Investing in real estate

First of all, I am writing this post not to brag but to inspire. When somebody talks about good things that happened to them by working hard and investing on something, my husband and I are always inspired. Of course we need to think about it and really study about it before we will do the same. We’ve learnt our lesson on some things about investments, sadly, we learned it the hard way.

When my husband and I got married, we took the risk of buying a parcel of land in Cebu City. It was a risk because, we just got married, my husband is new in his job, and I, though was in a good company, was not certain if I will also be retrenched just as my other colleagues were. I think, it was a good investment because the value of the land that we purchased 11 years ago, appreciated for almost 300%.

It was 2013 or 2014, when my husband and I again decided to buy a house and lot near my home place. As we knew how tiresome it is to pay the mortgage every month, we decided to pay it in cash. We saved the money for almost two years. We were already in Singapore back then and both of us are working. It was a small house and lot, around 80 sqm.

The decision of paying it in cash was not something that I could recommend, especially if you are just earning an average salary. During that time, our savings were completely consumed. I was the one who was in charge of savings, and it was very difficult. My husband even asked me, how did I manage to save.

Mortgage is fine because the value of the property is also increasing. We’ve learned about it and so we acquire a bigger house and lot. It was a risk actually because, we bought it in a bigger subdivision and it is somehow pricey. We are about to pay this for 6 years in the bank. The value of the house and lot that we bought is now higher than the interest of the loan that we had in the bank. We somehow earned already on this property.

This house is where we are living now.

For us, it is a necessity to have a vehicle here in the Philippines because the transportation is somehow troublesome. My husband was thinking of buying a SUV (sport utility vehicle) however, I was really not into it because, firstly, it is expensive, secondly, I am not used to driving big vehicles. So, I gave a suggestion to my husband if we could just buy a sedan, then buy another small house and lot. He gave in to my suggestion and now we acquired another property. This will be payable for 15 years.

For the past, three days I was busy cleaning our first house and lot (the small one) because someone wants to rent it. My mom was living there before then, I asked my mom if she could just be with us. A lot were asking me about this property, if it is for sale or for rent. The location was good and the neighborhood is quiet. It was ideal actually.

My husband and I were excited because this is the first time we will be earning from our investments. The last house and lot, will be turned over to us, eventually, we will also lease this unit.

Advantages

  • This is a good investment for retirement. After 15 years when we settled the last unit, the rentals for the two units that we had will be our allowance. This is a good source of income.
  • It appreciates overtime. Unlike vehicles, real estates appreciate. Especially when you acquire the house and lot in a good and reputable developer.
  • An investment that you could pass to your children. It’s good to have peace of mind knowing that your children will have something from you when you expired in this world.

Disadvantages

  • Might take longer time to sell. This is not an investment where you could just sell it right away when you need money. Of course you could pawn it to the bank, however, you will be on the loosing end.
  • Higher transaction cost. One should have an adequate amount of money for the transaction cost of buying real estate. The equity payable for 12 to 24 months, bank loan fees, insurance, etc.

Tips

If you are wondering what is happening now in the land that we bought in Cebu, the answer is nothing. Please remember that a land without a building is not profitable. It will certainly appreciate but you will earn while you are paying the mortgage.

If you want to invest also in real estate, do a lot of research. Study the location, know the developer, research on the best bank to mortgage. Do not be excited.. Take time to study and think about it.

We are still planning on what to do in this property. We need a lot of savings still.

Please do not get me wrong. This is not a walk in the park journey. There are a lot of sacrifices just to acquire the properties. We are just mindful of our future.

Pork Ribs Humba Recipe

If you are a Filipino, you might heard about this dish called Humba.. This is the sister recipe of the famous adobo but this is the Visayan Version. This is usually cooked on the southern part of the Philippines, the Visayas region.

My husband is from Cebu, and I first tasted this humba when I was there in Cebu. I really loved the adobo taste with the sweetness. The pork is well cooked and well marinated with vinegar and soysauce.

Since I have been craving for humba, I bought pork ribs and some of its ingredients to cook it today.

Sharing with you my simple pork ribs humba recipe.

Ingredients:

1 spoon of cooking oil

8 cloves of garlic (minced)

1 kilo of spare ribs (chopped)

3 parts (ladle) of soysauce

2 parts (ladle) of vinegar

80 g of salted black beans

115 g of pineapple tidbits

1 spoon of sugar

2 glasses of water

salt and pepper to taste

How to Cook:

  1. Fry the garlic in a pan.
  2. Once the garlic are already a little brownish. Add the washed spare ribs.
  3. Add, salt, pepper, soysauce and vinegar. Cover the pot.
  4. Once it boiled, add 1 glass of water.. Then add again the other glass of water.
  5. When the meat is already tender, add the salted black beans. Cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Add the pineapple tidbits and sugar. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  7. Add salt and pepper if required.
  8. Serve hot.. Enjoy!

These are the ingredients that are available with me.. Some are putting dried bay leaves and banana blossoms.

My kids loved it. They were hesitant at first to try it but since they knew adobo, they liked it when they tasted it.

I have added a video of how I did in my facebook page.. Kindly visit Maybahay ng OFW page.

Easy and Creamy Sopas Recipe

Sopas or chicken macaroni soup is a Filipino dish usually eaten during rainy days. We thought it will be raining today like yesterday but the sun shone so brightly.

Today, as promised, I will be sharing with you my super easy and creamy sopas recipe. This dish is one of my children’s favorites. They were very excited when they knew that I will be cooking this.

I mentioned a while ago that this is a macaroni soup however, we used spaghetti pasta instead. Spaghetti pasta do not absorb the soup much and so it can be eaten practically the whole day.

Here is my own easy and creamy sopas recipe.

Ingredients:

1 chicken breasts boneless

1 piece onion (chopped)

6 gloves of garlic (minced)

1/2 piece cabbage (sliced)

1 pc medium size carrot (dized)

2 medium size potatoes (dized)

1 piece small size bell pepper (chopped)

370 ml evaporated milk

1 pc knorr cube

40 grams grated cheddar cheese

8 cups of water

3 tablespoons of cooking oil

400 grams spaghetti pasta (cut to half)

Salt and pepper to taste

How to cook:

  1. Boil the chicken breasts using 4 cups of water. After boiling, set aside the water and let the chicken cool down. Shred the chicken.
  2. Set aside the chicken and the water.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pot. Saute the onion, after 1 minute, add the garlic, then the bell pepper.
  4. Add 3 cups of water, then add the spaghetti pasta. Let it cooked for 10 minutes.
  5. Then add the shredded chicken and remaining water from the boiled chicken.
  6. After 1 minute, add the carrots, then the potatoes.
  7. Pour the evaporated milk, afterwards add the grated cheese. Add water if needed.
  8. Add the knorr cube. Taste. Add salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Let it boil. Add the cabbage. Cover the pot for another 5 minutes.
  10. Then finished. Enjoy the sopas.

Top 6 Filipino dishes during rainy days

Rainy days are here again in the Philippines. I love rainy days! I feel like our plants are having the buffet that they deserved. Having a typhoon is a different story though. I just love the drizzles and how my plants are blooming after each rain.

During these days also, I always see to it that we have enough foods at home. It’s nice to stay at home during rainy seasons. There’s not much to do outside the house.

Being a person who loves to cook, I always see to it that my kids would also enjoy this rainy season by remembering the dishes that I cooked.

Filipinos love to eat… We love to eat together. During rainy days, there are some specific foods that Filipinos love to eat. I would like to share with you some of those…

  1. Sopas – Macaroni Soup

This soup consists of chicken, carrots, potatoes, evaporated milk and some spices. We will actually prepare this tomorrow. My mom puts cheddar cheese on it too to make it tastier. It’s nice to eat this to make ourselves warm.

Macaroni Soup – Credit to the Owner

2. Champorado – Chocolate rice pudding

This is also a must-cooked during rainy days. This is made up of cocoa, glutinous rice and sugar. This is best served with dried fish. We definitely love this dish. Kids love this dish too.

Champorado – CTTO

3. Ginataang Bilo bilo

This is a mixture of glutinous rice, saba (variety of a banana), jackfruit, root crops, sugar and coconut milk. We really love the taste of this especially when it is freshly cooked.

Ginataang Bilo bilo – CTTO

4. Tinola

This is a chicken soup that is best eaten with rice. We put unripe papaya, ginger and moringa leaves on it. This is one of my youngest daughter’s favorites. This is what we ate today.

5. Bulalo

This is a beef soup, usually bone marrow part. I am actually not eating beef but this is my father’s favorite. During rainy days, he will ask my mother to cook this. My siblings also love this dish.

6. Arrozcaldo

Some call this as chicken rice porridge. I usually serve this with fried tofu, garlic and pork on top. Even if my children will eat this for the whole day, they will not complain about it.

I will share with you the recipe of each of these dishes. Tomorrow, I will be cooking sopas (macaroni soup). Please expect my blog to be a macaroni soup recipe.

Enjoy the rainy days…

Weekend Adventure

Two weeks ago, my father and my siblings went to an “abandoned” farm that my father always asked us to visit. It is owned by my grandfather, which was not maintained because my he is already old. Since, my father has only one sibling, it is expected that it would be given to them.

My siblings and I decided to finally visit the farm because my father was very excited for us to experience being there.

My grandparents were farmers and they earned a lot by farming. They managed to buy properties and give my father and his sibling good education. However, it was not a walk in a park experience, my grandparents were not rich, they were very hardworking people. We are so grateful for their sacrifices.

So, when we finally set a date for the visit, my father was so excited. We set a “picnic” lunch party there. My father said he would cooked our favorite, chicken feet with coconut milk (doesn’t sound nice, but it is really good).

On that day, my sister together with her daughter, went first. We were expecting that it was really abandoned.. There are more bushes than the actual “good” plants there. We waited for our father to arrive before we went inside the “jungle”.. haha..

So we entered into a small passageway, then begun our adventure walking through the bushes. I was really scared because the probability of us encountering a snake was so huge. The first big tree that my father showed us was the jackfruit tree. My father said, that tree probably is already 40 years old. He was asking us if we want to cut the tree to make doors or tables. Something that I am now thinking about. Hmmm..

It was really difficult to pass through the bushes, but my father wanted us to see the area of the farm. I haven’t had this kind of stretching for a long time.. Haha. Before we went there, my father asked us to wear long sleeves, pants and rubbershoes, so that we would be ready for the adventure.

We stopped in the middle of the jungle where a huge pili tree is located. My father told us that we will have our lunch there.. So, we waited for my brother and his wife there. While waiting, we cleaned the area where we are going to eat. I looked for banana leaves around and spread over the ground. My sister removed the leaves on the ground so that it would become tidier.

This is what it looks like

It was so hard to locate our position and so my father fetched my brother and his wife.

I brought pinakbet (vegetables with shrimp paste) and my brother brought Jollibee chicken (yummy!). We had a very nice bonding there and I think my father was happy to see us together.

I thought of getting tree branches to make fence for my small vegetable garden at home. I asked my brother and father if they could help me get those. So, when we went back to the car, we had a lot of things to carry.

The project that I had this weekend was to put fence on my garden. Thanks to our adventure, I was able to beautify my small vegetable garden.

We will definitely be back on the farm. Hopefully we could spend more time to clean it as there are a lot of potentials on that property.

Taal Volcano Eruption

Yesterday, we received a text message from NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council, updating us about Taal Volcano possible eruption.

The text message said that we have to be careful and to follow notice about evacuation.. Then, the volcano was raised to alert level 3, earthquakes are expected during this time. At around 3:16 to 3:21 in the afternoon steam-driven or phreatic eruption occurred. We need to follow notices from the authorities.

At alert level no. 3 as per the PHIVOLCS (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology), probable intrusion of magma at depth, which may or may not lead to magmatic eruption. Entry in PDZ (permanent danger zone) is prohibited.

My daughter also received the text message and she immediately approached me yesterday asking me what it meant. She got scared.

She was scared yesterday because last year, January 12, 2020, to be exact, Taal Volcano erupted. Taal Volcano was said to be the smallest volcano in the Philippines located in Taal Batangas. On the upper part of Batangas is the Cavite province, where we are living.

Credits to the Owner

This photo was before the eruption last year. The view of the Taal Volcano from Tagaytay City is breathtaking.. It is like a painting. So good to look at.

I remember vividly that time, my sister and her daughter were with us in our other house. It was daytime but it seemed like it was so dark. Some people from Tagaytay noticed smoke coming from the volcano’s mouth.

Around 2 to 3 in the afternoon that January 12, 2020, loud rumbling sounds were heard, seemed like big thunders, like a vast explosion from the sky. It became worst around 7:30 in the evening when we saw in the sky the explosions that seemed to reach the heaven. It was like a movie scene from Independence Day of Tom Cruise. It was like millions of fireworks exploded accidentally in the sky. It was horrible.. I was thinking about the people in Batangas and also in Tagaytay (where most of my relatives live). The night was so long that time, a lot of explosions in the sky, earthquakes.. There were lots of facebook posts from my friends and relatives screaming their hearts out, as they are so frightened.

January 13, there was no electricity. Ashfalls were everywhere. People were so scared. A lot evacuated. We are still thankful to God that we were safe in our place. Batangas and nearby cities were greatly affected. All became gray and black. It was like a scene from a horror movie.

This photo was taken by my father after the eruption. This is my grand father’s front yard. All became black.. Ash fall thickness was estimated to be 1 foot or more.

Before the pandemic, we were already wearing masks. The dust made us hard to breathe and it caused skin problems. There was no electricity also because the powerlines were succumbed by the ashfalls. There were lots of panic buying during these times too. We just needed to stay at home.

My relatives who were living in the nearby cities evacuated and rented houses for the elderlies. The PHIVOLCS was closely monitoring the volcano. Evacuees spent weeks in the evacuation centers. The volcano became quiet. There were some earthquakes still but there were no indication of another major eruption.

Little by little, people went back to their homes and did the cleaning. One seemed to be a never ending cleaning was then finished. Everything went back to normal after a few months.. Then this pandemic happened.

Now, we are again in the look-out of what could happen next. Yesterday afternoon, around 5 o clock, the sky was dark in our place, but it did not rain. I checked in the internet and there was an explosion again of the volcano.

Praying that there will no eruption again. Filipinos are resilient but we are getting tired too.

Homeschool Grades

I got a note yesterday from the Home Education Provider of my daughter that her grades are ready to be picked up in their facility today. Since, it is seldom that I will go out, I make sure that the errands that I need to do will be done.

One of the reasons why I choose to do errands when I go out of the house is because I somehow feel guilty that I will leave my kids behind.. Though my mom is here but I have this feeling that my kids also need to go out. They haven’t been gone to any places, like restaurants or malls for one and a half years now. My kids are really fond of going out and spending weekend afternoons on leisure places. Now, what they can do at most is to ride the bicycle here in our village (with the masks on).

Praying that this will end. Someday, we will just look back on this like it is a nightmare. Something that we will talk about on the future generations.

Anyway, so I prepared early as I need to go to my daughter’s school then go to our car’s insurance provider.

Homeschool Grades

Some of my friends and acquaintances on facebook posted their children’s grades. I must admit those were really high. I am not against it, I mean, of course you will be very proud if your child had good grades. Especially when you saw how diligent she was during the school year.

My daughter’s grades are not that high compared to the people I know in facebook. One, because her school has a different grading system, the school adapted the grading system in UK. Second, because that was the result of her work…

I always wanted my child to be independent. Though, I am her teacher but I see to it that I am not spoon-feeding her when she’s studying. When we sit down to study, I am giving her the ample time for her to think and ask questions. After that, homeworks and seatworks should be done by her alone. Questions should be done only during school hours. The grades were just forwarded to the provider. If it was low, I will just talk to my daughter about it so that she could improve.

My husband and I are really not particular in grades. I mean, as long as our kids are enjoying school, studying hard and learning genuinely, those are enough for us.

Though, I am pushing my children to study hard, but I know their strengths and the subjects that they are having difficulty. As long as I know that they did what they can do, I am okay with it.

Time for Studying

There is always time for everything. June and July are the school vacation of my kids. During these months, I let them do what they want to do.. Play, paint, draw, play video games, read, whatever.. Of course, they should also help me with the house chores, this is part of their discipline.

The time for studying should be followed. During school days, there are limited times for phones, ipad or TV. Weekends are the exemptions. My eldest daughter should know her homeworks and projects, what to do and when she needs to submit it.

I always remind my daughter that we cannot turn back the time. So, if it is the time for studying, she should study.

I know some people who had regrets on why they did not study hard. It is not about the grades, but skills and discipline that studying provides. They will say, “I hope I study hard before, maybe I will be better than what I am now”. Though, studying is for all ages, however younger people have more luxury of time, because studying is what they need to do. I mean, especially for those who have parents that provide everything just for them to study.

Better to study when it is time to study.

Improve my Daughter’s Grades

The only way to improve the grades of my daughter is to teach her well. I have the same teaching approach in all the subjects. If most of her grades are low, it would be my fault, because my teaching method is not effective. However, her grades are quite high on most of the subjects and so I believe, she is okay with how I am teaching her.

My forte is mathematics because I am an engineer, and so I have high expectations on my daughter’s math grades. However, she is on the average, sometimes her quizzes are low. But I know that she studied and she understood the lessons well. Sometimes, the fault is carelessness. That is something that I am working on about her.

So this how I am improving my daughter’s grade. I don’t do homeworks or projects for her. I am just coaching her.

At the end of the day, it is always the wisdom, skills and discipline that matter most. These are the traits that they could have when they are diligent in their studies.

Not All Days are Good

I was anticipating this Monday because last weekend was a nightmare here at home. There was a huge leak in the pipeline on the road adjacent to our house. Our water is running low.

I noticed it last Friday night and when I was about to report it last Saturday, the maintenance team were already there. They did some drilling, finding where the fault is, then stopped and said that they will come back today.

This is what the maintenance team did last Saturday.

There were three people who did the drilling, then came back today with no other improvements. It is really frustrating. I went to the office of our subdivision and filed a complaint. I also sent an email to the main office.

This will remind us that not all the days are good. There will always be a bad day. A day that would really test our patience. Maybe because the expectations were not met.

Well, I was really expecting that we will enjoy the water today. I will be able to wash the blankets tomorrow. Plans about what I will do when water is already okay.

I am still grateful because at least we still have water. Though, it is few but at least we could take a bath and cook. The rain is pouring every night and so the plants are watered still.

Lesson learnt… Don’t expect but do something.

Carry Each Other’s Burden

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” Galatians 6:2

Yesterday morning, I received a sad news that my former colleague at work died by a car accident. I first saw a post on facebook then confirmed from my friend if the news is accurate. Then my friend confirmed and I was saddened by the news.

The friend who confirmed about the death of my colleague also shared his problems to me.. I knew he was going through some pain because he mentioned to me that he somehow experienced anxiety attack (just like what happened to me before) and he said he understood the feeling already. He has been experiencing some marital problems.. Something that is shocking to me. I knew his wife and how he loves her.

Judging Others

I spent 8 years in my former work in Singapore and the person who passed away was my former boss. It was a rough work relationship as it was the first time for this person to be a boss and to handle big projects. I was really pissed on him because he panicked more often than us, his subordinates. There were a lot of arguments between us. However at the end the day, everything was only about work.. We still went out for dinner and had group bondings.

When he was not our boss anymore, he was really supportive on us. He believed in us, in our capabilities and skills on handling big projects. The relationship was different, it was more friendly and relax. A lot of fun memories also during our lunches or dinners. During that time, I felt that I was wrong, he was a good person. He cares for people.. He just don’t know how to manage people well. But he is a good friend.

On the other hand, my friend who opened about his marital problems said that the major problem occurred in their marriage last 2018. I was still working then, and I had a misconception that he was not motivated to work anymore. During that time, he was reporting to work so late, always on the phone (I was not eavesdropping), not attentive to work.. We were on the same team and I was thinking that time that I was the only one who was working hard in our group. It was hard on me.. but I didn’t know that it was harder on him. His burden was beyond what I can imagine.

Praying for Others

I was affected by the problems that my friend shared. It is not because I experienced that, but more on the relationship that ended. Ended in such a way that was unthinkable. Something that I did not expect to happen on them.

Whatever happened to them, I am not in the position to judge them because I was not there in their relationship. When he was sharing his problems, I just listened, ask questions but did not judge.. I was telling my husband that I cannot move on from what my friend shared. My husband said, each one of us has its own cross to carry.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

From what my husband said, the best way to help my friend carry his burden is to pray for him.. Prayers are very powerful. It heals deep wounds, it gives peace, then eventually joy.

I also prayed for the family of my colleague at work who passed away, to have strength on overcoming the lost of their loved one.

Cross to Carry

God is not giving us problems or difficulties that we cannot bear.. Sometimes, all we need is to seek Him, no talk, just silence.. Then the Holy Spirit will intercede and speak to the Lord of our desires.

We all have our own cross to carry. Sometimes, it is really overwhelming and the heaviness gives us excruciating pain. We need others to help us carry the burden, we cannot do it by ourselves. We need to seek God’s help and guidance. He is the only way.

Fleas at Home

Since last week, I have been noticing something different on my youngest daughter’s skin.. Though I know she has sensitive skin but it seems like there are some insects biting her. I have some ointment here, recommended by her pediatrician, in case she will have some skin irritations or insect bites. I put some and it easily dried.

However, I felt something is not okay in our house.. I am so particular with cleanliness at home. I hate dusts and things unattended on the floor. When I felt something itchy on my skin, I became so irritated. My mom was here and she is also particular with tidiness and cleanliness, so she immediately bathed the two cats. Together with my eldest, they bathed the two cats, twice this week. They used this madre de cacao soap, I bought this because it was proven that this could eliminate the fleas on pets.

I am certain that the cats’ fleas are gone, however, there are still some roaming around the house.

These are the flea bites on my leg..

I was so busy for the past days and so it is only today that I have time to thoroughly clean the house. I always have baking soda at home. I have pets so I know there will really come a day when they will be infected with fleas.. I always vacuumed the house with baking soda.

So I put baking soda on our beds, couches and carpets, I left it for an hour. Then I vacuumed the whole house.

I also changed the beddings on our bedrooms. Wipe the top of the furnitures and appliances. I mopped the floor using a cleansing liquid detergent.

For some reasons, maybe psychologically, I felt that the house is somehow free from fleas. I will doing this cleaning routine more often as I want to really get rid of these unwanted visitors here at home.