this is about family and its ups and downs, living, and everything about life from a working mom's perspective.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tips Before Buying A Condominium or Subdivision Unit

It is said that real estate business is a good indicator of the economy.  If real estate investment is high, meaning more people buy real estate, then the economy is booming.  The logic behind this is that people have enough money to sustain their basic needs so they have some extra money to buy their own homes, or increase their investment in real estate. 
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In my case, I had a lot of reservations in buying a unit I can call my own.  I didn't want to live in a building and be "cloistered at the top of the tower".  So I did not even try "condo-shopping". I did not want to live in a subdivision that is too "sosyal" for my taste, although I don't even think I can afford  to buy in a "sosyal"  na subdivision.  So I chose to get a unit in a subdivision that is near our family home (original family meaning mams, pams, siblings), where the homeowners association does not charge outrageous fees, where there are still a lot of trees and water is aplenty.  
But before you invest your hard-earned money in any real estate, there is a Latin legal maxim for buyers: caveat emptor, meaning, "buyer beware". A buyer must vigilant and must exercise  everything in his power to check the property he or she is buying before deciding to buy it.  

So please be guided by the following tips that I got from the HLURB:
1. Check if the Project has a Certificate of Registration and License to Sell.
You should ask the broker/agent of the owner/developer if the project is registered and has a License to Sell issued by HLURB:
* This can be verified at the On-line Queries/HLURB website ( for the list of projects covered with Certificate of Registration and License to Sell as well as any encumbrance thereon, e.g. Cease and Desist Order, Suspension of License, etc.;
* Or you may visit or call the nearest HLURB Regional Office for this information.
2. Visit the subdivision/condominium, where the house and lot or condo unit to be purchased is located to know its natural topography, viz: susceptibility to landslide, flooding, erosion, etc.; 

If the project is covered with a License to Sell, you may already enter into a Contract with the owner/developer.  However, there are things which must be checked:

1. The date of completion of the project as indicated in the License to Sell;

2. If the property is mortgaged, it should have a Clearance to Mortgage from the HLURB; 

3. The facilities and amenities represented in the advertisement flyers/ brochures are in accordance with the approved subdivision and condominium plan on file with HLURB.

1. Check if the broker/agent is registered with HLURB/DTI;
2. Verify if the property has not been sold to other buyers with the Register of Deeds;
3. Check into your source of income whether you can afford to pay the equity and the monthly installments;
4. Check if the materials of the house or condo unit conform with the development standards and approved construction specifications submitted to HLURB;
5. Check whether the developer would pay for the water and electric meters, the subdivision perimeter fence, etc.;
6. Check who would eventually operate the subdivision/condominium water system.

1. Don’t sign any blank form of the Contract;
2. Read thoroughly all the contents of the Contract more especially the terms and conditions in fine print;
3. Secure a copy of the Contract and all other documents that you have signed;
4. Make sure that the Contract would be registered by the owner/developer to the Register of Deeds;
5. Pay directly to the owner/developer or the marketing agent authorized by said owner/developer only; and
6. Ask an official receipt on all payments for your file.

Again, never ever sign blank documents!!! Also, please do not rely on the agent/broker's word alone.  It is a given that it is their job to close the sale and they have a tendency to exaggerate.  Check all concerns with the developer and read the contract, no matter how minutae the writing is. Or, consult with a lawyer before you part with your money.  

You've worked hard for your dream home, so as Prof. Alastor "MadEye" Moody of Hogwarts says, "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!!!"

Monday, April 29, 2013

Rekindling my Feelings for Robert Downey, Jr. aka The Ironman

Twenty years ago, I fell in love with Robert Downey, Jr. He was my Prince Charming.  I drooled over him in Heart and Souls and After All...  Then he got into drugs and his appeal to me went down the

When Robert did Ironman (hem, hem, we're on a first name basis), I admit, I was never interested in Ironman.  A normal person trying to be a superhero with his own gadgets? Puh-lease!!! And besides, it took a long time for me to get over him, why watch his movies at all!

Then I joined Nuffnang's Ironman Movie Screening Contest and (clap hands) won tickets for two! Yey!!!!

Now, I rekindled my super duper crush on my Robert. Hay...  The movie was funny, engaging, and to use the expression of Vice Ganda, "UNKABOGGABLE"!!!! It was THAT good, I had to watch it yesterday again with my sister, nephew and my baby.

Thanks to Sun Cellular, the Good Choice in Postpaid (it's that good, and I blogged it here) and Nuffnang.  If not for you, I would have missed this movie.  Now, I'm an Ironman fan.  (I even bugged my sister to buy me the previous Ironman films at Astrovision yesterday, hehehe)

Oh by the way, you can check out Suncell's offers via Twitter at @SunCellDeals and follow Nuffnang at @NuffnangPH.

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Casa de Carlo in Tagaytay: A Review

My sister availed of a voucher from Ensogo giving a huge discount for an overnight stay in Casa de Carlo.  Located inside Las Brisas Subdivision, near crossing Mendez, Casa de Carlo boasts of an authentic Spanish feel when one walks inside the place.  Owned by Carlo Callejo, Casa de Carlo is a bed and breakfast refuge in Tagaytay.

The grounds.- We had breakfast here.
Antique belfry- It's like walking the streets of Spain.
One is greeted through the main gate with wall murals depicting Spanish lifestyle.  At the guest's lounge/bar/dining area, various thing-a-ma-jigs are displayed like crossbows, copper pans, bows and arrows, knife collection, deer head, animal horns and a lot more.  This impressive collection, mostly of antiques, I think, is the collection of the father's owner.

Dining Area, guest area, or Family Room.
What's your order?
The entrance to the guest rooms...
The open door is the comfort room.
While some tables have glass tops, one would not miss that they sit on top of a tree trunk.  One trunk is even so HUGE that one would wonder if it used to be the dwelling of elves and brownies. Nice!

The piano which badly needs to be repaired and tuned.
Far back, the table with the big tree as a stand.
Inside the guest room, (we were booked in Room #2) a four-posted room with a giant flat screen tv and DVD player welcome the guest .  It's a big contrast from old Spanish theme.  It reminds one  that old Spanish style can mix with modern day gadgets.  There's also cable TV, a DVD player with some worn-out DVD's, a side table with an attached chair, a side drawer, built-in cabinet with drawers and a comfort room.  Oh, the room is small, by the way, about 15 square meters?

The four-poster bed
Love this sculpture!
The room has a mini snack tray with coffee, candies, junk food and bottled water.  All for a price, my dears.

Casa de Carlo can be a used as a venue for parties and other occasions since it has an open space.

Here's my review:

Smiley faces:

1. The four-poster bed.  I felt like a princess.

2. The furniture. I felt like I was in a different era.

Wish I brought this home, but it wouldn't fit in my bag.
3. The wall murals. So Spanish! Love it!

4.  The hanging vines with flowers in the gardens.

5. The staff. They are very friendly.

6. The breakfast! The longganisa was very tasty.

7. There's hot and cold shower.

8. The complimentary two small bottles of water, plus Colgate toothbrush and toothpaste, and shampoo.

9.  We asked the staff if they had some ice. Though at first they said none, they gave us some after a few minutes.

10. The very very strong free wifi connection!!!

Sad faces:

1. (Also) The four-poster bed.  I got spooked out when we went to bed.  It's a personal reaction, no offense.  I just have a wild imagination that I had to open the light in the bathroom.  Reminded me of Shake, Rattle and Roll. But well, compare it with the feeling of being like a princess when on this, then this bed is cool.

Goofing around, forgetting that the bed looks like
those in horror movies.
2. There is no proper table to have a meal. There is only one chair. If you come with someone, you can't even have a meal in the room at the same time, since there's only one chair.

3. It's inside a subdivision. It's hard to go out to get supplies, or have a meal.  The staff contacted a tricycle driver for us via cellphone and picked us up on our way out.

4. When we arrived, the chef was absent so we couldn't order food. Good thing, we had a lot of junk food with us so we didn't die of starvation.

5. We were made to pay P50 pesos for the Oreo biscuit that was missing. Heck, our kiddos do not eat Oreos because it's too sweet for their taste buds, even if you dangle them in their faces. I even checked the trash can to see if there was an Oreo wrapper. Nada! I checked out baggages. Still no Oreo. So we paid. What a waste!

The chair with a side table. Nice no?
And the drat missing Oreo. Where did it go?

6. The room is small.  

7. There's no refrigerator. But the other Suite Room, I was told has one.

8. There are too many remote controls - one for the cable, one for the TV, one for the DVD player.  An there's too many buttons to push to adjust the sound and everything. Not too user-friendly.

9. The garden was not tended.  For a potential venue for parties, it would have been nicer if the garden was more "tamed" or groomed.

The  garden.
For the price that my sister paid for it, I give Case de Carlo 3 stars.  (Voucher was for an overnight stay for two, with free breakfast. Children below 12 years old are free.)

The kid got tired, I guess, from the stay-cation

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why Sun Cellular Plan 600 and Plan 999 is The Good Choice in Postpaid?

Before my husband and I got married, he was assigned in a far-flung place, a good 15-hours' ride from Manila.  Cell signal was terrible, that he literally has to climb a water tank just to talk to me on the phone.     Good thing, I have been a Sun postpaid subscriber since 2002, we really maximized Sun's Unli call during that time.  

In all honesty, if not for Sun's unlimited offerings, the first of its kind in the telcom business, I think my husband (then boyfriend) and I would have had great trouble and probably would not have been able to maintain our long-distance relationship for years. 

Just last March, I renewed my Sun postpaid line and got an Alcatel One Touch Android Phone and Alcatel tablet. How's that for Plan 600!!! 

Sun offers a wide flexibility in your plan.  Here are your options for Plan 600 I got from Sun's website.

Plan 600  
You may choose from the following Profiles:

Call & Text Unlimited
Get the following:
  • Unlimited Calls & Texts*
  • P250 Consumable** (except International/Domestic Operator-assisted calls)
  • 350 FREE SMS to other networks
Text Unlimited
Get the following:
  • Unlimited Texts*
  • P450 Consumable** (except International/Domestic Operator-assisted calls)
  • 350 FREE SMS to other networks
Fully Consumable
Get the following:
  • P600 Consumable** (except International/Domestic Operator-assisted calls)
  • 350 FREE SMS to ALL networks
* Local Sun-to-Sun Calls and/or Texts only.
** Consumable may be used for the following:
  • Sun Cellular calls to other networks – including NDD & IDD
  • Sun - to - Sun MMS
  • SMS2Email

And now, Plan 600 and 999 have new phone offerings - the slimmest phones from Alcatel!  I wish I waited for another month before renewing my subscription so that I could have availed the new Alacatel Idol

On the other hand, for plan 999, get the following:

Text Unlimited
  • Unlimited Mobile Internet
  • Unlimited Texts to Sun
  • 4 Hours Calls to Sun 

And choose from the following free phones and gadget:
   1. Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 plus Samsung Galaxy Y Phone
   2. Samsung Galaxy Grand
   3. LG L7
   4. HTC Desire X

That's great savings and maximum compatibility with your cellphone usage.

Convinced? Then visit the nearest Sun Shop now!

Don't Miss Out Firmoo Free Offer

I am not too fond of wearing sunglasses when I was younger.  I felt dizzy wearing them.  During one annual check -up for my eyes, my ophthalmologist told me that just because I have a 20/20 vision doesn't mean that I shouldn't protect my eyes from the harsh glare of the sun.  So, since then, I make it a point to wear sunglasses.  

But buying sunglasses in a shop are taxing for me. I have to go to the optical shop, check out the stands, try on so many pairs only to get disappointed because I couldn't find the perfect pair for me.

So when I came to learn about Firmoo (, I was sooo soooo happy! It's an online store that features loads of glasses, with a description of each item that allows you to really review the product and maximize your money's worth. I even made a post about Firmoo before. (Please click here.) When I got my own pair from Firmoo, I blogged about it too here for my actual Firmoo review.

That's me with Firmoo glasses on!!!
But, I am not talking about just sunglasses.   Firmoo also offers prescription glasses. So if you are bored with your overused & old style glasses, now is the time for you to replace those tired, outdated glasses that you may have had for so long and trade them in for glasses that are up-to-date, fashionable and perfect for you! 

Remember what my doctor says: we should have an eye refraction test at least annually to reduce the risk of our eyesight deteriorating from using old prescription eyeglasses!  If you've been wearing those glasses since the dinosaurs first roamed the earth, you better change them now.

What's more exciting is that  Firmoo is giving out FREE glasses with you!

Isn't that great?They are offering FREE glasses (Frames + Lenses + Shipping = $0!) as well as discount coupons, so that any one of you can take an advantage of them! Don't miss out on the Firmoo free offer!
And, if you are a first time customer at Firmoo, you can also get your first pair for free . Only pay a minimum $6.95 shipping fee.  Now that's what I call a fantabulous offer!

But for those who missed the free pair, you still don't have to be discouraged because they have another limited time offer which will save you 20% off on frames + total shipping fee.
Isn't that awesome?!Take your time and enjoy your good luck at

Nice, eh? Again, please visit any of these sites to get your free glasses:,  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Kids, Love Your Dentists

I grew up in a family that view dental hygiene as a must. Despite my parents' meager salaries when we were still kids, they made sure that our dentists and us are friends. 

So one of the first things I notice in a person, aside from the nose, is his/her teeth. Yep, I hate bad teeth. And I hate bad breath (though sometimes one cannot avoid having terrible breath especially after eating garlic and onion-laden food).

Now that I have a kid of my own, I make sure that the concept of a dentist for him (with an instrument to poke and probe his mouth) is something that is not scary. I'm glad he never ever got scared of the thought that he needs to have his teeth checked and cleaned regularly. Not once did he ever get scared of the word "DENTIST" unlike other kids who would scream and shake after just hearing that word.  I think it helped  too that my sister is one.

So how does one prepare a little angel with a visit to the dentist?

a. Even if your baby has no tooth yet, make sure to clean his/her gums and wipe the tongue clean.  There's a certain toothbrush (though technically it's not a brush) that is used to massage a baby's gums. This way, the baby would feel that the mouth needs to be cleaned too;

b. Do not leave the milk bottle in your baby's mouth for a long time.  Prolonged exposure to milk can cause the teeth to rot;

c. When your baby is bigger, one year old or so, introduce the concept of food, how important one's teeth are to enjoying food, how they should be taken care of, how one loses a tooth;

d. Try to have a visit with the dentist as early as one year old or when the first milk tooth appears.  This way, the parents are reminded by the dentists about oral hygiene (because we tend to forget these things since we are already peppered with nappy and milk concerns).

e. Never ever use your dentist (or your doctor) as punishment when a kid does something wrong.  Sometimes parents would tell kids (especially those with rotting teeth already), "Sige ka, pupunta tayo sa dentista!".  Dentists are not monsters.  Don't use them to scare away your kids since it will be more likely that your kids would not welcome visiting their dentist because they will associate it with punishment.  If you can, use it as a treat: "If you do well, we'll have a visit to the dentist.  The dentist has a cool chair and it will have something for your teeth." or something like that. 

f. Lastly, be an example to your kid. You can sit on the dental chair together. That way, your kid can draw strength from you and you, from him/her.   If you're scared of dentists, please don't show your kids that you are scared.  If you do,there's a big possibility that they will hate going to the dentist too.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Goodbye YouTube!?

YouTube is shutting down.

I first learned about YouTube when I worked at ACS in Makati in 2006. I discovered a lot of funny videos there.  This is where I saw Lea Salonga's wedding and how her groom literally shed bucket of tears while singing "Two Words".  This is where I saw that funny Japanese game where the guys played football or soccer (they look the same to me) and wore binoculars strapped to their eyes, with the big lens on the eye, and the supposed to be viewing lens was the one protruding. The effect was hilarious--- guys tried to kick the ball hard only to twist because the ball still far away.

And now, it's saying goodbye... But it won't shut down without finding and awarding the best video.

Who are the top bets? To quote Yahoo:

"Gangnam Style has the same chance of winning as a video with 40 views of a man feeding bread to a duck," YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar pronounced, referring to the viral sensation from Koren pop artist PSY that's now the most-viewed video on the site.

Many expressed shock and disappointment over the planned shutdown, with a revelation that the chosen video will be the only one to be played until 2023 when YouTube is relaunched."

They didn't wait for the axe to fall: because today is APRIL FOOLS!!!

Happy April Fools' Day everyone!!

(Since I can't upload the vid, I'm posting the link here: I hope it's the correct vid. If not, April Fools'!!! hahahah)