Makati – Philippines’ New York

Shortly before my college graduation, I told myself I would work for one of the companies in Makati. Right after graduation, I went on to work at the province. But as time passed, I found myself working in Makati, walking along the vast sidewalks of Ayala Ave., wearing corporate skirts and dresses, and being sucked in by the mass number of people working in this city. 

To me, add the yellow cabs and the cool weather, it seems to be a picture of what life would be if I worked in one of the major cities like New York. Now I know you would beg to disagree and point out many differences but indulge me on this. Working is Makati is, for me, like working in New York.

I like how fast paced everything is and how corporate and professional everyone are. It’s not my ideal way to live, don’t get me wrong. I intend to settle back in the provinces by the time I settle down with my own family but since that is still a few years off, I might as well enjoy the single life being in a top notch corporate business center. 

I like how despite the high rise buildings and the corporately-clad mass of people, there are parks in conveniently nestled in between. Parks that provide a sense of nature, a breath of some “fresh air” and a source of relaxation. I have yet to do one of the most popular activities in these parks which is to jog. 

I also like how, despite the high cost of living here, there are cheap and alternative options provided as well. For me Makati then becomes a melting pot of the affordable which I can have on most days and the pricey and aspirational which I can have on some days.

I like the most the discipline present in everyone. There are dedicated loading and unloading stations, underpasses  and pedestrian walkways. Everyone walking around is bent on a mission – survive another workday. It even feels as if there is a dress code everyone must adhere to – professional, business formal or casual, no slippers, maybe even sneakers.

The Makati Central Business District where major avenues like Buendia, Ayala, Paseo and Makati converge is like a giant machine of corporate individuals – coming to work day in and day out. With many from far off places like Bulacan and Cavite or other cities in the metro like Quezon City and Las Piñas. I am fortunate enough to have found a place near my office so I can just walk everyday to the office and back. But for these people who have to brave the bus or the MRT just to come to work – I must say, it is no ordinary feat on their end. I admire them for it but at the same time I pity them especially if this is how they see themselves living within the next 20 to 30 years – worse, even until retirement.

But there is hope. I don’t want to end this post on a negative note so let me instead reveal my plan whose fulfillment I hope to capture in my subsequent, and hopefully, regular posts.

I plan to go back to the province and settle down for good in a span of 3 to 5 years. Within that time, I plan to have saved enough to start my own business and will have established my financial foundation to last me even way beyond my generation. They say from the moment you graduate in college to the next 5 years you are on experiment mode where you experiment with what you want and learn the harsh reality of adult life. From that time forwards, you begin to seriously prepare for the future, not just yours, but your children as well. And if you can even secure the future of your grandchildren till until several generations forth, then you are extremely blessed.

So how do I go about the next 3 to 5 years? Simple. I have increased my financial knowledge in the past 2 years and have gained sufficient experience (made mistakes and a lot of!) in the last 5 years. Now is the time I start applying the real concepts I have learned and to mitigate the mistakes I made. So we are talking about building my financial foundation. I tried opening a separate blog on this topic but figured it is much easier to write from one blog so here I am. 

What to expect in my upcoming posts? Stories about my financial journey with some concepts I’ve applied which I’ll share. Reviews about the places I’ve been to especially the restos I ate at. Metro Manila life and the occasional out-of-town travels I make. 

Exciting right? Now I do hope I get to sustain my blogging enthusiasm.

Honesty in Jeepneys

It was my first time yesterday to ride an aircon jeepney. Apparently, such things exist here in Makati. I was on the look out for another route to take when going home to at least minimize (if not completely avoid) the effects of rush hour. 

I was surprised that in Buendia street, an aircon jeep passed by. At first I tried riding through the usual entrance which was at the back but soon quickly realized that the entrance was at the sides. 

What amazed me so much about this jeepney – apart from it being airconditioned – was the fact that there was no conductor (someone who collects the payment from the passengers). Passing your fare to the front – as is customary for most jeepneys – was not also practiced. Instead, the driver passed around a box where the passengers will drop their fare and if they need change, will just collect it from the box. 

It was an unusual sight – for me. I remember reading once that a foreigner who visited the Philippines was once amazed that at the honesty of Filipinos riding jeepneys. He observed that when someone needs to pay his fare, he would simply give it to the front and ask the person before him to pass it on to the driver. He was surprised that nobody attempted to pocket the fare and would really diligently pass it to the driver without even claiming it as their own fare – even when the original person who paid it was not looking. 

I believe that same guy would be even more amazed if he saw that in this jeepney, the driver simply passes around a box and trusts all his passengers to pay the correct fare and collect the correct change. 

Indeed, despite the rampant corruption in the country and the other dishonest dealings we constantly hear about in the news, deep in his core, Filipinos are honest persons. I just wish that this honesty will manifest itself not only in simple things like paying the correct fare but also in bigger things like managing the country’s funds.

2013 in review

I have planned to create a year-ender post just to recap how my 2013 has been. But hours and days passed by and I wasn’t able to get around to writing it. Today, I was reminded of my plan by WordPress’ stats report. A look at my blog posts has been dismal – it’s not what I would want but then again who am I to complain when I haven’t been such an active blogger?

But active blogging aside, I have had a very eventful and positive 2013. Making me look forward to an even brighter 2014. This 2013 seems to the be year when everything came into focus and everything I went through the past couple of years started to make sense. This year also made me all the more aware of what my succeeding years hold for me. And how I plan for them to pan out.

I must say that I had a really blessed 2013. And further more, this year marks the end of another chapter in my life and the start of a new one. I have a thriving love life :), a more focused financial life, a brand new job and endless and limitless possibilities to explore.

Thank you Lord for a great 2013! I look forward to a wonderful 2014!


Below is the auto-generated WP post about the stats summary they sent via email.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,900 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.