Random | Home Alone! Christmas in the New Normal

It's the most wonderful time of the year ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽถ

Yes, despite the ongoing pandemic and the many struggles that 2020 has brought to us all, Christmas still remains the most wonderful time of the year. Our current situation (pandemic) may have changed how we usually celebrate Christmas, it may have forced some of us to celebrate it away from our loved ones but Christmas is not about us. It's about the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ so let's still celebrate and be happy. Merry Christmas everyone! ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿคถ๐ŸŽ„

Each of us may have different struggles, struggles that others may not consider as one. But each of us is unique, we are individuals. We do have different levels of tolerance to certain issues. What may have been difficult for me would be easy for some, and vice versa. For me, this year is one of the most difficult one especially in terms of career. For the first time in my life, I was laid off. I lost my job. I haven't been laid off before so it was such a big blow for me, mentally and emotionally. Also, for the first time (except when I was living with my aunt) I am now celebrating Christmas alone, away from my family. We don't celebrate Christmas the way other families do but for the longest time, we are always together (at least, with my parents and sibling in Batangas) on Christmas. This year was not. I'm here in the Metro, in a building where people don't know each other, where I don't know anyone. There are some other struggles I don't know that others are experiencing. This is our situation now. We just have to deal with it. We just have to accept it and move along with it.

Despite all these, Christmas is still a season to be merry and gay! And this Christmas, I am! I'm still happy and grateful. I lost my job but found a new one. My family and my loved ones are safe and we all are healthy. We are struggling financially but we're coping. We still have food on our table, we still can eat 3x a day. So thank you Lord! Thank you for the new job and for sending people who believe in me. Thank you for keeping my loved ones safe and healthy, especially during this pandemic. Thank you for always being there for me, for protecting me, even from myself. Thank you Lord for all the blessings and even the hardships, for they make me (us) stronger. Thank you for everything. Thank you for letting us survive and get through this 2020! With all these things to be thankful for, yes, I am happy and gay!

In a few days, another year would come, a new beginning. May the new year brings all of us all the blessings that we are praying for. May we all be safe and healthy. May we find peace in everything. To everyone, let's not focus on the difficulties of life, on the negativities around us. Let us all look forward to the new year with a positive outlook, with gratefulness, with hope. And let us all be kind to one another. Let's help shape a better world for everyone. Let's share and help each other, even in the smallest way we can. Let us all be each other's hope!


Financial Wanders | BDO Securities (BDO Nomura) Trading Platform Review

BDO Nomura
BDO Nomura

I've been using BDO Nomura for several years now, since the start of my stock investment/trading journey. I even wrote how easy it is to apply for BDO Nomura account back in 2017. For the past 3 years, I tried to learn the ins and outs of stock investing and trading. At some point, although I have an 8-5 work before I got retrenched, I tried to do some daily trading. And in those trades, I win some, I lose many. I attributed all of my loses to my being a newbie in the stock market. And it's true! But after 3 years of being in the stock market, I realized it's not just me that is the problem.

In the past, there are trades that I know for a fact is so volatile and could really be a winning or losing trade real quick. But I still joined the herd; bought some and planned to exit just after I got my TP (target price), which I know would only take just a few minutes. I set a GTC (good 'til cancelled) sell on my target price. I also planned my exit, in case it goes against my predicted price. And it happened, it goes downward real quick! I'm logged in so I tried to edit my GTC and set a sell price 2-ticks below the current selling price to make sure that I could sell it at a minimal loss. The platform says my modification was successful so I continue watching while the current price was being consumed. When the selling price hits the price I set, I thought I successfully exited the trade. Unfortunately, it was just a thought! When I checked the View Orders tab to see the status, it's not there. I tried to refresh and check several times but I couldn't really see my sell order. I logged out of the platform and tried logging back in but I couldn't anymore. And that's it, I resigned to the fact that I probably wasn't able to sell my position since I couldn't see it.  Only after the trading hours was I able to log back in again. And it's confirmed, I wasn't able to sell my position.

BDO Nomura platform homepage
this is supposedly BDO Nomura's trading platform homepage; yes I was able to login but I couldn't connect to the trading platform itself; this happened so many times I already lost count of it.

I only bought minimal position so I didn't lose that much for the particular trade but this scenario happened several times that in total, a loss of considerable amount. There are other scenarios like not seeing my positions or non-loading of trading platform (see photo above) or not being able to login during trading hours (platform is under maintainance) so I couldn't trade. In part, not being able to log in and trade volatile stocks were okay; at least I didn't lose money but it also means I didn't have the chance to gain some too, a lost opportunity.

BDO Nomura trading platform
sometimes, I was able to connect to the trading platform only for the above instance to happen; i.e., I couldn't select a sector for which the stock I'm supposed to trade belongs

I'm not attributing every loses I had with BDO Nomura. I know I made some bad trades, too, but a reliable trading platform is essential in trading the stock market. The trading platform should always be available, especially during trading hours. It shouldn't undergo system maintenance from 9:30AM to 3PM during trading days (9:30AM to 1PM during this pandemic). I worked in the IT industry and our system maintenance was always during non-peak hours, normally during midnight when there are only a few people (if there is any) using our system or, if we really need to deploy some hotfix, to make sure to do it in just a few minutes.

Nowadays, I only use BDO Nomura for medium to long term trades. I don't do daily trading especially those highly volatile trades anymore. If you're planning to be a trader, and by trader, I mean those who want to do buying and selling stocks in just a short period of time, within the day normally, don't go with Nomura. Try other brokers. But search and research thoroughly. Ask people from trading forums and social media who are actually using the platform; list down the pros and cons of the recommended platform/broker, ask for their experiences and how reliable the platform is, and then decide from there.

But if you're a medium to long term investor, you can still try BDO Nomura. It's easy to apply, especially if you have a BDO account; no additional paper requirements. You can do everything online. The funding is also easy and real time, with no transfer fee so yeah, it's not 100% bad at all. Just make sure to know what type of investor/trader you are.

~ oo00oo ~

PS: I'm also trying another investment vehicle which is unit investment trust fund (UITF) but I'm using BPI for this one (and GCASH Invest Money too) ; will talk about UITF next time. Blessed Sunday everyone, stay safe always! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Random | Simple Life in Batangas, Pros and Cons of Living in the Province

If you have read one of my previous posts, you know that I recently lost my job. It is such a big blow financially that staying in the Metro and continue renting while looking for a new job is not an option anymore. A week ago, I decided to go back to the province and stay here for a while, at least until I get a new job.

Life in the province, especially in kinda remote barangay like ours, is very simple and laid-back. Community comes to life early in the morning, normally around 5AM (as early as 4AM for some); and then starts to die down at 6PM. By 7PM, almost everyone is ready for sleep; a stark contrast with life in the Metro where it almost never sleeps.

Pros and Cons of Living in the Province

Batangas is one of the provinces in CALABARZON region. It is only around 1.5-2 hours (depending on traffic situation) away from Metro Manila, going south. It is near Metro Manila but living here in the province, especially in kinda remote barangays like ours, is like living in other provinces; it has its pros and cons.


Green and Fresh Environment

Less pollution, fresher air, greeneries abound! The only usual pollution here is noise pollution; that is, if you consider dogs’ barking, birds’ chirping and insect sounds as noise. That’s the environment you’ll see and experience in the province. It is usually not densely populated, too, so residential lot areas are usually bigger than in the Metro, with enough space to plant veggies and fruit-bearing trees. If you love nature, you’ll definitely enjoy living in the province.

free fresh fruits and veggies! #probinsyalife

Low Cost of Living

Cost of living in the provinces is usually low. If you are resourceful and hardworking and love veggies, you can live here for around 40-50 pesos per day per person on the average, maybe less; that is, if you have your own vegetable garden. Here in the province, we have malunggay (moringa), camote (sweet potato), eggplant, squash, papaya and other vegetables around the house. We cook it bulanglang-style, using traditional stove, so almost zero cost. Fish and meats are also cheaper here, compared to supermarkets in Metro Manila.

Laid-back Lifestyle

Simple, relaxing, laid-back; this is how living in the province looks and feels like. Closely-knit neighborhood (you know everyone, usually). No Traffic! No such thing as rush hour. Almost everything is easy and uncomplicated! That is, if you love simple life.


Accessibility, Transportation

One of the cons of living in the province, especially in remote barangays, is the means of transportation and accessibility of social services and infrastructure. If you don’t have your own car, commuting is quite costly and time-consuming. Social services and infrastructures like hospitals, tertiary education, connectivity (telephones and internet) are usually not very accessible. Although mobile phones and cellular networks are available almost nationwide, connection signal is still a problem in far-flung areas. Though I’m quite happy that DSL connection from one of the major internet providers in our country is now available here in our barangay. Yey! ๐Ÿ˜„

No Night Life

If you’re one of those who loves the lights and sounds of a busy Metro life, regardless of the time of day, province life is not for you. There is almost always, no night life in the province, especially in remote barangays. As I mentioned above, people in neighborhood like ours, sleeps as early as 7PM. No more life, no more sounds after that, except for sound of geckos. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Limited Career Opportunities

Most of the big companies put up their businesses and hold their operations in Metro Manila and big cities as they are usually the center of economic development and infrastructure. As such, there is only limited opportunities, career-wise, in the province. However, due to the on-going pandemic, there are more remote opportunities for career individuals nowadays. Career people, especially in the IT industry, can now work anywhere they want to, even in the province.

There you go, the pros and cons of living life in the province. If you are thinking of settling down in the province, weigh these pros and cons and decide wisely based on your personality and the kind of life you want to live. There's no such thing as perfect life, just choose to be happy and contented and grateful wherever you decided you want to be.

~ oo00oo ~

Happy and blessed Sunday everyone! Stay safe, always! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Food Trip | TPW's 5 Best Milk Teas in the Metro

FRNK's cinnamon miruku

I'm not really a fan of tea, especially those hot tea varieties. I usually only have them if it feels like I'm gonna be having a sore throat or if I'm not feeling well. Hot drinks, tea included, sort of make me feel better afterwards. But cold teas and milk teas, for that matter, is a different thing. I've grown to like them as time passes by. Probably because milk teas are more of milk than tea actually. And they're creamy and sweet (hello diabetes ๐Ÿ˜€).

Anyway, I've tried several milk teas from several tea shops. Whenever there's a new tea shop nearby my previous work or in the mall, I'll try them at least once. Since it will be my first time to try the new tea shop, I usually order whatever their bestseller is. And I've tried many, so many that I wasn't be able to post everything in my other account. Of the so many shops and milk tea flavors I've tried, here are my top 5 best milk teas in the Metro.

FRNK Milk Bar's Cinnamon Miruku

FRNK's Cinnamon Miruku is my top favorite when it comes to milk tea. Unlike other milk teas that almost always taste the same no matter the brand, cinnamon miruku tastes really different, probably because of the right blend of tea and cinnamon and dark sugar and whatever spice they put into it. I also like the added sinkers (basil drops, a clear jelly-like pearls that looks like bloomed chia seeds) that feels like exploding in your mouth when you chew, not the usual chewy pearls. My only issue with this tea is its size; I find it pricey compared with other milk teas.

Macau's Cheesecake and Pearl Milk Tea

When I first try Macau's cheesecake and pearl milk tea, I was put off by the strong taste of the tea. But I realized now that it's probably because I didn't shake and mix it well that time. Now that I usually buy it for take-out, it somehow got blended/shaken on my walk home that a minor shake before drinking it is okay enough. It still has strong tea taste compared with other brands but it's more tolerable now that it becomes my go-to milk tea whenever I like a bigger size one, as opposed to smaller-sized cinnamon miruku.

BaaBaa's Thai Milk Tea with Cheese

I've been to Bangkok once but because it's almost 2 decades ago, milk tea isn't in my radar yet. When I heard of Baabaa from a colleague last year, I ordered other milk tea flavor that they offer instead of the Thai milk tea. It was just an ordinary milk tea for me so I forgot about it. But I few weeks ago, I was able to try Baabaa's Thai milk tea, not the regular one but the premium Thai milk tea with cream cheese in it. And I love it! It's almost like Macau's cheesecake and pearl, only that it's just the right blend of tea and milk and cheese, not with the strong tea taste like Macau's.

Alishan at The Alley's Brown Sugar Boba Milk Tea with Cheese Brulรฉe

My first try of Alishan is their brown sugar boba milk with cheese brulรฉe. It's too sweet that I think I didn't get dinner that day that I had it for merienda. The next time, I tried their brown sugar boba milk tea with cheese brulรฉe. This one I like better because of the tea contrast, unlike brown sugar boba milk that somehow has "umay" factor as you drink it.

Tiger Sugar Brown Sugar Boba with Cream Mousse/Dakasi's Creme Hokkaido

When brown sugar milk tea becomes a hit, Tiger Sugar is my first try. Originally, this is my top pick for milk tea but I realized that what I'm having from Tiger Sugar is not really a milk tea but rather just a milk-based brown sugar drink. But even if this isn't a milk tea, I still love it. It was of the right blend with the right sweetness to it. And their bobas are sweet and chewy, which I love!

Another milk-based drink that I came to love is Dakasi's Creme Hokkaido. The thick and rich creamy blend of milk, brown sugar, salted cream cheese and oreo in creme hokkaido will make you feel full even with just half of the drink. It is so filling that you'll skip next meal or forget that you haven't had a meal yet. It is a very filling drink and has bigger size that I consider this drink worth my money. Creme Hokkaido is also one of Dakasi's bestsellers.


~ oo00oo ~

There you go, my list of 5 best milk teas in the metro. If you'll notice, except for cinnamon miruku, all else has cream cheese or similar item on their ingredients. I love milk teas with cream cheese because it makes the milk tea more flavorful and creamier. I like the contrast that cream cheese or mousse or brulรฉe (or whatever they call it) gives to the sweet milk tea. How about you dear readers? What are your 5 best milk teas? Share your list in the comment box below. ๐Ÿ˜Š


~ oo00oo ~

Our government loosen its rules on public transportation but be safe still my fellow Pinoys, keep your face shield and face mask on. And don't forget to always clean/sanitize your hands. Keep save everyone. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Random | I am one of the 45% Jobless Filipinos

rain drops
"Be strong and don't be afraid! God is coming to your rescue." ~Isaiah 35:4

Last August 16, I became officially part of the 45% jobless Filipinos, a number that one government official finds as something to be "joyful" about (such a callous remark from a ranking government official! ๐Ÿ˜ž). But life must go on, like they say. So here I am now, trying to be strong and finding my way out of this unfortunate situation.

Losing a job gives a person anxiety and a feeling of worthlessness. Also of betrayal. And these are what I felt after knowing that I would be laid off. I tried to be strong during the convo with my boss and good thing it was done via phone call (because of this pandemic) so somehow, I think I was able to fake strength. But right after I put down the phone, I cried. And I cried a bucket! When my brother called me to comfort me the day I was officially notified, I cried even more. It was my first time showing helplessness and weakness to him. And it sucks! I consider myself the face of strength for my family but that time, I felt so weak and helpless.

Feeling anxious and worthless and helpless right after losing a job is okay, but wallowing in that situation is not. So here I am now, trying to rise up from the situation. I'm now working on improving my craft and learning something new in the hopes that I would soon find a new job. To people like me who recently lost a job, let's make use of our "free" time on something useful and of value. Let us be productive despite being jobless. And let us not lose hope! If we can't find a job related or similar to what we used to do, then maybe it's time for us to find something else. Maybe we should give thoughts on some other passions or interests that we may have put on hold because we thought we got a good job. I got some other interests that I'm putting on hold because my line of work gives me financial security but maybe, it's time for me to work on it, too.

When I left a job that offers security and tenure 7 years ago, one of my bosses told me to think it over a million times because it's an unknown future I'm walking into. And I know that but here's my reply to him (not exactly the same words but the same thoughts), "I'm not afraid of the future because I'm not a one-skill-only person. If I couldn't find a job related to my current interest, I could find and learn and do something else. There will always be something else out there." I am a "Jill of several trades", not of all trades of course, and not a master but enough for me to survive. I will find and learn and work on a new trade, if need be. With all the trials I've been through in life, losing a job is just another trial I have to go through and overcome. I know I can survive this, just as how I survived the many trials I had before. I did it 7 years ago, I can do it again now. 

I'm positive I can find a new job eventually, if not soon. So for everyone like me who's reading this post, let's have faith in our dear Lord, He is our refuge and our provider. He will help us get through this. Happy and blessed Sunday everyone! ๐Ÿ˜Š


PS: I know I said to be productive and improve yourself and all but don’t forget to relax also. It’s okay too, to sit and do nothing, once in a while. Or just play games, if you’re into it (I am! ๐Ÿ˜›). Just don’t forget to always be in control of yourself. Remember, anything  too much is bad! Stay safe everyone. ๐Ÿ’›