Sunday, September 17, 2017

Five Expenses You Do Not Foresee When Moving In

“Now, one thing I tell everyone is to learn about real estate. Repeat after me: Real estate provides the highest returns, the greatest values, and the least risk.”-Armstrong Williams 

Moving into your first flat is extremely exhilarating—the level of independence and accomplishment you feel is nothing short of extraordinary. By this time, you might have already paid in full or likely settled a down payment to move in, and you would not have to worry about more expenses till the utility bills come. Unfortunately, we can only wish this were true. The truth of the matter is: there are a lot of surprise expenses in store for you on moving day, so it is better to be forewarned.

In an ideal scenario, everyone would be afforded anywhere from five to seven days to prepare and just focus on moving in. In this way, you would not be caught off-guard and unprepared. However, this would likely be an impractical scenario seeing as a majority of individuals would not have that kind of time. So, if you are preparing to move into your new flat—may that be in Avida Towers Centera or elsewhere, here are some expenses you can likely expect when you move in.

1.)    Ability or lack thereof to get packages 

Depending on where you live, packages left on your front door can potentially be snatched and stolen just within minutes if you were not at home. This is an especially rampant occurrence if you live on a busy street. However, this does not have to become a habitual occurrence, all you would need to do to address this problem is either of two things. Your first option would be to stop ordering from online retailers and settle for buying things from physical shops instead. However, as that is an unlikely compromise to make, get a PO box address instead (which would cost you) or schedule your packages so that you can be there to receive them shall they arrive. Choose the best tack that works for you.

2.)    Start up/ Transfer Fees 

Moving into a new place means that you are likely going to be paying a fee. This fee would most likely include all of your utilities that cover the cost of setting your new account. Similarly, if you are moving from another play, the fee would cover the cost of transfer of your account to a new location.

3.)    Cleaning and household supply cost

While your flat is not likely to be filled with grime when you first move in, you cannot reasonably expect it to be pristine either. So, you can expect your first round of cleaning and household supplies to set you back by a couple of thousands or more. Furthermore, if you want your flat to be professionally cleaned, you can expect this amount to be a lot higher. You will be pleased to know however, that after this initial thorough cleaning, you would most likely not need to purchase the very same items for at least six months or so. But they are required on the get-go to ensure you make a sanitary move-in.

4.)    WiFi Connection 

Unless the building already comes with an internet connection, you are going to likely need your very own. Even then, you would still need to have your own standalone connection as relying on the building’s connection will only leave you with frustration (you are sharing the same connection with your neighbors as well). So, if you need to be perpetually connected online or are at least a frequent user of the internet, expect to spend the installation of a router in your flat.

5.)    Treats for yourself 

Moving into a new flat can be potentially exhausting—what with all the effort required in moving your things from one place to another. Considering this, it would be a bit of challenge to refuse a treat or two. Little gifts for yourself, albeit unnecessary, are inevitable. After a grueling day of moving, you would most likely want to dine out so as not to deal with dishes and cooking. Furthermore, you might even want to schedule a day in the spa—these are not all necessarily bad, just ensure you budget them accordingly.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Transform Your Office To A Place That Makes You Stay

Staying in the office translates to one thing - stress.

The workload, deadline, and the demands of the job takes the life out of you each day. It makes you look forward to home, curl in bed or binge-watch Friends. Unfortunately, adults don’t roll like that (most specifically the professionals). They learned the hustle and bustle of life through the years of plowing to get to where they are.

Even if you aren’t in the high ranks or at the top spot, you are still a professional. It doesn't matter if you're dealing with Ayala properties or fast-moving consumer goods. What you need to do now is to make yourself look forward to your day at the office. The solution is a case-to-case basis, but here’s a thing you can do to change your attitude: revamp the workspace

It’s the easiest and fastest way to give yourself a boost when you don’t feel like spending time at work.

1. Spread positivity by having tiny decors.

office, desk, desktop, pencil, pens, keyboard, wood, lamp, white wall, light
Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

Have items and trinkets that make you feel good inside. If you have a passion for arts and crafts, bring one or two of your finished work in the office. If it’s on canvas or paper, frame it and mount it on the wall. Sculpture, carving, figurine or handcraft is perfect on the desk or table. Looking at these pieces will inspire you to get you back on track of things.

If the item has a bold color, avoid placing additional decors that will just distract you. The piece may also distract the client. Some decorations are not applicable for the office. Try matching the decor with the room design. Minimalist decorations are your safest bet.

2. Increase efficiency and productivity by rearranging furniture.

seat, chair, leather, wood, desk, laptop, office, clear desk, apple computer, minimalist
Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

Arranging the furniture in your space isn’t just for the sake of aesthetic. The placement of your desk in the office influences how you work. Desks should not be at the back of a door or entrance. It makes the space crowded, and the people who are coming in and out of the door will keep you from focusing on the task at hand. The same goes with co-workers sharing the same cubicle or table.

There should be enough room for each person. The distance between desks and chairs must be consistent in all coworking spaces. Also, place your desk in a spot that allows you get a full view of the room or the floor.

Other than the distance, the room layout is also important to make you efficient during work hours. It takes less time when everything you need to accomplish the job is within arm’s reach. The printer, photocopier and a cabinet full of supplies should be a few steps from your desk or placed in the area.

3. Give life by adding a lamp and a fresh batch of flowers

Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

Proper lighting decreases the dark areas of the space which can cause eye fatigue and headaches. Ample lighting is helpful especially when the job involves excessive screen time. When there’s enough light in your workplace, you can work with ease.

If you’re in no position to request changes on the overhead light, get a desk lamp. It allows you to adjust the direction of the source of light which makes you work comfortably. Choose a lamp that doesn’t use fluorescent light. That kind of light causes headaches and will gradually drain your energy.

lavender, flower, vase, coffee table, center table, books, cozy, color
Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash

Next, a bunch of flowers or an indoor plant refreshes the air in the space. If the room uses AC, there should be a ventilation system to change the air. If not, the plants will do it for you. The smell of the flowers will energize your senses while the colors give the eyes a break from the monotony of the office.

You can also apply these changes to your home office. You can DIY or hire an interior designer to help you. Make sure they know and understand the concept of what you want to see in the space before letting them take charge of the changes. Make your office a place that will excite you to get ahold of your daily tasks.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sustainability in Urban Design

It is not enough for a place to be habitable. It also needs to be sustainable.

Urban design is the process, design, and organization of public space, transportation systems, and open space. With half of the Earth’s population crowding in cities, urban design needs to take a hard look at its mechanisms. Each city must commit and choose sustainable development. Philippines, in terms of population and the economy, exponentially grows each year. But, the land areas of its cities remain the same. The same rings true in other cities across the globe. Three (almost four) billion people stay in these urban areas. Therefore, the role of urban design has a significant impact in today’s contemporary way of life.

According to a United Nations’ (UN) report, 60% of the Earth’s population will crowd cities by 2030. This is not good news for various reasons. 

Millenials are slow to pick up the traces of needing change concerning their way of living. Thus, it is better for the current millennia to have the collective movement of individuals, industries, and countries to commit to change. The foundation of inhabitation - the Earth, is ruined and its cries are getting louder. The natural structure of planet is sacrificed to have the luxurious comfort of the modern life. The towering skyscrapers, concrete housing units, and asphalt plazas are chosen over the lush greeneries and the natural wonders of the world.

Urban Development

Urban development is a perennial threat to nature. Fortunately, developers like Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), considers the site’s ecosystem in their planning and design. Bobby Dy coins the term “eco-efficient.” It is a simple yet effective word that summarizes the purpose of their city districts. Natural resources or the natural state of the land area should not be sacrificed because of urban design and development. ALI patterns their design to the area’s original state.

The best example of eco-efficiency is their dynamic suburb in the South, Nuvali. Nuvali has a long stretch of green grass park and open spaces. The structure mixes modern suburban living with green zones and forestry. It also encourages recreation and outdoor activities which are refreshing for the modern dwellers.

Organization and Open Spaces

Although aesthetic plays a major role in urban setting, it is important for a developer to consider general public interest and not be biased towards age and way of living. When the city or structure is open to everyone, the need to have access to additional public infrastructure is removed. The environment becomes inclusive and inclined to only one goal – providing for the years to come.

Ayala Land is best known for their wholesome urban design. The company follows its focus areas as a guide during planning - resilience, pedestrian and transit connectivity, eco-efficiency and local economic development. 

Their latest land developments incorporate wide spaces and parks. Having these spaces encourages time off the digital world and physical activity. It also lessens the dependence on vehicles as these places are conducive to walking. Most importantly, it discourages cul-de-sacs which can be rampant in urban areas. The design also creates low-carbon cities because they become walkable and mass transit-oriented. This is much more sustainable and healthier for the people. It also gives a high quality of life to residents.

Economic Vibrancy

A thing, structure or endeavor that is sustainable is said to solve today’s problems while also providing for the problems of the future. Generations to come should meet their own needs using these structures and environment-friendly solutions. Thus, it should be an enabling environment.

Rapid urbanization puts pressure on resources. Densely-packed cities can lack sources of fresh water supply and strain the living environment and public health. During planning, local and small-scale businesses are heavily considered. The shops and stores should be strategically placed so they may contribute to poverty reduction. There should also be designated spaces for public utility and health services.

Cloverfield, an ALI development in the North, is an example of a well-planned community that employs living, retail, and health. The development has a residential tower, shopping mall, park and a hospital - all within walking distance.

Well-planned public spaces commune communities and people together. Physical and cultural activities, recreation and play, are also encouraged. The spaces restore a sense of place, identity, and pride in an area, and play a significant part in attracting businesses and jobs. Thus, poverty is reduced.

Technology has picked up speed on constructing mega cities, but it has not made low-carbon cities. Local and international urban development still have a long way to go. Choosing to be sustainable goes back to planning, where all the aspect of the building is considered. When the vision for the future is clear, urban design will manifest through eco-efficient development.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Big Sell: Experts Share Pitching Advice

table, meeting, office, planning, presentation, sales, sales pitch

Another day at UP Ayala Technohub, slaving for 8 hours. You have an idea brewing in your head. You also have a plan to improve your group’s communication system and project management style. But these powerful ideas or well-kept backup plans are just in your head, and won’t matter unless you share it with the group; most importantly, to your superior. Until then, it will just be a plan or idea that won’t be making the changes you envision for the company.
The aim is to have their approval. To hear that sweet sounding yes is a melody to the ears, which makes you fly high in the sky even if it means being buried in paperwork. Before that, you have to face your boss, the management or who ever it is you have to talk with to settle the proposal. Sometimes, it only takes one chance for the person or committees to decide your faith, so it’s better to ace it on the first try.
Few experts had a say on how to successfully present a pitch to a challenging audience. To show off your ideas without a hinge, read on to find what the experts had to say to amp your presentation.

John Rood of Next Step Test Preparation

John Rood suggests to lay out how managements should judge the project’s success quickly. What are the indicators that the project will be a success? Having a specific goal will help you set measures of success or key performance indicators (KPIs) early on. Step-wise goals or buildable goals are easier to digest than having a long-term goal. It also suggests that fewer risks are involved. Thus management is more accepting of the idea.
To reduce the risk of rejection, form alliances with those in the upper levels of the company who will approve the pitch. Test out the waters, talk with them to see what clicks and what doesn’t.  It will also help you improve and expand your idea. There will be instances when they will see the details you may have overlooked. The more feedbacks you get for your pitch, the better you can prepare for the actual and formal meeting.

Phil Chen of Systems Watch

It’s not enough to just have the proposal ready; it’s also important to prove you can handle it. They want to see a work ethic that can sustain the onset of the project throughout its growth. You have to show redeeming qualities - agility, thoughtfulness, and efficiency.
Remember that you still have current task and projects. Phil Chen advises preparing an outline that illustrates the order of your priorities. It will show you still have the time and resources to lead a new project. The outline is especially useful if you haven’t proven your leadership potential.

Brian Honigman of

Brian Honigman shares a piece of advice that isn’t often followed. Composing a polished plan shows the time a thought invested in it. It also shows you’ve reviewed potential problems along the way. It suggests you can take charge and lead the project which will help convince the management of the proposal.

Kenny Nguyen of Big Fish Presentations

As much enthusiasm you show when presenting the project, prepare to defend your idea when objections arise. Being able to justify your proposal is particularly useful when negotiating with investors. You should not be swayed with counter-arguments no matter how logical they may seem. Withstand the onslaught of questions and prepare a counter-attack. 
Thus, when answering the management or investors’ queries, pay attention to the current inquiry only. Give a simple and straightforward answer. Avoid getting thrown off your train of thought by overthinking the panel’s questions.

Jyot Singh of RTS Labs

The benefits of the pitch should be clear - how will it add value to the company. Jyot Singh says the presentation should be directed to those benefits and the ways how it will be utilized by the audience of your presentation.
A presentation that states the advantages of the projects creates a positive mindset over the project proposal. With that, keep your winning statement simple.

Adam Stillman of SparkReel

Of course, create visual aids. Adam Stillman knows the importance of visual aids. Visuals are powerful; they help make the plan seem real and relatable. Visual aids also hold power regarding communication as the information comes much faster and lingers in the form of memory. 
When creating visuals, concentrate on the essentials. If it allows you to explain the project, return on investment and growth strategy for five minutes, then you’re good to go.

These experts know what they’re talking about, and you should too. When proposing an idea to top level management, remember to account for risks. The less risk involves, the higher the chance to get their approval. A clear-cut and carefully constructed plan will cover the basics. No matter how polished the proposal is, there will be details which aren’t acceptable to the audience. Hence, prepare to defend your ideas during the presentation. It means you can handle it the pressure and sustain the project.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Moving On: Five Packing Tips for A Stress-free Move

“There is always a sadness about packing. I guess you wonder if where you are going is as good as where you have been.” -Richard Proenneke

Moving is considered to be one of the most stressful events one would go through in life. More often than not, you would have to find prospective buyers for the home you are putting sale, and on top of that, you have to pack a significant number of years' belongings. Indeed, when you add this all up, packing to move can be an incredibly overwhelming experience—so much so that you would often feel burned out and anxious. However, this does not have to be the case as there are techniques and tips you can undertake to ensure that on the day of your move, you would not be too stressed. After all, there are a lot of things involved when it comes to moving houses and not just packing alone, so you could at least do with the least amount of anxiety on moving day. So, before you move into that condo in Manila or elsewhere, here are some tips you should keep in mind:

1.) Declutter

One of the initial steps you should take when packing is to declutter. You cannot expect to take every single item with you into your new home as there are things you would not necessarily need anymore. Once you have collected all the things you do not need, decide whether you want to sell or donate them. Alternatively, you can also throw them away. By decluttering, you are also providing yourself an avenue for the organization of your things, and in this way, you can pack easier and much smoother.

2.) Plan what will go where

As said above, decluttering is an opportunity for organizing stuff as well. Organizing your things is imperative when it comes to packing because it would make sorting them out into which rooms they will go much easier. By now, you should have a rough idea of how you want your new house to look like—especially since to how your furniture and other personal elements will be positioned. An excellent tip for this is to have a copy of a plan of your old house and a plan of your new ones and designate your belongings as to where you want to position them.

3.) Color code the plan

Seeing as you already have a rough idea of where you want your things to be moved during your move-in day, the next step is to do some color coding. On the floor plan of your new house, use sticky dots and assign each room a color. After which, you can go around the house and start attaching color coded stickers on various items. On the moving day itself, all you would need to do is follow the color-coded plan which would remarkably speed up the process.

4.) Elevate your labeling game

By now, you should already know that labeling your moving boxes is an integral part of packing. However, do not simply smack them with labels that designate each room. Instead, label it in a way that you would be able to identify which boxes contain valuable items and would need to be opened straight away and those that can wait until you have everything unpacked. To do this, each room should have a designated “essentials” box which must be unpacked immediately. It could be labeled with a star sticker or a red marker or anything that would make it easily identifiable as an “essentials” box.

5.) Essentials

One of the dreaded things on moving day is not being able to have access to the things you need when you need it. After all, there is nothing more frustrating than having to use the toilet without any tissue paper or trying to find your pillows after a long and stressful move. With this in mind, pack essential items such as paperwork, valuables, kitchen essentials, toiletries, spare clothes, etc. in your own car. It should be with you at all times as you would not want to run the risk of having the movers lose them.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Quick vacation? Make it Happen, Make it Makati!

For the people in the labor force, hustling every day is tiring and draining. Other students seem to drag themselves to school. Sometimes, you just end up all-day on your bed on weekends even if you promise to enjoy yourself. But not anymore! It is your time to get up and explore the wonders of Makati City.

Makati City is a home for skyscrapers, condominiums, shopping centers, Ayala Malls and establishments, and recreational activities. Whether you are a going for a daycation or a staycation, you will surely enjoy your sweet escape in this city.

Below are only some of the must-visit sites in Makati City:

1. Glorietta

Perfect for a daycationer who needs to go shopping (real shopping or window shopping) within a day. Aside from tons of choices and variety of stores to be seen in Glorietta Malls, you will also enjoy a peaceful scenery and picturesque buildings along the way. Not to mention you can also treat yourself a movie in Ayala Mall cinema.

2. Ayala Museum

Other students might have visited Ayala Museum already for a class requirement. Why? See for yourself and indulge in excellent art and historical pieces. Ayala Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 9 AM to 6 PM. There is also a library facility, Filipinas Heritage Library, with the same operating schedule.

Aside from Ayala Museum, you can also visit other similar establishments like Makati Museum, Philippine Army Museum, and Yuchengco Museum.

3. Ayala Triangle Gardens

Wanting to distance yourself from the everyday hustle and bustle? Take a good walk in Ayala Triangle. You can unwind and connect with nature, and at the same time eat at different restaurants and stalls surrounding the Triangle.

Ayala Triangle Gardens is a perfect place to visit during Christmas season where you can witness majestic light shows at night.

4. Washington Sycip Park

A privately owned park in Makati which nests different flora and fauna, Washington Sycip Park is another good place to stroll and jog. You can also spot many birds in the Park such as pied fantails and yellow-vented bulbuls.

There are also other parks to visit in Makati City, particularly Legazpi Active Park, and Makati Park and Garden.

5. Guadalupe Ruins

One of the oldest stone church in the Philippines is located in Makati City. Yes, that's Guadalupe! Perfect to celebrate the Holy Mass if you are having a quick get-away on a Sunday, or maybe waking up from your hotel or condo staycation. If you're looking for a serene place to reflect and enjoy, then you should schedule your visit in Guadalupe Ruins.

6. City Kart Racing

Looking for some fun and adventure? Ready, set and go to City Kart Racing at Circuit Makati! Whether you're a first-timer or a competitive kart racer, you'll have fun in City Kart Racing.

In addition to City Kart Racing, for more recreational activities to do in Makati, you might want to check out Mystery Manila, The Escape Hunt Experience, Kodanda Archery Range, Ball Pit Manila, and Music 21 Plaza.

Now you have a short list of where to go and what to do in Makati, for staycationers, it's time for you to look for a place to stay. Given a wide range of options to choose from, be sure to pick the one that will complement your “vacation mode”. Fairmont Makati, Raffles Hotel, and Holiday Inn & Suites Makati are just a few of the luxury hotels in Makati. You will be relaxed in seeing the magnificent Makati skyline at night.

Remember, it is not how much you spend on your vacation but how you indulge yourself in the experience. So for your next quick get-away, make it Makati!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

3 Crucial Factors When Finding The Right Condo to Rent

"Real estate is an imperishable asset, ever increasing in value. It is the most solid security that human ingenuity had devised. It is the basis of all security and about the only indestructible security." - Rusell Sage

Whether you plan to purchase or rent a property, real estate is still an ideal investment one can make. It does not just give you the sense of security or belongingness, but it also gives you the lifestyle that you need. If you are one of those home investors who is planning to rent, then you can also decide whether to go for a condo for rent in Makati or any condominiums in the Philippines. Either way, you can still get the desired property.

Sad to say, not all people can find the right condo for them. Perhaps, they do not know what and what not to do when it comes to property hunting. Keep in mind that not thinking about the important things or qualifications that make a good property can ruin everything. One thing is for sure; you do not want that to happen, right? So, to give you an idea, we list down the top 3 crucial factors every home investors should consider.

1. Affordability

There's nothing wrong with choosing an expensive property. However, if you cannot afford to pay its mortgage, monthly dues, maintenance fee, etc., then this may not be your wisest decision. The moment you decide to rent a condo, make sure you know your financial status. When you do, you will be able to determine what type of property you are going to find. Always keep in mind that being able to afford the rent is the key factor in property hunting. Even if you like that particular property so much, you still need to see to it that you can afford it. Another thing, try to find properties that are in your price range, this will prevent you from tempting to invest in an expensive one.

2. Safety

When choosing for the right condo, you also have to make sure to think and consider its safety. Check whether the place is not dangerous enough for you to live in. Moreover, it is also a must for you to check whether the building has security cameras. This is to make sure that there will be no any suspicious person that would attempt to do bad things. Also, checking out crime reports in that particular area is also a good thing to do to ensure safety and security within the place.

3. Location

The location of the property is one of the most crucial factors you should not forget. No matter how beautiful your unit is if the place is not accessible enough when it comes to the transportation, malls, school, then you might have a hard time getting to and from your home. When choosing the right condo, make sure to check the location. If you think that that particular condo is far from your working place, then you need to find another. Do not settle for the condo that you do not like since you do not have any choice. Keep in mind that you have a lot of options online. All you have to do is to pick the best one that would suit your lifestyle.

These tips mentioned above may be simple, but it will guide you to a successful property hunting. Again, if you want to achieve a desirable outcome, then it is a must for you to think about these important tips before you invest in that particular property.