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A guide to borrowing money this Year of the Pig

To set you off to a good start, here are a few tips for first-time loan applicants that can help you build and establish financial success and stability.

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Photo by Fabian Blank from Unsplash.com

For many years, the country has observed Chinese New Year as a manifestation of solidarity between both Chinese-Filipinos and Filipinos in celebrating prosperity and good life.

The Chinese are identified as frugal because they always look at the value of commodity instead of spending impulsively. In Chinese tradition, during the Chinese New Year, children are given red envelopes, or “ampao,” to teach them on responsible money management at an early age. Chinese people perceived this as a best way for their children to receive a gift that teaches a lesson.

That the new year is a great time to have a fresh start, meanwhile, is a concept instilled in many Filipinos. We see it as a great time to hope for a better financial stability. However, in a survey question conducted by Statistics Weather Station (SWS), “Is it with hopes or with fears that you enter the coming year?” only 92 percent of Filipinos are hopeful to enter the year 2019, which is a four-point decline from 96% hopefuls last year.

How can the hope of many Filipinos can be translated to financial success this Year of the Earth Pig?

There are plenty of ways one can pursue financial success. You can start a small business or invest your money to get favorable returns. If you’re short on cash, you can take out a loan.

In the Philippines, applying for a loan has a negative notion because it correlates to debt. But consumer loans actually support people to build and establish a credit history that virtually all banking and finance companies are looking for.

This Chinese New Year is the best time to debunk the notion on applying for a loan. Now is the time to understand that loans are serving a number of purposes.

Loans come in handy for purchase of big=ticket items, or a means to buy your dream house or car, or simply as a buffer for emergency cash needs. However, applying for a loan for the first time can cause confusion, to say the least, and can come with serious financial consequences.

To set you off to a good start, here are a few tips for first-time loan applicants that can help you build and establish financial success and stability.

eComparemo.com, the country’s largest online financial supermarket, helps you choose the right loan with this guide.

Types of loans

Personal Loan

Personal loans are usually unsecured loans, which means it’s based purely on your credit score and does not require any collateral unlike secured loans. The interest rates may range from 1.2% to 8%, depending on the financial institution, and payment terms are typically shorter, from 6 to 60 months.

Car Loan

Car loans are for people who don’t have enough cash to shoulder the full purchase of a vehicle. It has flexible payment terms of three to five years. It’s easy to apply for a car loan–just submit valid IDs and proof of income to get pre-approved. It may require you to have the down payment for the car to get approved.

Home Loan

Housing loan interest rates are decided between you and the financial institution, with payment terms ranging from 5 to 30 years. The lender maintains property rights as collateral, and an appraisal fee typically applies.

OFW Loan

OFW loans work similarly as personal loans, but are specifically targeted at overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with valid contracts. A co-borrower or immediate relative based in the Philippines is required. It usually has flexible payment terms to accommodate the specific needs of OFWs and their families.

Credit Cards or Cash Advances

Cash advances are short-term loans with higher interest rates and is typically paid for the following month. Some credit card companies offer longer terms from 3 to 12 months. The amount you can borrow depends on your credit limit.

Business Loan

Business loans can be used for a new business or the expansion of an existing one. Examples are line credit, equipment loan, and conventional business loan. Submit your business registration and tax documents to apply. Terms depend on the nature of your business and the agreement between you and your lender.

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Dad tips we take for granted but go a long way

With all the pressure that comes with responsibilities, dads also need to look after their own wellbeing too.

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There is no one-size-fits all way to being a father, but most working dads want to do the best to support their loved ones. With all the pressure that comes with these responsibilities, dads also need to look after their own wellbeing too. 

Donato Avellana is the Health and Wellbeing Lead for the Vibe Team at Canva Philippines, and as a father himself, he acknowledges the importance of work-life balance. He has helped build programs at Canva that empower employees to have a healthy work-life balance, with holistic programs for all domains of wellness. Taking his learnings from this, he shares some helpful and practical tips to help dads to develop healthy habits that can boost their happiness at work and at home. 

1. Rest and recover well

Rest and relaxation is crucial to improve our overall health. Try your best to get at least 7 hours of sleep, go to bed an hour before you go to sleep, and stay away from your TV or mobile phone, as several studies show that the blue light from screens can disrupt sleep. Sleep is often a neglected component of overall well-being, but this is where the body repairs itself to get ready for another day. Remember that you deserve to rest.

2. Start your day with a cold shower 

Showering can also offer more benefits than many realise.  By using water that is a little cold, you can improve blood circulation, with the lower temperature causing blood to run to the skin’s surface. Good blood circulation plays an important role in our health for proper nutrient distribution throughout our body.

This is also a good time for dads to have their ‘me’ time. Breathing exercises are a great way to start the day, by offering the opportunity to regroup and reflect. 

3. Move more, make it a habit

The health benefits of movement have been scientifically proven time and time again. Your body is connected to your brain and your movement habits can positively impact how you think and feel. Inactivity can make you feel sluggish and tired, making it hard to find motivation and deliver on responsibilities.

Add regular walks, stand often, or follow stretching routines that you can commit to during the day. Taking time for a short 10-15-minute walk is a great way to have a mental and physical break.

4. Eat smart: practice a mindful eating habit. 

We have been educated about what healthy eating is since we were kids. Eating intuitively on a regular schedule is very important. Eating with no structure creates mindless eating that can lead to poor nutrition choices. Think of nourishing your body with healthy fuel for efficient performance instead of just eating. Eat a variety of whole foods, have fruits and vegetables, and hydrate smartly.

5. It’s okay to ask for help

This shortlist might not be easy for everyone, so I encourage dads to seek help when they need it. You might want to start at home with your spouse, ask for help from co-workers, peers, fellow fathers, professionals such as your doctor.

Showing appreciation to your father

If you’re still looking for heart-felt gift ideas for your dad, you can browse through Canva for free design ideas and inspiration. 

Make your dad, grandfather or any other special figure feel loved and appreciated by designing personalized cards. A wide variety of photos, customizable templates, and full-color professional layouts are available. You can also find Filipino templates by changing the language settings to Tagalog and searching for the word ‘tatay’.

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Food safety when eating outdoors

Follow the tips below to keep your food safe when eating outdoors.

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Photo by Andrik Langfield from Unsplash.com

June 20th marks the official start of summer, which means warm, sunny days perfect for picnics and barbecues.  Unfortunately, this time of year is also a favorite for foodborne bacteria that cause foodborne illness (also known as food poisoning), which multiply faster at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F. 

Follow the tips below to keep your food safe when eating outdoors.

Before your picnic

  • Defrost meat, poultry, and seafood in the refrigerator or by submerging sealed packages in cold water. You can also microwave-defrost, but only if the food will be grilled immediately afterward.
  • Never reuse marinade that touched raw foods unless you boil it first or set some of the marinade aside before marinating food to use for sauce later.
  • Marinate foods in the fridge, not the countertop.
  • Wash all produce before eating, even if you plan to peel it. The knife you use to peel it can carry bacteria into the part you eat. Fruits and vegetables that are pre-cut or peeled should be refrigerated or kept on ice to maintain quality and safety.
  • If your picnic site doesn’t offer clean water access, bring water and soap or pack moist disposable towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.
  • Don’t forget to pack a food thermometer!

Packing coolers

  • Place food from the refrigerator directly into an insulated cooler immediately before leaving home.
  • Use ice or ice packs to keep your cooler at 40 °F or below.
  • Pack raw meat, poultry, and seafood in a separate cooler, or wrap it securely and store at the bottom of the cooler where the juices can’t drip onto other foods. Place beverages in a separate cooler; this will offer easy drink access while keeping perishable food coolers closed.
  • Avoid loading coolers in the trunk of the car, as it can collect heat. Once at the picnic site, keep food in coolers until serving time (out of direct sun) and avoid opening the lids often.

Grilling

  • Have clean utensils and platters available. Cook meat, poultry, and seafood to the right temperatures ─ use a food thermometer to be sure (see Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures Chart). Keep cooked meats hot at 140 °F or warmer until serving time — set them to the side of the grill rack to keep them hot.
  • When removing foods from the grill, place them on a clean platter. Never use the same platter and utensils for cooked food that you used for raw meat, poultry, or seafood.

Time and temperature 

Don’t let hot or cold food sit in the “Danger Zone” (between 40 °F and 140 °F) for more than 2 hours – or 1 hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90 °F. If they do, throw them away.

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5 Tips to promote health during spring

Take steps this spring to ease the impact of sinus and allergy problems and focus on your overall wellness for a smooth transition with these tips.

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Photo by Blake Meyer from Unsplash.com

As seasons change, there’s often a great deal of shuffling and movement, including common allergy triggers like trees, pollen, mold spores, dust and dander along with pesky sinus pressure. Combined with changes in barometric pressure and weather patterns bouncing up and down, spring can be one big pain – literally.

“This is the time of year when most of us are excited to see the change of seasons, but millions of allergy and sinus sufferers welcome spring with trepidation,” Dr. Ian Smith, M.D., said. “Common triggers such as trees, pollen, mold spores, dust and dander can wreak havoc for many. Having a trusted multi-symptom reliever of upper respiratory allergies… is absolutely key in making the season more enjoyable for all suffering from sinus and congestion issues. With a reliable multi-symptom product stashed in your medicine cabinet, and the combination of simple modifications like being mindful of your indoor climate, eating more fruits and veggies, and staying hydrated, can help limit sinus discomfort this season.” 

Take steps this spring to ease the impact of sinus and allergy problems and focus on your overall wellness for a smooth transition with these tips:

1. Control your allergy and sinus triggers. 

Knowing what flares your allergic reactions can help prevent discomfort. For many people, monitoring pollen counts and limiting time outdoors on high-pollen days can help reduce reactions. You might also avoid hanging laundry outside, as pollen can stick to clothes and sheets as they dry, and ask for help with yardwork to limit your exposure.

2. Find some pressure release. 

When nasal congestion or sinus pressure build, it can feel like a ton of bricks have landed on your head. However, you can find relief with products designed to help clear up your stuffy nose, relieve headaches and thin and loosen excess mucus. Often, if you’re experiencing sinus problems, you’re dealing with multiple symptoms. From congestion to headaches and sinus pressure, an over-the-counter medicine like Mucinex Sinus-Max can break up your sinus symptoms with just one dose or your money back.

3. Manage your indoor climate. 

Even when you start spending more time outdoors, it’s important to keep close tabs on the quality of the air inside your home. If you’re prone to allergy flare-ups or sinus infections, manage the humidity level by using a humidifier or dehumidifier. If outdoor allergens are a concern, avoid opening windows and doors, and instead rely on air conditioning on warmer days. Also be sure to change filters regularly and use an air purifier for added protection.

4. Keep fluids flowing. 

More time outdoors in warmer weather can quickly lead to dehydration, especially if you’re working up a sweat. Drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated and keep your body operating in top shape. Staying hydrated can also help keep mucus moving, allowing you to ease through allergy or sinus problems.

5. Update your medicine cabinet. 

A seasonal change is a good time to take stock of your medical supplies and medications to ensure you have what you need for the months ahead. Discard any expired prescriptions or over the counter medicines and be sure restock common spring and summer essentials like bug bite ointments, sunburn spray and multi-symptom products like Mucinex Sinus-Max to help temporarily relieve sinus and congestion symptoms in one dose. Also be sure to replenish your first aid kit with plenty of bandages and wound care supplies.

For more information, visit Mucinex.com.

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