Work-life balance: have you achieved it yet?

work-life balance

work-life balance

Many of us wonder how to achieve work-life balance. Should we allot the same amount of time for work and play? Should we move closer to our place of work? Should we actually consider planting roots and buying property for sale in Manila?

The answer largely rests on what you need. But to make it work, you need to involve all aspects of your life.

In her article for business magazine Inc., Amanda Abella—author of Make Money Your Honey—points out: “No matter how hard we try, we can’t put different parts of our lives into these neatly packaged little compartments. Not to mention this is totally unrealistic.”

Abella goes on to explain that the idea of work-life balance is fluid. This means that there are no strict rules on what it should be. After all, there are so many variables to consider. What may work for one person won’t necessarily work for another.

Here are professionals from different industries on their definition of work-life balance, and what they did to attain it.

work-life balance

1. Work hard on weekdays, chill on weekends and holidays.

Karl, 34, a freelance online gaming consultant is single and lives in Cagayan de Oro City. Due to his circumstances and location, his work-life balance equation isn’t so complicated. “I’m in front of my computer for almost 12 hours or even more each day from Monday to Friday. My work relies on stable power supply and Internet connection. [But] there have been issues with the power supply in our region, so I’m seriously considering relocating to Metro Manila. My sister and I are thinking of buying condo units in the same building,” he reveals.

Karl adds, “Since my definition of work-life balance consists of working straight on weekdays and relaxing on weekends, I would really want to be in a location where my work isn’t disrupted, and I don’t have to make up for the work I couldn’t do on weekdays during weekends or holidays. When I’m off, I’m off. That’s why I need a place with dependable power supply and Internet connection.”

Karl enumerates his relocation must-haves. He says, “It should be in a centrally located area. I want shops to be within walking distance because I don’t want to buy a car or commute much. So I think I’d want to live in Makati. That way, when I want to relax on weekends, I can just walk to the Glorietta or Greenbelt.”

Within Metro Manila, an ideal choice would be buying a Makati condo for sale such as Alveo’s Callisto at Circuit Makati.

work-life balance

2. It’s all about location, location, location.

Donna, a 37-year-old BPO executive with two kids under seven, has taken a geographical approach in order to attain work-life balance. She currently lives in Better Living Subdivision, Parañaque City.

“If you’re from the South, you’re used to traffic and tollways,” she says. “The one thing I learned is while you can work around practically anything, you can’t predict how Metro Manila traffic will be. There are good days when you can go home in an hour or less from Makati to Parañaque. Then, there are bad days when you get stuck on the Skyway for almost an hour.”

Donna and her husband, who is also a BPO executive, are now making plans to relocate to Laguna, where there are many properties for sale. “This house in Parañaque belongs to my husband’s parents, who have long relocated to the US with my brother-in-law,” Donna explains. “We were able to save a lot when we lived rent-free for 15 years. So now we have the option of buying a place somewhere greener.”

Since Donna’s extended family is based in Calamba, Laguna, it makes sense for them to relocate there. “My husband and I are going to look for jobs in BPO’s based in Laguna. Once we have that done, we plan to buy a place in NUVALI,” she says. “That would ease our commuting woes. There’s traffic in Laguna, too, but it’s not as bad as what we’ve experienced in Parañaque.”

Alveo Land’s Aveia project in Binan would be a good choice. This development, with many lots for sale in Laguna available, is just within the right distance from everything a growing family needs. Run by one of the top real estate developers in the Philippines, Aveia is understandably among the in-demand properties for sale in the Philippines.

work-life balance

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Vida, a 31-year-old lawyer who is a single mom of a 10-year-old girl, has been living in her family home in Paco, Manila since she was born. Her idea of work-life balance involves multitasking. “It’s all about time management for me. When you manage your time well, everything follows. I allot a number of hours for my work, my family, and myself. I wouldn’t say it’s an equal number of hours. Work gets 80 percent of my waking hours on weekdays,” she states. “But then there are problems when there are unforeseen emergencies. In my case, it involves our house.”

Since it’s just Vida, her mother and her daughter living in their 50-year-old house, Vida has to take care of the maintenance herself. She took a crash course in doing repair and maintenance work. “I now know how to change a faucet. However, the issues with the house seem to be never-ending,” she relates.

“That’s why I realized it would make more sense if we moved to a well-managed condo,” Vida says. “There are less headaches when you live in condos. Since I’m at that point in my career when I’m being given more responsibilities, it would help if I didn’t have to be anxious over these house-related emergencies.” Her mom also has her own priorities. “My mom wants to move to a condo that’s near a park so that she and my daughter can get a small dog that they could take there every day. So, that’s also a consideration for which condo we pick,” Vida discloses.

At the end of the day, living in a place that suits all your needs can contribute to a sound work-life balance. Pick a place where everything is within reach, where your place of work is close by, and where there’s greenery to enjoy within walking distance. With the proliferation of property for sale in the Philippines, there’s no shortage of options to suit your needs. Choose from a wide range of Philippine properties from Alveo Land, one of the top real estate developers in the Philippines.

Click here to find that perfect place for you.

A Primer on Buying Property in the Philippines

 

Buildings. buying property in the Philippines

Have you ever considered buying property in the Philippines? With the Philippines dubbed as one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, real estate in the Philippines is a good investment to look into.

According to the Asia Pacific City Investment Prospects 2017, Metro Manila is one of the top three most attractive city investment prospects in the Asia Pacific region. Makati, in particular, increased its land value by 13.85% last year.

And as of February 2018, rental yields of Metro Manila condominiums are at 7%–higher than the interest rates offered by other investment instruments like time deposits, bonds, and bank lending.

Needless to say, buying property in Manila is a wise investment choice. The only question is, how should you navigate the Philippine real estate market?

Here is a short primer on the things to remember when purchasing property in the Philippines.

Factors to Consider in Buying Properties

Purchasing a house and lot for sale in the Philippines is a huge investment decision. The following factors can help you decide on the property that’s right for you:

  • Type of property

You should know the type of home that befits your lifestyle.

Do you want to have a lot of space to move around in? Then consider getting a bungalow or single attached unit ideal for beginning families.

Are you happy living by yourself in the heart of the metro? A studio or one-bedroom condominium unit might just be what you need.

Want more living space than a condo? Consider townhouses.

If you would rather design your own house, purchase a vacant lot for sale in the Philippines so that you can call the shots.

There are so many properties to choose from, so assess your needs and wants to come up with the type of property that’s best for you and your family.

  • Developer

To ensure the quality of your home, purchase from a top real estate developer with a proven track record, strong industry reputation, and a sizeable capital like Alveo Land.

While the competitive prices of neophyte property developers may be attractive, gambling on them might burn you in the end. This is especially true for preselling homes since you won’t be able to see what you’re purchasing beforehand.

For instance, it may be harder for industry newbies to get approved for commercial loans to fund their projects, so once the initial capital is spent, the rest of the financing will have to come from the buyers. Once the funding stops, you might experience delays in unit turnovers and receive subpar deliverables.

  • Budget

Perhaps one of the biggest considerations in buying property is the price. Paying off a home loan is a long-term commitment, so you need to consider your monthly income and make sure that you can handle your total monthly payables, like amortization and association dues.

Most banks have a maximum loanable amount of 80% of the selling price, but it’s mostly based on the appraised value of the property, your monthly income, and your credit history. The bank or home loan agency will only let you borrow what they think is within your capacity to pay.

As a rule of thumb, set aside at least 20% of the purchase price to pay for equity. Add 5% for other fees and miscellaneous expenses.

  • Location

Choose a central location that’s close to public transportation, as well as establishments like hospitals, banks, markets, and other commercial areas. If you have kids, a home close to school is convenient. It’s also great to have your home near your workplace.

You should also consider the safety and security of your neighborhood. Is it flood-free? Is it along the fault line? Asking yourself these questions can safeguard you from natural calamities.

Pool. Purchasing property in the philippines

  • Amenities

Many property developers offer amenities to make their properties more attractive, such as swimming pools, clubhouses, open green spaces, gyms, and playgrounds.

Ask yourself which amenities you can’t live without. However, take note that these come at an extra cost in your monthly association dues, as these facilities need to be maintained.

Taxes and Fees Involved

Keep in mind that when buying homes for sale in the Philippines, the selling price is not always the final price. There are several taxes and fees that should be taken into consideration, as these affect the total price of the transaction.

Seller’s Responsibility

  • Income Tax

The sale of real estate property is part of the seller’s additional income, so it is subject to a 30% regular income tax.

  • Real Property Tax

Also known as amilyar, real property tax is the tax imposed on all forms of real property. Metro Manila properties have a tax rate of 2%, while properties located in the provinces have a 1% tax rate.

  • Value-Added Tax (VAT)

The 12% VAT on properties is only applicable to house and lots and condominium units above P3,199,200, as well as vacant lots above P1,919,500.

However, VAT-exempt properties are still subjected to a 3% percentage tax.

  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

The CGT is the tax imposed on the earnings that the seller has gained from the sale of capital assets-– properties that are not used in businesses.

CGT is equivalent to 6% of the gross selling price. It should be paid within 30 days after the transaction.

  • Documentary Stamp Tax (DST)

The DST is the excise tax imposed on documents and loan agreements regarding the sale or transfer of property. It is 1.5% of the selling price.

Buyer's responsibility. Purchasing property in the Philippines

Buyer’s Responsibility

  • Transfer Tax

The transfer tax is levied on any mode conveying ownership of the property. It is 50% to 75% of the 1% of the tax base for properties located in the provinces and Metro Manila, respectively.

  • Registration Fee

It is a fee paid for the registration of a Deed of Absolute Sale of a Philippine real estate for sale. It starts at P8,796 for the first P1.7 million, adding P90 for every P20,000 in excess.

  • Loan Fees

If you apply for a housing loan to finance your property purchase, you incur several extra costs as well, such as appraisal fee, handling fee, mortgage redemption insurance, and fire insurance.

Tips on Buying Real Estate in the Philippines

  • Make sure that the title and other documents are clean and authentic.

If you’re buying from an individual, get a Certified True Copy of the title from the Register of Deeds to make sure that the title is genuine. Verify that it’s clean, meaning all mortgages are paid, and there are no encumbrances at the back of the title.

You should also confirm that all real estate taxes are paid. Ask for a copy of the tax declaration and tax receipts.

  • Verify ownership and land size.

Another thing that you have to ensure is that you’re dealing with the real owners and property.

Ask for identification papers from the sellers, such as their passport or driver’s license. If possible, talk to the neighbors about the identity and personal history of the property owner.

To verify that the actual property you’re buying matches the technical description in the title, validate it at the Register of Deeds or hire a private land surveyor.

  • Check contract provisions.

If you’re buying from a developer, make sure that you check the provisions of the contract you’re going to sign, including the annexes. Your licensed real estate broker should be able to explain to you all the legal jargon and translate them into layman’s terms.

Notarize all signed documents and keep a copy for yourself.

  • Negotiate.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate the different terms of your contract, such as cash-outs, monthly installments, discounts, incentives, and interest rates.

If you’re buying a condo unit, you may also discuss certain modifications, as there are developers who entertain negotiations before construction begins.

  • Consult the experts.

Only deal with a licensed real estate broker or agent to help you purchase property in the Philippines. They should have a proven track record and extensive knowledge of the property.

Remember to be diligent when buying property in the Philippines. Purchasing property from a trusted developer like Alveo Land ensures that your property is of topnotch quality and design, built to stand the test of time. Its high resale value also makes it a viable real estate investment.

Visit here to find the property that’s perfect for you.

The To-do List for Real Estate Investors

Condo for real estate investments

 

 

 

Buying real estate in the Philippines is a bit like falling in love. Choose wisely, and it may end up being the best thing you’ve ever done in your life. Make a miscalculation, and it can be a long-term source of headaches. But how do you know which mistakes to avoid?

There are certain things investors in real estate need to consider before they take the plunge. Taken seriously, these key reminders may keep you from making major mistakes when your goal is owning land in the Philippines.

Think about the future

People generally start thinking of investing in real estate–like buying land in the Philippines–only when their current situation calls for it. For example, when they get a job promotion, a pay increase lets them afford a condo downpayment. They could also be transitioning between life stages and may need a home to settle in after marriage. However, considering buying a condo for sale or house and lot for sale is more than just about the present. The demands of the future will also need to be considered.

Investing in real estate is a commitment, especially if you are purchasing property that you plan to live in. Think about what the future will look like, and what needs will crop up then. A seemingly simple concept as pet ownership, for instance, can affect your investment. If you plan to adopt a furry four-legged companion, do remember that some condominium developments are more pet-friendly than others, which will narrow down your choices. Or when elderly parents stay with you, proximity to healthcare facilities and extra bedrooms are top issues to consider.

Buy within your means

Buying a house or a pre-selling condo takes a considerable amount of money compared to other purchases. Take the time to learn how much it will cost to own and maintain. The most practical solution is to talk to an expert with a calculator onhand, and track the expenses you will be making on your investment against your daily budget.

Even then, consider that there are some costs that are not directly involved in the property purchase, but still needs to be paid for. These include parking fees, association dues, and connection charges for utilities in condominiums.

House for real estate investments

Invest because it’s right for you and your family, not just because you can afford it

The construction boom happening in the country over the past couple of years leads to a practical implication for buyers: affordable prices. Condominiums for sale in the Philippines now come in a range of prices to suit an equally diverse range of budgets.

However, price should not be the only consideration when purchasing real estate: remember why you want to own land in the Philippines in the first place. If it’s meant to be income-generating (either through rental or an eventual sale), consider by how much the property will appreciate in time. According to sales expert Grant Cardone, “Properties historically increase in value as the net operating income of the property improves through rent increases and more effective management of the asset.” Do consider the ability of the developer or condominium association to maintain the property and help increase the value of your investment.

On the other hand, if you are purchasing the property for your own use, think about how comfortable you will be with the environment. Does it have the amenities you like? Is it close to your place of work or to your kids’ school? Finding property you enjoy will make it worth the price.

Observe the market to form the best strategy

In real estate, words like “seller’s market” and “buyer’s market” get thrown around a lot, which basically refer to the way prices are affected by supply and demand. If it is a seller’s market, then prices tend to rise because there are a lot of people who want to buy. On the other hand, a buyer’s market brings on lower prices because there’s not much competition to drive the rates up.

It seems pretty easy when it’s a buyer’s market since lower prices mean a better deal. But what do you do when the market isn’t where you want it to be? Surprisingly, the answer isn’t always to hold off buying. In the book Real Estate Investments and How to Make Them, author Milt Tanzer writes, “You cannot afford to wait until the perfect market opportunity for you arises. It may never happen.”

Those looking to buy property need to change their tactics depending on what’s going on in the industry. In a seller’s market, be open to buying in places other than your original choice. Find options like pre-selling condominiums, which give better deals. The upside to buying in a seller’s market is that you benefit from the high value, too.

Real estate is a good investment. It’s only a question of finding the right property to invest in, and remembering that a “good” investment is a personal definition. With an established reputation among real estate developers in the Philippines, Alveo Land’s portfolio provides a great variety to choose from. Its developments are located in established cities such as Makati, Pasig, and BGC, or upcoming districts such as in Arca South. Its latest tower, Park Cascades, is a noteworthy option, with its accessible and secure location in Taguig.

When buying property in the Philippines, many factors including property valuation, location, and especially construction quality, should all be taken into consideration when looking to invest in real estate. Learn about your best options here.

Self-Care for Successful People

What is self-care and why should you take precious time out of your busy schedule for it?

At its most basic level, self-care means mindfully taking care of your needs. It’s about putting yourself first (physically, mentally, and emotionally), so that you can give your 100 percent in varied aspects of your life. It changes from person to person, and can take as little time as a few minutes to a few hours.

You might think that your time could be better spent elsewhere. But think of it this way: there’s a reason why, in times of crisis, aircraft safety instructions remind you to put on your oxygen mask first before helping others. “If you are depleted and exhausted emotionally, physically, or mentally, you will have nothing to give anyone else,” say wellness pioneers Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips in their book Self-Care for the Real World.

Time invested on self-care is time well-spent. Think about all the minutes and hours you spend procrastinating or mindlessly scrolling online—and imagine how much better off you’d be if that time was spent on self-care.

With so many forms to choose from, try some of these methods to figure out which ones work best for you.

Photo by Victor Freitas for Unsplash.com

Get moving

Hit the gym in your condo, jog around your complex before work, or squeeze in a few laps at the pool as soon as you get home. All are easy to do especially when living in a condo that provides ample amenities for everyday wellness activities.

Regular exercise does wonders for your personal well-being and professional productivity. Author Tom Corley spent five years researching the daily habits of over 200 wealthy individuals for his books Rich Habits and Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. He found that 76 percent of his successful respondents work out for half an hour every day by jogging, biking, walking, or doing other aerobic exercises.

If you find the thought of working out particularly unappealing, think of it as a habit that can (and should) become second nature once you put in the initial effort. Corley writes, “Habits, by their very definition, are persistent routines. When you adopt good habits, they help you grow your skills and knowledge… Each good habit you add to your life has a cumulative effect. [Good habits] are like an investment in your individual success.”

Photo by Anthony Tran for Unsplash.com

Be grateful

It may sound simplistic and even corny to some. Science, though, proves that being truly thankful has many practical benefits, including personal happiness. According to University of California gratitude researcher and psychology professor Robert Emmons, people who are grateful tend to be healthier, more focused, and more optimistic than others who don’t have a habit of being thankful.

In one study, Emmons writes, “In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events. Beyond these, being grateful for big and small events in one’s life makes one resilient, improves one’s relationships, and gives one more control over his or her life.”

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Hit pause

There’s so much more to meditation than sitting cross-legged for an uncomfortable stretch of time. Meditation is simply “an umbrella term for the many ways to be in a relaxed state of being,” according to the medical research group Mayo Clinic. Meditation practices can include something as simple as quieting your mind as you enjoy your morning coffee, or spending some me-time in your favorite thinking spot. It’s one way to take stock of your overall well-being and pinpoint where you can do better in life. Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe even describes how liberating and transformative it is to stay still and do nothing for 10 straight minutes.

Multiple studies over the years have also brought to light the neurological benefits of meditation. For eight weeks, participants in a 2011 Harvard University study spent an average of 27 minutes every day practicing mindful exercises such as “non-judgmental awareness of sensations, feelings, and state of mind.” The study found that eight weeks of daily meditation led to “increased gray-matter density” in areas of the brain associated with learning, memory, self-awareness, compassion, and introspection, as well as decreased density in those associated with anxiety and stress. In short, a few minutes of daily meditation is an act of self-care that nourishes and even rebuilds your brain.

Photo by Brooke Lark for Unsplash.com

Eat well

As writer Virginia Woolf beautifully put it in her essay A Room of One’s Own, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” There is a simple, delicious joy in learning a new recipe or eating out to nourish yourself with good food.

“Being mindful of what you are eating and how it nourishes your body and soul is a good start to practicing self-care around food,” according to Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips. “We’ve learned from experience that it’s not so much about what you’re eating as how you’re eating it. Are you eating from a place of love and nourishment, or out of punishment?” Knowing the benefits of working smart, don’t you think it’s also time to start eating smart?

Photo from pixabay.com

Say no

In her book The Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time, Cheryl Richardson suggests to make a list of things you don’t want to do. She says the list should “make you feel safe, protected, taken care of, and free to be your best self.” Items on your list could be things you’ve stopped doing or no longer want to do; or things that stress you out. For example: “I will stop using my credit card until I’ve paid my outstanding bill in full. I will not volunteer for an organization that I don’t completely believe in.”

Once you know which things you no longer want to tolerate in your life, you will see how many opportunities there are to be happy.

These are but a few examples of self-care, but there are plenty of other options you can explore. The point is to do something for yourself without feeling guilty or selfish, so that you avoid burnouts and feel recharged.

Self-care takes time and initiative, and choosing where you live, for example, can make all the difference. As one of the top real estate developers in the Philippines, Alveo Land provides great opportunities for wellness and recreation with choice amenities in their developments, along with proximity to key locations within the city. With condos for sale in such locations as BGC, Makati, Pasig, Quezon City, Cebu, Davao, Pampanga, Manila, and Laguna, Alveo Land can make your daily self-care journey that much easier. Click here to learn more.

Your Portfolio by Life Stage

Asset allocation is one of the more basic investment concepts that is most often neglected.

The concept behind it is quite simple: the percentage or allocation of your assets between bonds, equities, and the like should change as your life stage does too. Your investment horizon, your need for liquidity, and your capacity to take risks will then change as you grow older.

“As you go through life’s different stages, your financial needs change,” agrees Alvin T. Tabanag, personal money management coach, registered financial planner, and best-selling author of ’12 Steps to Build Wealth on Any Income.’ “In your 20s and 30s you will mostly be concerned with addressing needs related to starting and building a family: a wedding fund, building your own home, stuff for the house, a new car, and your children’s college education fund. As you enter the mid-life stage, focus shifts to more long-term needs.”

The “100 Minus Age” Formula

So how does one know how much of each asset to have?

One of the most simple rules used is the “100 minus age” formula. In it, one simply subtracts their age from 100 to determine what percentage of their investment allocation should go to stocks or equities.

So, for example, someone who is 30 years old should have 70% (100 – 30 = 70) of his investments in high-risk, high-yield investments such as stocks. Similarly, someone who is 60 years old should have no more than 40% (100 – 60 = 40) of his assets exposed to the volatility of equity investments.

However, with the improvements in medical technology and the increase in life expectancy, the ‘100 Minus Age’ formula has come under some scrutiny. As more people reach their 80s and 90s, the need for their finances and investments to continue passively working into their 70s becomes more important.

Thus, financial advisors have been looking at a more progressive (and slightly more aggressive) asset allocation strategy.

Those in their 30s are often in the middle of raising young families. They have one or two children in grade school, or are single professionals who are deeper into their careers as middle managers, senior managers, or junior executives.

People at this life stage are knee-deep in generating active income, and have a relatively longer investment horizon. Thus, investors in this life stage have a larger capacity for equity investments. However, people in this life stage are also usually building assets through leverage such as a car or a house, and with hefty expenses such as school tuition fees.

Real Estate across Life Stages

What’s interesting to note is that real estate investment is a key asset that should always be present regardless of life stage. Property investments–specifically, buying property in the Philippines and investing in condominiums for sale–are always a good idea as they steadily increase in value over time. They can also be a source of both active and passive income when managed properly.

Visit here to find the best property for you today.

How to Use Hygge for Work-Life Balance

Hygge is often associated with knitted throws over the couch and soft gray and white palettes. It is a Denmark-originated design concept meant to evoke comfort and restfulness; and now, work-life balance.

However, hygge is not just about how the home looks. Derived from the Norwegian word that means “well-being,” the Danes think of it as a way of life–-a combination of design, behaviors, and attitudes.

In The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection, author Louisa Thomsen Brits writes, “In our overstretched, complex lives, hygge is an uncomplicated daily practice that engages us, keeping us attuned to our surroundings and open to empathy and wonder.” It makes sense then that some of the most popular design features of hygge can be translated into behaviors that help find balance and live a more comfortable lifestyle.

Hygge is all about comfort

Design Element: If there is one thing that hygge loathes, it is roughness. Think about how blankets and pillows can be used to infuse softness into a room. The auditory similarities of “hug” and “hygge” is perhaps not a coincidence considering that original meaning of the word, “hug” is “to make oneself snug”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Work-Life Balance Principle: Hygge translates to only doing things that make you feel comfortable. A practical way of achieving this state is learning how to say no. This can apply to refusing extra work to avoid stress, or creating boundaries when it comes to personal space.

Hygge encourages the enjoyment of greenery

Design Element: The Danish love to use natural elements, such as plants, in their design. The easiest way to implement this is to place indoor plants around the home. Having large windows that allow natural light to come in while providing outdoor views is also ideal. This can also translate to using natural materials, such as wood, in furniture.

Work-Life Balance Principle: Bringing greenery indoors is a start, but nothing beats going out and experiencing it for yourself. Make going outdoors part of your daily routine to get fresh air and exercise.

Declutter to achieve serenity

Design element: Hygge shares a feature with minimalism, another popular design trend, in that it encourages to keep the things you love and then get rid of the rest. The objective of hygge is to create an environment that encourages relaxation and feelings of contentment. Aesthetically, this means removing unnecessary objects that make the home look disorderly.

Work-Life Balance Principle: Stress is unavoidable, but it can be managed. If the fast pace of the city – and the weeknight traffic jams that go along with it – is too much, opt to move somewhere quieter.

It’s always important to explore your options, and that includes choosing the best real estate investments in the Philippines. Alveo Land’s Park Cascades in Arca South, a condominium for sale in Taguig, combines open park spaces and easy accessibility for the ideal work-life balance. Aveia, on the other hand, is a lot for sale in Cavite that offers a homey respite from the pace of urban living, without having to sacrifice basic daily comforts for your family.

Securing your investment with one of the top real estate developers in the Philippines will definitely help you achieve Hygge. To learn more about various Alveo Land properties, click here.

Boost Your Productivity with Online Collaboration

When you have to meet a deadline, and your information is lost in various inboxes, strewn across separate projects, or scrawled on stickies or notepads, try to make use of employee collaboration opportunities to your advantage.

In an article entitled “The Importance of Collaboration in the Workplace” by Sebastien Boyer, the author makes the point that “the success of any business is whether or not its employees are able to perform together as a team.”

And there are numerous advantages to this. One is that employees are given the chance to brainstorm ideas and work towards the same goal. This then creates a sense of purpose. Collaboration enhances problem-solving, given the pooled talents, and the increased ability to spot strengths, weaknesses, and the bigger picture. It also opens up the opportunity to experience continuous learning. Other benefits of a collaborative workforce are speeded-up solutions and more efficient use of employee expertise.

Facilitating this collaboration is an array of powerful online applications. Team management applications allow you to create projects and tasks, assign them to team members, track work progress, upload attachments, set goals/deadlines/milestones, organize to-do lists, post announcements and updates, hold team chats, and systematize all the assets and notes everyone needs to accomplish their work. What’s more, these actions can be taken virtually by members outside of the office, city, or even members who are in another time zone. Many of these applications connect to third-party Gantt chart apps (with the exception of Trello) that give a critical visual representation of project timelines.

Given the many choices of project management apps, you may be wondering which one you should go with (and you may find you like using more than one). Here are just some of them: Asana, Basecamp, Trello, and Slack. These four work best for small to mid-size companies.

Sadie Cornelius of We Rock Your Web, in her article “Best Online Collaboration Tools 2018: Slack vs. Basecamp vs. Trello vs. Asana vs. Teamwork vs. Wrike & More!”, gives her take on which application best suits each task and also lists their shortcomings.

Cornelius picks Basecamp as the best in task management for everyday users. Known for its simplicity, Basecamp can keep track of projects and tasks, embed media files, host written discussions, and organize all email chains into one particular task or topic. It can also host an unlimited number of users, can integrate more than 100 apps and ad-ons, and be accessed with email, Android, Mac, PC, iPad, and iPhone. On the negative side, there is no reporting feature to track employee contribution and no time tracking.

Slack is excellent for virtual team non-verbal communication which can eliminate unnecessary emails. Being user-friendly, it does not take much training to master this application. Another plus of Slack is a reputable privacy policy which is good for sharing sensitive information. On the downside, it contains no project management tools.

Asana gets the author’s nod for being the best all-in-one app for overall team collaboration. It integrates with other sites such as Slack, Google Drive, Google calendar or iCalender. With Asana, one can color code important tasks and view progress reports. It also has the advantage of being free for up to 15 members. Users should keep in mind that due to the number of features, the learning curve is steep.

Trello performs best in collaborative brainstorming. It serves as an action item service for working with team members. It is easy to comprehend but has limited capabilities.

There is no doubt about it: technology immensely boosts productivity. Once you ease one–or more–of these online collaborative tools into your team’s daily routine at work, efficiency and fulfillment will come into play.

Online collaboration tools, however, may never fully take the place of personal contact in the office. As Boyer states, “Progressive companies are increasingly realizing the value of collaboration and looking for ways to foster it within their teams, both traditional and virtual.” There are too many work situations that require personal interactions, such as company-wide meetings and one-on-one exchanges between supervisor and subordinate.

To accommodate these interactions, organizations will need the ideal workplace. For organizations who are looking for property built by one of the top developer companies in the Philippines, look at Alveo Land’s office space portfolio in BGC, Makati, and Cebu, giving you opportunities to collaborate both online and offline at any time. Learn more about Alveo Land’s office options–as well as choice condominiums for sale–here.

Art and the City

Quezon City (QC) is one of the biggest cities in the Metro, and all 165.3 square kilometers of it is home to some of the most creative minds in the country. This could come from the fact that QC is also a university city, and home to some of the most prestigious schools such as the University of the Philippines-Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University, and Miriam College. This undercurrent of freethinking and the presence of some of the main government centers have honed a highly creative, socially aware, and vocal community.

Take a tour of some of the noteworthy museums and galleries that enrich QC’s vibe, and find out what makes it such a creative hub:

West Gallery

West Gallery

This gallery is practically an institution along West Avenue, and the rest of Quezon City. Run by artist Soler Santos (son of the late great painter Mauro Malang Santos), West Gallery is notable for running exhibits of different artists at the same time. Its roster of artists is a who’s who of the Philippine art world–including National Artists Arturo Luz and Cesar Legaspi, Andres Barrioquinto, Bernardo Pacquing, Agnes Arellano, and of course, Malang.

48 West Ave., Quezon City, tel. (+632) 411 0366

Jorge B. Vargas Museum

Jorge B. Vargas Museum

This museum, a landmark in the University of the Philippines-Diliman campus, is named after the first Filipino executive secretary Jorge Vargas, who turned over his collection of Filipino Art, artifacts, books, and memorabilia in the 1970s. The museum features changing exhibits of local and international artists, the latest of which is an exhibit of artist Katti Sta. Ana’s sculptures. One of the noteworthy features of Vargas are the floor-to-ceiling windows that reveal great views of UP’s lush school grounds.

Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center, Roxas Ave., University of the Philippines-Diliman, Quezon City, tel. (+632) 928 1927

Bulwagan ng Dangal Museum

Bulwagan ng Dangal Museum

This is one of the newer exhibition halls in the UP-Diliman campus, having opened in 2009.

Bulwagan ng Dangal occupies the cavernous basement of Gonzales Hall (UP Main Library). Some of its permanent exhibits are of art that have hung unnoticed for years in UP’s halls. One gallery room is located right below the library’s main walkway, and visitors can look up through the midcentury glass blocks to catch a glimpse of the people walking above.

Gonzales Hall (Main Library), G. Apacible cor. Roxas St., University of the Philippines-Diliman, Quezon City

Ateneo Art Gallery

Ateneo Art Gallery

It may be famous for its prestigious Ateneo Art Awards, but Ateneo Art Gallery is an important institution in the University. Recognized as the first museum of Philippine modern art, it was established in 1960 when Fernando Zobel donated his collection of works by key Filipino artists such as Vicente Manansala, Galo Ocampo, and Arturo Luz. Recent exhibitions held here featured the Ateneo Art Awards winners, the works of National Artist Badong Bernal, and noted artists Eric de Leon Zamuco, and Rodel Tapaya.

Arts Wing, Areté, Ateneo De Manila University, Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights, Quezon City, tel. (+632) 426 6488

Blanc Gallery

Blanc Gallery

Founded in 2006, this beautiful Katipunan gallery exhibits established artists, as well as up-and-coming ones such as Allan Balasi, EJ Cabangon, Mideo Cruz, and Louie Cordero. Their current exhibit of artist Ronson Culibrina’s mixed-media works of discarded materials and ocean detritus is a statement on fisherfolk’s problems with sea waste and environmental issues.

145 Katipunan Ave., St. Ignatius Village, Quezon City, mobile 0920 9276436

Green Papaya Art Projects

Green Papaya Art Projects

Green Papaya has been part of the QC art scene for more than a decade, and its attitude towards art hasn’t changed. It is less of a traditional gallery and more of a laboratory of sorts, where the artists collaborate, interact, and critique each other. From day to day, the gallery can be transformed into a dance studio, theater, or music space. Don’t be surprised if you walk into an art installation and find another artist doing his performance art piece in the same space.

41B T. Gener St., Kamuning, Quezon City

Artery Art Space

Artery Art Space

Fifteen years ago, Cubao X and its environs was a booming hub of creatives in the fields of art, design, and music, but the boom has since fizzled. Although many of the breakthrough galleries have closed, this brave, artist-run space opened in Cubao in 2014. Artery Art Space is not only a gallery; it also has a snack bar and store that sells artists’ merchandise. This kind of laidback setup, the owners believe, encourages interaction between the artists and their patrons.

102 P. Tuazon Blvd., Cubao, Quezon City, tel. (+632) 7252837

Quezon City is definitely rich in creative inspiration, and Ayala Land’s Vertis North—a hub of residential, lifestyle, and business developments in the city—is right at the heart of it all.

As Alveo’s latest residential tower in this district, Orean Place at Vertis North is a condominium for sale in Quezon City, with the perfect address for people who thrive in a creative atmosphere. Click here to learn more, or visit their onsite showroom in Vertis North and 3F Trinoma.

The (Real) Investment Scenario

 

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEI) hits all-time highs in October, even breaking the 8,500 mark in intraday trading by mid-October. Matching a similar trend among several US and major Asian indices, this was buoyed by the government’s announcement of the liberation of besieged Marawi City, as well as some active foreign investments. The market is also up by 9% compared to the same period last year; and around 20% since the start of the year. Some market observers expect that this trend will continue, and even breach 8,600 before 2017 ends.

But while the general uptrend is a good sign of investor confidence, it has been a volatile past 12 months for the Philippine Stock Market. In fact, the PSEi bottomed out at 6,499 sometime in December 2016 to a 52-week low. It also dropped by roughly 1,000 points in just a 60-day span almost a year ago  (between October and December 2016).

This is the scenario today: inflation is at a steady 3%, GDP is forecast near 7%, the peso is weaker at PHP51=USD1, and there is a lot of political noise inside and outside the country. Because of these factors, there is little consensus whether the PSEI will breach 8,600, or fall steadily and settle somewhere at the 8,300-level. As in the world of stock investing, no one knows when and where the market will go.

Investing with Stability

While investing in stocks is, and should be, part of a balanced portfolio, investing in more stable, less-volatile assets should also be part of your investment mix. Hence, investing in real estate always makes good sense.

The value of real estate investments gradually but steadily appreciates over time. This means that it does not have the volatility associated with the day-by-day or hour-by-hour fluctuations of the stock market. In fact, a recent report shows that residential property value in Metro Manila has grown by around 3% on a quarter-to-quarter basis, and is projected to increase by 6% to 9% in 2018 on a year-on-year forecast. It is not as dramatic as the 20% YTD increase of the stock market, but not too bad, either.

Real estate investments can also be both self-liquidating assets and sources of passive income at the same time. You can lease your property to interested parties, and the rent can be used to pay for the mortgage you may have taken out. The same report shows that residential rental yields in the Philippines are at 5.5%; the second highest rate in Asia.

So make sure to put your money in an investment with a trusted property developer that has a track record of high-quality developments. If you’re looking for ideal condominiums for sale in the Philippines, both Callisto in Circuit Makati or Park Cascades in Arca South, Taguig are great choices. If you want to be in the middle of everything, Orean Place at Vertis North, Quezon City or Portico in Pasig are your best bets. And if you’re looking to invest outside of Metro Manila, there are property options such as Aveia in Laguna or Patio Suites in Davao to choose from.

Regardless of what you’re looking for, Alveo Land can offer the right real estate investment for you. To know more, click here.

Design Hubs for Every Space

Mention Pasig City and you’ll immediately think of office high-rises, call centers, and malls. But if you look beyond the buzz of the commercial-business district, you’ll find growing developments that provide a relaxing respite for its residents that still exude the energy and design of a dynamic and prosperous city.

It’s an ideal city to live in. Appropriately, there are many specialized design hubs and depots in and around the area, so decorating your own space won’t be difficult. Here are a few choices:

Space encounters

Space Encounters

Interior designer Wilmer Lopez opened this store back in 2010, and he hasn’t stopped expanding since. He started out with Space Encounters, which carries a line of midcentury furniture and décor with fun, timely themes. They also recently launched their Space Encounters Gallery with its collection of Filipino art; Lopez’s design firm, incidentally, is housed in the same building.

Mezzanine and 7th floor, Padilla Bldg., F. Ortigas Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Open Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

CW Home Depot

CW Home Depot Ortigas

This flagship branch of the CW Home Depot group is one of the most complete home depots in Metro Manila, with stores selling specialty items like customized lights (Keystone Lamps), ultra-modern furnishings (Décor), and vintage-style toilet fixtures. Aside from the depot, the complex houses several restaurants and bars (such as Rue Bourbon), a KTV lounge (Music Match), and a sports center. “CW Home Depot is great because you can couple furniture hunting with sourcing other home improvement services and materials,” says Michael Magturo of Urban Abode, one of the stores in the depot.

1 Julia Vargas Ave., Pasig City. Tel. no.: 636 0772; email: info@cwhomedepot.com. Open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Urban Abode

Urban Abode

Located within the CW Home Depot Ortigas complex, Urban Abode offers furniture and accessories designed by interior designer Kristine Neri. All her pieces are housed in a beautifully curated shop with industrial-modern interiors and murals washed in natural light. Business operations manager Michael Magturo recommends their chesterfield sofas. “They exude a casual elegance and are surprisingly comfy.”

Shops at CW Home Depot. Tel. no. (+632) 570 4663. Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Furniture Anthology

Furniture Anthology

Also located within the CW Home Depot Ortigas compound, this store carries elegant furnishings for urban homes. Their collection ranges from upholstered sofas to midcentury-style consoles and accent lighting pieces. One look inside the Furniture Anthology showroom and you could be transported back to the 1950s, with its sleek and nostalgic pieces.

Technopoint Bldg., CW Home Depot Complex. Tel. no. (02) 721 5874. Open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

MC Home Depot

MC Home Depot

This home depot is located in a no-frills, warehouse-type setting, but it has become popular with both designers and homeowners because you can get everything here—from granite to wallpaper and furniture (and everything in between). Don’t forget to stop by Ricad Trading, which customizes mosaic tile designs, and carries the trendy Machuka-style patterned tile.

168 Ortigas cor. Meralco Aves., Pasig City. Open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Robins Design Center

Robins Design Center

If you’re a homeowner or designer with discerning taste, this is the hub to head to. Robins Design is a two-story center filled with the stores you need to complete your home. These homegrown shops all have a certain sophisticated flair about them. There is La Europa Ceramica, which carries the on-trend large-scale ceramic tiles from Europe; Alno, the premier line of modular kitchens; the delightful De Adorna showroom, which features beautiful designer décor from Pampanga; and Schema showroom, with its award-winning metal lamps. If you’re a condo dweller, drop by Perch Furnishings, with its affordable but stylish collection of sofa-beds, chairs, tables, and more.

31 Meralco Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City

Telas de Mercato

Brgy. Kapitolyo

This formerly quiet residential neighborhood has been transformed into a foodie paradise, but there are also many interesting lifestyle stores within its winding streets. A new player in the area is Telas de Mercato, a warehouse filled with hundreds of fabric and soft furnishings for the home. Take your pick from damask, cotton chintz, satin, tassels, and other trimmings for upholstery, curtains, and pillows, sold by the meter or yard and organized by type and color.

749 Pioneer St., Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City

Heima

One of its hippest home stores in the hood is Heima, owned by husband-and-wife team Rossy and Bong Rojales. Rossy—an interior designer—creates Scandinavian-modern pieces with an offbeat touch. The store also sells stationery items, decorating books, and small accessories.

No. 103, Three Brixton St., Brgy Kapitolyo, Pasig City

The Green Company

Just a few steps away from Heima is eco-living store The Green Company. The charming shop not only sells organic personal care items, but it also all-natural detergents, household cleaners, and they even run an earth-friendly laundry service.

G/F Ace Water Spa Bldg., United cor. Brixton Sts., Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City

Cevio Art Haus

Hidden in the depths of Kapitolyo is Cevio Art Haus, a gallery within an old house. They support up-and-coming contemporary Pinoy painters and sculptors like Froilan Pastrana, Catherine Salazar, and Siefred Guilaran with regular exhibits.

60 San Isidro St., Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City

West Elm

West Elm

This famous US brand’s first Philippine store is located right in the heart of Pasig City. West Elm is known for their laidback, finely made contemporary furniture. More than that, though, one of the reasons why most homeowners like West Elm is that a majority of their pieces are designed to fit condo living and urban spaces. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in West Elm, though, drop by their sister brand Pottery Barn, which is in the same mall.

G/F Estancia Mall, Meralco Ave., Pasig City

With so many choices, get to decorate your home the way you want it. The units in Alveo Land’s Portico, for example, are spacious and well-planned to encourage residents to personalize their spaces. How Portico is designed also inspires in its future residents an appreciation for art and design, perfectly complementing the artsy vibe of Ortigas.

For more information on Portico, go to www.alveoland.com.ph or visit their onsite showroom located along Capt. Henry Javier St., Brgy. Oranbo, Pasig City.