Business, Personal + Finance

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The endowment effect in investing

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 Posted by Vernon Go , , , , , No comments

In behavioral finance and social psychology, it is a cognitive bias known as The Endowment Effect. In short and simple words, this effect means that, we as humans, have a tendency to (over-) value things we currently own more than we would value them if they were somebody else’s.

First postulated by Richard Thaler in 1980, the endowment effect is one of the first cognitive biases observed to violate standard economic theory. The endowment effect states that 'people often demand much more to give up an object than they would be willing to pay to acquire it' (Thaler,1980).

We naturally exhibit a tendency to be lenient on evaluating the performance of what we own. Investors, therefore, tend to stick with certain assets because of familiarity & comfort, even if they are inappropriate or have become unprofitable. The endowment effect is an example of an emotional bias.

That car you have that constantly breaks down?  You’d never buy it from someone else, because better ones are on the market right now.

That crappy job you’ve stayed in for years?  You probably would never take it again if you knew what you know now because you know that there are better ones out there on the market right now.

The endowment effect has immediate implications for investors. Simply put, the cognitive tendency to 'love what you own' applies to the shares, bonds, and funds in your portfolio which leads us to scrutinizing less our choices and even our investment portfolio. In many cases defending them irrationally–than you otherwise would.

Is it Good? Bad? Both?

The endowment effect isn’t all bad. It allows us to have some comfort in difficult times.  How many times have you heard people justify their current awful situation as a “blessing” when pretty much anyone else would say it was a curse?  That is, at least partly, the endowment effect in action.

But, on the downside, the endowment effect has a highly insidious effect on your career, finances, relationships, etc.. You “stick” in bad situations, investments, relationships, and jobs longer than a “smart” person would, because your brain is wired to make it so. This is also the reason why people tend to hoard or also the Real Reason It’s hard to get rid of things.

It seems this is already hard-wired into us as this same bias has helped our ancestors survive and reproduce; in a very dangerous environment; it is better to be risk-averse and live to see another day than to take a chance and die, and over-valuing what you already have probably made sense in an environment where acquiring desirable things was much harder than it is now.

Recognizing the existence and power of these biases is the first step to overcoming or perhaps at a basic level – being able to spot and control them.

For every type of investor, it is important to be mindful of the ‘endowment effect’ and judge the various financial products you currently own versus what is available in the market impartially as best as possible, especially when you already own one or more of them.

Where does the endowment effect show itself in your life and experience?  Please do share!


The writeris an RFP® - registered financial planner and helps people through CERTA, Inc.’s financial education programs ( is also a Real Estate Broker, author of the award-winning personal blog – and an Instagram travel-micro-blogger (@PhantomNomad).

Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last June 20, 2017.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Money and Hedonic Adaptation

In this column last year (December 16th entitled “Spend more now and less later”), I wrote a few references on Hedonic Motivation, Hedonic Adaptation, and Hedonic Tilt; today I will solely focus on Hedonic Adaptation which is also related to last week’s Lifestyle Inflation.

Like lifestyle Inflation, Hedonic Adaptation can easily be misinterpreted and also become demonized by the financial industry. Hedonic Adaptation is when people can easily adapt to living with less, without suffering many negative consequences, but when we are constantly pursuing more, we have to get even more to stay happy.

It is both positive and negative. If one is trying to maintain a budget or savings to pursue a financial goal, we can most definitely succeed because we can adapt to living with less without depriving ourselves.

On the other hand, however, if we strive more (whether consciously or subconsciously), and get something new or cool that is introduced to our lives, suddenly that new or cool thing can become the new normal and now it takes something newer or cooler to satisfy you! This can easily lead to lifestyle inflation as we try to upgrade everything in our life once we get an increase in cash-inflow or income.

You could even say it is similar to what we millennials say or classify as “WALANG FOREVER” – No matter what it is that makes you happy, you can get bored of it after a while. But at the same time, YOU can move on and also get over it!

Hedonic Adaptation is a feature built right into your Human DNA that allows you to function efficiently in a wide variety of stimulus, environments,even very harsh ones (This includes the ‘matters of the heart’).

“No matter what happens to you in your life, you’ll very quickly get used to it.” – Hedonic Adaptation

How to use Hedonic Adaptation to your advantage

The Power of ‘the Pause’ – pausing is a simple way of stopping you from spending immediately based on an impulse or save money. Pausing allows you to question, and ask yourself “Do I really need this?” A pause can also help you become more self-aware and be in the moment to appreciate things and be grateful for what we already have. Sometimes we often focus on what we want or what we can potentially lose that we fail to see our already abundant life.

The Power of Perspective – Your viewpoint shapes your thoughts, decision and actions – ultimately your view of yourself (Failure or Success). If you lost a job, maybe it’s time to invest in yourself and learn new things. If you must reduce your spending, maybe it is time to remove the excesses of your life and perhaps spend more meaningful time with your family.

This is also connected to our habits and the type of stimulus we willfully expose ourselves to. We can get addicted to a book, series (Kinainna ng KDrama) or the like. But at the same time, we can also by our own force of will and creating routines, can establish good (or even great) habits for a better life.

“There’s nothing wrong with the world. You can make it heaven or hell according to your approach.” – Swami Satchidananda


The writeris an RFP® - registered financial planner and helps people through CERTA, Inc.’s financial education programs ( is also a Real Estate Broker, author of the award-winning personal blog – and an Instagram travel-micro-blogger (@PhantomNomad).

Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last June 13, 2017.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Chillin in Malapascua Island, Logon-Daanbantayan, Cebu, Philippines

Saturday, June 10, 2017 Posted by Vernon Go , , , , , , , , , No comments

I finally was able to visit Malapascua Island after failing to seize 3 opportunities in the past. Malapascua is accessible via the northern most town of Logon-DaanBantayan, at the tip of Cebu Island, Philippines. This laid back island is relatively known to foreign tourists especially divers and beach lovers due to it's rich marine sanctuary and slow-pace of life.

We arrived at this wonderful island paradise together with my workmates. Half of us stayed in a resort while the others (being cheapskates), decided to stay in a house owned by a relative of one of my workmates. To save on costs, we also brought our own food to cook! HAHAHAHA

The Lighthouse

About Malapascua Island:
The beaches are pristine and unspoiled, the people hospitable, happy yet determined. There used to be more resorts in the island but the locals as well as the island itself is still recovering slowly but surely from the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013.

At 2.5 kilometers in length and 1 kilometer in breadth, Malapascua is indeed a small island. Don’t let its size fool you because it is world-renowned for its coral gardens, submarine walls, and underwater shoals. Divers all over the world as well as locals visit Malapascua for a chance to see graceful thresher sharks and manta rays! And also, don't forget the beach line is nice too!

  • Take a taxi from the airport to North Bus Terminal. Travel time: 20-30 minutes.
  • From Cebu City North Terminal, ride a Ceres bus bound to Maya Port in Daanbantayan. The bus trip will end in Maya Port. Travel time: 4-5 hours. Some are airconditioned but most buses are non-airconditioned so make sure to get a comfortable seat. First trip is at 3AM!
  • Ride a boat from Maya Port to Malapascua. First trip leaves at 7AM while last trip going back to Maya Port is at 2PM. In the late afternoon during low tide, smaller boats will pick you up both in Maya Port and Malapascua since bigger boats can’t get in. Travel time: 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Once in Malapascua, you can opt to walk for 15-20 minutes or ride a habal-habal to your resort.

But even for those who don’t snorkel/scuba/free dive, Malapascua has a myriad of exciting non-diving activities and picturesque destinations. There are plenty of diving shops offering trips t see wrecks, unspoiled reefs, and sharks around Malapascua as well!

  • Island Hopping - there's a sunset cruise that just hops around Malapascua, a party cruise, and the all-day distant island hopping (which goes to the islands or sandbars bear Leyte). Costs can be as low as Php700 or realistically Php1,500 up to Php5,000.
  • Beach Bumming - you can sun bathe, swim, some beach games or just taking the view in
  • EAT!! - if you are staying in a resort, you can eat there or other resort's restaurants; you can also try the local dishes by the locals in carenderias too! (Php60-80 while around Php100-250 for the resto)
  • Explore the island - plenty of things to see like: the light house, sunset and sunrise on different parts of the island, there are some cliffs where one can do cliff jumping (ask the locals for the spots and don't just pick a cliff and jump, that's not safe!)
  • Engage the People - you can start off 'People Watching' locals and foreigners alike or just grab a drink and talk to some of them at happy hour! (Local sari-sari stores close as early as 7 or 8PM, so if you are looking to drink, go to the resort resto-bars)
  • Other Activities: If you happen to arrive during a fiesta (May 11 and 12), you join a and bayle (local outdoor discos) at night! You can also do some stargazing, videoke/karaoke, 

Some places to visit

Happy Hour!

If you get tired of the beach, there are pools by resorts too - Slam's Resort

Sunset on Malapascua Island
The northern tip of Malapascua Island also offers a long stretch of white sand beach with a lesser crowd. The island is relatively small and can be roamed around by foot from north to south in an hour. However, you can choose to do it by habal-habal rides (Php50/trip - negotiate!).

Bring enough cash. #1: There are no ATMs on the island. The nearest one is in Maya which is a boat ride away. #2 not all resorts accept credit card payments. Also, you may need a flashlight since being an almost isolated island, power is sporadic and there are times that black outs happen due to power shortage.

Peak season starts on September and lasts until the middle of May. Expect prices to hike up during these months. Off-season is on June to August.

Don't forget to also observe the LNT principle (Leave No Trace)! When snorkeling/diving, take care not to touch the corals. Corals are very fragile. Also, do not litter; place your garbage in a large bag to be taken back to the city for proper disposal. Do not take any rock, plant, sand, etc. that belongs to our beautiful paradise.

Here's a video I made, check it out!

*Note: The costs mentioned for food, transportation and the like may vary in the island. Note that these rates may change without prior notice.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

The new OFW: Online Filipino Workers (2)

In my circle of friends or even my network, there are people who have at least two careers: an engineer who would like to write a novel, a lawyer who is studying anthropology, a BPO worker who moonlights as a photographer, and even an administrative worker by day, DJ by night.

In my case, I gave myself the title of “Corporate Mad-hatter” as someone who wears many different hats. These hats are: Registered Financial Planner, Licensed Real Estate Broker, Blogger, Writer, PMO professional and frustrated entrepreneur. This leads to questions or comments such as: “You’ve accomplished so much, slow down!” Or “How do you find time to do it all?” and “Do you even sleep?”

My simple answer is “I find time.” Of course it is not easy, but it gives me satisfaction that I am able to do the things that I want and at the same time I also set personal goals to really achieve it slowly but surely.

The days of staying in one job until you retire are slowly disappearing, millennials are not plagued by the same challenges our parents had: having to stick to one career path and commit to a lifetime at one job. But we do have it more difficult in some ways, with a tough job market and global competition.

This growing group of professionals works as contractors, freelancers and part-timers; all looking to work when and where they wish for sometimes a handful of different employers throughout the course of a given year. Instead of one, full-time salaried position, this can be a combination of a full-time position with one or more part-time/freelance gigs or working multiple part-time positions that, in total, would amount to a full-time job.

There are many terms to describe this phenomenon. Portfolio career, digital freelancers, agile or liquid workforce, or simply name if collectively as the “Gig Economy.”

Advantages of Multiple Work

* Open more doors – you gain friends in different circles or network. I work in the IT-BPM industry, while having access to the Financial services, Real Estate sector as well as the Media and business circles.

* Pursue diverse interests – doing many things can be stressful, but it can also be exceptionally gratifying, the key is finding the right balance. While you pursue your passion projects, the experiences you gain can also still be useful to your main job (different systems, innovations).

* Subsidize your dream work – doing what helps you bring in a paycheck while also pursuing your interests will enable to you feel like you’re pursuing the career of your dreams. I have a cousin who graduated as a nurse then worked in the BPO industry while paying for her IT Degree and now she’s working as a programmer!

* Work anywhere in the world – in this digital age, the workforce is increasingly mobile and work can be done from anywhere, this gives one the flexibility, independence for a better work-life integration or perhaps even travel the world.

The number of professionals who work in an agile fashion is growing and will constitute a large portion of the workforce someday which will largely include the New OFW: Online Filipino Workers!

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah Winfrey


The writer is an RFP® - registered financial planner of RFP PH, Licensed Real Estate Broker and Director of CERTA, Inc., a family estate planning and investment advisory firm. To know more, please visit

Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last June 06, 2017.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Divine Mercy Chapel (Sacred Summit) Hambubuyog + Inambakan Falls in Ginatilan Cebu

Together with my outdoor buddies, workmates, bloggers and strangers, we made our way to the relatively not-so-well known but beautiful highlands of Ginatilan, Mt. Hambubuyog. The objective I set for myself for this climb/hike are: test our new tents, visit a place I have never camped or visited before, meet new people, physical fitness, stress relief while enjoying the wonders & beauty of nature!

The town of Ginatilan is about a 4-hour ride, and costs around Php120 each one-way, from Cebu City proper from the South Bus Terminal. There are three ways to access these beautiful highlands fom Ginatilan: (1) Private vehicle, (2) Motor-Taxi (Habal-habal) and (3) by foot with Inambakan Falls as the jump-off point [You may use the same route down or trace the rough road back to Ginatilan which is farther and winding crossing rolling hills]. Inambakan Falls is already well known in the area and is easily accessible via motorcyle for Php25.00.

Have a photo in the town proper at the St. Gregory the Great Parish Church.

The road trail is somewhat developed due to the fact that the highest point of Mt. Hambubuyog is also where the Divine Mercy Chapel is located. Locals visit the Divine Mercy Chapel, which rests on its summit; and farmers plow the hills surrounding the mountain which is accessible from the neighboring municipalities of Oslob or Samboan! (Perhaps some trekking ideas from various routes?)

Photo by: Ryan Villamin

A Trail of Penitence:
If you are thinking of a climb or hiking activity during Holy Week, I highly recommend the Sacred Summit of Mt. Hambubuyog for you; or perhaps even a pre-Major climb activity. Out of all the other Cebu-based mountains I have climb, I'd probably say that this is much more difficult than Lanaya in Alegria (if you choose to trek it rather than riding a motorcycle to the summit of course); at least the route from Inambakan that is (perhaps there are other routes from Oslob or Samboan).

The reason for this is that from Inambakan Falls, the starting trail was steep and that was a real pain to ascend from both the thorny plants and gravity. After that, the trail varies from rough to tracing a cemented road but it just keeps going up with the occasional heavy assaults; the same could be said when going down as well.

Climbing it totally takes its toll on one’s strength and endurance as if you are experiencing your own sort of penitence. However, the trail also offers scenic views of forests and slopes of adjacent mountain ranges. All the more once you reach the sacred summit itself!

Mini-Climate change scenarios:
What annoyed me the most was the ridiculous changes in weather and temperature (perhaps because this was my first time experiencing this during hiking a trail); one moment it's ridiculously hot/humid, then there are some scattered rainshowers; after that the sky became clear and sunny while an occasional cold gust hits you in the face.

If you are ascending, it's going to be from hot and humid going to a cold place while the opposite is true for a descent. Also, the trail was really muddy and quite challenging if you are wearing the wrong footwear - stumbles, slips and even the occasional rolling over is somewhat normal.

From our camping grounds, the view can be divided into two. On one side, the TaΓ±on Strait, with the cloud covered Mt. Talinis, and on the other side, the hilly grasslands of the surrounding highlands.

Also, temperatures can really go down in this place. Add to that some random rainshowers plus strong winds that will test your tent. I suggest that you don't use beach tents here!

Unfortunately I was not part of the group photo due to a "call of nature" and was basically chillin at the sacred peak in the comfort room of the Divine Mercy Chapel and obviously there's a lot of us. - Photo By: Ryan Villmin

Reflection at the summit camp:
One of the best things about outdoor activities is that not only do you push your own physical limits while also training physical fitness, you also get a glimpse of the lives of the locals while also interacting with them.

Such encounters can broaden one's horizons about life. That it can be an inspiration as well as motivation for us city-dwellers that there is indeed more to life than our 9-5 work, our so-called stressors, struggles with people and other things. The simple lives of the locals puts things into perspective.

This is the view I saw from the backdoor of Inambakan Falls as we just arrived from our descent from Hambubuyog
Grabbing this Photo of Inambakan Falls from Hanna of, a fellow blogger who accompanied me on this expedition to the mountains
Inambakan Falls:
Inambakan is another awe-inspiring high waterfalls here in Cebu. Many locals visit it to take a dip and cool off from the summer heat. Inambakan is only one of the many other waterfalls that's located in the humble and quiet town of Ginatilan.

Of course we took a dip in Inambakan Falls and just had to hitch on the pictures taken. Photo by: Jan Dea Jakosalem
I don't necessarily have a proper photo of the Inambakan Waterfalls since by the time we were there, my phone was running out of battery and I did not bring my GoPro with me as well. Also, when I attempted to get a proper landscape photo of it down below, the strong pressure and winds threatened to wash my iphone. Just a few seconds of the 'salibo' can immediately somewhat wash the clothing you are wearing, that's how strong the current+wind that accompanied the droplets of water.

See the summary video of our trip:

Saturday, June 03, 2017

The new OFW: Online Filipino Workers (1)

Not all OFWs work abroad, some stay in the Philippines and work at home or perhaps work while travelling so long as there is a stable internet connection.

The growth of the BPO industry in the Philippines is nothing less than phenomenal. The Philippines has been the world leader in the BPO industry since 2010, surpassing India in the global ranking.The BPO industry is expanding still and has been a key growth driver for the country's accelerating economy. And according to some forecasts by both private firms and our very own government, BPO revenues will outpace OFW remittances by 2022!

This also helps push the growth of independent online workers or service providers. Instead of toiling away in IT-BPM firms, they built up their skills and portfolio and engage directly with international clients. This is a very attractive opportunity since you get to earn in dollars while still living in the Philippines.

Add to that the desire of millennials to travel-for-leisure instead of travel-to-work, together with concepts of being closer to one’s family or “owning one’s time”, more and more Filipinos are choosing to go global while still working locally.

Why foreigners outsource to the Philippines?
Some of us may already know this but this is due to a lot of factors which are as follows:

* Filipinos speak fairly good English – Even though most Filipino’s don’t speak that fluently, most Foreigners can understand us alright.

* Most Filipinos are hard-working – The number of OFW or Overseas Filipinos workers abroad are proof that Filipinos have pride in their work and usually do them well. The same is also reflected in outsourcing, we can also see this through the increasing number of IT-BPM workers.

* We charge less with quality work – When you compare the rate of a Philippine Company to a foreign company. You can see the big difference between the pricing with the exact same service.

* Start-up Friendly –Not only big businesses can maximize the great benefits of outsourcing to the Philippines;start-up Company can also do the same.

* We are getting more skilled – Our services are no longer just the “call center” but also includes programming, software development, and all IT related stuff; there is also virtual staff, project management, writing, SEO, and internet marketing.

Why now is the best time to become a freelancer?
* Location and time independent – work from home, or anywhere around the world provided there is stable internet of course; you can also negotiate your work hours, it could be project based, outcomes based, milestone based; you can even adjust your schedule so you will have more time for household chores, bonding with your kids and the like.

* Flexibility to set your own terms – you can outsource some of your tasks to others by the time your online business grows, you can even have the ability to pick clients. And lastly this includes the Flexibility to live your life to the fullest!

Over the weekend, I was able to attend the Payoneer Forum Cebu for SMEs and BPOs. The event brought together freelance professionals online sellers, tech entrepreneurs and SME operators who all want to go global.

If you are a freelancer, e-commerce/online seller, a small outsourcing business (or perhaps still-planning-to-be-one), and have problems of getting paid, try payoneer. Sign-up is free!

See the video below for the highlights on the Payoneer Forum Cebu - Press Conference:


The writer is an RFP® - registered financial planner of RFP PH, Licensed Real Estate Broker and Director of CERTA, Inc., a family estate planning and investment advisory firm. To know more, please visit

Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last May 30, 2017.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

How to Gabii sa Kabilin like a boss

This is officially my 5th Gabii sa Kabilin this 2017, yup, I'm somewhat of a regular in joining this annual event. Let me give you a quick run through about Gabii sa Kabilin before I share with you how to gabii sa kabilin like a boss!

Gabii sa Kabilin run-through:
  • Gabii sa Kabilin is Cebuano for Night of Heritage.
  • It began on May 25, 2007 with four Cebu City museums—Casa Gorordo Museum, Cathedral Museum of Cebu, Basilica del Santo NiΓ±o Museum, and Fort San Pedro.
  • Five museums participated in the second; six during the third year and nine museums by the 4th run. It kept increasing (highest number I think is 41 sites) while this year featured 27 sites.
  • Inspired by the long night of the museum in Germany and other European countries. 
  • Gabii sa Kabilin aims to encourage the public to visit museums and understand its position as a venue for cultural understanding and appreciate Cebuano history and culture. 

Gabii sa Kabilin is the culmination of the International Museum Day (May 18) and the Philippine National Heritage Month (May) celebrations. At the cost of Php150.00, you get to access many museums and heritage sites in one night (That's from 6PM to 12MN)!

If you plan to start early, then you should manage your expectations. Gabii sa Kabilin is similar to a "Night Hike" as you will be walking a lot despite the provided transportation options such as buses and horse-drawn carriage (Tartanilla).

Here are some guide and tips to get you started:

Make a Plan
  • As you buy your ticket, a map and an itinerary is provided. This is your chance to pick out your choice of destinations (consider distance: you can focus on the clustered ones for now and maybe the farther ones for the following year for example)
  • Consider also if you are going alone or with a group (alone is of course easier; also for groups [couples, family/relatives, squad] consider the group's overall stamina as well for you will get a lot of exercise!)
  • Check the weather and prepare accordingly - heat, cold, rain, create unique situations that need to be considered (in my years of joining, there were really humid nights and sometimes rain showers)

Pack light
  • Wear comfortable attire, especially footwear
  • Bring some essentials (watch/time device; your map and ticket; water/electrolytes; first aid kit just in case; cash; trail food or buy along the way and lastly: camera + tripod)
  • Drink frequently, Eat often (you will be walking for 6 hours at most but don't think too much about it)
  • Don't forget to recover afterwards: Drink plenty of fluids and eat a little
Leave no trace
  • Pack out what you pack in: Don't litter
  • Don't touch everything in the Museum (we are trying to preserve our heritage; and we don't want a similar scenario like that 10,000 flowers place)
  • Be kind to wildlife: Don't scare them (There will be cats and askals/dogs along the way, sometimes people)

Here's a quick peek at one of the various activities/presentations in the Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum

Organize your time well but be open to possibilities
After joining multiple gabii sa kabilins, you really can't visit all locations in one night. And like your usual travel, it opens up so many opportunities such as: joining activities in each location; meeting and chatting with some friends and strangers you meet along the way and don't be to fixed on your defined schedule or bucket list, give yourself some space in which to grasp these unexpected moments as they arise!

Bumping into people is also quite enjoyable and interesting during gabii sa kabilin!

Enjoy the activities
  • Music and cultural presentations (old songs, balak/poetry, calligraphy and the like)
  • Some sites offer some costumes for you to dress up
  • Art appreciation
  • Listen intently and ask questions to tour guides
  • Eat and drink local cuisine for sale and also some street food (some sites offer food/drink tasting as well)
  • Document! (a.k.a - selfies, groufies, blogger poses, instagammable locations and the like)
  • Expect the unexpected

Most of all, enjoy the quiet sometimes the noise, space, and freedom and learn as you go. Every trip to a location or heritage site should be a mini adventure that broadens one's horizons.

There was a time when Argao participated in Gabii sa Kabilin and I went there of course! There were some sites that I liked that participated before but not this year like: USPF Rizaliana Museum, USC Museum to name a few. Of course, one thing I look forward to is exploring the new sites and also some sites that I still have not visited (Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay areas).

A post shared by Vernon Joseph Go (@phantomnomad) on

The new places I visited this year was the Elicon house with their Museum of Bicycling and the Fo Guang Shan Chu Un ζ…ˆζ©ε―Ί Buddhist Temple. I also accomplished my long standing bucket list of finally visiting the Cebu City Museum and Rizal Memorial Library (yes, it's even my first time visiting the place!).

My chosen theme this year was to pay tribute to my Ancestors (Filipino-Chinese-Spanish) - this is at the Rajah Humabon Shrine just across Cebu Cathedral Church and Museum
There was a study in the UK that found that visiting heritage sites makes people happier than any other activities! Participating in heritage projects helps people to learn about their local history, make connections, form friendships, and develop a sense of civic pride. I hope this also applies to us!

"Culture is for everyone regardless of what level of society you are from. These different heritage places are part of our identity of who we are. The people that built it, the people that are showcased are already be gone but this is the thread that links us all to who we are." - Dr. Jocelyn Gerra, executive director of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation(Rafi) culture and heritage unit

What did I miss? Comment with your Like-a-boss tip below!

Also, view my old posts on Gabii sa Kabilin here! And below for my Gabii Sa Kabilin VLOG!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Is lifestyle inflation good or bad?

Sunday, May 28, 2017 Posted by Vernon Go , , , , No comments

Last week, I mentioned about Lifestyle inflation and today I'll expound more about it's misconceptions. Lifestyle inflation is an easy concept to define: When a person advances into a more profitable position at work, his or her monthly expenses typically rise correspondingly. This is a phenomenon known as lifestyle inflation, and it can potentially present a problem, because even though you might still be able to pay your bills, you are somewhat limiting your ability to build wealth.

However, the financial industry seems to be demonizing this concept; that it is something to be avoided. Also, the personal finance world seems to hate on spending because it can easily screw up your finances. Some people define spending and lifestyle inflation by those problems, which may be fair, because they often go hand in hand. But they’re not necessarily the enemy when it comes to your finances.

It will still ultimately boil down to habits that have been built over time, such as when lifestyle inflation makes it hard to get out of debt, save for retirement, or break out of a living from salary-to-salary –  that’s when it becomes a problem.

There may be times when increasing your spending in certain areas makes sense. Your situation will change over time – both professionally and personally – and you will likely have to spend more money on things you previously avoided altogether (like a car, wardrobe, rent and the like). A certain amount of lifestyle inflation is to be expected as your work and family obligations evolve.Spending a little extra to improve your quality of life might also make sense – as long as you can afford it.

People get turned off of personal finance because they assume it’s about self-depravation and giving up on stuff and experiences you enjoy. Personal finance is not about living like a pauper. Yes, frugality has a place in personal finance, but it’s just one way to reach your goal. Money is a just but a tool, it needs us to give it a goal or purpose to make sense.

I live below my means, but I’m not eating pancit-canton every night either(doing that is unhealthy too). As I’ve gotten older and my finances have evolved, I too have embraced some lifestyle inflation.

Before I take on a lifestyle upgrade, I try to always ask myself, “Can I afford this?” And then, before I make a final decision, I ask myself again, “Will this affect my current spending and investing goals?” – then I make adjustments accordingly (delaying the upgrade, looking for alternatives, seeking to increase my cash-inflow and the like).

Greater income helps you achieve bigger financial goals as you advance through life. Always remember that money is just a tool for financial freedom. It’s okay to spend it and live a better life.If you’re looking to mitigate lifestyle inflation, you’ll need to focus on saving money and coming up with a plan for deflating your lifestyle.Being mindful of the differences between needs and wants can definitely help you manage lifestyle inflation – before it manages you.

Enjoying the fruits of one’s hard work isn’t bad, but the key is finding that careful balance between saving for the future, mindful spending and enjoying life.


The writer is an RFP® - registered financial planner of RFP PH, Licensed Real Estate Broker and Director of CERTA, Inc., a family estate planning and investment advisory firm. To know more, please visit

Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last May 16, 2017.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Tax amnesty to drive Phl infra upgrade

Monday, May 15, 2017 Posted by Vernon Go , , , , , , , No comments

As Indonesia reported netting more than $10 billion from a tax amnesty, the Philippine government said it’s mulling a similar move. To supplement the tax reform program and raise additional revenues, Congress passed House Bill 4814, entitled An Act Granting Amnesty in the Payment of Estate Tax, or the Estate Tax Amnesty Law (HB 4814).

The measure grants estate tax amnesty within two years from the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations of the measure (estate taxes for 2016 and prior years) at a rate of six percent of the decedent’s net estate. Failure to pay estate tax will result in exposure to penalties, which include a 25 percent surcharge and 20 percent deficiency interest per annum.

It also provides immunities and privileges to amnesty beneficiaries, including immunity from the payment of estate tax and from civil, criminal or administrative penalties. The government will target tax evaders and beef up compliance before adopting an amnesty program.


Bank Secrecy Law - A legacy from the 1950s, is comparable to similar statutes in Switzerland and Lebanon. Bills have been filed in Congress that seek to ease these restrictions as this is a necessary approach to ensure the successful implementation of Tax Amnesty in the Philippines.

OECD Standard - The Automatic Exchange of Information arrangement by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development was a key reason for the success of Indonesia’s tax amnesty. Under the agreement, signed by Singapore and Indonesia but not by the Philippines, countries will start in 2018 to share details of their nationals that hold bank accounts in other countries without the need for specific requests.

Future Implications

The Duterte administration’s infrastructure program is expected to provide many benefits to the country and the economy such as:

Boosting economic growth - The massive spending on infrastructure projects will spur economic activity, boost revenues of related industries and possibly will give rise to the next leg of the secular bull market in Philippine stocks.

Improved flow of goods - Better roads, railways, airports and sea ports will improve the flow of commodities and products not only within the country, but also to and from the country. This will result in lower transportation costs and increased competitiveness for many industries. Also, better roads and improved mass transport will reduce travel times and result in higher productivity (Reduced Traffic!).

Job creation - The construction of large-scale infra projects and the resulting economic development from the initiatives will create millions of jobs for Filipinos nationwide and an expansion opportunity for small and big entrepreneurs.

Tourism Development - The tourism industry will immensely benefit from better airports and roads, which should lead to increased investments in the sector as well as our country's global reputation as a go-to travel destination.

Decongestion of Metro Manila - Building green cities and urban centers outside Metro Manila will address the over-concentration in the country’s capital. Such projects will decentralize and diversify economic development while also stimulating the economic expansion of other provinces. This may also lead to a decentralization of national offices as well.

To tax and to please, no more than to love and to be wise, is not given to men - Edmund Burke


The writer is an RFP® - registered financial planner of RFP PH, Licensed Real Estate Broker and Director of CERTA, Inc., a family estate planning and investment advisory firm. To know more, please visit

Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last May 9, 2017.