Monday, January 2, 2017

2016: A Year End Review

The 2016 Year End Review

2016 is a year of fewest travels since I was earning, to date.  But for somebody who used to spend her weekends on a beach or a fiesta or somewhere discovering new food and culture, I still squeeze into my daily routine some escape. 
Ron and I were able to set foot in Antique and toured Malalison Island.  This is really unplanned.  His mom and aunts decided to visit some of their relatives in Antique so Ron and I decided to tag along.  I was not really into joining the family if not for the promised trip to Malalison Island. 
Then Ron and I, together with our sorority sis, Weng, finally set foot in the beautiful place of El Nido.  It was fantastic.  It was a blast.  We spent 5 full days in El Nido touring the islands, climbing mountains, basking in the sun, drinking coconuts, eating bagels and pizza… just living the life.  I think El Nido just won my heart. It really stood up to the name of One of the Beautiful Islands of the World.

On Investments
I still got no house. We sold our Tammy (Tamaraw FX) at the end of the year as it has a lot of breakdowns and repairs the whole year.  The business is still doing good.  So where did our money go?
Well, I have been acquiring properties as investments taking the opportunity of its low price.  I have just finished the down payment of a property we acquired in Don Salvador Benedicto.  It is a small lot overlooking a cliff where I hope to build my vacation house.  Don Salvador, also known as the Little Baguio of Negros has a cold weather all year round so it is a good place to spend summers or just ran away from all the chaos of the city.  I want to grow my own vegetables and fruits in that small lot, just be sustainable.
I have always wanted to have a place up there ever since I have set foot to the vacation house of a family friend.  I want to have a place where I could shut out the noise and just be filled with the peace and quiet.  I want to have a sanctuary.  A little piece of personal escape.  So when the opportunity came a year ago, I grabbed it and slowly fulfill that dream.  4 years to go and I have a vacation property to go to.
Ron and I also got 2 corner lots in La Carlota as an investment.  We were done in paying the first lot in the 1st quarter of last year and now I am 3/4 paid in the 2nd property.  We have been forcing ourselves to pay more than the required monthly payments to beat the interest and hoping to finish it before the end of 2017.  We still don’t know what we would do with the property. We are open to selling it if the price is right.
And I am still saving for our house.  I was planning to start building by January of 2017.  I plan to withdraw my savings in WASSSLAI (office cooperative in Manila Water), and just return it when we are done with our monthly payments for the other properties only to find that I could no longer return the capital because only through salary deductions could I invest in WASSSLAI which is no longer possible for me.  I have been earning 12-15% dividends every year from WASSSLAI and it would be a bad move to lose that lifetime income just because I wanted to start building my house.  So I have to move the plan 5-6 months back.
I am back to actively funding my trading account.  Because my brother took interest in trading in the stock market, his enthusiasm geared me into studying and learning the market and not just putting my money hoping one day it will blossom, and sometimes forgetting about it.  He bought me books to guide me with understanding the market trends. He even gave me a planner related to investing.  That’s how crazy he is!

Joining the Rat Race
At the end of November, I got back to work and joined Sugar Regulatory Administration.  I wasn’t really planning to go back and work again since running a business could suffice our needs and a little of our wants.  But it was an opportunity not to miss.  I was not willing to give up the everyday holiday and me as my own boss but boredom is killing me…. There are times when I would only sit in front of the TV watching TV series after another.  Or just lie in bed all afternoon.  So I decided to give up the boredom, join a government agency where we are paid without the stress. 
At the office, I still get to do what I used to do at home sans the TV.  I even go to the office gym when clients are gone in the afternoon.  I could trade as we are freely connected in the internet.  The only thing I avoid in the office is the social media sites as I would be reduced to the government employee I often generalized in my mind whenever I do transactions in the government where I could see employees doing Facebook.

On Family
Mom finally retired at age 60.  She has been planning to quit work and focus on the business.  For a numerous time, she has urge me to make her a resignation letter only to be kept at her drawer because she doesn’t have the guts to render it.  But this year, they were offered an Early Retirement Incentive Program which she gladly availed.
Now she has lots of time for her business, for her farm and for her grandchild.
So that sums up our 2016.  Not as adventure-seeking as my past years. But I guess that came with settling down and looking forward to the future.

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