What’s cooking in Cooking 101?

Meet Doctora. She’s our chef/teacher at San Roque Parish’s Saturday cooking class. I was only able to attend the last summer session but I am definitely gonna sign up for the August classes, if they are going to offer it again. It’s absolutely free! And Doctora said she’ll be teaching us Christmas recipes and some delicacies that we can make money from. Exciting! Can’t wait for that August-September session!

Here are some pics of the session I attended:

She was a fun but strict teacher. She told us some of her cute personal stories in between demos. “Naku class, kinarir ko lahat, liban nlng sa lalaki. Alam nyo, boys are major distractions. Kaya ako, d ko binubuhos atensyon ko sa mga ganyan…” Haha.

She’d remind us “Girls, don’t cook when you’re angry, sasakit ang tiyan nung kakain. So wives, don’t cook when you are mad, or else your husband will have an upset stomach on his way to work…” Always cook with love…that is the best ingredient. 😉

I think this is a really good program by the parish and I hope more people would attend it…and fill the stomach.. I mean, fill the world with love… ♥♥♥


Lost and Found

I was on my way back home when I thought about checking what I wrote on my journal for my day. I have must have gasped too loudly when I realized that it wasn’t in my bag ’cause the man seated on the other side looked worriedly at me. I was already travelling for 20+ minutes and I was almost home but I hurriedly got out at the next bus stop.

I was halfway back when my mind frantically recalled where I must have possibly left my precious notebook. I figured that I must have left it in the office but my heart sank when I remembered glancing at on my way out. Oh! I must have dropped it in the bus! I wanted to cry, get out of the bus, and just go home, feeling so stupid. But a thought suddenly flashed in my mind. No, I didn’t drop it inside the bus. I left it in the comfort room at the company building! Again? I left and lost my umbrella in the same comfort room last week during the peak of typhoon Falcon.

I was sooooo relieved when I found it lying on the sink in the comfort room. Whew! This notebook is very important to me. It contained too much confidential information, thoughts, plans, and notes…

I want to reduce the likelihood of losing and misplacing my things because it costs me too much! Not just the money, but also precious time, effort, peace of mind and unnecessary stress!

Here are some things I’ve come up with to meet this goal:
1. ALWAYS double check the place before you leave, try to see if you’ve left something. – I usually forget to do this when my mind is too preoccupied with something.
2. Bring a big bag so you can put everything inside. I often lose things when I am holding them in my hands. Putting things in one bag helps.

I wish that the time will come when embedding electronic chips on things won’t cost too much so that I can have those in practically all my things. Won’t it be cool to be able to track everything and never lose a thing? Haha.

I’m interested… what are your ways of reducing the likelihood of losing (material) things?

Five+ things I love about my place

When I was thinking about my big move to the big company in  the big city, I was lucky enough to be given a wise piece of advice from one of the smartest girls on the planet.

She told me to

Find a place close to where you work, if possible, or close to public transit so that you can get to work.

So when my friend brought me to this place (it was the first place I checked), I decided right then and there that I am going to stay here. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made because I love it here!

Five things I ♥ about this place:

1. accessibility – I think I developed an issue with commuting when I stayed in MSU’s Bachelorette’s Quarter. It frustrated me when it took such a long time for me to get a ride. Sometimes I’d had to walk more than a hundred meters and wait for almost an hour just to get a ride. It really got to my nerves because patience isn’t one of my virtues and I put such a high value on my time. That’s why I am absolutely happy when I step out of the door and the buses or the train is just a few steps away! Great! Plus, it’s situated in a very strategic location that it’s really convenient for me to move from one company site to another. I have been to 4 company sites and these were my routes and fares:

a. Eastwood (Quezon City) – aircon bus to Robinsons Galleria (12 pesos) + FX to Eastwood (25 pesos); going back: jeep to Cubao (8 pesos) + MRT (11 pesos)
b. Cybergate 2 (Mandaluyong City) –  just my two happy feet! 🙂
c. MSE (Makati Stock Exchange) – aircon bus (12 pesos) * 2  = 24 pesos
d. McKinley Hill (Taguig City) – MRT to Magallanes (11 pesos) + FX to McKinley (20 pesos); going back: jeep to Guadalupe (13 pesos) + deluxe bus (10 pesos)

2. it’s furnished! – I’ve learned that it isn’t very wise to accumulate stuff (appliances, cabinets, furniture) when you don’t have any intention of settling in the place. I invested on those stuff when I was working in GenSan and right now, most of them are stocked in my aunt’s house, unused, gathering dust, and losing their value (depreciating) every day. I sold some of my appliances at very low prices too, just to dispose them and at least get some returns on my investment. Yes, they were important to me when I was living in GenSan and they really served their purpose. But right now, I couldn’t afford making the same mistake. I am not even sure how long I am staying here and moving from one place to another with a lot of things is really costly. So, it’s really a smart idea to move into a place that’s already furnished! 😉

3. the pool & company gym – One of my goals this year is to learn how to swim (this skill just might save a life someday and it’s one of the greatest ways to stay fit and lose tummy fats). And I am so glad that they have this at my place. The company gym is of course, is in the company building, which is just a few meters away so I could use it during the weekdays absolutely free! So there’s no more reason for me not to stay fit! Cool.

4. access to my necessities – I am sure that I won’t starve to death now as long as I have money. When I stayed in BQ, even if I had money but was feeling lazy or tired, I couldn’t easily grab a bite because it was so far from civilization (exag!) But now, there are plenty of food to choose from and the mall is just at the other side of the road. And even if it’s already really late in the evening, McDo can save my tummy. Aside from that, there are drug stores, laundry shops, loading stations, mini groceries, shops, fruit stands, internet cafes, ATMs, and a lot more… And one of the best things is that it’s just a few meters away from a Catholic church. What more can I ask for?

5. great people – Before I moved in to this place, I prayed that I would be with good people. And the prayer was answered. When I moved in, I carelessly left my laptop at the lobby and I was so thankful that the guard gave it back to me. Aside from that, Ms. Ellen has been really responsive to my requests and needs so far and she has helped in making my move as smooth as possible. My house mates are all friendly and we are beginning to get to know each other more. Looking forward to a great bonding moment with them! 🙂

I don’t know how long I am going to stay in this place. It’s indeed costly but it’s reasonable. I am glad that I found this place and it’s really convenient for me. And oh, didn’t I mention security and safety on my list above? It should be on that list! I have discovered that there are a lot of apartments and boarding houses around the area but one of my officemates told me that it’s not advisable to stay there because he lost around 100k (Macbook + high end camera) : thieves were able to break into their apartment. Aside from that, I didn’t have to worry about water getting inside my room and damaging my property. I and my things were pretty safe and dry during typhoon Falcon. Thank God. And oh, one last thing, I have a beautiful view outside my window especially during sunsets and evenings where there are fireworks displays). Amazing treats. God, I am really grateful. 🙂

What is my first step to financial freedom?

I have been trying to update my blog for a very long time but I was never able to because
a. I didn’t have enough time (duh?)
b. bad weather (equals poor Internet connection)
c. unprepared
d. afraid of divulging confidential information

I perform my job better and I get a better sense of my existence when I am able to write and share about my learning experiences. Right now, I want to share about my biggest first step to financial freedom: drawing up and sticking to my monthly budget.

Before I accepted my current job, I created an initial monthly budget for the company’s offer. Of course, I had to know if I would be able to afford the high cost of living in Metro Manila. It was hard for me to come up with the budget because I have never lived in the metro. The longest time that I’ve spent in the place is about 3 days and I stayed with relatives (free food and lodging). The only thing I know is that the cost of living in the area was way higher than in the cities I’ve ever lived/stayed in (Bislig, Davao, Iligan, General Santos, and Cebu). So I made up assumptions and used percentages to see how my pie would look like.

It turned out that it was a pretty smart idea that I came up with this initial budget because it helped me spend my first salary wisely. When I got my first salary, I:
a. took care of my debts to (Mama – advance payment to my place, and delayed payments to my insurances)
b. bought necessary things to get to work (shoes, dresses, blazer, slacks, kitchen utensils)
c. documented and experimented with my expenses
d. deposited my savings to my chosen bank
e. sent money for my family

It took me a month to come up with a final working budget. It needed frequent tweaking because:
1. it turned out that I would be paying more than I expected for my rent, electricity, and water bills.
2. my family’s needs increased (tuition, health care)
3. got relocated from one company site to another and that meant adjusting my fare expenses

So my pie looks like this now:

It really takes a lot of self-discipline to stick to the budget, especially when I see massage parlors and salons. You see, I am not easily tempted with products (clothes, shoes, bags, gadgets…) but I am addicted to services. I love getting pedicures, manicures, massage, skin/hair care, and dental treatments. Sometimes I feel guilty when I buy these services but well.. you gotta splurge sometimes, right? I like how I am dealing with my finances. It’s far from perfect but it’s a good thing that I have this guide and I’m glad that it works for me (and my future)! =)