Friday, July 25, 2008


I said I won't use plastic... but I did, I did, I did! Hmmmph.

I used it for groceries and maternity clothes!

It's so hard to stop spending when you need new things. I rarely buy new clothes, but I have to buy lots now because I'm getting bigger by the day. All my pants don't fit! All my shirts don't fit! I even need new underwear!

I figured if I can't completely stop shopping, the best thing to do is to shop responsibly. Two days ago I went to Megamall to pick up my contact lenses. And lo and behold, temptation of all temptations... it was mid-year sale! Gosh! All those shoes on sale! (BTW, all my shoes don't fit either!) I went through the shoes section and caressed ever so longingly a lovely short-heeled strappy and studded sandals. But I had to say goodbye. It was so sad and painful.

What I needed urgently was new pants. So to the maternity section I marched without looking back. I found one comfy pair of pants that the sales lady said I could use until I pop my baby out. So there, I bought pants - they weren't on sale though.

(image c/o

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Step 1: Don't use the credit cards

I have to start again. I have been in a state of panic for the past month and its not doing me any good. I just have to stop, breathe, and calm down. I never thought that I will ever be in my wits ends because of money. But I am... I mean was... I have to calm down now.

At the moment, we are financially ok. I still have some credit card debt but I can fully pay that within two months. Which means I can't leave my job yet. I still need the paycheck to pay off the debt and the extra money to save for the Siomai shop.

I have two credit cards, and I must say I have been a very responsible user. I fully pay my debt at the end of every month. I usually use my cards for groceries and for buying clothes. But, for now - NO PLASTIC! This will save me from incurring additional debt that I may not be able to pay on time after quitting my job. And, most importantly, this will restrict my shopping!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I'm Pregnant!

First baby for me and my hubby... just reached the 5 month mark. Haven't blogged lately because of the commotion over me having a baby and of course work. But I need to vent now.

I so want to quit my job really really soon, but I'm just scared. I'm not sure if we could survive with my husband's salary alone... actually I'm sure we won't - with the new baby. But I don't want to work and leave my baby, I want to take care of my baby.

I'm exploring to get into some home-based business.... but I'm just plain scared! There's so many things that can go wrong. Waaah! Here are my options:
  1. Open a siomai shop near our home, near a campus
  2. Open an online bridal store
I need to jump into something really soon or I won't be ready when my baby comes. Oh dear, I might as well go into both of these.

Friday, April 11, 2008

How much does love cost?

I was tuned out from the world being quite busy for the past few weeks. It was only yesterday that I learned about the Brian Gorell - DJ Montano thing. I honestly almost fell off my chair after reading Brian's blog!

Actually, I wasn't that surprised that the members of Gucci Gang are on drugs. Its pretty obvious that if you're partying your pretty behinds every night, you're either drinking your headlights off or your just addicted to the white stuff.

What I just can't get a grasp on is... how can Brian actually give $70,000 to a guy he barely knows? He borrowed from his mom, he sold his lovely farm, and he's HIV positive! Boy does he need money...

I remember after graduating college I was fortunate enough to land a great job at UP. I was employed as a science research specialist which paid very well. I was single then, no boyfriend. So I basically spent my money on basic stuff - food, some clothes, and some groceries for my family. No house rent, no utility bills, barely any unexpected expenses. It was a simple and abundant life. I even had pretty thick savings in my bank account.

And then I fell in love. We went out for dinner, watch movies, eat out, eat out some more... It was fun and we were both happy. And then he lost his job... I remember setting aside some of my earnings for his everyday expenses. Money became difficult during that time. My salary was good for me, but not for both of us. But we made it through... and unlike DJ, he paid me back as soon as he got another job. Gosh, I love him.

I think my point is, when you're in love, you just give everything. It feels so right to lose all else but not that one person that's so hard to find.

And yes, persons in love are the most vulnerable to scheming and deceitful people with no hearts and souls. But I pity people like DJ, wrapped in themselves, enslaved by drugs, blinded by pretentious fame... how will they ever find true love?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Earth Hour 2008

Created to take a stand against the greatest threat our planet has ever faced, Earth Hour uses the simple action of turning off the lights for one hour to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming.

This simple act has captured the hearts and minds of people all over the world. As a result, at 8pm March 29, 2008 millions of people in some of the world’s major capital cities, including Copenhagen, Toronto, Chicago, Melbourne, Brisbane and Tel Aviv will unite and switch off for Earth Hour.

Please join and sign up with me at:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sustainable Consumption

Last week, I prepared a proposal for grant funding under the European Union's SWITCH Asia programme. Since Asia has evolved into a significant economic block, the programme seeks to increase Asian's awareness on cleaner and greener production and consumption practices. I specifically prepared a proposal under the sustainable consumption theme... which got me thinking, is my spending messing up the earth?

Sustainable consumption officially means "the use of goods and services that respond to basic needs and bring better quality of life, while minimizing the use of natural resources, toxic materials and emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle, so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations." Reading the definition makes me sad. Isn't it common sense that we should consume products this way? Are we too greedy and materialistic that a "term" must be coined to define how we need to consume products? I have to admit I'm guilty. I have a pile of bags stacked in one corner of my room, some of them used just once or twice. Isn't there a rule somewhere that says thou shalt change bags every week?

Come to think of it, green consumption actually translates to savings. Consume less, more money in your pocket. It's all about sticking to the bare necessities and making informed decisions when buying. To lessen my (our) wasteful ways, I have my top 10 green 'consumption' tips (that I'm proud to say I actually follow):
  1. Buy in bulk - Avoid sachets! Imagine those shiny packaging ending up in landfills. They will be mummified and immortalized forever! Buy commonly used products, especially those that don't stale, in large packs. Some which you can store up are shampoos, detergents, sugar, coffee, etc. (Store ground coffee in your freezer - locks in the aroma and freshness, yum! yum!). Besides, the unit cost of products in large packs is cheaper compared to those in sachets. (Do the math.) Also, the packaging for bulk products (bottles, sturdy plastic containers, cartons) are usually recyclable.
  2. Commute, walk - Despite our inefficient public transport system, I think there's no better way to go from one place to another than via trains LRT 1, LRT 2, MRT. Yes its stuffy and icky but its a lot quicker. You don't need to worry about parking or fuel. You hop on and off - that's it. It's cheaper and you avoid beastly carbon emissions. If you really want the convenience (?) of a private car, try carpooling. Try walking too. Skip the jeep, skip the tricycle or the pedicab and walk! I love to walk - it can shed serious pounds off!
  3. Stick to your grocery shopping list - It's every mother's advice - make a shopping list and try to stick to it. Include only necessities in your list. When you shop, allow yourself to pick a maximum of only 3 extra items not included in your list. At least your limiting your extra shopping if you can't stick to your list. Why its green - you minimize the waste you generate by not buying frivolous items.
  4. Reduce TV time - I have limited my TV hours to Top Design and Project Runway. Saves energy (reduce electric bill), and gives me time for more meaningful activities.
  5. Boycott fastfood chains - Fast food is unhealthy. The crispy, starchy and oily french fries you love is packed with carcinogens. Packaging is non-environmental. Plus, you don't get value for your money. Your neighborhood carinderia sells better food at a better price!
  6. Learn how to sew - Instead of throwing away torn and worn garments, mend them and use them again and again. If you don't want to use old clothes anymore, just give them to charity. Some even accept old shoes.
  7. Use re-usable bags when shopping, say NO to tiny plastic bags - I'm amazed at how small plastic bags can get. When you buy a few tablets from Mercury drug, they have a tiny plastic bag for it. Why can't they make small packets from used paper like the small drugstores are doing?
  8. Segregate - Its not rocket science! We have 2 bins at home: one for residuals and the other for recyclables. Residuals are the non-recyclabes such as plastic bags, food scraps, soiled paper, etc - this we hand over to the garbage collector. We dump into a single container all recyclables like tin cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles - this we give (sometimes sell) to our neighborhood mamang kariton. We store cartons in a separate box to keep them dry. Pool the extra income you get for some cheap thrill - like a pack of yummy chocolates!
  9. Brew your own coffee - The average cost of a cup of coffee from a fancy cafe is P80. One 350g pack of ground coffee is P140 - which makes around 50 cups. All you need is a little coffee maker or a nice coffee press and you have the same comforting cup of coffee. Use the filtered coffee grounds as fertilizer.
  10. Open a gmail account - Minimize printing e-mails or other files. Open a gmail account (with infinite storage capacity), and e-mail important files to yourself. No need to buy cds or keep hard copies of docs.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What is Neri afraid to say and why?

This is where our taxes go... Read on and then pray for this country.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Vicente R. Romano III, 0920.9615610
Leah Navarro, 0917.898.1957

Dear Friends,

Here's a short write-up that Jun Lozada wrote sometime in October. He wanted me to disseminate it without attribution. I believe he was motivated both by his genuine concern for a beleaguered friend who was being maligned no end, and his desire, even then, for the truth to somehow surface. He left it up to me as to how and when to disseminate it.

I did not find any compelling reason to get it out then. But now that Jun has told it all, and Neri is being invited back to testify, I believe the public deserves to know what was (and maybe still is) in the mind of Neri – at least from the point of view of a friend. I'm sure Jun will not mind.

Let's get this out in the open.
God bless,

What is Neri afraid to say and Why?

Many speculations have been made as to what Neri knows about the ZTE-NBN most particularly the direct involvement of Pres. Gloria Arroyo in this abominable affair. After his damaging "Sec. May 200 ka dito" demolition of Abalos, the discredited former Comelec Chairman, many were left disappointed when Neri suddenly clamped up when the Senators started asking him about the nature of his conversation with Arroyo, no amount of coaxing, cajoling and threats was enough to break his Code of Omerta. The question on many people's mind was, What was Neri trying to protect when he repeatedly invoked "Executive Priviledge" during that gruelling 12 hour Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on live television?

We have known the Truth all along as one of the few people that Neri confided his predicament during those fateful days of April 2006, and how he wanted to resign his post of NEDA Director General and Secretary for Socio-Economic Planning over this incident where he lost all his moral respect for Pres. Gloria Arroyo.

We are doing this document to give the public an understanding of this predicament.
What is Neri afraid to tell the public? He is afraid to tell the public that after he reported the Abalos P200 million peso bribe offer, Arroyo casually told him to ignore it and work for its recommendation for approval anyway. That when he protested that it is too controversial and may attract the wrong kind of attention from media, Arroyo retorted back "Pakulo lang ni Joey yan and his father". When he tried to reason that it may not be accommodated in the Chinese ODA package because it has been filled up with a list of projects already, Arroyo again ordered him to remove the low cost housing project and some water project to accommodate the ZTE-NBN deal in the ODA loan. That when he attempted to reason that it may not be approved in time for the Boao Forum which was only two days to go from that fateful April day, Arroyo with raised voice told him to include the ZTE-NBN project in the agenda of the following day's meeting of a combined NEDA Board and Cabinet Committee, who as expected promptly approved the project paving the way for the contract signing between ZTE and DOTC in China the next day. Neri is afraid to tell the public that this conversation took place between him and Arroyo because it might spark another impeachment complaint against Arroyo.

Why is Neri afraid to tell the public about this conversation with Arroyo? He is afraid that another impeachment will simply result to more expenses of public funds similar to the Hyatt 10 impeachment crisis, because as DBM Secretary who replaced Boncodin, he was entrusted with the large scale DBM payola operation of Arroyo to Congressmen, Senators and Governors not quite similar to the crude Panlilio incident that the public is witnessing now. He is afraid with a more partisan Andaya at the helm of DBM, more public funds will be spent to buy the silence and favour of these greedy legislators and local executives.

He is afraid that with Arroyo's firm control of public funds she can buy all the necessary support from most sectors of society to keep her in power.

He is afraid that even if the opposition knows about this conversation with Arroyo, he is afraid that the opposition will not pursue a serious impeachment proceedings against Arroyo, because it is not to their political interest that Noli de Castro becomes President in case Arroyo is impeached and becomes a more formidable political opponent in 2010. This insincere and unpatriotic goal of the opposition is already being manifested by the malicious speed that the Erap pardon is being cooked by Ronnie Puno together with the Erap camp to hastily put a united front of "Birds of the same corrupt feather" coalition against the emerging JDV led political opposition.

He is afraid that even if the Church knows the truth about Arroyo's direct involvement in the ZTE-NBN deal, the Church will still not call for her resignation due to the closeness of Arroyo's trusted lady liason to the Cardinal of Manila who was very effective during the "Hello Garci" crisis. That Arroyo's Religious Affairs Operators have the Bishops firmly in their "donation" graces, as again manifested by the quick rebuttal of the Mindanao Bishops' of the call of their fellow bishops in Luzon who where calling for the resignation of Arroyo just after Arroyo gave them a visit in Mindanao.

He is afraid that even if the military knows the truth about Arroyo's direct involvement in the fraudulent ZTE-NBN deal, the AFP brass is much to indebted to Arroyo for their position and the perks that goes with their position, that they have demonstrated this twisted loyalty with their willingness to detain, remove from the service and even shoot their own men for voicing out their legitimate concerns regarding the corruption and moral authority of their Commander in Chief. It is a sad spectacle to see the respected warriors of the Marines & Special Forces rot in jail with their ideals, while their men are dying even without receiving the measly P150 per day combat pay that was promised to them by Arroyo due to lack of funds & generals gets a gift bag similar to those given to the governors and congressmen just for having dinner with Arroyo the day after that infamous breakfast & lunch meeting where bribe money flowed scandalously free.

He is afraid that even if the Media knows the truth about Arroyo's direct involvement in the ZTE-NBN scam, Media will simply wither in the torrents of cash and favors similar to how the Hyatt 10, Hello Garci crisis were killed in the media headlines and Radio& TV coverages. Although he believes in the integrity of a handful of Journalist, he believes that a handful of these mavericks cannot withstand the hordes of paid lackeys of Malacanang. Especially that the Arroyo crisis team is now being handled by the best mercenary money can buy, from Ramos Sulo Operation, Erap's DILG and now Arroyo's troubleshooter, Ronnie Puno. Ably supported by the Media and PR money from PAGCOR being handled by Cerge Remonte to buy positive airtime, headlines and editorials.

He is afraid that even if the Business Sector knows about the truth of Arroyo's direct involvement to defraud the coffers of the taxes they are paying, the businessmen will be reluctant to rock the boat of the current economic uptrend, especially with the very close personal and business relationship of the so called leaders of the big business like Ricky Razon of ICTSI, Donald Dee of PCCI and Francis Chua of the Filipino-Chinese Federation to Arroyo herself. He is afraid that the hard earned remittances of Filipino OFWs that is keeping the economy booming and that can keep the economy afloat even under any administration is being wasted under this unholy alliance of Arroyo and her favoured businessmen.

He is afraid that even if the Civil Society knows the truth about Arroyo's direct involvement in the ZTE-NBN deal, that the Civil Society is now tired of mass actions after witnessing two failed EDSA revolutions, that Civil Society is now afflicted with a "Rally Fatigue" and cannot muster enough public outrage to denounce Arroyo's "corruption with impunity". He is afraid that the middle class is now indifferent to the corruption that goes around them, not realising that the middle class are the ones mainly carrying the burden of the loan payments for these corrupt deals. He is afraid that the middle class are more interested to become an OFW & to leave this country leaving their family and children behind, and may not care anymore about the crimes being committed against their country by its own President.

He is afraid that even if the Masa, the students, the workers knows the truth about Arroyo's direct involvement in the ZTE-NBN deal to steal precious resources from public funds, that they are now too poor and impoverished to be able to afford the time to join mass actions against the abuses of the Arroyo administration, that these former vanguards of mass actions in the country are now completely dependent on financial resources of professional organizers and have turned themselves into a "Rally for hire" groups rather than a true and genuine political gathering shouting for reforms.

He is afraid that the public may not know the extent of corruption in this country and may wrongly believe that they can cure corruption by simply replacing Arroyo with another person. He is afraid that the public may overlook the systemic and institutionalized nature of the source of corruption in this country, he is afraid that the people will again opt for a regime change without concern or a plan to correct the root causes of corruption in the country. He is afraid that people may not realize that it is not bringing Arroyo down that is difficult, it is establishing a new order that is the difficult task.

This is the predicament of Neri which I want people to realize especially to those who are asking Neri to tell the truth.

We all have to link and expand our ranks till the entire country is bound together with the strength and the ardor of our resolve. I do not exaggerate when I say this could be our last chance to save democracy in the Philippines . The darkness thickens and we have to move. - Joaquin "Chino" Roces, 1985

Bobby Kennedy - "Laws can embody standards; governments can enforce laws--but the final task is not a task for government. It is a task for each and every one of us. Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted--when we tolerate what we know to be wrong--when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy, or too frightened-- when we fail to speak up and speak out--we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice."

Friday, February 1, 2008

The 2010 Elections... eto na naman tayo!

The wonderful Ms. Janette Toral just started the ball rolling... only two years until the next elections... here we go again. I'm sure we normal Pinoys are hoping for the best for our country, we want good programs implemented, we want corrupt people hanged (aka all politicians save a few), and we want to live in a prettier Philippines. And the insights left through her blog just proves that Pinoys truly want the best for our country. But politicians especially those running for the presidency are not normal people... they're special. Hmmm... right now they're not thinking of good programs that they could potentially implement for the betterment of our people. Right now they're scheming how to win votes and of course how to cheat. I'm sure one of them will get married to a high profile tv personality before election comes. (I don't need to name him, we all see him in the market.)

Anyway, my hopes are still up. If ever I be elected as president of this blessed country I'd focus on three things. First, I'd pull out the weeds. Those who are sitting in departments that they know nothing about will be forced to retire and have nothing to do with public service. Second, implement environmental programs that would also improve livelihood in rural areas. Rehabilitate mangrove forests to improve marine life and sustain fishing communities, use IRRI's hybrid rice and ensure irrigation in farmlands, empower farmers to love the land they till through community programs (eco-farms, organic farming - w/c need not be expensive) and good credit programs, prioritize development of renewable energy technologies (we have lots of resources!), among many others. And third, improve education. Schools will be built and the shifting scheme will be abolished - this is supposed to be a short-term solution only. It's stupid that young kids are asked to go to school until 9pm. And better salaries for teachers and less for PMA students who are just building their egos in Baguio. I want to focus on the people, make them love our country and our heritage - which i think is key for our country's environmental rehabilitation, economic growth and peace.

Money, I don't see any problems with money if only they don't go into the the wrong pockets. Gov. Panlilio was able to make money for Pampanga - all other mayors and governors could do the same - make money for your constituents not for your families. The problem with local officials is that they're making public service their family business. They should be hanged for that!

Now, who to vote for? Who are running: Roxas, Villar, Legarda, Jinggoy, BF, Binay, etc? Its probably too early to tell. Some of them may still bang themselves in the head and realize that they're not qualified. You know what, I think this year I'll evaluate the candidates based on their mothers' character. If he does something stupid, at least his nanay could smack him right in the head. Wuhpaw!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Being Mr. Scrooge

Dr. Noet Ravalo, Inquirer business-advise-giver, wrote that he "dissaved" over the holidays. He went on an unplanned vacation with his family, and they had fun. Interesting new word...
dissaved (dis-seyvd) - verb, antonym of save, not to set aside, not to reserve or not to lay by: to dissave money

In other words - he spent lots of money!!!

Here's an excerpt of his article:

"Over the holidays, my family and I dissaved. We took an unplanned family vacation to see relatives and friends we have not seen in over 10 years. My family thoroughly enjoyed it.

We always stress the virtue of saving because what we save is the treasure that we bring to the future. But what we often forget is that saving, in practice, does not mean that we should stop spending.

The point of saving is not only to accumulate but also to save for something. We cannot minimize for the sake of minimizing. Ebenizer Scrooge was a miser until the three ghosts put cause-and-effect in perspective. He had that privilege; some of us may come to that conclusion too late."

I personally think that he's feeling guilty and he's justifying his spending with this article. Hahahaha! I fully appreciate what he's trying to say and to some degree he's right. In a gist I think what he wants to say is that we shouldn't be frugal and deny ourselves of the utter pleasure of spending. I also agree that you need to have a goal for saving (retirement, vacation, children's education, emergency fund,etc). But, sometimes we need to minimize for the sake of minimizing - for the simple reason of building the habit of saving. (Plus its environmental to consume less! Be green!) I'm sure most if not all fall victim to making it a resolution to save at the start of the year and end the year without a piso - all blown out in holiday shopping! It's a vicious cycle. Tsk tsk. So save a few pesos everyday and make it a habit.

I have yet to find out if BPI does automatic transfer of funds (say monthly). What I'm doing now is to transfer some money from my BPI savings account to my BPI Trade account as soon as I deposit my salary check. I can't withdraw from my BPI Trade account so my savings are safely tucked in. A day before I receive my next salary, I empty any remaining money in my BPI savings and dump them all in my BPI Trade account - that's extra money saved. The key is discipline.

I also save all my P10 coins in a large old green lambanog bottle. That's my Christmas stash.

There's something in Dr. Noet's article that I just can't swallow:

"I know of someone who no longer takes his car to work. He has reserved parking space at work but he wanted to save on gasoline expense. In so doing, his mobile phone has been snatched twice in a shuttle service. Was it worth it?"
What's his point? It's like saying I got robbed because I left the house! I say ditch the car and keep your eyes open! I've been commuting since .... ever... and I have never been robbed. (I almost was, but that's another story). Doesn't your mother (how ever old you are) tell you to keep your phones in your bag/pocket and don't show it off as if its Christmas present? Yes, having your phone snatched twice is well worth it if you're gonna learn to keep a hold of it properly! I can go get a loan for a car but have not because the fuel prices are soooo high, traffic in Manila is so bad it's more convenient to commute, and imagine your carbon footprint! Of course a car would be good for your image (and ego) but it serves the same purpose as the MRT or the bus or the jeep... it gets you to where you want to be at less cost. I say buy a car when you can buy it cash, when you'll be using it for multiple passengers or for business purposes.

My personal goal for saving is for a business that will ultimately free me from saving. Put up the business first before the house or the car or anything else, make the business work, and reap in the goods! Ok, no body better rain on my parade and tell me I'm wishful thinking!

Chocolates Forever

I love chocolates. I love the bitterness of dark chocolate and the creamy, sensual flavor of it melting in your mouth. Then there are the different flavored ganaches - caramel, cherry, mint, ginger... hmmmm... plus the nutty bars... creamy and crunchy in one bite... what bliss!

I'm really surprised why there are no cacao plantations in the Philippines. I mean we basically have the same climate as the other cacao-growing countries, we can grow coffee why not cacao? Apparently, cacao plants are easily plagued with pests and diseases -the type of which could easily wipe out a whole plantation. But, I still believe there's some way to make them grow here! Imported chocolates are just too expensive! How can I make my own truffles with expensive Belgian chocolates?

I did try to make my own truffles using GQ (galing Quiapo) chocolates... I think they came from China. The truffles weren't that bad, but of course it can't compare with the Truffettes de France's (2nd floor EDSA Shangri-la, MOA). A 250g box costs P480. You can literally get drunk with the cocoa powder that delicately coats each truffle. And the chocolate center is just... precious - creamy and milky which is a very good contrast to the strong taste of the powder coat.

My truffles was filled with ganache and rolled in Ricoa powder, the others in confectioner's sugar. As I said it wasn't that bad for a beginner chocolatier. I really really want a chocolate shop! Make my own chocolates, I can see the people lining up now! Hahahaha Wishful dreaming - there's just no market for chocolates here. Rich pinoys would prefer buying imported and the not so rich would prefer spending their money for cellphone load and other more filling food. But I'm surprised that Sonia's cupcake and other relatively high end food products are doing well. But, I may be wrong. I mean, the cupcake craze may just be a trend. And ugggghhh the cost of maintaining a shop at a posh area such as Bonifacio high street.

Oh well, there's nothing wrong in making chocolates for myself!

(Photo from - thanks!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Stock picking: Why not Splash

Last November Splash Corporation opened an IPO... at a very bad time. Their offering price was 8.70, and then it went as low as 6.10. Very bad timing for their IPO since the market was starting to get bad due to the US's failing economy.

After the announcement of their IPO, I did want to buy some of their stocks. I admire how they were able to start from a backyard business to a big corporation now. One of my lab mates in UPD is now a researcher in Splash and she said that they are planning to go into micro-biology testing and completely stop using humans as guinea pigs. Setting up that kind of lab would probably cost a few millions. Anyway, Splash seems to be very promising, creating international markets, capturing a very good share of the local market, continuously improving their products and expanding their product lines.

I didn't buy SPH because of two things. First, I think their offering price was sky-rocket high for their type. I mean EDC's offering price was less than 4.00 - and its a geothermal field with secured markets! Second reason, I'm not a financial analyst and I'm just starting to learn this investing stuff, so I go by gut-feel. I buy stocks whose products I believe in. Although Splash has a major local following, some of their products are just... wrong! A few years ago I was working on medicinal plant research at the UPM. Some of the students tested local skin care products for possible carcinogenic effects (cancer-causing). All of the products tested negative, except for Splash's! (I just can't remember what product line it was...) So their professor (a very respected doctor of medicine who is also active in clinical research) called Splash's attention, and as far as I know Splash did nothing. Well, I hope I'm wrong and I hope Splash did act on it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Are rich people happier?

"A study in the US published in Social Indicators Research found that those who avidly pursued possessions were less satisfied with their friendship, families, jobs -even their health - than participants who were less materialistic."
- Stacy Weiner, The How of Happiness -

Warren Buffet, the rich guy, still lives in the same 3-bedroom house in mid-town Omaha, that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says he has everything he needs in that house.

Sometimes I wonder if I have all the things that I want now, would I be happier? Well, in the first place is there such a thing as happy-ER? If I buy a Celine sandals right now I would be happy... but if I buy those nice little Nine West peep toe shoes I would be happier! Actually, I'm happy right now with or without a new pair of shoes. I think despite being unable to follow my budget (still!) I have improved with my purchasing habits. I don't buy on impulse and I weigh if I really need to buy another item. Besides, consumerism contributes to filling up the landfills!

I really love Warren Buffet, he loves to play with money. He loves the game of acquiring money but not necessarily wallow on its spoils. I opened an account in BPI Trade last year to try my hand on investing. No big money involved yet, but surprisingly I loved the game! Choosing stocks, monitoring how they do everyday and how global economies affect our own. Since buying a few stocks I think I've already doubled my money. Thanks to the EDC IPO! And although some stocks have not done as great as EDC, I still earned more compared to leaving my money in a savings account. Well, stocks are so down now because of the bad US economy, but there's no doubt that their values will bounce back in a few months. Besides, low values means greater opportunities to buy.

Sometimes I envy some of my cousins who have thicker wallets, can afford to buy a new home, a new car. They were able to get very high paying jobs that unfortunately I didn't get. But somehow, I think its better that I didn't get that high-paying and very demanding job. I have more time in my hands, I have more freedom in my work and less corporate-crap, I have time to serve in my Church and I have more time to explore other financial opportunities. I mean if I experienced earning really big (6 figures) it would take hell before I leave it. I would be scared to get out of that financial security (actually, a job is far from being a financial security). And besides, however hard you work you will get the same salary... which is still only a very small fraction of what your company earns.

Without that big money in my hands, I am beginning to explore other sources of bigger money. I'm planning to open a small food cart in our area and an online store. I'm really really excited! This is what I want to do! Manage my own business and provide others with jobs.

I can't wait!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Budget, how to make it work?

I can't stick to my budget.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Vintage Shopping

Sometimes I find myself in a maze of smelly clothes, sneezing, and rummaging through endless racks of pre-owned (translation: very very old) clothes. I'm not necessarily a patron like my friend whose wardrobe is almost entirely from the ukay-ukay. She can find Levi's jeans, Mango tops, Gucci shorts, etc in those stalls in Quiapo. A pair of old Levis' costs less than P100, a shirt around P50, sometimes there are bags for P75 - definitely a whole lot cheaper than their brand new counterparts.

My feelings for ukay-ukay are still unclear. Am I for it or not? Should I stop shopping clean and new? Is buying used clothes practical?

As far as I know I have three ukay-ukay purchases. One is a blue baby doll blouse and 2 Bossini white shirts. The t-shirts look new and cost P75 each. The shop keeper said that their items aren't pre-owned, but were displays from Hong Kong malls which were not bought. Some items still have their tags on. Hmmm... sounds believable. I bought my baby doll blouse from the Olivarez Complex in Tagaytay for P120. There are at least 5 HUGE shops of pre-owned clothes in the complex. This item, I'm sure has been used... but still looks cute. It took me almost 2 hours to find this one good item.

A new shirt would cost between P300 - P500, a nice blouse P500-P1,000. It seems obvious that one should switch to buying used clothes... But, what if the previous owner is dead? Won't she haunt me? Or if the previous owner was struck by a terrible disease? Won't I catch it too? Or am I going crazy...?

Oh well, if I find a good item from an ukay-ukay shop and it costs lest than P150, I'm buying it. Except shoes.

Besides, they're not old clothes... they're vintage!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

LPG Prices

We bought an 11kG tank of LiquiGaz LPG last night... it was P605.00! WTF! I thought they rolled back the prices of LPG 0.50centavos per Kg! The last time we bought a refill it was just over P500.00. I don't believe it!

At least LiquiGaz is cheaper than other brands.

Total Gas - P617
Caltex - P623
Catgas - P615
Gasul - P622
Shellane - P633.50

No more boiling water in the mornings for my bath then...