What to Do in Butuan

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No choice on the favorite city bit, this is the closest city from my place so how can it not be my favorite? If you can’t at least like the place you’re currently living in, you should either move to another place or buy a rope. There’s nothing more miserable than continuing to live a tortured existence

Alright, let’s get to the new things, the cool things, and the changes that happened to my beloved city. Please note that I don’t exactly live within Butuan. The biggest change is the arrival of Robinsons Mall. Before it was Gaisano that lorded over Butuan City, but now with Robinsons joining the mall fray, people should now be flocking to this modern, airconditioned mall with awesome theaters. Right? Wrong.

Gaisano Butuan

Like some folks, I really thought that Gaisano would become a shopping wasteland, if you will, with the entry of Robinsons. After all, who would want to shop in a department store that looks like a dolled-up baratillo shop when you have a polished, airconditioned mall like Robinsons as an option? Apparently, a lot of people still prefer going to Gaisano. Much to Robinson’s dismay. In a short amount of time, a few shops that rented space in Robinsons have already closed.

I think two factors contributed to this sorry situation for Robinsons.

First, it’s not as accessible as Gaisano is. You can commute to Gaisano via multicab or tricycle. With Robinsons, you can only ride a multicab. Sorry, but tricycles can’t take you there.

Second, a huge chunk of the Butuan demographic belong to the C, D, E market. Most of these folks are more comfortable roaming around Gaisano than Robinsons.

Both of these factors contributed to lesser foot traffic in Robinsons, leading to lesser business for the shops. So there you have it, my own little foray to consumer economics. Now off to better things. Robinsons is big enough to take those kinds of hits so I’m not really worried about them.

Food and Restos

Some folded in a couple of months, while some have gained enough traction to continue operating. A select few have done very, very well. Chief among these few is Barons. This is where you get the best kinilaw in town. It’s located along JC Aquino boulevard near Veterans Bank. It’s a carwash by day and a seafood place by night. Well not exactly like a normal seafood resto. For one, it only serves kinilaw, sashimi, sinugba, and tinuwa. It’s actually more of a SuTuKil place (like that area in Lapulapu, Cebu) but they do serve liempo as well. The fabulous Carlos Celdran once had the kinilaw in Baron and declared it to be a life changing experience (his words, not mine). Baron’s has opened another branch a stone throw away, still along JC Aquino but I don’t feel the need to try it out yet. Should be the same thing.

Another good seafood restaurant is Islands. If you prefer a cozy atmosphere (unlike the open air, smoky ambience of Barons), with proper waiters and tables and menus and of course good seafood, Islands is the place to be. They’re located in an arcade that also houses Bo’s Coffee and Mandara Spa. Before Baron’s, Islands was THE place for kinilaw. For the past 6 years whenever I arrive from Manila (after visiting the office there) lunch is ALWAYS at Islands. To me the combination of kinilaw and manok inasal is killer. Did I mention that Islands has the best manok inasal in town? Forget Weegols and Aling Cora(two of the old guards), Island’s manok inasal reigns supreme in this part of CARAGA. When you order the inasal, you don’t get it within 5 minutes. You wait a little bit longer. But that waiting assures you that you’re getting quality cooked food.

Margie’s is still holding its own in the Butuan food scene. It has in fact, for a time, opened a space and a kiosk in Robinsons Mall. For some reason however they decided to close after less than a year. Margie’s also opened Boy’s Asian Cooking, a watering hole for the, well, more affluent set. They offer craft beer as well as imported beers on top of the usual local beers. Boy’s is located right behind DBP.

After a full night of drinking, most folks would crave for bulalo. The best bulalo I’ve tasted so far is Uncle Sam’s bulalo right beside City hall. They close early though, around 2-ish in the morning. Kixx, along JC Aquino, however closes much, much later if at all. Sam’s is more expensive but at least you get to sit in a proper table.

My favorite dawn food place is Pan de Pugon. Lately they’ve upped their offering to include silog dishes. I always go for their Bagoong rice with chicken fillet. It’s fried rice mixed with bagoong and sprinkled with crispy danggit bits. It’s awesome. I go to Pugon at least twice a week around 3-4am. I work nights you see. I think the tinderas there hate me. I always wake them up. Lol. Pan de Pugon is located in the same building as Margies. They’re competing in the cake space but I think Margie’s with their decadent monster cake is the front runner.

Pizza Places

A lot of pizza places has also mushroomed these past few years. Honestly, the pizzas are OK. Not great, but ok. I go to Caldas however for the pizza, not that I think it’s the best pizza out there but because they have a cool place and you can order beer as well. The combination of pizza and beer is the perfect foundation for a beer belly. So if you’re going for that Dad Bod, it’s the place to be. Caldas is in the Guingona area near the Provincial Capitol grounds. If you’re in Butuan and you’re craving for pizza and beer, that’s where you go. It’s pretty well known so the tricycle drivers should know it. They close around 2am though so better go there earlier.

Calda pizza

Butuan Secret Eating Spot

Fine this is not actually a secret. But for some Butuan folks, it may still be. There is a little carinderia along Langihan road called . They only serve food during lunch. I go there before 12pm to ensure that I arrive before the local offices pause for their lunch break. The halang-halang and the lechon kawali is awesome. I’m not sure how long they’ve operated but I feel they’ve been there for a loooong time and their offering hasn’t changed at all. It’s a closed space if you’re a bit finicky. It’s not like other carenderias where the flavor of the food needs the exhaust from vehicles to give it that peculiar zing.  You should try it out some time.

Barbara Elliott is well-experienced writer and blogger at PhDify.com. She travels a lot and can tell some interesting tips and secrets about successful trips. Barbara has been practicing yoga for ten years and has been teaching meditation for more than three years

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Real Estate Checklist: What Makes a High-Quality Condo?

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A high-quality doesn’t always mean they are the most expensive. You can assess the quality of a condo from its construction up to the track record of its developer.

Choosing a well-maintained and managed condo is ideal for investment. It places your money on the right type of property. Moreover, it makes you a credible buyer or seller because of the kind of condo you offer in the market. An park central towers, for example, is a high-quality condo. It encourages an active and engaged lifestyle with the community.

To ensure your investment, check these ten characteristics of a high-quality condo.

1. The space considers the need of future homeowners.

The measurements of the floor area are exactly as advertised. At the same time, the floor layout is spacious. The whole unit is ergonomic and moving from one place to another is comfortable and feels natural.

2. The finishing touches follow a high-standard.

Expensive and well-made condominiums use real wood, high-quality cement, and other types of rocks. Its materials – from doors to windows – are thick and sturdy. It also has customized knobs and cabinets.

Other than hardware, wall paint and flooring speaks for itself. The colors and texture are in sync with the overall theme and design of the unit. Some homeowners prefer a soundproof condo unit for added privacy.

3. The unit is fully furnished or has state-of-the-art fixtures.

Not all condo units come with pieces of furniture. However, those with furnishing has the best in the market. Luxurious condos have SMEG kitchen appliances or Canadian kitchen cabinets. For a luxurious bath, it has Kohler and Grohe bathroom fixtures. These are well-known brands producing quality products in the market.

4. A professional designed the condo’s interiors.

The condo did not end up looking like a real-life magazine catalog on its own. Several homeowners seek the help of interior designers to elevate the look and ambiance of their interior. For an elegant and polished appeal of the condo, these units follow a theme. A home looking like a work of art is an inspiring and exciting place to stay.

5. The condo receives enough light and is well-ventilated.

A well-designed condominium has enough lighting and ventilation. It receives has access to natural light from the windows and has enough fixtures in the unit. It has the right combination of warm and cool lighting as well as the necessary light installation for each room.

The room also doesn’t feel stuffy. It has air wells along with floor-to-ceiling glass or steel windows to refresh the quality of air in your home.

6. There are amenities within the complex.

A well-planned condo keeps comfort and convenience in mind. It caters to various lifestyles and ideas of relation. The property must have a kiddie pool and a lap pool, playground, jogging or walking path, and a gym. These amenities encourage chilling during weekends or keeping up with an exercise routine. The property must also house meeting and function room for business and entertainment.

7. The condo must prioritize safety.

The complex must be in a quiet, family-friendly location. It must also have 24-hour security, cameras, and regular maintenance to prevent safety hazards.

8. The property maintains its greens.

Luxury condos offer an escape from the demands of urban living. One of its notable features is landscaping. The greens in the complex must welcome you in an oasis or relaxation. The refreshing outdoor area with impeccable landscaping encourages a mini-retreat in the middle of a bustling city.

9. The management is on top of the homeowner’s well-being.

It’s not enough for management staff to be friendly. The security guards, sanitary workers, electrician, or receptionist must be responsive and on top of their job. They are there for a quick fix or assistance.

10. A reputable property developer with track record built the condo.

Well-known and trusted developers deliver their promise. They finish their projects on time and use high-quality materials to ensure there are no mishaps or rejects in their construction.

The best condos in Manila or Makati, Philippines are available at a premium price. It is double the price of an ordinary condo as it guarantees quality. Before purchasing a luxury condo, assess your needs. Use this checklist-slash-guide to make an informed decision on the condo unit you plan to buy.

Ways to Get Started in Real Estate While Saving Money to Invest

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“Real estate is an imperishable asset, ever increasing in value. It is the most solid security that human ingenuity has devised. It is the basis of all security and about the only indestructible security.” –Russel Sage

Real estate is one of the excellent ways to financial freedom. As a result of your endeavors, you will have a better leverage on your finances. Unfortunately, even when you do have the drive to succeed, pecuniary setbacks would often deter you from accomplishing your goals. There has never been any doubt that getting started in real estate investing would require money and if you lack capital, more often than not, you are out of luck. However, this does not mean that dabbling in real estate would be rendered impossible owing to your lack of funds. You do need to work a little hard and b committed to your cause. There is a myriad of ways to get started with investing even while you are building your capital and if you are lucky, you might even be able to invest sans the capital.

In any case, whether you are looking to invest on your first property in cloverleaf or elsewhere, here are some ways to get started while you build your capital:

  1. Working on your current job (or something like it)

If you are patient enough, you can build your capital by saving whatever you earn with your current salary. However, this takes a great deal of discipline on your part—so much so that you should learn how to curb your expenses. If your earnings are not that high, you might want to consider working overtime or at least taking side jobs doing things you have a natural flair at.

  1. Wholesaling

While wholesaling has been largely misconstrued as an investment, it is actually still working a job. It is not investing, but it does give you a little background on the comings and goings in the investing world. Wholesaling is an avenue for you to connect with buyers and sellers of distressed properties. However, as you do not necessarily have the funds to time the closing between buyer and seller, what you can do is to essentially charge a “finder’s fee” for being the middleman.

  1. Work as a referral agent

Although this is a relatively less-known practice, it is still an excellent way to create capital. One great advantage of being a referral agent over a regular real estate agent is that the former is a lot easier and requires much less of your time than a full-time real estate agent. All you would really need is a steady stream of connections which you can connect to real estate agents who you then charge a referral fee. This is one of the easiest jobs you can take to complement your current full-time job and it pays well as well.

  1. Partnering

If you no money of your own, find a partner that does have the financial resources. However, you need to be able to bring something to the table such as your exceptional skills in marketing or your connections. Remember to be meticulous with your partners, however, as you do not want to be stuck with a partner who would potentially swindle you or would cuckold you. Do not be willing to partner up with a stranger. Start business relationships with people you already know or at least develop a strong relationship with them first before partnering with them. Lastly, ensure that you are adequately protected by consulting a lawyer to ensure legalities are covered.

Three Things to Consider Before Buying an Investment Rental Property

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“Progress always involves risk. You cannot steal second base and keep your foot on the first.”-Fred Wilcox

Real estate investments have been invariably considered as one of the excellent avenues for making profit.

In fact, it is always associated with a lucrative venture and is seen as a great moneymaking endeavor. When you have purchased your rental property, it would be as if you have poised yourself for financial freedom. However, while real estate investments may be considered as a great way to earn proceed, it is in by no means an easy and quick track to producing profits. After all, apart from having a particular business acumen in real estate, a great deal of patience and determination is also required from you. Moreover, trying your hand at real estate investments does not mean you can arbitrarily select properties and put them for sale then expect them to rake in revenue. Apart from doing your research, you need to be incredibly hands on in the initial phases of your endeavor. Remember, making money in real estate is so much more than just purchasing the first decent house you see.

While home improvement shows may show you that flipping houses is as simple as buying dilapidated properties and giving them cosmetic makeovers to improve overall function and aesthetics, real life is so much more than that. What they depict on TV may not even be necessarily what would occur in real life.

In any case, whether you are planning to turn your Makati condo (or property elsewhere for that matter) into a rental investment property, here are some things you ought to keep in mind:

  1. Condition of the house

Of course, buying a fixer-upper probably means that the property you are going to be buying would be run-down or at least be a little beat. However, you need to set some realistic expectations about how much time and money you are willing to invest in order to make the downtrodden house attractive again. At the very most, you should go for the home that requires minimal repairs and cosmetic touches and then have it thoroughly inspected by a qualified professional. Moreover, you also need to ask yourself how many of these repairs would you be able to realistically do on your own and how many would require the expertise of a contractor.

  1. The 1% Rule

While every real estate investor is entitled to his or her own financial goals when it comes to returns, it is a universal agreement that the income of an investment property should at least abide by the 1% rule. This means that you need to make at least 1% of its total purchasing price when you bought it every single month since you have sold it. The only time you can overlook the 1% rule is when a neighborhood is drastically changing or rapidly improving. In this regard, you can expect home values and rents to significantly increase over a short amount of time.

3. Neighborhood

One of the primary things that a prospective tenant would consider in renting out a home or apartment is the location. In fact, it may even be said that the location of a house is just as important as the house itself. In this regard, it would be wise to select an area wisely—particularly if you are potentially considering a tenancy. Choose an area where you tenants would want to live. Ideally, this should be somewhere not only safe but also in proximity to major offices, schools and entertainment hubs as well. Choose a neighborhood whose crime rates are not too high. Moreover, be on the lookout for communities with well-manicured lawns and aesthetically painted homes as tenants will be more receptive in living on a street with excellent curb appeal.

If you wish to market your tenancy to families, have a look at the local school district and ensure that they are within reasonable distance from the neighborhood you have chosen. Parents with children are more likely to rent from areas that have well-ranked schools close-by. Alternatively, if you wish to market your rental property to students, ensure there is a nearby university as this will guarantee a strong rental market.

2018 Colors for a Charming Kitchen

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The coming year is another opportunity to throw out the old and get something new. Whether it’s a new home, a piece of furniture or an article of clothing, upgrading the outdated and replacing it with something modern or state-of-the-art will fill you with giddiness and excitement.

If you plan to look for a condo for sale Manila or simply your home for 2018, you need to take note of these colors to make your kitchen the best.

Black

When talking about dark colors, the strongest shade among the group which is black always gets the most attention. The tone conveys deep emotions and translates to actions that require high levels of confidence. To get an updated version of this versatile hue, you can choose a semi-gloss finish to make it look like patent leather. The shine will accentuate the items at home pop. You can also opt for a matte finish and pair it with glistening materials like white marble and neon plastic.

Chocolate Bark

You can get inspiration from a lot of things including food. A dark brown hue is not only present in wood materials. You can use the color to paint smooth countertops, cabinets, and drawers. Brown is not as dramatic as black and is effective in providing a contrasting color for off-white ceramics. It is also warmer and more earthy than black.

Creamy Teal

Cool tones provide tranquility and relaxation. Hence, you can paint the whole area in the same shade. A creamy teal is similar to the waters of the tropical seas. The sight of it will make you think of fresh breeze and calm nature of the ocean.

Deep Ocean

A paint resembling the deep ocean is excellent for bringing out aged or wood items in the kitchen. It brightens the area and complements white and red hues. It will remind you of boat houses, cruises, and boat sails while scrambling some eggs.

Eighties rose

You can always translate your fashion options into your home. An update from the usual salmon and pink rose, the eighties-inspired pink kitchen will delight your senses. It is playful and youthful. It fills the area with energy and will make you think of bubblegum, cherry candy and all things sweet.

Foggy Blue

You can play up the colors of your kitchen by dropping hints of black or gray and mix them with a bright shade. Combining charcoal and blue makes a mysterious and elegant tone that will remind you of rainfall. A large kitchen area can get away with the full-on color. If you have limited space to move around, you can paint the island and counters with it. You can finish off with a gleaming white top.

Gray

Light gray, specifically a shade close to charcoal, gives a sense of shadow while emphasizing the softness of the environment. It is a hue that combines the light and dark palettes while serving as a neutral canvas for lively colors. You can use gray to fill the room. The color becomes a canvas for unique or quirky pieces of dining tables, chairs, and artwork.

Soothing Green

As the color is in the middle of the spectrum, it evokes warmth and coolness at the same time. Having the color in the space brings a dash of nature in the area. Thus, painting spot in soothing green increases the brightness in the kitchen when the sun is up and transforms to blue as light leaves the area.

Ripe Oranges

Zesty and full of life, ripe oranges is a popular color for summer as its species thrive in sunny and fair weather areas. The pulpy and juicy fruit is known as a refreshing drink, so it’s hard to miss. The hue is most effective in small doses and in areas that require additional attention.

Paper Cloud

It may be as transparent as noon clouds or white paper. A paper cloud hue is an update from the usual white. It has a hint of gray that is useful fo0r drawing attention to architectural details. Even if the paint is on the light side of the color spectrum, it can still go with other light shades such as rough cream walls, mellow yellows, and muted peach.

Try not to limit yourself when looking for ways to improve the kitchen. The best cookeries are those that embrace out-of-the-box design ideas. It’s best to choose a color that expresses your individuality while maintaining the aesthetic of your home. You can opt for mystery and drama or a soft and dreamy vibe. The power to translate your style depends on the color you choose for the kitchen.