Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kiddie Bike Shop

There is one stage of your life that you crave for a bike starting when you were a kid. My son at 4 years old got interested with the bicycle and his mommy bought him one from a mall. It was a good thing the bike was on sale at 2000Pesos. After a month's used, the front tire went flat and I found out there was hole in wheel interior. I went to the vulcanizing shop, but unfortunately the hole was too big as when it was patched, the patch area bulged with air was put in. They recommended it to have replaced. It was good thing they did not charge me.

Earlier, I was thinking buying a patch kit and unfortunately for me, I was not able to find any in the mall at all. So I search for local bicycle shops around our area and the closest I found on the net were in Mandaluyong and Pasig City proper area. I opted to go this shop at Mandaluyong. Here is their facebook page empress cycle shop.

The wheel interior costed my 70pesos. The person at the shop mentioned that the wheel interior and the rubber tire I brought was of low quality. He was changing to a more durable wheel interior. He mentioned also that sooner or later the rubber tire will also break. He advised also that mall prices for bikes are more than 1000pesos expensive compared to theirs.

So my next trip to this shop will be changing the rubber tires that would cost me 260pesos.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


My wife and I are huge fans of ensaymada. We love eating them together with our hot coffee during merienda time. We have been for a long time buying ensaymada's from Mulach's. Actually my brother from the US takes the opportunity to have a dozen pieces bought and brought to the US whenever he can.

It was until one day while we were doing the usual window mall shopping, we came across this small kiosk at the third floor at SM MegaMall A that sells ensaymada specialty, Perfect Endings. We got interested and tasted their sampler. The ensaymada tasted so good and the sales lady was able to convinced us to buy a dozen especially when she showed us a news clip on Manila Bulletin (MB) listing its top 5 ensaymada in the Philippines.

From then, whenever we go to SM MegaMall and we have the urge to buy ensaymada we buy from Perfect Endings. Last year, I brough 2 boxes with me to the US and my relatives there really liked it.

Here is spot.ph's top 10 best ensaymada in MetroManila.

Lately, we were able to schedule a day to visit MB's top 1 ensaymada in the Philippines, that of Diamond Hotel. Their ensaymada is huge and cost about 145Pesos and it is good for two.

And the verdict, it's now the best ensaymada we have tasted so far. You should try it. I believe Diamond Hotel has a coffe shop in Boni St. in Bonifacio Global city where you can also try it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tips: Great pastries half the price

If you are looking for cheap and delicious bread and pastries, you can always rely on the panaderia next door. If you want to upgrade to great pastries at half the price and here are some tips for you.

1. Pastries at Cafe France after 6pm are half the price. Their pastries are great and one time we bought about 10 pieces for only less than 200 pesos together with drinks already. What a treat. The best about Cafe France, there is not much people during this time of half the price.

View Larger Map

2. Prices of certain pastries at The French Baker are at 50% off after 9pm. I think they have more selections however even before 9pm people are already starting to line up.

View Larger Map

If you know also any establishment who offers the same please share as well.
Happy eating!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

NBI Clearance

I never thought I would need to secure NBI clearance. The last time I got one was I had to fall in line early in the morning at 7am and in about 2-3 hours go home with the clearance document. It is good thing there are lots of guide blogs out there to aid us in the process. And it is good to know there is a easier and faster way to secure it thru online payment. Please check out some guides from blogs which I have read and used for getting my NBI clearance:

1. How To Apply For NBI Clearance Online Manila Philippines
2. My first hand experience using NBI e-clearance system

Here are a few things to note:

1. When paying the nbi clearance thru Gcash, don't be confused with regards to some blogs that indicate that the amount should include 20 pesos online fee. You should only send the amounts 140, 190 or 440 depending upon the purpose of the nbi clearance.

2. Please use Google chrome or Firefox when registering and applying online.Otherwise you would get server busy with Internet Explorer. I use Firefox to process my online application.

3. Once you are at the nbi clearance office, you can go directly to Step 3 where you will submit your printed application form.

4. Bring a ballpen along as you will still write information on the printed application form. Please refer to the picture below.

I booked myself 2pm at Robinson's Galleria and it took me about 15 minutes to complete and go home with my nbi clearance.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mike Francis

I have been a long time fan of Mike Francis and his songs. His songs are upbeat and  they are the music you play on long drives to the provinces. Among my favorites found in his Album Mike Francis Live in Manila:

1. Let me in
2. Suddenly back to me
3. Survivor
4. Dusty Road - my ultimate driving/cruising song

I wrote about this blog as I was shocked to find out that he's gone. He was big in the 80's and 90's. Such a big loss with his unique kind of music. This short quick blog is a tribute to him.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tips: Moving Itunes Backup to another drive

I am in the situation again that I don't have enough space on my primary SSD on my sony vaio. I recently restored my laptop and I forgot to move my itunes backup to another drive. I lost 12Gb of primary hard disk space to itunes.

Here is a good site that shows how  to move the itunes backup folder to another drive. Itunes refers to its fixed location of its backup at your primary drive Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup. The trick here is to create a symbolic link of that  backup folder and redirect it to a new backup folder of a new drive. So here is how to do it.

1. Create a new backup folder for itunes in the new drive. For my case I created E:/Itunesbackup
2. Copy your existing Backup folder (under your primary drive Apple Computer\MobileSync\)  to this new folder (created in step 1). Delete the Backup folder.
3. Go to start button and in the short cut box type and enter the following:

%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync

4. Open a command prompt by holding the shift key and right click on the windows explorer and selecting open command prompt here.

5. On the command prompt execute the following create the symbolic link using the following:

"mklink /J “%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup” “E:\ItunesBackup”

Note: Make sure you delete the Backup folder.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Micro Fiber towel for your car

If you wash your car like me, you need to invest into car cleaning items. I bought from those cheap items from China to the expensive ones with brands like 3M. Last week I chance upon a micro fiber towel in Handy Man at Robinson's Forum/Pioneer. The salesman convinced me of this new brand from Germany which had micro micro fiber. I decided to buy the micro ultra absorber since my 3M chamois is not as effective anymore. I have also the 3M micro fiber towel which I used to polish and dry.

I tried the new microfiber towel and to my amazement, it dries the car streak free or at least significantly better than the ones I used. It is quite absorbent and you don't need to re-wipe areas. In fact I don't wipe off water but I softly pat off the water.

The microfiber towel cost about 210Pesos. You can check their facebook page here: Mikrofasser.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

PRC Renewal

I got the chance to renew my PRC Professional Electronics Engineer License together with my brother's yesterday. Travel from Pasig City took about 1.5 hours drive. It was good thing it was summer vacation and I was able to spot a open parking along the streets near PRC. Park all day was at 30 pesos.
I took notes on the PRC renewal process from the internet. You can check this blog.

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So I brought with me the following items:
1. Filled PRC form downloaded from PRC
2. 3 pieces of passport size picture with name plate and white background
3. IECEP certificate of good standing
4. Photocopy of my PRC PECE license

There were procedures on the PRC form but as soon as I arrived at the PRC main building, I went to the straight to the customer  service reception table area and inquired about the renewal process. Apparently, the procedure today is new versus what I read from the PRC form and from the blogs I read. So here is what I have done for my renewal.

1. Secure a stub from the customer service reception table at the PRC main building.
2. Fill out the stub form and paste your passport size picture. There is an available glue from the reception table.
3. Submit this stub together with the IECEP Certificate of Good Standing at Window 13.
4. Wait for your name to be called at Window 17. At 10:15am there were a lot of people there waiting. Over 1.5 hours, my name was called and I was issued a form indicating the fee to be paid.
5. Fall in line outside the PRC main building at the cashier window 32-34 to pay the renewal fee.
Tough luck, the line was long and worst it was almost lunch time. But it was a good thing though, I was almost near the cashier at lunch time where they had only one cashier processing the payments. As I completed my payment, it was 12:30pm and the cashier line was very long.

The renewal process took me more than two hours. My license will be available for pickup in May  as there is no rush renewal at the moment. I recommend going there early or late afternoon for the renewal as the main bottleneck there really would be the cashier payment.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tips: Real Property Tax

It's the start of the new year again and one of the obligations we have to pay to the government is the real property tax. This tax is more commonly called real estate tax or amilyar. If this is not paid regularly there will be penalties. There are cases where this tax was not paid in years, the tax penalty can accumulate to millions.

There are payment options. You can pay in cash or check. You can pay one-year in full or in quarters.If you pay in full between January and March, you will get 10% discount. If you pay quarterly  during January and March you will get 5%. With that I paid our amilyar in full to get the 10% discount. Likewise, note that in Pasig they require community tax certificate as requirement for paying real property tax.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Badminton Shoes

There goes my 3 year old Nike badminton shoes. It lost its grip on the court. Meanwhile I am using my my Nike training shoes to play badminton. My option is to go for brands that are designed for badminton sport but they are usually a lot expensive. Nike would still be my option as it would be less expensive.

Generally to be able to buy the Nike shoe at a lower price, you would wait for a mall sale and usually it is over pay day (15th, 30th). Hardly these first months of the year do you have a mall sale. What we do usually is to go to Nike outlet stores and we usually go to the outlet stores is Paseo de Santa Rosa in Santa Rosa, Laguna. The usual routine here is we travel to Tagaytay early morning and have breakfast there at Jollibee. Then we take our coffee at Starbucks. We buy beef, vegetables, daing and pineapple at Mahogany market.
We then travel back Santa Rosa and shop at the outlet stores. They have a Nike Park outlet and a Nike Factory outlet there. If you are into a more expensive brand, they have a Mizuno outlet also. Unfortunately at that time, the Nike outlets do not have badminton shoes.

View Paseo de Santa Rosa in a larger map

And then there is also a Nike outlet at Total Station along SLEX but we did not bother to go because it is out of our way. Another option I was looking at was Nike Outlet at Marikina riverbanks.

View Marikina Riverbanks in a larger map

Fortunately yesterday I was in Gateway mall in Cubao and I was able to dropby Nike Park store. They had the last pair of Nike Shuttle Court V waiting for me and guess what, it was onsale 40% off.  I was very happy buyer because I was looking into buying online the same shoes but without discount.

I have learned from the staff that all items from their stores that are not purchased once they have them on sale  goes to the outlet stores. You will usually find old model shoes in the outlet stores.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cable TV

I just had our cable tv provider changed today. I was unhappy with the previous service provider which I have subscribed for the past 5 years.  I lost several channels for the past months due a move by the cable operator to go to digital. I have to have digibox installed to be able to watch the channels  I am paying for.
Our house has a cable tv distribution where I have cable tv ports in our major rooms. Should I upgrade to digibox, I would have to purchase additional boxes.

Well I thought we don't have other options since the cable tv industry here in the Philippines is monopolized already by one company. One alternative was to go with a satellite TV but it is a very expensive service.
Guess what, there is still a cable TV (Click here for their website)operating in South Manila area. They have a basic package half the price of my previous cable tv service provider but offering more channels. And note these are not just ordinary channels, but premium channels ie now I have the following channels:

1. Disney Jr - something I need to purchase to have in my previous cable TV provider
2. Discovery Channels - something I need to purchase to have in my previous cable TV provider
3. StarMovies
4. Universal
5. Fox Filipino
6. Turbo

And last thing, now  I have better tv quality pictures than before. Now I can enjoy again watching cable TV.
There goes my eletric bill.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tips: Saving on Electricity

I just received our electric bill this week. Guess what, our bill for the past month was at 6.7k. The previous electric bill was at 8.5k. That's a whopping 1.8k reduction and that's huge. Apparently our consumption reduced from 694kwh to 572kwh. That's a difference of 122kwh. So I tried recalling the things we have done to be able to achieve these savings.

The following are so far what I have recalled:

1. I had our two window-type aircon units cleaned.
2. I used electric with speed setting low and placing the fan nearer to me.
3. I used my 3G usb modem more often than our dsl + wifi.
4. I shutdown my laptop instead of sleep mode or hybernating.
5. I changed my usage of laptop and TV, ie not having them switched on at the same time.

I wonder if this trend will continue in the next bill as the next months will be summer and the aircons will consume a lot of electricity.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tips: Investment on Insurance and Savings

At a early adult age I was influenced by mother to invest of insurance and savings. I greatly appreciate and thank her because I was able to saved a lot. There a lot of investment instruments nowadays that even double your investment in 5 years. For example, my mother invested in a double your money in 5 years and it will mature this year. Her investment of 500k will be 1M. In this type of investment, we have to be careful of the companies offering these types of products and make sure these companies are stable.

You have also stocks where you can invest your money,
a) short term where you profit from buy low and sell high
b) long term where you gain from dividends issued by companies, increased in stock value over long period.

My first insurance saving investment I made was when I as in the early 20's.  My total investment in 5 years was 150k and since 2003 I have been getting a pension of 2k a month and this is for life. I hope the investment company will not close.

The second insurance investment was long term savings with a huge international insurance firm. Since 2010, I have invested over 500k over for 8 years. Since 2011, the investment's income has paid for my premium. To date, I have a cash dividend amounting to 200k and this investment is returning to more than 60k year on year. Not bad right? If you are interested on the insurance company please drop a comment.

Tips: Save on Fuel on Full Tank

Just yesterday fuel pump prices increased by more than 1 peso. It was good thing a day earlier I had our two cars filled their tanks to full. Our SUV's full tank is 75 liters of diesel while a small car was at 43 liters of gasoline. Then it hit me if carrying around the extra weight of the fuel affects my mileage at all. So to satisfy my curiosity and peace of mind, I researched and evaluated if is it worth to get a full tank (to avoid the price increase) versus carrying around extra fuel weight (affecting my fuel consumption).

Here are some information (mostly from the internet)  I have searched to be used for my evaluation:

1. 1 liter of diesel has a weight of 0.851kg or 1.872lb (source: google search)
2. 1 liter of gasoline has a weight of 0.749kg or 1.648lb (source: google search)
3. The study Impact of Vehicle Weight Reduction on Fuel Economy for Various Vehicle Architectures by Ricardo Inc. for The Aluminum Association in 2008 showed that

      a. for a small car a 100-lb weight reduction resulted to 1.7% improvement in fuel economy city driving
      b. for a large SUV a 100-lb weight reduction resulted to 0.9% improvement in fuel economy city driving

 So how does it compute? For example for our SUV, the full tank is 75 liters of diesel which is about
140 lbs. Let's say if I want to remove 100lbs of excess weight driving around MetroManila, I will only fill to 30 liters. With this, my mileage would improve by 0.9%. Let's assume that I would have save 0.9% of my 75 liter full tank which is about 0.75 liters. I would have about 32 pesos per full tank. Compare this versus a price increase of 1 peso and full tank of 75 liters equivalent to 75 pesos saved.

For a small car, filling up to half full will reduce my weight by more than 35 lbs. The equivalent fuel economy improvement is about 0.62%. Now that's equivalent to 12 pesos. Compare this versus a price increase of 1 peso and a full tank of 42 liters equivalent to 42 pesos saved.

Hmm so what's the verdict? I will not definitely drive around MetroManila on a full tank. It will improve my fuel economy saving me at least 1 liter of fuel, helping in the carbon monoxide reduction. I will only fill our cars to full if there are scheduled fuel price increase of more than 50 centavos.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Auto Loan: To Settle or not to settle

I am planning on settling my auto loan this year. I have about 26 months of amortization still and the main reason for considering this settlement is that I can be able to control my cost ie.

1. Achieve cost avoidance, that is by settling the loan early, the settlement amount is smaller than the total balance loan to be paid.

2. Reduce my cost for insuring the car, ie I can dictate the insured amount for the car. The lower the insured amount, the lower will be my premium.

I called up the bank and inquired about my settlement cost. Likewise, I checked also my capability to pay the settlement amount either thru loan from family member or from another credit facility. My credit company was offering a low monthly interest. I evaluated the situation and I made a graph to simplify my analysis.


From the graph above, I can say,

1. I can avoid cost of 11k if I settle my auto loan by this month. That's about 10% cost saved. Now the only thing to do is here is to look for the money to settle it.

2. My credit card offered me a low interest per month. This facility will give at least few months to look for the money to pay the loan aside from the fact that I can still achieve cost avoidance. This cost saved will get smaller as the payment duration is increased. Another advantage of this option is I can earn reward points which I can use to pay my annual credit card free.

3. Let's say you have the settlement money of 104k. What if we just invest it and continue to pay the monthly amortization. At the interest rates banks are offering, 104k will not yield 11k in two years time.

The bottom line here is that settling this auto loan will let me avoid cost. I can be able to reduce also my insurance premiums and that's another cost avoidance. So what's the next thing to do? Find a family member whom I can borrow money with little or no interest, and/or check my credit card facility for good low interest offers? What do you think, should I continue paying my dues or settle it if I can get the money?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Buy and Sell Online Part Two - Experiences and Tips

Since my last sale transaction with regards to my buy and sell online, I made two sales of my items. Selling my items are bit slow but posting them on Tipidpc.com helped a lot. Here are the rest of the things I had to do.

1. I needed to update my items and pricing versus the current posted price on the internet. I had to lower  a bit my prices to be competitive. That resulted to several inquiries for my items.

2. I also reviewed the title post of my items to ensure that it gets to the top searched items. Sulit.com.ph had a feature to check the rank of the item in the most search keyword related to the item. I had to revise my item name to align to the keyword. For most part, I made my item name more generic as usually keywords type are general words.

3. As I am mobile  most of the time, whenever a I receive an SMS query, I have difficulty to responding because I don't have onhand information on my items. It is a good thing I have mobile internet to check on my posts. It is still a good thing to have a softcopy of the items especially to check if prices can still be lowered.

4. Whenever there is query, there is a need to respond immediately. A lot are selling similar items and buyers are inquiring and comparing. I answered an SMS query too late, the buyer bought from another seller.

So far these are my experiences I can share. Do you have any tips for selling online?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tips: Storage Boxes

We just had our Christmas tree stowed this weekend. Since we bought this 12 footer Christmas tree, I have been searching locally for a extra extra large plastic box which is at least 1 meter in length. The paper box or wood box is not recommended as mouse and termites are perennial problems in the house. The longest so far I was able to search thru the internet was 90 centimeters. I went to local home depot, Ace Hardware, Handy man and Wilcon but they don't have that plastic boxes that long.

I also got a chance to search in the US visiting Costco, Target, Walmart  and Bed and Bath. Fortunately I found these extra large boxes in Home Depot. You check it here. The storage box cost 20USD. It was perfect to store our Christmas tree. I am unable to bring home the box because it was a bit large so I planned to ship it home.

After I got back from the US, I research again the internet for a local plastic storage and fortunately I came upon this from sulit.com.ph. The dimensions are perfect for our Christmas and it will also fit in our storage room. I compared the cost of the local plastic box and the one from the US (with shipping cost) and it turns out the US is more expensive. Likewise, I will still wait for at least 30 days before the US item arrives. So we purchased the local plastic storage box (you check the product on trioplast).

Let me know also if you find alternative extra extra large storage boxes.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Organizer for Chargers

I am sure you have several phone and tablet chargers lying around the house. In our household alone, we have 3 chargers for Apple Ipads and Iphone and 3 chargers for smartphones. I have search the net for good ideas and tips for organizing these and found the following:

1. Organizer bag (old post from everythinginbudget.com)
2. Phone and charger holder
3. Charging Station Gadget
4. Another Charging Station Gadget
5. A very elegant charging valet 
6. A handicrafted charging station (lazada.com.ph)

My plan was just to buy a plastic tray to hold together all those chargers in one place. Just a small plastic box where one can just take and place back the charger. I planned to drop by the Japanese store to look for this as they have lots of cool practical items. Instead yesterday we went to this organizer specialty store in a high end mall and found this small long plastic tray with rubber mats. And we thought it was perfect for our use. In  addition the item was being sold 50% off. We bought one and here is how it looks with the chargers. The plastic box was long and small enough not to occupy much space.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Buy and Sell on line

I had to write about this today as today I was able to complete my first sale transaction thru an online buy and sell website Sulit.com.ph. After a month of posting my items for sale on line, I was able to sell two items.

My buyer saw my ads on sulit.com.ph. We communicated over sms and voice calls and we met up at Starbucks. My buyer saw my merchandise and instead of originally buying an item, he bought a packaged item.  Now that was cool. After the sale I felt good. I had those thoughts before going to the meetup if I was able to make the sale or would I end of  a bad buyer.

My merchanise is a bit high end and within a month of posting, I thought they won't get noticed. I guess sulit.com.ph also has reach to different segments. I was also thinking on posting on focused forums where these items are being sought or sold. Maybe in two months time I will post my items. But so far I get inquiries still for my items.

So what's my take away from this? Apart from being able to sell my merchandise I was able to add contacts and connections.  Can you help me and advise tips on buy and sell online?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tips : Window Type Airconditioners

I was able to schedule today cleaning of our two window type air-conditioners. I engaged a home service and it took about 3 hours to clean two units. As expected the aircons were very dirty considering more than a year of not being cleaned. Both aircons had rust forming already. We have 5 year old 0.75HP Carrier Aircon no drip that was very dirty and with rust forming. We have a 3 year old 1.0HP York Aircon that was dirty and with a worst rust condition. The York Aircon has also its fan swing broken whereas that of the Carrier aircon was still working. Apparently, the Carrier aircon has better build quality given our experience.

Here are few tips from the aircon service person.
1. Aircon with no drip is not recommended as water left at the aircon can result to rust.
2. Aircon cleaning should be performed every three months to ensure longer life for the unit ie better air circulation and cooling,  lesser power consumption.
3. No additonal filters are needed to be installed with the existing aircon filter. Particles from the additional filters can accumulate at the fan and can cause damage.
4. Inverter type aircon consumes less power but parts are expensive and their availability is a problem.
5. Condura Aircon are recommended for their build quality ie sturdy plastic frame.

The service costed me 450pesos per unit. What's your personal experience with your airconditioners and how much does it cost you?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tips: LTO Car Registration Renewal

The 3-year LTO registration for our car expired this year and I have to renew it now every year. I browsed the net to get some tips from fellow motorist who have went thru LTO car registration renewal. There several  detailed write-ups on the net which made it easy for me to go thru the renewal process. Here is one. Here is another one done at LTO Kapitolyo Pasig Office which is very extensive that comes with the procedure, pictures and fees. The renewal process here took 30 minutes at the closing hours of the office.

Here is how I went thru renewal process on a Friday morning.

1. I prepared the necessary documents: Photocopy of OR/CR, CTPL.
2. I had smoke emission test 8am at  a test center along West Drive Kapitolyo.
3. I went to the cashier area, submitted a photo copy of OR/CR.
4. I paid 430Pesos for the smoke emission test.
5. Unfortunately the computers at test center was offline thus I waited for 30minutes before I received emission test results and my Photocopy of OR/CR.
6. I proceeded to LTO Kapitolyo Pasig Office. I paid 20pesos for parking fee.
7. I parked our car in the MV inspection area.
8. I was asked to proceed to window 10 to secure stencil doc. I gave to the inspection aid the stencil doc plus photocopy of OR/CR and CTPL docs.
9. The inspection office completed the stencil doc and attached the photocopy of OR/CR and CTPL documents.
10. I proceeded back to window 10 for evaluation of the documents. The LTO officer approved the documents.
11. I proceeded to a designated evaluator at Window 14 (depends on the ending plate number).
12. I waited for my name to be called.
13. Once my name was called. the renewal documents were returned to me.
14. I lined up at the cashier, submitted my documents and paid a fee of 1,829.60Pesos.
15. I proceed to releasing window, but unfortunately there were no stickers available at that time. I have to check and return to the releasing office once stickers are available.

The whole process took 1 hr on Friday morning wherein I a spent a total of 2,859.60Pesos for renewal of a 2010 sedan for 2013. I read that for some, the total fees are more than 3,000Pesos. I was happy it costed much less and it was due to my CTPL. Let me know thru the comment box if you want to save on your car registration renewal. Also you may want to get the services of AAP.