Business, Personal + Finance

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.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Leveraging financial planning

Sunday, May 14, 2017 Posted by Vernon Go , , , , , No comments

Our society is born to work and we work to live as if we have no choice. Although we can escape during weekends by doing what we want, whether it is to travel, sleep or shop, when Monday arrives, we are back to our daily almost mindless grind.

Money is actually everywhere. It helps us function daily: commuting expense, eating, social life and so forth. However, my point is that chasing more money is a futile journey that only leads us to stress and perpetual frustration. If our goal is more money, we will never have enough.

My frustration with our current financial information online and even offline (those spread or said by Financial Salespersons or so-called advocates) is that people seem to assume that when it comes to financial fitness, it’s going to be a really painful journey due to depravation, cutting costs, expenses or the like.

Although there is what you call “Lifestyle Inflation”, this is still controllable. Lifestyle inflation is a phenomenon which occurs when there is an increase in spending when there is an increase in income.

With proper financial planning and some “automated” measures, it really is not that complicated or even painful at all (unless you are in some sort of huge debt that is – which is a different scenario). With the right guidance, you can even set things up once and the money will then work for you.

We have to understand and accept that Money is a tool. If we can understand that it’s something we can use to help us achieve what we want, we can set more appropriate goals for ourselves. This way, you can take responsibility of your life and choose to live the way you want to live without exerting wasted energy on worrying.

Financial Planning is like having a coach
Coaches aren’t hired to flatter you, but rather to guide you and tell you if your journey is going to be fairly easy or difficult. Note that not everyone’s situation is the same. A person that has more assets (Jewelry, Real Estate) has a different path (or Financial Plan) than a person with a six figure salary only. Everyone’s path is different and the starting line is different too.

Then the goal setting takes place and we try to dig into what the client’s motivation is or their ‘Why’ for getting into this financial planning session. And when I ask people to put a ‘cost’ to their goals, most will be shocked or even cringe. This is understandable, but I always tell them that when we put a cost to a goal, it makes it even more realistic and we are one step closer to achieving that goal (Example: Dream House, Car, etc..).

You don’t have to keep doing something you don’t want to do for all your life. We can live a full life instead. Money is the tool, and investing will be the leverage.

Do you know how you’ll use your money, today and in the future, to help you create what you want in your life? Let’s make it happen!


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 April 25, 2017.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Good Advice Project: Jowanah Lyn Nacar #21

Saturday, April 29, 2017 Posted by Vernon Go , , , , , , No comments

Good Advice Project: Jowanah Lyn Nacar #21
This chapter of the Good advice project comes from Jowanah Lyn Nacar #21; Adventurer, Community Relations Officer, 1 part HE, 2 parts SHE. Daghan Salamat sa pag share! :)

"Appreciating the small things"

In a world where everyone is pursuing crazy goals, or that rare, once-in-a-lifetime-events, we may miss or take for granted the 'present moment'. We tend to think of life as the passage of days, weeks, years and decades. But, in essence, life is made up of moments and we almost all the time fail to appreciate that.

Appreciating the little things in life for me means practicing gratitude for those everyday things that are easy to take for granted or miss altogether. Adopting this outlook won’t stop negative events from happening, but it may help prevent us from over-emphasizing their importance in our lives.

Happiness doesn’t come from groundbreaking, life-changing events. It can be little things as simple as maintaining social relationships that matter, perhaps even a routine of proper segregation of garbage and making small ripples that help others; it could be the act of following once heart by continuing to learn something new or getting out of one's comfort zone, exploring new experiences or possibilities.

Sometimes you just need to adjust your perspective a little bit, that can make all the difference.


Gratitude is indeed easier said than done; but I have written a speech about it way back in college: "Gratitude is the memory of the heart."

What do you think of this good advice?

About this 365 Good Advice project:
-My own version of a 365 project;
-reconnecting with the willing 1,400+ friends of mine (based from facebook)

-"Good" I mean the exact opposite of selfish. How can we give people good advice in order for them to care about others and not just of themselves.
-my friends share their "Good advice” – one every day or every other day or every after coffee talk.

For more information, do read the main blogpost on 365 Good Advice Project: Coffee Talks/Dates

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Good Advice Project: Maria Jessa Sepe #20

Thursday, April 27, 2017 Posted by Vernon Go , , , , , , No comments

Good Advice Project: Maria Jessa Sepe #20
This chapter of the Good advice project comes from Maria Jessa Sepe #20; Adventurer, Facilitator, & Dream Chaser a.k.a "Maria-chasing-dreams". Daghan Salamat sa imong tambag JeSepe! :)

"We are born to Move."

It sounds so simple, but yet all too often our lifestyles become more and more sedentary. Ever since I was young, I always seem to be moving about. And as time went on, I found myself seeking to move not just myself but others as well.

This manifested in the activities I joined and organized that is for a greater purpose such as: Joining an unusual charity event that seeks to raise awareness on Children with congenital heart disease while also attempting to set a world record for the longest football match in the world called the FM101 Kick for Life.

Other activities include: promoting/organizing rock climbing, outdoorsy activities that also benefit local community tourism, nature & environment and also their livelihood. Even the career I have now enables me to keep on moving as a facilitator of an Adventure Camp!

Such activities give me a thrill of exercise, meeting new people, connecting with them, their hobbies or passion as well as knowing their stories.

This sort of "daring-to-move" or "keep moving attitude", has somewhat become my passion. I think many people misinterpret passion, to me it is something that we are willing to sacrifice for, something that we want to keep doing as often and as long as we can despite the difficulties. If you search for the (etymology) origin-of-the-word "passion", it means suffering.

All this made me realize that these passionate people dared to move, to act on their interest and continued to pursue their dreams despite all the challenges and dictates of society.

“A sound mind in a sound body, is a short, but full description of a happy state in this world: he that has these two, has little more to wish for.” - John Locke

Let us all dare to move!!

Modern scientific studies have also confirmed this timeless wisdom of 'movement'. What's good for your body is good for your mind, and what's good for your heart (cardiovascular system) is good for your brain (cerebrovascular health). 

What do you think of this good advice?

About this 365 Good Advice project:
-My own version of a 365 project;
-reconnecting with the willing 1,400+ friends of mine (based from facebook)

-"Good" I mean the exact opposite of selfish. How can we give people good advice in order for them to care about others and not just of themselves.
-my friends share their "Good advice” – one every day or every other day or every after coffee talk.

For more information, do read the main blogpost on 365 Good Advice Project: Coffee Talks/Dates

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

There and back again in Naga-Cebu's Mt. Naupa

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 Posted by Vernon Go , , , , , , , , , , , , No comments
Naupa 360-peak and True-Peak (Highest point) in one shot
Mt. Naupa is located in Naga City, just an hour away from Cebu City. Trekking activities on the mountain have started to increase in number. Not only because it features great landscape views, but also, due to its accessibility and the trails are already well established.

Climbing Mount Naupa requires a decent amount of effort, even first timers can do it fairly well without passing out. Rain or shine is not an issue as well. Night trek is also possible and poses minimal challenge (for the experienced of course) since there are a lot of night trekkers who flock to Naupa too.

My Favorite shot when we visited Naupa for the first time in 2013
The route starts at Cogon Chapel, a jump-off site you can reach by taking a motorbike. Starting from the chapel, the trail leading to the peak is already established. There are also children willing to guide you to the peak for a price. There were not a lot of motorbikes willing to take you to this place back then but now, it's ridiculously accessible already. And once there you can visit the 360 or Naupa's True peak!

Behind us is the highest point of Naupa, the "True Peak" which is a bit difficult compared to the 360-peak that is well known

This is what the True Peak looks like - not much compared to 360 peak
I have visited Naupa for a total of three times already, Twice through an overnight stay and once via a day hike. Each time I visit, I see different sides of the beauty of Naupa. I have seen it's raw, untouched beauty before it was well known way back in 2013 and now when signs of human development (which is inevitable I guess) has arrived in the area. See a quick compilation below:

Here's another series of Photos, with various groups that accompanied me for each visit! :)

Various Access points to Naupa, Naga, Cebu:
  • All starts from South Bus Terminal or if you know the other routes going to Naga or Minglanilla via Multi-Cab jeepneys
  • You can start heading to the jump off point via Gaisano Minglanilla to Cogon Chapel and vice versa through Habal-habal
  • You can also access it from Brgy. Tungkop, Minglanilla.
  • Or you can go to Naga Uling road or that corner road (with Bakeshops) right before South General Hospital if you are coming from Cebu City
There are many things you can do when in Naupa. You can start with the most obvious, taking Photos (selfies, groufies, landscapes: peak, true peak, trail..etc..); then there's camping of course. I've tried camping on the 360 peak [winds are quite strong], and anywhere below Naupa's 360 peak.

Our not-so-obvious secret spot early this 2017

This is what our rainy and wet camp look like at the peak last 2013

And unfortunately, this was the scene on the other side of our secret spot early this 2017

Playing with lights at night. Photo By: Louie Plaza

Chasing the milky way at midnight. Photo by: Louie Plaza

How about a group photo at night? Photo by: Louie Plaza

Playing with Silhouettes at sunset. Photo by: Louie Plaza

Maybe some squad portraits. Photo by: Louie Plaza

Star Gazing!! Photo by: Louie Plaza

If you want to enjoy the beauty of Naupa, let us all keep on making it clean and perhaps help in giving awareness to newbie hikers as well. And as always, don't forget to Leave No Trace as well!

Check out our recent visit to Naupa!:

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tinubdan Falls: Spirits' Playground in Catmon Cebu

Behind the tall mountains of the municipality hides a wonderful mysterious watery haven. A mysterious river slithers through the valleys of the town of Catmon in northern Cebu. Tinubdan falls is one of the natural heritage in Brgy. Tabili Catmon, Cebu.

The town is famous to many travelers because it has the second tallest peak in Cebu which is the Mt. Kapayas (See here for our Mt. Kapayas adventure) together with varied choices of natural waterscapes such as waterfalls, rivers and springs, some of which owned privately and developed into tourist spots.

Catmon, is a small happy community that has deep roots in religion. The town was founded by the Augustinian Recollects and was named after the Catmon tree during their native settlement site along with a river.

Tinubdan Falls is a multi-cascade type of waterfalls, determining how many levels it has is quite tricky as the water just flows through many different angles and rocks. We can just say that the area where people gather is the main falls while there is also the next level which is the source of Tinubdan.

Spirits come to play at Tinubdan Waterfalls:
This place is not known to many people in Catmon and it's fame is only fairly recent. Perhaps only the surrounding barangays knew of this place, however even they do not dare to frequently visit the pace because of the creepy stories that circulated around.

Rumors have it that there were a good number of mysterious disappearances in the area of Tinubdan Falls. Some can say, it was due to the "Nice People Around" but they don't normally do such things. Sometimes, locals nearby hear sounds coming from the river as if there were people gathering or playing but there were no people around.

Going to the Falls:
  • Go to the town of Catmon from North Bus Terminal for about 1.5 to 2 hours
  • We arrived from this place through our government-provided-elf-vehicle as we still came from Mt. Kapayas.
  • However, this can be accessed from the town proper via Habal-habal (motor-taxis) for a 30min. travel
  • Once in the jump of area, there are two ways to access the waterfalls (1) River Trekking or (2) Hike the trail on the side [this is the easier route if you came from somewhere else]

River Trekking Tips:
  • Don’t ever go River trekking alone; crazy things can happen like: sudden flash floods, a slip can injure you; an unassuming pool of water can be very deep as well.
  • Follow the guide’s instruction. You may regret it or your gadget may regret it (for non-waterproof ones)
  • Bring enough essentials: water, food and the like.
  • Please remember to leave no trace behind. Take good care of our mother nature. Just enjoy and be responsible enough.
Check out the video summary I compiled together for this trip!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sneaking around Mt. Kapayas (Lantawan or Torre Peak)

This is the highest point in Mt. Kapayas' Peak
When I got an invitation for this climb, I easily agreed without hesitation since Mt. Kapayas in Catmon Cebu is not a simple climb that can be done with just a group of friends since one needs to get a permit and a guide recognized by the LGU in order to ascend it. Mt. Kapayas is also known as Lantawan Peak or Torre Peak because the highest point of Mt. Kapayas is made of limestone rocks which also resembles the peak of Mt. Mauyog in barangay Tabunan, Balamban.

Tip: Don't Look Down :)
Mt. Kapayas is 50 kilometers north of Cebu City, located in Sitio Kampanya, Barangay Kabangkaya in the bowels of Catmon, Northern Cebu. Rising at 783 MASL and sheltering a couple of mountain villages that have yet to receive the full benefits of modern civilization and add to that some roaming "Nice People Around," this makes the Kapayas Trail or Peak to be less preferred by outdoor groups and enthusiasts.

For safety purposes, it is best and ideal to have get the services of a guide, reserve and get a permit, pay for it then register at the Police Station/municipal hall before climbing Mt. Kapayas. We left the city (North Bus Terminal) around six or seven in the morning and reached the Catmon Municipal Hall after an hour and a half travel.

Interesting landscape view while riding our vehicle
While we’re in the town proper, we bought our packed lunch and replenished our water supply before proceeding to the jump-off point which was a lot of bumps and dust that took another hour or two due to the very rough road. would take us approximately an hour more of travel because of its rough road.

Getting to the jump off point alone is quite the challenge for any vehicle (which is why very few habal-habal drivers will take climbers there unless you are willing to pay for the pricey fees); although the guide usually arranges for multi-cabs/van, we rode a modified elf-type truck and yet even the road was merciless towards it.

Our cool Jump off area where we had to finalize our gear-weight distribution, a quick orientation, GTKY and a prayer
There are steep curves and sometimes twists that at times make it a slow roller coaster ride; and add to that certain areas that are literally "on the edge" of a cliff plus some natural dust to keep you company. The ending? Our transportation suffered a flat tire around Barangay Agsuwao I think before heading to the actual jump-off point.

We passed by and through a lot of these from our vehicle and on foot
The first leg of the trail towards Mt. Kapayas’s summit is open and fully exposed to the sun. The main “obstacle” is exposure to the elements, the heat of the sun which can probably cause heatstroke. If I were to compare the trail towards Kapayas, it is a combination of open and rolling hills trail similar to Alegria's Lanaya with few shaded areas and a lot of rolling hills.

Assaulting under these conditions is really difficult so you have to find some fun things to do like: selfies, groufies, taking photos of cute animals along the way (Goats, Chicken, Horses, Cows) or even that of plant life like flowers, lilies and even fruits like what those two (above) are doing! Hahah

Do you see that mountain range? That's not our destination, Mt. Kapayas is still on the other side of that!
At 12noon, the sun was merciless so we had to take a stop, eat lunch, drink water and I even took a nap
The second half (which was assaulting towards the peak) was still a bit exposed to the sun but this time, there is more shaded areas and eventually entering a relatively thick jungle like trail with the occasional cold breeze.

This is a hourse that was near our camp site so we left our bags here before attacking the summit to lessen our burden

From there, more rolling hills and beautiful landscapes such as this!
They say the best part of the Mt. Kapayas climb will start at the base of Torre’s cliff-base. To access the summit, we needed to free solo (i.e., climb without ropes) a 15- to 20-foot rock face that serves as a gateway to a passage that leads to the summit. Yes, it involves rock climbing up a vertical rock face! This is a unique obstacle of Kapayas compared to most mountains in Cebu. After safely passing the “Kiss the Wall” section, you simply follow the rocky passage to reach the Torre.

This is at the cliff base where the plant life is really thick and the breeze cold as well

Above is the spot before the "kiss the wall" portion, of course I could not take a photo or proper selfie since I needed all my limbs in order to not fall from the cliff face.

This is the reward-view that meets you when you reach the top!
Navigating the peak for that 'perfect shot' is also not that easy
One of our "Group Photos" since it is a bit crowded and we just could not have everyone in one particular area I guess
Some shots are worth the Risks I guess; Our guide staring down the cliff
From the base camp, it took us less than an hour to reach the summit. It was already around 4pm when we arrived at the peak. After admiring the view and taking some pictures, we took a straightforward descent back to the base camp

This beautiful sunset greeted us as we were heading down the summit

We barely made it with the remaining light of the day and that signals the time for Silhouettes!!
I was pretty sure we snuck into the place since according to our guide, we tried new route on our trek until we set-up camp at night because someone got drunk and made a lot of noise; luckily the "Nice People Around" didn't do anything.

Good Morning from our Camp site!
Going to Mt. Kapayas in Catmon:

  • There are buses at the North Bus Terminal that passes Catmon on a daily basis. Fare should be PHP70 and drop-off point would be at the Catmon Municipal Hall. 
  • Get the services of a recognized guide in the area: Kyno Dumlao (09993259621), pay and get permits as well (Transportation from the Catmon proper to the jump-off point was provided by the municipality of Catmon through the permit) - The budget for a Mt. Kapayas day trek is relatively high;
This is by far one of the most interesting trail and trekking experience I've had so far! Check out the video summary I made below!: