Business, Personal + Finance

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My list of Earthquake Hugot Posts! #Nabasakolang

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 Posted by Vernon Go , , , , No comments

We should not joke about earthquakes. But the young Filipinos seem to always find something humorous out of difficult situations. I guess we sometimes just can't help crack a joke in the face of despair and danger.

Let's start this with the following sequence: English, Taglish(?), Tagalog then Bisaya quotes or maybe let's just mix up the various #overheard and #NabasaKoLang na #EarthquakeHugot:

"This is your time to chat with your crush by saying 'stay safe!'" >_<

"Stay safe ka d'yan; nung safe ka sa akin hindi ka nag-stay!"

"Stay-safe mo mukha mo! Ikaw nga di nag-say eh!"

"Earthquake nga hindi mapigilan, eto pa kaya nararamdaman ko sayo?"

"Hindi ko man lang naramdaman yung lindol dahil sa heartache na nararamdaman ko!"

"Buti pa yung lindol, naramdaman ko. Yung pagmamahal mo sakin, hindi."

"Lindol ka ba? Kasi niyanig mo mundo ko."

"Walang wala ang lindol nang dumating ka sa buhay ko, you rock my world kase."

"Malakas daw yung lindol? Di nga! May mas lakas pa ba sa lindol ng puso ko sa tuwing nakikita kita?" #Ayee

"Naramdaman mo yung lindol pero yung feelings ko di mo maramdaman."

"Lumindol na lahat lahat, hindi mo parin ako gusto?"

"Bakit yung lindol, diko maramdaman? Pero yung sakit, damang-dama ko parin?"

"Ako nga sa tabi mo hindi mo naramdaman eh lindol pa kaya?"

"Bigla-bigla kang magpaparamdam, yayanigin mo mundo ko, at sa pagkawala mo, pighati at pagkawasak ang iniwan mo!"

"Buti pa yung lupa, kinikilig!"

"Lumindol daw? Hindi ko naramdaman, katulad nung hindi mo pagramdam sa feelings ko."

"Masyado ka kasing manhid, kaya di mo naramdaman na lumindol."

"Naka-move-on kana kasi kaya di mo na maramdaman"

"Malakas daw yung intensity at magnitude ng lindol, gaya ng pagibig ko sayo!"

"Buti pa yung lupa, gumagalaw...ramdam. Ikaw kahit konting movement wala man lang."

"Sa sobrang lakas ng lindol, pati puso ko nabiyak."

"Ganito ba talaga ang epekto mo sakin? Pati kasi mundo ko nayayanig mo!"

"Para tayong earthquake drill: Kahit nagseseryoso na ako, wala ka paring pakialam."

"Hindi ang pagyanig ang nakamamatay. Kundi yung mga bagay na posibleng mahulog sayo." #AWW

"Umalis ka na sa buhay ko! Huwag ka na magparamdam kung mawawala ka lang agad!" #Aftershock

"Kaloka ang lindol. May pinagpipilian ng pwedeng pakiramdaman."

"Sa sobrang numb ko, nawalan na ko ng feelings." :(

"Alam mo ba kung bakit lumindol? Sumigaw kasi ako ng CRUSH KITA! Kaya hayun, kinilig yung earth."

"Yung aftershocks nga di mo ramdam, effor ko pa kaya??"

"Maypa ang linog naay status...kita? Nganga!" #Boom

"What's scary is you won't know how long it;s gonna last.."

"What's even scarier is that you won't know when you would feel it again.."

"It's always scary to fall, you get dizzy, you get hurt and sometimes you won't even know that somethings will fall unto you!"


"What earthquake? Those were the tremors of my heart that's being torn to pieces because you like someone else."


That's about it for now, but I'll make sure to add or update this post every now and then. AND ALSO LASTLY, Earthquakes are something we should not joke about, so make sure to be serious during earthquake drills; just like in a relationship.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Set it and (Mostly) Forget it Investing [1]



When a lot people think of investing, they imagine painstakingly picking individual stocks, tracking their daily performance and constantly buying and selling.You could pour in a lot of time, effort, money or you could hire a financial planner to do this for you, but the fact of the matter is that most of the time, it is difficult if not impossible to beat the market.

You can work hard or work smart. Most smart investors try to match the market, which, over a long period of time, tends to improve. Past performance isn’t an indicator of future performance, but following the index can still yield solid results!

Many refer to this as “buy and hold” or “set it and forget it” or even lazy investing — because it requires little effort and you don’t have to constantly track your portfolio. You may have to check in once a year or so, but it takes minimal work, and you can mostly leave it alone. This is perfect for 'normal folks' or people who aren't fans of calculations and the like.

In a 2014 letter to Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders, Warren Buffett explained a simple investment strategy (see: http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2013ltr.pdf):

“She’s going to have more money than she needs,” Buffett said. He would deliver cash to a trust for his wife’s benefit upon his death, with instructions to put 10 percent in bonds and 90 percent in index funds, preferably from mutual-fund house Vanguard Group.

“Most investors, of course, have not made the study of business prospects a priority in their lives. If wise, they will conclude that they do not know enough about specific businesses to predict their future earning power. The goal of the non-professional should not be to pick winners – neither he nor his ‘helpers’ can do that – but should rather be to own a cross-section of businesses that in aggregate are bound to do well. A low-cost S&P 500 index fund will achieve this goal.”

Similar advice applies to nearly anyone. Investors great and small can see wealth eroded by commissions, fluctuations in specific stocks, or even corrupt advisers since most active mutual-fund managers fail to outperform the broader stock market over time, he added.

Human behavior won’t change. Wealthy individuals, pension funds, endowments and the like will continue to feel they deserve something “extra” in investment advice. Those advisors who cleverly play to this expectation will get very rich. This year the magic potion may be hedge funds, next year something else. The likely result from this parade of promises is predicted in an adage: “When a person with money meets a person with experience, the one with experience ends up with the money and the one with money leaves with experience.”

Of course, there is no best portfolio for any investor. The best lazy portfolio is the one you set up in line with your risk tolerance, preferences and goals. Set up your investment allocation, rebalance every year, then sit back and go about living your life or pursuing your goals and dreams. It’s likely your investments will do just fine over the long-term.

Disclosure: I do not have shares in any of the companies mentioned. This is not a solicitation or investment advice and is for informational purposes only.

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The writeris an RFP® - registered financial planner and helps people through CERTA, Inc.’s financial education programs (www.certa.ph).He is also a Real Estate Broker, author of the award-winning personal blog – www.vernongo.com and an Instagram travel-micro-blogger (@PhantomNomad).
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Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last July 11, 2017.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Initial Coin Offering (ICO) bubble?

Monday, July 17, 2017 Posted by Vernon Go , , , , , No comments


There’s a lot of buzz online about the various cryptocurrencies popping up lately. And this event is being cause by the ICO or the Initial Coin Offering, which is similar to the IPO – Initial Public Offerings in the stock market.

What is an ICO? It is not a security, at least not one that resembles any security that existed more than 5 years ago. I suppose you could call them commodities that are purchased overwhelmingly for speculative reasons to say the least.

These ICOs are based off of Ethereum. Ethereum is a blockchain protocol very similar to Bitcoin, but unlike Bitcoin it supports sophisticated forms of transactions known as smart contracts. These are simple programs that define when, how, and in what manner ETH (the name of the native token on the Ethereum network) is distributed. This flexibility allows one to create new tokens on top of the Ethereum platform very easily. And it is these tokens or “coins” that are being speculated on in this bubble.

These coins are sold as vital parts of as-yet-undeployed decentralized mechanisms which are “expected” to be useful at some point in the future, and their tokens are claimed to extract rent or value from the people who will use these services.

As an Industrial Engineer, Financial Planner and also as someone working in the IT-BPM industry, I’m a fan of these concepts and it’s potential in the future. But the current scenario is that people are thinking of these as ‘investment’ while they are obviously not. Although it is true that you can make money out of it, but speculation often leads to a lot of wealth lost or gained, that makes it no different from gambling really.

This isn’t anything new and in the stock market, stocks that play float manipulation games generally become juicy targets for short-sellers.The world is filled with people who know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

I've researched these coins to some extent and I think BTC, LTC, ETC (Ethereum Classic) all have great use and functional cases. Ethereum and all of the ICO ponzis built on top of it are useless.

Let’s consider the ICO process:

Suppose I make a new coin called Awesome Coin. I pre-mine all of the coins at a cap of 100,000,000 coins and at the initial offering only make 10 coins available. Then like IPOs, I create a marketing campaign and create a sort of demand to get enough people to throw money into it through a trading platform. After that I start selling 1 of the coins for $10. Awesome Coin will now have a $1 Billion market cap. The next coin, I sell for $11 and now Awesome Coin becomes a $1.1 Billion market cap. Then let the perceived demand and supply kick-in (heck let greed kick-in); repeat the scenario at varying prices.

The people who created the ICO earns money guaranteed. The folks running the trading platform is also guaranteed to make money so long as the trading activities continue. But the individual hyped investors or traders? They are at the mercy of the hype.

Remember, in the world of speculation, you are not valuing something so much as you are speculating on the perception of value.

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The writeris an RFP® - registered financial planner and helps people through CERTA, Inc.’s financial education programs (www.certa.ph).He is also a Real Estate Broker, author of the award-winning personal blog – www.vernongo.com and an Instagram travel-micro-blogger (@PhantomNomad).
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Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last July 4, 2017.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

When does 'Real Estate' become an Investment?

Sunday, July 02, 2017 Posted by Vernon Go , , , No comments


Buying real estate is about more than just finding a place to call home or buying any so-called ‘hot property’ that’s being marketed by salespersons. Although the real estate market has plenty of opportunities for making big gains, buying and owning real estate is just as complicated as investing in stocks and bonds.

So, when can you say that a real estate purchase is an investment? Most of the time, it depends on one’s definition. Here’s the definition I subscribe to:

"An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis, promises safety of principal and a satisfactory return." - Benjamin Graham and David Dodd

That definition is from one of the mentors of Warren Buffet and was focused on stocks and bonds type of investments, but I believe the same can be applied in real estate.

I subscribe to that definition because it implores you to at least do the necessary due diligence to ensure a certain ‘margin of safety’ when investing. This is because most people just think of investing in real estate by simply buying a property anywhere and rent it out or wait for it to increase in value in order to make money. This is where having an insider’s view of the market is important, knowing which areas are hot or not.

A real estate becomes an investment when it’s primary goal or purpose is to generate income or profit.

Real Estate Investments

Rental properties – People think this is easy, but it’s not (marketing, property maintenance, collections, security, taxes and the like). Here are some ways to rent-out properties:

* Boarding house for students or professionals to stay in.

* Have the land rented out for at least 25 years or so.

* If you have an oddly shape property beside a road, you can build a billboard and rent out ad-space.

* DevelopIndustrial or IT zones where they rent out the land, or they create their own building, and rent that out to companies (outsourcing, warehouse).

* Another way is to buy a ‘condotel’ type of property (a condominium project operated as a hotel) where you buy and own a condo unit that is rented out. The property management company does all the work for you while you just collect your share of income.

Real Estate Investment Groups - Like rental properties, this can take various shapes.

* This can be as straight forward as becoming a Real Estate broker/sales persons and sell real estate from developers

* You can invest as a corporation and make a Property Management company

* Become a real estate developer, buy-sell and develop properties

* Group investment – a group of people pool funds to buy-sell properties or to develop a property and then rent it out while splitting the profits

Real Estate Commerce – strategic buying and selling of properties

* Flipping – you buy undervalued (or maybe foreclosed ones), provide improvements and then sell it

* REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) - is created when a corporation (or trust) uses investors' money to purchase and operate income properties. REITs are bought and sold on the major exchanges, just like any other stock and must pay out dividends.

As with any investment, there is much potential and risk, and gains are not assured all the time. Make careful choices and weigh out the costs and benefits of your actions before investing!

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The writeris an RFP® - registered financial planner and helps people through CERTA, Inc.’s financial education programs (www.certa.ph).He is also a Real Estate Broker, author of the award-winning personal blog – www.vernongo.com and an Instagram travel-micro-blogger (@PhantomNomad).
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Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last June 27, 2017.

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!

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

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




GETTING THERE!
  • 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.





THINGS TO DO!
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!).





TIPS
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


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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 www.certa.ph
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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 BeanInTransit.com, 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: