5 Ideal Places to Visit This Valentine’s Day

(This is a guest post from Kyle Kam, one of our friends from Money Max PH. The Philippines’ leading financial comparison website. He's an online marketing specialist and whenever he’s not working, he’s busy at home watching MMA videos the whole day. You may follow him on Twitter @undisputedkyle)

In a relationship? You may get a lot of pressure from your boyfriend/girlfriend to plan something spectacular for this coming Valentine’s Day. The good news is that the holiday falls on a Saturday this year, so conflicts with your work schedule is less likely.

Some more good news: you don’t need to spend a ton of dough to show your date a good time! A growing number of local malls like Greenbelt, Eastwood City, SM Mall of Asia, and Bonifacio High Street are pretty enough that you can take your date out for a stroll without draining your wallet. If you’d rather step away from malls, however, we’ve got a handful of budget-friendly date ideas you can try.

1. Intramuros

Want to invoke the history and romance of Old Manila? We’re suckers for the former Walled City of Intramuros, which is excellent for much more than school field trips. Have lunch amidst the rustic cobblestones of Casa Manila, take a tour of the San Agustin Church & Museum, or hire a kalesa to take you around Fort Santiago in true cheesy-romcom fashion.

2. The Collective

Immerse yourself in Makati’s artsy crowd and visit The Collective, located along Malugay Street. This eclectic hangout is the ideal watering hole for the city’s most creative minds, with a fun selection of shops and restaurants where you can always try something new. Come for the art, stay for the atmosphere. Either way, you and your date are gonna enjoy yourselves.

3. Maginhawa Street

If you or your date are avid foodies, you’ll find plenty to smile about at Maginhawa Street. Located at Teacher’s Village in Quezon City, Maginhawa Street is home to several small but cozy restaurants that’ll definitely fulfill your cravings. Whether you’ve got a sweet tooth or a health-conscious lifestyle, you can’t miss this much-loved culinary destination.

4. Little Tokyo

If a Japanophile has stolen your heart, then Little Tokyo is a must-try for your future date nights. Situated along Makati’s Chino Roces Avenue (Pasong Tamo), Little Tokyo is a charming compound at the heart of the city that perfectly captures the spirit of the Far East. Here you can sit down to a meal of authentic Japanese dishes like sushi, okonomiyaki, ramen, soba, takoyaki, and shaved ice desserts.

5. Salcedo Weekend Market

While not as chill and laid-back as the Legaspi Weekend Market every Sunday, this popular haunt is a great way to spend a lazy morning with your significant other. Held every Saturday at Salcedo Village’s Jaime Velasquez Park in Makati, the Salcedo Weekend Market lets you sample world cuisines and shop for one-of-a-kind buys all in one place. This is not your usual neighborhood palengke!


Wherever you plan to go this Saturday, be sure to plan ahead! Make restaurant reservations in advance, as the demand for intimate dinner settings will be sure to skyrocket on the 14th. Make the proper arrangements with your transport. Fill up your tank, update your car insurance policy, and do all the necessary maintenance checks so you don’t end up stranded on EDSA with a busted engine. 

And if things don’t work out, always have a Plan B ready just in case!

How Smart Apps Help You In Budgeting And Tracking Finances

I remember when I started working, I tracked my expenses by writing it down in a yellow paper. So old school but it worked for me.

But now, have you ever thought of using your smart phone in tracking and budgeting your finances?

Now, it is possible!

Advocate Jenny Noynay shares how Smart Apps help her in tracking her finances and be able to save more. Here's her exact words:

With free downloadable Smart Apps available in App Store (if you are using IOS Phones) or Google Play (if you are using Android Phones), you can track your money with your fingertips, instead of using the traditional pen and paper.

Why budget and track finances in the first place? 

Do you have that time in your life when you asked yourself, "Where did my money go"? Experiencing such event, you may understand that tracking and budgeting your finances help you to be aware of your spending habits and give you control over it.

Why use Smart Apps in budgeting? 

Smartphones are handy so you can track your spending efficiently and easily. For example, you buy goods in grocery, in just one snap, you can update the tracker immediately.

What are the Smart Apps that can be used? Many free Personal Finance Smart Apps are available which you can choose from. Just type "budget" on search in your App Store or Google Play and you can choose any 4-5 star rating that is suitable for you. 

Based on experience, we recommend "Pocket Expense" for easy-to-use personal finance Smart App. Other options include "Expense Manager App" that will notify you if you have scheduled payment and "Good Budget App".

What are the features of the Smart Apps that can help you in tracking expenses and budgeting? 

Several advantageous features are available for any of these Finance Smart Apps such as:
1. Choosing your budget which makes you vigilant on spending money.
2. Selecting type of spending you incurred such as "Dining", "Utilities", "Household", "Clothing" and the like.
3. Providing analysis, chart and report daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly. You name it which can help you determine the criteria you spend the most. It can help you eliminate buying your "wants" instead of "needs".

Having a Personal Finance Smart App makes budgeting and tracking Finances handy, efficient and user-friendly. 

Try it now and experience it yourself.
Track + Budget = Save
Be financially smart!

6 Ways In Spending Your Christmas Bonus

This is the time of the year that a lot of people feel giddy inside. Of course, that includes me! 

I can already smell the scent of Christmas tree, feel the cold breeze and excited for family reunions. 

Do you feel the same way too? 

How about the much awaited Christmas Bonus and/or 13th Month Pay? Definitely you are more excited for this. I believe some of you already received theirs. But how will you spend it?

Remember, it is your reward for a year’s work so better spend it wisely!

photo: source

Here are some ways:

1. Build up your emergency fund - emergencies do happen whether we like it or not. As a rule of thumb, you should have at least 3 to 6 months worth of monthly expenses in the bank. 

But if you haven’t started setting up fund for emergency yet, save your bonus as your emergency fund.   

2. Pay off existing debts – it’s better to start the new year without any debt. So if you have an outstanding credit card balance or personal loans, instead of paying for the interest amounting to 3.5% monthly or 42% per annum, better to get rid of it by paying it all (or as much as you can). 

3. Invest for your future – do you see yourself enjoying the same lifestyle as you are now in your retirement years?  Do you think the pension you will be receiving in the future is enough? Make your money work for you! 

Consider to invest your bonus in investment vehicles that will give you higher returns or better-than-inflation rate. Open a Mutual Funds account, invest in Stocks, UITF or VUL (insurance with investment plan)

Ask around, read books. Do your research or let me know so I can help you.

4. Protect your greatest asset – and that is YOU! Plan ahead and protect yourself against life’s risk by getting life insurance or health/critical illness insurance. 

Read: How much insurance you really need? 

5. Set up ‘funds’ for your life goals – are there any adventures that you want to cross off your bucket list? Where do you want to go in summer next year? Do you have plans of taking up Master’s degree? How about pursuing your passion by building your dream business? 

Whatever milestone you want to achieve, set aside fund for every goal. 

Here's an effective way on how to do it: the jar system of saving money.

6. Share and enjoy it with your loved ones – since Christmas is the merriest season of the year so why not treat your parents for a shopping spree, eat out with your friends or indulge yourself with anything that will make you happy. 

Go and celebrate being hardworking this year! After all, it is your bonus money. 

But remember, spend it wisely.

If you have other smart tips on how to spend it, share it by commenting below.

Sun LifeAssure (Critical Illness Insurance) - Your Financial Protection Against Heart Attack, Cancer, Kidney Failure and more

People work hard for their families and to be able to save regularly in order to achieve life goals. But no matter what we do and wish for good health still, uncontrollable event such as illness can happen. 

According to National Statistics Office (NSO), the top 3 leading causes of death in the Philippines are due to Critical Illness – heart diseases, stroke and cancer.

Remember my post about "Why Plan for Critical Illness"? Read it HERE.

What would happen if a Critical Illness hits you today? Do you want majority of your savings and investment will be used in paying hospital expenses and medicines?

Medical expenses are a leading cause of personal bankruptcy.

photo: source
1. Heart Attack
2. Stroke
3. Cancer
4. Kidney Failure
5. Dissecting Aortic Aneurysm
6. End Stage Lung Disease
7. Progressive Muscular Atrophy
8. Major Burns
9. Multiple Sclerosis
10. Paralysis
11. Total Blindness
12. Loss of Limbs
13. Aplastic Anaemia
14. Bacterial Meningitis
15. Benign Brain Tumour
16. Deafness
17. Encephalitis
18. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
19. Progressive Bulbar Palsy (PBP)
20. Meningeal Tuberculosis
21. Cerebral Metastasis
22. Loss of Speech
23. Coma
24. Parkinson’s Disease
25. Terminal Illness
26. Medullary Cystic Disease
27. Alzheimer’s Disease
28. Fulminant Hepatitis
29. Major Head Trauma
30. End Stage Liver Failure
31. Motor Neurone Disease
32. Guillain-Barre Syndrome


33. Major Organ Transplant
34. Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
35. Surgery for Disease of the Aorta (Aortic Surgery)
36. Replacement of Heart Valve

Protect Your Finances against Critical Illness with Sun LifeAssure

What is it?

"In investing, time matters a lot and not timing." - Thomas, Investment Advocate

I love hearing stories from people on how they started investing and especially what they do when there is economic crisis. And now, let me share with you an inspiring journey of a good friend, whose name withheld upon request. But let us call him Thomas.

The Beginning

I started investing in Mutual Funds in 2000 after our family went on a tailspin and experienced Asian Financial crisis in 1997. My mom was working in real estate brokerage at that time and that was our main source of family’s income. We were not rich to start with but my mother was really hardworking, diligent and dedicated to lift us from poverty to an extremely well-off life. We had a nice, big house and cars.  My brother had plans of studying abroad and I planned of becoming a doctor. 

What will you do when there is economic crisis? (photo: google)

The good life, so it seems, would never end. Then surprising twist of fate happened and all that we have are gone. We did not lose everything immediately, maybe because we were in state of denial that we will overcome the crisis and we will bounce back sooner than expected. But it did not happen. All our plans went down the drain. And we lost everything - the cars, the endless allowance, the partying, road trips, all the food that you can eat, stuff that you like to buy without thinking about the cost. It then hit me that I need to be thinking differently when it comes to finances. Making money is hard, keeping them is harder. You work then you get paid. How hard can that be? You get paid then you must have enough discipline to keep most of the money or make them grow and multiply, well, you need skills, discipline and info analysis.

The Turning Point

I read in a newspaper about a new, controversial book that tackles finances and wealth: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I bought one and read it five times. Of all the asset classes that were discussed, Mutual Fund is the easiest for me to get into. I made my research regarding the topic and after half a year of reading thoroughly about it, I made a few calls to some financial institutions that offer Mutual Fund investment. I chose one and wrote the cheque for the initial deposit (Php5,000) and few more cheques for the subsequent top-ups or investments (back in 2002, the minimum was Php500).