Friday, March 20

Can't seem to fit

You may or may not be aware but I have been trying to work online for the past few months. I actually did have a successful stint over the holiday period which was perfect timing because I was still at that stage where my body was craving for work (I think this happens post-resignation).

I was always on my blog (like what I am now) and at the same time, busied myself looking for work after posting.

Because I was slouched to our bed most of the time while I finished my article writing assignment, R decided it has got to stop and said, we need to buy a table.

We searched for desk tables online and offline for a perfect match to what I need at the same time, with what little space we have.

Since I am a proud member of SnR store (seperate blog - I promise!), we were able to also scout the tables that they have.

It was love at first sight.

My table from S&R (photo grabbed from

The set up was working at first with the table in our bedroom. Unfortunately, I still need a chair which we are still sourcing (I am looking for a chair that is foldable and with holes on the ass side so that my butt won't get sweaty!). The other thing also is I want to have a permanent location for my working table.

I want to have a permanent space for it somewhere around the living room.

This is something that I need to discuss with R.

What is happening right now? I squat at our living room and dining area alternately.  Yeah... not an ideal set up which is why, my attention gets diverted.

When in the living room, I get distracted by the TV and when I'm in our dining area, I get distracted with the food or I feel like I'm hungry! hahahaha!

Writing about it now makes me realise that we need to discuss about this a.s.a.p!

Wednesday, March 18

Our Taco Bell experience

I have mentioned in my previous blog post that my mom and I's Taco Bell experience is worth having a seperate blog post so here it goes.

One fine day, my mom asked me to accompany her to check out prices for her ticket to Canada. I have already searched online for her but she is still convinced that a travel agency can work its magic and make the price of her plane ticket cheaper. Since I have got nothing to do (background: my mom just retired from her work as an Account Executive for a food distribution company and as for me, well, I am still waiting for the next big thing), I said yes to her plea and off we went to Gateway Mall.

After checking her flights and making a temporary booking, my mom wanted to have merienda (or what some would call afternoon snack or afternoon tea for some). I said okay but since I did not have that much cash with me, I told her that we need to pick where to eat because we will either pay by credit card or the cash that I have which is less than Php 500 (I know right?!).

My mom and I searched (well, we really wanted Army Navy but Booky Manila has failed to give us information that there is an Army Navy branch within the area) where we can eat however our eyes got glued to this Taco Bell promo (2 wraps for I think Php 80). We both looked at one another and said, that seems to be a good deal! We immediately lined up to the counter and was giddy with our discovery.

We were so excited to have a bite and when my name was called... we got this...

This is one of the two wraps that we got 
I have to admit, I was dismayed but my mom and I could not contain ourselves that we just have to laugh out this moment!

In the end, my mom made a side comment to me saying, Yan ang nagagawa ng sobrang tipid (that's what you get for being stingy!).

Lesson learned indeed!

Thursday, March 5

Familiarising myself

to what Manila has to offer.

You see being away from this country or city for so long. You get to lose the essence of what you know then. The familiar places were either still standing or replaced with something new... sometimes better.

You might say but you have been coming back year after year.

That is true.

However, it feels like I have lost my understanding of the place. Add to the fact that I am not in the place where I used to live. I now reside a jeepney and a tricycle away from what I know as "home". We now live in R's area.

I don't mind because in Dubai, we were so used to moving about that you do not even have the chance to really get to know the place you are in. At times, the people you have lived with for a few months will say goodbye and you will be introduced to new neighbors so I guess moving here was not really a big deal.

The city that I sometimes miss (photo taken by R)

Unfortunately, being away made me feel a bit lost in this city. The only landmarks that I know are of shopping malls because when we were still OFWs, we frequent the malls to meet up with friends we have left behind or just to cool down because of the unbearable heat.

Aside from that fact, I am also taken aback by the prices of food and its portion. I need to understand that the word "to share" in the menu depends on who will eat it. The amount of money that you need to spend in order for us to finally say that we are stuffed (unless of course, we were just laughing out a lot that air fills our tummies temporarily).

Taco Bell experience with my mom - totally deserved a seperate blogpost!! 
The number of people that I see on the streets - of all ages and races. A mix of the working class and the people who try to find a way to steal from the working class (sorry but it is true).

There is still a lot of getting used to...and to re-acquaint ourselves with what the city looks like now.

At times, it's hard. You tend to compare and yearn for the days when we were still in that oil-rich land. I shrug it off because this is the present and we should start living in it.

What's your Money-saving Skills?

When I was still single, I would always portion my salary as soon as I get a ping from my bank. I appropriate for the bills (my mom asked me to shoulder the cable and water expenses back then), save some in my piggy bank (yes, it was literally a stainless steel piggy bank that I got from one of my uncles I think) and keep some in my wallet for my daily commute and unexpected food trips with my officemates.

the piggy bank (cannot find a stainless one) 
With this, I was able to save x amount of money which I eventually decided to deposit in one of the banks near us. It was like I got addicted to saving that I make sure I deposit every month and my heart breaks whenever I have to withdraw (yes, I am weird like that).

By the time I had to leave for Dubai, I took my savings with me and gave some to my mom to pay off the remaining bills that may have incurred when I leave.

My stay in Dubai kind of gave me a different outlook about money. Credit cards were being processed as if you can get them from a vending machine. I have to say, my first few years really took a toll on me. It was like I always had this urge to use my credit card.

I think it was when the recession in Dubai came that woke me and everybody else from the dream that we do not have to worry about money whilst we were in that country. People hit by recession had to  sell everything, families had to decide whether the entire family can stay for another month or should the father or mother choose which of them should be left behind.

Overall, it was not a happy time. It made me realise that I should stop spending and start saving again. I decided to open a savings account that is not easily accessible for me to withdraw but within my reach if I needed to deposit.

After that, friends have approached me and discussed possibilities of investing our money in mutual funds, insurance and more.

I have to say, this was our saving grace.

It did took a while for me to get the hang of saving again but it felt good. Being able to see that you have saved enough for the rainy days. I will be a hypocrite if I say we don't spend because I still am a sucker for gadgets (having changed phones for the nth time) but I am conscious when I do so. I make sure that what we buy serves its purpose to us (if it's a gadget or a service we pay).

Right now, this is what's keeping us afloat while we discover the 'next best thing' for us. However I do hope that we get to find it before our resources get depleted! :p

What about you? What's your money-saving skills?

Wednesday, March 4

What's in the BLOG?

A month back, I was invited to a press launch (which I will blog about in the coming days) and met a new friend (Hi Ara!). As usual, initial talks were about personal information which we both gladly divulged. With all that behind us, Ara asked me what my blog is about. She gave different styles like lifestyle, fashion, food and more. I immediately said lifestyle because I think that is what I want my blog to focus on.

Though it's actually more of my personal thoughts/ opinions about everything that is happening to me, to us (R &I) in general.

Over the past years, what I have noticed is that the personal blog has turned into a mini-info pamphlet. The writer or writers will be blogging about various events or products either as a review or as a product launch. Yes, people still associate it with their personal stories like what do they perceive of the product or the event that took place however it seems like it's a news feature.

I guess blogging has really evolved now because online readers also get their product knowledge or information from the blog sites that they read. Example, I now know more about different hacks and ways to take over my kitchen through Fat Kid Inside's blog. For fashion and home inspiration, I check on Daphne's blog site. I read Frugal Honey or Pinas for Good's posts to give me an idea on how I can invest our money or the lessons they have learned by doing so.

If I want to read about a personal view on gadgets, food and beauty reviews, I go to Animetric's World and sift through the restaurants that she has given her seal of approval. For high style fashion and endless travel to Hongkong and Japan, I lounge at CVS' blog site for days until my travel desires waned a bit.

Oh! My recent find is Ruthilicious for her witty posts about the product she reviews or the events that she has attended. 

As for my blog, if I were to put a category to it, it's still what you call a personal blog. Yes, I do rave or rant about restaurants or services but I still incorporate a lot of my day to day activities in the blog - like how I documented our plan to go home for good up until to date - while we search for that business venture.

I will be a hypocrite if I don't admit that I do want this blog to be noticed.... soon I hope! Why? Because I also want to start earning through my blog and be an online sensation (not that one-hit wonder kind huh!).

I guess I want to also have a voice in this type of medium. I know in time, someone will notice but for now, I shall continue with what I am doing :)

Oh! Of course when my blog starts earning, that means I will have new online friends to talk to (cool!).

Monday, March 2

After 5 months

I have finally burst my Dubai bubble and can now really say goodbye to the newsletters and deals that have been occupying my mailbox for the past months.

It begins to irritate / annoy / feel weird seeing these emails that are not related to my current location. I mean, yes there is still that desire to go back but only to meet friends, maybe try out the restos that we have missed out and be in awe of how we had Dubai in our mind.

However these newsletters and deals will just have to go because there is no sense for me to keep them. From my previous blog post, I have mentioned unsubscribing only to a few but now, I am making a brave move of unsubscribing to them all! Hooray!

I have been relieved of that bondage (what?!). I think my Yahoo Mail will be on a diet for a few months while I search for other email alerts that I now need to fill in the gap and all of that will be all about the Philippines!! :) or maybe other places too, I am not that sure.

Sunday, March 1

My Take of the 52 Week Challenge

It's close to two months now that I have started the 52 week challenge. I read it first in Frugal Honey's blog post. Intrigued of what it is, I also looked deeper and found her first blogpost about the challenge.

I said to myself, I think we can do this. Since it's 52 weeks, the end of the challenge will be seen next year only. I don't mind because from what I gather this is how investments should be and besides, it has this sense of excitement thinking what to purchase with the saving.

Oh crap! Actually, that should not be the goal though if you find it hard to save up for couple trips then this can be used.

Since this is someting new to me, I have decided to start small (something that I know can be believable). By next year, we would be able to think of what to do with the money. It's not that big actually but I think it will be enough to cover for airfare and a few days of accommodation in one of the tourist place in the Philippines.

Jill mentioned about sometimes forgetting to deposit on her jar so what I did - I created an alert in my phone to remind me that I need to put in a certain amount onto the challenge. So far so good, the alert has not failed me yet.

In case I would be completing this for 52 weeks, I intend to increase the amount and see (fingers crossed).

However, if I do get the opportunity to spend the pot money, these are the things that I might want to do with it.

Beach getaway with R
From the time we have arrived here in Manila, R barely had time to go out on our own. To be honest, I don't mind. I know being out of the country with only limited time to get to spend with your loved ones is something we have to deal with everytime we go for our annual vacation.

Now with no timetable to follow, we get to chill and have a real conversation with our families. I mean, do you notice when you are with an OFW, you choose what you say? You always weigh what information you share with them, why? Because you don't want them to worry.

Taken from our 2012 Trip to Boracay

I was thinking if we should go back to Boracay or go to another beach place like Montemar in Bataan. I want to be in the beach where it's not that busy. 

Stuff for the car 
One of our first purchases when we got home was to get ourselves a car. When we were in Dubai, we would always search for what is the suitable car for us. It's an AUV which is suitable for our future business needs. We thought since the car is kind of a huge investment we can start it off now so that it does not get us off-balance when we do set up a business. Besides, it is convenient riding a car even if there's traffic like almost anywhere!

Additional budget for the renovation 
And for the nth time, we have again (and I stressed that word again) had the house renovated because of the termites that have been creeping out of the house. I guess living in an old house, it happens. This entry altogether deserves another blog post (believe me)

These are my Top 3 things to do with the 52 week challenge.

How about you? What are you saving for? :)