Monday, August 27, 2007

Lowest housing loan interest rates ever

I have always been happy with PAG-IBIG Fund. I have always found their employees very friendly and efficient. And that is not the only reason. There's more.

Out of all the statutory deductions to your monthly salary (SSS, GSIS, Philhealth, PAG-IBIG and withholding income tax), only PAG-IBIG can be considered "savings". Unlike other deductions, all your contributions to PAG-IBIG, plus all your employers' share, will be returned to you in full upon maturity of your account.

On top of that, your "savings" will also allow you to get a housing loan at very low interest rates. In fact, in a seminar I attended last Saturday at their Corporate Center, I learned that interest rates were further reduced last June 207 to only 6% for loans up to P300,000, 7% for loans up to P750,000, and so on.

And, while PAG-IBIG may "re-price" your housing loan after three years, the interest rate can only be increased by not more than 2%. Meaning, for a P750,000 loan, the highest interest charges you may incur is only 9%, way below the interest rates offered by banks, even today.

With the lowest interest rates ever, and with the assurance that the rates cannot be increased by more than 2%, I sincerely believe that now is the ideal time to get a housing loan and build your own home.

Photo of the PAG-IBIG Member Relations Desk inside the Atrium in Makati which houses the Corporate Center of the Fund.

Got a Thinking Blogger Award

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

For some reason, I got a Thinking Blogger Award from Selaplana of I assume it is an award started by the Thinking Blog and now being passed on from one thinking blogger to another. Selaplana had this to say about me:
Gibo for informing about Skim-boarding. His blog Bol-anon, actually reminds me my first ever visit to Tagbilaran City last July 5-6, 2007.
Bol-anon of course is one of my blogs which I recently turned into a group/community blog on Bohol and the journeying Boholanos. My other blogs include Pinoy Seminars, Quick and Random, Batasayti and Kontrakablag.

I thank Selaplana for choosing me as one of his 10 awardees out of the many members of his community. I now would like to pass on the award to a great set of bloggers who has been making me "think" for some time now:
  1. Eu-Leh of Entrepinoys Atbp.
  2. Gcol of Pinoy-Negosyo-Techs
  3. Gwen of the Thegrapebunch
  4. Maia Jose of Manila Mom, and
  5. The people behind Mag-negosyo.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Stop renting, start investing

A few months back, I read an article about buying your second home first. The idea was that, it is not advisable to invest all your savings, or borrow unthinkable amounts of money, just to buy or build your dream house immediately.

It is more advisable to invest in a reasonably priced “second home” first which you may amortize using the money you are now spending monthly for rent. Of course, there are lots of low-cost housing subdivision around, but one option you may want to consider is Eastwood Residences in Rodriguez (formerly Montalban), a municipality which is just beside Quezon City.

Eastwood Residences is a development project of Verdantpoint Development Corporation and is only 30 to 40 minute-ride away from the Quezon Memorial Circle. I have been there several times and I can assure you, that 30 to 40 minutes is not an exaggeration.

The project offers a full-set of amenities like a multi-purpose hall, basketball court, landscaped playground, a nearby swimming pool, 24-hour security, provision for commercial areas, among others.

There are various house models available but for starters, you may consider Bianca with a floor area of 25 sqm, lot area of 63 sqm, provision for 2 bedrooms, 1 toilet and bathroom, living room, dining room, kitchen and carpark.

With Pag-ibig Fund financing, initial cash outlay for Bianca will just be around P4,300 a month for 7 months, and the succeeding amortization only around P3,600 per month. Very affordable even to government employees like me.

Another option is Tifanny, with a floor area of 44 sqm (two storey) and lot area of 36 sqm. It has provision for 3 bedrooms, 1 toilet and bathroom, living room, dining room and kitchen. With Pag-ibig Fund financing, initial cash outlay will be around P7,700 for 6 months and succeeding amortization at only around P6,300 per month.

Open house and free tripping on Sundays. For further inquiries, please email me at or call/text me at 09189387793. I will be very glad to help you get your own home!

Hydroponics, making urban farming possible

I was first attracted to hydroponics when I saw an exhibit by Negoskwela showing a full grown lettuce on a piece of plastic cup. I thought that it was something that residents in urban areas like me can make use of.

To satisfy my interest, I skipped watching the Philippines-Mexico Boxing World Cup last August 5 to attend a seminar on hydroponics by Engr. German Penaranda at Negsokwela. I didn’t regret the decision especially when I learned that our fellow Bol-anon, Boom Boom Bautista, got a big “boom” in the first round.

Hydroponics, I learned, comes from the Greek words “hydro” meaning water, and “ponos” meaning work or labor. It is a technology for growing plants in nutrient solutions (or solutions made of water and fertilizers) either with or without the use of artificial solid medium like sand, gravel, rockwool, coconut peat, sawdust, among others.

The principal advantage of hydroponics include high-density maximum crop yield, crop production where no suitable soil exists, virtual indifference to ambient temperature and season, more efficient use of land area, and suitability for mechanization, disease and pest control.

On the other hand, the major disadvantages include isolation of crop from the soil causing problems related to diseases, pest, salinity, and poor structure, high cost of capital and energy inputs, and high degree of management skills required for successful production.

In fact, to do hydroponics at a commercial scale, you have to build a capital-intensive (meaning costly) setup and buy necessary equipment like pumps and measuring tools, among others.

However, I was also told that you can also do hyroponics at the constraints of your home as a hobby and use things like ice cream gallon containers and plastic cups. You can buy your plant seeds and nutrient solutions at Mother Earth/Negoskwela’s hyrdroponics demonstration farm at Quezon Memorial Circle.

I really felt that we are seeing the beginnings of what can be considered urban farming in the Philippines. Now if we can only master the technology and teach it to the millions of informal settlers (meaning squatters) in Metro Manila

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Negoskwela up close, latest sched

I finally got the chance to visit Negoskwela at North Avenue corner Agham Road, Quezon City. From their bulletin boards, I learned that the livelihood and entrepreneurial learning center was founded by Eladio A. Guevarra on 19 May 1999.

Negoskwela is really an offshoot of the Skill Power Institute which Mr. Guevarra established in Antipolo City sometime in 1987. The Institute is said to have pioneered tertiary computer education not only in Antipolo but also in nearby cities and municipalities. It offered various technical courses and has been accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Negoskwela kicks off were the Skill Power Institute leaves. The people behind it saw the need for short courses to cater to both the young and old, the jobless and unemployed. They started offering a broad range of courses, from arts and crafts, to food technology and culinary arts, to agriculture and aquatic courses, and many others.

When I went there, I found Negoskwela's facilities modest. And yet, there is no doubt in my mind that the center has been instrumental in spreading the gospel of entrepreneurship in the country. Kudos to them. Incidentally, this is Negoskwela's sched for the second half of August and September (updated)

Think Rich Pinoy Seminar

I got this one from my Kerygma newsletter subscription. They are inviting everyone to attend the Think Rich Pinoy Seminar at Philamlife, Manila on 18 August 2007 from 8 am to 5 pm.

The seminar features Bo Sanchez, preacher and said to be a man with 18 streams of income, Larry Gamboa, author of the best selling book “Think Rich Pinoy”, Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow 101 board game, and the franchisees of Think Rich Pinoy and their very first set of networth millionaires.

The registration fee is P1450 per person, but you can get a P150 discount (only P1300) if you pay on or before 8 August 2007, Wednesday. For more information, contact Weng at 0915-499-1999 or 8311334, or email

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A second look at Trinoma

The MRT connection is now open. From the northbound side of the North Avenue station, you can actually walk straight into the first floor of the Triangle North of Manila (Trinoma).

After a few trips there, I realized that the mall's design is not really as mind-boggling as I thought it was. ]It is actually a straight walk, more or less, from the MRT station to the main entrance of the mall which is fronting West Avenue corner Mindanao Avenue. Very convenient for us who have to take the Proj. 6 jeep in going home.

At the middle, there is an activity center where they do various exhibits and sales. There is also a kiddie area where my son Roan has been visiting for the slides and all. At the main entrance, they have this grand flowing water design which my son also likes. After a few minutes watching, not surprisingly, my boy actually asked if he can "take a bath please". :)

The concierge says there is still no available map of the mall. I assume it will available once they will formally open. For now, I know it is a four-floors-plus-basement thing with the kiddie rides at the fourth floor. The areas I described before as hot are actually semi-open areas designed to give us a different malling experience. And different it is.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Negosyo Atbp and Ating Alamin

I have previously written about the television shows Masigasig and Go Negosyo. I'd like to tell you of two more shows which also showcase livelihood opportunities. I'm talking about Negosyo Atbp shown at NBN 4 every Saturday and Sunday at 11 am to 12 noon, and Ating Alamin shown at IBC Channel 13 every Sunday at 1 to 2 pm.

Negosyo Atbp is actually a television-magazine production on technology and livelihood promotion by the Technology Resource Center (TRC). The show is now on its 3rd season and is actually patterned after shows like Negosyete and Agrisyete in the 80s and the 90s. It offers a wide variety livelihood and investment opportunities to a wide variety of audience, certainly things that the common Filipino are craviing for.

Ating Alamin is of course the long running television show of Gerry Geronimo which also offers a lot of livelihood ideas with clear bias on agribusiness. These opportunities are explained in full detail by people who are already into, in fact, already successful in the business. You can learn so much from the show.