Archive for the ‘ Non-academics ’ Category

How to Transfer Property and Tax Registration in Paranaque

So the jig is up! This is what has been preoccupying my time since late March/early April, up to present, while waiting for the bar exam results. I was asked to assist in the transfer of property [by simple sale], particularly a piece of land situated in Paranaque. I thought it would be helpful to others to chronicle my [mis]adventures, so… the following is a simplified, step-by-step guide, based on personal experience, on what to do [and NOT to do] when transferring registration of land in Paranaque, from the buyer’s point of view.


STEP 0: DEALING WITH THE SELLER

  • Document: Certified True Copy of the TCT/OCT, 1 copy [P273.35, from the Registry of Deeds]

When you have decided to purchase a parcel of land, take the steps to make sure of the authenticity of the seller’s offer. If you can, visit the property’s location to see if the property does exist, ask around the area about the owner of the property. At the least, ask the seller for a Certified True Copy of the Original Certificate of Title / Transfer Certificate of Title, also referred to as the “Blue Copy” [because the paper is literally blue]. This document will give you very useful details, such as name and address of the registered owner, location of the property, all the annotations on the title [mortgages, encumbrances, judgments involving the property, the like]. It will also tell you how recently the copy was requested and released by the Registry of Deeds, so you can be assured of its accuracy. You can countercheck with the LRA website if they did release such a copy by using the control number.


STEP 1: PREPARATION OF DOCUMENTS

  • Document: Notarized Deed of Sale, at least 4 Original Copies
  • Document: Notarized Affidavit of No Improvement, 1 Original Copy

Then comes the preparation of the Deed of Sale. It is definitely better to have a professional prepare these documents for you, but of course you can also prepare them yourself. If the property is only a piece of land, with no buildings or other improvements on it, you also have to prepare an Affidavit of No Improvement. Have all these notarized.

As for the Deed of Sale, 1 Original Copy will be submitted to the BIR, 1 Original copy should be retained by the Seller, and at least 2 Original Copies should be retained by the Buyer.

  • Document: Acknowledgment Receipt, at least 4 Original Copies

Have both Seller and Buyer sign an Acknowledgment Receipt, stating the amount received, and the property for which it was given. This does not need to be notarized.

As with the Deed of Sale, 1 Original Copy will be submitted to the BIR, 1 Original copy should be retained by the Seller, and at least 2 Original Copies should be retained by the Buyer.

  • Document: Latest Tax Receipt, 1 Original Copy from the seller, make at least 1 photocopy

Ask the Seller to provide you the receipt of the latest tax payment made. You will know from this if the realty tax payment is up to date, how much you would need to pay to get a tax clearance, if any is needed.

  • Document: Original Owner’s Duplicate of the Title

Ask the Seller to give you the owner’s duplicate. This is not the Blue Copy, but the actual OCT/TCT in the seller’s possession.

  • Document: Photocopy of Buyer’s and Seller’s IDs, at least 5 copies

Prepare at least 5 photocopies of both Seller’s and Buyer’s VALID IDs. This includes driver’s license, SSS, GSIS, passport, TIN, and other government-issued IDs.


STEP 2: OBTAINING DOCUMENTS FROM THE CITY HALL

  • Document: Certified True Copy of Latest Tax Declaration, at least 2 Copies [P50.00 each, from the City Assessor’s Office], make at least 2 photocopies

The Seller can request these documents himself, or he can give the Buyer an authorization letter, so the Buyer can acquire it in his stead. One copy will be retained by the BIR when you apply for a Certificate Authorizing Registration [CAR], and one copy will be for the Registry of Deeds, when you have your property registration transferred.

If the Seller chooses to let the Buyer obtain the copy, the Buyer will need the following:

  • An authorization letter signed by the Seller / Registered Owner [also called a Letter Request]
  • 1 photocopy of a valid ID of the Buyer / Requesting Party [from Step 1]
  • 1 photocopy of the OCT/TCT, or the Tax Declaration, or a Tax Receipt

This will only take 30-45 minutes. No need to come back on another day, you can just stay in the very spacious Assessor’s Lounge while watching TV.

  • Document: Certificate of No Improvement, 1 Copy [P50.00 each, from the City Assessor’s Office], make at least 2 photocopies

If the property is only a parcel of land, with no buildings or improvements, you have to obtain a Certificate of No Improvement. You will need the following:

  • Notarized Affidavit of No Improvement [See Step 1]
  • 1 photocopy of a valid ID of the Buyer / Requesting Party [See Step 1]
  • 1 photocopy of the Latest Tax Declaration [See previous part]

After receiving the certified true copy of the tax declaration in the previous part, you can already request for the certificate of no improvement. This will take at least 1 day, so you have to come back on the next business day.


STEP 3: OBTAINING THE CERTIFICATE AUTHORIZING REGISTRATION [CAR]

The BIR RDO in Paranaque is along Dr. A. Santos Avenue, about a stone’s throw away from Paranaque National High School [or Olivarez College, if you’re more familiar with that]. The person in charge of queuing people will ask you what your business is:

  • If either or both Seller and Buyer don’t have a TIN yet, tell them you need to obtain a TIN for a sale of land. They will give you BIR Form 1904.
  • If either or both DO have a TIN, but don’t have a pre-filled Form 1904 yet, ask for a Form 1904, fill it up, and then tell them you’re there to obtain a CAR.
  • If both Seller and Buyer already have a TIN AND a pre-filled Form 1904, you should tell them you’re trying to get a CAR, or that you’re paying Capital Gains Tax. They will direct you to an ONETT Officer.

In our case, the buyer had no TIN yet, so we obtained a TIN first, and then proceeded to ONETT Officer’s desk.

  • Document: TIN of Seller and Buyer, 1 Original Copy [from the BIR RDO]

The Seller in this particular transaction already had a 1904 pre-filled, and just gave it to us, which was perfectly ok. The officer you will talk to during the CAR application will direct you to have the 1904 confirmed by “Noel”, [presumably] the man behind the CAR Releasing Desk. He will check the TIN on his computer, and sign his initial on it.

  • Document: Notarized Deed of Sale, 1 Original Copy [From Step 1]
  • Document: Certified True Copy of OCT/TCT, aka Blue Copy [From Step 0]
  • Document: Certificate of No Improvement, 1 Original Copy [From Step 2]
  • Document: Certified True Copy of the Latest Tax Declaration, 1 copy [From Step 2]
  • Document: Acknowledgment Receipt, 1 Original Copy [From Step 1]

The ONETT Officer will assess the all the documents, and then will prepare a computation of the Capital Gains Tax, Documentary Stamp Tax, and Certification Fee. You will be given an ONETT Computation Sheet, which will provide the amounts to be paid, the deadlines, and the subsequent forms you will need to fill out.


STEP 4: PAYING YOUR TAXES C/O BIR

The ONETT Officer will direct you to pay your taxes to whichever bank accepts tax payments, within the jurisdiction of the RDO. In our case, the property is located in Paranaque, so the RDO is Paranaque [RDO 52]. BUT BEFORE YOU PROCEED TO THE BANK, you must fill up three forms first, through eBIRForms [see BIR website].

  • Document: eBIR Form 1706, Capital Gains Tax, print 4 copies
  • Document: eBIR Form 2000-OT, Documentary Stamp Tax, print 4 copies
  • Document: eBIR Form 0605, Payment Form for the Certification Fee, print 4 copies

These forms MUST BE ELECTRONICALLY FILLED UP. There is a downloadable program from the BIR website that will enable you to do this. The bank WILL NOT ACCEPT a manually filled form, so be sure to do this step.

The ONETT Officer will tell you you can pay these taxes in any bank within Paranaque, but NOT ALL BANKS accept tax payments. We went to two banks [BDO in France, along Dona Soledad, and the BDO closest to the City Hall], but were told they did not accept tax payments, before we eventually found ourselves in the PNB Branch along Dona Soledad. They definitely accept taxes, and were very helpful about the forms.

Three copies of each form will be retained by the bank, and one copy will be returned to you after being stamped. The bank will also give you a copy of the deposit slip as your receipt. At this point, the following forms should be in your possession:

  • Form 1904 TIN of Seller and Buyer, 1 Original Copy each [from the BIR]
  • Notarized Deed of Sale, 1 Original Copy [From Step 1]
  • Certified True Copy of OCT/TCT [Blue Copy], 1 Original Copy [From Step 0]
  • Certificate of No Improvement, 1 Original Copy [From Step 2]
  • Certified True Copy of the Latest Tax Declaration [Yellow], 1 Original copy [From Step 2]
  • Acknowledgment Receipt, 1 Original Copy [From Step 1]
  • eBIR Form 1706, Capital Gains Tax, 1 Original Copy [From Step 4]
  • Bank Receipt for Capital Gains Tax Payment, 1 Original Copy [From Step 4]
  • eBIR Form 2000-OT, Documentary Stamp Tax, 1 Original Copy [From Step 4]
  • Bank Receipt for Documentary Stamp Tax Payment, 1 Original Copy [From Step 4]
  • eBIR Form 0605, Payment Form for the Certification Fee, 1 Original copy [From Step 4]
  • Bank Receipt for Certification Fee Payment, 1 Original Copy [From Step 4]

As directed by the ONETT Officer, you have to prepare 2 sets of photocopies of ALL these documents. Then you have to return to the ONETT Officer who made the initial assessment [if the officer is not on duty at the desk in the ground floor, you will be directed to the third floor]. The officer’s name should appear in the ONETT Computation Sheet given to you in STEP 3.

After receiving the documents, the ONETT Officer will give you a receipt, and tell you that the documents will be ready within 5 working days. However, they will advise you to call before you pick up the CAR, because there might be a delay. In our case, it was closer to 10 days, but this might also be because of the Holy Week.

Upon claiming the CAR, you will be asked to pay P15.00, and will receive the following documents:

  • 1 Original Copy of the CAR to be given to the RD/LRA, Brown Color
  • 1 Owner’s Original Duplicate of the CAR, Blue Color
  • 1 Original Deed of Sale, with BIR Stamp on the back pages
  • 1 Original eBIR Form 1706
  • 1 Original Bank Receipt for Form 1706
  • 1 Original eBIR Form 2000-OT
  • 1 Original Bank Receipt for Form 2000-OT
  • 1 Original eBIR Form 0605
  • 1 Original Bank Receipt for Form 0605

STEP 5: PAYMENT OF TRANSFER TAXES C/O CITY HALL

  • Document: Tax Clearance Certificate, 2 Copies [P50.00 each, from the City Treasurer’s Office]

After receiving the CAR, the next step is to get a tax clearance. Go to Window 37-38, and they will ask for:

  • 1 photocopy of the Latest Tax Declaration [From Step 2. Do not give your remaining Original copy, a photocopy will suffice]
  • 1 photocopy of the Certificate of No Improvement [From Step 2]
  • 1 photocopy of the Latest Tax Receipt [From Step 1]
  • 1 photocopy of the buyer / requesting party’s ID [From Step 1]

They will give you a printout stating that the property in question has no outstanding realty tax liabilities with the City Government. Otherwise, you might have to pay the outstanding amount to get a clearance. In our case, everything was already paid, so there were no issues.

  • Document: Transfer Tax Receipt, 1 Original Copy [from the City Treasurer’s Office]

After getting the tax clearance, ask the ever-present ushers for the window for the transfer tax. It’s usually Window 7, but ask all the same. They will require:

  • 1 Original CAR, either the Brown or Blue copy [From Step 4]
  • 1 photocopy of the CAR
  • 1 Original eBIR Form 1706 [From Step 4]
  • 1 Original Bank Receipt for Form 1706 [From Step 4]
  • 1 Original eBIR Form 2000-OT [From Step 4]
  • 1 Original Bank Receipt for Form 2000-OT [From Step 4]
  • 1 Original eBIR Form 0605 [From Step 4]
  • 1 Original Bank Receipt for Form 0605 [From Step 4]
  • 1 Original Deed of Sale, the same one with the BIR Stamps on the back pages [From Step 4]
  • 1 photocopy of the Deed of Sale
  • 1 Original Tax Clearance Certificate [From previous part]

The officer will asses the amount of tax based on the documents presented, and you can pay then and there. It’s 1/2 of 1% of the Sale Price, Assessed Value, or Zonal Value, whichever is higher. The officer will retain the photocopy of the CAR, and the photocopy of the Deed of Sale, and will return all other documents. The officer will affix a stamp on the front page of your Deed of sale. You will receive a literal receipt, with the item “Transfer Tax” under “Nature of Collection”.


STEP 6: TRANSFERRING REGISTRATION OF PROPERTY C/O REGISTRY OF DEEDS

At this point, you should have the following documents:

  • 1 Original Deed of Sale, with BIR Stamp on the back pages, and the City Treasurer’s Stamp on the front [From Step 5]
  • 2 Photocopies of the Deed of Sale, with all the stamps visible
  • 1 Original Owner’s Duplicate Copy of the Title [From Step 1]
  • 1 Original Copy of the CAR to be given to the RD/LRA, Brown Color [From Step 4]
    1 Original eBIR Form 1706 [From Step 4]
    1 Original Bank Receipt for Form 1706 [From Step 4]
    1 Original eBIR Form 2000-OT [From Step 4]
    1 Original Bank Receipt for Form 2000-OT [From Step 4]
    1 Original eBIR Form 0605 [From Step 4]
    1 Original Bank Receipt for Form 0605 [From Step 4]
  • 1 Original Copy of the Transfer Tax Receipt  [From Step 5]
  • 1 Original Copy of the Tax Clearance Certificate [From Step 5]
  • 1 Certified True Copy of the Latest Tax Declaration [From Step 2, they will require the Original]
  • 2 Photocopies of the Buyer / Presenter’s Valid ID [From Step 1]

Upon entering the office, the guard will ask what your business is. Tell him it’s for Transfer of Property, and he will provide you with a form. Fill up the form, and proceed to Window 1. They will assess your documents, and will pass it on to the next window. Your name will be called, and you will be given an assessment sheet, providing the amount you need to pay. We came to around Php 5,800+.

After payment, they will tell you the new Certificate of Title, in your name, will be available for pickup within 20 working days. It make take longer however, so check first with the LRA website if the title is ready for pickup. You will simply need the EPEB number provided in your receipt, and you will be able to see your title’s progress.


STEP 7: TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP OF TAX DECLARATION C/O CITY ASSESSOR’S OFFICE

After receiving your Transfer Certificate of Title from the RD, you can proceed with the transfer of tax declaration. You must have the following documents:

  • New TCT/OCT [From Step 6]
  • 1 Original Deed of Sale [Step 1]
  • 1 Original CAR Owner’s Duplicate [Blue Copy, Step 4]
  • 1 Original Bank Receipt for eBIR Form 1706 [Returned to you by the RD with the new TCT, Step 6]
  • 1 Original Bank Receipt for eBIR Form 2000-OT [Returned to you by the RD with the new TCT, Step 6]
  • 1 Original Transfer Tax Receipt [Returned to you by the RD with the new TCT, Step 6]
  • 1 Original Real Property Tax Payment Receipt [Step 1]
  • 1 Original Tax Clearance Certificate [Must have full payment for the entire year, Step 5]
  • Pictures of the House or 1 Photocopy of Certificate of No Improvement [Step 2]

Go to any window and tell them your business. They will give you a payment order for Php 100.00, which you have to pay to the Treasury. After that, you have to photocopy all your documents [1 set], including the receipt given to you by the Treasury. The assessor will retain the photocopies and return the originals to you. They will ask you to return after 1 week with your original receipt to collect the new tax declaration.

And that’s it! After that, your property will properly be registered under your name, and you will already be liable for real property taxes upon it. In our case, we started off in early April 2017, and by July 2017, the entire process was complete. Some of the lag time was due to the availability of the registrant, but there were also unavoidable [and completely understandable] waiting periods on the part of the government.

As for the agencies and offices involved, the experience was actually not as horrible as some may have heard or experienced in the past. The BIR RDO 52 was very helpful and streamlined, and their phone lines are actually active, so you can contact them any time as to the status of your CAR. The RD/LRA registration process was very straightforward, and while the office in the city hall is a bit cramped, the staff more than make up for it for being very accommodating. There’s the LRA website, if you want to know your document’s availability without going to the RD. The Assessor’s office was also very accessible, the people in charge were very friendly and helpful, and there was no confusion as to what steps were supposed to be taken at what point in time.

All in all, the process was quite easy to follow, and it just takes a little bit of patience to see it through. Just keep in mind that these waiting periods and other seemingly repetitive steps are designed not to frustrate the registrant, but to make sure that everything is being processed properly and accurately. It’s better to suffer through the waiting period now and get a properly registered title, than to end up in legal dispute over your properties in the future.

Manuel L. Quezon’s Facelift 2010

Soooo it’s Christmas Eve, and I’ve got nothing to do except mope. Still haven’t found my puppy, but by now I’m just hoping that whoever found him has given him proper care. I love you baby, I hope the tambays haven’t eaten you yet. I’m hoping for the best.

Anyway, the new designs for the peso bills have come out! I’m actually in possession of a new 20-peso bill, and currently downloading the pictures to my laptop as I type. I’ll have to blur out the serial numbers of course, since we don’t want any mishaps with displaying pictures of actual money in circulation. Not sure about the legalities behind that, but it’s better to play it safe. Pictures of the basic designs can be found online though. See this page for more details.

Same size, same feel, different look – The old and new 20

As we see in the picture I’ve taken, the new 20 is the same size as the old one, and is also printed in the same paper type. It might look as if the new one is taller and the old one is wider, but in fact, they are of the same size. It’s the new design that gives off this illusion; less lines and more spaces. The new one has more of a golden-yellow-orange tone, compared to the reddish-orange of its predecessor, and of course, new Manuel L. Quezon looks astonishingly younger compared to the old. Around the head of Quezon are lines that seem to imitate the rays of the sun; it should be noted that coupled with the differently toned bands in the backdrop, they all seem to emulate the Philippine flag.

God finally makes an appearance

Differences in signature and logo

On the old 20 we see, “Ang salaping ito ay bayarin ng Bangko Sentral at pananagutan ng Republika ng Pilipinas” right above the old logo (image on the back of RP coins) of Bangko Sentral, followed by the embossed signatures and names of the President and the BSP head. The new one has a little added, “Pinagpala ang bayan na ang Diyos ay ang Panginoon” right between the BSP pledge and the new RP and BSP logos. Embossed signatures and names follow as custom, but it is curious to note that the once large back-image of the Malacanang Palace has been minimized and put up front, beneath all the logos, signatures and names, and was given an almost invisible coloring.

Malacanan? Why so small and invisible?

And speaking of coloring, it seems to me that the most striking features of the new bills are the new RP and BSP logos, which have been strategically placed right smack in the middle of the body. With blue and red coloring, the two are obviously meant to be the features most readily noticed. Again though, it is curious that the RP logo has been diminished in size, and taken from the large right-hand side space it used to occupy, and is now placed at the same level as the BSP logo.

Picture symbol turned into text

It should also be noted that the symbols for the Wikang Pambansa and the Saligang Batas have been detached from the RP logo and reposition at the bottom left-hand corner, redesigned now as text. The space where you’re supposed to see the double image has been repositioned to the right-hand side, adding to the shortening effect we mentioned earlier. Just beneath it is the word “Pilipino” written in Baybayin (designed by a foreigner, I’m led to believe by this). It’s a curious place to put the text though. It could have easily been put anywhere else, but to place it there specifically… the positioning, the size and the color makes it hard to recognize the writing. It’s really very curious that such a significant symbol would be positioned insignificantly. Hmm…

Quezon's new pet companion on the 20

And of course, we have the back side of the body. A big contrast the the old 20, the new 20 sports and image of the Banaue Rice Terraces in the background, with the map of the Philippines to the left-hand side. There’s a Musang in the foreground, and I’m still researching on the significance of that. Backdrop is similar to the design on the front: sun silhouette and the two-toned colors to represent the flag.

As I’m typing this, I notice that the Baybayin writing in the front is hard to read because it takes some kind of maneuvering to view it right. It seems as if they halved the writing horizontally and put a half on each side – so that when the light hits it right (as in how we do the double image test), you’ll be able to see the full image. Nice trick, but I still maintain my initial question on the positioning.

The new image of the RP bills will surely take a while to get used to. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that these bills kind of feel outlandish (I initially thought I was being handed Japanese money), but I suppose we’ll have to get used to them sooner or later, because news has it that these new sets of bills will be released and circulated within the month. Or what’s left of it. At any rate, I can say that the changes in it were interesting, but not revolutionary. I might have to make a more in depth analysis of the body to give anything more concrete, but I’m pretty sure that the symbol manipulations (and that commotion about Gloria Arroyo’s removal from the 200-peso bill) and the timing of the release of the new money are not coincidental. There’s propaganda at work here. And I’ma sniff it out. But maybe later. There’s quezo de bola to be eaten right now.

Orcom Night 2010 – First and most memorable?

Well I suppose it being my first ever orcom night kind of makes it inevitable that it would also be the most memorable. But of course, it’s also so memorable because of something else entirely: Seniors won, and we represented.

And by saying “we represented”, I don’t mean that in the way that they do in America’s Best Dance Crew (haha, why is this shout out here? Probably because I’m watching it right now…), but quite literally: Mr. Gene Paolo Faraon and I represented the seniors, and with everyone’s help and prayers (and consumption of brownies, pastillas, jelly ace, etc.), we won Mr. and Miss OrCom 2010.

Excuse me while I stare in disbelief at the paragraph just before this one. Even up till now, the thought of it all just can’t seem to sink in quite completely. The thought of our win, how and why we won… (and that.. that.. talent portion thing! Even up to now, I still can’t bear to look at the video they took and posted on youtube… What the hell was I thinking?) Everything just really seems so much like a dream, like a hazy illusion I could snap out of any time. But the fact that I’m staring at the certificates right now (and the two pink sashes, and contents of the gift bag, lol) and all these pictures, and all the support and congratulations from everyone… they all make it seem so real. So, so real.

Excuse me, but I’d just like to emphasize: Super wala sa plano ang mga pangyayari. It was supposed to be a solid Kitty as Gaga (or ANNERIC, yun talaga ung boto ko eh!), but somehow it got turned into myself as Mystica and Gene Pao as April Boy (courtesy of Mr. Eric Wong XD). But Diane Pili suggested that we change that into Justin Timberlake and Madonna, with 4 Minutes as our talent piece. And we did just that. :3

It took a lot of resources to get my shit together. I mean, I barely had anything to wear, and I really had no idea how we were supposed to go about the talent piece. I mean, clearly, I wouldn’t be able to dance. That was just a given fact. Sing – not so much either, but it was the only alternative to dancing. Someone had even suggested we do a debate of some sort as our talent piece, and I was more than just half tempted to take them on their offer. I really had no idea what I was supposed to do, until the date for the formal wear photo shoot was been announced. And then I was doomed.

It was a good thing my friends were there. Marie was such a big help, I couldn’t even imagine how everything would have turned out if she weren’t there to help me along the process. It was practically Marie all the way – the dress, the gloves, the talent costume I wore, the funds even! I was really surprised that Kitty, Marie and Lara had this fund raiser going for the votes… I was so touched by their efforts and felt so blessed to have them. And of course, my hunny Patsy and her makeup, and my going to her house at about 7am to disturb her sleep and borrow her shoes and Ward’s clothes… I just felt so winded and dazed, but at the same time so relieved that I had these people as my friends. No one could have been luckier than myself.

As dazed as I was, I do distinctly remember worrying over the talent piece. Gene Pao and I had wanted to meet up so many times and talk about it, if not practice, but we just couldn’t seem to find a common free time, and ended up finally deciding to meet on the morning of the day of the event. On one point, I felt like I was betraying the trust of our batchmates by doing so, but on the other hand, there was just so much going on aside from the event, and no matter how hard I wished, I just couldn’t split up myself and do everything all at once.

Gene Pao, Me and Judge Maam Thea, photo by GJ

As much as I’d like to deny being nervous, I was. Some said that I didn’t look it, but I really was falling apart inside, and I was so relieved that Gene Pao could tell. In my mind, it was a good thing that he knew, because he seemed confident and relaxed about the whole thing. Meaning, I could depend on him to take the lead and be confident enough for the both of us, should I finally succumb to the urge of breaking down and just losing it. Thank goodness that didn’t happen.

The event itself – the catwalks and fashion shows, the talent portion, the question and answer portion – it was all a daze to me. The only clear thing that happened to me that night was trying to eat at the bar, and not being able to finish because my stomach just wouldn’t let me eat. I always get that way when I have to do something in front of an audience. I can’t eat nor drink before a performance; I believe it’s my psychological reflex to performance anxiety.

Anyway, the awarding came to alleviate my worries soon enough. Just as we were finishing our food (I say we, but it was really Gene Pao who did, heheh), the hosts finally announced that the results were in… and started giving out the special awards. By this time, I had developed a sort of calmness within me, since I was finally assured that the end was near. I wasn’t expecting any special awards, and was only counting that the entire effort would be worth more than the sum of its parts. Imagine my surprise when we got called to received the Best in Talent award… HAH! That thing we did, best in talent?! I couldn’t really even begin to think why.

Awarding the event contestants, photo by GJ

Anyway, I got up the stage to receive the award, and lost my gloves in the process. After that, I couldn’t leave the stage anymore because the winners of the Mr. and Miss OrCom 2010 were about to be announced. The hosts started off with the 2nd Runners up, then the 1st Runners up… and then. Grand Winners for Mr. and Miss Orcom 2010, Mr. Gene Paolo Faraon and Miss Erose Marlo Laeno. No really big smiles on our faces because we were 1) Tired; 2) Drained; and 3) Really still out of it and haven’t had the truth sunk in yet.

And almost a week later, it still hasn’t sunk in that much. Nevertheless, I’d like to thank everyone who gave their support. To my coaches Marie, Kitty, Patsy, Lara and Diane, walang-wala kung wala kayo; to my sponsors Grace, Zid and Kris, thanks for everything kahit na super last minute ako nagsabi; sa lahat ng bumoto, bumili at napurga sa brownies, pastillas at jelly ace, walang votes kung wala kayo; sa lahat ng pumunta, sumigaw, humiyaw, thanks for giving us the confidence and strength to go on stage; sa lahat ng nagrequest ng April Boy at Mystica, love you guys; sa lahat ng sumuporta, walang JT-Madonna kung wala kayo; and to Gene Pao, thanks for being patient! XD Thank you, thank you, thank you seniors. We love you guys. SUPER.

Wish I didn’t leave the Youth Congress Early Part 1

So today was the first day of the first ever Pana Foundation sponsored Youth Congress. I signed up for it because I thought it would give me a chance to up my knowledge on all things involving the fast-paced world of media – the new, the old, and everything in between. Sadly, the cosmos has conspired against me on this matter, so I only had enough time to register myself, get the loot bag and the other goodies, sit through the introduction by the emcees and the first half of the first part of the first speaker’s talk before I had to go back to UPM CAS to fix that blasted dissolved subject conundrum.

But it seemed like such an interesting event, if not a tad repetitive. I mean, some (read: most) of the things that the first speaker talked about in the parts of her speech that I was able to catch were things already ingrained in us OrCom students via the repetitive and strenuous training that the OrCom instructors have put us through. But then again, I was only able to attend about and hour or so before I had to leave, so really, I shouldn’t talk.

Anyway, since I have nothing to say about the actual talks (which kind of makes this post a lot useless, really), I’m just going to talk about the very interesting loot bags they provided. And then maybe something about the registration process. ;>

So so so! I got up really early and got there really early. At about 6:30 am, I was already boarding off the MRT and getting off the station. Since it was still early (the registration process was supposed to start at 7:30 am), I decided to waste time by walking the distance between Boni Station of MRT and the venue, Unilab Bayanihan Center. I guess I was a bit disillusioned in thinking it wasn’t such a far distance to walk; I was basing my assumption on the previous time I went to the Bayanihan Center via trike. Anyway, it took me a good 30 minutes of very slow strolling to get to the venue, and even then the registration process was yet to start. So I decided to go to the Jollibee across the street to get some breakfast first.

A picture of the breakfast would be here, but I forgot to take it. Anyway, I had pancakes, and I took my sweet old time eating those two pieces of pancakes to help pass some more time. (It took me almost 45 minutes to finish my meal.)

So I went back to the venue at around 7:45 – just the right time to still be early but definitely not be the earliest there (even though I was). There were already a lot of people lining up at the reg, but none of them were from UP Manila. It was only after 10 more minutes that a classmate of mine finally showed up (Patsy), and just a few seconds later than she was another one (Marie). About another ten minutes later, Mina arrived.

We still couldn’t proceed to the registrar, since we didn’t have our tickets with us. We ended up waiting for Angel to arrive, since she had the tickets. She arrived at about 8:20.

After registering and deciding upon which hall we would be participating in, we finally had the chance to get our loot bags. The bags were filled with stuff from the sponsors of the event: 2 12g Colgate toothpaste sachets, 1 70g bar of Johnson’s Baby Soap, 1 50g tube of Clean and Clear Pimple Clearing Cleanser, 1 50ml bottle of Colgate Plax, 1 25ml bottle of Jergen’s Age Defying Moisturizer, 1 pad of DHL-branded sticky notes, 1 27g pack of Fibisco Jolly Biscuits, 1 30g pack of Rebisco Combi Sandwich Biscuits, 1 7.2g pack of Ovalteenies, 1 26g pack of Nestle Milo 3-in-1, 1 15g pack New Cafe Puro 3-in-1 instant coffee mix, 1 tetra pack of juice (brand name forgotten because I drank it immediately and forgot to note what it was before I threw it away… I was thirsty!), 1 bottle of unsweetened Oolong Tea (same fate as the tetra pack juice), a pre-packed combi of Johnson and Johnson products including 1 50g bottle of Johnson’s Cooling Baby Powder, 1 25ml Johnson’s Regular Baby Cologne, 1 60ml Band-Aid Isopropyl Alcohol, and 1 60g bar of Johnson’s Pure Essentials body soap. Oh, and there was a small Ridges pack there, but I forgot what flavor it was. It was nice, but too small. Made for a good snack in the trike, though.

Anyway, aside from the food and cosmetics in the loot bag, we were also given additional goodies, such as copies of the day’s Philippine Star and Inquirer newspapers, three issues of Adedge magazine, one long yellow envelope with a plastic envelope cover courtesy of Western Union, and a small purple Yahoo! pin. There was also a notebook and a pen, some fliers and advertisements for a fun run, and a game/contest booth sponsored by GMA7. I didn’t get to try the game, nor was I able to sign up for the fun run. I just didn’t have the time to do so, since I had to leave at ten to get to UPM CAS in time for my 11:30 am class.

Anyway, there’s still the event tomorrow. I wish I’d be able to stay longer then. Cross your fingers, guys. Wish me luck I don’t have to leave the Youth Congress early again for the second time around.

One more thing you can’t really imagine being sold online

Puppies.

Yes, that’s right, puppies. Dogs. Tuta. Bow-wow, arf-arf, aw-aw and all that.

Online puppy selling.

That’s the latest thing I tried buying online, and what do you know, it actually worked. I had little faith in this when I started this venture for so many reasons, but today I’m going to tell you about how I bought a puppy online and actually got [more than] what I expected.

So I’ve been scouting for a new pet for months. Even before I got my rabbits just this previous Valentine’s, I was already looking around for relatively affordable puppies. [I’ve always been a dog-person, really.] At first I tried asking friends whom I’ve had the pleasure of getting puppies before, but none of them had anything for me. I also tried looking around pet shops [Bio-research, when it still existed in SM Bicutan, that pet store in Rob Ermita…], but none fit into my budget. Seeing as my attempts at getting puppies from these stores was futile, I decided to take the hunt online and see where that would take me.

At first I found myself lurking about the Pinoy Pet Finder forums. I saw some potential pets there, but not one was within the budget I had set for myself. The knowledge that such forums actually existed had me searching for more of them, in hopes that the other forums would be able to answer my dilemma. No such luck. It wasn’t until I remembered Sulit that I realized I was being silly looking for affordable puppies in relatively elitist forums.

So there I was, entering Sulit.com.ph into my browser, exactly one month a four days before today [or at least, according to my browsing history]. I didn’t have high hopes for anything, since I was thinking that I would be encountering the same sellers in the other forums I’ve already lurked before. Imagine my surprise when I actually saw puppies for sale for about Php3,000.00 to Php5,000.00 in average. Good God, I’ve found my answer!

Anyway, when I was done being positively surprised, I tried to narrow down my choices and came up with three sellers with the most affordable prices: this, this and this. I finally decided on the last one because the seller was the only one who responded very promptly to my questions about the Labrador x Siberian Husky puppies they had in their album. First one didn’t respond at all, and the second one didn’t have any puppies on hand that I liked.

Anyway, after settling on the seller, I went ahead and sent an SMS to the numbers that were listed in their ad. Again, response was very prompt and accommodating, although a little vague. Or maybe that’s just me.

We set the date to meet at Festival Mall Alabang for me to pick up the puppy of my choice – a black male Labrador x Belgian Shepherd. I initially wanted a Labrador Husky, but I realized I didn’t have the guts to risk Php2,500.00 on an untried service. So I steeled myself to to go to Alabang and get my puppy, the agreed Php1,400.00 fee in my hand.

We agreed to meet at 3pm in Festi, so I left home at about 1:30pm – plenty of time allowance to get there and find the exact meeting place before 3pm. I decided to take a taxi, since the whether seemed to be turning for the worse. On the way, at about 2pm, I received a message indicating that they were actually already at the Metropolis Starmall, and were waiting for me. So I told the cab driver to bring me there instead.

We met at the 2nd floor parking lot of Metropolis, since pets weren’t allowed in the mall. Got a little lost trying to find their vehicle, but that was mainly my fault, since I forgot that Nissan Sentras were sedans and not vans. If it weren’t for the sound of barking dogs, I wouldn’t have found them. [Yes, I was that excited.]

They were actually surprised to find out that I was a girl, since they’ve been calling me “Kuya” in their texts without me correcting them. It wasn’t really a big deal for me; it was actually kind of fun seeing the look of surprise on their faces. That, and I didn’t really know how to correct their assumptions via text messaging, so I just let it be.

Anyway, they’d brought along four puppies: two Belgian Labradors [black and choco-brown], one Shi Tzu Labrador [looks of a Shi tzu, colors of a labrador] and one other whose breed I forgot [white with black-spotted feet]. They wanted me to have a choice in picking, they said, and in my mind I kind of felt that they also wanted me to pick more than just one of the dogs. Still, I ultimately decided on my original pick: a black male Belgian Labrador with white feet, underbelly and tail tip. I mainly picked him because he reminded me of my previous dog, Yoyong.

So after the transaction was done, I went on my merry way home. Decided against taking a cab, since the cab drivers there were being assholes. Hmm, must remind myself to report those thugs to the LTO or something. Took a jeepney, then a trike home. It wasn’t too much of a hassle, since I didn’t bring a bug bulky cage to keep the puppy in – I brought my big orange overnight bag and kept him there instead. Of course I kept his head out of the bag so as to not suffocate him.

Got home at about 4pm, as expected. Made it there before it started to rain really hard. To sum, I’m quite satisfied with this venture, since the sellers were able to deliver on their promise. Still, it would have been much better if they could have delivered it at my home, but I suppose that’s the lazy in me talking. But if they could somehow incorporate that, it would be awesome. Delivery was actually one of the things I was considering in the initial choosing of sellers, but I decided to disregard that standard, since there was only one seller who had this feature.

Anyway, that’s it for that adventure. I don’t think I’ll be buying puppies online anytime soon, what with this one taking up all my time from now on. Still, it was a very interesting experience, and now I’m left wondering about the next unimaginable thing I’ll be buying online. Haha, I suppose it’s going to be a bit hard to top this one off – or at least, until I figure how to come up with enough money to buy a house and lot. o.o

One rare case of great customer service

So, okay, I suppose I’m not being entirely fair with that title. Still, you’ve got to admit, all we ever seem to hear about the customer service in establishments like National Bookstore are complaints and even more complaints.

But today, I’m pleased to tell you guys about a very pleasing (?) encounter with the NBS folks at SM Bicutan. And please, let this be a lesson for all other establishments who have been getting complaints about their services, and want to do better.

So it was Saturday night, and I was just about to get off the LRT to board a jeep to Bicutan when I received a text message from my mom telling me to drop by the National Bookstore in SM Bicutan. Apparently, someone from the NBS Customer Service was looking for me, and had told my mom to ask me to go there for something or the other. Since the details weren’t clear, I decided not to go before speaking with my mom personally.

Unfortunately, I completely forgot about the call from NBS afterward, so I wasn’t able ask my mom about it that night.

However, come Sunday morning, another call from the NBS personnel came, asking for me. So I got to talk with that personnel firsthand, and I found out that an item I had purchased a few days prior was punched twice at the counter. It was for a pair of bookends worth Php60.25 (the cashier personnel rang it up twice because she thought it was Php60.25 per individual piece, when it was actually being sold as a pair). At the time, I thought she was right in ringing it up twice, since there were price tags on both pieces of the bookends. Anyway, they were calling to tell me I could avail of another item worth the same amount as the bookends in question. I wanted to get a refund originally, but they told me I could only get the replacement in kind. I agreed to come to NBS within the week.

Imagine my surprise that they decided to call me just for that. Right then I wanted to blog about it already, but my mom told me to wait until I had gotten the bookends-alternatives. Still, to think that they would bother to call me up just for an item worth Php60.25… I was pretty impressed already. Not just by their initiative to contact me for such a small amount, but because they even bothered to do it twice – once on the Saturday, and again on Sunday. Still, I conceded to wait until I got the item-alternative before saying something.

And so, the opportunity presented itself when my mom asked me to go to SM Bicutan to pay bills and grab some groceries. I decided to drop by NBS after I had accomplished my errands, and thought of what to get as the alternative to my Php60.25 discrepancy. I probably lingered there for about 20 minutes before ultimately deciding upon another pair of bookends (haha, imagine that… :3), since they were the only items there worth exactly Php60.25. I really only wanted to test how it would all work out with the customer service personnel, so I didn’t set out to make it any more difficult. That, and I had a troubled stomach, so I really just wanted to get it over with.

I had some difficulty with the customer service section though, mainly because there was no personnel manning the said section. I probably stood there for about 10 minutes, thinking how to get an NBS personnel to talk to me, when clearly, the only one free (relatively, anyway) was the one at the cashier. After five more minutes of thinking how stupid it was of me to just stand there gaping at nothing, I proceeded to the cashier to talk to personnel there.

After that, it was completely a no-brainer. The cashier personnel (the same one that rang up the original bookends twice, I think) was very accommodating, and even apologetic for the commotion those simple things had started. She had the security guard call their manager (? or a higher-ranking personnel) and the manager authorized the transaction. It barely took 5 minutes.

After that, I went home feeling really good (despite my somersaulting stomach, haha) and cheery. I mean, Php60.25 was really immaterial for NBS to make such a fuss about, but they still did make a fuss about it – looking through their databanks for my records, calling me up not once but twice and actually even apologizing for the commotion. For Php60.25, I personally wouldn’t have bothered to launch a complaint, had they decided not to refund me, and I would most likely still shop at NBS afterward. My point is, they didn’t have to bother, really, I wouldn’t have made an essential difference, but I suppose it was the principle of it – honesty to their records, to their auditors and to the NBS name. That, and I’d like to think that it was because they valued their customers a lot. More than how much we think they do, at least.

And so, I think I’ve began to change my perception of NBS and its customer service a bit. I just wish that this wasn’t just a one time deal, and that NBS would be consistent in its honesty to its customers. Wouldn’t it be nice if we always had this kind of service, not only from NBS but from all kinds of establishments? I believe everyone would want such a thing to happen. And I also believe that such a thing is doable.

Has Scanlation Armageddon Finally Come?

I promised a third part to that entry about scanlations, but I wasn’t expecting to write about something like this so soon.

Those who don’t want to bother clicking the link there, this is basically what it says:

Online manga provider One Manga is one of the first big sites to voluntarily shut down operations following a joint statement released by Japanese publishers and their foreign licensees that they aim to stamp out scanlations and the illegal distribution of manga on the internet.

So they’ve started caving, huh? This is just too sad, since a lot of fans depend on these manga reader sites for their updates on the series they follow.

It’s a big loss to the manga reading community, of course. Undeniably, OneManga is the one of the biggest and [arguably] the most user-friendly manga reader online. Many fans prefer it to other manga readers like MangaFox, or to going to the scanlator communities to download releases. OneManga made things easier for all types of fans – from hardcore to hobbyist – and it’s unsettling to see news like this just months after MangaHelpers did the same.

But then again, is the closing of OneManga going to be the end of scanlations?

The end of the scanlation world? Not really…

Again, let me stress the point that actions like these will not solve the real problems behind the proliferation of scanlations in the internet. In fact, upon reading some discussions among fans about this, I have become more convinced of my earlier theories.

It’s not that we want pirated stuff…

The banning of scanlations is not going to put a stop to the desire for faster, cheaper, more accessible, better translated and more fan-oriented releases; ergo, scanlations will continue to exist, no matter how hard the authorities try to put a stop to them. These kinds of measures do not address the root problems, but only really seem to make things even worse. Pretty soon, I fear that the manga industry will be following the footsteps of the music industry – something that it cannot afford to do.

Just like the music industry

It’s your call, manga industry

The fans have laid out all their cards on the table. Now, it becomes a waiting game, a game of who-can-outlast-the-other, a game that favors not the company but the consumer. The ball is in your court, manga industry. What say you?

Just remember: angry fans = bad for business