The heat is on

Get ready for another scorching summer. Frankly, I am not a big fan of 36-degree weather. There is only one thing I like about summer: vacations! Whether it’s the cooler breeze in Baguio or the refreshing waters of Boracay, I will go anywhere and do anything to escape the hot, hot sun.

Speaking of which, the maiden issue of MoneySense has not just been warmly received by readers and advertisers—it is blazing hot. We certainly touched on a latent need among Filipinos for a personal finance magazine. And we are glad we delivered.

This issue is a great follow-up to our launch. We have taken the travel theme to the world of personal finance. Instead of just writing about destinations, we researched about some of the best deals you can get if you want to go around Southeast Asia on a shoestring. We also featured the most popular cool and hot local destinations.

But to be honest, I don’t like to travel on the cheap. I don’t exactly go for luxury travel either but I want my travel experience to be smooth, comfortable, and memorable. No bed bugs for me, thank you.

You probably want the same thing. So we included budget hotels and restaurants that are nevertheless top rated by travel experts and tourists as well as recommended places to stay and to eat at higher price points.

Now, if you wonder who the most frequent traveler in the Philippines is, the obvious answer has to be our tourism chief. Yes, if you blinked a couple of times when you saw the cover, it is really Ace Durano like you have never seen him before. It is certainly the first time his staff at the Department of Tourism saw him in casual travel attire, proceeding to take photos, trade kisses, and holler words of affection to the instant matinee idol. Our writer Lynda Corpuz, who apparently had no complaints about the assignment, revealed a more personal side to Ace, sharing his travel routine and favorite destinations. 

Jobs and taxes

The months of March and April are also about graduation, which rouse exhilaration, and April 15, which stir dread. Contributor Boyet Tejuco, who also works as an architect, listed the hottest jobs right now in terms of pay and demand. There seems to be a common thread—go abroad where the good-paying jobs are or work here at a global outsourcing company as if you’re working abroad.

As for me, I only briefly considered going abroad. I figure I am doing well enough to stay put. But millions of Filipinos have made the move. Many of my relatives and friends have migrated to the US, Canada, and other countries, and they seem to be doing just fine. I am sure they make more money in dollar terms. But with our relatively lower cost of living, I feel things are not so bad here. I just need to make as much as I can and keep as much as I should.

And this is where I segue to the topic of taxes, which is really the biggest expense we have. You will think I am crazy but while doing research, I have developed a fascination for taxes. I don’t mean taxes themselves—they are a necessary evil for me—but how to save on taxes, legally. It is such a potentially explosive issue that some experts refused to touch it with a ten-foot pole. But really, there is nothing criminal about it. In fact, many of the tips we came out with are in the Tax Code. They are there to encourage certain behavior and activities, such as saving for retirement and investing for the long term.

We feel that it is important that we all know about taxes—what we need to pay and how to make sure we only pay what we have to, nothing more. If anything, this should encourage people who used to hide underground to come out and pay taxes.

So there, in a nutshell, is our second issue: find the right job, pay the right taxes, and—with the stress related to the two—take a much needed vacation.

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