Saturday, October 25, 2014

How to Apply Online for NBI Clearance

At the start of the year 2014, we were greeted by news report about the long lines of people seeking clearance at the office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).  Apparently, NBI was migrating their system to a new one and NBI Officials explained that once the process of tranferring to the new computerized system was completed, the long lines would ease up.  I remember the time when I first applied for NBI clearance I spent the whole day waiting in line.  Although a computerized system was already in place at that time, the application process still took that long and there was no chance you would get your clearance on that same day.  After I went through several windows where I filled out the application, paid at the cashier and queued for picture and data capturing, I was informed to be back on another day, earliest would be three days for the release of clearance. That was, they needed to verify my records to see if I did not have offenses or if I have same name with another who had criminal record.  So the release of clearance still depend only if there would be no problem with my records otherwise I would need to go back possibly on another day again to provide proofs of my identity.

That was the tedious process of applying for NBI clearance at the NBI Main Office years ago. Eventually, the process improved when they opened satellite branches in malls and other offsite offices.  So it was really big news when long queue started to pile up again earlier this year.  Understandably,  it was the result of the Bureau's quest to improve the system and what a better way to do it than to make its services available thru the internet.  So today, I had the chance to finally use the Online NBI Clearance Application.  Here is the step by step guide to help you through the application process.
1.  From the NBI website, select from the menu Clearance Registration Application.  A new form will be displayed.
2. Fill out all pertinent information. Select NEW for first-time applicants and RENEWAL for those who have previously issued clearance.
3. Fill out Applicant information, Contact details, family background, and other information.
4. After filling out the application, click SUBMIT.  A reference code will be provided once the application is successfully submitted.  You can copy this reference code or print your system generated application form. If you do not have printer, just be sure to have the reference code when you go to NBI office.
5. You can then proceed to the NBI Office in Manila.  Pay the corresponding fee and proceed to picture  and biometrics capturing.
6.  If there is no significant findings in your record, you can get your clearance on the same day.

So there goes the easier process for applying NBI clearance. The process seem to have been significantly streamlined with the online application process.  Even the waiting time for the release of clearance has greatly reduced from days to just a matter of hours. Maybe next time they could come up with an online payment so that applicants no longer need to queue at the cashier. But, generally, the improved process is a real great feat!

Friday, October 17, 2014

How To Apply for Passport in the Philippines

Passport Application Then:
The first time I applied for a passport nine years ago, I found the process to be too complicated.  Passport application was done at the DFA Office in Pasay where I was greeted with numerous fixers and legitimate-looking passport processing offices just outside the gate. There were too many people outside the area that I had a hard time finding the main entrance. I actually had the experience with one person who was clad in an office uniform but I had no idea whether she was from DFA or not.  When I asked her where the entrance was, she told me to get in one of the kiosks to have my picture taken even if I said that I already had the requirements with me.  Geez...they screened my documents, led me into their booth, took my pictures then asked for payment.  :-)  After payment, only then I was told what gate to enter and it finally dawned on me that I was actually scammed. That was because I was clueless of the process that time.

For helpful tips in making a travel plan..READ HERE >>

Discover how a travel planner can make a big difference..KNOW MORE >>

Passport Application Now;

Anyway, that was years ago.  Today, the passport application has dramatically improved. Thanks to new developments in information technology that we can now set an appointment at the DFA for passport application using the internet at the comfort of our own home.

Whether you are applying for new or renewal of passport, DFA now requires an online appointment. Applicants will not be admitted at the entrance gate without valid appointment and application forms. This online appointment is free of charge.  Here is a step by step guide to help you through it.

1.  First determine the nearest branch to you where you want to set an appointment, (you can choose whatever branch that is most convenient to you).
DFA Branches:
(a) DFA Aseana in Macapagal Boulevard, Pasay City
(b) DFA NCR West located at the 5th floor of SM City Manila, Arroceros St. (just across the Manila City Hall)
(c). DFA NCR Central at Robinsons Galleria in Pasig City
(d). DFA NCR East at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City
(e). DFA NCR South in Metro Alabang Town Center Muntinlupa City
(f). DFA NCR Northeast in Alimall Government Center Cubao Quezon City

2.  At the DFA Website Branch Selection page (, select your preferred branch.  You will be taken to the instructions/reminders page.  Go through it agnd read carefully.

3.  If you have already read the instructions, click the "Set an Appointment" link.  That will take you to a new page where you will again be reminded of important pointers in applying for passport.  If you intend to apply only for yourself or for one person, click the "Start Individual Appointment Process" button. If you are applying with your family, click the "Family Application Form" link.

3. You will be directed to the passport application form.  Fill in all required information, be sure that all information provided are true and that it can be sufficiently supported by your documents which you will attach with  your application such as birth certificate, identification cards etc.  If you are applying for renewal of passport, you need to provide your old passport number so be sure to have that with you.  Also, ensure that the email address you provide is your own working email since all communications related to your online appointment will be sent to this email address.

4.  Review all the information that you provide before you click the Submit button.  Any false information you supplied could be grounds for non-issuance of passport.

5.  You will be asked for the date and time that you preferred when to visit your selected branch for the personal appearance.  All passport applicants of 0 age above are required to have a personal appearance since biometrics information such as photo will be taken.

6. Check you email from DFA Consular Office.  It contains your passport application reference number and a link to print your passport.

7.  Print your system-generated application form on a Legal Size paper and complete all the required documents stated in the email. Do not sign on the passport application just yet, you will sign on the document personally before a DFA Officer once you visit the branch.

8.  Photocopy all the necessary documents before proceeding to DFA Office because applications will not be processed if you do not have complete set of photocopies of your documents (at least two or three sets of photocopies will be fine plus your original papers).

8.  At the date of your appointment, be at your selected branch at least thirty minutes prior to your appointed time.  Be sure to have the required amount for the passport processing fee and delivery fee if you opt to have your passport delivered to you.  The processing fee for rush/passport is slightly higher than for regular passport (at the time of this writing 950.00 for regular processing).

9.  Once inside the DFA Office, you will be directed by their friendly staff on the step by step process such as the following:
      a. Get your queue number at the Information Counter and sit on the waiting section of the Processing Area.
      b. Wait for your queue number to appear on the monitor indicating what processing window you will go to.
     c. After processing, proceed to the Cashier's area. Pay the applicable passport processing fee
    d. After payment, proceed to the Encoding Section for data capturing.
    e. After your photo is captured, personal details and biometrics are encoded
    f. If you opted for delivery, proceed to delivery counter to pay for delivery fees, the expected date delivery will be recorded on your receipt so you only need to wait for your passport to be delivered to your designated address.
    g. If you opted to pick up the passport at the claim counter, just present the claim stub on the date indicated at the same branch where you made your application.

There goes the very easy process of passport application.  You now have less worries of being scammed or annoyed by fixers as what I experienced before.

Teaching Kids to Nurture Nature the Fun Way

Beep….. wake up call....

Way back in August 2005, I wrote about the plans that I wished to do and one of those is to go back to those places I’ve been to and relive the good memories (if God permits). NiN Nine Nine long years have passed and luckily I had the chance to revisit those places at random times though I was not able to write about them. It was because I lost interest in writing so all I did was just to immerse myself in each moment, lock them inside my head then later on reminisce them all for myself.  But then my memory sometimes fails me that I tend to forget some details of those happy moments. So when I read again about my other plans to "get back at those activities I want to indulge in (if my time allows it)" I really felt the eagerness to resume my passion for writing and photography, so that’s what I did this year. That serves me three purposes, one is to indulge in my favorite pastime , the other is to take into account each special place that I revisited and of course to teach my kids how to be more appreciative of nature.

Also, it has been too long since I last had the chance to go out with my closest kin, it is always a great time to spend time with them. We all took advantage of the long weekend to break free from city life and pay a visit to dad. “Mommy, we want to visit the riverside.” asked my daughter. She was referring to the river I once told them that my cousins, my siblings and I enjoyed when we were kids. It has been more than two decades since I last swam in that river and I was really shocked how different it has been from twenty years ago. It was stripped of its natural beauty that it can be likened to a dirty canal than a river.
I remember that in the later part of the 80s and early 90s, quarrying was prevalent in the area that explains why clay loam was established in all directions thus the water has that brownish texture since there were no more sand, rock and limestone to purify the water. Soil erosion is very much evident as there were no more natural barriers to protect the river bank.
We used to catch fish and shrimp here... :-(

The kids went home a bit heartbroken since there was no chance they will be allowed to swim in murky waters. I too felt saddened for one precious moment that my children missed.

It seems to be a luxury for city-grown dwellers to enjoy the natural beauty of this earth. It always seem like my kids’ “megaminds” are so preoccupied with Facebook’s Farmville, or that online gaming of Counterstrike and the like. Their waking hours if not in school is spent mostly on the internet where they socialize with either real or fictional people and get involved in activities where only their brain, eyes and fingers were working. I wanted my children to live through the same enriching experience I had and treat themselves on a different adventure and at the same time teach them to nurture nature in a fun and inspiring way. So with prodding from the kids and the rest of the family, we all agreed to visit Daranak Falls. 
Daranak Falls in Tanay, Rizal is only about fifty kilometres from Manila. This is the nearest place north of Manila to visit when you want to experience the countryside (though of course a bit altered due to human activity but still relaxing and beautiful).

Did the kids enjoy their visit there? I am very certain about that. It was an experience that Farmville, Farmtown and the likes can never replicate and provide. Did the children learn anything from that experience? Definitely! We were like playing 'spot the difference' with the shots we took from the river back at the barrio and the one we took in Daranak Falls. After seeing one river destructed by human activity and learning how difficult it is for life forms to survive in there and the one that they experienced in Daranak Falls, they now know that people need to live in harmony with all the living and non-living beings in this earth. And, that it is very essential that we conserve and protect our precious planet so that the generation next to them will also enjoy what they experience now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How to File for PhilHealth Maternity and Newborn Care Package

Updated Step by Step Guide on how to apply for SSS salary loan online


Some of our blog readers requested for a post about Philhealth that will help them defray the cost of maternity related expenses.  Do you know that Philhealth members can also avail of the Newborn Care Package aside from the maternity care package? That means aside from the hospitalization benefit accorded to members, your newborn is also covered by your Philhealth. I have summarized for you the steps to avail of this benefit.

For employed members:
Before you take your two months maternity leave of absence from work, make sure that you have already inform your HR Department that you will avail of the Philhealth.  That will give them ample time to prepare your Certificate of Monthly Contribution that you will need as supporting document to your claim form.
Should you wish to accomplish the form before your scheduled leave:
1. Download a copy of the CF1 form from the Philhealth website and print two copies. You need two copies, one for you and one for your baby, that means two Philhealth claims.
2. Accomplish two copies of the CF1 or Claim Form 1 and have the Employer Information part be signed by your company's authorized representative.
3. If you are admitted to a Philhealth registered hospital, inform the admitting personnel that you will use your Philhealth. They usually provide the claim forms CF1, CF2 and for newborn care package CF3.  The CF2 and CF3 will be accomplished by the hospital or clinic. That means you only need to submit your previously accomplished CF1 with your certificate of contribution.
4. Once you completed all forms, submit it to the hospital's Philhealth personnel prior to your discharge for them to compute the Philhealth benefit that shall be deducted from your hospital bill.  The forms to be submitted are:
     a.   For you (maternity package): CF1, CF2 and certification (this entitles you to 6,500 normal delivery and 19,000 caesarean delivery of maternity benefit deducted from your hospital expenses)
       These documents are usually submitted to the philhealth personnel in the hospital prior to discharge.

     b.   For baby (newborn package): CF1, CF2, CF3, your certificate of contribution, baby's birth certificate and the newborn screening stub that will be provided to you by the hospital. (This entitles you to 1,750 maximum benefit).
      These documents are usually submitted to the hospital after you secure your child's birth certificate and newborn screening test result. You can submit your claim to the hospital for them to forward to Philhealth or you can go directly to Philhealth office to file this claim.  Make sure that you file this within the 60 days period.

For voluntary/self employed members
You need same forms as above CF1, CF2, CF3 but instead of certificate of contribution, you need to attach the Member Data Record (MDR) that you can get from Philhealth office. And you also need to provide copies of latest receipt of payment of monthly contribution.

By the way, included in the newborn care package are BCG and Hepatitis  B vaccines, vitamin K administration , eye prophylaxis, the newborn screening test, and breastfeeding advice/counselling.

Remember, if you are a paying member you are entitled to these benefits.

If you are not yet a member of Philhealth, it is best to act now. Read our post on how to register online. Read More...

Monday, July 14, 2014

What I Bought With My June Coin Savings

See what I bought with my coin bank savings.

It's middle of July and I seem to be getting more excited to find out just how much coins I would be able to save from uselessness. If you read my previous post,;) "What a Coin Bank Can Do For You", I am pretty sure you know what I am talking about.

Nowadays, I find myself constantly on a hunt of the family's unwanted coins. Those one peso and centavo coins that are usually abandoned inside pockets and eventually end up stuck in the washing machine. Sometimes sitting on computer tables and even on countertops and shelves waiting for somebody to give them valuable purpose.

Yes! Too excited I am that I can't wait for the end of month to count just how much I accumulated that I prematurely took a peek of my latest savings. For the month of June, I was able to save 1,263.00 in a month's time. Now, halfway through July, I can't wait to count and plan on what to buy with my precious finds.

I am a happy saver indeed! I still need to wait for 15 more days before I give my verdict on what to do with that savings and share again with you how I spend my July coin savings to encourage you to save coins then keep them circulating. As of the moment, I would just share with you what my coin savings provided me.

Memories come cheap that my P1,263 coin savings afforded me the happiness and excitement I shared with family. Based on the options I posted here last time, I decided to spend the money with my loved ones with these:

1. A hearty and fulfilling breakfast at Starbucks with my honey bunch. My husband had his usual Hot Americano espresso coffee combined with Tuna and Cheese Ciabatta. I had my favorite Choco Chip Frappuccino and the new strawberry cheesecake. The smell of freshly brewed coffee in this cafe lifted my mood that day plus the fact that it was a special morning date with my husband made me thankful to my coin bank. All these for 565.00 that left us with 698.00 more to spend.

2.The next day, I decided to give up a part of my coin savings with a Pizza Hut Hot Deal. We had two boxes of pizza I ordered online for Family Supreme and Family Hawaian Supreme that comes with a free 1.5 liter of Pepsi all for only 499.00. The kids were surprised to see the pizza delivery that they asked me what was the occassion. I said that I only gave the coins valuable purpose that afforded us a family bonding with a pizza to share for dinner. For this treat I spent 549.00 with 499.00 for the pizza and 50.00 tip for the delivery boy that left me with only 149.00.

3. It took me days to decide on what I should do with the remaining money. Nonetheless, I still think that it can afford me something great.  Just last week, I was able to buy something for mom for only P130.00.  I still have P19.00 spare coins that I decided to carry over for my next coin spending project. 


Imagine how you can transform your useless coins into precious memories and valuable finds,  Remember to keep those coins circulating. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

What a Coin Bank Can Do For You

Looking for ways to boost your finances? This simple tip might help you.

l feel so happy to see the increase in my site visitor's stats this month. It is now averaging 300 visits per day! I am so elated that my blog managed to reach to many readers that it motivated me to go back to blogging. Helping people through my writing somewhat makes me feel accomplished in a very unique way.

While out of blogosphere, I was pretty busy getting my family life in tip top order especially our finances. With a son off to college and a bunch of kiddos to support, I certainly need to learn a lot about financial discipline. And honestly I need to work double time to earn and save for the rainy days. I am still tied up in an 8-5 work but unfortunately with lesser benefits.  How ironic that with the skyrocketing prices of  prime commodities, our bonuses were cut off.  Most of our co-employees resorted to high interest bearing loans to fill the gap that was created by that slashed bonus. Loan sharks are having great days while the meager income earners struggle for day to day survival. :-(  I earnestly hope that we keep ourselves afloat or we might also soon just line up for the government's 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program). BTW, 4Ps is a cash assistance given by the government to the poor.   That's far off from my plan though :-)

So instead I decided to take concrete steps on how I could get real money in a legit way.  What a great way to start is by taking small step by saving up all those loose coins. Those loose coins that were scattered all over the house and even inside my bag.  Those small denominations that end up lonely inside our drawers because even the kids hate having them!

What a co-incidence that by the time I had my coin bank almost full, it was in the news urging coin hoarders to keep the money circulating.  The government is spending millions of pesos to make those coins and although there were too many of those coins amounting to billions of pesos, the country still experiences shortage of it.
keep the coins circulating, BSP urged

There were too many occasions that I got a piece of candy   instead of a peso change from my purchase.    The cashier would tell me they do not have coins! Could I be partly to blame for that? Probably, and anyone who tosses coins inside drawers, bags or even the garbage bins!  Now the BSP (Banko Sentral  ng Pilipinas) is giving me a noble reason to spend what I save from my coin bank!  As a law-abiding citizen, i promptly opened my coin bank and I was surprised to have accumulated almost a thousand amount in just a span of a month! With a P170 of 25 centavos, P318 of one peso coins, P 655 of five peso coins and P120 of ten peso coins for a total of P1,263.00.  I could deposit that amount in the bank for a wise investing but I became too excited to spend it instead.  The coins that could have otherwise been idle and useless somewhere may now end up full of worth after all. So here are the options I was contemplating on that are worth less than a thousand: 
our happy saver in the house

1.  Spend the money all by myself either for a a) relaxing one hour massage, b) pamper myself with great foot spa and pedicure, c) a new pair of shoes or a shirt or a bag.

2. Spend the money with my husband either for a). fulfilling breakfast with a piece of strawberry pistachio cake + choco frap for me and classic tuna + coffee espresso for him at Starbucks or; b) a happy lunch date at an eat all you can buffet for two or c) a memorable dinner date at a fine dining restaurant.

3. Spend the money with the whole family either for a) two boxes of sumptuous family pizza for snack or b) a gallon of ice cream for dessert or a basket of fruits in season for healthier option or c) a great bonding at a bowling center.

I guess I would choose the third option so I can let the whole family experience the fun part of being able to buy something from almost nothing and let them learn what a coin bank can provide us.

Thinking of the hassle counting coins to pay for your can first exchange your coins to paper bill from your local store or from a bank.  Happy saving and spending!

Just an update, click the link to read my post about what I bought with my June coin savings

Monday, March 10, 2014

How to Compute the SSS Maternity Benefit

Updated Step by Step Guide on how to apply for SSS Salary Loan Online

After you have successfully submitted your Maternity notification to SSS, the next question you probably have in mind is how much maternity benefit would you get. Prior to computing the amount of benefit, determine first the date range when the 12 month petiod would fall based on your expected date of delivery.

Let us say that you are expected to give birth in December 2014, exclude the semester of contingency from July 2014 to December 2014. Count 12 months backward. The 12 month period would be from July 2013 to June 2014.  These are the important dates that you need to have at least three months contribution to qualify for maternity benefit. Get your six highest monthly salary credit within that period,

Scenario 1
If you pay premium payments from January to June 2014 that corresponds to the  16,000 salary credit (that means you are paying the maximum monthly contribution as voluntary member (based on the 2014 schedule) with 1,760.00 monthly), the computation of your maternity benefit would be as follows:

  1. Add the six highest monthly salary credits to get the total monthly salary credit.
    16,000 x 6 months = 96,000
  2. Divide the total monthly salary credit by 180 days to get the average daily salary credit. This is equivalent to the daily maternity allowance.
    96,000 / 180 days = 533.33
  3. Multiply the daily maternity allowance by 60 (for normal delivery or miscarriage) or 78 days (for caesarean section delivery) to get the total amount of maternity benefit.

    533.33 x 60 days = P 32,000 for normal delivery
    533.33 x 78 days = P 41,600 for caesarean delivery
Scenario 2

If you pay premium payments from July 2013 to December 2013 that corresponds to the  15,000 salary credit (that means you are paying the maximum monthly contribution as voluntary member (based on the 2013 schedule), afterwhich you only pay 550.00 monthly contribution from January to June 2014 which is lower than your previous payments, the computation of your maternity benefit would be as follows:

  1. Add the six highest monthly salary credits to get the total monthly salary credit.
    15,000 x 6 months = 90,000
  2. Divide the total monthly salary credit by 180 days to get the average daily salary credit. This is equivalent to the daily maternity allowance.
    90,000 / 180 days = 500
Multiply the daily maternity allowance by 60 (for normal delivery or miscarriage) or 78 days (for caesarean section delivery) to get the total amount of maternity benefit.

500 x 60 days = 30,000 mat benefit for normal delivery
500 x 78 days = 39,000 mat benefit for caesarean delivery

Scenario 3

You missed premium payments from July 2013 to December 2013 but you have payments from January to June 2014 with corresponding salary credit amounting to 5,000 (or you paid 550 monthly) your computation would be:
5,000 x 6 months = 30,000
30,000 / 180 days = 166.66 daily mat benefit
166.66 x 60 days = P 10,000 mat benefit for normal delivery
166.66 x 78 days = P 13,000 mat benefit for caesarean delivery

Scenario 4
You have premium payments from July 2013 to September 2013 with 5,000 salary credit (that means you have paid 520.00 monthly contribution). Then for some reason you failed to pay for the succeeding months. As the requirement requires you

to have at least three months contribution within the twelve month period preceding your semester of contingency, you still qualify for the benefit however you will only get this amount
5,000 X 3 months = 15,000
15,000 / 180 days = 83.33 daily maternity benefit
83.33 X 60 days = P 5,000 maternity benefit for normal delivery
83.33 X 78 days = P 6,500 maternity benefit for normal delivery

There you go...keep in mind, the higher your monthly contribution payment, the higher maternity benefit you will get.

And here is another post to help you in your finances. Find out how you can claim maternity and newborn care package thru Philhealth. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

How to Know the Correct SSS Premium to Pay Based on the 2014 Contribution Schedule

Effective 1 January 2014, a new table of contribution for SSS premium should be followed. All employed, voluntary/ self-employed and OFW members must pay their premium contribution based on this new schedule.Also, the maximum salary credit (MSC) has been increased from 15,000 to 16,000.

click this image to open in another tab for a larger view

Here is how you should check the amount of your monthly contribution based on the 2014 contribution schedule:

For employed members, your range of compensation is based on your basic salary. Say you have a basic salary of 20,000.  Your range of compensation will fall under the '15,750' and over and your monthly premium shall be 1,790.00.  Your employer shall deduct from your salary the amount of 581.30 and the remaining amount of 1,208.70 shall be shouldered by your employer.

For SE/VM/OFW, the range of compensation is based on your declaration.  For OFW, the minimum shall be 5,000.  Say your declared earning is 6,300 monthly.  Your range of compensation shall fall under the '6,250 - 6,749.99' with an MSC of 6,500.  That means you need to pay 715.00 as your monthly contribution. 


Self-employed, voluntary and OFW members who already paid their contributions in advance from January 2014 onwards based on the old contribution must settle the underpayments to retain the posting at the same MSC otherwise, the lower MSC shall be applied.