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8 Reasons Why We Bought a Light Residences Unit

By on May 13, 2012 in Condominiums, Philippines | 9 comments

During our 2-month vacation in the Philippines early this year, my husband and I had an unplanned condominium purchase, which we do not regret (so far). We bought a one-bedroom condo unit in Light Residences on one of its towers that will be completed in 2014, two years from now. Light Residences are one of those pre-selling condominium projects that are popular in the Philippines nowadays. The units are sold/reserved before they are actually built. You give your trust to the company’s name when you involve yourself in this type of project and SM, the developer of Light, is a Philippine company you can trust. Pre-selling is a set up that worked for my husband and I since we do not plan to go back to the Philippines anytime soon. So, the two year building time for Tower 3, where our unit is located, is not bad of a waiting period. And we look at this as a sort of investing in an SM project currently in development. One of the three towers of Light though, which is Tower 1, will be turned over soon to their respective buyers. Either late this year or early next year.  So, among the condo projects in Metro Manila that we saw, why did we choose Light Residences? Light Residences is in Mandaluyong City, situated in the middle of Ortigas, Makati business district, and Fort Bonifacio-Global City. Built next to the MRT’s Boni station and along EDSA, commuting will not be a problem for my husband and I, as we do not plan to get a car while staying in the Philippines. My family would not have a hard time traveling to our place when they visit us. Closer turnover date for one of its towers. It’s 2014. Great amenities and access to many malls. Many condo developments are around the area as well, one of which will have a public garden near Shaw Boulevard. Traveling to the airport would not be a problem as the towers are next to EDSA. We checked the noise coming from the busy highway. It wouldn’t be that of a problem as they are building the place “sound proof”. SM, a trustworthy Philippine company. Business networking possibilities with well-to-do neighbors....

SM Residences, Avida Towers, and other Condominium Projects

By on May 13, 2012 in Condominiums, Philippines | 9 comments

A condominium is my husband and I’s biggest purchase to date as a married couple. This is actually unplanned, but since we are currently on a vacation in the Philippines, we decided to give condominium-shopping a try. Chateau Residences near SM Bicutan We frequented Mall of Asia during our stay and passed multiple SM Residences booths, thus; the first unit we checked out was developed by the SM Development Corporation (SMDC), the Chateau Elysee in Parañaque. It just happened one day that one of their agents, whose assignment was Chateau Elysee, approached us and gave us a flyer. He told us the location of the project is near the airport, and that selling point caught our attention. My husband and I looked at each other, and I asked him, “why don’t we check it out?”. The next day, we found ourselves riding a taxi from Pasay Taft to SM Bicutan, and riding a tricycle from SM with the agent. (I really had no idea where Bicutan is and how far it would be.) After signing on the visitor registration, the agent gave us a tour in their showrooms, walked with us to see the beautiful outside view and the condo amenities, and finally evaluated the available units. Honestly, my husband and I think it is a good deal with its price, its good management, and well-maintained amenities and buildings. What we just didn’t like was the location, and of course it was our first time seeing a condo unit for sale so we couldn’t decide on the spot. I believe this condominium is for owners who have their own transportation or who are willing to study the public transportation options and whose work is in or near Parañaque City. My husband and I are not those people. It is also interesting to note that this is the first project of SMDC and the first of their project we saw. Light Residences in Mandaluyong The same day, we walked in to the Light Residences showroom Mandaluyong, after visiting a friend in a nearby hospital (after seeing Chateau). We could not pass the opportunity that the showroom was still open at 7PM and so curious what the project is about. We were assisted by one of the site’s agents and his manager. Honestly, we were in love with the location from the start that’s why we decided to walk in. Light Residences has a direct entrance and exit to the MRT Boni station, a big plus for my husband and I, as we plan to commute rather than taking a car. The units in Light Residences are more expensive because of its prime location, in the middle of Ortigas, Fort Bonifacio, and Makati business district, and of course just by the MRT Boni station. The one bedroom unit’s size is comparable to a studio unit’s (around 23-24 square meters), except you have a room and an optional balcony for a bigger space. Also, there is an option to buy multiple one-bedroom units to combine them as one big condo unit. Avida Towers San Lorenzo in Makati City Yes, call this condo-shopping. Right after checking out Light Residences, we headed to Greenbelt for dinner and noticed one of the booths for Avida Towers, owned by Ayala. We stopped by it and had the agent schedule us for a site-visit. Well, a showroom visit on the actual building site, as the project, Avida Towers San Lorenzo, is another pre-selling project like Light Residences. However, the location is better for mall lovers as it is a walking distance (around 15 minutes) to Greenbelt, Makati. So Monday, two days after, our Avida Tower’s agent gave us a tour of the studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom showrooms for San Lorenzo. The studio’s size is actually a good livable space, and the layouts for the units with bedrooms are pretty good as the ventilation is planned well. The price for the units are pretty steep though considering there are no appliances and kitchen cupboards that come with the unit. This can be a plus though for people who want to customize the unit with their own style. For my husband and I, we listed this place as our second option next to Light. The only downside was the later date of turnover for the second tower, since the first tower units were almost out the time we came to visit. * Note: We checked another preselling condo showroom in the Global City the same day we saw San Lorenzo. But at the time I was writing this post, I forgot the name of the project. It was the most expensive one among all the condo projects we saw. We might get one when we can afford it, who knows. Field Residences in Sucat, Parañaque In one of our later strolls in MOA, we decided to check another condominium project of SM Residences. This time, it was Field Residences. The agent was quick to tell us that there was a showroom in Mall of Asia. So we walked through the main building to go to the opposite site where the showroom was. When I saw the model, I immediately noticed the long road that goes around the eight towers of the compound. This was exciting to me as I can go biking safely there! Also, I can tell the compound is huge as if it is a...

The Freemason Filipinos

By on Nov 26, 2011 in Philippines | 6 comments

I learned about Freemasonry and Knights Templar from reading Dan Brown’s books. So, when I saw a show running in the History Channel about the Holy Grail, I sat and watched it. The show’s conclusion led me to re-dig more information about the Freemasons and find out who were the famous people known to be Freemasons. The Wikipedia’s list of Freemasons surprised me as I recognize the Filipino names listed there. It amazed me how these Filipinos shaped the Philippines history. I might had overlooked the fact of their membership of this mysterious organization before but it’s harder for me to ignore it this time. So, let’s take a look at those notable Filipinos who were members of Freemasonry, a fraternal organization, and let’s wonder what had they taken from their membership and brought to the Filipinos. José Abad Santos, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. Gregorio Aglipay, Supreme Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church. José P. Laurel, President of the Japanese-Sponsored Republic of the Philippines during World War II, from 1943 to 1945. Camilo Osías, President of the Senate of the Philippines. Rafael Palma, Filipino politician, writer, and educator. Fourth President of the University of the Philippines. Reynato Puno, Chief Justice of the Philippines. Manuel L. Quezon, First president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines under U.S. occupation rule in the early period of the 20th century. Jose Rizal, Polymath and National Hero of the Philippines. Manuel Roxas, was the first president of the independent Republic of the Philippines. Lope K. Santos, Tagalog language writer from the...

3 Ways to Send Money to the Philippines

By on May 28, 2011 in Philippines | 48 comments

I’ve been sending money to the Philippines from US since May of 2010; Either through my Wells Fargo account or Xoom money transfer. But before I came to the US, I was the one receiving money and I get it through a US debit card. Wells Fargo Global Remittance Service Most of my remittances are received using this service. I pay $5 when the money is directly deposited to a BPI account connected to my Wells Fargo Account, and I pay $7 when the remittance is received as cash. What I did was asked my parents to create a BPI account and send the account information to me. Once I hard this information I went to the Wells Fargo branch nearby and requested to connect the BPI account of my parents to my account in their bank. The verification process took a week but after it is verified, I was able to send money through the remittance service. I need to deposit my first remittance in person though but after that I was able to remit online. Xoom Global Money Transfer This is my back-up if the person I’m sending money didn’t have access to a BPI branch. The fee is more though but still less when using Western Union. You just need to sign up an account in Xoom and attach your credit or debit card information. Their fees are $5.99 or $9.99+ if you use a credit card instead of your bank account directly. Debit Card from the one Sending My husband had stayed in the Philippines several times when we were still not married. Before he flew back to the US, he would leave to me one of his US debit cards (the Capital One Money Market Card). He said it is the cheapest way to send money, where the bank only charges for the international withdrawal fee and Capital One has the lowest fee he found, around $3. If you plan to do this with your family or partner, you have to trust them not to withdraw more than what you tell them to, or else, you have to pay the overdraft fee. Disable overdraft protection if you don’t want to deal with this...

Why Most Filipinos Aren’t Fat?

By on May 28, 2011 in Philippines | 2 comments

Alert: This post may be found racist. My American friend who had been to the Philippines  have asked me this question. He wondered why most Filipinos are not fat at all compare to people in US. What do you think he thought the reason was? Poverty in the Philippines. His answer was not a surprise to me at all but I feel somehow upset that this is his first thought. The Philippines is seen as a poor country abroad that there will be foreigners who will easily look down on Filipinos in general. But I immediately replied to my friend, “No, I don’t think it’s because they are poor that they can neither eat nutritious food nor eat three times a day”. But poverty is surely a factor. So here are what I told my American friend: A lot of Filipinos commute – Most Filipinos don’t have cars to go to wherever they want. If they want to go somewhere they have to walk and cross the streets, worse they climb up and down the foot bridges which are very common in Metro Manila. Unlike in US, a lot of people use their cars to go to work unless they live in the most populous cities.  The only walk they will get often during their day is when they walk from their parking lot to the store or to the office.  Lucky if they have to walk a lot while working and able to jog once or twice a week. Most filipinos didn’t spend their childhood and teenage years as couch potatoes – Although a lot of Filipino kids now are playing games in front of computers most of their day, they have the freedom to run or walk around the neighborhood.  The houses are so close to each other that if they want to meet a friend they just walk to their friend’s house. If not, older kids and teens can choose  to commute to their friend’s house. What I notice here is that older kids and teens need a ride from their parents or from an adult if they want to visit a friend’s house to hang out. To let kids run wherever they want seems irresponsible parenthood but I haven’t heard any news that they lost their children. There might be some occurrences but not common. Fast food is expensive – In US, buying fast food is the most convenient to do if you are a working mom. I feel grossed now eating hamburgers which are huge. I sometimes like to order the kid’s meal instead. However, in the Philippines a lot of small take-home food stalls are available for working moms. The foods you buy in these stalls are considered real food and to buy fast food everyday for the family will be considered close to luxury. Genes or Fast Metabolism – It is interesting how most of my Filipino friends eat a lot but don’t gain a lot of weight. You will wonder where the food they are eating is going. Filipino Support System – Seeing that most people around you aren’t fat is enabling you to pay close attention to your diet. When you get fat, you stand out. Close friends will acceptably joke on you, “Hey you are getting fat!”, from which you will feel indirectly encouraged to lose weight. In US, I would feel normal to be overweight and abnormal being skinny.u But do you know the ironic part of most Filipinos aren’t fat? Filipinos may be mostly skinny people but their diet has a lot of pork which can cause heart...

Tagalog Quotes mula sa ating mga Bayani

By on May 3, 2011 in Philippines | 18 comments

Ito ay koleksyon ng mga siniping ideya mula sa ating mga bayani. “Ang pagsusumikap at pagpipilit na kumita ng ikakabuhay ay nagpapahayag ng tunay na pagmamahal sa sarili, sa asawa, anak, kapatid, at kababayan.” – Andres Bonifacio (Kartilya ng Katipunan) “Ang unang kabanalan ay ang pagsunod sa matuwid, anuman ang mangyari.” – Jose Rizal (Ang Liham ni Dr. Jose Rizal sa mga Kadalagahan sa Malolos, Bulakan) “Kapag totoong nakalat na sa buong kapuluan ang wikang inglés ay siyang gagawing wicang-bayan.” – Apolinario Mabini (Panukala sa Pagkakana nang Repúblika nangPilipinas) “Ang babae ay huwag mong ituturing na isang bagay na libangan lamang kundi isang katulong at karamay sa mga kahirapan nitong kabuhayan; gamitin mo nang buong pagpipitagan ang kanyang kahinaan at alalahanin ang inang pinagbuhata’t nag-iwi sa iyong kasanggulan.” – Emilio Jacinto (Kartilya ng Katipunan) “Di kailangan, kapatid ko, ang magbukas ka’t bumasa ng pilosopiya, o nang teolohiya at iba pang karunungan, upang maranasan mo ang kadakilaan nang Dios.” – Marcelo H. del Pilar (Ang Kadakilaan ng Diyos) “Linangin mo ang mga sadyang katangiang kaloob sa iyo ng Diyos, sa paggawa at pag-aaral ayon sa iyong kakayahan, na di lumalayo sa landas ng kagalingan at katarungan…” – Apolinario Mabini (Ang Tunay na Sampung Utos)...