Finally, A New Haven!

In my other post I shared about some tips in choosing the right house to purchase or rent.  Our family had been in search for a house to rent for about three weeks already.  We wanted to settle in a house that’s affordable with three bedrooms for 3,500 Php (83 USD) but the thing is, this housing subdivision has been severely affected by flooding a year ago.  Although we could always take the risk, we can’t avoid worrying about the possibility of being flooded again especially in this rainy season.

We came across this house about two weeks ago:

 photo house_zps243ce4e4.jpg

The owner of this house is out of the country and is willing to have this house rented at 6,000 Php (150 USD).  We instantly loved it because of its safe neighborhood, beautiful garden and when we got inside, we were even more surprised because it’s already furnished!! Not only are we provided with furniture but we could even use their blender, microwave oven, stove, etc.

However, it took us time to decide because we were toying with the idea of living in a cheaper house.  But just the other day, we already called the one taking charge of this house that we have decided to rent it by next week.

I will be posting photos of the interior as soon as we’ve moved!

Thank God for this new haven!

Teaching Kids the Value of Volunteerism

Our kids are very aware of the typhoon that hit Visayas islands a few weeks back. Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) has taken thousands of lives and has left many homeless. Although it’s good to thank God that we have not been affected by that deadly catastrophe that hit our country, hubby and I took this opportunity to teach the kids the values of volunteerism.

Sharing with you some valuable things we taught our kids:

1. A volunteer is one who sees the needs.

If you don’t see the need, you won’t be driven to do what you are supposed to do. Looking at the photos of the massive destruction Haiyan has brought was enough to move the kids to first, lift up Tacloban, Samar, Ormoc and Cebu in prayer.  Of course, it is not just enough to see the needs.  Kids need models, and many times they find it in other kids their age.  Our family found inspiration in this 6 year old Japanese boy named Shoichi who gave his piggy bank in order to help the Yolanda victims.

photo source:

We also found this photo of two LA girls selling lemonades in order to send money to the affected families:

photo source:

These photos teach kids (and adults as well) what it’s like to see a need, and to be driven to do something about it– starting from any resource available.

2.  A volunteer connects with other volunteers.

Although it would feel good to do something on our own, it is still important to teach the kids how important it is to network with people who have the same heart and passion as theirs.  Last Thursday, I took the kids to where volunteers were working/ collecting funds to be brought to the affected areas in Visayas.  There they saw that volunteers were not ashamed to talk with people, showing them the need and how they could participate in rebuilding ruins by the little that they give.

 photo onebukcollage_zpse4bfa5f0.jpg
Proud volunteers!

3.  A volunteer is ready anytime.

We don’t have to have another typhoon to show people in what way we have volunteered.  Volunteerism happens at any time of the day– it is not to be faked.  It could be helping mom with the dishes, or emptying the garbage.  It could be helping an elderly person cross the street or being honest enough to return someone’s purse.

Volunteerism, when taught to kids at a young age, is something that they could never outgrow.  There is so much need in the world and more than ever before, we need more volunteers!  The earlier we train our kids to be proactive in meeting others’ needs, the better place this world would be.

5 Tips to Keep Down Construction Costs

Construction is an incredibly expensive and time consuming process, with almost every major building project going over projections on at least one of the two. Therefore it is important to be sure that you’ve done everything possible to cut costs and get the job done without sacrificing quality or breaking the bank.   Here are five.


Sit down before you even start the job and figure out what can be cut and what is important enough that you simply have to spend top dollar on it. Don’t skimp on things like door supports for doors, windows or anything that’s going to be taking a major strain. Any aspects that are mostly just cosmetic or non-essential can afford to be cut down on a little. Priorities can be a major saver and keep you from wasting anything.

Avoid Change Orders

A builder will inevitably decide that you need different materials, different quantities or different orders in the middle of a project. Figuring things out in advance and taking the time to get measurements as exact as possible will keep these to a minimum. These are a massive cost because change orders often require the buyer to pay top dollar for last minute work. This also costs time and throws off the work schedule, which can cost money in rehiring and delays.

Pick Your Lot

A so called problem lot, a lot that has something of a problem for certain types of construction, will go cheap. Just make sure that the construction you want to do is immune to the disadvantage. Other builders will go the other way and fork out the extra funds to buy a lot with some natural advantages to what they are trying to build. A good survey of the land before building begins can save a packet.

Go Low Maintenance

Buy low maintenance materials if at all possible. While they may cost a little more in the short term the long term advantages of not having to come back and do the job again will keep costs down. This won’t do much for you if the building is for someone else, but if you will have to deal with the property for a long time then definitely buy something you won’t have to go back over and replace.

Rent Equipment

Not every job requires specific equipment to be acquired for it. If the job is only going to take a few days, or you need one specific piece of special equipment for a while there’s no good reason to fork out to buy things. A builder could easily go to a place like a pick some things up for a couple of days.

Building is costly but it needn’t get ridiculous, spend a little when you need to in the right places and you can cut down on the big stuff later. Remember, forethought will help in most situations and deciding where to spend will lower the need to spend everywhere else.


Image credit:

…celebrating the joys of family life!