Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2014 52 Week Money Challenge

It's July, I can't believe that we're past half of 2014. I feel like time flew by so fast and I can't help but ask myself what I've achieved so far. There's one thing I know I was able to achieve perfectly as part of my New Year's Resolution and that's the 52 Week Savings Challenge. By June 28, 2014 I should have been able to save Php 7,020. I almost emptied my savings account and deposited my savings from the challenge. I initially planned on opening a passbook savings account from BDO but due to time constraints I opted for this one instead. Here's proof that I did: 

I can't wait to keep on saving more and achieving this savings challenge to perfection. I have no plans of spending this money at all. It'll be some sort of retirement fund. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Morning walks and my neighborhood

I recently signed for a 12 week fitness challenge from our company. It's called Step Up and the main goal is for us to develop a wellness and fitness habit by walking, jogging, or running. The more steps we make and log in a day, the company will donate a certain amount to certain philantrophic partners that cater to food and nutrition for those without access. I truly enjoy this challenge because I love walking and seeing my pedometer screen counting my steps make me happy. Add to the fact that I'm producing endorphins by exercising. 

The challenge doesn't exclude other fitness regimens because Zumba, Crossfit, Boxing, and every other workout regimens can still be logged and converted to a certain amount of steps. It's inclusive because not everyone fits into a certain workout mold. I knew then that I wouldn't want to walk in a treadmill so I decided that apart from the walking I make on my way to and from work, I'll walk or jog around my neighborhood. I've had many happy surprises on my morning walks after work. It delights me on certain days that I get to attend early morning mass or I get the church all to myself and I get to pray the rosary in a certain type of serenity that only a church can create. I also enjoy knowing about certain areas that I only see and read on the tricycle terminal signages and seeing shops among other things. I also like  looking at nice houses, it gives me ideas of what I like and don't like just in case I move out of my parents and build my own house. I even enjoy seeing plants and flowers on the roadside. These are smalls joys that make up my morning walks. There are just a number of things I've noticed though that annoys me. 

I'll be discussing those things but don't get me wrong. I Iove my neighborhood and there are a lot of things that made me call it home for the last 16 years. These are what I find annoying in my morning walks:  

1. Dead ends created by sectionings made by Homeowner's Association: 

These unnecessary dead ends are momentum killers! 

2. Lack of proper sidewalks: 

This is a pretty common situation in the entire Philippines. I know not much can be done especially that the houses in the area are already set on where it is constructed. This just illustrate lack of planning and foresight. There was a study I read some years back about areas without proper sidewalks and pedestrian lanes; people are fatter! 

3. A lot of cars are honking their horns unnecessarily and occupying what little piece of the road a person can walk in: 

Inconsiderate drivers who don't even think that they may have just damaged someone's eardrums early in the morning should be banned or hanged (You choose). 

I won't stop walking though. I enjoy it. This post is me "just saying you know!!!".  

Monday, June 9, 2014


For the last 14 years I have absentmindedly collected postcards from my travels. I like collecting postcards because as much as I like taking photographs on my vacations, my shots couldn't come close to those postcard photos. I started collecting free postcards and then moved on to postcards sold at souvenir shops.   

Here are some photos of those free postcards which I collected mostly when I was in LA:  

These were recently given to me and the messages written are somehow related to travelling: 

These next ones are from some of the places I've visited, I wanted to take a photo of each postcard I have but it'll be too time consuming: 

And this last photo will be of the newest ones I got from my recent Baler trip: 

There are two places I've visited recently that disappointed me a tiny bit because I couldn't find a single postcard from any of the souvenir shops we went to. I wish the next time I visit Guimaras and Iloilo I'll be able to bring back a couple of postcards to add to my collection. I have one particular rule with my postcard collection, I have to be the one to buy it and it has to be bought at the place I've visited. I get a particular thrill looking at those postcards accumulate. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I have to find a way to de-stress!!!

Roughly about a week now, I have taken to walking or jogging for 30 to 45 minutes after I get home from work. My Physiatrist recommended that I do it every other day so I don't strain myself too much since I'm a newbie in this. I won't give up what I've started though. I love walking but this is the first time I started a routine. The 30 minutes to 45 minutes I go around my neighborhood at around 6am is very precious. I work at night from 8pm to 5am and any work related stress that I go through is magnified by the fact that I work on the graveyard shift. My circadian clock and my work hours have constantly been at odds with each other for almost 6 years and I noticed a lot of changes in my my body and my well being. I know that I'm at a certain point in my life that I should know better; so exercise and a healthy diet should be my main focus. It took walking/jogging for a different reason though. When I'm walking it's my time to clear my head of any thoughts and worries. I can choose to just think of moving forward and which turn to take and all the other worries just fade. No matter how hectic my workday was I get to have this alone time and it is saving me from insanity. Since November 2013 playing two different job funtions at work certainly has its toll. It's no longer about long work hours, it's long work hours with varied focus on each role. There are a lot more deliverables and the pressure to perform well on both has had me at my wit's end. I almost wanted to throw my hat in the ring last April 2014 but a part of me can't give up. I needed a stress reliever fast. I can't help but think that maybe Fr. Robert Reyes was right when he told us about the spirituality of running. There's something in that will to move forward and learning to choose the routes that seems almost philosophical and spiritual. My morning ritual although fairly new has had some effect. I know part of it are endorphins but mostly the bit of time that I get a breather from all of it and it's such a welcome respite. When running, jogging, or walking alone it's an opportunity to have those conversations with one's self or even time to pray to God. The sound of that pounding on the pavement everytime one's feet hits the ground is almost like repetitive prayer, it becomes relaxing. My only hope is that I can sustain the routine.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Let's Talk About My Favorite Christmas Gift

Every year I would always end up having a favorite from the gifts I got during Christmas. I'm not very fond of tweeting or posting in Facebook and Instagram photos of gifts that I got just to say thank you. I usually use them and hopefully the person who gave it to me may see a photo of me using what they gave. My favorite gift from Christmas 2013 was a reusable bag from Sac People. My friend Cathy gave it to me. She said that she had no plans at all to give it to me but she knew that the particular design she gave was really meant for me. And she was right I loved it! I love dogs so it was perfect. I recently used it a couple of weeks ago when I did grocery shopping at Landmark Makati. I totally forgot to take a snapshot of it to show how something that can be crumpled in a neat ball could accomodate so much. 

Reusble bags may be ubiquitous from department stores, clothing brands and  grocery stores coming up with their own versions. Then there are brands such Sac People, Rume, and Perigot who have dedicated their brand to the reusable bag revolution. Among those I mentioned Sac People is the most affordable with their bags priced at P150-P200. Rume costs three times that and Perigot costs about ten times that. Well there's a difference in materials and quality for each brand, that is very noticeable nonetheless I am happy with what I got. Let me just say I am very happy with it. It serves its purpose well and it's way too cute to look at. I have it in my hand bag every day just in case I may need it, with most cities in Metro Manila no longer allowing plastic bags for purchases, a reusable bag is just very handy. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Since Starbucks Customer Service was able to solve my registration dilemna last Wednesday morning, I was able to get my free drink. It took me 4 tries and 9 days to get this cup. I got my usual cup of black iced tea. I didn't know what else to get. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Coffee Chains and its Rewards Cards

I recently bought a new Starbucks card. I held off buying one when it came out last year because I was wanting to wean myself from caffeine. I'm not a coffee drinker but I do frequent Starbucks especially the one at my office building. I have an almost daily routine of getting venti iced tea; basic black and dark chocolate macadamia cookie. My order sometimes varies and I'd get hot chocolate or Tazo. I'd also try all other food offerings once in a while just so I know what's worth spending money at and what's just plain crappy. When I got my Starbucks card some 9 days ago, I got so excited. I immediately tried to register it. I didn't realize that it'll give me such a headache. I don't like calling customer service hotlines, if I do I like optimizing the automated system but for my Starbucks card which I tried registering 4 times I had no choice but to call and file an incident. I finally had it resolved this morning. I got it registered and I can now access my account. Thanks to their intervention. I actually had a more pleasant experience with my Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Swirl card. I guess they do experience technical glitches with that Starbucks card of theirs. They have anticipated it or else they wouldn't have prepared a customer service hotline for it. 

I wish I wouldn't have to encounter another problem with it. I hope I could just happily load it, swipe it, and enjoy the perks. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Must Love Books

National Bookstore and The Philippine Star recently started a contest in Instagram. The hashtag is #MyFaveBookMySelfie2014. Here are the details of the contest: 

I knew when I saw their post that I had to join. I didn't post a photo right away, I have way too many favorite books to able to make a hasty decision. After a few days of selecting and making a list in my head I settled for the very first book I've read. I tried several selfie shots, deleted most of it but kept just these two photos: 

I posted the second photo with this description: 

I absolutely loved these two photos it ended up as my profile and cover photos in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+. I'm glad that this contest is now easier, it used to be that you have to email your entry and wait for it to be selected and published on the Sunday edition of The Philippine Star. If it gets published then it means you're the weekly winner. Now there's no need to wait for publication. Posting it on instagram already guarrantees an audience no matter what. What I'll be anticipating for will be the announcement of winners. I hope I made enough impact to win not just the weekly raffle but the grand raffle as well. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

1st Month of the 2014 52 Week Money Challenge

Just so I'm accountable on my personal commitment to do this savings challenge. I decided that I will post my progress on a monthly basis in my blog. As of January 31, 2014 I have been able to set aside P420. That amount is actually the amount targeted for the week of February 8. I know it's a small amount but it does feel like an achievement to be able to stick to a plan. I can't wait til the end of the year when the amount is more substantial. I've read one blog before that  dismissed the benefits of this scheme but to me it seems to be working just fine. It may not work for everyone but I'd like to say that it works for me. 

I won, I won

I was was waiting for January 30, 2014 because I joined Naked Sun's Instagram contest. It was their #nsswim10k contest to mark their 10,000 followers. I wanted to win so badly for my Valentine's Day trip to Iloilo and Guimaras. I wasn't disappointed I won a P1000 GC. 

As I was about to call it a day when I saw a Berocca contest in Twitter. It was so simple, all I need to do was retweet so I did, just once. I didn't expect to win since peope who join retweeting contests in Twitter retweet as many as they can. I was happy to see this: 

I guess January 30, 2014 was a lucky day for me.