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Ultimate Guide to Mt. Daraitan Day Hike (w/ Side Trips at Tinipak River and Underground Cave)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

I have shared before in post about an easy and cheap day hike perfect for beginners at Mt. Manabu. This time I will be sharing a complete guide with itinerary and expenses on my second climb this year, Mt. Daraitan. And did I mention that this is not just an ordinary climb? We also had side trips at Tinipak River and Underground Cave. If you want an adventure and relaxation in one this could be for you.

Below is the breakdown of our Itinerary + Expenses

4:00 am. This is our call time at Mcdo Starmall Shaw. I also had the same breakfast from my last climb as always, Sausage McMuffin.

5:30 am. We depart at Mcdo Starmall Shaw. There are plenty of options when it comes to transportation going to Mt. Daraitan. I've read blogs that rode jeepney going to Tanay Market that costs 59pesos and then rent tricycle from the Market to Barangay Hall for 500pesos (5-6 persons already). Others shared a boat ride for only 5pesos and then tricycle for 10pesos. 
Our travel is one way jeepney we found at Starmall Shaw. There are Kuya's who will offer a one-way trip going to Daraitan for only 200pesos each. We found this to be budget-friendly because we don't have to transfer from jeep to tricycle anymore. Plus its direct to Barangay Hall where we need to register.

Jeepney Fare: 200pesos/pax
Entrance Fee to Daraitan: 50pesos/vehicle that enters

8:30 am. We drop off at Barangay Daraitan City only to find a handful of hikers as well lining up at the registration. We were told that the best time to hike is really during the sunrise so you need to be at the Barangay Hall by 3am instead. While waiting we had our early lunch. 

Ulam from Carideria range from 40-60pesos
Rice : 10pesos
Bottled Water : 25pesos big size

Tip #1. Buy your bottled water and other drinks at the stalls surrounding Barangay Hall because at the top the price doubles. 

9:00am : Registration at the Barangay Hall. Luckily the summit is now open upon our arrival. It was closed past 7am because there are too many hikers already climbing. 

Environmental Fee: 20pesos/person
Headlight for the Underground Cave: 30pesos (rent only)
Tour Guide : 500pesos Day Hike, 1000pesos Overnight (maximum of 10persons only)

9:30am: Start Trek

If you want to read the stories of how our trail in Mt. Daraitan went click HERE. I shared my experience as well as the lessons I learned in my second hike. 

11:30am: Summit!!! We stayed for another 15 minutes for photo ops. There's a famous spot for great view but we didn't bother lining up already because our time is limited as its only a day hike. That's why its important to go early. Visit my personal blog IzzaGlino for more photos.

11:45am: Trek to Tinipak River.  

1:00pm: Arrival at Base Camp. You'll see a lot of tents here for those who came for overnight adventure. There is also a spot where you can refill your empty bottled water with the wonder of Tinipak River that's clean and sacred for the people there. A carinderia is available here so you can either eat or buy some refreshments at the sari-sari store.

1:30pm: A little more trek going to the main Tinipak River where you can swim.

Tinipak River Registration Fee: 20pesos

1:45pm: Explore the beauty of Tinipak River. If you want some side stories and more pictures please visit my other blog, IzzaGlino.

4:30pm: Trek to Underground Cave. We have to wait for our turn going to the cave. Inside you'll have a mini experience of Palawan Underground Cave with the stunning rock formations. There's also a spot for you to swim but is optional.

Underground Cave Registration Fee: 5pesos

6:00pm: We head back to Base Camp to eat dinner. 
6:30pm: Start walking to Tricycle Bay going back to Barangay Daraitan City Hall.

Tricycle: 10pesos

7:30pm: Arrival at Barangay 

Lessons from My Mt. Daraitan Experience

  • It is important to pack as light as possible because the trail to summit is full of assault.
  • Don't forget to hydrate
  • Everything is better the second time around
  • Hiking is highly addicting

Mt. Daraitan has a special place in my heart. It's a cheap escape from the city and perfect for people who are looking for adventure. I do not regret going to Mt. Daraitan and experiencing this hidden gem of Tanay Rizal. I will surely be back soon.


My FAMI-SALEF Investment Update!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

It's been a long time since I updated you guys about my FAMI-SALEF Mutual Fund Investment. Can't even believe that its been two years already since I started my investing journey through FAMI Mutual Fund. Its a big financial move that I did at 19 and never regretted ever since. 

A Back Story

I invested in a FAMI-Save and Learn Equity Fund last January 2013. FAMI-SALEF is one of the many investment products from First Metro Asset Management Inc. which is part of the Metrobank Group. SEE LINK:

I battled between investing in a FAMI mutual fund (which is an indirect stock investment) or COL Easy Investment Plan (which is an direct stock investment). After much deliberation between the pros and cons I settled for FAMI and I have stated my reasons in the post, FAMI or COL Financial Beginners Alert! 

I did my first FAMI Update after six months of investing in FAMI-SALEF and still have all the good things to say about my big financial move. After a year of investing I shared the lessons I learned in another post called Things I Realized After My First Investment

What's My FAMI-SALEF Investment Strategy?

I have mentioned in the past that I treat my FAMI-SALEF Investment like a savings account. I am doing Peso-Cost Averaging method wherein I invest monthly a fixed amount of 1,000 pesos as a top up. To easily and conveniently pay I enrolled my FAMI-SALEF on my Metrobank Direct and you can click HERE on the step by step process. This way I don't need to go over the counter just to top up my investments.

Tracking My FAMI-SALEF Investments

In every investment I make I receive a Statement of Account via mail on my chosen mailing address. This Statement of Account (SOA) is your proof of purchase that shows you the current NAVPS on the date of your purchase and the Number of Shares you owned. READ: What is NAVPS?

Via email FAMI send a State of Account Quarterly. This is in PDF form that your easily view and/or print for reference. 

Every FAMI investor also receive access to the FAMI Portal which is a platform created to monitor your investments. Last year the FAMI Portal had a major overhaul and I also created a guide on how to use the New FAMI Portal. READ: A Special Guide on the New FAMI Investor's Portal

So How's Your Investment, Izza?

Screnshot from my FAMI Investor Portal
The photo above is a screenshot of my Statement of Account from January 2015 to February 2016. As you may notice I failed to invest on a monthly basis. There are months like February 2015 and September 2015 that I missed paying for my FAMI-SALEF. You can also notice how the NAVPs change every month that affects that number of shares that my money can buy. This proves how unpredictable the economy can be. 

I also am quick to mention that I don't put that much money in my FAMI-SALEF for two reasons:
  1. I have other investment/s that I'll reveal in the near future. 
  2. I am still young (22) and this FAMI-SALEF is reserved as a Retirement Fund meaning I have zero plans of withdrawing my investment in the next 10-20years. I am really preserving it for future use.
My First Loss in my FAMI-SALEF Investment

Now I must be honest with you that I experienced my first loss in my FAMI-SALEF Investment.

Towards the end of September 2015 I wasn't able to open my FAMI Portal account because I forgot my password. Still I paid via Metrobank as month pass by. Then last March I decided I have to gain access again on my account because I want to know how my fund is performing. Imagine how I felt seeing the red mark. I lost 172.17 pesos!!!

Thankfully the new FAMI Portal gives you a quick breakdown of the NAVPs History on the different FAMI Investment Products. I immediately reviewed the NAVPs on FAMI-SALEF and found the reason why I had an unwanted loss.

See photos below:

By January 2016 the NAVPs suddenly dropped. From 5.0062 of January 10 it became 4.7707 the following day. Now that's a shocking difference. 
This even got worse on January 21 with 4.6414. 

Thankfully by the end of February 2016 the NAVPs closed in 5.005 and it continue to become stronger day after day.

Current NAVPs as of this writing is 5.2988. 

My Thoughts
  • Loss is normal. Again there's no guarantee in any investment. It is sad of course but keep the faith. It's fortunate that the NAVPs is fighting really hard though.
  • Since I am investing in a long term I am not that worried with this loss. I continue investing in my FAMI-SALEF account hoping (and praying) that the NAVPs will perform better. 
  • If you notice, SALEF is still the best performing our of the other Investment Products of FAMI. I firmly believe that in the coming months there will be a big change and I'll start gaining. 


I must admit that the sudden loss and weak NAVPs performance made me pause a little but thinking of my financial goals made it clear that this phase is pretty much normal. I hope on my next update there will be good news already. 

Do you invest in FAMI-SALEF too? What's your experience so far? Please do share in the comment section below.


BPI Investment Funds First Impression

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Long time no first impression post. I miss doing this type of post because I know it could help others decide to invest. A good investment should be well-researched from advantages to disadvantages, ins and outs, etc. In today's post I will be giving my first impression on BPI Investment Funds.   BPI is a very common bank here in the Philippines and has been my bank of choice for so long.

Quick Review

There are different kinds of investment vehicle one can invest with. The list includes traditional investment vehicles like savings deposit, time deposit, treasury bills, etc. There are also non-traditional kinds like real estate and jewelries. BPI Investment Funds fall in the traditional investment vehicle category for it consists of several Unit Investment Trust Funds (UITFs) that are managed by BPI Asset Management.

Here in SavingsPinay I have published quiet a handful of post about Investing 101. Feel free to check below links:

Unit Investment Trust Fund (UITF) is a type of investment wherein your investments are handled with the bank instead of private financial institution just like mutual fund. The funds from clients of similar investment objectives are pooled together into one fund and aims to give maximum possible returns.

How BPI Investment Funds work?

BPI Investment Funds includes a wide range of investment products. Each fund seek to offer potential higher returns that a regular savings account provide. There is a fund for a particular investor personality that I'll be discussing on the later part of the post. 

What is BPI Asset Management?

BPI Asset Management manages all funds under BPI Investment Funds.  They manage the assets of both institutional and individual investors through innovative investment products and solutions. The goal of BPI Asset Management is to deliver above high return possibility over its client's investment horizon. BPI Asset Management is regulated by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). For more information CLICK HERE.

BPI Investment Funds consist of the following:

Tax Exempt Fund
  •      BPI Institutional Fund
Peso Money Market Fund
  • BPI Short-Term Fund - a money market unit investment trust fund being offered for investors will small capital. You can start the fund wth 10,000 pesos initial investment and can add-up a minimum of 1,000 pesos per transaction.
Peso Bond Funds
  • BPI Premium Bond Fund - seeks to achieve capital growth and income from a diversified portfolio of primarily medium term fixed income instruments >>>
  • BPI Gold Fund
  • ABF Philippines Bond Index Fund - is a peso bond fund that seeks to achieve its investment return that closely track the total return of the iBOZZ ABF Philippines Index 1-10 years index. The fund is primarily invested in peso denominated eligible sovereign and quasi-sovereign bonds. 
Peso Balanced Fund
  • BPI Balanced Fund - goes well for investors who seek long term capital growth from a diversified portfolio of equities listed or soon to be listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange >>>
Peso Equity Fund
  • BPI Equity Fund - also seek to achieve long term capital growth and invests on equity securities issued by Philippine domiciled companies. It invests 50% to 100% of its portfolio in local equities depending on the condition of the current market and the BPI Asset Manager's outlook. >>> 
USD Bond Funds
  • BPI Global Philippine Fund - achieve investment returns by investing primarily in foreign-denominated fixed income instruments issued by the Philippine government, corporations and financial institutions >>>
  • BPI International Fund Plus - seeks to achieve capital appreciation and income also from a diversified portfolio of foreign currency-denominated fixed income instruments >>>
  • Philippine Dollar Bond Index Fund

USD Equity Fund
  • BPI Global Equity Fund - achieve its investment returns that closely track the total return of a US dollar denominated index, the JPMorgan Asia Credit Index - Philippines. >>>

Benefits of BPI Investment Funds?

  • Funds focus on undervalued and lower beta names with shorter duration and diversification principles consistent with capital preservation
  • Best suited for individuals who are generally conservative, looking for stability, minimal volatility and certainty of income
  • Has wide array of investment products you can choose from. You'll certainly find the one that best suit your need and interest
  • Low Initial Investment
  • Access your investment funds on any BPI branches nationwide or via internet through BPI ExpressOnline. Also you are not limited to your branch of account for your investment transactions. You can subscribe to or redeem from any branch or online. 
  • Invest anytime as your subscription and/or redemption are received anytime within the banking hours. 
  • Easily Enroll your fund in the Regular Subscription Plan. This is an investment program that allows you to nominate a regular subscription amount for purchase units on a periodic basis either monthly or quarterly. This is advantageous if you want to be consistent with your investments and you won't need to visit a BPI branch anymore. The additional investment to BPI Investment Fund you are enroll with will be automatic. 
How to Open a BPI Investment Fund?

1. Opening a BPI Investment Fund is easy. All you need to do is download, read and fill up the Account Opening Form. It is an 8-page PDF document that includes Investment Account Application, Client Sustainability Assessment, Participating Trust Agreement and Risk Disclosure Statement.

2. The form must be printed, filled out and signed.

3. The documents will be submitted to any preferred BPI branch. 

My First Impressions

BPI has long been a top choice when it comes to bank in the Philippines. They are very respected when it comes to banking and finance. I opened a BPI Express Online Savings Account as well as BPI Direct Save Up + Insurance Savings Account through BPI and I am one happy customer. I love that they've made banking very convenient with a lot of branches here and there plus the online banking through BPI Express Online.

Other Pros

1. BPI Asset Management 

BPI Asset Management is the leading investment manager for many of the top individuals and institutions in the country. It has proven and unbeatable track record with 24/7 online financial reporting system. You can trust that your money and your investments are taken care of.

2. Most of their investment fund products lead the charts

If you'll search on the Top 10 Best Performing Mutual Fund you'll surely bump to not just one but two or more investment products from the BPI Investment Funds. This goes to show that the asset managers are doing well in their job of providing the best possible returns for its investors. 

3. Thorough Information About Each Investment Product
The website of BPI gives a detailed information for each investment product and this is very helpful especially for beginners. They give ideas to whom the investment fund is perfect for and thorough guidance on what to do next

The Con

1. High Initial Investment

BPI Investment Fund's initial investment starts at 10,000pesos unlike FAMI Mutual Fund. 


BPI Investment Funds offer variety for the public. They have various kinds of investment products for anyone's investment goal, starting capital and investment horizon. A BPI bank can be found almost anywhere so it is definitely easy to coordinate with bank manager and open an account. 

I hope this post helps. Below are other first impressions I did so far:

Achieving Work Life Balance this 2016

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

About two years ago I posted a How I Balance Life and Work. Again, I admit that I am way far from achieving the ideal work-life balance.  I am trying hard to prioritize work but still enjoying life's precious moments. For someone like me who's a Jill of all Trades, Master of None, balancing work and life is an endless chase to be honest. 

But its a process I enjoy. I've always mentioned how being productive works as my driving force. My system isn't perfect but its definitely improving year after year. Today I'll share the things that helped me so far in having a thin line between life and work.

Bullet Journal

I know, I know I might sound like sirang plaka but to be honest having  this productivity system called a bullet journal really helps. It became my physical brain holding most of my ideas, my plans and other important matters. Now even a simple notebook to write your to-do list or brain dump your ideas can help too. For more information about Bullet Journal visit THIS LINK. 

Batch Similar Tasks

OH EMM GEE!!! This made a lot of difference in managing my life. At work I batch similar tasks in a day so I can get massive technical plans and technical documents done in a week. At my blogs I also batch writing posts, taking photos and scheduling which post will be published on a particular day of the week. Its so much easier plus I get to have time for personal stuff too.  

Set Goals, Plan and Prioritize

G-P-P!!! I love this. At the start of each month I set goals I want to achieve that includes both work and life. From the goals set I plan my course of actions then I select the most important ones and try to do them first. Clear goals make life so much easier because you have an end to look forward to.  READ: Personal and Financial Goals for 2016.

Stop Treating Work as My Everything

I realized that proper time management is the only key to achieve work life balance. When you manage your time well both at work and at personal stuff you are guaranteed to get things done. For 2016 I seldom arrive late for work and I also spent time to cross out items from my bucket list. 2015 has been the toughest year in terms of my work. I spend mostly working overtime just to finish the tasks so it won't pile up. That year I still hasn't adjusted well with my new role as technical document specialist. But for 2016 I stopped treating work as my everything. I leave the office as early as 6pm and just arrive at work earlier still have enough time to continue the work done from yesterday. Time with your family is as important as work ...actually its more important.

Time Management

I realized that proper time management is the only key to achieve work life balance. When you manage your time well both at work and at personal stuff you are guaranteed to get things done. For 2016 I seldom arrive late for work and I also spent time to cross out items from my bucket list.  READ: Time Management Apps You Need to Download

You know what I learned so far? That work-life balance is highly achievable. All it takes is desire to succeed. You don't need a lot of money to stay productive. You just have to know what you want and how you will achieve it. 


Becoming a Virtual Assistant: What Does a Virtual Assistant Do and 4 Ways to Get Started

Thursday, April 7, 2016
Aside from freelance writing, becoming a virtual assistant is another way you can have an additional income at the comfort of your home. It is an in demand opportunity since a lot of individuals and businesses need someone who can offer various services in an affordable and convenient way. 

A virtual assistant is someone who offers administrative or personal assistance and work remotely (home-based) for various clients. Another definition of a virtual assistant is someone whom professionals trust to do a things that they may not be able to accomplish because of other priorities or busy schedule. READ: Becoming a Technical Writer in the Philippines, Becoming a Freelance Writer in the Philippines

Setting your heart and mind to be a virtual assistant means committing in giving your skills and services to your clients. Thus, it is of high importance that you first assess whether becoming a virtual assistant is really for you.
What Does Virtual Assistant Do?

A virtual assistant offer countless tasks  and services to individuals, organizations and companies. As a virtual assistant your task may depend on the field/business of your client. Below are eamples of 
  1. Writing
  2. Ghost Writing
  3. Proof reading
  4. Creating Graphic Design
  5. Project Management
  6. Audio, Photo and Video Editing
  7. Transcribing
  8. Data Entry
  9. Researching
  10. Bookkeeping
  11. Social Media Management
And the list just goes on and on...

How to Become a Virtual Assistant

Becoming a virtual assistant starts with building a  solid foundation. Here are tips on how you can start earning by assisting virtually.

Assess The Services You Can Offer

Virtual Assistance offer a variety of services just like mentioned above. This means you need to establish what services/skill you will offer to the public. Know where you excel most whether its writing, doing graphic design or simple data entry. You can research for the complete list of services every virtual assistant can choose to offer. Do not offer something you aren't familiar because you will certainly loose your clients. 

Learn More

Just like my tip in freelance writing as a career, you need to get educated if your goal is to become successful. Read virtual assistant themed websites and learn from the experience of other established VAs. It is also helpful for you to attend courses or seminars that can harness your skills. You also want to keep on growing as a virtual assistant. Your goal is to move from becoming a freelance virtual assistant to becoming a virtual assistant business owner. So take your time and get tons of learning in how to handle the said field.

Offer Your Services to the Public

If you are just starting to become a virtual assistant then you can promote your services via Facebook or by talking to people you know that you can be a help in their business. You need to involved in places where your potential clients hang out. Broadcast what you can do for you will never get clients if you don't become active and sell yourself to others.

Network with Others

The more people you know the better. I encourage you to network with other virtual assistance and go roam around to people who can help you get known. It is a tough competition but in the online community, Filipinos is the race to beat. We are known because of how skilled we are and because we  are always give our prompt service. If you haven't like SavingsPinay on Facebook then please do. It is a great network where you'll get to know how to earn money online.

I hope that this post helped you!

Are you interested in becoming a virtual assistant?

I hope you liked this post. Don't forget to do any of the following: