Saturday, August 16, 2008

Rain Rain Go Away!

Yesterday, I was rushing to go home but dropped by the grocery first because Reese’s can of milk was almost empty. So I bought a big can of milk and some groceries quickly and hurried back to the exit door. To my surprise, the rain was already pouring so hard and it was not possible for me to cross the street without getting soaked. So I stayed inside the mall for half an hour, did window shopping, sited on the bench then headed back to the exit door. It was still raining, so I did the same thing over and over again. Then after 2 hours of waiting, despite of the rain I bravely went out and walked across the street to the terminal and lined up.

I thought I could finally go home, but tough luck! Due to the heavy rains some areas were already flooded and the FX to my route could not pass through. I stayed in the terminal for 2 hours more and still, nothing happened! It was even raining non-stop.

Gani who was stuck in traffic also got caught in heavy flood and the car’s engine emitted steam when some water made contact with it. He stopped over to a gasoline station near Acacia Lane to check and see if the car won’t break. When the rain finally stopped, he was able to pick me up from Megamall. It was 10 pm and I was there for more than 4 hours already! My feet were aching and I don’t feel like I can stand for another hour or so.

Both of us we’re very tired and hungry. He parked the car across Seattle’s Best then we entered Cajun restaurant. It was our first time there so I have no idea what food will be good to order. To stick to the safe side, I ordered the standard Cajun Bourbon Back Ribs with rice and shredded corn while Gani had New York Fish and Chips. Both meals were delicious and satisfying matched with 2 canned sodas. The price was very reasonable too, only 625 pesos for everything! Baby back ribs alone usually cost that much, so that was a real treat! We finally got something nice out of a difficult day.

We drove home and there was still traffic along the way. At last, we’re home by 11:30 pm. Reese was fast asleep… no more chance for me to hear her laughing out loud before sleep. On the brighter side, we’re home just in time, just before her milk was totally gone. Sigh!

Friday, August 15, 2008

SDA & Time Deposit

For several years, we didn’t have a TD account. Our regular savings account in BPI Direct is giving us a competitive rate that’s why I didn’t bother to look for other options thinking that time deposits will have almost the same rates.

After reading some books and doing my research online, I got into my feet and visited ten (yes, you read it right, 10!) reputable banks here in Ortigas. Since I am after fixed-income and short-term investments, I inquired about time deposit and treasury bills. And would you believe that a lot of bank personnels didn’t know their product?! Some were at a lost, and some didn’t even know the rate of withholding tax! You need to ask them questions related to the product and be able to speak the “not so” familiar financial terms. For instance, when inquiring about T-bills then you need to ask for the minimum investment required, prevailing rate, maturity days, discounted price and the net settlement amount, which would mean less withholding tax and other charges. I’ve learned that you need to make sure that you know what you are asking for to get the right answers. Since I did my homework and calculations in Excel, I was able to ask direct questions and got the best deal that I could. But what if I don’t? Then, I would probably walked away and stick to the regular savings since that one didn’t cause any trouble asking questions here and there.

Funny side of the story was during one of my visits in a bank branch along San Miguel Ave., the bank manager took suspicion on me and asked where I came from? I said, “I work here in Ortigas”, then I looked back and asked, “Why?” She said that she’s just checking if I didn’t come from other banks researching on what other banks offer to clients. It appeared to her that I am very certain with what I am looking for. Now that’s what I got for making myself more informed. But nevertheless, no regrets! I didn’t get their services either since I found something better applicable for my short term goal.

So here’s what I found. Investing on SDA (Special Deposit Account) being offered by BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) is good considering that it has better interest rates compared to TD. BPI is offering the lowest minimum investment for SDA giving 4.45% net interest per month. And for TD, considering that no risk involved, ChinaBank offers the best rates among the ten banks I visited especially for 30 days tenure.

I am disclosing this information to help others save and invest their money wisely. Please note that I am not endorsing these banks. In case you found something better, then go ahead and share!

Update:

After 1 month, I've noticed that the TD rates increased, so it will be good to have the 30 day term to avail of the higher interest much sooner (for short term). For SDA, I availed of the automatic roll-over of principal and interest. I checked my account on-line and so far so good! I just have to wait for the letter from the bank to know the exact maturity date for next month and be able to add something to it. :-)

Update 2 (July 2009)

The interest rates particularly on TD dropped tremendously. I’ve mentioned on this post that CBC was offering the best rates way back in Aug 2008. I’ve started there with 4.25% and it went up as high as 5.25% last Dec 2008. But here comes Jan 2009 and the rate dropped to 3.25%. And now, as of this writing, it is just at 2.5%! I need to find time to fix this. I am observing PS Bank currently with 3.0% interest rate, but am not sure if it would be worth the effort to transfer since their rates are also decreasing fast.

Same thing for BPI-SDA, net interest rate dropped. I’ve started with 4.45% net interest, and now it is just giving me 3.36%. My husband recently suggested Citi e-Savings Plus with 4.75% p.a. gross rate (subject to 20% withholding tax). But still quite high isn’t? Not really! The catch is that the interest rate only applies to the deposit in excess of 100k! So after doing the math, I still prefer SDA which gives us full interest for everything we’ve invested on them. Hoping that in times like this, a better deal will really surface. It’s been almost a year and probably, I need to re-shop around the banks again.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Joy Ride

Reese had her MMR vaccination last Saturday with a "long playing" cry before and after the procedure. She didn't like lying on the bed while the doctor examines her. Oh well! She needs to bear those things for her to stay healthy.

So we decided to bring her along for our regular grocery shopping in Puregold Shaw. She tried the kiddie push cart and just after few minutes, voila! She already forgotten what happened to her at the doctor’s clinic. ;-)


I wish that SM Supermarket will come up with this one too!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Found Treasure

I got daily dose of Our Daily Bread each morning as my computer starts up. That is part of my daily routine before actually jumping to work. I always try my best to read on it each day to know our loving God, and to feed my soul and my mind.

Now, I remember the website of Bo Sanchez I saw on TV few weeks ago and to my surprise, I found another treasure! He got lots of inspirational stories in his blog and in addition, an almost daily video of himself talking about God with a prayer afterwards. It’s good to have video for my daily reflection and hear the voice of the preacher like talking to you and sharing more on what God has in store for all of us. I wish I found this much earlier. Couple of years ago, I've read his book Simplify and Live the Good Life but wasn't able to keep myself updated. But now, I'll catch up. I feel so inspired and knowing that in days I am not at my best, I just have to read on and listen, then I’ll always feel better… Thank you Lord for making me found this one. And more power to Bo!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Gallbladder Surgery - Cholecystectomy

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be away from home for a couple of days. My mom will undergo Cholecystectomy gallbladder surgery in a hospital in Sta. Maria Bulacan to remove her gallbladder and gallstones. It has been several months ago, when she complained that her stomach was aching. She got confined then and was immediately told that she needs to have operation. But just to make sure, we went for a 2nd opinion to a doctor here in Manila. She was given some medication but was also advised that if the pain strikes again, she must proceed with the operation.

Now is the time. And we made sure that she’s physically and mentally prepared for it. All we need to do is to keep on praying that everything will turn out well. Your prayers for my mom and our family are very much welcome.

Prevention is still better than cure, so I am sharing what I found to be the causes of gallstones to increase awareness of the things that we should avoid.

In case you have gallstones, early detection could prevent you from acquiring more severe complications. You may want to check also for its symptoms in order to make yourself better prepared.

As the saying goes, Health is Wealth. I am hoping that I’ll be able to get more prayers for my mom through this... Thanks for spending time reading.

Update:
My mom had undergone the traditional gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) instead of Laparoscopic since her gallbladder already constricted and was quite hard to remove. She stayed in the hospital for only 3 days and is now fast recovering. Thanks for all your prayers! :-)