Tuesday, December 30

Swabeng Thoughts: The 2014 that changed my perspective entirely

The year 2014 was very much fruitful and meaningful to me. For me, 2014 was just a continuation of 2013 where I received blessing after blessing despite challenges and obstacles came along the way. 

On family, it was a sight to behold to witness how my daughter grow so fast that only a few years back, she's only crawling and utter simple words. And now she can do things on her own like taking a bath, brushing her teeth and even helping out with some household chores at home. Also, she can now speak a few phrases in English whether we ask her a question or she wanted to say something (Thanks Peppa Pig!). She can now read and write a few letters though with her reading, she sometimes messes it up (on purpose). What I like about her improvement this year is that she can do the Sign of the Cross as well as recite the Lord's Prayer (Our Father) with the guidance of her mom. But we still need to improve her social skills as she is kinda shy when dealing with other kids (or other people) for the first time. Well next year would be her year as we'll be sending to school so she could interact with other kids. I know she'll outperform herself for the best.

With work, things got better and challenging at the same time. From logging-in to facebook everyday at work, now I don't log-in to facebook at work and instead, check my updates at home (or on the road) from my mobile. I seldom visit forums that is not related with work in my workstation. Instead, I check work-related websites as well as a few personal finance related websites (blogs) on how to improve your personal finance and check other websites that would help me grow as an individual. Well every now and then, I check other websites on food and photography but its on a limited time only (meaning if I am terribly bored). Probably, I'll add book reading as a list of things to do in the office when things get very very boring but its better than doing nothing right?

Health matters, it's like dead even. Why? At the start of the year, I was very active getting up a bit early and walk around to reduce weight and get in-shape. But time passed and I wasn't able to keep it up with my target, thus the weight I lost during the start of the year gained back again. Eating habits got a bit worse until the end of the year which I was able to curb and limit thanks to my Doctor's consistent reminder on weight management (from 3 maintenance medications, its now down to 2). I got to limit my vices to almost nil (except for special occasions) but I need to limit my recreational visits as well, to keep my wallet happier. I always fail on this part but I'll do my best to improve here. 

On Blogging and Photography, I was almost at a complete halt on this. I mean, from my usual weekly/monthy posts and photoshoots, it was almost down to nil as my priorities have shifted. Shifted in a way that my iPhone got me hooked on the internet whenever I had the opportunity at home. That leads to piling up on pending things to do on both Blogging and Photography that I need to do something here fast. While I can't promise to limit my internet connectivity via mobile, I'll try to inject some creativity in my head again for me to be able to revive my other passions in life. 

On money matters, I was able to hit my target on completing my emergency savings. I got to learn a lot of things as well like investing in Stocks, Mutual Funds, Unity Investment Trust Funds and Variable Universal Life Insurance. I was able to fortify my learnings by attending free and paid seminars during the second half of the year. By the end of this year, I already have an Online Account for Stocks, two Mutual Fund Accounts (with 1 pending), one VUL (pending approval) and a decent emergency fund (good for 6 months). I could have saved much more if it wasn't to some things that well...I guess I need to limit it one step at a time. 

At the end of this year, I look forward that 2015 would not just be another year for me but also a better year for me (and everyone else). 

Happy New Year! 

Thursday, December 25

Swabeng Thoughts: The long and unexplained hiatus.

Its been months since the last time I wrote something here. I got too busy with work, raising a very playful and mischievous daughter and been busy with doing new things. While I can write here at work (during off-peak), I couldn't as my resources are scarce. 

It was like the first time again for me to put something that would make me remember the sole reason why I write online in the first place. It was those random thoughts that was the last time running through my head and make me think again why I had to be away. While there were times that I was suppose to put something in this space, a part of me wanted to be away for sometime and had me too pre-occupied.

Seven (or more) months not writing anything my mind expresses was like a year or more for my seasoned blogger friends who keeps me updated through their respective facebook page. If they experienced what I'm experiencing right now, they might have deserted their space and simply created a new one (I'm still planning to buy my own domain someday).

But I guess it's not yet time for me to leave this space and start anew. Probably, I'd try to pick-up the pieces and continue where I left off. The question when will I be active here again lies on my will power to continue amid all distractions that comes through my way. 

Until then, I hope I could find the inspiration and the drive to get back to the grove and share a lot of things Swabeh!

Hey! Merry Christmas by the way. 

Friday, May 16

Swabeng Random Thoughts Part 10

1. Its been so long since I've last made my entry here. More then two months since I've posted my last Swabeng Random Thoughts

2. My interest in Blogging and Photography is slowly dwindling for some un-explainable reason. I don't have a clue how it faded slowly. Work may not be the sole reason for the slowly demise of this hobby. Somehow, I must get it back before its too late. 

3. With #2 being said, I'm trying to read some blogs again particularly anything that has to do with Photography. I missed those times taking pictures and sharing them through here. So far, I'm reading two good blogs that may bring me back to the habit I do love (taking pictures and blogging about them). 

4. While I was able to lose a few pounds through exercise (walking) and lessen my food intake. Keeping it away (for a long long time) may take a lot of determination than I expected. As long as I lose a few more pounds before the year ends, I'm good with that. 

5. I'm already reaching 81.25% of my total emergency savings (that will last for a year). Only a few more months to go and I'm on target. Next would be saving up for investing. Hopefully I could start investing by the 4th quarter of the year. 

6. Since I've participated in the 52-week money challenge, I have an Idea how much I've already saved. To be honest, its not easy to do this on a 50 pesos per week increment (trust me) but hopefully, I could hit the target by the end of the year. With that amount, I could probably last for a few more months or use it to earn more. 

7. I also need to learn to tinker with my iPhone instead of using it just for browsing. Since I had that phone with me, I'm almost hooked into it whenever I have it with me. Thank God I don't bring it yet to work for safety reasons. 

8. Since they have forbidden Facebook in all workstations here, I was able to adapt somehow but I wasn't able to keep up with my games and let it go idle for a while. Now I'm trying to play them again even if its only once in a day. 

I hope I could get back really soon. Only time knows when...

Saturday, March 1

Swabeng Random Thoughts Part 9

1. Its been more than 6 months since I posted my last Swabeng Random Thoughts. A lot of things have come and go through last year that I wasn't able to do some updates.

2. Last month was pretty much busy for me that I wasn't able to do any updates in this blog for the month of February. I mean, no posts and not even drafts were made last month.Well its my fault that I didn't allot even an hour a day for this. My bad. Hopefully, I could get go on this and finish my zero backlog. 

3. This year, I started browsing through several financial blogs that has something to do with investing and mutual funds. I realized that I myself wanted to be financially independent not just for my future but for Marien's future as well.

4. Also this year, I decided to hit the road and do some morning walks (jogging). Though it's still a long way for me, I know I'd be able to lose some weight and be able to hopefully join a 3K, 5K, 10K or even a 21K run in the future. 

5. I'm still trying to adjust my eating habits as I'm so far good at limiting my rice intake for the day. I just need to fine tune some fat intake and limit cola to almost nil. 

6. However, my biggest obstacle so far is forum hopping that keeps me from being productive. I must resist temptation but how? XD

7. I'm looking forward to this year as a challenge and face it head-on

And now this concludes my first post for the month. XD

Sunday, January 26

Swabeng Thoughts: A decade after quarterlife

I just celebrated my birthday a few days back and I felt it was just like yesterday when I celebrated my 25th. Today, its been a decade since I celebrated my quarter life and I haven't looked back since. Indeed, God gave me a lot of reasons to live my life to the fullest after a lot of setbacks I got especially ten years ago.

Back in 2004, I just quit a teaching job not knowing how would that year end up. Got a bit too lazy to move forward that I wasted an entire year doing almost nothing but going online surfing about useless stuff.

While I try to look for a decent job back then, I didn't seem to care to get serious about it and just let it go with the flow. It didn't seem to matter to me whether or not I get hired or not but its about living it one day at a time. 

That was also the year I met a girl that I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. Like summer romance, it all ends on a sad note that I felt so depressed I had thoughts of ending my life then and there. I got to meet another girl during that year but It didn't erase the thoughts of the one that got away (not until I met my last girlfriend who happens to be my wife now). 

Anyway, the Decade's past has already been part of history which where I am right now, may not be possible if it wasn't for the mistakes I made back then. 

Now its time to embrace the good life and all the good choices it has to offer. Speaking of which, I'm halfway though my target in my daughter's account. 

Sunday, January 19

Photoworld Asia 2014 Calendar

Its the time of the year that most photographers look forward to. Discount from selected booths, free camera/lens cleaning, free model shoot, photographers convention and more. What more can you ask for? However, do you still have your 13th month pay with you? =P

Photoworld Asia is a photography trade show and convention that has been running for more than two decades now. This year, the event runs from January 30 to February 4, 2014 at the Glorietta Mall in Makati (hopefully, it would be held in the new area where Glorietta 2 was re-opened). The theme for this year's PWAsia is "Postcard Perfect Philippines". It kinda reminded me of some postcards I used to collect as I got fascinated with the place where the shot was taken. 

I'm looking forward to take photos like these again. ^_^

While the trade show will be sponsored by major camera brands and other photography gear suppliers, the photographers convention (registration fee is required here) will be held at The Asian Institute of Management which master photographers will be sharing their experience and expertise to the participants. How I wish I could attend that convention but there will always be a next time. XD

Anyway, here is the schedule for this year's Photoworld Asia 2014 and the respective keynote speakers. I hope you'd be able to visit the trade fair and join the convention too. 

The speakers for this year's convention

Calendar of events

I hope I could attend the trade fair just for a day to window-shop for some photography gear for upgrade within this year. XD

Monday, January 13

Swabeng Thoughts: Adding Financial IQ to my arsenal

Since early last year, I got interested with anything that has to do with savings, investment and anything that has to do with money. This was due to the fact that where I work right now gave me more than enough to save first for my daughter's expenses for the next 2-5 years.

Then it dawned on me? Why I did take this seriously only now? Why not ten years ago or 15 years ago or even earlier when I was still single. Even my dad taught me on how to save money in a bank even before highschool, yet I was on and off with having a savings account in banks.

The only reason I could possibly think of is because the amount of money I earn way back was not enough (in my standards) for me to allocate some savings. Also, I was in a stage where I wanted to enjoy more and make sure I have done that before settling down.

Although I was able to save several times, I have only end up to spend it until the last centavo. I did this so many times that I thought I won't be able to recover financially. Good thing I did recover and I was able to start saving up (seriously) last year. 

When I got married to a Manilena (with an Ilocano Heritage), I had to make some little adjustments on saving as she kept reminding me to be thrifty and save. Although we had a joint account that we opened even before we got married, it was my wife who kept us afloat even there was a time that I didn't have a job and a daughter to raise for a few months. 

Well, I'm not yet a Financial Genius nor an Expert but I'm starting to learn the ropes and hopefully, gain more than enough knowledge for me to grow old and happy and I'll make sure to pass on what I'll be learning to my daughter. 

Thursday, January 9

Swabeng Event: Feast of the Black Nazarene

Well for those who have little or no knowledge about today's event, here is an infographic from Inquirer's webpage. 

Its been a long while since the last time I've joined the Feast of the Black Nazarene with a curious mind. Though I'll be missing it again for the 4th straight year since the first time I've attended, I am with all the other devotees who will be attending today. I wonder where is the Black Nazarene right now? 

Infographic from FHM.com.ph

When I went there a few years back, I've seen different types of people aside from the devotees. Young and old were there as well as some fanatics too. While most went there barefooted (as a sign of sacrifice and penitence), I made sure I had mine covered for safety.

And while others criticize the event as a possible starting point of stampede or other chaotic events (Some may never understand). It is their Faith that brought millions of our fellowmen towards it knowing that their prayers will be answered (and they were as I've asked a few before). It didn't matter how many people (by the millions) would attend, what matters is they were there celebrating with others. It didn't also matter to them if they get injured or not, what matters is that they make sure their fellow devotee is okay. 

I miss taking this kinds of pictures. 

In my experience, all of them were helpful especially to photographers. They would let us climb up rooftops of waiting sheds to make sure we got a good view of everybody. Though my camera was not cooperating with me then, I was able to take some decent shots and posted them here 

I do envy students as well as those who work in Manila as Mayor Joseph Estrada issued a suspension order of all classes in all levels in Metro Manila plus some of the Government offices declared the same. 

Anyway, here is the route for today's procession. There were some changes as it will pass now Jones Bridge instead of the usual Mc Arthur Bridge due to safety issues 

Taken from Google

Traffic re-routing scheme has been posted on this link. But here is the text of it.

1. All vehicles coming from northern part of Manila intending to utilize the stretch of Bonifacio Drive (for Port Area offices) or right to A. Soriano to Magallanes Drive, right to P. Burgos, go straight to Lagusnilad to Taft Ave.

2. All vehicles coming from Taft Avenue northbound shall turn right at A. Villegas (Arroceros), right at Quezon Bridge to point of destination.

3. All vehicles coming from southern part of Manila intending to utilize the northbound of Roxas Blvd. from T. M. Kalaw to P. Burgos shall turn right to T.M. Kalaw to point of destination.

4. All vehicles coming from Quezon City using the stretch of Espana shall turn right P. Campa, left Andalucia, right Fuguso, left T. Mapua to point of destination.

5. All PUJ’s/light vehicles coming from Espana intending to proceed to South Pier Zone take the usual route using Quezon Bridge.

6. All vehicles coming from Divisoria intending to utilize the stretch of C. Recto Avenue shall turn left to T. Alonzo, right at Furguso, right at Andalucia to point of destination.

7. All vehicles coming from Legarda shall turn right Recto or left Mendiola to point of destination.

8. All heavy vehicles/cargo trucks coming from the south shall take Pres. Osmena, right Pres. Quirino to Nagtahan via A.H. Lacson to Capulong (vice-versa).

Wherever you are, stay safe.

Monday, January 6

Swabeng Thoughts: Getting Premium with SSS and Philhealth

Only a couple days more before I could get my first paycheck for 2014. I'm looking forward to a bigger pay since I reported on all holidays during the Christmas season plus my unused sick leaves for the past year XD. 

Now the not so good news part is that starting this year (this month), SSS and Philhealth will be raising their respective member contributions. While I'm still trying to recall how much my monthly contribution is for both (I guess I'm at the maximum XD), here are the new contribution tables for both SSS and Philhealth.

SSS Contributions starting 2014

Philhealth Contributions starting 2014

While our government explained the rational for the increase, most of us do not agree. I don't mind the increase as long as I'd be able to reap the benefits in the future as well as my fellow contributors, I'm good with that. 

I would also keep an eye on any update with these two institutions as I contribute for my future and when I retire (hopefully as early as I can), I hope I could enjoy the rest of my life with some money to spend.

Thursday, January 2

Swabeng Thoughts: 2014 Holidays, should I work or should I go

This is one of the topics I've read before in various blogs. Most of them have already planned their out-of town trips with (for travel bloggers) and others have plans of doing staycations. My swabeng thoughts on this? Just read below.

Some would prefer to stay home and spend time with their love ones as much as they could. As a dad, I prefer this over going out-of-town (for now). However, working in an IT environment would be a different case. My wife has accepted the fact that I'm required to report whenever necessary.

I belong to a group that requires us (as a group) to man the operations on a 24/7/365 basis. It means that there should be at least one of us (whoever is scheduled for the day) should be visible just in case someone needs our assistance. It also means that if we're scheduled to work on a holiday, we should be there or else, we'll get deducted (no work no pay) unless we use our leave credits.

Here is the list of National Holidays for 2014. Be sure to plan accordingly and use them wisely.

Taken from The Manila Bulletin Facebook Page.

I'm looking forward to work on holidays, get extra pay (YEHEY!!!) and save-up for the future. ^_^

Swabeng Thoughts: Trying the 52-week money challenge (Swabeng Edition)

Actually, I've seen this challenge as early as last year but I wasn't able to give some thought into at and had my way of saving money for last year. Based from the person who started this idea, all you need to do is save up every week until you complete 52 weeks (equivalent to a year). You can do this every year until you were able to save-up for something that you really want or until you retire. Sounds Good? Wait till you see the results.

This challenge (52 week money saving) is really a great idea to start the year. The good thing here in this challenge is that the money you put in is compounded weekly so imagine how much you would be able to save in a year. Since I started working again last year (2013), I made sure to save up for my daughter's future that I almost forgot saving for myself =P (Well, my daughter's account is my account too until she's of legal age).

Just early tonight, I saw Kuripot Pinay's version of the 52-week money challenge. She has a point that there is no reason for us NOT to try this challenge and gain a lot from it. The only problem that I see is that not all of us earn the same. That means I'd add some variations to this challenge that suits almost all income brackets (I'm sure she's thinking of ways for this).

Here are some of the ways I've think of (versions) for the 52 week money challenge.  

1. Kuripot Pinay's Version: In this version, increments of 50 pesos must be added on the succeeding week until you'd be able to save 2600 on the 52nd week (and 68900 over-all). That's a good amount of money which allows you to buy the things that you really want or put it in investment (or savings). However, you must be prepared for the 2nd half of the year as the amount you need to put in is a bit high (1350 pesos on week 27 onwards). Given that you really save and do minimize unnecessary expenses (plus making ways to earn extra), I'm sure you'll be fine. This bracket would be for me definitely. 

2. The Student Version: Since you'd still be dependent on you parents (or legal guardian), I set the increment to as low as 5 pesos per week. Even workers earning minimum (or below minimum) can start here. This version puts everyone (almost) a chance to save-up. 

3. The 10-peso Version: This one also covers students and low-income earners as its slightly higher than the Student Version. Looking at the the table below, I believe this is also doable and everyone should give it a try. ^_^

4. The Manager's Version: Or should I say I'd call this The Insane Version. This version is ideal for managers (I think) or those with lots of money to save while still contemplating whether or not they should start playing with the stock market. Businessmen can try this as long as their income stream won't be affected (Good Luck!)

I still have a table for 20-peso, 30-peso and 40-peso increments but I'll reserve it for now just in case ^_^. I'm sure the four options given are more than helpful for you to start.

And after 52 weeks, you already have the desired amount that you have been saving-up for the entire year. Its up to you on what you wanted to do with it. You may want to spend it on the dream gadget you've been eyeing for the entire year. Or a long vacation trip to recharge your body and mind and soul, knowing that you've been working long and hard for the entire year. Or better yet, you could do some readings on investing the stock market and put it there.  

Whatever you choose, it's your money and you deserve to do anything with it. ^_^


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