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Housing Benefits for Filipino Freelancers

Community Guru
Juvy Ann P Member Since: Oct 29, 2015



I, finally, was able to sort my issue out with BIR yesterday.  It looks like I skipped one step before proceeding to pay for my certificate fee together with the documentary stamp.


When I got to the office of the Administrative Assistant, my request was accommodated right away except that there was a confusion as to what document we were trying to work on.  It seemed that if I did not pay my income tax on time I would not have made it yesterday.


Taxpayers with a request for a Certified True Copy of their ITRs for years 2014-2017, for instance, are most likely unable to get results in a day as it takes time to verify all entries via the database.


It is highly recommended then that the said copy be acquired right after paying for the annual ITR.


Another thing that I noted is that elements in leadership boards in BIR tend to fluctuate rapidly so the best move is to address the letter to the Administrative Assistant in general.  Yesterday, I discovered that the office has many people working under that title and that the lady who received my letter of requrest was actually the Officer-in-Charge Chief of the Collection Section and assumes the title of Adminstrative Assistant, too.


In summary, a Certificate of Foreign Inward Remittance may invalidate a freelancer's self-employed status as taxpayers can actually become self-employed individuals.  Those who pay for their taxes may have the right to apply for a housing loan.  Tax-exempt people who are capable of making such a loan are those who receive hard currency straight into their bank accounts.

Community Guru
Juvy Ann P Member Since: Oct 29, 2015



Last September 12, 2017 the certified true copy of my Annual ITR for the year 2016 has been received by a Marketing Officer.  All requirements for the current year have been submitted.  All communications will be through her from this day forward.


The area is quite resistant to flooding as the province has recently been whipped by Typhoon Maring and it emerged as dry after the rains have subsided.


In the southern part of the island, one can choose to avoid this long wait and struggle with so many documents by signing up for lease-to-own-with-option-to-purchase condominium units.  For a smaller floor area the entire unit amount is Php 4,197,538 where monthly rate for a maximum of 10 years or 120 months will be at Php 34,979.48. Transfer taxes (6%) and other fees is set at Php 251,852.28 which are to be paid on the 120th month or the last month of payment.


Move-in procedures are fast -- 2 to 3 months only.  There is no bank loan required.  The developer will not ask if you have enough savings in a Mutual Fund agency as this is not a Pag-IBIG loan.  One may just have to pay amortization good for three months -- roughly Php 100,000.00. 


But one has to be a taxpayer to avail of this offer as this is for promotional purposes only.  Furthermore, there is a need to present two government-issued identification cards and picture.  Passports and the driver's license are acceptable.  Other documents that are necessary include a proof of billing, signed documents issued by the developer, advanced payment for the homeowners' association dues, and post-dated checks.


When these requirements are complete, the processing will take one month only.


How many Filipino freelancers can avail of these housing benefits at this time?


Community Guru
Juvy Ann P Member Since: Oct 29, 2015



Last October 13, 2017, I got notified via SMS that the Housing Loan got approved but with some conditions.  The property’s contract price is Php xxx, xxx.00 but the loanable amount that Pag-IBIG approved is Php xxx, xxx.00 leaving Php xx, xxx.00 as the loan difference (since I already paid for a total of Php xxx, xxx.00 as reservation fee and equity) that must be settled as soon as possible.


Within 60 days after the take-out date of the loan, I am required to apply for an occupancy permit to cover the punch-listing of corrective works.  Otherwise, the unit will not be turned over and the punch-listing of corrective works will be considered as “waived”.


Occupancy requirements include the following:


  1. Housing loan must have a “take-out” status
  2. An occupancy bond of Php 1,000.00 must be paid
  3. A one-month advanced payment in HDMF amortization (Php x, xxx.00)
  4. A punch list (list of corrective works)
  5. Thirty-five (35) post-dated checks for HDMF amortization
  6. Accomplished occupancy permit

Keys will only be released or the unit will be formally turned over to the buyer after 30 days from complete compliance of requirements.


So it looks like I have to pay for the additional equity first before I can apply for an occupancy permit.  Although the developer allotted a maximum of 90 days with a Php xx, xxx.00 equity per month, it is advantageous to settle the total amount before the 30-day period elapses as we are currently renting an apartment with a rate of Php x, xxx.00 per month plus a total of Php xx, xxx.00 as one month advanced payment and two-month deposit (that will ultimately serve as maintenance fee).  If we can transfer to the unit within 30 days, our monthly amortization will be Php x, xxx.00 only and we will be through with the Php 16K "loss".  This is ridiculously lower and more affordable than the monthly payment of Php 34,000.00 for condominium units that are often advertised and can be acquired without savings in a mutual fund and tax documents.


After paying the additional equity of Php xx, xxx.00, I figured the need to get a new copy of the reservation agreement in regards to the payment updates so I contacted the Marketing Documents Specialist regarding this matter.  She asked me to see her last October 18, 2017, a Monday, at 8:00 o’clock in the morning. 


Prior to our meeting, I tried to ask my “financial adviser” if I could pull my shares (Php xxx, xxx.00) off the Unit Investment Trust Fund (UITF) but he said I might lose much.   He said that it is not going to be a healthy financial decision.  Besides, I am about to have my first cashout benefit this November and I will be receiving Php xx, xxx.00 which can be used to pay for the premiums of the 1st quarter for the third year.  The Marketing Officer said that she can endorse for the release of the money left in my time deposit account (which has already been reserved as payment to my sister who initially funded my checking account) but advised me to apply for an installment card – a sort of a credit card that will allow me to avail of cash that I need to pay for my additional equity.


I intended to apply for a loan of Php xx, xxx.00 only since I still have money left in my checking account.  I tried to calculate how much I am going to pay if I will be granted such a credit limit for a duration of 36 months and it looks like I am going to shell out Php x, xxx.00 monthly.  This is one of the options that we are trying to consider.


In order to apply for this installment card, I need to present a government ID card, my latest ITR stamped as “received” by BIR, financial statements for the past two years, and photocopies of my bank statements.


Last October, 18, 2017, we went to the APEC and had the Reservation Agreement amended as they accepted three post-dated checks that I drafted with each check amounting to Php xx, xxx.00 each.  It looked like if we pay roughly Php xx, xxx.00 within three months starting on November 8, 2017, we will have a lower monthly amortization owed to the HDMF  -- roughly the same amount that we are paying for the apartment right now.


I issued three postdated checks for the three month-equity amounting to Php xx, xxx.00 each.  Then I went to BDO and applied for a BDO installment card.  All of my documents were accepted and I was told that the processing of these documents will take around two to three weeks.


I simultaneosly applied for two loans that are associated with my "monthly investments" to cover the additional equity and my documents have been accepted.  Loan proceeds these days are channeled through check and cash cards by government institutions.


While I was processing these loans I learned that voluntary contributions to SSS and Pag-IBIG are not considered unless one is either employed or self-employed.  Self-employed individuals need to be tax payers!  The system does not seem to add voluntary contributions to pre-existing contributions.


Furthermore, I realized that being an Upwork freelancer is more advantageous to being an Uber driver because Uber drivers who wish to apply as self-employed individuals are not entertained by BIR as only car owners are considered as self-employed.  Drivers are employees who need to be added to the owner's self-employed BIR account and be granted a sort of a "Withholding Compensation".  Drivers who have "below-the-minimum wage" are most likely to be tax-exempt.


I tried to sell some home items online today, October 19, 2017.  I didn’t know that it can be both fun and emotionally charged at the same time.  My son wanted to have the TV and the guitar and he was crying and slapped me several times. 


But a buyer texted me and showed some interest on my personal keyboard.  It seemed so easy to sell stuff online.  I was hoping to get some good buyers.  As for the other items, it looked like I had to double my time in cleaning the items that I needed to sell before I could take pictures and upload each of these pictures online.  This whole thing really sounded like an online garage sale.  What added more fun to the experience was that I got to be assisted by CS reps who communicated well in the English language. 


I had two potential clients.  One wanted to buy my personal keyboard.  The other wanted the missing element in my DVD player.  Both were kind of weird.  The former wanted to buy my stuff without asking much about electronic details.  The latter wished that the missing element be incorporated into the DVD player system and lectured much about coaxial plugs and HDMI by driving me to do research about those terms without trying to be bossy.  It looked like the latter’s lecture was worth the item that I was trying to sell.  That was the reason, I reckoned, why he was going to pay for the missing element.


Yesterday, October 20, 2017, I cleaned the stuff that I wanted to sell and I realized that I don’t have clutter in the house.  All I have are barest necessities and equipment for future business endeavors.  I thought about putting up a tutorial business which will enable me to maximize my other potentials and capabilities and will serve as an alternative option that I can fall back on in case Upwork’s gates will be closed against me forever.  I can use my classical guitar and personal keyboard to teach basic guitar and keyboard lessons for instance.  I think I am through with the online garage sale phase. I am moving to the next phase.


At the time of writing this journal entry, I am aware of how significant this feat is for us Filipino freelancers.  I hereby confirm that the Philippine government is undeniably serious in recognizing dollar earners who utilize Upwork as their online platform through which they engage themselves in business. 

Community Guru
Juvy Ann P Member Since: Oct 29, 2015

Last November 4, 2017, I attended a Pag-IBIG seminar for the housing loan.  I was asked to present a photocopy of one of my government IDs.  Then I was asked to affix my signature on a registration sheet. Afterwards, I was ushered into one of the conference rooms with a Borrower’s Validation Sheet (Pag-IBIG Form HQP-HLF-058) attached to the photocopy of my ID and which contains information relevant to the housing loan.


It looks like I will not be paying for my monthly contributions the way I used to before – at “Bayad” or Business Centers inside the mall -- because I will have an upgraded monthly savings which comprises of my monthly amortization of Php xxxx.xx plus regular monthly contribution plus additional contributions plus insurance premiums. A Pag-IBIG member who has a monthly contribution of Php 200.00 is capable of a housing loan worth Php 500,000.00 so that if the member is granted a loan greater than that amount, any excess of Php 100,000.00 will be equivalent to an additional contribution worth Php 50.00 (so in my case, I will have an additional contribution of xxx.xx). 


Additional contributions will be added to the Total Accumulated Value (TAV) of the member.  More contributions mean more dividends. Payment must be at a Pag-IBIG branch office because the loan applicant or member-borrower can opt to either have the payment be applied to the principal payment or serve as an advanced monthly amortization.  The former implies that there is a chance that the term will be shortened – for instance, a 30-year housing loan may be reduced to a 10-year loan – while the latter is associated with an absolute zero-penalty housing loan.


The member-borrower’s insurance coverage is termed as the Mortgage Redemption Insurance (MRI) otherwise known as Sales Redemption Insurance while the property has a Fire Insurance. With MRI, the member-borrower must not die due to unnatural causes like suicide or death due to self-inflicted hunger strike as the case may be as natural death, which is honored as an acceptable cause of death of the principal buyer, is death attributed to cardiovascular diseases and cancer – both of which are considered as pre-existing conditions that may nullify an applicant’s request for a healthcare coverage. It was not discussed, however, if such combinations as falling from a flight of stairs due to cancer as stipulated in one medical journal article that I have read, can be considered as a natural death.  At the time of death and the member-borrower is found to have arrears (penalty), MRI claims will be released after said arrears have been fully paid. 


Other causes of death include “acts of God” such as what happens when the owner becomes thoroughly washed out lifeless by floods due to a storm surge, or dies because the house collapses due to an earthquake.  When this happens, the spouse can claim the MRI cash payout, have the property as fully paid, and be capable of both a Home Improvement Loan and a Calamity Loan (if the Local Government Unit declares the area in a state of calamity).


This seems to answer why many homeowners would rather choose to not leave their homes while local government officials tend to do everything so as to evacuate their constituents to “safe places”.  It seems that purchasing a “hurricane glass”, which was popularized by Ms. Jennifer M, while staying in the unit is a good option. MRI becomes effective once the loan gets to be approved until it becomes fully paid.  Insurance premiums are included in the revised monthly savings as I pointed out above. 


The interest rate of each monthly amortization is subject to re-pricing.  With the Affordable Housing Program that each member-borrower may participate in, re-pricing may occur every ten years.  I am not sure if that is the maximum period that may be granted but this means that the interest will be computed every ten years and is highly dependent on Foreign Exchange (FOREX) rates or dollar: peso values.


For the first 24 months, the buyer pays directly to the developer because the developer has a Collection Servicing Agreement with Pag-IBIG.


Late payments will have a penalty of 1% of the amount due and failure to pay monthly amortizations for three consecutive times means that the loan account will be have a default status.


Twenty-four (24) months after the housing loan proceeds have been released (loan takeout) – which is equivalent to saying that the equity owed to the developer has been fully paid prior to this phase --Contract-To-Sell (CTS) accounts will be converted to REM (I do not know what this acronym stands for but I’m excited to find out what this means soon) accounts which means that the borrower finally receives the title of the property. Within 18-24 months and with zero arrears plus the real property tax (known as “amilyar” in the Filipino dialect) shouldered by the developer, the member-borrower is likely to have a property title and the homeowner may now avail of the Home Improvement Loan with proceeds that can be directly applied to the property loaned through Pag-IBIG.  Before the property is touched structurally, the owner must ask permission from the developer first. 


After 24 months, the real property tax will be under the care of the homeowner.  Receipts of tax payments must be kept and submitted to the Pag-IBIG Fund.  The deadline for the submission of tax documents is every 30th day of June per year. Failure to pay for the real property tax on time means penalty.  The worst scenario would be that the Municipal Government will sell the property in order to “settle the borrower’s tax delinquency”.  Once the property is foreclosed, the homeowner’s only option is to leave the property with only the clothes that he or she is wearing -- an option that seems to validate why many prospective house-and-lot buyers are most likely to sell their scrap and quit playing craps that involve prized gifts such as a personal keyboard and a classical guitar and part with old appliances and furniture in exchange for cold cash which may be used to pay for monthly amortizations.


Once the member-borrower has moved in, minor adjustments may be done. These include anything that has to do with partitions.  One may have as many as ten rooms at the second floor – and we are talking about 36 square meters here.  Major constructions must be avoided if the title is not yet received.


After the takeout date, the property may be rented out as a business establishment. But this is not the true purpose of the Pag-IBIG Fund.  The true nature of the Fund is to enable its members to own a house and lot unit while staying in it and “renting” the property while avoiding any possibility of foreclosure.  If I find myself at the brink of having to entertain such a thought, I hope that there will be someone kind enoguh to award to me a broker’s license and invite me to earn a commission equivalent to my arrears.  All will be well.  I hope so. 


I remember that in the past I used to hunt for foreclosed properties.  It was quite a temptation because of the less amount of money that can be shelled out if one would buy such treasures.  I would interview owners of these properties and each time I did the effort, I could glean from those frozen eyes the sadness inherent in knowing that after they saved and toiled hard to make the property their own, it would just be given back to the government.  I cannot summon enough courage to do that now – from everything that I and my families – both virtual and genetic and lawful – have gone through to have this journey with me. Attempting to buy a foreclosed property is like being engaged in a contract with a client who wants me to work on an unfinished data matrix.


Having been an apartment dweller for years made me dig into mechanisms by which I may protect myself and my family now that we are in transition.  Renting an apartment is one story.  Trying to move out of the cave is another story fraught with subliminal torment (ah, I won’t forget how each day I have to fight against all kinds of smoke – from fried “tuyo” to the darkest carburator offshoot imaginable -- thrown to my window) from business individuals and from their comrades who think that I and my family who paid a one-month advanced payment and two months deposit are robbing them of their humanity now that we are consuming our savings. 


Fortunately I found this online resource where I got relevant information that has to do with seeking legal aid that is affordable.  I just need to submit my Income Tax Return and this will serve as their basis in computing how much fees I can shell out if the need arises.  As for evidence, I have much. 


But I hope it does not come to this point.  I personally do not favor disputes of any sort.  I am in favor of communicating to this people that I am moving out because I have been working my ass off for years and was saving in a mutual fund since 2003 which makes me qualified for this benefit and I have a legal business to declare to vouch my capacity for such a feat. 


I am self-employed because I am doing business and with my earnings I am capable of paying for my taxes and if I will have more fortunes in the future then I will hire them to construct add-ons to the property -- that is, if the Home Improvement Loan will be approved.


If they kill us now with all of these uninhibited and unnecessary gases, then who will hire them in the future? Why will it be kind to wage a nuclear war against us now that we are about to have our dream house come alive?


Community Guru
Juvy Ann P Member Since: Oct 29, 2015



Last December 11, 2017, I discovered that the housing loan has not been approved yet and that the word “approved” is used at every stage of the Pag-IBIG housing loan.


I was notified via email that our “Pag-Ibig housing loan docs is for annotation” and that “the Transfer Certificate of Title” is to be delivered to the Registry of Deeds.   Moreover, the email stated that our loan application “will be taken-out” by Pag-IBIG, either this month or the first three months of 2018.  We are asked to wait for a maximum of six months more.  I think that the speed of the loan processing is synonymous to how fast I respond to posts at this forum.  I know this because the internet reminds me often that it takes me “too long to respond”.


The email was a result of my appeal for an “early move-in procedure” which was supposed to be granted last April, 2017 which was later moved to July then November – and now January (and possibly March, 2018).  Good luck to us.


Apparently, the apartment owner is about to accept a new occupant since we have already consumed our rent deposit for two months and business indicators were telling us to move out as we are jeopardizing their capability to earn and, consequently, feed their workers and families.

So I summoned enough courage to go to the Developer’s Office again and my concern was attended to by a Customer Service Representative who, upon hearing my request for an “early move-in procedure”, recommended me to the Marketing Manager (whom I never met in the ordeal I have had last week).


It looks like the reservation of the property was made with a realty corporation that is under another developer which has a sister company situated in the area where the Marketing Manager holds her office in an intermittent fashion.  The people who assisted me in the “grievance workshop” were amiable, soft-spoken, patient key personnel and one of them was the one who sent me the email stating the current status of the housing loan.


The air-conditioned room was extremely quiet and it seemed like I owned the stage with my audience locked in their cubicles.  The “interview” seemed like a scrutiny of my character, temperament, patience, initiative, and ability to do introspection.  The people who emerged from their cubicles from time to time were of various age brackets.  I saw someone sporting the hair of Bob Marley.  Another was of short stature and of a structurally-obvious back problem – but I was told that the room is filled with architects, engineers – in fact, the brightest minds in the company.


Our discussion went from one topic to another – essentially we drifted from where I graduated to its implication on the possibility that I might be a member of the “New People’s Army (hence, a terrorist!) which, somehow, made me ask myself if there were FBIs in the room and that I am actually being suspected of a crime I may not know about.  I, actually, used this as grounds for my request to move into the Pag-IBIG unit as moving from one place to another increases the likelihood of this suspicion and actually harms the business that I am running.  Upon introspection later that day, I figured how vulnerable we, freelance contractors are in this globally massive effort to eradicate terrorism in all its forms. 


As for the FBI thing, the first thing that I did for my professional development this week was to learn that the mouse is an external device while rats are inside my PC and can enable someone with sophisticated technology to have access to my webcam even without the LED warning signal.


Meanwhile, our Pag-IBIG housing loan documents are in the process of getting annotated and that the “Transfer Certificate of Title” is on its way to the Registry of Deeds and that our loan application has not been “taken-out” by Pag-IBIG yet and that the marketing document specialists are having sleepless nights over these housing projects which are under their care and that prospective occupants of the apartment where we are staying may be extremely exasperated while gnashing their teeth and cursing at us by now.


Can BIR-registered, self-employed Upwork freelance contractors have housing benefits?

Community Guru
Juvy Ann P Member Since: Oct 29, 2015



Yesterday, February 1, 2018, I finally received the Notice of Installment/Amortization from the Pag-IBIG Fund.  It states that my application for a housing loan through the Fund has been approved and was taken out last 29th day of December, 2017.  As a consequence, my monthly installment/amortization would have begun last January 29, 2018 and subsequent payments shall begin on February 28, 2018 until the loan has been fully paid in fifteen (15) years.


It, further, states that my monthly amortization shall cover my monthly savings (which has almost doubled in value), mortgage redemption insurance (MRI), fire insurance, principal loan amount and its accompanying interest.  The total amount coincides with the amount stated in the transmittal sheet, procedures upon take out guideline sheet, and check reports issued by the developer company which assisted me in this housing loan.  There is a slight difference, however, and my guess is that the extra amount will be allocated for the real property tax which will be shouldered by the company until after two years when the title will be released to the principal buyers of their housing projects.


So for two years,  my monthly amortizations will be due on either the 28th or 29th day of the month but I need to make sure that each check (because I issued 23 post-dated checks to cover my monthly installments for 2 years) is funded before the 19th day of each month.


The next few steps will include the following (in a chronological order):


  1. Pay the discounted (because I paid early so I do not need to pay for the MERALCO, streetlight and garbage fees) move-in fees to cover the occupancy bond of Php 1,000.00 and water meter amounting to Php 8,200.00
  2. Fill-up the occupancy permit


The occupancy permit must be accomplished within 60 days upon take-out so I can avail of the punch-listing-of-corrective-works privilege.  The last phase of the entire ritual is the turning-over ceremony in which principal buyers get to finally receive house keys and be allowed to move in to their respective units.


Equities that have been paid for since 2015 until early this year is equivalent to less than my total Upwork earnings. Needless to say, I am grateful to all my generous, kind-hearted and empowering clients who allowed me to chase this dream.  Upwork has given me an all-out support by matching me with these clients and for making sure that I get trained and helped properly through their Top Rated program (which is analogous to a large formation house) and have access to this forum of forums where I got to share my stories of woundedness and struggles with authentic (and about-to-get-real) individuals who are (and about to be) agents of change themselves.


I am, likewise, grateful to my families outside the virtual world.  They are migrant workers who fed me and gave me shelter and tried (and continue to try) to understand my peculiarities while I was (and am) chasing this dream.  My landlady and her company (of friends and relatives) has also been so kind to us while we were (and are) in the struggle of waiting for this chance.


At the bottom of my list, I also remember with gratitude all my former employers who religiously paid for my Pag-IBIG contributions since 2003.  Without them foreseeing this basic human need for a shelter, this dream would not have had initial funds.


Can BIR-registered, self-employed Upwork freelance contractors have housing benefits?


Yes.  The government is with us and the global arena is equipped with opportunities to let us have dreams while we stay with our families and practice our duties as citizens by paying for our taxes.


Ron Cirujano, our country manager, may you now rest in peace and be engulfed with His loving and perpetual light.





Frequent Visitor
Richie S Member Since: Feb 23, 2018

Hello Juvy Ann


First I would like to congratulate you for getting things done and thank you for journaling your experience here at Upwork so others could learn and be inspired by your experience.  I have followed your journal from the beginning and although I didn't read all of the sentences (there were just so many Smiley Happy ), I must say that you have so much diligence writing your story that you could actually extract it and write a blog out of it (if you have not done so yet, and if it's allowed under the terms here at Upwork ). A lot of freelancers out there would surely benefit from it. 


I'm a freelancer newbie, my profile just got approved/activated yesterday (Yay!!!) and so I started reading a lot of different things like how to get paid (very important Smiley Wink how to transfer payment to my account (PayPal and bank account), and then I came across your journal, again thanks for sharing. 


So I'll be doing a lot of searches here I guess, if it is allowed I am open to working in a team. I am currently based in Dubai but very easy to reach online. 




There are no traffic jams on the extra mile - Zig Ziglar

Community Guru
Juvy Ann P Member Since: Oct 29, 2015

@Richie S wrote:

Hello Juvy Ann


First I would like to congratulate you for getting things done and thank you for journaling your experience here at Upwork so others could learn and be inspired by your experience.  I have followed your journal from the beginning and although I didn't read all of the sentences (there were just so many Smiley Happy ), I must say that you have so much diligence writing your story that you could actually extract it and write a blog out of it (if you have not done so yet, and if it's allowed under the terms here at Upwork ). A lot of freelancers out there would surely benefit from it. 


I'm a freelancer newbie, my profile just got approved/activated yesterday (Yay!!!) and so I started reading a lot of different things like how to get paid (very important Smiley Wink how to transfer payment to my account (PayPal and bank account), and then I came across your journal, again thanks for sharing. 


So I'll be doing a lot of searches here I guess, if it is allowed I am open to working in a team. I am currently based in Dubai but very easy to reach online. 




There are no traffic jams on the extra mile - Zig Ziglar

I am equally honored by your reply to my post since you are our country's economic heroine yourself.  Under the Pag-IBIG OFW category, you can already launch your own dream if you haven't started yet and you're interested to pursue it.  In addition to the list I included in my previous post, I must say that I am hugely indebted to my mentors here at the community.  They exposed me to the tax and investment culture.  Conversations with Margarete and Joachim, for intance, have been very helpful. I have come to realize that many European countries and the US are progressive because their citizens are hard working and they have a different mindset.  


An OFW may opt for the Pag-IBIG business category if the stint is not going to last a lifetime (which is most likely to be the case).  Tax documents would be necessary.  Right now you are tax-exempt, am I correct? Time will come when you will need to have those documents.


I am saying this from experience.  For one, I am grateful that BDO has this investment scheme which can be used for financing a college dream  or for retirement or for emergency purposes.  They have this cash payout thing which happens every after two years.  So I think that it was a wise move to have invested in such a product.  I am grateful to their financial advisor who facilitated the entire process so we could avail of the profits at the time when we need funds the most.  Where is the wicked Ms. Jennifer M who advised me to do this?  Hahaha!  Many of the things that I learned from my mentors here were not scams.  I think that the law of attraction is in effect almost every possible opportunity.  We just cultivate the goodness in us and the universe will offer us the best people to reflect who we are.


In regards to the intellectual property stuff, what I know is that Upwork owns the right to every post in all of these forums.  However, I wish to seek clarification as to the extent that IP can be enforced.  I hope one of the moderators will be able to comment on the following queries:


If a local client would seek to have me talk in public about housing benefits for Filipino freelancers, for instance, can I tell them the entire story in a verbatim manner?  If I deviate from the original plot and retell the story from my son's point of view, will that be a cause for my account to get suspended?  Should I tell my local client to first set up a client's account before they can invite me to talk about these things?  And if I happen to be a user of this platform and I own a blogging site, what restrictions does Upwork have in regards to extracting information from any of these posts to my full satisfaction and that of my website visitors?

Community Guru
Juvy Ann P Member Since: Oct 29, 2015

"Homing-In" Updates


So it’s going to be our second day at the new house.


We moved in last February 28, 2018 but it was as early as the 20th day of last month when I submitted the fully accomplished Occupancy Permit application form at the developer’s main branch office after paying for the move-in fees to cover an occupancy bond of Php 1,200.00 and water meter in the amount of Php 8,200.00.  Because I paid early, I got a 4% discount which I used to initially fund my checking account and our MERALCO (our local power provider company), as well as streetlight and garbage fees have been waived.


I qualified for Step 5 which is the opportunity to schedule the punchlisting of corrective works so we could do a Satisfactory Survey of the unit.  We could have had the chance to comment on the painting job, carpentry works, masonry stuff, and over-all quality of the house but since our budget was limited we decided to skip Step 5 since the punchlisting will take place sometime in May, 2018.  This could imply double amortization fees on our part and it seemed to me that we were not cut out for this so  I signed the waiver form and submitted this to the On-site Engineer and the Administrative Staff Head of the subdivision.  It was followed by a short conference with the key personnel to remind me that the minimum billable consumption amount for water is Php 169.00 per month and if ever I fail to pay my dues on time I will have to pay Php 300.00 as a reconnection fee and one-month advanced payment plus the amount that I failed to pay on time.


On the Notice of Acceptance, I need to make sure that the installation date, water meter number and initial reading details are entered accurately.


As for electricity, I was informed that the new subdivision has an on-going MERALCO ENERGIZATION which is yet to be fully completed so all residents or homeowners could have permanent electric connection.  It was therefore agreed upon that my family must not plug in big appliances (such as the refrigerator, TV and washing machine) and welding machines (for those with construction projects) or incur huge power consumption.  Electric bills will not be paid in a MERALCO outlet yet.  The developer company owns another subdivision unit which has an office that can accommodate such payments every day for seven days a week from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  The permanent MERALCO meter will only be installed if all bill balances have been settled by each homeowner.


I submitted the House Inspection permit last February 22, 2018.  Unfortunately, I was not supposed to bring the document home since none of us are qualified to do house inspection.


On my own, I studied basic interior design principles and house inspection guidelines via online courses just so I have an idea of what was going on and future things to come.  Simultaneously, I started packing things up and tried to bring only the essential things.  Overall we spent a total of Php 350.00 for the transportation expenses related to move-in procedures.


For Step 6 to be accomplished, I had to draft a letter addressed to key people in regards to the request for an earlier turnover date.  Conditions that have been stipulated were the lack of electricity and water supply.  Keys were turned over to me last February 26, 2018.


Upon acceptance of three sets of keys, I also received the Notice of Unit Acceptance which is, in essence, a warranty document stating that I have six months to air out plumbing concerns, two weeks for water leak concerns and countdown must begin right after I accept the water meter, two weeks for electrical concerns, and 12 months for roof leak concerns.  The latter is easy to observe since we do not have a ceiling yet.  We just have to wait for the rain to come.  These days it’s early Summer here at the Philippine islands.


We were able to transfer to the new house last February 28, 2018. We left a clean apartment (and all of our dirty clothes have been washed!) and we said goodbye to our landlady and our neighbors. We are pioneers in this block.  Right now, it's only us.  And so we can afford to be noisy. Hahaha!  I mean the generator is so 95-decibel noisy.  Neighbors won’t get affected yet.  We have some perks because we waived the punchlisting of corrective works.  We get to have free water supply!  We just have to fetch water from the area near the guard house.  Four security guards and 1 canine unit are guarding the subdivision.


It has been two days since we “homed-in” and it looks like our only major concerns are electricity, which I try to solve by using my portable electric generator, and water supply, which is given to us for free.  There’s a business man who is selling purified water to us at Php 30.00 per slim container (which contains approximately 3 gallons of water) and he delivers drinking water every morning.


Yesterday electricians, who probably serve as utility men of the company, came to the house and inspected the metallic box cavity (it still is invisible up to this time) near the door.  Then they said that although they are available to work on the box so we can have electricity, they will still wait for March 9, 2018 because that was the original schedule as per our agreement with the company as stipulated in the contract and in the letter that I forwarded to the Office of the On-site Engineer.  So I did business as usual with my portable generator.  After a few minutes, they came back and worked on the electric post near our house.  It looks like we are going to have electricity as scheduled.


The first time I reviewed the steps on how to operate my portable generator, I had an error.  I forgot to switch the lever to the left side first before pulling the string.  I learned that I need to check if there's unleaded gasoline inside the tank (50:1 with 2T oil) and that I need to turn the fuel lever on and push the "I" button before switching the lever below it to the left.  I had to remind myself that I have to pull the string then switch the lever to the right before plugging cords in the extension wire. When everything was ready, I could commence my work on my desktop.


Today, however, it was a disaster. The generator got broken.  My seven-year old son operated it while I was upstairs trying to fetch his school uniforms that are meant to be pressed.  We spent almost an eternity agonizing over the loss of power.  I wanted to spank him.  But I wanted to work more than I wanted to hurt him so I gathered the tool box. I got a pair of scissors, bent and bare metals, duct tape, and coated wire.  In the end, the wire was the most helpful.  We had to fish out the thread that was not in place. 


The duct tape was in the survival kit which I started preparing over a year ago for Martial Law incidents, typhoons, and earthquakes.  Now, it has been very useful to us while we struggle with electrical and water problems.  We could use paper plates and disposable utensils, for instance, thus lessening the need for more water.  At night, we have to soak our skin in anti-Dengue Off Lotion. Thanks to Scott E for the CoffeeBreak lesson. Our lamp is the moon after the candle is extinguished.  On our first night here, I could not sleep and realized that I have been ignoring the moon for quite such a long time.  When I was in our island town, I remember that we used to play “Patintero” under the moon.  Now, the moon is our street lamp.  And so far we haven’t incurred any expenses related to its power use.


I am grateful.

Community Guru
Juvy Ann P Member Since: Oct 29, 2015

It has been a week now since we moved into the new unit and I am grateful that we survived the dengue scare and endured the blackness of those nights when the moon was out of sight or when it is in the gibbous phase at dawn and in crescent phase at midnight.


I spent some hours listening to the FM dimension via a transistor radio that I got from the survival kit. There were days when my son was totally engulfed with the word puzzle and I was completely mesmerized with the Sudoku mat. Both the word puzzle and the Sudoku mat are components of the kit, too.


Sudoku appears to be a math puzzle but it actually isn't. Its origins can be traced to France although it has a Japanese name. The game is about completing nine squares with unique numbers from 1 to 9. Only a few numerals are given, most are missing. The answers are provided. I only have to see the connection between these numbers. It is more of a logic game. It is a given that I must know or have a strong grasp of basic Math functions. The trick is to highlight the GIVEN first and then bring data in as called forth by the GIVEN. I enjoy deducting the relationships that exist among these numbers. It's a good pastime (after all the cleaning has been done) especially when there is no electricity and the only transistor radio that I have has extinguished its powers already and I could not recharge it anymore because I had to prioritize "more important" matters.


The generator was a good thing although in the past few days it was becoming increasingly difficult. My hands have been swollen for days due to the misplaced generator string but I managed to continue working on my projects.


I did think about those people who rely on gasoline – it is possible that they're getting “poorer and poorer” these days. In my country, old “jeepneys” are being debunked to boost an environmental awareness in regards to clean air and excise taxes are levied on consumers and the once who are deeply affected are the “jeepney” drivers, portable generator operators, commuters, riders or passengers and everyone else who consume engine oil. But with higher taxes, I hope for better things to come.


Yesterday, the electric sub meter as well as the breaker device have been installed and we got a decently-lighted unit starting last night.  I am grateful to the Subdivision Administrator for facilititating these things despite the garbage incident that I could associate with stray dogs and cats.


As of now, the housing unit is 100% constructed but we need to do some minor improvements because we waived the punch listing of corrective works and we have to follow the National Building Code of the Philippines so as to help raise the appraisal value of the subdivision. We had to waive the punch listing of corrective works as we wanted to avoid the double amortization thing.


But now we realize the possibility that we can be in bad debt if we loan money and use it not to pay for the house and lot investment through monthly amortizations but for house improvements. What are the scope and limitations of the phenomenon called “house imrpovements” (because more often than not, homeowners destroy rather than beautify the unit hahaha)?


House improvements may be classified into the following categories:


a) Major Improvements

b) Minor Improvements

c) No-Bond Improvements


Major improvements are those that require the use of construction materials such as cement, gravel, sand and hollow blocks. Usually this is done exteriorly such as through wall extensions, construction of the perimeter fence, concrete landscape, the terrace, and a roof-attached swimming pool if that can ever be possible. Technical requirements include the following:


• Duly signed House Improvement Application Form

• List of Materials (with quantity)

• Photocopy of 2 valid IDs

• Copy of Notarized SPA (in the absence of the principal buyer)

• Proposed building plan

• Construction Permit from the Barangay Hall

• Building Permit

• Workers List

• Updated Amortization

• Updated Move-in Fees (streetlight and garbage fees)

• Updated temporary utilities

• Construction Bond worth Php 10,000.00

• Application Fee of Php 500.00


Minor improvements, on the other hand, deal with modifications in the interior parts of the house which does not use much of construction materials that have been mentioned above. Examples of which include inside partition with sliding doors, painting of the walls and the ceiling, and the creation of the gravel landscape at the front porch. Technical requirements for both major and minor improvements are identical except for the construction bond requirement because for minor improvements only Php 5,000.00 is needed. The application fee is Php 250.00.


No-Bond improvements are those which deal with materials that can be attached to any parts of the house without any need for construction materials. Examples of which include window grills, vinyl flooring, wallpaper, cement for soil protection, and antenna/disc for the TV set. Technical requirements are limited only to the first four bulleted items above. No-Bond improvements can only be done after minor improvements have been performed. The most important thing to consider is the fact that only the site Engineer can fully classify the house improvement protocol that a homeowner can propose.


If we decide to plunge into bad debt then we need to:


a) Pay for the House Improvement construction bond (Php 5,000.00) and an application fee (Php 250.00) and submit the House Improvement application form and Workers’ List at the main office of the developer company as soon as possible.


b) Get a construction permit from the barangay hall and get a gate pass for all construction materials to be purchased.


c) Procure the construction materials that will be needed. We are still canvassing for high-quality construction materials with affordable prices.


d) Attach insulation foams to the roof. It has already rained and the roof seems to be stable and water-proof as we did not see leaking manifestations. Additionally, we have a neighbour who has just finished his roof and he has extra insulators and he's planning to sell these materials to us at a lower price so probably we will only be needing around 28 meters or less of double-sided and 10-mm thick insulators.


e) Transfer bed upstairs. Right now everything (all basic things) is on the ground floor.


f) Paint the house. We're planning to have a white flat latex paint as a primer and an odourless white paint for the finishing touch.


g) Apply clear solignum to the staircase to prevent termite attack.


h) Protect the soil outside – approximately, a 3-meter layer is allowed and for this task, there are no bond requirements except that it is second to minor improvements such as wall painting and ceiling construction or roof insulation in terms of its priority number as I stated above. We're planning to have a garden with pine shrubs and bermuda grass. This I lifted from the online class I had. According to the video maker who is an accomplished interior designer himself, the house must have plenty of light and nature must be brought inside through the window. Right now gravel has been scattered at the area leading to the door just to minimize our dust exposure.


i) Submit an application form for a Mayor's business permit after performing steps a to h.


Alternatively, we can execute steps a to h using our active income. Major improvements may be done after two years via a Pag-IBIG House Improvement Loan.




APEC Homes (n.d.). House Imrpovement. [Brochure]. Philippines.

[BBC]. (2011, May 14). Design Rules 1st Episode: Space and Planning [Video File]. Retrieved from