2015 and 2016… A Financial wake up call

A sad reality of this world, particularly here in the Philippines,  is  that many really dread the idea of missing out. That fear was so great that many exhaust  all efforts to not make it happen. Unfortunately, others would go to the extent of spending beyond their means to do so. Thus, leaving nothing  for the rainy days.

I admit, I was once one of those people. Last year, I fell into the trap of ticking off as many places as possible  off of my Philippine bucket list.

Before anyone hurls a violent reaction about my statement, please be advised that I’m not discouraging anyone from travelling. All I’m saying is that, because of my new found love for travel, I forgot to keep things in moderation.

During the span of 12 months, I’ve stressed myself in meeting my ‘saving’ deadlines for one travel plan to another. Of course, I have to constantly pick up my pace since I also have unscheduled plans in between. Without me knowing, it became a ruthless cycle that made me more aggravated than usual. Now, my travel goals started to feel like a burden too.

It was sad, really.  The once fully enjoyable travel experience became an equally dreaded time of the month as well. My used to be healthy savings account started dwindling back to almost zero. At that point, I knew I was in trouble.

What I didn’t know is that I’ll be in more trouble for the months to follow. I’ve encountered bad investments, unexpected health expenses and emergency family needs. It was such a horror. A supposedly good year started turning sour.

I thought it was never going to end. Then one day, I realized that I can always go back to basics. I started revisiting the finance related websites that I used to regularly follow. In the process of doing so, I remembered my great dream to attain financial freedom. A dream that would enable me to travel freely and do so much more.

During the last quarter of 2015, I started  re-evaluating my personal life. I focused in analyzing my  needs versus wants in a wholistic level. As I do that, I went through the painful process of re-organizing my goals and compensating for my past blunders. It was difficult, I tell you that. But then again, it must be done.

As 2015 drew to a close, I continued to struggle during the start of 2016. Good thing about it is that it wasn’t as difficult as before. I’ve gained a little bit of patience and discipline to handle my day to day activities.

Today, I can say that I’m on my way to recovery. I may not become a millionaire this year or anytime soon, all I know is that at least I’m getting somewhere. For now, that’s all that matters.

If you’re in this point in your life right now, do not fret. You are not alone. Also, take comfort that there is hope. Hope that can start with you. Find inspiration. Start from what matters most to you.

Take a leap of faith.

See how much wonder awaits you

Matthew 6:21 New International Version (NIV)

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

These are the sites that I normally visit:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/filpinofinancialfreedomforum/

http://www.fitzvillafuerte.com

http://www.investopedia.com

Books I’ve read (ing):

Bible – read more on stewardship. Google if you’re yet that well-versed in reading scriptures like myself. There are so many verses about money

Till Debt do us part by Chinkee Tan

My Maid Invests in the Stock Market by Bo Sanchez

 

My Most Memorable Volunteer Work

Growing up not having as much privilege as most people I know, I get to understand the concept of lack better. At the same time, it also nurtured a heart that wanted to serve humanity. Perhaps, that’s what drew me to studying nursing (aside from the existence of scholarships and all). A profession that I never really got a  chance of really practicing. Before you start grabbing tissues or being sad for me, you need to know that I don’t really regret it. I just ended up changing my priorities and interests over time. May your hearts stay still. Please continue reading  ^_^

Despite the aforementioned, my circumstance didn’t stop me from getting as much opportunity to serve people in any way that I can. I guess that’s what pushed me to volunteering or contributing for different causes whenever opportunity (and budget) permits. Hahaha.

One memorable volunteer work experience occurred last Nov 2013. It was after the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan. While I was busy wondering if my siblings were still alive, I attempted to steer my mind away from worrying by taking action. I started my online search for volunteer sites to visit. From one volunteer work to another, I eventually found myself serving in Villamor Airbase. That’s where I met this young and vibrant girl Rachel and her family.

 

Honestly, when I met her family, I was quite amazed how calm and collected they were considering what they’ve just gone through. With the way they smile at each other, you wouldn’t believe they experienced a close encounter with death as well as days of unimaginable famine. Their gratitude on the aid and assistance they received from us was well expressed. At first glance, they seemed okay. But when I started talking to them, that’s when I found my heart being torn down little by little.

According to Rachel’s mom, they were thankful that none of their family members died. Unfortunately, their possessions perished. Her mom admitted that they barely have anything to begin with. Now, losing all of it made them wonder what would become of them after being brought out of Tacloban City.

When I turned my attention to Rachel, her mom proudly told me that she is one diligent child. Her thirst for knowledge is so great that she feels thrilled whenever their family gets to scavenge old books being thrown out from a nearby school. Then, that’s when I saw her sulk stating that she would have to start all over again. I tried to reassure her by telling her that the schools that they will temporarily be enrolled to will have lots of books to offer. And also, she can look forward to having their schools being rebuilt in the future. Thinking back, I kinda regret and want to kick myself for saying the last statement. I barely managed my emotions on what ensued.

Rachel vehemently turned down the offer of going back to Tacloban. When I pressed on for answers (mentally kicks self), she told me that there’s no point in doing so. As expected, I decided to wait for more answers.

Here’s how our conversation went (tried to recall the verbatim convo):

Rachel: Ate Khay, ayoko na bumalik sa eskwelahan namin.

Me: Hah? Bakit? Ayaw mo na ba mag-aral ulit sa school mo kapag napaayos na siya ulit?

Rachel: Hindi naman po. Gusto ko pa naman sana kaso wala na ako babalikan

*gives her a questioning look*

Rachel: Wala na po ako babalikan. Patay na po kasi mga classmates ko….

 

 

(English Translation:

Rachel: Ate Khay, I don’t want to go back to school anymore.

Me: Huh? Why? Don’t you want to go back to your school once it gets rebuilt?

Rachel: It’s not that. I still want to. It’s just that, there’s nothing to go back to.

*gives her a questioning look*

Rachel: There’s no one to go back to. My classmates are already dead….)

 

I felt my heart just died there and then.

 

If there were lessons that I learned from such encounter, these would be:

 

  • Your ability to help should not always be limited to your resources. We have God given abilities and time that we can always share to the world.
  • No help is too small. You may not think of as much. But for the recipient of your aid, it might actually mean the world to them.
  • Extreme situations can bring the best and worst out of people. It’s up to you which side you’ll be on.
  • You should not take everything at face value. It helps to inspect and understand it further at times. You’ll never know what you might learn from it.
  • Appreciate what you have. As you complain about your mundane first world problems, others are wishing to have a miniscule portion of what you have within your reach.
  • Kindness will take you places. Be kind to people if you can. It makes living in this corrupted world more tolerable.
  • Your time matters. Make it count

 

I can go all day saying good things about why I love doing volunteer work. For now, I’ll end this article with the ones I initially thought of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015…. A Local Travel Year

This post definitely came in late (to put it lightly ^_^).

Months before I turned 25, I promised myself that I would do something different for 2015. I just need to. After all, it was the first time that I will be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor without feeling too guilty about it. With a family member’s debt paid and a sibling who finally graduated, I earned a little bit of breathing space for poor old me. 😂😂😂

What a good way to start it with would be  travelling in my own country, the Philippines!

To be honest, having 7500 (before it was 7107) islands in our country made it really hard for me to decide which ones to go to first. So, what I did was simple…

I just waited for some crazy friends of mine to drag me along.

To be honest, I didn’t have to wait long for one of them was more than eager to visit 4 provinces in one go.

By the last week of February, I managed to visit 4 different provinces up north. Sagada, Baguio, Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur have different things to offer. In a span of days, I experienced trodding dirt roads; sun rise watching (though we ended up with a puff of clouds instead of Mr. Sun); trekking up and down the *mini* slopes to visit a hidden falls; short course spelunking with matching slips and not so graceful trips and many more.

 

By the end of our trip, I can no longer stop myself from grumbling on how painful my body was. Ironically, I also stated how much I wanted to do it all over again.

In just one vacation, I realized how intoxicating travel could be. I swear, if only I have the sufficient resources and err… leave credits, I’d definitely try to check if I can allot some of them for travel. Oh, I think I already did that last year! Silly me. 😁 No wonder I ended up visiting at least 10 provinces last year!

P.S.: photos posted were taken from different places I’ve visited throughout the year. The photo with the ala Greece feel was from my friend Rosey if I remember it correctly, that is. 😅