2020 hit us really hard. Everyone was caught off guard even the biggest industries that we think are invincible, like Schools, shopping malls, entertainment, and even the food industry took a big hit. Covid 19 changed how people live their lives. The majority of the workforce lost their ability to go to work because public transportation also took a halt.
It took months before we started to learn how to adapt to the new normal. The BPO industry was the first one who recognized that the pandemic is not going away anytime soon, hence their decision to let their employees work from home. The work dynamics suddenly took a 190-degree turn. We suddenly don’t need to be near our workplaces just to perform our duties. This is where the real estate industry boomed here in our country.
People suddenly want to go as far away as possible from the big city. We will trade the bustling metro life for a quiet and peaceful day in a rural province as long as the internet is stable. For my family, we no longer feel the need to stay in a place where the risk of getting the Rona is higher. Since we are in the market looking for our forever home, we decided to look for a place where the grass is literally greener, Traffic is zero to minimal, and where the air will make our lungs happy.
Once we’re done with the list of what we
look for in a home, we now start the grueling process of selecting the right
one. Back in the day, finding a property is a lengthy and tedious ordeal. You
either have to read the Sunday newspaper or go to the place where you think is
good to settle and hope there are developments there. But technology made it a
lot easier for us to find our forever home. From online listings, Realtors,
developer’s website, even a mortgage calculator is now available online.
So, we started our search, looking in the most accessible place for new homes and/or rentals, the Facebook Marketplace. It may sound funny because it’s a social media platform, but it’s pretty handy when you’re trying to look for something. From food to houses, you name it. If you are in the market for repossessed houses, Foreclosure Philippines is your go-to site. You can also just go straight to the PAG-IBIG website for the list of foreclosed properties. Though we didn’t go this route, I still recommend looking at foreclosed properties. They have the best deals.
The next move is identifying if you have enough money to pay in cash or do you need to finance your dream home. If you decided that you’re going to have to take a loan to afford that house, you’ll find a mortgage calculator very handy. There are a few local resources for that. Local banks have it. I also use an international calculator called MortgageCalculator.uk because it works. You don’t have to wait for the realtor/agent to answer all your questions about payment terms and other stuff. You can check affordability, payment schedules, and other things that you need to know before pulling that trigger.
We will be
moving in the next few weeks. Can’t wait to live in a new peaceful place where
we can watch our family grow outside the chaotic big city.
your plans this 2022? Let us know in the comments.
It was the year 2016 when I finally decided to leave the corporate world and try my luck in freelancing. My wife resigned after receiving her 14th-month pay, bought a new laptop and a desktop so she can start looking for a remote job.
What made me decide to shift to freelancing? The traffic situation here in the Philippines is getting worse! We were also trying to have a baby and I had the opportunity to retire from work early. This is the same year when we started our journey to become entrepreneurs.
I submitted proposals in Upwork, Online Jobs PH, and countless agencies that I see online. It was like a game – the more entries you send, the more chances of winning!
Here are some FAQs about Freelancing.
Did you avail of any paid courses before landing a freelance job? I didn’t have formal Virtual Assistant training but I guess holding a project manager position with my previous company was also an advantage. After a three-week training in an agency, I was very fortunate to be picked by a client. I worked for my very first client as a Virtual Assistant/Office manager for his Real Estate Company in the USA.
Was it easy? Not at all!I had to make a lot of adjustments, watch countless video tutorials, and even relearn my accounting 101 because I was doing some basic accounting too.
How much was my salary? Being a first-time VA, I had no idea about the standard base pay for Filipinos. I was offered $4.00 per hour plus a Healthcard. I accepted it since I wanted to have an experience. Later on, as I was checking my client’s receipts and other payables, I saw that my agency was charging my client $9.5 per hour. Did I feel shortchanged? A little bit. But I also took into consideration their overhead for trainers and other staff members. Plus, they were the ones who found the client for me.
Can you earn more with freelancing? Definitely! I had a part-time job that pays a higher rate than my full-time client. It’s really up to you on how you would market yourself! Being a member of different International VA groups, I learned that we shouldn’t let our clients pay us based on our location. Because offering a Virtual Assistant service is similar to running a business. So, it doesn’t matter where you are located – what matters is your skills! I know some people who are earning $4,000 per month because of freelancing!
Are all online jobs graveyard shift? No. My most previous and current clients are based in Australia. You can also find a client who will let you work flexible hours! So, always read the job description and don’t forget to ask questions!
Do you get an increase? Of course! Some clients are very generous that you do not have to ask them – they will automatically grant you an increase. I had a client who even give bonuses and 13th-month pay! It’s really about how you negotiate your rates, increases, and bonuses with them. All these can be added to your contract too!
Is freelancing stable? I would say that it depends on the nature of your job and your client’s background (e.g. is your client’s company a start-up, etc.?). Also, just like in any other job, you have to give your best so you can maintain a healthy relationship with your client/employer.
Do you miss working in an office? There are times that I miss dressing up and cathing-up with friends after shift. Working from home can be boring sometimes but when I think about the traffic situation here in the Philippines and the extra hours that I get to spend with my family because I work from home – I feel very lucky!
Do you have different clients? Because I do a lot of things aside from work, having multiple clients is not an option for me. But, blogging has helped me earn extra income, especially during my free time. I accept press releases, blog reviews, etc. I also discovered a safe platform for bloggers like myself where I write short articles for at least $100. It’s called Influencer Marketing. It’s a big help, especially during this time of the pandemic. The best part is, registration is FREE and you get paid through your PayPal account. I think this blog has helped me a lot in transitioning from the corporate world to freelancing. You can check out Intellifluence to learn more about the platform.
These are just some of the questions that I get most of the time. But if you have other questions, let me know in the comments sections.
You are a very hardworking individual. You work 2 jobs, never called in sick, doesn’t take a day off(barely). You’ve been doing that for years, but nothing seems to change in your financial situation. You don’t even have enough money in your bank account for the rainy days. You’re still living the same life as you did 10 years ago. You keep on asking yourself, what am I doing wrong? What can I do to improve my finances?
Hey reader, can you relate?
We always hear or read about this quote from our friend Albert saying “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I’m not saying that we’re insane, but good old Albert has a point. We can’t be doing the same thing and expect a different result. We have to mix it up. It’s time to step up our game by improving our financial mindset.
Let’s start with your financial input mindset. Do you always think or say that you are poor, you don’t have enough money, you can’t afford this or that? That mindset needs to change. You need to change your financial input to improve your financial output and in order to do that, I made a list for you. 1. Read books. Not just any books but financial books and business books 2. Watch webinars. If you’re in debt you can go straight to financial literacy sites. This one’s my favorite. Lastly, get a mentor. You don’t have to personally know that certain person. Just choose anyone to follow, heck you can even subscribe to a bunch of mentors. The internet has a sea of financial gurus and mentors. Just watch out for fake ones. My wife and I always recommend Robert Kiyosaki.
Change your financial habits. Do not make a purchase when you are hyped by emotions. What are these emotions? 1. Excitement – This type of emotion can make you buy something in a hurry that you may end up regretting after a very short time. Pro-tip, If you want something, give it a month or two before buying it. If you still want it, buy it. You’ll most likely end up not liking it anymore. 2. Happiness – We like to reward ourselves. May it be a vacation, an expensive piece, or just an impulse buy disguised as a reward. 3. Anger – We always do this every time we feel bad or mad. Remember the term “stress shopping”? That has to stop. 4. (Not an emotion, but still valid) Do not shop when you’re hungry – Try this experiment. Eat a good meal before going in. You’ll be surprised that you only have what you need or what’s on your list in your shopping cart.
Change your financial priorities. 1. Stick to your budget – This is as basic as breathing. Create a list of things that you should prioritize to spend or pay and stick to it. 2. Track your spending – “Where did my money go?” Have you ever asked yourself this question? Stop wondering, Track your spending. There’s a ton of paid and free spending tracker apps on Playstore and Appstore. Utilize that technology and you’ll never ask that question again. 3. Prioritize savings over rewards – After paying all your bills, rent, mortgage, etc. and you still have money left? You will be faced with 2 questions. “Should I splurge” or “should I save”. You don’t always have to choose the latter, just make it a priority. 4. And finally, INVEST. After reading all the books, watching webinars, and a couple of seasons of Shark Tank, you should have an idea of how to make your money work for you. I will not tell you what to invest in, because I trust that you know exactly what to do.
Defensil Isopropyl Alcohol encourages Filipinos to
live safe with many establishments slowly re-opening and allowing people to
resume their pre-pandemic lifestyles.
With the nationwide vaccination program in full force,
Filipinos can slowly enjoy various activities such as more dining options as
well as doing physical activities by going to the gym. However, health experts
continue to remind everyone to not let their guards down even as we gradually
go back to normal.
As there are reports of new and potentially more
contagious variants, everyone must remain vigilant through following
established health protocols and getting vaccinated so we can all continue to
live safe and prevent the cases from surging again.
That’s why when we do essential errands such as buying
groceries, exercising outdoors, or simply going outside, disinfecting your
hands and any surface you interact with goes a long way to ensure living safely
for you and your family.
One way to prevent the spread of the virus is by always carrying a trusted rubbing alcohol brand that contains at least 70% alcohol solution whenever you go outdoors.
Defensil 70% Solution Isopropyl Alcohol, the alcohol recommended
by the Philippine Society for Microbiology (PSM), can kill 99.9% of common germs
and bacteria starts to kill them on contact so that you can safely do the
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For more information on how to
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For people like me who’s been working from home even before the pandemic started, it’s important that I do something different every once in a while to fight boredom and the feeling of being burnt out from work.
During days when the weather wouldn’t let me do some outdoor activities, I read books, bake, or play online games just to clear my mind and distract myself from feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
I love playing games that I do not need to download because I am reserving my phone’s memory for my son’s photos and videos – I am sure all moms can relate!
Browser-based games are the best when it comes to old games that you used to play when you were a kid. You can play all the old titles without having to raid your basement for your retro gaming console.
Let me share with you some of my favorite online games and I hope you can share some of yours too.
Klondike or Classic Solitaire. Who doesn’t know how to play this game? Spending a few minutes of my time playing Solitaire is nostalgic and relaxing. It reminds me of my High School days! I used to play this game after I am finished doing some homework and research.
But who’s got time to go to a store and buy a deck of playing cards? Also, since this game has been removed from Windows 10 in 2019, I just go to a gaming site and play it whenever I want. no need for real playing cards and a big table. Just click and play. It even does the shuffling for you. LOL!
I tried playing it online last night after work and didn’t notice the time. I started playing at 8 pm and noticed that I haven’t had dinner at 11 pm. I really wanted to finish the entire deck and didn’t realize that I have been playing for 3 hours. I just missed playing the Classic Solitaire. I also liked the Spider solitaire. The rules are very interesting. I still have to figure out to finish the entire deck. I’ll get back to it later.
During this time of the pandemic, we should be more careful about how we spend our hard-earned money. When we hear the word debt, we sometimes have this bad connotation about it. But this article perfectly explained historical debt and how good debt can actually help us in our education, careers, and businesses.
For the longest time, since we started our relationship, we always buy all of our stuff in cash. Saving up for something has always been our go to strategy and it works. We were so scared of debt. Credit cards are a no no, because we know a lot of people who were burried in debt because of bad debt. Because we both work in a Financial institution, horror stories of our clients even haunted us in our dreams. LOL! That is until we decided that we need a car.
When we purchased our very first car, we paid it off through a bank loan in a span of 18 months. We didn’t have enough money to buy it in cash. But we realized later on that the money we earned because of our car is even higher than the car’s value. Same thing happened with the new truck that we also loaned in 2019. It has helped us with our food and tech businesses. These are perfect examples of debts that generated income for us.
One of the most successful entrepreneurs from Migs’ family educated us about the pros of borrowing money for a business. He told us that we should not be afraid of debt, as long as we set our priorities straight and use it to make more money. That’s how he started his first business. Although we haven’t tried a business loan yet – we totally get his point. It just takes hard work and responsibility to pay off a debt in order not to be burdened by it.
How do we manage debt? We follow these rules at home.
Prioritize bills. We do not let bills pile up because that would mean additional fees.
Needs before wants. As long as there is food on our table, bills are paid, our clothes are clean – we couldn’t care less if we do not have the latest model of home appliances, gadgets, shoes or bags.
We make wise purchases. We do not settle for cheap items that we won’t be able to use for a long time. We always prefer quality products.
We take care of our health. Even if you have insurance to cover your hospital bills, the time that you lost is invaluable. It sounds cliche but health is wealth!
Taking a vacation once in a while for our mental health. Being frugal doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t be exploring. You can always travel and stick to your allotted budget.
We prepare our meals. Home-cooked meals are always healthier and yummier.
We only withdraw a small amount of money. We always prefer online transactions to save time and to refrain from going out. Because going out could mean gas + food allowance.
We do not compare our lives with other families. Life was never a competetion. Our goal is just to make ourselves better.
Debt can be considered as equity depending on our mindset and commitment. Debt has saved many people and businesses. What about you? What’s your take on loans/debt?
readers know that we started blogging when we were just preparing for our big
day. It was just an online diary and we were surprised that there were a number
of people who actually read and even responded to our posts. Some posts were
created out of frustrations from suppliers and some were simply recommendations
for suppliers that were extremely nice and exceeded our expectations.
We were just like typical millennials who browse the internet for product reviews and such but it’s really different if you are the one reviewing or sharing your thoughts for things that happened to you first hand. From there we learned that product or service reviews can actually have different impacts on readers – these can also define who you are as a person because it will show how you react in ugly situations.
our lives from our wedding preparations through parenthood has been exciting
and fulfilling especially when we hear people say that they have learned
something from us. Sometimes, it’s also a bit challenging because others think
that we are sharing too much information about our family.
times when we wanted to stop sharing especially when we’re too busy with work
and business or whenever we don’t feel creative. But we just keep on documenting
and sharing our lives in order for life to not escape us. It also felt like we
now have the responsibility to give our readers our insights on things so they
can pick up a thing or two from our experience.
Blogging since 2012 not only opened doors for different opportunities but also lead us to meet beautiful people that have become our close friends and event clients. It has also helped us with how we communicate with different types of people. It gave us the opportunity to get an inside feel of how things are done in everything that we review or document, like restaurant operations, production, etc. More so, our blog had been one of our tools in keeping sound mental health.
remember documenting our first attempt to buy a property from a developer that
turned out to be a fraud. We published the article last 2016 and until now, we
are still receiving emails and direct messages thanking us for our blog because
it saved them from losing money. Others, unfortunately, share the same
sentiments with us. That experience taught us a lesson on how to make
life-changing decisions. We learned to be very vigilant when it comes to big
purchases. Research, research, research, and never rush whenever we are faced
with this type of scenario. It also taught us how to be more responsible in
giving reviews and expressing ourselves but still being honest.
writing PRs for commercial brands makes money, we stand by our principles and
review the products or brands fairly and honestly. We always have to remind ourselves
that we started this blog not to make money but to write fair and honest
reviews. Our blog’s integrity is what we’re most proud of.
Remember when you thought that you already figured everything out? You were so sure that your plans were really working out for you and your wife. Then life sends a tsunami towards your way. Do you know what amazed me? You didn’t flinch and attacked that tsunami head-on.
“2012 was my year” that’s what you said. After experiencing a really tough childhood where you have to work as a minor so you can feed your siblings and your sick mother. Send your youngest brother to school while you were studying. It’s not hard to claim that you’ve made it after all you’ve been through. It felt really good. You married a beautiful, loving, smart, and funny woman. You have a decent job that you really love doing. You drive a very reliable car and have saved money for your dream home.
years of enjoying the fruits of your labor, your life came to a halt, you and
your wife dealt with, death, unemployment, fraud, sickness, and bankruptcy.
Chapter 1: Death
It all started when your mom died, and followed by your wife’s mother’s passing after only a few months. The pain was unbearable, but you have each other. Also practicing “Leaving and Cleaving” made it easier for you to cope with your losses. Aside from the emotional stress that these deaths caused you and your wife, they also left a big hole in your bank account. The money that you saved for your dream home is no longer yours to keep.
your positive spirit and said “we can always finance our house” and so you did.
You started paying the equity every month with ease. Finally, you’re just a few
months away from owning your dream home only to find out that your house
developer is a fraud.
Chapter 2: Fraud
After months of paying for your home equity, you realized that your developer was lying to you about having acquired a license to sell and a certificate of registration. You asked for a refund but you got nowhere. You even seek help from your government, but your current laws were designed to protect development fraudsters. So there goes your hard-earned money.
renting for a few more years doesn’t sound bad”. There you go again facing
another loss with a positive mindset.
Hang on to
that smile Miguel, because what comes next will question your faith.
Chapter 3: Unemployment, Sickness, and Bankruptcy
You read it
right, that’s a 3 hit combo.
Just 1 month after the ordeal with your home developer, your company suddenly realized that they have too many trainers and decided to let half of your department go. Yes, you’re part of it. After serving the company and producing the best and the brightest in the field, all you are to them is just a number. But you’re a fighter. Unemployment is just a walk in the park. But wait, there’s more.
I heard the news that one of the last trainees whom you had a feedback session with just died of Tuberculosis as a complication of his HIV. Your wife has been telling you to get yourself checked because you’ve been coughing nonstop for the past weeks. Sometimes you are really stubborn and just don’t listen until one day, you noticed that your athletic build has succumbed to the sickness. Your right lung already collapsed and could barely walk. You are officially sick, tough guy! You started facing this situation with a positive outlook again. You still tried to make money by selling random stuff to make yourself useful. TB is highly curable. Just take your meds for 6 months and you’re done. But you were wrong. After your lung operation, your doctor told you that TB has reached your liver.
April 2016. What used to be a happy spirit who takes good care of his health and small family was reduced to skin and bones. Couldn’t stand on his own. Couldn’t lie on his bed either. Cries every night while his wife is at work, begging God to take him so he wouldn’t be a burden anymore. This situation has forbidden you to fulfil your purpose and just wanted the pain to go away.
But you know that your old self still lives somewhere in that very frail body. You know that you wouldn’t allow a survivable challenge to beat you without giving it a fight. Most of all you love your wife so much and you want to continue annoying her every day for the rest of your lives. LOL! You’ll also leave her with a lot to think about because you now have a bigger hole in your bank account. So you decided to get better and live for her.
It took you
a year to be better despite the bankruptcy. You even reached a point where you
only have 200php in your wallet.
This is the
part where you realized that you can lose everything, but being with the love
of your life makes it ok.
Chapter 4: Recovery
(For the Reader) You might be wondering about one thing. Of course, I sued my company. Hahaha!
did Miguel, you monster killing machine! While suffering from a deadly ordeal,
you spent your time waiting for your counterattack to bear fruit.
Life gave you lemons and you made lemonade out of it. You regained your good health and got back up.
The good news doesn’t end there, you and your wife even got a big bonus. After being together for 9 years, you guys were blessed with Chuck, your pride, and joy.
You enjoyed your recovery very well, so well that you forgot to maintain your weight. Yes, you have gained so much weight after recovering from TB. Since you can’t lift weights anymore due to your previous back surgery, you have to look for an exercise regimen that will not strain you.
challenge is about to hit not only you but the entire planet. I’ll tell you
what you did and still doing to overcome ‘The Pandemic’.
Chapter 5: Pandemic
2020. The world shuts down due to this new crisis. People died, businesses
closed including yours. The businesses that you started with your wife did not
escape the wrath of COVID 19. You had to think quickly as your depleting
savings won’t last very long with a baby and other bills. Thanks to your wife’s work income, you guys
are still able to barely survive.
Thanks to your never-ending desire to overcome every challenge, you turned this roadblock into a business opportunity while worrying about maintaining your health.
started a business that helps other entrepreneurs go through this pandemic
without closing shop, like what happened to you. Another silver lining is you
found a way to stay fit and healthy. Cycling blew up because people ran out of
activities that won’t give them the virus.
We’re still in it. I know that you’re still facing this new tsunami head-on with a smirk on your face.
Keep on surviving champ! You got this!
This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor”. The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2 is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, with AirAsia and Xiaomi as major sponsors, and with Teleperformance as sponsor.
Banff is one of Canada’s most incredible national parks, offering nonstop natural beauty, notable locals, and endless entertainment and activities to attempt. Regardless of whether you’re more of a resort or summer sport kind of person, you’ll find something that suits you perfectly. These are the top places to visit when you’re at the very southern border of Alberta and why this park is paradise on Earth.
Lake Louise could be a resort town of its own if it weren’t part of Banff. In the summer you have the chance to boat and swim in the lake’s beautiful blue waters. Trails are open surrounding the lake itself, and you can even take a ride to the top of the mountain to absorb the best views possible. This area is incredibly gorgeous.
When Lake Louise is covered in a good coat of snow and ice in winter, skating opens up on the lake’s surface, and skiing opens up on the mountainsides. You could spend a year in this area of the Banff National Park and never have two days be precisely the same.
Sunshine Village Ski Resort
This ski resort is the most recognizable part of Banff National Park. From the endless snowy peaks and slopes to the cozy hot springs and spas, you’ll get to play and relax as much as you want. This is a must-stay location because of the great mix of affordability and experiences, with the only way to get closer to being a local being to look at Banff homes for sale. This ski resort has year-round attractions but shines the most in the winter.
If you don’t love hiking but you want to take in some incredible views, a drive down the Icefields Parkway is the best way to ensure you get a great mixture of indoors and outdoors life. There’s nothing quite like driving through this mountain range and getting to take in endless views of mountains, snow, sky, rivers, and lakes.
The only mistake some people make is getting out of their vehicles, which you shouldn’t do along this parkway unless you’re with a guide. This park is packed to the brim with gorgeous wildlife, and it’s for the best if you don’t get too physically close to interacting with it.
A canyon may not be what you expect to see in Banff, but the Johnston Canyon is a gorgeous trail that takes travelers down towards a river, deep into the ground itself. Walking this trail in the summer gets you out of direct sunlight and allows you to feel the excitement of walking into the canyon itself. Although it’s not as deep or wide as America’s Grand Canyon, there’s something so beautiful about the Johnston Canyon that it doesn’t feel like it falls short. Visiting and walking this trail is calming, and you’ll leave feeling refreshed.
Banff is a hotspot for tourists and locals alike. Once you visit and see everything it has to offer, you won’t want to leave ever again!
home during this time of the Pandemic can sometimes drain my energy. I have
tried different things to divert my attention to like baking and sewing. But as
a 90’s kid, playing my all-time favorite family computer games like Pac-Man,
Tetris, etc. gives me a different feeling.
I love playing these games as a kid because they’re not addictive and they’re super fun too! Whenever I miss playing these old titles, I download an emulator so I can play them.
It will be more awesome if you still have your old console. I also came across the website Plays.org where I can play other games, but with similar gameplay from my browser. I don’t mind the difference in the characters since I don’t plan to spend too much time playing. It’s a good 15 to 20-minute distraction for busy people like myself.
Here are my Top 5 favorite titles and their equivalent in the browser-based gaming site
Revisit the frustration of your 3rd grader self, trying to figure out how to beat this game.
Escape from the stress of being stuck at home trying to make ends meet, while balancing work and your sanity by doing things that bring you joy even for a little while. For me, it’s the old feeling of being a child again by playing my Retro Games whether through an emulator, via Plays.org, or the super rare old consoles.