How did the celebration of Halloween begin? Celebrated every 31st of October, Halloween is the 1st day of the 3-day celebration called “Allhallowtide.” It is then followed by All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on November 1 and November 2 respectively which are intended as a moment of remembering all the souls of deceased loved ones, martyrs, and the saints. Today, the traditional celebration of candles lit up in the cemeteries and families gathering to pray for the souls of relatives who have already passed away are mashed up with parties and other Halloween events.

The Origin

Halloween came from the word “Hallowe’en” which is the contracted form of Hallows’ Evening. It also goes in several terms such as All Hallows’ Eve, Allhalloween, or All Saints’ Eve. Its origin can be traced back to the festivals of Celtics during harvest such as the Gaelic festival called Samhain.

It is the first day of the “Allhallowtide” which is also known as the Hallowmas season. It was established during the Roman times carried throughout the reign of the Frankish Empire. At the turn of the 11th century, the modern celebration dates of Allhallowtide were popularized headed by Abbot Odilo. Monks and other monasteries, on these days, pray for those who have already passed away.

The Practices Before

Halloween was celebrated first as an adaptation of the Samhain which marks the end of a harvest season and the start of the winter or the year’s “darker half.” This is to make the conversion of Celtics to Christianity easier. The observance of Halloween then runs through several countries all over the world as Christianized by the early churches.

There are some beliefs though which indicates that Halloween did not originate from Samhain. It was also the belief of others that this was the time when the barrier between the real world and the afterlife thinned out. Masks were also worn so people will remain unrecognized by souls. This is where the wearing of costumes originated which popularly symbolizes Halloween in the modern age.

In Poland, for example, the holiday is celebrated by people praying aloud walking in the middle of the forest to comfort the souls of the dead. Spain also commemorates it by ringing the church bells as a signal for its congregation in having a moment to remember the souls.
England celebrated Halloween during the medieval period until the year 1930 wherein groups of Catholic and Protestant “soulers” visit one parish after the other begging rich people soul cakes and they’ll pray for these people’s souls in return. It was only during the 1930s that Halloween became popular in the U.S. when it was first mentioned in a publication nationwide.

The Christian Church, as a whole, celebrated Hallowe’en by having prayer vigils and fasting before the day of the feast. The church service conducted during this moment is called Vigil of All Hallows or Vigil of All Saints. Then, entertainments and other festivities appropriate for the occasion follow and accompanied by visits to the cemetery.

The Practices Now

Today’s celebration of Halloween is always associated with costumes, concerts, events, and a whole lot more of fun festivities that involve both the young and the old. The signature of Halloween for children is the “trick or treating.” It was believed to have originated during the medieval times where “trick” means doing a “threat” in the form of mischievous acts to homeowners who won’t give treats.

There’s also another variant of “trick-or-treating” that is becoming popular called “trunk-or-treating.” In “trunk-or-treating,” children can get treats through an automobile’s trunk. These cars are parked outside of a church or a school and some parents thought of it as safer compared if children will go to one house after the other to collect treats.

As time goes by, Halloween has become the biggest costume party of the year celebrated all over the world. It isn’t limited to the “scary” costumes but it also includes imitations of the famous Hollywood actors, actresses, and singers of all time. Some of these public figures are very popular for adult costumes such as Audrey Hepburn and Elvis Presley. Marvel and DC heroes are the kids’ favorites.

So, the semestral break is upon you, and you and your barkada have already started making plans for an epic getaway. You’re already sharing links of travel blogs with potential destinations over on your Facebook group chat. You’re glossing over hotel and resort listings in between your busy acads.

Because after all the classes, all-nighters, long group meetings, project deadlines, and studying for finals, a fun group vacation is just what you deserve. It’s perfectly understandable that you’d be itching to book that perfect place and hit the road.

With the availability of so many options, it can be overwhelming to choose the ideal spot for your barkada getaway. Is it the right time to go to a beach? Should you go for a place with outdoor sports? Is a staycation better? Then there’s also the logistics of planning a trip—you have to find a schedule that fits everyone, figure out the transportation and routes, and of course, make a budget plan. But don’t dismay. Here are a few easy lodging options to help your barkada decide better for the getaway that will definitely make all your hard work worth it—and for a 20K and under budget at that:

The Vessel Hostel (San Juan, La Union)

If your barkada is game for it, a hostel will be a more cost-efficient way to go. You can each stay in a bed in Vessel Hostel’s gender-neutral dorm rooms, chill in the common areas, and enjoy the beach together. Just a few steps away from La Union’s iconic waves, this beautiful hostel made of upcycled shipping containers is a gem in La Union’s surf town.

 

The fee for a bed per night is Php 1,200.

Eco Saddle Resort (Caliraya, Lumban, Laguna)

If you want a proper getaway that’s still close to the metro, accommodations around Caliraya Lake is sure to give you a great experience. This huge, pristine manmade lake is home to several resorts with water sports and outdoor recreational activities–perfect for any barkada outing. Apart from quaint cottage-style villas, Eco Saddle even has floating cottages you can stay in!

 

You can book a cottage starting at Php 3,600 for four people.

Momarco Forest Cove Resort and Hotel (Tanay, Rizal)
If your barkada is looking to spend your outing surrounded by Mother Nature, this resort and hotel in Tanay is a great option. This sprawling resort is equipped with top amenities, a mini zoo, sports center, forest trails, and a manmade waterfall. Tucked away in Rizal, Momarco Forest Cove Resort and Hotel is both a fun and relaxing way to spend your sem break.

Regular rooms for four start at Php 3, 400, but you may also avail their barracks-style accommodation at Php 425 per head or go camping with your own tent (or the resort can provide you one) for a minimal fee.

Halo Dive Anilao Resort (Anilao, Batangas)
If diving is your thing, look no further than Anilao for your next barkada destination. Located in Mabini, this quiet resort at the front of Balayan Bay is a great spot for enjoying the beach while still relaxing in an intimate environment. Experience only the most amazing diving with the diverse coral ecosystem found on the beach.

For around Php 6,000, you can book a villa which can accommodate up to four people.

An Oasis in Tagaytay (Tagaytay, Cavite)
Since AirBNB’s are all the rage, why not try one out for your barkada and make it the best post-sem staycation place? There are many serviced units being marketed for staycations in cool and breezy Tagaytay, and an excellent one in An Oasis located in Tagaytay Prime Residences. Just a few steps away from many of Tagaytay’s most loved attractions,  An Oasis is a great choice for your barkada.

At around Php 6,900, you get an entire apartment which can accommodate up to four people.

With just these five options, you already have a wide range of activities and locations to choose from. But whichever you choose, it is still up to you and your friends to make the experience worth it. After all, what makes a getaway memorable is just as much the people you’re with as the place you’re going. So hit your friends up, choose a destination, and start planning for your ideal sem break getaway.

Now that November is fast-approaching, what do you look forward to the most? The Halloween parties? The spooky movie marathons on TV? Or simply reuniting with the rest of your family to pay respects to the departed?

With all these yearly traditions, how did we come to celebrate All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day the way we do in the present?

History of All Saints’ Day

Let’s start with All Saints’ Day that fall on November 1. People in different parts of the globe have been celebrating this day since the 4th century as a commemoration of saints and martyrs. It was, however, only made official as the ‘Feast of All Holy Martyrs’ by Pope Boniface IV in 609 AD. He moved the feast to May 13 until Pope Gregory IV changed it back to November 1 in 837 AD. The latter also renamed it the ‘Feast of All Saints,’ so as not to make it unexclusive to a few martyrs.

What It Means Today

So, it began as a celebration for martyrs, then all saints, and now, interestingly, All Saints’ Day has been extended to all Christians. From those that lived in the time of Christ, the great prophets you’ve read about, to spiritual mentors who inspire you to better. “We are all saints in a biblical sense,” said Mark Wood at ‘Christian Today.’ This was his answer to the evangelical Protestants who expressed discomfort with how saints are ranked more highly than other Christians. Thus, November 1 or All Saints’ Day is now a celebration of people sharing the same faith in God and commitment to do good.

About All Souls’ Day

As the name suggests, November 2 or All Souls’ Day is when you pray for the souls of loved ones who already passed away. It is a day dedicated to praying for God’s mercy to let their soul ascend to heaven peacefully. In some countries, they open a ‘Book of the Dead’ in the altar of churches where you can write names of departed relatives. You remember them through a prayer and a mass is held if the day falls on a Sunday. This practice is common among European Catholic churches.

Global Counterparts

The Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival is the ‘All Souls’ Day’ counterpart in China, although it doesn’t happen on the first day of November. This Buddhist and Taoist festival held every August 15 is believed to be a day for the deceased to visit their living loved ones. It is almost the same with Mexico’s ‘Dia Delos Muertos’ if you’ve seen Pixar’s animation, ‘Coco,’ except that it is celebrated on November 1.

What About Halloween?

Halloween began in the pagan times and literally means ‘holy evening.’ Its origin dates back to the festival of Samhain – end of harvest season or summer. Pagans believe that on this day, spirits can pass through the land of the living and destroy their crops in the coming season. As a response, they make bonfires, set up dinner tables, and offer food to calm the spirits. Strange how the living fear the dead, right?

Now you know the real essence of both All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day began. You’ve also learned the difference between how Europeans and Asians remember their loved ones. You probably don’t share the same beliefs, claim they don’t apply to the present, or even find them strange.

However, you can’t deny it’s always interesting to uncover traditions, right? At the end of the day, you’d realize they aren’t merely unreasonable practices – since the beginning, traditions add meaning to life and bring families closer.

Top Metro Manila Spots for Walking Your Pet Dog

BY 13 February 2019 Uncategorized

Realistically speaking, there is a limited amount of open space left in the sprawling metropolis for people to comfortably stroll about. Long stretches of unobstructed sidewalks are also difficult to come by. Yet, they still exist. They are an ideal place to take your dog for some much-needed exercise. This makes these particular parcels of real estate a welcome sight for joggers, pet lovers or those who simply enjoy outdoor activities.

Below are a list of some dog-friendly areas, playing facilities and dog care professional services.

Makati weekend markets

Photo via SalcedoMarket.org

These are fun activities for you and your dog to enjoy. Bring along your family and friends as well as to appreciate these places even more. The Salcedo Market has been operating since 2005. Held every Saturday, it is set-up in the parking lot of the Jaime Velasquez Park by the Women of Bel-Air Foundation, Inc. You can expect to encounter a diverse group of concessionaires offering an international selection of food, fresh produce, handicrafts, and plants.

If you miss out on its energetic vibe, there is nothing to worry. The following day is the Legazpi Sunday Market which is held at the parking area beside the Legazpi Active Park and Washington Sycip Park. It is essentially similar in atmosphere to the Salcedo Market though with a slight variation in what its line-up of vendors is selling. Both places, however, will allow you to walk around with your dog after having your fill of yummy treats and shopping. They are excellent opportunities to relax and spend your day frolicking around with your pooch under the shade of its trees.

Ayala Triangle Gardens

Photo via DepositPhotos

If you live and work in Makati, then you do not need to wait for the weekend to enjoy one of its long-standing landmarks. The Ayala Triangle Gardens is about 20,000 sq.m. of tree-lined open space in the heart of the CBD. It is where the iconic Nielson Field Tower is located which was used to oversee the very first landing strip in the Philippines. The park is open from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily. You and your trusty canine can stroll about unhindered by the bustling vehicular traffic that regularly plies along the city’s main thoroughfares.

Bonifacio Global City

Photo via DepositPhotos

This master-planned CBD is perhaps one of the most ideal places for joggers in Metro Manila because of its clear sidewalks and selection of parks. That also makes it a safe place to take your pet for a walk as well. Among its most popular areas is Bonifacio High Street. It is comprised of eight buildings divided into four on each side. Cutting through its center is a wide grassy field accented by sculptures and some sitting areas. It is a fine mix of retail, dining, and leisure. A branch of Pet City can also be conveniently found here.

Within Bonifacio High Street’s immediate proximity, however, are other dog-friendly places of interest. To the east is upscale Serendra which has pet stores such as Bark & Wag as well as Dogs and the City. Going west is Bonifacio High Street Central, where your pet can enjoy more open spaces and exercise on its large steps. Situated to its north is Track 30th which occasionally has canines cheerfully trotting alongside some joggers, on a leash of course. Terra 28th occupies its southern portion which is great for kids and their cute mutts to amuse themselves among some art installations.

BGC is certainly a great place for canines and other pets. Bonifacio High Street and its immediate vicinity, however, is not the only area where they are welcome. Even the somewhat secluded though inviting De Jesus Oval is also a venue you can take your pet to. Join occasional play sessions along with other dog lovers during My Sunday Dogpark events. Choose a date you can register in so that your pet can experience a full day’s worth of activities.

Eastwood City

Photo via DepositPhotos

There are still other notable locations in Metro Manila that are conducive for your canine. One place however that should not be missed is this pioneering township community. Eastwood City also happens to be first to accommodate pet lovers into its mixed-use expanse. Continuing its trailblazing tradition is Bark Central. It is located in Eastwood Mall and is the initial “indoor off-leash dog park” not only in the metropolis but in the country as well. This is a full-service facility which can provide professional grooming for your pet as well as physical and behavioral training courses. Your dog can safely and comfortably walk about in this establishment.

 

House Flipping Basics: How Much Would It Cost?

BY 13 February 2019 Uncategorized

The concept of house flipping is relatively simple: you buy a house at a bargain, refurbish it, then sell it for a profit. It will, however, entail costs. Let’s look at some of the standard expenses you have to consider.

Property Acquisition Cost

You need to have the means to acquire the property. If taking out a bank loan, factor in interest payments, appraisal fees, handling fees, mortgage redemption insurance, and fire insurance to your house flipping expenses. As a buyer, there will also be a documentary stamp tax, transfer tax, registration fees, and notarial fees to take note of.

Renovation CostsPhoto via DepositPhotos

Photo via DepositPhotos

As a house flipper, you would definitely want to spruce up the house to a certain extent to make the property more appealing to potential buyers. To come up with a ballpark figure of how much you’ll need to do renovation work, here’s a simple rule of thumb: get the average price per square meter where the property is located. Multiply that figure by the total size of the area that has to be fixed. So if the average price per square meter is Php25,000 and the area to be renovated is 10 square meters, renovation cost will be roughly Php250,000. Note that this is just a starting estimate.

There will be labor costs and materials costs; should you pay for materials through credit card, consider interest payments as well.

Carrying Costs   

These will be the recurring expenses from the time you acquire the property to the time it is sold. This will cover utilities, insurance payments, and association dues, among others.

Marketing Costs

So the property is now ready to be placed on the market; the next important step is to get the word out. When selling a flipped property through a broker, you would have to pay the broker a commission, which ranges from 3 to 6 percent. The rate of the commission will depend on the size of the property and will be deducted from the home’s sale price.

How does one check if you’re not going overboard with house flipping costs and are still on track to making a profit?

Before shelling out anything, it’s important to determine the After Repair Value (ARV), or the estimate of how much the property will be worth after all the planned renovations have been completed. You can gauge the ARV of a property by doing a quick check of similar properties that have been sold (and not just up for sale) in the same area as the house in question within the last three months. If you don’t see any properties sold, let that be a red flag and do some further research; there might be issues with the location and property demand might be low.

Let the ARV be your starting point as you compute for all house flipping costs; work backward from there. In this way, you more or less have an idea if you’re getting your money’s worth.

Tips to keep your costs in check

Photo via DepositPhotos

Monitor your expenses. Be conscientious in tracking every peso to check if there are areas where you are spending more or less than expected, then adjust accordingly.


Mind your timelines. The timeline starts when you acquire the property and ends when it is sold. The shorter the timeline, the lower the carrying costs, the bigger the profit at the end of the day.

Seek professional advice.  Get a reputable contractor to work with you on your house flipping projects, especially if you’re just getting your feet wet, so to speak. This will help you avoid costly mistakes in the long run.

House flipping, just like any other business venture, will require you to invest time, money, and effort. It also has its risks. But with adequate research and planning, the rewards will be worth it.

There is no indication that the Philippine economy will be slowing down anytime soon. Parañaque will be among the cities that will continue to thrive along with it. The World Bank projects the Philippine economy to grow by 6.7 percent throughout 2018 to 2019. It is calculated to dip slightly to 6.6 percent in 2020 though it will remain strong, nonetheless. Investing in progressive cities such as Parañaque would be a smart business move.

Modernization marvel
One of the reasons why the city’s economy is growing is that it forms part of the massive Bay City project. The entire expanse is estimated to be well over 600 hectares of premium reclaimed property being developed along Manila Bay’s coastline. Bay City is comprised of Pasay as well as Manila on its northern portions and Parañaque takes up its southern end. The latter is mainly divided into Aseana City, Entertainment City, Asia World and Cyber Bay City.

Of the four mentioned, it is only Cyber Bay City that is currently pending development. The other three however have been rapidly constructing a variety of projects. There are residential, office, leisure and retail buildings that have been completed in the area. More improvements are presently on the way or are waiting to be implemented. Taken together, these business will give a significant boost to the Parañaque economy in the form of jobs, tourism and tax revenue.

Places of interest are:

● Okada Manila
● Solaire Resorts & Casino
● City of Dreams Manila
● Neo-Chinatown
● Singapore School Manila
● Department of Foreign Affairs

Infrastructure support
The private sector is not alone in this push nor is the city the only government agency that is creating growth. President Duterte’s administration is doing what it can to implement his countrywide “Build, Build, Build” initiative. There are 75 Flagship Projects in total that are set to upgrade the infrastructure system of the Philippines which has been under years of neglect. They are under different stages of review, development, implementation and completion. Combined with decreasing debt shares in GDP, higher investment grade ratings and strong labor market, the ADB sees the country entering a golden age of growth.

Parañaque itself could indirectly benefit from one Flagship Project and a series of other developments. Mobility is the key to get commuters efficiently to their destinations which saves time, money and improves the city’s business outlook. The Metro Manila BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) – Phase 3 (BGC to NAIA Segment) will cut travel time by 15 minutes. This will potentially ease the flow of traffic going into and out of Parañaque City. Next is the ongoing Manila Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension project which will have eight additional stations. Five of these will be situated in Parañaque. Finally, there will be the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) which will reduce the number of provincial buses coming into Metro Manila.

 

A good example
Such key developments are poised to boost the city’s economy. Investing in it is definitely something to consider. A good way to do this is through pre-selling properties. Its value will definitely rise along with Parañaque City’s economy. Note however that it is not inextricably tied to it. The worth of this investment appreciates mainly because of its low buy-in price. There is no tangible unit yet when it comes to pre-selling condominiums though its value would naturally increase as the project nears completion. Smart buyers should pick a good developer combined with an excellent location.

One such project is Alpina Heights. It is being developed by the Alpina Heights Properties, Corp. (AHPC) at one of the most accessible areas of Parañaque City. Getting there is easy from the SLEX. Take the Sucat Exit and it is about 1.5 kilometers away using the West Service Road. Its attractive location makes it convenient to get to multiple places of interest.

Among them are the following:

● Ninoy Aquino International Airport, 8 kilometers
● Makati CBD, 10 kilometers
● Paref Southridge School, 2.1 kilometers
● San Beda Alabang, 6 kilometers
● SM BF Parañaque, 2.3 kilometers

Great development
Its accessibility is not the only reason why Alpina Heights is such an attractive investment choice. The project itself comes with a multitude of amenities and features that are not ordinarily available with other pre-selling condominiums. AHPC has devoted at least 50% to open spaces for the development. Its residential towers will be low-density, measuring only 6 to 7-storeys in height. Alpina Heights will be surrounded by pine trees and will have solar powered as well as water treatment sustainable features for its residents to benefit from.

With Tower 1 almost sold out, potential investors could consider getting into Tower 2 as another option. Units at Alpina Heights measure about 25 sq.m. for the one bedroom type and these could be combined to create two bedroom tandem units. There will be some units with 2 sq.m. alloted for a balcony though all will come as pre-furnished. This means that unit owners or their tenants will literally only need a mattress to move in. It will already come with an air-conditioning unit, stove, lighting fixtures and a refrigerator.

Seven of the best Filipiniana-themed restaurants in the Philippines

August is officially recognized as Buwan ng Wika. According to Proclamation No. 1041 under former President Fidel V. Ramos, National Language Month is a celebration of the country’s heritage. Both the government agencies and the private sector are encouraged to participate in programs boosting the national language and instilling community awareness. With all the energy involved in these ethnic activities, it is only appropriate to feature Filipino culture through one of its best modes: food.

There are a lot good Filipino restaurants out there, and many do not just present their best version of our top local dishes. These places go the extra mile by serving them in a set-up that feels like a Filipino home, too. If you’re away from home and are looking for authentic local dishes in a Filipiniana-themed restaurant, be sure to consider the places on our list.

XO 46 Heritage Bistro

Salcedo Village, Makati City

The name of the restaurant itself signifies its strong ties to the nation. ‘XO’ stands for extraordinary, in reference to 1946 or the year that the Philippines gained its independence. XO 46 is a restaurant with a distinct Filipino-Spanish style, with well-appointed settings and perfectly uniformed staff. This multi-awarded bistro by Advent Manila Hospitality Group, Inc. presents local cuisine and culture in an exceptional manner.  Their food is not only delicious and hearty but pleasing to look at as well. Try the best-selling crispy binagoongan and end the meal with the colorful and sweet sapin-sapin bahaghari.

Ka Lui

Puerto Princesa, Palawan

The restaurant comes highly recommended by residents of the city. It is not hard to see why. Upon entering, diners are instantly welcomed by its wooden and bamboo interiors. Ka Lui has a homey feel to it but there is no mistaking that it is a good place to eat. There are real fruits and vegetables on display along with select art pieces for sale. The capiz décor, batik fabrics, and wooden masks set the right mood.

Ka Lui’s menu is mainly composed of the day’s freshest seafood catch, vegetables, and fruits. These can be prepared kilawin style, made into sinigang soup, or mixed into a healthy salad.

Seven of the best Filipiniana-themed restaurants in the Philippines
Photo via Depositphotos

Bale Dutung

Angeles City, Pampanga

Celebrity chef Claude Tayag has been serving Kapampangan cuisine from his world-famous restaurant Bale Dutung for many years. It was made popular by the late Anthony Bourdain way back in 2008 when he visited the place as part of his Philippine tour for his now-defunct show, No Reservations. ‘Bale dutung’ actually means wooden house, and this one—home to the Tayags—was built in 1991 using recycled wood and other materials. It has a Filipino countryside feel to it, accentuated by several artsy elements.

A three- or four-hour semi-buffet lunch is a degustation menu that includes select dishes representing the province well, though lechon or roasted pig usually takes center stage during the meal.

STK ta Bai! sa Paulito’s Seafood House

Cebu City

This is unmistakably one of the best seafood restaurants in Metro Cebu and possibly the province itself. STK ta Bai! is a casual restaurant, to be sure, but diners are treated to the old-world charm it exudes. The decor and generous Philippine memorabilia nonchalantly on display, deserve a closer look as they could yield pleasant surprises, just like their food.

STK ta Bai! has been serving traditional Filipino fare since it was first established in 2002. As their name suggests, they have various items prepared the STK (SuTuKil) way: sugba (grilled), tuwa (soup) or kilaw (raw and marinated). A definite must-try for those visiting the restaurant for the first time is the grilled tuna jaw with sumptuous baked scallops.

Seven of the best Filipiniana-themed restaurants in the Philippines
Photo via Depositphotos

Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant

Intramuros, Old Manila

It would be difficult to complete this list without mentioning this gem from the historic walled city. Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant is an immersion into Philippine culture, without a doubt. Visitors are instantly transported to the 18th century as soon as they start walking up its stairs. This dinner affair will be filled with a heady mixture of authentic Filipino dishes served buffet style alongside a cultural show. Brave diners can even dance along with the performers to work off some of their meal.

Kusina Luntian

Baler, Aurora

As a nod to the father of the national language President Manuel Quezon, his hometown is featured on this list. Kusina Luntian is a very unassuming restaurant. It is more of a nipa hut, actually, though the charming experience is unmistakably Filipino. Diners use their hands to enjoy the simple yet delicious comfort food served on a banana leaf. It is composed of rice, a tasty protein, salted egg, and some fern salad.

Seven of the best Filipiniana-themed restaurants in the Philippines
Photo via Depositphotos

Balik Bukid

Davao City

Enjoy clean, organic food prepared Filipino-style from this farm-to-table restaurant. No visitor to Davao City should leave without dining at Balik Bukid. It is a place to appreciate healthy food served in natural wooden bowls and plates. Philippine artwork and handicrafts made from recycled materials adorn its interiors. Visitors regardless of nationality are sure to admire its wonderful Filipino vibe, which is made even more festive whenever there are cultural shows to heighten the dining experience.

Do you agree with our choices? List your own choices in the comment section below.

Q&A: How does a home appraisal work?

BY 13 February 2019 Uncategorized

Q&A: How Does A Home Appraisal Work?

Estimating the value of a home can be based on opinion. This can otherwise be called an opinion of value. While an actual sale of a home could transpire under such circumstances, it is more difficult to do so when seeking a housing loan. Lenders will turn to appraisers to determine the fair market value (FMV) of a home.

Also, buyers might have a personal opinion as to how much a home is worth, but this would not be a reasonable basis for its actual value. This is what makes home appraisal a necessary process. It serves as a good starting point when it comes to its price by providing evidence of its worth.

Q: What is the home appraisal procedure?

Presidential Decree No. 464, Section 3 (d) defines appraisal as “the act or process of determining the value of a property as of a specific date for a specific purpose.”

Section 5 further states that “all real property, whether taxable or exempt, shall be appraised at the current and fair market value prevailing in the locality where the property is situated.”

Home appraisers are required to perform impartial estimates to determine the FMV of the property against other similarly situated houses in its district. There must be a date when such appraisal was made, indicating why it was requested. It usually involves purchase and sale transactions. This gauges the propriety of its price given its physical state, site, and characteristics.

There are also times when home appraisals are also required in times of refinancing. This would guarantee that the borrower is indeed borrowing less funds than the property is worth from the lender. It would protect the lender in case the borrower defaults and would have to sell the mortgaged property to recover the borrowed funds.

Q&A: How Does A Home Appraisal Work?
Photo via Depositphotos

Q: Who hires the appraiser?

This process is undertaken by a disinterested third party to the transaction, ideally a licensed real estate appraiser. It is the lender that is tasked to hire the appraiser. A higher appraisal price might favor the buyer when it comes to sales, or the homeowner in case of refinancing. This would work to the disadvantage of the lender because the loan given could result to an amount higher than the real FMV of the property. The extent of the loan should ideally be less than or equal to eighty percent the FMV of the property mortgaged as security.

A seller can explicitly state that cash payments alone and not bank loan transactions will be accepted. Cash payments would necessarily rule out the need to have an appraiser because there is no need to take out a loan to settle the rest of the contract price. An appraisal should ideally come before listing a home for sale due to the likelihood that the appraised price would be set below the agreed purchase price. This would force the buyer to look for other means to secure funds for the shortfall in case the seller has already accepted the offer.

Q: What does an appraiser usually look for?

An appraiser would need to take actual measurements of the improvements to get its floor area, note its features, and find other factors that could influence its price. Field work also entails researching on the property’s surroundings and finding out the contract price of recent sales in the area. Note that evidence of its lot area will be required in order to make an accurate assessment. Providing a lot plan and the certificate of title is firm evidence of its lot size. Anything that has an aspect of permanence or attached to the home will likely be included in the appraisal.

Q&A: How Does A Home Appraisal Work?
Photo via Depositphotos

Q: What are the ways to determine value?

An owner will naturally want to get the best price for the property being sold. This could be based on a mixture of factors, such as its acquisition cost, sentimental value, included movables, and embellishments. With the exception of acquisition cost, however, these have little material effect on its FMV. To determine its value, Philippine real estate appraisers use three approaches:

● Cost Summation – land value is summed up with the value of the depreciated improvements
● Sales Comparison – FMVs of similar properties in the vicinity are compared to the home being appraised
● Income Capitalization – used for investment or commercial properties to determine how profitable a property is

Q: How long does it take to complete an appraisal?

The process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the size and complexity of the home. An appraisal can extend beyond the home inspection and includes a survey of its neighborhood or surrounding area, though. This could potentially yield information on similar properties that were sold within the year or so.

Q&A: How Does A Home Appraisal Work?
Photo via Depositphotos

After the fieldwork, an appraiser would then return to his office to draft the appraisal report. The length of the report would again depend on the complexity of the task. It can take anywhere from a day to a few months to prepare the report. This would depend on the speed at which the information is acquired and the amount of data involved in the undertaking.

Main photo via Depositphotos

The thriving and upcoming business areas of Parañaque

There is hardly any reason not to invest in Parañaque. Its economic prospects remain bright, given all the projects coming its way from the public and private sectors. The city is experiencing a robust construction boom in terms of infrastructure, academic and medical institutions, and residential and horizontal developments. Its direction for the future may serve to justify why it is one of the choice locations in the country.

Public sector participation

The Philippines remains to be one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing economies. According to the World Bank, its economy is expected to grow by 6.7 percent for 2018 and 2019. The government’s ability to complete its infrastructure projects is the key to bringing in continued investments in the country. President Duterte’s administration is doing its part through the 75 flagship projects making up the “Build, Build, Build” program.

The thriving and upcoming business areas of Parañaque
LRT. Photo via Depositphotos

In line with this is the Department of Transportation’s Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) project, which is at 92% completion. Located at the fringes of the Coastal Road, it is an intermodal transport terminal that is targeted to help decongest vehicular traffic in Metro Manila. This will be linked to the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 extension and other public transportation routes. Government initiatives like this will likely propel the city’s already booming business sector even further.

The Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 extension will have five stations within Parañaque City:

● Aseana Complex
● MIA Road
● Asia World
● Ninoy Aquino
● Dr. Arcadio Santos Avenue

Where the action is

This bodes well for Parañaque and will complement the continuing developments in Bay City. The latter is set to become the country’s leading destination for entertainment, resulting in an increase in tourism. Integrated resorts such as Okada Manila, Solaire, and City of Dreams Manila have already established their presence in the area. Other companies have followed suit, locating their businesses around their respective vicinities. The same trend is expected for the five new LRT Line 1 extension stations. There will be more companies looking to capitalize on the economic effects of these developments in the rapidly shifting business landscape of the city.

The main business areas of Parañaque, such as Baclaran, Dr. A. Santos Avenue, BF Homes and Don Bosco, will naturally benefit from all these developments. Baclaran itself has an existing endpoint LRT station, which is teeming with flea markets and vendors. The district also houses The National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, where droves of devotees and simple churchgoers alike regularly flock to. Soon, 3,500 vendors from the Roxas Boulevard service road will be relocated to an air-conditioned, four-level commercial building. The neighborhood will also see the construction of a city university and a hospital.

The thriving and upcoming business areas of Parañaque
City of Dreams Manila. Photo via Shutterstock

About seven kilometers away is Dr. A. Santos Avenue (formerly Sucat Road), a major artery of Parañaque. Places of interest in the area include two SM Cities (Sucat and BF Parañaque), Waltermart, Shopwise, Olivarez College, Patts College of Aeronautics, and Medical Center Parañaque. BF Homes contains President’s Avenue and Aguirre Avenue, a bustling food paradise where established and new restaurants are regularly packed with enthusiastic diners. To the north of it is Barangay Don Bosco, home of the Parañaque Doctor’s Hospital, as well as the busy Doña Soledad Avenue that connects to another SM City (Bicutan) as well as the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

The beauty of it all is that Parañaque is not far from NCR’s major central business districts (CBDs). It is about 10 kilometers from Makati, 8 kilometers from BGC and 6 kilometers from Filinvest Alabang. But the city itself is home to a wealth of top businesses to work for, including Zuellig Pharma Corporation, Mondelez Philippines, Johnson & Johnson Philippines, TGP Pharma, Toyota Bicutan Parañaque, and Okada Manila.

With all the present business establishments and future ones that are expected to appear soon, one cannot deny that Parañaque is a serious contender for those looking for a place to relocate. In spite of all its commercial activities, the city is still considered more easygoing compared to other highly-urbanized cities in the Metro. It strikes a good balance between residential living and a cosmopolitan lifestyle.

An enviable address

Life does not need to be spent on the road, a good chunk of it at least. The Duterte administration is doing what it can to ease Metro Manila’s unforgiving traffic situation. Regardless, finding ways to reallocate more minutes of you daily commute to time spent with family and friends is always ideal. Parañaque City is clearly at par with the more developed cities of the Philippines in terms of conveniences and places of interest. Why not consider a residence that is within striking distance from it all?

Alpina Heights is one such location. Developed by Alpina Heights Properties Corporation (AHPC), this condominium is situated within 1.5 kilometers from the Sucat Exit via the West Service Road. This makes it easy to access the SLEX when trying to reach the aforementioned CBDs. Premiere institutions such as the Asian Hospital & Medical Center, San Beda Alabang, and De La Salle Santiago Zobel are just six to 10 kilometers away. However, Alpina Heights provides more than just an ideal address. The project itself is just as remarkable.

The thriving and upcoming business areas of Parañaque

Artist's rendering of Alpina Heights

This pre-selling condo will be composed of five low-rise residential towers over a spacious 5,736 sqm lot area. There will be plenty of open spaces (over 50 percent), which will be surrounded by genuine pine trees. Its community feel is specifically intended given its low-population projection. Each tower will only be six to seven stories, having an optimal seventeen units per floor. The ground floors of the first two towers alone will house commercial units and parking slots, reducing the residential capacity even further.

Investors can currently choose between one- or two-bedroom units. AHPC, however, allows units to be combined for buyers looking for more space. Residents will enjoy sustainable features such as solar-powered common areas, a water treatment facility and rain water conservation. There is no need to debate the future viability of Parañaque City. With all these aspects, the same can be said of Alpina Heights. It is a good investment located in a city that has so many opportunities for business, recreation, education, and more.

Move to one of the most dynamic and forward-looking cities of Metro Manila. Call (+63) 9178427512, e-mail sales@alpinaheights.com, or visit alpinaheights.com to learn more.

Main photo by Ramon FVelasquez via Wikimedia Commons

What makes an Airbnb-worthy investment?

BY 13 February 2019 Uncategorized

What makes an Airbnb-worthy investment?

In the recent years, traveling has become a part of every person’s way of life.

Be it domestic or foreign, the experience of traveling has elevated to accommodate the demand brought by the large influx of tourists. All kinds of tourist attractions, culinary hotspots, and—most of all—topnotch accommodations have been thrust in the limelight to suit every travelers’ needs.

The National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) projected a whopping 7.4 million international arrivals for this year. The arrival of international tourists in the Philippines alone peaked in the January-February 2018 period as 1.4 million visitors were recorded, marking a 16.1-percent increase compared to the same period last year.

This means bigger things are in store for those with businesses involved in tourism. Hotel alternatives such as Airbnbs—especially those situated in cities—are in demand at present.

Discover the qualities of an Airbnb-worthy investment and bank your money on the booming industry with a property that is sure to be a blockbuster when it comes to travel accommodations.

Advantageous location

Tourists want accommodation where they can easily enjoy everything that a place has to offer. Airbnbs located near major malls, parks, and other commercial establishments and attractions tend to be the most rented.

In Metro Manila, an advantageous location is even more of a priority given the heavy traffic in its major thoroughfares. A perfect Airbnb would mean a property in close proximity with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). With this, guests would not have to worry about being late for their flights since the airport is just a few minutes away. Plus, it would be easier for those who are commuting to their destinations.

Staycation-conducive amenities

Giving guests the perfect stay nowadays does not merely translate into making a place feel like home; it means giving them a place better than home. People who go on either a vacation or staycation look for accommodations that will help them escape all their worries so they could enjoy blissful relaxation.

What makes an Airbnb-worthy investment?
Photo via Depositphotos

Nothing can be more perfect for a staycation than a soft and clean bed, cool air conditioning, and fast Wi-Fi connectivity. Aside from those, investing in a property with a pool and other amenities for relaxing such as a spa or sauna would entice more guests to stay in your Airbnb. With those features nearby, the stay in your property is already enough to be dubbed as a vacation.

Functional furnishing

Since visitors in an Airbnb usually stay for at least a week or longer, furniture that will meet their basic needs is a must. Fundamental household amenities such as numerous power outlets, a refrigerator, stove, television, and shower are essential since guests will be treating your Airbnb as their home for a period of time.

Balancing that functionality with comfort is also important. Equip your property with comfortable chairs. More often than not, people who rent Airbnbs are usually in large groups. Sofas which could be converted into a bed are perfect for big groups of friends or large families.

What makes an Airbnb-worthy investment?
Photo via Depositphotos

Moreover, good interior design for your unit would result in more traffic for your rental, thus bringing in more profit.

Affordability

Maintaining an Airbnb entails a lot of cost and effort on the host’s part. Since you have to worry about regular cleaning services, taxes, repairs, utilities, it is good to keep in mind a property that is worth its price.

Peaceful neighborhood

Not only will it give guests the peace they crave, but a condominium in a quiet neighborhood would make for a perfect Airbnb since it gives them a sense of security.

Places in the outskirts of densely populated cities would be better suited for those looking for a stay away from stress as they can enjoy a tighter knit community where they can feel safe and secure, even if it is just for a little while.

A getaway experience at Alpina Heights

Alpina Heights, a mid-rise condominium development in Bicutan, Parañaque, checks all of the qualities of a perfect Airbnb unit. It is close to NAIA, and shopping centers such as Alabang Town Center, SM Bicutan, and Festival Mall Alabang are just a few minutes away.

What makes an Airbnb-worthy investment?
Artist's rendering of Alpina Heights

Pre-furnished units are available for the taking, leaving you with fewer things to worry about when you set up your property for rental at Airbnb. A poolside lounge, 50 percent of open space, a gym, and more exciting facilities are available for the perfect getaway in the city.

For an affordable price, potential investors for an Airbnb unit are guaranteed high quality and an elevated standard of accommodations for their future guests.

Cash in on the possibilities of Airbnb with a unit at Alpina Heights. Call (+63) 9178427512, e-mail sales@alpinaheights.com, or visit alpinaheights.com to learn more about their preselling condo units.

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