper bill? Banks and other networks accept soft copies and print outs of your bill as a proof of billing. I don’t know which other purpose would you be needing the paper bill for. With Globe, that is P50 a month and they actually encourage their users to go paperless. Subscribe to paperless billing and save that 50 pesos (P600 per year)!

Source: Globe FAQs

Lastly, get a cheaper handset.

I want to keep my number so I am extending my plan with this as the major reason. I realized, I may not be wanting an iPhone again in the near future. I will also be going back to my old Plan999 after my current subscription expires, and will downgrade to a cheaper phone, most probably an Android. The expensive, new phones this year will surely get cheaper next year!
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I get a lot of calls from Globe offering me additional lines, and I am always firm at declining them. Which reminds me – do not get an additional line! Unless you need them for business purposes, you do not want to pay for more than one phone bill a month.

How are you saving on your phone bills? Have you experienced switching from postpaid back to prepaid?

4 Reasons Why New Bloggers Should Join a Blog Contest

I remember joining my first blog contest ten years ago. My old page was just over a year old at that time, and Nuffnang Philippines just opened their second blog contest. The mechanics are simple: write about your first memories of any Sony product and mention one of the new items that they’re launching! I tapped in to my sentimental side, and went nostalgic with my story:

Reading this post today, it’s so tempting to go back and edit. But I decided to leave it this way – raw and unpretentious.

I was selected as one of the 50 finalists and received an invitation to the awarding ceremony. It was to be held at the then newly opened SMX Convention Center. Sadly, I automatically eliminated myself by not showing up.

Almost a decade later, I decided to join another blog contest, this time through this site. I got a P1000 Sodexo gift certificate. Not bad.

So, can new bloggers join and win a blog contest? Yes. Most of these competitions are open to both new and old bloggers. The newer you are, the more that you should consider joining. This site was just four months old when I entered the Sodexo blog contest.

Why should you join a blog contest if you are a new blogger? Let’s see.

It’s fun!

Blogging may get boring after your first few months. A blog contest could keep the excitement going. From putting together your story, to publishing and submitting an interesting article, and then finally waiting for the results, the anticipation keeps you excited! Regardless of the outcome, you will for sure find something out of the experience to blog about next (hint: this blog post is an actual example!).

It’s an opportunity to get creative.

Writing a full article is already difficult. Writing an article and relate it to a topic which may not be very familiar to you is even more challenging. Being able to do so without sounding too promotional, and a**-kissing could land you a spot in the organizer’s short list.

Win or lose, the experience will challenge you to improve on your writing. If you could produce high-quality posts for a competition, you can duplicate that for a regular post.

You’ll be inspired.

Running out of new ideas and topic to talk about is normal. It is one of the realities that hit every blogger all the time. Joining a blog contest will not only push you to write something, but inspire you to create a high-quality post. You want to win as much as you want to publish another article, and you are sure that someone will scrutinize your post, so why not give it your best?

If you have a niche, it becomes more challenging. Go for it! These are just one of the small risks that you need to take in order to learn, and improve your blogging.

You need the exposure.

If you win, your blog will be published by the contest organizer. Not only that you get an instant monetary reward, Google will recognize your site even more. In the long run, the backlinks that your blog get from other websites will be your biggest prize. These links give Google the impression that your page is significant, hence, giving it a higher page rank.

If you have doubts, just keep going. Join not only for the prize and bragging rights, but for the experience and lessons that come with it. These blog contests connect you to other bloggers. You get to learn more about them and how they are doing in their niche, and consequently, on how you could level-up on yours.

I wish you the best of luck on your first blog contest entry! Keep on joining!

Money Saving Challenge Report: Month 1




I am happy that I started this challenge for myself. It feels great to have gotten that drive to do it, and having a blog to document my progress makes it even more exciting. I admit that I am not a saver, so being able to come up with ideas on how to save, and having the discipline to follow them is in itself already an achievement.

My first month of trying to religiously follow my own rules has not been very easy, I admit to cheating a few times. Here’s a summary of how my first month of saving money went.

1. Not booking Grab or Uber when going to work.

I’m just glad to have been able to make a jeepney ride for my commute to work a daily routine. Indeed, anything that you regularly do for 21 days straight can become a habit. Well, I’ve been taking a jeepney for almost two months now so my plan actually worked. I am saving not less than Php100 a day, and that’s great.

On a side note, I am totally boycotting Uber until they fix their system. My bad experience with them happened when I started considering cheaper alternatives for my commute. Ironically, it was very timely because now, Uber is no longer an option.

For my safety, I still book a ride from Grab when going home after work, often between 1 and 3 in the morning.

2. Less and less fast-food.

Fast-food is my weakness. It was my main source of “nourishment” for the past 15 years or so, and that makes it very difficult to remove from my system. Needless to say, cutting down my fast-food intake from 2-3 times a day to 2-3 times a week was a great improvement.

Which means, I have to learn to prepare my own food. I can’t cook, so cheap canned goods are my savior. Thankfully, I am not your typical Filipino who can’t survive a day without eating rice. I can live with burgers and fries for a week, but I am substituting that with bread and healthier sandwiches that I buy from a bakery near my place. Soon, I plan to prepare my own sandwich and bring it to work along with my coffee. Speaking of which:

3. I am now brewing my own coffee!

I just bought a coffee maker, and ordered an Atok Arabica ground coffee with that. Moreover, the coffeemaker was purchased using a P1000 Sodexo gift certificate that I got from joining a blog contest in November. Wonderful!

I am a supporter of local produce so I am going for the Arabica coffee from Benguet. I learned about it when I was in Sagada last November. Coincidentally, I saw some Instagram posts about the Beguet coffee, and the hard works that local farmers put into harvesting and processing the beans. That inspired me to patronize their product even more.

Now, along with these money saving habits, I just started saving my 50 peso bills again. Let’s see how much I would save at the end of the year. I’m also thinking about doing my groceries by bulk. I mean because I am your typical lazy guy, I don’t go from aisle to aisle inside the grocery. I buy what I need one at a time, and I don’t mind if that means a daily trip to the grocery store downstairs where I live. How are you saving on groceries?

I realized, I might be able to save if I buy a one week worth of groceries at a time. This is also to make sure that I won’t end up ordering food online when I run out of food supplies. I work until 1 or 2 in the morning so other than the 7/11 in our building, my only option when I’m hungry are 24-hour fast-food deliveries! I would want to avoid that as much as I could.

Lastly, I am taking advantage of the cold January weather and decided to unplug my AC. The electric fan is more than enough. This started in December and my electric bill went from approximately P1600 to P350! Awesome!

Earning $0 from my First Month of Doing Affiliate Marketing

Back in November, I started learning my way around affiliate marketing as a “new blogger”. See, despite my 10-year blogging experience, I never really focused much on blog monetization. I never had the courage to take risks, and I admit, I was too lazy to learn.

In the span of two years, from 2007 to 2009, I use to connect with several bloggers. It was just pure past time, and connecting was a way to attract followers. Although I ventured into paid posts just like most of them, I never really understood how one could make serious money blogging. I eventually stopped when paid posts became scarce.


After a few years, my fellow bloggers who continued monetizing their blogs went on to become sources of viral articles. I would often see their posts being shared on social media. I was amazed and envious at the same time; I wish I didn’t stop learning!

Fast forward to ten years later, here I am starting over again, eager and excited to explore more of what blogging has become. That’s how I came across affiliate marketing.

So how much did I earn after a month of doing affiliate marketing? Zero. Nothing. $0.

Now, you must think I am crazy. Who in their right mind would want to embarrass themselves by publishing about a zero earning? And would anyone be interested to even read an article about not earning a single cent after a month of doing affiliate marketing? I don’t know either. But I did promise to share my experiences, and I think talking about starting from absolutely nothing is not really a bad idea.

So what are the affiliate marketing programs that I signed up to? And what went wrong? Let me discuss.

Amazon – Probably the most popular affiliate program available in the world wide web. While they have a very wide selection of products to promote, I find it difficult to find one that would fit in my blog. I thought gift cards are quite close, so I selected that for my first banner.

Lazada – I think Lazada is popular amongst bloggers in Asia. While Zalora is for fashion and lifestyle bloggers, Lazada is more like Amazon, so it caters to a broader audience. I knew I cannot do Zalora, so I went for Lazada right away. I like the fact that they have regional offerings, so you can select one that targets your reader’s locations.

Agoda – I thought it was appropriate to try Agoda as I am bound to publish travel-related posts at anytime. You get a commission for every booking made from your affiliate link; now I envy travel bloggers!

JVZoo – I honestly do not understand JVZoo. Well, I guess it’s very typical for a newbie to try and explore things and later on asks “what was I thinking”? I am not comfortable at giving out my credit card details upon signing up, so I give this one a pass at the moment. But I’m pretty sure I’ll reconsider in the future.

Bluehost – Since I started buying virtual real estates, I’ve always wanted to try Bluehost. However, GoDaddy has cheaper offers so I would end up ditching Bluehost. Bluehost nonetheless approved my affiliate application and I was very excited to start. A few days later, I received a notice about an issue in the tax form that I submitted. I never bothered checking what was wrong. Also, I realized that Bluehost may not be a perfect fit for my niche so I guess that ends my Bluehost dreams. Ironically, I would see Bluehost ads from Adsense being displayed on my pages so I guess that is it.




GoDaddy – The only one that rejected me. It’s sad because I am a GoDaddy customer. I bought this domain from GoDaddy and subscribed to their hosting plan too. Oh, well.

ConvertKit – Okay. This is most popular amongst bloggers that I follow. The problem is, I still don’t understand how it works so I haven’t started using it yet. It just looks complicated to me and until I get to fully articulate what ConvertKit is all about, I don’t want to be publishing anything about it. I know it may be simple for others, but as goes my tagline – “layman’s term” is what I am promoting. I want to be able to talk about it in my own simple words. Just like JVZoo, I am not closing my doors on ConvertKit yet.

So there you go. So far, I am only actively publishing Amazon, Lazada, and Agoda at the moment which means I will need to have wide readership before I could actually earn something. But I am optimistic that I’ll be able to reach my first payout with them one day, and when that time comes, I will definitely be talking about it.

This is my humble affiliate marketing journey. While I am a bit disappointed, I don’t consider my first month a failure. As what they say, it is just the beginning. I am still learning, and I know there’s a lot more to come.

Cheers!!!

Why I am Choosing Grab over Uber

I have been a regular Grab and Uber rider in the past seven months. Prior to that, I was only booking Grab Taxi as I thought Grab Car was too expensive. I tried using Uber when they started accepting non-credit card users. I have been a loyal Uber rider since then.

I started booking Grab Car when I found out about their point system. Since then, I would juggle between these two, often picking the one that offers a lower rate. From my experience, Uber is cheaper 9 times out of 10. This is regardless of the time and location.

Here are my other observations:

Grab:
– rates are often more expensive.
– no location pin!
– drivers are nearer, five minutes away at an average.

Uber:
– fare is often cheaper.
– location pin is absolutely very helpful!
– allows business profile.
– drivers are often too far, 8-10 minutes away at an average recently.

So why am I choosing Grab over Uber? The 100 peso cancellation charge just sucks! Two weeks ago, I booked an Uber at around 3:15AM and the driver was just one block away. I’m not sure if it’s a glitch on the app, but the driver did not seem to be moving. I waited for 10 minutes and his position hasn’t changed. There is definitely no traffic in the area at 3AM. The fact that he’s not moving made me feel “unsafe” for some reason. Even if the app is not working, he should have already arrived in my location in less than 3 minutes.

My battery was running low, so I hastily went to Grab and booked another ride. The driver arrived in less than 5 minutes, while Uber still says the driver is 3 minutes away. It’s been like that for the past 15 minutes.

My mistake was not cancelling the Uber booking, and not contacting the driver. I arrived home with a dead phone. I charged it and went to bed.

I woke up at noon seeing the messages from the Uber driver, along with the app notification that I’ve been charged with 100 pesos. Looking at the timeline, the Uber driver arrived in my supposed pickup location after over an hour:

1 hour and 22 minutes travel time, for a distance of less than 500 meters, at 3-4 in the morning?

I reported this to Uber and I received the usual copy-pasted responses which I did not bother reading. I was a chat and email customer service support rep for three years, so I know a canned response when I see one. They knew I am not a happy customer, and may never book Uber again so they sent me back my 100 pesos as credits. I still went on and removed my credit and prepaid cards as form of payments, and ready to uninstall the app anytime.

We’re lucky that we have Grab as an alternative here in the Philippines. I don’t mind the higher rates, for as long as the rules are reasonable. In fact, I’ve already earned enough points to be a Platinum Grab member two months ago. On the other hand, until they fix their service, I hope I won’t have to use Uber ever again.