Wednesday, September 24, 2014

For the UNprepared Backpacker,

I’ll tell you something you probably know but almost missed to remember on and/or before your planned trip.

These are the things I learned from travelling overseas:

1. Get a good value for your pocket money. You don’t need to know the fundamentals of the foreign currency you want to exchange your money into but the tip is to have a benchmark among the rates of money exchange stalls and banks in your area before going straight to the airport. Because it's a big NO to have your money changed in airports since they make business out of tourists who probably don’t know THIS!

First thing’s first, know the present exchange rate of your money to USD via google or an app on your phone then do the same with USD to the ccy of the country you’ll be visiting, let’s say KRW. Once you have it keep your notes on your phone and make the ideal rates. See below.

As of 09/12/14:
43.95 PHP = 1USD = 1038.25KRW
So if you’re exchanging your base ccy (PHP) to USD, you’re Buying USD so you should get the LOWEST price possible. And if you’re selling your USD back to peso, you should get the HIGHEST price  possible.

Tip: In Korea, you're entitled a tax refund for every minimum single receipts of 50,000 krw!!! You can have your receipts scanned along with your foreign passport in their auto banks and airports so you can save the guilt of shopping since you'll get your 3,500 won back! Isn't it amazing?!?!! 

2. Print out discount coupons. Yes, you read it right! In some countries like Korea and Singapore they give discounts to foreign tourists about 10% to 50% discounts on entrance fees to tourist destinations down to cosmetic products! So print them and make multiple copies and give it out to your unprepared trip buddies.

3. DISABLE. Soon as you were advised by the Flight Attendant to turn off phones and gadgets, do so to keep you from possible charges. Turn off the data roaming of your phone when web browsing and using email, MMS, and other data services. Better yet put your phone in Airplane Mode when you're not wifi connected so it is just as good as a camera, ipod and a calculator in one. 

4. Round Off. When going for a shop best way is to have your mental math do the work for you than relying through your phone’s calculator or bugging your travel buddy for the conversion.

So you’re buying a Missha BB cream which cost 16,800KRW…

To arrive with the value in peso you have two options:

Option1: Ignore the insignificant zeros then round off to whole number then multiply with the rate of your usd in PHP thus we get the cost:
17Krw*44Php = 748Php (estimated cost)
16.8Krw * 43.95Php = 739.36PHP (actual cost)

Option2: Divide amount to the rate of KRW to PHP:
(1038.25krw/usd) / (43.95php/usd)= 23.62 or 24Php/Krw
So if you're way good in division do this:
16,800krw / 24php/krw = 700PHP 

Note: As an employee who works in a Bank doing Forex settlements, Option2 is indeed the right way to convert but since I'm promoting mental math and convenience here, I recommend the use of Option1. But you can always borrow the calculator on the desk of the cashier (if there's any) whenever you're buying in a foreign country.

5. Play your part. I always been the traveler who doesn't care if I get lost during a trip to a foreign city or country but since we have travel buddies who doesn't want or even can't imagine that happening so they make sure everything's well taken care of. There you'll find yourself leaning on to them for directions but since that could be too much to take that's when you make yourself useful, be the interactive buddy who ask around among locals when things get tough like you get lost finding the way to exit the subway station or probably you all are doubting the instructions you found in the internet. That's one smooth operation to make your presence felt during a trip. So gear up because you'll need more body language than your English.

6. Bargain. This should always be a practice when travelling in a foreign country because they will definitely make money out of you base from your foreign looks. So make yourself accustomed to their language as if you know or you just pronounced them correctly because you'll definitely get their reaction right away and give you a smile or a big laugh because of your awkward tricks to ask for a discount! 

I tell you this should be studied just like their formal greetings because remember it's the thought that counts. Your efforts will pay off once you memorize these phrases to live by during your stay: 

in Hangul/Korean: 

How much is it? – ol-ma-ye-yo?

Give me a discount – Kka-kka-ju-se-yo~

In Thai: 

Can you please give me discount? - Lot hai dai mai kha?

7. Bring an extension wire ALWAYS. Whenever we travel we always pay for the use of adapter since most of the times the socket and plugs are different from what we use. So be it three holes or four or round or square you have to prepare for the worst. Because you don't like your smart phone dying right?

8. No to excess bags. Weigh your baggage before checking in so you can manage where to stuff the excess. Better if you have your eco bags with you in case your back pack is already full.

9. On Time for Departure. This will be the saddest part of the itinerary, last day, bidding goodbye so don't make it tough anymore by rushing to the airport or worst be left by your promo fare plane ticket. Allot time when you travel back to the airport, when checking in your luggage, having your passport stamped by Immigration officer and photo ops inside the airport.


In love,
Miss Piggy ❤️

10 Things I want to do at the age of 50:

1. Drink beer while waiting for my trade to TP. It was a sudden picture I've seen while I am working at my station, executing an fx request then as I checked the graph of XAU/USD on the other tab of my window there I grabbed my mountain dew drink contained in its long neck bottle. Thus I was able to imagine things to happen when I’m not working anymore and probably just having a good time while the money is working for me. Yay!

2. Refreshed. Go out early in the morning for a walk with my sneakers on as I take a detour through the park near my area while sipping my coffee as I return home.

3. Drive. I think I have nothing to be afraid of by that time and age so I'll have my car for grocery or as we (yes, with my hubby) visit our kids (yes they're now some place working) on holidays for a get together or to work on some errands. And that would be close enough to 2015 Hyundai Tucson!

4. Blog. I still wish to share my stories here. I hope this won't get outdated before I leave you my ashes, Earth.

5. Make LOVE. Oh yeah!!! Love is always something to celebrate! I wish for a marriage that is not troubled by disloyalty. I claim to work on a marriage with love and friendship as its foundation that no man alive can ever break!!! And that the only reason it may lead to disaster is because of our tempers. Just that!!!

But that won't happen to us, and we got no doubt. Too deep in love, and we got no way out. We start and end as one. In love forever... We can ride it together, uh huh~ Makin' love with each other, uh huh. (Credit goes to kenny-rogers-islands-in-the-stream uh huh!)

6. Build a community. I don't know yet for what exact reason why I want this to be realized but I think I am able and prepared by then to share my blessings and to lead by example. I'm pretty sure it will be about business affairs where it's too hard to trust someone with finances but I would like to come up with people who are humble enough to build friendship among business partners and potential connections. This will aim to promote good and effective business discipline so as to encourage young entrepreneurs to always never give up too easily on their dreams to succeed. Because there will always be people behind their backs or on their side guiding them how. And I just thought of the answer to my confusion in the beginning of this hopeful attempt. To that I think I can make it happen!

7. Cook. I get the realization that whenever I prepare food even that is for myself I always feel like my appetite is going down or completely gone. So to make it worthwhile, I might as well cook for my family and diet at the same time. But I can only wish that by 50 I already came along way on my cooking skills.

8. Travel. This can't be ignored unless there is an asset to be procured or still need to be paid. I wish to go back to Bangkok or Myeongdong to enjoy shopping with my kids and friends and have some cozy time just like the old days with my backpack on during my 20s'.

9. Sunday is reserved. This should definitely be a non-conditional habit on Sundays that I wish my kids will adapt as well just like how my grandparents and my parents made us realize that no matter how distant you maybe from your family, you should always find a place where there is God because that's the best way to honor Him and your parents'.

10. Profitable business. I'm thinking of an hostel for backpackers where I will be offering "sulit" and pinoy style accommodation to foreigners and local tourists. It has two floors with a cute house at the roof top (I'm ok living there!), the common area will be in the ground floor's backyard with hammocks tied on the opposite corners of the open "bahay kubo" where the big flat screen tv is located.There'll be two big trees shading the rocking chairs and benches. The dirty Kitchen where they can cook their own meals is located as well in the kubo and the one that is clean has the same amenities only that it doesn't have a chimney to direct the smoke of the grilling meat. The room has its own CR and AC. On the 1st floor of the bldg is the information area where there you'll find the coolest CEO (that's me!) looking at the two monitors, one with the xau/usd chart and the other has the guesthouse's home page opened as I answer FAQs by potential guests. Aside from the business itself, I also buy and sell USD, KRW and SGD to Peso so foreigners can save time going to banks or some money exchange stalls outside.The concept of the bldg will be artsy and homey that they just want to extend their stay because of the mark that they can leave soon as they checked out, they can post notes or have their palm marked on the vandal walls of the reception area. Plus, Geum Jan Di or Korean style bikes are available for rent for those who wants to stroll the city anytime of the day. Up top of the bldg is where the guests can feel the breeze as they lay on to the hammocks and on the elevated ground made out of wood, ideal for siesta! Omo! I can already picture myself planning for it!!!  Waaaaaaaaaahhh!!! I just made plans for my future, baby! 

In love,
Miss Piggy ❤️

10 Things I neglect but really are important:

1. Know how to read analog clock. This has been already decided back in my childhood years where my father used to challenge us how to read wall clocks in our house and almost everywhere but I simply didn't get it as fast as my elder sister and brother. So I moved on and learned that there is what they call digital clock! Right now, I owned my first legit digi watch from Timex. It has everything I need to know about time... No more or never relied on used to be for fashion sakes analog clock on my wrist before. You asked why I have it before? Well, my parents didn't get the memo that their second daughter can't read them really so they bought me watch and I don't care if it's running or what. Because seriously I can die without knowing how to use it. I've lived just fine not until I was recently asked by my father and my two crazy siblings laughed at that very moment because they know I'll probably just guess it's quarter to this number base from the sky's above. wahahaha! 

2. Try again to swallow solid medicines. If my father taught me to read the analog clock (I'm thick-faced if I'll say I've learned), my mom on the other hand diligently taught me how to swallow my meds even not on time but at the very least can swallow them because they're just too costly enough. Again, I never learned how though it's been put inside a gelatine, banana and that she begged to make me swallow them still it didn't happened her ways. So my remedy goes like this... first, pound them then have them mixed with my pineapple juice or now that I'm making money, I buy the more expensive ones for cough and colds (usual illness) that dissolves on its own when dropped into a cold water (yes cold!) and it tastes like Mountain dew, my favorite soda! But then I know there'll be events that will push me to swallow them naturally like how inevitable it is to get sick these days.

3. Buy my own undies. I know its significance since these are something I can't live without but these just never been the priority when going out for a shopping. I certainly need some new set of cover ups but I can't have the time to look for underwears that will be hidden anyway. I can only wish someone can buy them (in a dozen please) for me.

4. Come to work before time. Fine! I love my job and I'm good at it so I have this thought that being good can compensate my tardiness. 

5. Submit my outputs/prod. We have this system at work called BPAL it is where we input the number of FX we've booked at the end of the day and I only tried doing this when it was first implemented, last November 2013. This will seem like an excuse but I have better things to do in my idle time than log them. But good thing my teammates are not following my footsteps!

6. Say the appropriate words at the right time. It's no longer new to some people who knows me that I'm random but something has been added this time, I'm now spitting out bad words! And even folding my fingers for them (provoking being) to get what I'm saying. Like I gave this people a laugh everytime I did those 

but I felt bad recently when my office buddy, Haidee told me to stop since she's afraid what other people would think of me if they see me acting like a douche in the office. Then I thought to myself "Isn't this what you guys are doing?"; "Oh some potential boyfriend might freaked out!" So I decided to change and even slap my own hands if ever I just did it. 

7. Call my parents often. I do once a month and in most cases I just make sure I'll give them good news like I got promoted (which didn't happened), I received a commendation from my boss (like it matters to me) but trying to place myself on the shoes of my parents' I think I'm just being proud and rude at the same time. I've realized, if ever I get into an age where I have kids living away from my premises I would also love to pick up my phone for casual talks as if they're just close. At least to make up for the distance and all but the problem is, my parents' are just as cool as I am. They don't answer calls right away or they won't call unless I call. Waaaaaaahhhh! It runs in the blood but I'll try make an effort this time. I'll call my mom tomorrow and say, "MA! I just had rashes all over my body last night but it's not even true! I just really felt lazy and demotivated to come to work with my face swollen because of tiny pimples on my forehead." I think I know what I'm asking for... scolding!

8. Sleep when feel like sleeping. Because of my Forex I already forgot my sense of habit in sleeping. Ok ok... I never really had that habit to actually sleep like most people sleeps considering my graveyard schedule at work and "bantay graph" schedule in the afternoon on weekdays that I still able to fight my sleepy head. 

Sometimes, I wish to have insomnia but it is just to be used as an excuse why I'm having circles around my eyes, pimples on my cheeks, achy back every now and then... I'm just so bad in taking care of myself so I'm hinting to you Lord a gift for me that instant formula to make me sleep and bloom at the same time! hihihihi please!!! 

9. Accomplish a project without rush. No time denying this absolute fact because I'm in a rush! 

10. Just DATE. Get to know someone whom I don't feel has the chance for me to date is pretty much a good start. And I just can't agree with what I just typed in. Really, dating freaks me out but I definitely have to date! You're asking if how difficult it is for me? I am simply not that confident with how I am when alone with a guy. I do think it requires some preparation like I need to be desperate enough to "just" date! It's awkward already so I wish to make it as casual as possible but making it casual seems like he just dated a bro and not a potential partner. So that's how I complicate my affairs! I need the other person's effort show to get to "accept" the awesomely weird specie that I am so I can loosen up and you know without thinking back and forth to just jump in! 

In love,
Miss Piggy ❤️