Things that I'm Most Grateful for the Year 2011

The year 2011 is about to close and it has been a bountiful and interesting year for me. The Lord has showered me with so much blessings that made my life even more meaningful. Instead of listing down any wishlist, I decided to reminisce some of the most wonderful events that transpired this year.

Though I am grateful for every single day that God has blessed me, there were some events that really made me feel so special and I'm most grateful of. 



Last March, me and my highschool friends went to Boracay to shoot the Veet the Bad Guys video which became my winning entry to the Veet Me 2011 contest wherein I eventually won an iPad and Date with Daniel Matsunaga. You may view a copy of the video which won the said contest.
   

From our abrupt yet meaningful trip to Boracay, me and friends learned so much about the importance of making time and spend it with those whom you love and matters the most to you because you never know what tomorrow could bring. From that trip, I also learned the importance of believing in yourself and taking chances. You may view more photos of the said trip here

2. Date with Daniel Matsunaga

Taking chances and trying my best have been paid off when I won the Veet Me 2011 contest wherein I got a chance to date with one of hottest and nicest celebrities in the Philippines - Daniel Matsunaga.



We rode a cute 1958 Volkswagen to our dating place at Chelsea in Serrendra. I got a chance to learn more that Daniel Matsunaga is not only blessed with good looks but he's got the pleasant personality and optimistic attitude to match it. 


During the date, Daniel even offered to call one of my friends so he could greet them but I told him I could record him in a video wherein he could greet all of my friends instead. Below is a copy of the said video. You may view more photos of the said date here.


3. GMA News Think Before You Click Special Edition Interview


In a special edition of GMA News' ReelTime for Think Before you Click, I was interviewed to share my story of how the internet and social media has helped me find opportunities beyond the real world.



From a simple remark of "Get a life!", I have turned the said challenge as an opportunity to create a success for myself through the virtual world as a virtual assistant and eventually as a Social Media Strategist. Social networking has also helped me learn how to invest in the stock market and save for my dream house.

Below is a copy of the said interview. You may also view more Behind the Scenes photos here.



3. Yahoo! Philippines Mail Ambassador of Cool

Up to this time I still couldn't believe that I was chosen to be the winner for Yahoo! Philippines Mail Who Rules Cool? contest and got a chance to live like a royalty for a day.

The day started with me riding a Jaguar 2011 XF and once I arrived at Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, I was welcomed by their executives  Resident Manager Carl Gagnon, General Manager Goran Aleks and Public Relations Manager  Christina del Carmen.

Jaguar Experience


Makeover by a Hairstylist to the Stars

The pinch-me-moments continued with me getting a makeover done by the hairstylist to the celebrities, Philippe Tordjman. Philippe Tordjman is the man who has worked on the tresses of Meg Ryan, Antonio Banderas, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Rowland, Melanie Griffith and even Hillary Clinton


Probably I was the last person whom he cut the hair before he cuts the hair of US Secretary Hilary Cliton the next day, so that made the whole experience way more awesome! ;) You may view more photos of the said makeover on Philippe page. You may also watch the whole makeover experience through the video below.




French Massage and Delightful Dinner

Another favorite of mine during the said Purple Royalty Experience was the French massage wherein I got to relax and enjoy the mango tea which they served prior to the massage. The dinner was delightful too! 




To complete the Purple Royal Experience, I stayed in Sofitel's Opera Suite. It was quite such an elegant and huge room for just one person, really. Each room of the suite has a balcony, for a total of four, with a view overlooking the swimming pool and Manila Bay. There were also exquisite gifts from Jewelmer and from Yahoo which is a ToyWatch. 


It was a day that I would forever cherish. Thank you so much Yahoo! Philippines, Sofitel Manila, Jewelmer and ToyWatch! You may view more photos of the said coolest experience here or simply watch the photo montage which I created below. 


Those were just some of the most cherished moments which I am most grateful for the year 2011. Moments that help remind me of how beautiful the world is, and the life is better spent being thankful for the good things, great people we get to meet, learn from the lessons of the past so we could better be equipped for the present and the future and most importantly, finding ways to continue being a blessing to all the lives we're in contact with.

Do not think of the few things you did not get after praying. Think of the countless blessings that God gave you even without asking. 

Cheers to a much more blessed year ahead! What about you, what are you most grateful for the year 2011? Share your thoughts below!


#ReaderAsks: What are Index Funds? Where can I Invest in the Philippines?

What are Index Funds?
Image by FortuneWatch.com

Index funds are mutual funds that are intended to track the returns of a market index. An index is a group of securities that represents a particular segment of the market (stock market, bond market, etc.). It doesn't require an active manager (i.e. it is a passive investment). It simply tracks an index. 

Where can I invest in Index Funds in the Philippines?

The Philippine Index Fund (PIF) is actually also a mutual fund that tracks the Phisix, QQQ or cubes, Spiders, Diamonds and the likes so it is priced just like the mutual funds. The article below provides more information about the Philippine Index fund also known as PIP. 

Riding It High With Philippine Index Fund
By Vernadette Joven

Looking for a hassle-free, low-cost, flexible and diverse range investment? Philippine Index Fund (PIF) is just the answer for you. The country's first and only index tracker fund that aims to provide an alternative for investors who believe in the potential of the stock market while enjoying a risk diversity and low entry cost.

According to Philippine Stock Exchange Composite Index (PHISIX) officials, PIF sends a strong signal to the investing public that the stock market is really a worthy investment. 

As a flexible, multipurpose investment, PIF creates a broader awareness on equity investing among small individual investors. These investors will be a large retail market of long-term equity investors that will help increase the savings rate of the country, if proper strategies are pursued and implemented. 

With a minimum investment of only P50,000 during the initial offer period, investors are effectively investing in a diversified portfolio of 33 stocks comprising PHISIX. Aside from the minimum initial investment amount, investors also get to enjoy trading in the market without the hassle of daily individual stock monitoring. 

Investment experts say that the general outlook on the stock market remains positive as long as the following indicators are followed: strong evidence of improved fiscal deficit management, stability in the local currency, stable interest rate environment, strong corporate earnings growth, resurgence of foreign funds inflow in the local bourse and the passage of revenue generating tax laws, which is expected to improve the government's fiscal position.

What companies are included in the Index Fund?

You may view the MSCI Philippines Investable Market Index Fund here

Got any investment and saving questions? You may view related questions that were answered through #ReaderAsks. Feel free to get in touch with me on Facebook and post your questions on my Wall

Reasons to Go Home in the Philippines for Christmas

The celebration of Christmas in the Philippines is like no other. Both adults and children are looking forward to the longest of the Philippines festivities because it is the time of the year when families and relatives could enjoy time together and for the children to anxiously open their regalo or gifts from their Ninong and Ninangs (godparents).

The celebration of Christmas in the Philippines is considered to be the world's longest Christmas season with Christmas carols could be heard in as early as September and the season lasting up until Epiphany, the feast of the Black Nazarene on January 9 or the Feast of the Santo Niño de Cebú held every third Sunday of January.


Filipinos have several traditions which makes the celebration in the Philippines unique. While one may not see the usual snows in the Philippines, it could be compensated with the bright lights and decorations found in parol or lanterns adorned in Filipinos houses offices, schools and even the streets. Some municipalities even award households with the best lantern and Christmas lights displays.


Other fun traditions by Filipinos during the Christmas season is the Simbang Gabi which is a series of nine (9) dawn masses, the mass starts as early as 4:00 a.m. It is believed by many Christians that when you get to complete attending the mass beginning from December 16 until the midnight of the December 24th, one's wishes may be granted.


There are really many reasons why our OFW relatives and friends should consider going home this coming Christmas, one of which is the opening of the Pinoy Homecoming hospitality center at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport.

Pinoy Homecoming Hospitality Center Opens at DMIA


Balikbayans arriving at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Pampanga, will experience their warmest welcome yet with the opening of the Pinoy Homecoming Hospitality Center at the airport on November 29.

Spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT), the homecoming center is part of the government's ongoing efforts to boost visitor arrivals from the balikbayan market by 25 percent in the next five years. Dubbed as the Pinoy Homecoming campaign, it primarily targets Filipinos based overseas, not only in the United States and Canada but worldwide.



A result of Presidential Proclamation No. 181 “Declaring the Years 2011 to 2016 as the Pinoy Homecoming Years” signed on June 3, 2011, the campaign supports Republic Act No. 6768, as amended, or the “Balikbayan Program.” Under the Balikbayan Program, overseas Filipinos (OFs) are given special privileges and benefits in recognition of their contribution to the growth of the Philippine economy in terms of foreign exchange inflow and remittances.

“This is a campaign that recognizes three things: the invaluable contributions of Filipinos overseas, our urgent need to develop and promote Philippine tourism further and how much can be achieved when government agencies work together,” shares DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez. “We also have to tap into the market of second and third generation Filipinos abroad and encourage them to discover their roots.”



To reach this set of younger Filipinos abroad, the campaign also has a digital marketing component. Through the website www.pinoyhomecoming.ph, Pinoys abroad can easily access Philippine news portals, tourism products and services, practical balikbayan tips, Philippine holiday and festival calendars, as well as a directory of industry partners and the contact details of DOT’s international offices.


The campaign is supported by Globe Telecom, Duty Free Philippines Corporation (DFPC)and the over 700 partner-merchants nationwide. For more information on the campaign and balikbayan benefits, contact the Pinoy Homecoming Secretariat at 632 525-1255, 632 525-9318 local 268 or 244; fax to (632) 521-6165, or e-mail at tts@dotpcvc.gov.ph.

So, will you come home this Christmas?