Sharing, Swapping and Being Ecologically Responsible



I do not usually reprint what has been sent to me via press release, but when I saw the word “share” in this release from Andrea Woroch, I was suddenly reminded of the book Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

What fragile memories we have, author  Robert Fulghum intimated, that we only need to think of the basic, of what we used to do – being good and doing good – and the world would be a better place.

That advise still holds true and that is why this release appealed to me. The swapping and sharing websites featured in the article are just what we need in this materially-possessed world.

And I like the idea of being ecologically responsible.

I personally checked out the websites and was intrigued by BookMooch (book swapping), Home Exchange (travel) and Zwaggle (for baby stuff).  I have not actually shared or swapped, because I am located in Asia (which makes me wish for a similar service here – and why don’t I start one?).  But do let me know how it goes for you.

Continue reading →

To Foreclose or Not to Foreclose: Short Sales and Jedi Mind Tricks (Part 3)


Play Mind Tricks

You think, “I cannot do this anymore.  It is crazy.  There is no hope for this economy.  I cannot hold on any longer.  I am sinking.  I need to foreclose now.  I will do it.”

But wait! 

At the back of your mind, you are thinking – is there another option?  Options?  You are thinking – I think I may have heard of something. 

There is one: through a short sale.  But again, it is not that simple.

Continue reading →

To Foreclose or Not to Foreclose: Let’s Talk Taxes (Part 2)


Where Angels Fear to Tread

It was one of the hardest decisions you had to make.

In your mind, okay, I will let go of the house.  I cannot pay it anymore.  It makes no sense to pay for a steep mortgage when the value of the house has gone down by half.  No sense.  Everybody is doing it anyway.  I should be fine.

You do it, sign the papers, let the bank foreclose and rest on your laurels.

Then while sitting on the living room of your new rented apartment, you get a bill, a huge tax bill because – guess what – you have made money on the foreclosure of your home.  Money?  But where is it?

Continue reading →

Credit Card Musings (er, Woes)


If there is anything that I have learned during all my years of existence, it is that you do not get answers if you do not ask any questions.

So I ask my questions, no matter how silly or how dumb it sounds.  Doubt is also an element that I constantly entertain in my mind, so I confirm and re-confirm until the thing has no choice but to sound true.

So on the day that I got my credit card statement and alarm bells were sounding in my head, I picked up the phone and called Citibank direct.

Continue reading →

On Paypal, Internet Scams and Phishing



I almost fell off my seat when I read Paypal’s letter to me.

“Issa, many different computers have logged into your account and that there were multiple password failures before the login and thus, we have limited your account.  Please download the form attached to this email, open it in a web browser and it will provide you with steps so you can restore your account access.”  It ended with a plea for my understanding because they only desire the safety of my account.

My heart started pounding – huh, wah, how….? My Paypal account has been compromised!

Continue reading →

iPhone: Guilty Pleasure

Man and the Machine

Man and the Machine: To Have Come So Far

I will confess to one guilty pleasure.

But first, the background.

I have been using a Treo 650 cellphone for as long as I can remember – okay, I used it for 4 long years.  Our story started when I saw it in the hands of my brother and fell in love with it.  I just knew we would click.  So I begged him for it (I am shameless, sometimes).  One year after, he gave it to me for free (I have very generous brothers – maybe that’s why they have credit card debts?).

We shared a blissful 4 years.

Continue reading →

Citibank Free Movie Tickets: A Lesson In Reading the Fine Print

Where Is Your Road Taking You?

Where Is Your Road Taking You?

Citibank Ad: For a minimum single receipt purchase of Php1500, you can get a free movie ticket of your choice in some designated cinemas.

Aside from being very inaccurate, free is too strong a word.  Okay, okay, the movie tickets have a potential to be free if you can find  Php130 movies at your favorite movie haunt.  But since the advent of THX and reserved seating and glamorized movie houses (great audio! superb video!), this is no longer the case.  Movies typically range from Php170 to as high as Php400 nowadays.

So, Citibank, the right, er, more accurate, word is subsidize.

Let’s begin at the beginning.  When I saw this ad one fine day, which took up more than half the size of a newspaper, and no fine print, my savings!savings! antennae went up and I began, consciously, to put more heart (and thought) into my purchases.  I had a target, and that is to use my Citibank card for purchases Php1,500 and above.   There were times when I would try to sweet talk the salesladies into cutting up my purchases (I remembered seeing in the ad, “a minimum of Php1,500 single receipt”, so I thought there had to be something there) so I would get different transaction receipts for every Php1,500.  But, as I experienced at Charles and Keith Trinoma, I was not always successful.

Continue reading →

Crocs: It’s True

Still Life: Shoe

Still Life: Shoe

Ever since the world was captivated by colorful kiddie shoes with the crocodile insignia, horror stories about traumatized children and mangled feet have not been far behind.

Google search alone has yielded 425,000 results for Crocs + escalator + injury.  Ranking first is the lawsuit filed by the parents of a 3-year old girl against the company for $7 Million for an accident which happened at the JFK airport in November 2007.

I would have dismissed these news, or they would not have come into my orbit, except that it happened to C.

9:50 p.m.  We were going up the escalator of one popular mall in Quezon City when C suddenly felt her Crocs being pulled by the escalator grills.  She tried to pull it but it would not budge.  Looking up, she saw that she was nearing the top, the end of the escalator.  She had the sense to pull out her feet and hop to safety.  Horrified, she saw her Crocs go deeper into the grills, which kept going and going and going.

Continue reading →