FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT MISS WHEN TRAVELING TO BOHOL

Bohol is one of my favorite provinces in the Philippines.

Located in the Central Visayas region, it is one of its largest islands. I’ve been to Bohol twice, and both visits were truly blissful and memorable. Both the people and the food were truly wonderful and heart-warming.

Here are my top five picks for places you should not miss when you visit this province in the Visayas.

1. SEE THE MAJESTIC CHOCOLATE HILLS

A visit to Bohol is not complete if you don’t experience the view of the Chocolate Hills. Even from the plane, you’ll see these wonderful creations that God has entrusted us. These hills are covered in green grass, which turn into brown like chocolate kisses during the summer or dry season.


2. HOP ON A RIVER CRUISE

Cruising the Loboc River while a band serenades you over lunch is one of the romantic experiences you’ll get while in Bohol.





3. RACE WITH THE DOLPHINS

Waking up early in the morning to race with the dolphins is totally worth it. You’ll get to see them in their natural habitat swimming and playing.


4. STAND ON THE SAND BAR AT VIRGIN ISLAND

A bar of white powdery sand in between two bodies of water is a sight to behold. It’s a little scary at first, as the water goes up depending on the time of the day, but it is one place in Bohol that you would not want to miss.




5. VISIT THE TARSIER SANCTUARY

Did you know that tarsiers can turn their heads up to 180 degrees?! 

Aside from the Chocolate Hills, the tarsiers are probably the most visited attraction in Bohol. Sad to say, tarsiers are now endangered animals. Be sure to follow the sanctuary rules when visiting these little friends of ours. 



Have you recently visited Bohol? Let me know what your memorable experiences are in this wonderful province.

COMMON MONEY MISTAKES TO AVOID

After graduating from college, all I could think about was how happy I was that school was finally over. Little did I know that learning does not stop on the day that you receive your diploma.

Every day is an opportunity to learn and correct mistakes.

After working for almost nine years now, I’ve had my share of money mistakes, and would like to share how to correct them.

                                                      Photo by Tax Credits / CC


1. Working without a goal


Waking up at 6am in the morning to prepare for work can be very tiring, especially if you do not have any goals in mind.

Short-term goals are usually the things that we want to achieve within the next couple years. These may be saving up for car down payment, going on a once-a-year vacation, building up that emergency fund, etc. 

Long-term goals are the big-ticket purchases, and will need more time and money to achieve. Examples are buying your first home, saving up a baby fund, and saving up for retirement.

We work because we want to achieve something. Whether for material things or for self-fulfillment, it is always better to keep a goal in mind. These keep our focus on track.

2. Unable to differentiate wants vs. needs

There is no harm in giving in to your wants once in a while. However, the problem starts when we do not know how to differentiate between the things that we want and the things that we need.

Here’s a classic example. We often hear girls say: “I’ve got nothing to wear… Again!” But open her closet and you will see five dresses of the same style, or five shirts of the same style but in different colors.

I am guilty of this, as I am very hard to please when it comes to shopping. So when I find something that I like, I will buy it in the same style, in three different colors.

Before making that purchase, ask yourself three times “Do I really need this, or is it something that can still wait?”

3. Not setting a budget

Keeping a budget in mind is good. Writing it down is even better.

Unless you have a visual record of where your money is going, it is a challenge to keep track of your spending.

Once you start to list your expenses down, and allot a monthly budget for savings and expenses, it will be easier to trim down on your spending.

Track your budget and spending and keep it to a level where you are comfortable. Make use of spreadsheets and apps readily available for download to see where your hard-earned cash is going.

4. Overusing your credit card

Credit cards are not the enemy. Greed is.

Credit card companies usually give you a credit limit of twice your monthly salary, sometimes even higher. Hence, this is "excess money" that you can spend, but you don’t actually have.

Before handing over that plastic card to the cashier, make sure that you have allotted a budget to pay for that purchase when the bill comes. Spend only the money that you have.

5. Not saving for the rainy days

Rainy days are sure to come; we just don’t know when.

Build up an emergency fund enough to cover at least six months’ worth of household expenses. This will serve as a buffer when an unexpected expense arises.

6. Not preparing for retirement

There is no better day to prepare for tomorrow than today.

Retirement may be twenty or thirty years away, but it is good to set aside a portion of your earnings to prepare for that day. Ika nga, daig ng maagap ang masipag.

Compute the amount of money you will need when your retirement comes. It will be shocking, but at least you will have an idea, and will think twice next time you buy that expensive cup of coffee.

7. Not learning How to Invest and Grow Your Money

You are responsible for your own money. Be equipped and read up on how you can grow it.

Don’t go blaming other people when the going gets tough.

I think it is best to start with unit investment trust funds (UITFs) and mutual funds, as these are handled by financial managers who study the market and know what they are doing. Don’t go directly into the stock market if you do not know what you are doing.

Test the waters first before diving into the pool.

I strongly suggest that you build your savings and emergency funds first, before exploring the world of the stock market. It will help you to sleep better at night, especially when the market is down.

8. All work, no play

After all the nagging I did for points 1 to 7, I want you to remember that “All work and no play will make life boring”. Who wants that anyway?

Learn to reward yourself for a job well done – but remember not to go overboard.

Be it as small as sipping a cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop, or a quick getaway to Cebu, you must learn to reward yourself once in a while. 

Is this article helpful? Let me know on the comment box if you have other money mistakes that you would like to share =).

TRAVEL DIARY: CRIMSON RESORT AND SPA MACTAN

Early this year, JM and I had a quick trip to Cebu, also known as Queen City of the South. It is an hour and half away from Manila by plane. Thanks to Cebu Pacific’s piso fare, we got our round-trip tickets for the very cheap price of PhP2,500 for two persons.

Since our airfare was so cheap, and this short trip was mainly for relaxation, we decided to book an overnight stay at Crimson Mactan – and it did not disappoint.

Three-tiered infinity pool
Upon arriving at the airport, the hotel driver was already waiting for us, and helped with our luggage. Check-in was a breeze, although we arrived a little earlier than the usual check-in time and our room was not yet ready. While waiting, we decided to have lunch at Saffron Café, where the buffet breakfast is also served. 

After lunch, we check out the nearby sports bar and played a few games of darts and pool. Half an hour later, the receptionist informed us that our room was ready and a buggy was already waiting to bring us to our room.

For a little over PhP9,000 a night (including taxes), we got a “Deluxe Garden King,” which is a 44 sqm room complete with a spacious bathroom with a garden view.

Deluxe Garden King Room

Spacious bathroom

Warm Welcome from the Cebuanos

There was no shortage of warm smiles and beautiful greetings from the Cebuano resort crew as soon as you stepped inside the resort. Everywhere you go, you are greeted with their sweet smiles, and should you need anything, they are ready and willing to assist.

Relaxing Ambiance and Beach Front

The cool wind and sound of the ocean almost brought me to a slumber while I was reading a book and lounging by the beach front. Crimson is also proud of their three-tiered infinity pool, which is picture-perfect, by the way. Pool water was warm, but at a uniform four feet, it’s on the shallow side for those who want to swim some laps.





Superb Furniture and Extensive Resort Space

As soon as you reach the hotel, you will immediately notice the façade and furniture used. It is not your average hotel building with a pool and a view of the ocean. The rooms are on a villa-type setting and is quite relaxing to the eyes. Most of the furniture used is made in Cebu. How amazing is that?

We walked around the property before dinner, and the place was massive. There are a lot of facilities and activities to be enjoyed by the whole family. They have a fitness center, a spa, and a play area for kids. They also offer water activities such as kayaking, snorkelling, island hopping, and the like. There’s something to do for everyone.

Good Food

We mostly ate at Saffron Café. Their food is good, especially the pizza and pasta that we had for dinner. However, as expected from hotels, menu prices are a little on the steep side.

Crispy Pata Php700

Prosciutto E Rucola Pizza Php550
Though our stay was short, we did enjoy the getaway to Crimson and I would love to be back one day.

Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan, Cebu
Seascapes Resort Town, Mactan Island, Lapu Lapu City, Cebu 6015, Philippines
Tel. No.: (+63 32) 401 9999 / 239 3900 * 
Email: info.mactan@crimsonhotel.com
Website: www.crimsonhotel.com

WORKING ABROAD

This is my fourth year of working away from home. The past years were not exactly a walk in the park, but they were not that bad either.

Photo from cubedude / CC 
I still remember the day that I flew out of Manila. I couldn’t contain my feelings of both excitement and sadness. I was excited to embark on a new journey, but I was also sad that I would be leaving family behind.

The first three months away from home were the hardest. Homesickness hit me and it was real. You’ll have to do things by yourself. Neither your mom nor a helper are there to cook and wash dishes for you. Clothes do not magically clean and fold themselves. Rooms get dusty, and sheets need to be replaced. You’ll have to be strong and healthy, as no one will look after you when you get sick. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to call home every day and lessen the feeling of homesickness.

After the dust settled, I started to learn and adapt to my new life abroad.

I reconnected with former classmates as well as colleagues. You’ll be surprised how many friends you may already have working in the same foreign country as you are. Try sending them a quick message. I’m sure at least some of them would be more than willing to meet up with you.

After moving to five different apartments, I have met new friends and learned the value of pakikisama or camaraderie. We are all unique,but there will always be a common ground to talk about.

If you are planning to try out your luck abroad, here are some of the tips that I've learned:
  • Working abroad is not easy. You may meet a pleasant boss or a not-so-pleasant one. Don't get discouraged easily. 
  • Make sure that you are physically and mentally prepared for work. 
  • You are not only representing yourself, but you are also giving foreigners a general impression of what Filipinos can do. 
  • Improve your skills and learn new tricks, this will help you along the way. 
  • Admit your mistakes and learn from it. 
Singapore has been really good to me but I can't wait for the day that I will be packing my bags to go back home.