Buying your first ‘worry-free’ investment? Take it from Jennifer.

It was one of those chilly Saturday nights. The weather was perfect for a light, relaxing dinner. My husband asked me to cook sinigang na hipon. “Masarap humigop ng mainit na sabaw, hon. I’m sure our friends will like it too.”  I guess he’s right. And so I cooked siningang na hipon and caldereta while J.T. prepared Caesar salad, roasted chicken with potatoes and broccoli braised with garlic. I was busy preparing the dinner table when I got a Viber message from my friend, Cristina. She’s with her husband, Andy. It was past 6pm when Cristina and Andy arrived. They brought a dozen of homemade cupcakes. Sweet! After a couple of minutes, the doorbell rang. I asked J.T. to open the door. It was Sean. He’s the marketing manager from Megaworld International the one I spoke to during the project presentation in San Diego. I quickly introduced Sean to J.T. and we all returned back to the table after. Sean brought a bottle of Morgan Metallico Chardonnay. It’s one of the best fruit-flavored wines in California. I popped the wireless speaker, grabbed my phone and played some relaxing chill-out tracks on Spotify. (Thanks to my son who taught me how to use this music-streaming app. Haha.) It was a perfect dinner.

Sean, Cristina and even Andy assured me that this will be a worry-free investment. Why worry-free? Well, because the hotel operator will manage and operate our condotel unit. It will be managed by Prestige Hotels and Resorts, Inc. (PHRI) a subsidiary of Megaworld Corporation. Prestige will take care of the leasing, maintenance, improvement and even the refurbishment of the unit. The lease shall be for a period of 15 years and will be automatically renewed for another 15 years under the same terms and conditions stated in the initial agreement. The most exciting part is that we have the privilege to stay in the condotel for 30 room nights per year! A condotel as vacation house? Why not?!

“But what if our unit was not rented? Will we still earn from the hotel operations?” I asked Sean. The answer is yes! Sean explained to us that all condominium hotel unit owners are entitled to a share in the net room revenue whether his unit was rented or not. All unit owners will have a percentage share in the share of the pooled units. But c’mon, we don’t want to think about it. We’re pretty sure that the hotel occupancy rate in Boracay will be good enough. Besides, Boracay is attracting millions of tourists every year!

My husband and I agreed that Boracay Belmont Hotel was our best bet, even from the beginning. And they were right all along. Boracay Belmont Hotel from what I heard is a prestigious project development of Global-Estate Resorts, Inc., (GERI) a subsidiary of Megaworld Corporation. It is located in Boracay Newcoast, a 150-hectare township development of GERI in Boracay. It is Boracay’s first integrated, master-planned tourism estate. Because of its world-class fine, powdery sand and clear blue waters, not to mention the numerous international awards including the recent ‘Best Island in the World’ recognition, we have come to a unanimous decision. Finally! Boracay Belmont Hotel it is!

After some business talks, Sean asked me to fill up some forms. “This is it.” I told J.T. Sean handed me the Request for Reservation and Offer to Purchase form or RROP. I wrote my name as the primary buyer and my husband affixed his signature as the co-buyer. Then Sean asked me and my husband to complete the Buyer’s Information Sheet or BIS. It was quick. We gave Sean all the documents needed plus the required down payment. We were so satisfied that we ran out of questions to ask. Sean moved up from his chair and gave us a handshake “Finally, after months of pangungulit. Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Nakpil! We’re so glad that you chose Megaworld International to be your investment partner.” Cristina smiled at me and said, “You made the right decision, Jen.” Cristina is also a proud investor of Savoy Hotel Boracay, another prestigious condotel project of GERI in Boracay Newcoast.

We’re really excited about this new investment. I got to enjoy Boracay myself during my last trip to the Philippines and I want my family to experience the beauty of this island themselves. We may be far away from our beloved Philippines, but I know that Megaworld International will always put our best interest forward.

 

Worry-free investment for Filipinos abroad

In the last weekend of November, my family and I traveled to San Diego to spend some time with our family friends.  On Saturday afternoon, Cristina, my friend invited me to join her on a “roadshow”. Since I have nothing else to do, I decided to go with her. We spent our afternoon at Megaworld International San Diego office. I learned that Megaworld International is the global marketing arm of Megaworld Corporation and subsidiaries. The Megaworld team was very accommodating and I was able to also meet fellow Filipinos from nearby cities. Out of curiosity, I asked some of the Filipinos there on why they attended the roadshow, mostly would say it’s for their investment while the others would like to earn extra income as a marketing network.

I was smiling during the presentation because the townships were very familiar to me; in fact I mostly stayed in Megaworld townships during my vacation in the Philippines. I am glad to be able to relate with their presentation, the photos and renderings were enjoyable but like what I said to Cristina, the real experience is the best. I agree that Megaworld Townships offer the life-work-play-learn lifestyle as reflected from the proximity of shops and stores in their residential and business areas. Though, I am familiar with some, I learned more about the on-going and upcoming projects in the Townships. I also learned about possible investment opportunities especially through the concept of Condotel which Megaworld offers as a worry-free investment. From what I understand, it works like time-sharing (like the membership with clubhouses in the US) but the difference is that you actually own the hotel room! And you earn through the hotel operations. This appealed to me during the presentation that I had to approach a marketing manager to explain it further to me. There were a lot of technicalities and conditions but overall, this is a perfect investment for Filipinos who lives abroad without the worry of looking for tenant with your property. The condotel will be managed by a Megaworld company and the owner is given 30-days free stay in the hotel but not necessary the specific condotel unit that the owner owns.

The options given to me were Savoy Hotel Mactan Newtown (Cebu), Kingsford Hotel (Entertainment City) and Belmont Hotel (Boracay). After the event, I went home bringing brochures and sample computation and payment terms for these three. I discussed this with my family and their feedback is very positive towards the Belmont Hotel in Boracay.  My husband said that it was perfect location for a vacation property every time we go home to the Philippines while my children said that since it is located in Boracay which is a top destination for Filipinos and foreigners, the condotel will surely have higher occupancy rate and in the long term, a higher ROI, too.

Until now, we are still deciding and checking other options for this investment. We all have to think about this especially that this is a long term commitment of payments and coordination. Nonetheless, I was able to talk to the Marketing Manager who helped me and we are going to schedule a one-by-one presentation with my family.

I hope that this investment will push through! Now, time to focus on the preparations in the coming holidays J

Golden Girl is Back to the US

It’s been a few weeks since I returned to LA. In true Pinoy fashion, my entire clan picked me up at the airport and we went out for some Vietnamese food. My husband J.T. could not contain his happiness and I would like to think it was because he missed me, or that he was particularly excited about the spicy Pho at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. I failed to mention to him that my heart (and tummy) has already fallen in love with Iloilo’s La Paz batchoy!

Being reunited with my family and grandchildren helped me get over my jet lag quickly. With pride, I passed around my phone and showed them pictures of my adventures in the Philippines.  I took 3,000 photos! Can you believe that?

When my grandchildren saw photos of the jeepneys in Manila, they immediately begged me to find one so they can try riding in it. A functioning jeepney in the U.S.? Hmm.

All in all, I can’t seem to run out of stories to tell them regarding my Manila, Tagaytay, Cebu, Boracay and Iloilo trips. I have such fond memories of the people I’ve met, the long-lost friends and hometown relatives I’ve finally caught up with, the food I’ve savored, the beautiful scenery that captivated me, the cultures of the cities I’ve experienced, and the warmth and welcoming embrace that the Philippines have given me.

Eastwood City was a wonderful surprise – shopping, dining, leisure and entertainment all rolled into a self-sustaining “city”. It even has its own Walk of Fame!

And how can I forget Davao’s majestic monkey-eating eagle? Or the tasty, though notoriously foul-smelling, durian?

I will definitely miss the one-of-a-kind Cebu lechon. Just thinking about it makes my stomach growl. How truly memorable it was to stroll leisurely in Megaworld’s Mactan Newtown to enjoy the best of Cebu and all its modern conveniences.

In Iloilo, I still remember my stay at Richmonde Iloilo and how the staff made me feel well attended and right at home. La Paz batchoy anyone?  It’s simply the best.

I have postcard-perfect photos of Boracay’s famous sunset. I will miss the fresh seafood, the powder white sand, and my ATV adventure!

A quick trip from Manila is the cool and modern city of Tagaytay. Seeing Taal Lake was breathtaking. The cool climate was balanced out by the tasty and heavenly bulalo. Oh, I would love to be able to own a vacation home in Twin Lakes in Tagaytay and have access to a vineyard.

And Manila’s hippest place, Burgos Circle, made me feel young and “cool” (is it still cool to say cool?).  I exercised and jogged within Fort Bonifacio which has been developed into a place worthy of international standards.

I am indebted to my many friends, family, and new acquaintances for making my stay in the Philippines an experience that I will cherish forever. I have indeed crossed-out a major item from my bucket list but I know that this is not the last of my trip back home.

A Golden Girl’s Eat, Pray, Love Journey to Boracay

Retire in Miami, Florida?  No, thanks.  If given the choice, my husband and I will happily retire in one of the best beaches in the world – in Boracay. Especially now when the Philippine Retirement Authority is offering an unlimited SRRV Courtesy Visa for former Filipinos, for just a US$1,500 deposit!
This post will focus on 3 things: Eat. Pray. Love. In the book, author and heroine Elizabeth Gilbert went on a journey across Italy, India and Indonesia to find meaning in her life. I don’t have to journey across three countries to find happiness and fulfillment. It’s all here in Boracay, in my home country, the Philippines.

You might be asking why “swim” is not a part of the experience (it is, after all, a beach). My dears, my golden year only allows me to sit by the shoreline and let the waves lap at my feet. I can only admire the jet-skiers and paraw-sailers from afar. But I did ride an ATV – more on this later.

paraws
Paraws before the setting sun.

So I checked-in at the wonderful Fairways and Bluewater. I had a few days to myself since I arrived two days earlier than my cousins, who arrived on a weekend. They are avid golfers and they had the time of their lives at Fairways and Bluewater’s 18-hole golf course. But that’s not the only thing special about the resort hotel.  The hotel has large, clean rooms with comfortable beds.  Rooms had views and kitchenettes.  I was welcomed warmly by the professional staff who asked friendly questions when they learned I was a balikbayan. Was it the American twang that gave me away?

I just can’t help but admire this well-kept, quiet property in Boracay. Apart from the world-class golf course, it also has its own beach and the developer of the property, Megaworld’s Global Estate Resorts, Inc., is selling condotels, too! Remember when I stayed at Belmont Hotel in Newport City? Lo and behold, there’s Belmont Boracay! I really think this is a sign. I am being inspired to make an investment of a lifetime, in Belmont, Savoy or Chancellor, all pre-selling condotels, in adjacent Boracay Newcoast.

So let’s get into the “meat” of the matter, shall we?

Continue reading “A Golden Girl’s Eat, Pray, Love Journey to Boracay”

Strolling in the Philippines’ City of Love – Iloilo

As soon as the plane touched down in Iloilo Airport, it felt as if my heart was going to burst anytime. I’ve been so excited about visiting the so-called Philippines’ City of Love, Iloilo, with a very sweet memory of love imprinted in my heart by my grandmother when I was a kid.

Leonora De Jesus (Lola Nora), my grandmother, met the love of her life and my grandfather, Caesar Vinluan (Lolo Caesar), when they were still teenagers. Both of them were serving the church as choir and altar boy respectively. Grandma was really lovely when she was young and with her voice, Lolo Caesar was totally captivated. The Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish, better known as the Miag-ao Church, in the town of Miag-ao was Lola Nora and Lolo Caesar’s witness to the blossoming of their endless love for each other. Lola Nora used to tell me that she never doubted the moment Lolo Caesar confessed his love for her in front of the altar. She thought that the angels whispered on her to say Yes to Lolo Caesar – it was indeed a love match made in heaven.

Bearing that beautiful love story in my heart made my journey in Iloilo a romantically nostalgic one. I never wasted time and made sure that I visited the beautiful and UNESCO World Heritage site Miag-ao Church.  It was love at first sight that it was no wonder an endless love just like my Lola Nora and Lolo Caesar had taken place. I prayed and talked to Lola Nora and Lolo Caesar asking for their guidance to all couples who are having a blossoming love story just like theirs in the lovely church of Miag-ao.

Masadya diri sa Iloilo! (It is fun here in Iloilo!)

Iloilo City for me is a very promising place in the Philippines. From the old nostalgic churches in Jaro, Guimbal, San Joaquin and Miag-ao; and establishments rich in cultural heritage in Calle Real and Plaza Libertad to modern hotspots in Iloilo Esplanade and Iloilo Business Park, Iloilo is truly the center of the old and new.

Iloilo is also famous with its religious and cultural festival called the Dinagyang Festival. It is a feast of faith to honor the Sto Niño or the child Jesus celebrated every fourth Sunday of January. From simple foot and fluvial processions, Dinagyang Festival has gone big with street parties, beauty contests, medical missions, and food festivals. Too bad I missed the chance to witness it for the first time but I’ll try my luck next year to attend the Dinagyang Festival.

Aside from the sceneries to go to in Iloilo, I have also enjoyed the company of the Ilonggos I’ve met along the way. They have been so malambing that there have been times I almost fell like being cradled every time they were talking to me. These Ilonggos were so sweet, hospitable and kind-hearted to everyone, especially to someone who tours around like me. To all the Ilonggos, especially to Tessie, Danica, and the Tiangao family, you all are special to me. Salamat gid!

Here are some of the highlights during my stroll in the Philippines’ City of Love:

Richmonde Hotel Iloilo

From the Iloilo Airport, Tessie, my dear Filipina friend in the US who also happened to be in Iloilo during my trip, took me straight to the Richmonde Hotel. Tessie mentioned that the Richmonde Hotel opened last July 2015 under the development of Megaworld Corporation. Upon arrival, the hotel staff pleasantly greeted me and assisted me to my room. It was really a relaxing stay I had in Richmonde Hotel as well as very convenient since I had easy access on local transportation to the rest of my itinerary.

IMG_5603
My lovely hotel room. It was a lovely stay. Thank you, Richmonde Hotel Iloilo!

La Paz Batchoy

Since it was rainy season in the Philippines, I did not miss the chance to have one of the Iloilo’s famous noodle soup dish, the La Paz Batchoy. It has vegetables, miki noodles, pork meat and pork innards – yes, pork innards. I think I had La Paz Batchoy almost every meal during my stay in Iloilo. It did not only warm my stomach with the chilly weather in Iloilo because of the rains; it definitely also warmed my heart. Hindi lang pala talaga City of Love ang Iloilo dahil sa mga mapupuntahang lugar dito kundi dahil na rin sa mga pagkaing makakapagpasaya sa’yo tulad ng La Paz Batchoy. 🙂 ❤ Namit Ah talaga!

 

image1
A bowl of hearty delicious meal. Namit ah!  as they say “it tastes great” in Ilonggo.

Continue reading “Strolling in the Philippines’ City of Love – Iloilo”

Titas of Manila Take Over Fort Bonifacio

It has been raining in the city these past few weeks and waking up in the morning with raindrops falling on my window for two weeks at Eight Forbestown Rd makes me feel really home. I told you in the previous blog that Newport City has everything accessible the moment I step foot outside Belmont Hotel and again like déjà vu, being in Forbes Town Center (the guard said this is what the area is called, I am only familiar with the Burgos Circle haha) makes everything so easy and accessible for me. Newport City and Forbes Town Center are both Megaworld  projects. I had a small talk with the caretaker of the unit, she said that these properties are called “Township” development, a city within a city and everything you need is just right outside your door. (Super true! and I love this concept!!)

Minus the heavy downpour of the rain, I enjoy walking around the area – it’s very modern, chic but peaceful and quiet.I did my own grocery at the shops in the ground floor of the building for my breakfast and light snacks for my visitors aside from the usual “states side” chocolates and chips. I have been meeting with my friends non-stop for the past two weeks. It is good to be just reunited with everyone, sometimes we stay inside the unit or my nephew and nieces use the pool in the building but most of the time, I go out with my friends, who are now staying in nearby cities in Manila. I also get to enjoy my quiet alone time in cafés catching up with my family in the US.

We’ve had lunch at the Max’s Restaurant almost right across the building. I can remember how we only eat here during “special occasions” like weddings and reunions, because we had to travel to the nearby city from Pangasinan to be able to eat in Max’s. Iba pa din talaga ang Pinoy food.  Crispy Pata, Kare-Kare and Sinigang. Yum! Surely, you wouldn’t miss our group. We’re the tita table na pinaka-maingay.

So you see, I’ve placed myself right in the center of the bustle and hustle city life which means I am in the center of food, leisure and entertainment. From Burgos Circle until at the McDonald’s at the end of Forbes Town Center, it is filled with restaurants, cafés, retail specialty stores and fitness which makes it easier for me to just go down and explore. Actually, the whole Fort Bonifacio area for me is “walkable”. In the morning when it doesn’t rain, I exercise and jog from my area to High Street, then have morning snacks or breakfast at the Starbucks Reserve on the ground floor of the condo building or Wildflour Café + Bakery.

Continue reading “Titas of Manila Take Over Fort Bonifacio”

Where is Jennifer going?

I have been researching for my trip in the Philippines and just recently there was a viral video of DOT’s campaign “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” in London Waterloo station.  Were your able to watch it? If not, you can watch it here.

I got teary eyed watching this and I realized that I have been missing A LOT. The only thing I can remember from my younger years in Philippines was our little province of Pangasinan. Other than that, Palawan, Boracay, Davao and Cebu were just places I read on textbooks. I am happy how people of different races and culture appreciate the Philippines, well of course, who wouldn’t want to spend time in a paradise, right? I have been to almost every state of the United States and a couple of places in Canada and I am quite ashamed that it took me some time to go back to my homeland, but at least that won’t stop me from doing it whatever the circumstances are.

So after days and weeks of reading travel blogs, I finally mapped out my trip to the Philippines following the 15 Ways to have More Fun in the Philippines from DOT (I must say, DOT has been doing really good job in promoting our country! Their videos and events are really enticing. Kudos DOT!)

Keeping true to my blog name (he he) I decided to do a “backpacking” style of trip which has been pretty popular to young (and young at heart) travelers. I also decided to explore not just Luzon, but also Visayas and Mindanao.

Continue reading “Where is Jennifer going?”