All Articles With Author : Carlo Miguel Castañeda

The latest and the best financial news, tips and tricks.

Pera 101, Episode 1: Saving Habits – The Good, The Bad, and the Pinoy

Saving is a habit, almost every financial expert will say this. It’s a habit that’s built up over time, and being a repetitive action, there are factors that can influence it – some good, some bad. There are also some saving habits that are very Pinoy, and are endemic to our other cousins in the region. In the first episode of Pera 101, hosted by Aya Laraya, he shares some insights on why saving habits are what they are, and how you can improve yours.

Read the Article

Which Mobile Data Plan in the Philippines Should You Get?

It’s always a huge issue whenever you need mobile data. There are going to be times when the network coverage isn’t great, or your data allocation runs out. The truth of “unlimited” internet being that it has a maximum data allocation, you might be wondering what data plan works for you. If you don’t feel like tying yourself to a postpaid plan for long, there are a number of prepaid plans that work out well enough for shorter periods of time. If you’re looking for subscriptions that are both robust and inexpensive, here are the mobile data plans you can currently get in the Philippines. Data Plans from Smart Smart has a variety of plans available that range from purely focusing on mobile data to plans that include consumable add-ons. Their Postpaid Plans come with a clear layout of the consumable data allocation, and freebies that come with it. Smart Signature Sim-Only Data Plans Smart Signature Plan S PHP 999 per month 10GB Monthly Data 100 Minutes All Net Calls Unli On-Net Calls Unli All Net Texts Smart Signature Plan M PHP 1,499 per month 20GB Monthly Data 200 Minutes All Net Calls Unli On-Net Calls Unli All Net Texts Smart Signature Plan L PHP 1,999 per month 30GB Monthly Data 300 Minutes All Net Calls Unli On-Net Calls Unli All Net Texts Smart Signature Plan L PHP 2,999 per month 60GB Monthly Data 600 Minutes All Net Calls Unli On-Net Calls Unli All Net Texts Smart Signature Device Data Plans All plans offer you the chance to add a…

Read the Article

Holiday Money Mistakes You Should Avoid

The holiday season always starts early for Filipinos. You will start hearing Christmas songs as soon as September, with a brief pause on Halloween. Christmas is a large part of the country’s culture, owing to being predominantly Christian or Catholic. The start of the holiday season also marks several other things. Traffic gets worse because malls are open longer, and there are sales almost every week. Shopping becomes a near-weekly part of life as people try to keep up with the presents they feel they need to give to friends and family. As spending ramps up, you might find yourself in debt by the end of the season. In spite of being careful with your paycheck and bonuses, there is just something about the holidays that makes you more prone to money mistakes. Here are some examples. Racking up a huge credit card bill Credit card deals and promos are more expansive during the holidays. One such massive consumer outpouring is Black Friday in the US, which marks the beginning of holiday shopping throughout the country. It has also been adapted throughout the world to mark the start of larger shopping crowds, longer mall hours, and near-unbearable traffic jams. Credit card debt escalates during the holidays for several reasons. One reason is that you can take advantage of points and pay via installments. Because you are chasing deals and discounts, you will take on more purchases than you normally do. This includes items that were not on your list to begin with, all because there happened to be a deal on it…

Read the Article

3 Reasons Why Walang Pasok Is Bad For All of Us

Walang pasok na naman. A five-day weekend will happen mid-November due to the ASEAN Summit. Christmas is fast approaching. Already 18 holidays have been declared for 2018. Many will use this time to take a break and detoxify from the daily grind. While most of us rejoice having sudden no-work days, in reality, they do not have a net positive impact on the country’s economy. An article penned by Tony Renkin raised points that public holidays have a mixed impact business owners. They lead to increase in customers for some, while some lose on productive work hours. Here are a few ways no-work days are bad for all of us – 1.It slows down the economy During public holidays, much of the country shuts down. For those trading in stocks, they will be unable to see any changes in their investments, nor will they be able to do any buying or selling. Public holidays – or bank holidays – also mean that banks are not open. Gerardo P. Sicat, an economist, and columnist for The Manila Times mentioned the disruptive effects of excessive holidays in one column[1]. The country’s banks handle transactions that largely affect the economy. The transactions made by everyday individuals, locally and globally are all handled by the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Specifically, a system called PhilPass. Transactions made every day are run through this system and distributed accordingly. Because PhilPass is run as any government office would, it shares the same office hours and holiday periods. Because this system is closed on holidays, large transactions are forced…

Read the Article

These Three Philippine Traffic Laws Will Leave You Confused

In the Philippines, traffic laws can sometimes be more troublesome[1] than helpful. Though meant to solve traffic issues and improve road safety, some can be confusing when they vary across the city. There are many strange traffic laws around the world, but here are three weird ones from the Philippines. 1. The ‘Coding’ Traffic Laws The Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program is also known as color/number coding or simply ‘coding’. Under these traffic laws, certain number plates are barred from entering Metro Manila from 7 am to 8 pm. First implemented in Metro Manila in 1995 and now also enforced in Metro Baguio, Dagupan, and Cabanatuan. What makes it odd it varies from city to city. For example, Pasig, provide a “window hour” for barred vehicles to travel, except on the C-5 access road.  The scheme is not implemented within Taguig but is enforced on the national roads that border it. Motorcycles are completely exempt from the program. The law was supposed to ease congestion in the capital, but it does not seem to have had much impact. Read more: 3 Sustainable Traffic Solutions the Philippines Can Learn From Other Countries 2. The ‘Anti-Helmet’ Traffic Laws The Land Transportation Office’s National Helmet Law requires everyone riding a motorcycle to wear a helmet. But the Dagupan ‘Anti-Helmet’ law[2] prohibits anyone driving a motorcycle at 15 kilometers per hour or less from wearing a helmet.  These traffic laws were implemented to prevent criminals from concealing their identities. Those wearing helmets have to remove them at checkpoints.  Fines for violations are – Php 200 for the first offense and Php 300 for the…

Read the Article

McDonald’s vs. Jollibee: Which Makes The Best Pasalubong?

“Kunin ko yung toy!” – every parent has heard this at least once while ordering the kids’ meal at a fast food chain. The little ones are obviously referring to the collectible plastic goodies that come with the kids’ meals. So let’s explore – McDonald’s vs. Jollibee: who offers a better kids’ meal? McDonald’s and Jollibee are the two top rivals in pitting toys from upcoming movies or cartoons against each other. The former currently offers Adventure Time-themed mini-game keychains. The latter boasts impressive collectible music box paperweights that feature Jollibee’s mascots. Here’s how they stack up in a battle to determine which makes the best pasalubong. Round 1: Food and Toy Variety McDonald’s Happy Meals® come in the Breakfast and All-Day variants. The Breakfast variants are typically available from 5 AM to 11 AM, while the All-Day variants are served throughout the day. They offer 9 different combinations of favorites such as the Pancakes, Orange Juice, and Hash Browns Breakfast Happy Meal®. A Happy Meal® and includes one variant of the Adventure Time mini-game keychain, of which there are eight designs. You can play tic-tac-toe with Jake or escape a maze with Finn. The Jolly Kiddie Meals® have three choices: the Yum Burger, Spaghetti, or Chickenjoy®. All come with pineapple juice and one of five music box toys, each depicting a different mascot and playing a different instrument. Jollibee is the lead vocalist in the five-person band, of course. Winner: McDonald’s The variety of food available (particularly in the early morning), as well as the ability to pick and…

Read the Article

5 Car Games That You Can Download for the iOS and Android

If you are a car racing enthusiast, then going to live games can be expensive. The next best thing for you could be a huge number of car games available.  Download them on your smartphone and feel that rush whenever and wherever you are. Thumb Drift Developer: SMG Studios Available On: iOS[1] Price: Free (with microtransactions) Released in April this year, Thumb Drift is one of the top-rated one-touch drift games available for smartphones. SMG Studios is known for developing games that involve just the thumb to play the game, and this one is no exception. It boasts a large selection of themed cars, along with cars modeled-off actual ones in the real world. The tracks are challenging, and the game isn’t even a year old. Drift junkies will see more tracks and more cars as the game continues development. Need for Speed: No Limits Developer: Firemonkeys Studios Available on: Android[2] and iOS[3] Price: Free (with microtransactions) If you have ever played Need for Speed’s older iterations, you may already know that many of the old games were ported to mobile by EA. However, in 2015, Need for Speed: No Limits became the first original mobile title in the franchise. It launched sporting a new coat of paint and a graphics upgrade worthy of the smaller screens. Like previous entries in the franchise, players race through the streets, earning money for vehicle customization. Events allow players to enter a race to win new cars.  Sadly, the unique cars – such as the recently added Porsche 918 Spyder – cannot be…

Read the Article

The New Apple iPhone 8 And iPhone X Are Expensive, But Gorgeous

The unveiling of Apple’s latest offerings took place at the Steve Jobs Theater in Apple Park, California. The crowd of thousands joined everyone watching across the world as the tech giant’s new flagship phones graced the stage: The Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X. It has been rumored that these phones would represent the latest and greatest of Apple’s engineering ability, so let’s take a look at how beefy they are: The Specs When it comes to specs, there is not much of a difference between the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and the X. They all have Apple’s proprietary chipset – the A11 Bionic Chip – wireless charging, and the same storage options at 64GB and 256 GB. Here’s a full specs list for the iPhone X: 5.8-inch all-screen OLED display @ 2436 x 1125px, 458ppi HDR TrueTone, 3D Touch, Oleophobic coating Apple A11 Bionic Chip 64GB, 256GB internal storage 12MP f/1.8 wide-angle + 12MP f/2.4 telephoto rear cameras: Dual OIS, Quad LED Flash 7MP TrueDepth Camera w/ Face ID 4G LTE Single SIM (Nano) WiFi Bluetooth GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo NFC (Apple Pay) IP67 Water and Dust Resistance Stereo Speaker Qi Wireless Charging Apple iOS 11 No battery info (up to 2 hours longer than iPhone 7) 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm 174g Colors: Space Gray, Silver Note that the X, with the fingerprint scanner moving to the back of the phone. The major differences being screen sizes for the iPhone X and 8: the X has a larger screen, but is actually smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus…

Read the Article

Top Filipino Rags to Riches Stories

The rags to riches trope is something that gets explored often in fiction. The thing is, as much as life can imitate art, there are some things that just do not happen without putting effort, time, and dedication into the endeavor. Filipino rags to riches stories can sometimes have a different effect than is intended. Some people who read them might fail to take away the key lesson of these stories, and focus on the worst aspects. It’s important to remember that these stories are supposed to be something to fuel one’s drive to succeed, no matter how stacked the odds might be, just like these three did. Mariano Que Founder – Mercury Drug Corp. At his funeral in April, many people had a lot to share about the late founder of the country’s largest player in the pharmaceutical retail game – all of it positive. Among these stories is how Mariano Que started the multi-billion Peso company with Php 100, used to purchase a bottle of sulfathiazole pills, which he then sold off piece by piece. The single bottle funded a small round of various medicines that grew to be sold out of a pushcart, then eventually the very first branch of Mercury Drug in Bambang, Metro Manila. Named after the Roman messenger god, Mercury Drug is a household name throughout the country, known for selling medication per piece, and delivering medicine straight to one’s doorstep. His is the lesson of perseverance, kindness, and giving back to the community. Under his leadership, Mercury Drug weathered a flu pandemic and…

Read the Article

No Uber and Grab? Discover MiCab

In the wake of the sanctions being levied on ride-sharing apps – the most recent of which involved Uber’s suspension for a month – people are looking for alternatives that allow them to travel the metro in relative safety and security. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)[1] has proposed that the majority instead rely on already available methods of transportation, such as the LRT/MRT, PUVs, and Taxis to get around. Taxi operators and the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA) have been at the forefront of the argument to prevent Transport Network Companies (TNCs) like Grab and Uber from taking away their business. Apps for taxis Uber may have been suspended, but Grab continues to operate in the country, though trying to get one at the moment can be twice as difficult, and twice as pricey. Apps to call a taxi cab have been made available before – such as Easy Taxi, and MGE’s own app. Read more: How Safe Is it to Ride with Grab in the New Normal? Both were met with limited success – the former has since pulled operations in the country, the latter was eventually phased out in favor of the company’s call-a-cab hotline MiCab[2], on the other hand, is a mobile app that works similarly to ride-sharing apps like Uber and Grab, but for Taxis. Its founder, Eddie Ybanez, started the app in Cebu in 2013 and since then expanded to Iloilo before formally signing an operations agreement with the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA) and the Association of Taxi Operators…

Read the Article

Life and Money Lessons from Game of Thrones

There’s something to be said about the way that the hit HBO series Game of Thrones has influenced the way stories are told and the way people think about things. From a certain perspective, there are lessons that can be picked up from it. In its seven (of nine) seasons, people have taken to adapting characters or plotlines from Game of Thrones and applying what they’ve learned from the show into their daily lives. There are even entire academic courses on breaking down the series of life and money lessons. One such course is conducted by Donald Riggs, an English and philosophy professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Here are some of the life and money lessons from Game of Thrones that you can apply to your life. The Success of Daenerys Targaryen Dany – played marvelously by Emilia Clarke – is someone who’s gone from fugitive to the queen. While some may argue that she’s developed something of an ego throughout her ascent, but that’s not exactly without merit. Sure, she started out as her brother Viserys’ bargaining chip (more on him later), and nothing but her name, but she turned all that around with her dragons and building up an army. It’s no small feat because it took six seasons for her to build an army and resources to take her fight to Westeros. The lesson here is that a good, stable career and source of income won’t be handed to you on a Valyrian Steel platter. Patience, hard work, and good financial decisions are going to be…

Read the Article

Grab and Uber Toll Fees: Should I Pay?

At some point, you might be inclined to book a ride via ride-sharing apps like Grab that take you further north or south. In cases of trips like these, you might encounter toll gates and wonder who has to pay for it. There’s some confusion in this area if you read user accounts. Some accounts of riders say that the fee is computed in their fare – others have said that they had to pay. Who pays the toll fees? Between Grab and Uber, there are very different ways that they determine who pays toll fees should the rider’s trip take them through a toll gate. Rider accounts online have stated that they weren’t asked to pay during one ride, and asked to pay for it during another ride. Uber’s policy is stated on its website: Uber’s policy is that riders shouldn’t have to pay toll fees because it’s supposedly included in the fare that riders get on punching in their pick-up and drop-off points. On the other hand, Grab’s policy is as follows, also stated on its website: Note: To make sure GrabPeers can accommodate all GrabCar riders, they implement Rush Hour Rates temporarily. The rates may go up at certain times of the day. Toll charges are not included in the fare estimate. In this case, it may be up to riders to pay for any toll fees incurred. It may also be possible to settle the matter by driver/passenger negotiation, something that can be approached easily by both parties. Understanding service areas It isn’t that there are…

Read the Article

How Credit Card Companies Make Money

You might’ve wondered how credit card companies make money off of you if you’ve never had to delay payments, or left an outstanding balance on your credit card. Part of the curiosity could stem from the fact that you get all these benefits and points that you can use for just about anything. There’s a catch to those: it’s one of the ways the companies make money off you. Creditors will profit from your shopping and from the places you shop at. Here’s how credit card companies make money, and how they affect your usage. 1. Interest The first, and arguably most obvious way that credit card companies profit off their consumers is interest. The revenue is pretty handsome, especially when it comes to missed or late payments. This is where the majority of credit card companies’ revenue comes from, but their systems aren’t designed to trick cardholders – in fact, issuers would prefer that their cardholders don’t spiral into debt by providing options to set up automatic payments and send out reminders way ahead of due dates. [click here] to see credit cards with lowest interest rate. Let’s say that you’ve got a balance of Php 63,887 and an interest rate of 3.5% per month, the table below shows how much interest is tacked onto your transaction each month: Read More: Credit Cards with Low-interest Rate in the Philippines 2. Merchant fees When cardholders pay for something with their credit card, a portion of this purchase is split by credit card interchange fees, meaning that the retailer gets a part…

Read the Article

How to Improve Your Credit Score and Secure a Loan

There are a lot of factors that influence bank approvals and credit score is one of the biggest factors. But what is a credit score and credit history? What’s the difference? A credit score is a statistical number that depicts a person’s creditworthiness. Banks and money-lending institutions use a credit score to evaluate the probability that a person repays their debts. Think of it like your GPA back in school, but instead of displaying your academic competence, it displays your creditworthiness. On the other hand, a credit history is a record of a person’s ability to repay debts and demonstrated responsibility in repaying debts. A person’s credit history consists of information such as; number and types of credit accounts, how long each account has been open, amounts owed. These are two items that factor into whether or not lenders will grant you a loan. In order to improve your credit score, there are steps that you will need to take. Avoid late payments While it sounds easy enough to pay your bills on or before the due date, there are going to be times when you won’t be able to – life isn’t cut black and white, and sometimes things will happen that force your financial focus elsewhere for a while. It’s ideal to avoid late payments as much as you can, if only for the simple reason that you prevent any amount of debt from gaining interest. Late payments on debts owed are considered one of the things that can affect your credit score negatively. If you do fall off the wagon…

Read the Article

Handling Your Love-Hate Relationship With Credit Cards

Think about a credit card’s perks and how it connects to you. Credit cards with low interest rates allow you to minimize the risk of falling in debt, while rewards cards let you get extra perks and freebies when you spend. Criteria like payment terms, annual fees, and reward systems will let you root out the cards that won’t work for you and lead you to the credit card that best suits you. Here are three tips to help you improve your relationship with credit cards. Tip #1: Choose wisely Making the right choice on a credit card isn’t life or death, but it can be the decision that separates you from building a good or bad credit rating. It isn’t so much about being able to read the fine print on every credit card gimmick that’s shot your way as it is determining the functions that you want. Travelers will want to stick to air miles credit cards, for example. People who tend to do most of their shopping will want a credit card that gives perks and exclusives because they’re co-branded with the store in question. Hate paying credit card annual fees? Look for cards that waive annual fees for the first year or for life. You’ll save around Php 3,000 each year. Don’t have much time to do your research? Speed up your search for the best credit card for your needs with the help of a free online credit card comparison tool. Tip #2: Check your spending On its own, a credit card doesn’t do anything…

Read the Article

How Self-Driving Vehicles Change The Game

There are a few ways by which self-driving vehicles can change the way people get around. One is the fact that you won’t have to deal with drivers, then there’s also the fact that you’ll never have to get lost – the onboard software does all the driving for you. It’s a race, plain and simple, for some of the biggest tech companies and car companies in the world to develop the right balance of technology and mobility to go into their cars. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s the tech companies who’ve made greater strides in the race. The full impact won’t really do much to the general public for a while, at least according to a report by Goldman Sachs. But here are some things that could be impacted by the rise of self-driving cars. Jobs In a society where cars will basically drive themselves, there won’t be a need for people behind the wheel. Self-driving vehicles are set to displace about 300,000 drivers a year in the United States alone when autonomous vehicles begin to saturate the general market. The Goldman Sachs Economics Research report reads that the bulk of the losses will be from the long haul truck driving market, amounting to 2 percent of the total employment population. With that, the report estimates that semi- and fully autonomous vehicles will be among 20 percent of car sales beginning 2025 to 2030. Locally, there are an estimated 10,000 buses operating within Metro Manila, and close to 500,000 taxis. If self-driving vehicles are integrated into public transport, it could also…

Read the Article

Travel More When You Get These Jet-setting Jobs

You’ve been told that travel broadens your horizons, that working abroad could help with that. Most people are usually okay with working in an office on a daily basis, the routine of travel being the only tedious thing about them and the job that they love. For others, it isn’t enough to just sit in one place and work. People like to wander, and you might know a few. Your friends who’re rarely ever in the city when it’s the weekend, they’ve been out of the country more times than you have over the course of the last few years. It’s not that they’re spending all their money on it, it’s that their wanderlust is strong enough that they save up to actually travel and experience different cultures. Sometimes, a career change is in order when you feel like taking the world by storm. If you want to travel more, here’s a look at jet-setting jobs that might get you from your desk to Denver in a few years. ESL Teaching You’ve probably heard of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). These jobs can be based locally with one-on-one sessions between you and your student happening via video sessions. It’s great, but you can also teach English in other countries. It’s perfect for teachers, but most people with a great command of English can get certification and many of these certification courses also help out with job placement. You can also visit websites like GoAbroad[1] to look for jobs that let you teach English in other countries. Flight Attendant Globe-trotting is a requirement of working…

Read the Article

What to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Credit Card

    A credit card isn’t exactly something that qualifies as a major life decision, but it’s a fairly big decision. After all, while having a credit card means that you can start building your credit score for when you want to take out a home loan, car loan, or personal loan. There’s also the exhilarating possibility of things you could do with a credit card in your hands. The card you end up with could be a gateway to debt if you aren’t careful, or you could end up with more rewards than you thought possible. So before you think about filling out an application, here are some things you should ask yourself before getting a credit card. Why do I want one? Sites like Bankrate and Learnvest, as well as Bruce McClary, media director for ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions consider this the “very first question” that consumers need to ask themselves. If it’s your first time trying to get a credit card, you’ll want to gauge why you want a credit card, beyond not having to carry cash around. This question also informs the kind of credit card you should be applying for. If you’ve always managed to pay bills on time and in full, that also factors into how well you’ll be able to maintain your credit card use. What’s the Monthly Interest Rate? The monthly interest rate or effective interest tells you how much interest you’ll be charged each time you are unable to pay the full amount on your monthly statement. In the Philippines, the average…

Read the Article

Get Your Food Trip Going With These Deals and Discounts!

Catching up over food, or commiserating over food is something most people can count on. There are moments when food can get expensive, such as when there are celebrations or when there’s a family gathering. Moments like these could definitely be helped out by a few deals and discounts, whether on your credit card or via coupons! Here’s a look at some pretty fabulous deals you can sink your teeth into. Big Meals Nearly everyone’s first reaction will be to hit the buffet on celebrations with friends or family. Shave off much of the cost with these coupons from Metrodeal. You can get coupons for a buffet at The Café at the Hyatt City of Dreams[1] for as low as Php 999 per person, that’s a 37% discount from Php 1,588. The voucher is valid from March 7, 2017 to May 6, 2017, and to guarantee you seats, you’ll have to make a reservation. Another big buffet deal that you can consider is the fusion flavors of The Pantry at Dusit Thani[2]. Get their buffet for as low as Php 1,170 per person, valid from March 1, 2017 to May 15, 2017, with blackout dates of April 16, 2017 (Easter Sunday) and on May 14, 2017 (Mother’s Day). If you’ve got a BDO Credit Card, you can use a BDO World Elite, Platinum, Titanium or Gold Mastercard variation to get 50% savings on buffet every Monday, Tuesday, Friday (lunch and dinner) and Sunday (dinner only) at Spectrum and get a chance to win an overnight stay with breakfast for two (2) at…

Read the Article

What Inclusions Should You Get With Your Car Insurance?

When you’re deciding on your car insurance, you probably don’t think too much about the specifics beyond the CTPL. You might consider getting the Acts of Nature cover just in case there’s a flood, or if The Big One actually comes along. You might be thinking what inclusions make the most sense with your insurance policy, and what would make more sense when it comes to covering your property and keeping yourself safe when you’re driving around. Two issues that car owners might face is to decide between opting for more coverage as opposed to being able to get your car repaired almost anywhere. Here’s what you need to know about both arguments. When it comes to having additional coverage: Having additional coverage allows a car owner to be prepared for most possible occurrences. You can protect your car from the elements, or the possibility of theft. A single insurance policy can contain multiple covers that essentially save you money, or prevent you from paying more out-of-pocket in the event that you’re in an accident. Having additional coverage – such as life insurance, or legal assistance, or hotel accommodation for when your car breaks down – can be a boon when needed. Sec. 387 of the Omnibus Amendments to the Insurance Code (R.A. No. 10607) requires anyone owning a vehicle to take out a Compulsory Third-Party Liability cover which provides coverage when a policyholder or insured driver is responsible for a car accident. Additional coverage, such as the Acts of Nature cover provides protection against problems that arise from weather-related issues….

Read the Article