Jul 26, 2014

Filipina-Authored Breastfeeding eBook Now at Amazon.com, FREE on Aug 1–3!

Breastfeeding: A Journey Worth Taking, by Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag
From August 1–3, 2014, "Breastfeeding: A Journey Worth Taking" by inspirational author and breastfeeding advocate Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag will be available for free download at the Amazon.com Kindle Store.

The book features stories of triumph over breastfeeding challenges by moms from different walks of life – stay-at-home moms, work-at-home moms, moms working outside the home, and mompreneurs – including Dumadag's own breastfeeding story.

"Teresa imparts helpful and practical tips, from breastfeeding positions to nursing wear. All breastfeeding mothers can certainly relate to this book. I've already kept a copy in my clinic for all my patients to read," said Dr. Jamie Isip-Cumpas,  lactation unit consultant at The Medical City.

"I wish Teresa wrote this book five years ago when I was struggling during my own breastfeeding journey. A must-have manual for every nursing mother," said Rissa Singson-Kawpeng, bestselling author and editor-in-chief of Kerygma magazine.

This three-day ebook giveaway coincides with the start of World Breastfeeding Week. After August 3, "Breastfeeding: A Journey Worth Taking" will be available at the Kindle Store for $9.99.

Dumadag has previously written two books, "When My Bridegroom Comes" and "How to Have the Wedding of Your Dreams." She is the founder and current president Full Life Cube Publishing and Events Services. She maintains two blogs, Mommy Bares All and When My Bridegroom Comes. She also homeschools her kids.

The Nanay Notebook is written by Blessie Adlaon, a work-at-home and homeschooling mom of four. Check out our About page to know more about this blog's author and our policies on advertising, press releases, and reposting.

Jul 19, 2014

Professional or Sole Proprietor: What's the Difference?

If you're a freelancer registering your business to the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for the first time, one question invariably comes up: should I register as a professional or as a sole proprietor?

Even if your profession does not require a license, you can register as a professional. And even a licensed professional can register as a sole proprietor. Hence the confusion.

To find answers, I interviewed a few accountants whose job it is to handle people's taxes and registrations. Here's what I found:

Registration Process

Sole proprietor registration takes patience
To register as sole proprietor, you need to
To secure a municipal permit, you may (depending on your municipality) be required to have
  • a fire extinguisher, 
  • business insurance, 
  • the written permission of your neighbors, 
  • etc. 
The plea that your "office" is just a laptop will fall on deaf ears. Government bureaucracy has little room for flexibility.

And, of course, you need to have a tax identification number (TIN).

To register as a professional, you don't need DTI registration. Municipal requirements, if any, are far less stringent than those for sole proprietors. But of course, you will still need a TIN.

Municipal Permit Fees

Sole proprietor's wallet after municipal permit renewal
Sole proprietors need to renew their barangay and municipal permit annually. Barangay permits cost around P500. Municipal permit is generally computed at 2% of your gross sales based on your issued official receipts. (If you earn P100,000 annually, you'll need to pay P2,000 at permit renewal time.)

On the other hand, professionals only need to pay for professional tax receipt (PTR), usually amounting to P500.

BIR-required Books

The BIR these days has a nagging distrust of professionals. So in addition to the three ledgers/journals that all self-employed individuals need to consistently fill out, professionals also have an appointment book they need to register with the BIR and keep updated.

Sole proprietors are not required to have this appointment book.

Reporting of Employee Wages

Professionals work alone. If you plan to take on employees or get freelance help, you should register as a sole proprietor so you can report their wages as part of your expenses.

Possibility of Income Tax Exemption

The lovely law you will never hear about in a BIR seminar
Sole proprietors with assets totaling less than P3 million have the option to apply for income tax exemption under the BMBE law, or RA 9178. (Click on the links to learn more about BMBE in Real Life and BMBE Certification.)

Professionals cannot apply as a BMBE.

If you are approved as a BMBE, you could save much more than the difference between your municipal fee renewal and a professional's PTR fees. Compare:

Sole Prop
Gross sales
Optional standard
– 80,000.00
– 80,000.00
Net sales
Personal exemption
– 50,000.00
– 50,000.00
Total taxable income
Income tax due
*BMBE income tax rate
Municipal fees
*2% of gross sales
*PTR fee
(income tax due + municipal fees)

Percentage Taxes, Annual Registration Fees, and Official Receipts

Whether you register as a sole proprietor or a professional, you will be required to 
  • pay monthly percentage taxes, which is 3% of previous month's receipts;
  • pay an annual registration fee of P500, due January 31; and
  • issue official receipts printed by a BIR-accredited printer, not just any ordinary printing house.

Which option did I choose? 

I registered as a sole proprietor under the trade name Escrive Writing and Editing. Sole proprietorship works for me because I was approved as a BMBE. 

But if I weren't a BMBE, I would probably find a professional registration more advantageous, despite the additional book I would have to fill out.
The Nanay Notebook is written by Blessie Adlaon, a work-at-home and homeschooling mom of four. Check out our About page to know more about this blog's author and our policies on advertising, press releases, and reposting.

Jun 26, 2014

4 'Good' Things You Do that Can Be Deadly to Your Child

Vitamins, minerals, milk, and honey – all these are good, healthy stuff. But did you know that some of these "good" things are in fact dangerous, even deadly, for children?

Giving Water to Babies

Every summer, Johns Hopkins Children's Center sees 3 to 4 infants suffering from seizures because their parents gave them water to drink.

"Babies need extra fluids in the hot weather, but straight water is not one of them," says Allen Walker, head of Johns Hopkins' emergency department.

Walker explained that the body needs both water and sodium. Children on solid food can get sodium from their food, but infants rely completely on their milk.

When pure water replaces milk, the water-sodium balance is lost, resulting in water intoxication, a potentially fatal condition.

To avoid water intoxication (and malnutrition), the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends giving only breastmilk to babies 6 months old and below.

Replacing Sugar with Honey

Honey is a healthy alternative to refined sugar. Research from the American Chemical Society shows this golden liquid is full of disease-fighting antioxidants.

But the WHO warns that honey can also contain Clostridium botulinum, a known cause of infant food poisoning:
Human botulism is a serious, potentially fatal disease.

Infant botulism ... occurs when infants ingest Clostridium botulinum spores, which germinate into bacteria that colonize in the gut and release toxins.

Spore-contaminated honey has been associated with a number of cases.
Adults and older kids are safe from these toxins because their bodies have already developed resistance, the WHO says, but infants are easy victims.

Symptoms of infant botulism include weakness, loss of appetite, constipation, and loss of head control. If an infant displays these symptoms, bring the child to the hospital emergency room immediately.

Taking Iron Supplements

Iron is a crucial mineral our body needs to deliver life-giving oxygen to our cells.

Image via Wikipedia by Ragesoss
But according to research from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, iron is also "a leading cause of poisoning-related injury and death" in children from 0 to 4 years old.

The research notes that children often overdose on iron supplements taken from child-resistant containers. Parents should keep all medicines and supplements in locked cabinets out of children's reach.

If you suspect iron overdosage, call the Philippine Poison Control Center's 24/7 assistance office at (02) 524-1078.

Breastfeeding During Diarrhea

The Department of Health lists diarrhea as the number 2 cause of death among Filipino children aged 1 to 4 years old. Part of diarrhea treatment is to give the child plenty of clean, nutritious fluids – and breastmilk is as clean and nutritious as fluids can possibly get.

But if your breastfed child's diarrhea won't resolve, breastmilk may be the culprit.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explains that an initial episode of diarrhea can trigger temporary lactose intolerance in children, so your breastfed baby is suddenly unable to digest breastmilk properly. If you continue giving breastmilk to the baby, the diarrhea will not stop.

Temporary bottle feeding with lactose-free formula can provide your child with nourishment and fluids until the child's body is able to digest lactose again. For information on when to see the pediatrician, check out the Mayo Clinic website.

Certainly, in most cases, iron, honey, breastmilk, and water are good for children. But when given inappropriately, they can be deadly. The last thing we want to do is to hurt our children by exactly the same actions meant to protect them.

The Nanay Notebook is written by Blessie Adlaon, a work-at-home and homeschooling mom of four. Check out our About page to know more about this blog's author and our policies on advertising, press releases, and reposting.

Jun 13, 2014

Villa Rivera Wave Resort: A Clean, Convenient, and Affordable Resort in Rodriguez (Montalban), Rizal

(Top left to bottom right: the ticketing office, the parking lot, the wave pool, a covered table area, the Jacuzzi pool, and the slide pool.)
Yesterday, my family and I went swimming for the first time this summer. (We were waiting for the summer vacation crowd to wane.) We went to Villa Rivera Wave Resort, and we loved it!

Here's why:

1. It's clean. I don't know if it's just because there weren't a lot of people yesterday, but the water in the pool was clear, free of debris, and completely odorless. 

There were trash cans conveniently located near the tables too, so littering is controlled.

The ladies' shower area was not completely litter-free -- there was a shampoo sachet or two on the soap racks -- but at least the litter was not on the floor, which for some reason, I find yuckier.

2. It's convenient. The parking lot is right in front of the ticketing office and less than 20 steps away from the pool area. 

There are three pools, enclosed on three sides by the table/cottage areas. The pools are always less than 50 steps away from your table no matter where you sit. You can always see your table while you're swimming. 

The tables have racks above them where you can put your stuff, so your seats don't get filled up with bags instead of people. 

It's very near McDonald's Rodriguez, so yes, you can order for your lunch to be delivered there. (We did.) Pizza Hut does not deliver there, though. Jollibee probably does.

It's also very, very near the highway -- less than a hundred steps away, I think -- so it's easy to reach it with just public transportation. 

3. It's affordable. The entrance for daytime swimming is P180 if you're 4 feet or taller, and P150 if you're less than 4 feet tall. (My 1.5-year-old baby's entrance was not free.) A set of tables and chairs good for eight people costs as little as P300. 

Granted that it's not the cheapest place to swim in Rodriguez (some resorts here have entrance fees as low as P50), it's not the most expensive either. It's a good mid-range resort: expensive enough to discourage huge crowds and inexpensive enough for me. (Ha, ha!)

Manage your expectations

As much as I loved the place, I must add that it is not perfect. 

First, the after-swim showers for the ladies have no privacy stalls. It's just a row of showers where you can see the person next to you, like a men's shower room.

If you want to take a full bath, ladies, you need to do it with some difficulty in the toilets, where there are small buckets and dippers you could use. 

There are privacy stalls but for changing only and not for bathing. There are no showers in these stalls, only racks for holding your towel and clothes.

What I did was I just rinsed myself at the shower and changed into dry clothing, then I took my full bath when I got home half an hour later. However, this may not be feasible if you're coming from a place outside of San Mateo and Rodriguez.

That small space you see behind
the umbrella is the entire parking lot.
Second, the parking lot is tiny. From my estimate, it had slots for about 10 cars. If you're a big group with multiple vehicles, you'd have a hard time finding a place to park here.

Third, there is lax enforcement of pool rules. At the entrance, I saw "Strictly NO eating, drinking, and smoking beside the pool," but at the pool area, there were people eating cake (the crumbly, handheld type, like they sell at Goldilocks) as they sat beside the pool, with their feet in the water. 

They did this for an extended period of time, and nobody stopped them.

As a client who likes to swim in a debris-free pool, this concerned me. But I went there to have fun, and it is not fun to have to tell off your fellow swimmers. Somebody else from the pool management should have done that.

Nevertheless, as I said before, my family and I loved the place. We love the wave pool, the small Jacuzzi-like pool, the chocolate/coffee vendo machine (bring whole P5 coins), and the nice ladies that sell the tickets and snacks. 

We will definitely go back on another school day, when hopefully, there will be few other people around and nobody who will eat beside the pool.

(Images from Villa Rivera Wave Resort's Facebook page.)

The Nanay Notebook is written by Blessie Adlaon, a work-at-home and homeschooling mom of four. Check out our About page to know more about this blog's author and our policies on advertising, press releases, and reposting.

May 17, 2014

How to Verify Your PayPal Account Without a Credit Card

Usually, you need a credit card to verify your PayPal account. With an unverified account, you can only transfer money to other PayPal users, but you can never withdraw money from PayPal to your bank account.

Well, there two ways I know to verify your PayPal account without a credit card:

1. Open an Eon account at UnionBank. The EON card is dual purpose: You can use it as a VISA debit card to verify your account at PayPal. You can also use it as a savings account to withdraw your PayPal funds.

An advantage of opening a UnionBank Eon account is that if you transfer PayPal funds to this bank account, there will be absolutely no service charges from the bank.

In contrast, if you transfer from PayPal to other banks, there is a service charge ranging from about P70 (Metrobank) to P200 (BDO and RCBC).

: I've only listed the banks I've actually transferred money to. Just because a bank is not listed here does not mean it has no service charge. It probably does.
2. Get a BPI ePrepaid card, which is, in essence, a MasterCard debit card. Like Unionbank's EON, the BPI ePrepaid card can also be used to verify your Paypal account.

The BPI ePrepaid Card 
has a 100% application approval guarantee, so it's easier to get than the EON card of Unionbank. (Sometimes, Unionbank disapproves its EON applicants.)
However, unlike the
EON account, which is both a debit card and an ATM savings account, the BPI ePrepaid Card is only a debit card. You can only use it to verify and fund your Paypal account, but if you try to withdraw your Paypal funds to it, PayPal will charge you $5 (approx. P200) for the withdrawal no matter how much you are withdrawing.

In contrast, if you withdraw Paypal fund to your EON account, there is no fee if you are withdrawing more than P7,000. If you withdraw less than P7,000, the fee is only P50.

If you use the BPI ePrepaid card, I would recommend you withdraw your money to a separate account, not to your ePrepaid card. You could withdraw to your BPI savings account if you have one, but I would recommend Metrobank because they have the lowest charges I've found (P78), next to Unionbank, which charges zero.

To get a BPI ePrepaid Card, complete the application form, bring a valid ID to your chosen pick-up branch after 5-7 days, and pay the P500-P600 application fee.
I know P600 sounds expensive, but you won't have to pay that again until after 2 years, when your card expires and needs to be renewed. In the long run, it is cheaper than Unionbank EON's P350 annual fee.

To learn more about the BPI ePrepaid Card, click here.

Feb 17, 2014

Kolbe Academy FAQs for Enrollees in the Philippines

1. Are they open to having enrollees that use a different curriculum (e.g. Sonlight, Catholic Heritage, etc.)?

Yes, they are. You as the parent have the right to choose what curriculum to use with your child. The main thing is that you are able to prove to Kolbe, through proper documentation, that your child indeed learned the materials that are contained in the curriculum you used.

2. How do you send in your sample works, grades, etc.?

We scan them and save the whole set in PDF, then we email them to Kolbe. The documentation is arranged per quarter, but we compile all quarters so we can send them in one blast at the end of the year.
For high schoolers, however, it is highly recommended that you send quarterly reports quarterly, not annually.

3. Do you do all subjects?

No. For grades 1 to 3, we only do reading, phonics, grammar, math, science, and religion.

The full Kolbe curriculum includes geography, spelling, and history. We will include geography and history starting grade 4.

If you wish to teach Philippine history and geography, you may do so, but you will have to find your own curriculum and books for them, because Kolbe does not supply such materials.

4. Do you teach Filipino?

No, although I tried on our first year. My problem was the lack of good curriculum and materials for teaching the subject.

If my kids are ever required to take a validating exam in Filipino, they will fare like other children who were schooled using the US curriculum.

I agree that this can be inconvenient. This is why my children are transferring to a Philippine-based homeschool provider this year.

5. Do you buy all their books?

No. I get most of our materials online. You can get cheap or even free digital versions of McGuffey’s readers on Google Play, Project Gutenberg, and Amazon.com.

We subscribe to Starfall.com for my kindergartener. There are online flashcards at Factmonster.com. There are also plenty of printable exercises you can get for a P500 annual fee at Schoolkid.ph.

I sometimes browse the textbooks at National Bookstore for the occasional textbook gem.

The only books I get from Kolbe are their religion books. I used to get them using Johnny Air, but if you order the books right after you enroll online, they can be shipped along with the curriculum.

6. How old was your child when you enrolled her in kindergarten?

My second child was almost six years old when she enrolled in Kolbe’s kindergarten. My eldest was seven when he enrolled in Kolbe for the first time, in first grade. They did not ask if he had gone to kindergarten. But that could have changed, since US schooling policies seem to require kindergarten now too.

7. How much time do you spend homeschooling?

I hesitate to answer this question because you may interpret my answer to mean how much time YOU should spend homeschooling.

The point of homeschooling is that you get to adjust everything to your child’s individual needs. I recommend that you carefully gauge how long your child’s attention stays, and when the child has obviously become tired, don’t push it.

When my eldest was in first grade, he could tolerate two hours of class. When my second child was in first grade, she could only tolerate one hour of class.

You may ask, how was my second child able to finish her lessons in half the time?

Actually, the lessons were short enough to be finished in one hour time. My eldest child took two hours because when he was done with his lessons, his mom made him do extra practice!

Today, we have done away with the clock. I give them their tasks for the day, and if they are able to satisfactorily do their lessons in fifteen minutes (that means no mistakes on the exercises), they can go.

What do they do the rest of the time? They play. They study the things that really interest them.

They have drawing lessons through YouTube. They make their own dragon models out of cardboard and glue stick. They use Android apps to learn French vocabulary. Right now, as I type, they are exploring the properties of reflection and iridescence using flashlights and old CDs.

8. How much does it cost?

Please click here for my complete post on that.

9. How do you find Kolbe Academy so far?

Their curriculum is excellent for busy working mothers who are looking for an affordable curriculum with maximum flexibility. Their religion curriculum is excellent for Catholics. They are loyal to the Magisterium. I love that.

But this year, we are transferring to a Philippine-based homeschool provider because I would sleep better knowing that my children have Filipino and Sibika at Kultura in their curriculum. Also, Kolbe's flexibility is not quite suited to my personality.

Nevertheless, we will continue to buy Kolbe's curriculum and books for religion.

Note: This FAQ list is based on my experience and is not officially sanctioned by Kolbe Academy. To get information straight from them, please visit their website, kolbe.org, and find their contact information there.

Other questions? Please ask them in the comments.

The Nanay Notebook is written by Blessie Adlaon, a work-at-home and homeschooling mom of four. Check out our About page to know more about this blog's author and our policies on advertising, press releases, and reposting.

Feb 12, 2014

New (!) BIR Rules for Filing Income Taxes for the Year 2013, Due April 15, 2014

(This image just felt so right.)
Oh, yes, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) powers-that-be have done it again.

On January 24, 2014, the Department of Finance and the BIR issued this Revenue Regulation 2-2014 that says income tax for 2013 must be filed using the new 2013 edition tax forms released just recently (because when I downloaded it in late January, it was still the 2011 version).

In other words, if you had tried to be a good citizen and filed your taxes early (like I did), then sorry, good citizen, you'll just have to do the effing paperwork and visit your RDO to file your taxes again!

(Yes, I am humungously pissed. Does it show? Good.)

Thank goodness BMBEs like me are exempted from income tax, and according to the Tax Code of the Philippines, Chapter IX, Sec. 51.A.2.d, "An individual who is exempt from income tax pursuant to the provisions of this Code and other laws, general or special" is not required to file his/her ITR.

So I guess I'll just skip filing an ITR this year.

But I wanted an ITR in case I apply for a loan. The ITR, after all, is the main reason why I registered in the first place. Oh well, here's hoping I won't need an ITR in 2014.

Anyway, I am not writing to rant (even though I already did that). For your guidance, fellow tax payers, here is the full text of the BIR's latest notorious new regulation -- one of so many in very recent years.

Oh, and my annotations in red.

- - - - -



January 24, 2014

SUBJECT : New Income Tax Forms
TO : All Revenue Officials, Employees, and Others Concerned

SECTION 1 - Objective.

These Revenue Regulations are issued to prescribe the new BIR forms that will be used for income tax returns (ITRs) filing covering and starting the taxable year ended December 31, 2013.

SECTION 2 - Scope.

Pursuant to Section 244, in relation to Sections 6(H), 51(A)(1) and 51(A)(2) of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 (Tax Code), as amended, these Regulations are issued to prescribe the use of revised income tax forms with bar codes, and to reflect the changes in information required from said forms. This will also enable the said forms to be read by an optical character reader (OCR) for ease in scanning.

SECTION 3 - Filing of New ITR Forms. (Click on the links to find the new downloadable BIR forms.)

All taxpayers required to file their ITRs under Section 51(A)(1) of the Tax Code and those not required to file under Section 51(A)(2) but who opted to do so, covering and starting taxable year ended December 31, 2013 shall use the applicable forms as follows:

  1. BIR Form No. 1700 version June 2013 (Annual Income Tax Return for Individuals Earning Purely Compensation Income);
  2. BIR Form No. 1701 version June 2013 (Annual Income Tax Return for Self-Employed Individuals, Estates and Trusts);
  3. BIR Form No. 1702-RT version June 2013 (Annual Income Tax Return for Corporations, Partnerships and Other Non-Individual Taxpayers Subject Only to the REGULAR Income Tax Rate);
  4. BIR Form No. 1702-EX version June 2013 (Annual Income Tax Return for Use Only by Corporations, Partnerships and Other Non-Individual Taxpayers EXEMPT Under the Tax Code, as amended, [Sec. 30 and those exempted in Sec. 27(C)] and Other Special Laws, with NO Other Taxable Income); and
  5. BIR Form No. 1702-MX version June 2013 (Annual Income Tax Return for Corporations, Partnerships and Other Non-Individuals with Mixed Income Subject to Multiple Income Tax Rates or with Income Subject to Special/Preferential Rate)

SECTION 4 - Rounding Off to the Nearest Peso in the ITR.

The requirement for entering centavos in the ITR has been eliminated. If the amount of centavos is 49 or less, drop down the centavos (e.g., P 100.49 = P 100.00). If the amount is 50 centavos or more, round up to the next peso (e.g., P 100.50 = P101.00). (Note: In the new form, the spaces for centavos were simply omitted, so instead of writing "101.00," you would simply write "101.")

SECTION 5 - Mandatory Itemized Deductions.

A. Corporations, partnerships and other non-individuals are mandated to use the itemized deductions in the following cases:
  1. Those exempt under the Tax Code, as amended [Section 30 and those exempted under Section 27(C)] and other special laws, with no other taxable income; 
  2. Those with income subject to special/preferential tax rates; and 
  3. Those with income subject to income tax rate under Section 27(A) and 28(A)(1) of the Tax Code, as amended, and also with income subject to special/preferential tax rates. Juridical entities whose taxable base is the gross revenue or receipts (e.g., non-resident foreign international carriers) are not entitled to the itemized deductions nor to the optional standard deduction (OSD) under Section 34(L) of the Tax Code, as amended.

B. Individual taxpayers who are not entitled to avail of the OSD and thus use only the itemized deduction method are as follows:
  1. (BMBEs, take note!) Those exempt under the Tax Code, as amended, and other special laws with no other taxable income [e.g. Barangay Micro Business Enterprise (BMBE)]; 
  2. Those with income subject to special/preferential tax rates; and 
  3. Those with income subject to income tax rate under Section 24 of the Tax Code, as amended, and also with income subject to special/preferential tax rates.

SECTION 6 - Transitory Provisions. (Oh, here comes my favorite part.)

Taxpayers who filed using old forms for their 2013 ITRs (manual and/or electronic) must re-file using the new income tax forms upon their availability. (Re-file. Of course. We business owners really have nothing better to do. We're a non-busy lot, after all.)

SECTION 7 - Repealing Clause.

All existing regulations and other issuances or portions thereof which are inconsistent with the provisions of these Regulations are hereby repealed, amended, or modified accordingly. (Yes, supreme leader.)

SECTION 8 - Effectivity.

These Regulations shall take effect starting the taxable year ended December 31, 2013 and after fifteen (15) days following publication in two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

("Starting the taxable year ended December 13, 2013"? So you mean, like, January 2013? 

Wow. And to think, this was only signed in January 2014 and published on newspapers on February 6, 2014. Wowwwwww. 

Pardon my ignorance, but is this really how these regulations are supposed to work -- take effect now, sign and inform the public a year later?)

(Original Signed)
Secretary of Finance

Recommending approval

(Original Signed)
Commissioner of Internal Revenue

Click on the link to download the original text of REVENUE REGULATIONS No. 2-2014.

The Nanay Notebook is written by Blessie Adlaon, a work-at-home and homeschooling mom of four. Check out our About page to know more about this blog's author and our policies on advertising, press releases, and reposting.