Monthly Archives: June 2014

How to Afford the Makati Lifestyle

apartments

For young professionals in the Philippines, living in Makati is the dream. The city is home to the country’s business district, party hubs, shopping centers, and fancy restaurants. Find an apartment in the right area and all these—and your place of work—can even be just within walking distance!

According to ApartmentsMakati.com apartments and condos in Makati don’t come cheap because most options are prime real estate. In fact, they can be too expensive for a young professional’s salary. How can you keep paying the rent every month, start a savings account, and still fund your cool lifestyle?

apartments

Here are a few suggestions:

● Automate your money! Set up a payment option that will automatically deposit rent money to your landlord’s account during paydays. You won’t ever have to worry about making rent if you pay it off first!

● Save up for an emergency fund or paycheck buffer. You might have to tighten your belt for the first few months, but you’ll breathe easier knowing that when you’ve spent your paycheck during a night out, you’re not really broke.

● Set up passive income streams. Look into mutual funds, stock market investments, or business opportunities. There’s nothing quite like earning money even when you’re asleep! Even blogging can earn you a pretty penny without you realizing it.

● If you think you deserve it, ask for a raise! The secret to having more money to save or spend is earning more than you can use. Keep in mind that most employers won’t just hand you a pay raise, you need to ask!

Having the right money management skills can show that you can indeed have it all. You don’t have to deprive yourself of a social life, nor do you have to be stuck living so far away from the action. Don’t think twice about starting your new independent life and rent out that Makati condo or apartment.

Online Transactions: the Philippines’ Next Big Thing?

e-commerce

Thanks to the overall economic growth, accessibility of smartphones, and the young population of Southeast Asia, we face a more tech-savvy and sophisticated future. Of course, this means that there will be a stronger focus on the Internet in these areas, including the Philippines.

On top of active Facebook and Twitter accounts, Filipinos might take to another part of the technological revolution we are in today: online transactions.

e-commerce

The Opportunities

Dragonpay believes that e-commerce will have its own boom in the Philippines in the next few years, and will become a major driving force in the retail industry. This is just one of the areas that would benefit greatly once online payment systems become more mainstream.

Imagine how online payments can speed up and boost the way we trade today. Even without bringing cold cash to brick-and-mortar stores (or even without going to actual stores), it’s possible to buy and acquire a product or a service. Economy-wise, this can really fast-track the growth of the country – both in micro and macro scales – as it has proven before with how e-commerce empowered local brands across the region.

The Challenges

The problem, however, is that the online payment system isn’t ripe in the country yet. It needs time to gain traction. Circa-2011 data from the World Bank enumerate a few challenges for the Philippines when it comes to online payments.

For one, bank penetration remains at a low 27%. Only 3% of the population possess credit cards. Internet penetration is only at 32%, not to mention that the service is sub-par and overpriced. Most importantly, consumers aren’t aware yet about the capabilities of smartphones and online transactions in revolutionizing payments.

Online transactions have the capability to be the next big thing in the Philippines. Once it happens, there will be a lot more to expect from the country’s economic growth. The situation isn’t so bad, but for it to be good, we have a long way to go in dealing with infrastructure-related and consumer-related hurdles to put online payments under the spotlight, at the center of everyday economic activity.

Aerial Films: Exploring the World from a Different Perspective

aerial filming

The scenic shots of cities, the panoramic view of oceans, and the slow motion explorations of sunsets are stunning, and they’re possible with the help of cameras mounted to drones and quadcopters. Aerial filming, however, is not as simple as making the drone fly and pressing the record button. It demands preparation and proper equipment to achieve stunning shots.

Here’s a short guide to get a good start:

aerial filming

Choose the right camera

Be it a bulky videocam or a compact camera such as the likes of GoPro and Blackmagic, you can use different cameras for aerial videography. As long as you know how to use it to achieve your desired results, it really doesn’t matter what brand or kind you will use.

The risks of camera shakes

Getting a crisp film is the first challenge of aerial filming. As the wind can make your equipment unstable, avoiding blurry and shaky videos becomes a tough task. Quadcopters, for one, are ideal in aerial filming, as they involve four propellers to maximum stability.

Be creative

While it’s tough to get your eye out from the viewfinder, it’s still possible to get stunning results. You are going to discover magnificent views from up above, so maximize the whole picture to get good results. Watch out for the clouds, the landscape, and the colors of the ground, to be on your way of filming a nice scene.

Be the best in flying

One of the most important things you can do to improve your aerial filming skills is to become a capable quadcopter pilot. Fly and shoot as much as you can. There is no substitute for practice, and spending your entire time sitting instead of flying your quadcopter daily and shooting will never produce a great film.

Aerial videography is an ideal way of capturing the world from a different perspective. Still, it requires preparation and skills instead of just knowing the basics of flying a UAV. So, get out, start shooting, and don’t stop practicing to master aerial videography.

Work Safely, Stay Healthy: 3 Important Tips for Plasterers

plaster

There are times that field experience and manual skills are not enough to keep you safe. Plasterers know this all too well. Slips, trips, and breathing problems are all common in the workplace. Most construction jobs are highly dangerous, even if the task at hand only takes minutes.

Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of accidents and injury to yourself. Industry experts like GTPRO recommend identifying tasks that require safe work procedures.

plaster

Be familiar with the procedures

Before starting work, it is best that you get to know the working environment. Review all your safe work procedures to ensure they are current and effective. Many accidents are avoidable if workers know adequate information, instruction, training, and supervision. Some of the most important things to consider is making sure you have a clean and organised work area. Do not skip safety practices, even if they take too much time.

Wear the appropriate PPE

Plasterers often use hazardous equipment such as drills, hammers, and heat strippers. To lessen your exposure to injuries, choose the appropriate personal protective equipment. This is an important point as there will be issues that that would affect other people while you are plastering. Wear odour masks, eyewear to protect against particles, and shoes safe for use on ladders. Always use the correct item for the job.

Ensure easy access to first aid kits

As a worker in the construction industry, you can look after your own health and safety by getting access to first aid kits. This is important so you can deal with minor accidents and injuries. Do not walk past obvious hazards that you can deal with easily. Companies promoting workplace safety like GTPRO suggest removing those hazards or inform someone who can.

Whatever the size of the job you are going to do, be familiar with the safe working methods and practices. Do your part in promoting a safer workplace.

Home Improvement Loans: Funding Methods and Associated Costs

Kitchen

Many homeowners like to update or add a new feature to their existing home for different reasons – old bathrooms, needing extra space, and an old kitchen, among others. Such projects usually require a good amount of funding, and financing has to be in place before work can begin. Fortunately, there are some financing options available for home improvement loans. Choosing the right option will depend on a number of factors – how much the project costs, money available, length of project, available equity in home, and possible future improvement projects.

Kitchen

Available Options to Finance Home Improvements

  • Cash: Many homeowners save up and pay cash for improvement projects. This is one of the best home improvement financing option available. There are no interest and finance charges to pay and since the home isn’t used as collateral, there is no risk of foreclosure.
  • Credit Cards: If the cost of a project is not too much, there is no reason why credit cards should not be used. Interest rates are usually high, and this option should be chosen if the debt can be paid off in a few months.
  • Unsecured personal loans: These loans are usually taken without offering collateral. Loans from friends and family are a better option than payday loans.
  • Home equity loans: This is a loan which is taken using the home as collateral, similar to a mortgage. This is a good option, as the amount is fixed and can be taken for a one-time project. Interest rates are fixed and tax deductible. Closing costs are part of the deal.
  • Home equity line of credit: This type of home improvement loan is taken with the house as collateral. Interest rates vary and can rise with the prime rate.
  • 401K loans: Some 401K plans allow people to take loans against their retirement funds. Interest rates are low and there are no qualifying fees. In case a person changes his or her job, the amount has to be paid back in full. There are penalties and taxes on the amount if it is not paid back in 5 years.

Experts warn consumers about using contractor financing or lenders recommended by contractors. These loans may not be the best home improvement loans, as the sources can be deceptive. Processing fees, closing fees, and interest are part of the loan process, especially if you are going for home equity loans. When done responsibly, the money will serve to improve a home and quality of life for many owners.