Meet Little Yani: The Birth Story

My due date with Yani was actually on October 9, 2021. But weeks before, I remember telling EJ, my husband, how heavy and sluggish I’ve become. I had a history of having Gestational Trophoblastic Disease during my first pregnancy, so I had a Caesarean section with Zeeka. So with this, just for the doctor to make sure that everything is fine and dandy inside, I also had a C-section with Yani.

So going back, I initially wanted Sept. 29, 2021 to be the date of the delivery. Since we had weekly checkups with doctor and weekly ultrasounds, the last Ultrasound stated that my placenta was grade 2-3. Doctor Sarmiento explained that she wanted it to be at grade III, meaning the baby could breathe on its own already. So personally, I chose the delivery date to be moved a little bit further, to October 1, just to be sure.

So once we chose the date, Dra. Sarmiento gave us instructions to get a RT-PCR test (validity of the results is only for 7 days) and the instructions to show the admissions of Asian Hospital once we get to the hospital. She advised me to come a day before the operation, Sept. 30, 2021. Check out of hospital patients are at around 5:00 pm so she advised me to be in admissions at 3:00 pm. There are instances when there are no rooms for the patients, so if this happens, she advised us to go home and be in the hospital 3 hours before the operation (again, just in case there were no rooms). The husband can just wait outside the delivery room.

Getting Ready for the Hospital

For some reason, we had 3 huge luggages prepared for a 4 day stay at Asian Hospital. As compared to the one luggage, one duffel bag and a few backpacks that we brought during Zeeka’s delivery, we had to bring a lot of bags with other extra stuff because of safety and security. First of all, one difference is that we had to bring food for EJ. We didn’t want him going in and out of the room. We had brought a lot of cup noodles, Jamaican patties (which surprisingly lasts a while), our own bottles of water, coffee, etc. We brought a lot of food!

Next, we had to bring lots of alcohol, disposable and reliable face masks, and other disinfectants.

We brought all of these stuff, apart from the usual baby stuff, mommy stuff and daddy stuff that we brought.

For those undergoing a Caesarean section, don’t forget to bring your binder and maternity pads, too.

Checking In

We left our home at 2:00 pm. We were at Asian Hospital at around 3:00 pm. It’s usually a one hour drive from BGC to Alabang (less than an hour if you use Skyway). We parked in the basement and there were elevators that took us directly to the Upper Ground floor where Admissions is. When we got to admissions, we gave them a copy of doctor’s orders and our RT-PCR tests. There were just around 5 people there. Normally, those who are suspected to have COVID go directly to the Emergency Room. Most of the patients in admissions were there for other operations and procedures.

I was secretly praying that they would have an available room. I really didn’t want to come back the next day. It was fortunate that after waiting for around 30 minutes, we got to book a standard private room at the Asian Hospital. We just had to wait for the patient to check out, which was totally fine. By around 5:00 pm, we were in our room and we fixed our things and settled in.

My CS operation was at 8:00 am the next day, so the nurses would pick me up at 7:00 am. I only had until 12:00 midnight to eat and drink water. In the room, the nurses would do a routine check of my blood pressure, oxygen levels, etc. I also had a urinalysis test. The representatives also of the anesthesiologist and the pediatrician came to visit and check up on me.

I got to sleep for a few hours. I wasn’t nervous, but as mentioned, I felt heavier every minute. The baby, I felt, wanted to come out already. It felt more comfortable for me to sit on the chair than to lie down on the bed. So all throughout the night, EJ and I were looking for the most comfortable position for me. I told him that we switch places and for him to sleep on the bed instead, but he didn’t want to. So I moved back to the bed so that he could also get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, both of us were excited and anxious that we both didn’t get to sleep. Lol!

Day of the Delivery

The nurses & doctors started coming in at 6:00 am (did an allergy test for the medicine that they will give me… don’t know which medicine though) and finally at 7:00 am, they wheeled me out of the room. By the way, as much as possible, even while in our room, we hardly removed our masks. We only removed then when we ate. So while I was wheeled to the triage room (where they prepare you for delivery), I had my mask on.

In the triage, they gave me antibiotics via the IV line. Oh man, I forgot how much that hurt. It hurt in the arm, but after a while, it was fine. My nurse gave it in two parts so as to make the pain bearable.

Then if you are undergoing CS and you haven’t shaved, the nurses will shave it for you. This is so that the cut won’t get infected and to keep the area clean and free from any obstruction.

Dra. Sarmiento, my doctor, talked to me right before the operation. I love my doctor. She makes everything feel so easy, and she has a way of calming me down. I love knowing what will happen; keeping me out of the loop makes me panic. She did a good job explaining what will happen, because I totally forgot what happened 8 years ago when Zeeka was born.

At 8:00 am (probably… I didn’t have a watch), I was wheeled into the operating room. My anesthesiologist then told me that he had to inject the anesthesia at my back. I had to roll up like a baby, which was hard to do since my belly was huge. Lol! I had to sit up and roll forward for him to finally inject it.

Little by little, I started to feel numb from my upper belly to my toes. I could breathe and I could hear them talking. I could also feel a little bit of pressure on my lower half of my body, but nothing hurt.

I could hear them saying that they needed to apply pressure to push the baby out. I said … “go ahead”. I remember responding to their questions.

Then at 8:41 am, I heard them say, what a huge baby. Lol! The doctors asked me if I had a name for her, and I said, “yes, her name’s Yani”. I saw EJ say “hi!” and “are you okay?” from a distance and I heard them talking to him. I heard Yani’s cry as they were cleaning her up.

After a while, they brought her to me. It was love at first sight! Just like how it was with Zeeka, I got teary eyed as Yani latched on to me. We also had our first picture with Yani.

The nurses then had to take her after latching, because the doctors had to close me up and stitch me up.

For some reason, I then couldn’t breathe as my nose filled up with mucus. The anesthesiologist said that the medicine really had that effect. He put drops on my nose and after I got stitched up, I could then blow my nose. I think that was what made me feel uncomfortable during the whole procedure… just that.

Meet Rafaela Ariadne P. Arboleda (Yani)

Yani was born 8 pounds and 1 ounce at 8:41 am. Even if I’m a second time mom, everything about this pregnancy was special and there were (and will be) a lot of firsts!

Yani, we can’t wait to see you grow up and be there to witness each milestone. We love you so much! When you read this in the future, we’ll gladly share with you more stories of how we prepared for you during these crazy times! Hugs and kisses from mom, dad and manang Zeeka. 🙂

How to Find the Right Place to Raise a Family

I’ve been watching videos that talk about real estate lately. As you all know, I’m having my second child soon so we’re thinking of logistics. Situations and milestones like this also make you think, not only about life in the short term, but also your life in the future. In our case, we were thinking of a place where we could retire, too. I’ve been seeing a lot of families who are following the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) Movement. With this, I’ve starting to research about these things and topics related to this, such as how to find the right place to raise a family.

Preparing for Baby No. 2

Our goal is to “retire” by the age of 50 (in ten years). And when we mean by retire, it doesn’t mean literally not doing anything, because I think I can’t do that. This workaholic nature that I have (LOL!) might get bored easily.

So today, I will share with you some of the things to consider when finding the right place to raise a family.

With Zeeka in our little cozy place

We’ve been happy with our home here, for both short and long term plans, we have been researching about places here in Manila, houses and land in Portugal (viewing the Our Rich Journey vlogs), real estate for sale in Whistler (because Canada seems like a nice place to retire) and some places in the US.

Zeeka and Daddy EJ enjoying a meal with an amazing view

Here are some things that you can consider, too, to find the right place to raise a family:

  1. Consider timing and space. We’ve been happy here where we live, and we think that we will stay here until we have a third child. We plan to have three kids so by the time we have our third child, I think we will definitely have to move since we won’t have enough space in this house for us and our three kids.
  2. Check if stores and places that you need to go to frequently are accessible. This is one thing that we enjoy now. We can just do down our condo unit and there is a supermarket, drugstore and restaurants. The school of our daughter is also just a few minutes away by car, and it’s actually walkable just in case no ride is available. The walk is also very pleasant since you pass through malls.
  3. Check if the place is safe. Read news about the place, check with people who know people who live in the area. With social media, it’s so easy to find out all of these information.
  4. For leisure time with the family, check if there are things and activities that you and your kids can do. I’m sure you just don’t want to stay home so see what activities you can engage in with your family outside of your home.
  5. Is it in a nice neighborhood where properties may go up in value. Even if investment is not the main goal, if you’re purchasing something and you know that you’ll be able to sell this in the future, go for assets that might go up in value.

So these are some of the considerations that we have to find the right place to raise a family. How about you? Are you thinking of moving soon? Are you thinking of purchasing a home for your family? What other considerations can you share with us?

Smart Spray: Make your Own Disinfectant

I’ve been seeing and getting a lot of “smart” stuff lately. I’m amazed at how this huge challenge for everyone has pushed us to think outside the box and create something new. This week, I received a smart spray that can help you make your own disinfectant. Just wanted to say that this is so cool!

Smart Spray from Smart Home Phils.

About the Smart Spray

This spray converts water and salt into Sodium Hypochlorite (liquid bleach). It uses electrolysis technology to electrolyze the water added with the appropriate amount of salt. Why do I say appropriate amount? The appropriate concentration of sodium hypochlorite disinfection water is safe and also reliable when it comes to protecting us from bacteria.

How to Make your Own Disinfectant

  1. Fill the Bottle up to 270ml with tap water.
  2. Using the spoon that comes with the spray bottle (please avoid losing this spoon), add 2 spoons of iodized salt. One salt spoon is at 2 grams.
  3. Cover up and shake a bit. Remove the cover before electrolysis.
  4. Connect the power cord and turn on the power button (long press) then select the desired concentration (low, medium or high). Long press the work button to shift modes.
  5. To start electrolysis, press the Work button once. A blue light indicator will light up. When it’s done, the blue light of the Smart Spray will turn off.

Cover the bottle and voila! You’re done with making your own disinfectant.

How can you use this Smart Spray?

Here are the things that you can use it for:

Low Concentration

  • Clean fruits
  • Sanitize Hands
  • Clean cuts and wounds
  • Cleanse Seafood
  • Keep meat fresh

Medium Concentration

  • Clean bottles
  • Clean phones
  • Disinfect Sofa
  • Sanitize Table and Chairs
  • Disinfect office and school supplies
  • Disinfect car interior

High Concentration

  • Disinfect Packages
  • Disinfectant on mats
  • wash cloth masks
  • Disinfectant for children’s toys
  • clean and wash kitchen tools
  • Clean sink
  • Clean bathroom

With this new discovery, it leads me to my point that we always need to question things around us. Why do we need to buy some things when we can just create?

Just something to ponder on.

To check out more details on this Smart Spray, please go to www.smarthomephils.com

To see other “Smart” stuff that I reviewed, here are some of the links:

How to Write an OR as VAT Registered Individuals

I am registered as a VAT Registered Individual. I didn’t start as a VAT registered self-employed professional. I moved from being Non-VAT to VAT. This was required when I finally earned more than 3 Million gross earnings or gross revenue in a year.

One of our concerns as VAT registered individual taxpayers is how to write an OR for VAT Individuals. By the way, OR is short for official receipts. We’re not used to writing VAT official receipts, since we’ve been so used to writing Non-VAT official receipts (haha! I may just be speaking for myself). So I took some time out of my day actually to write this blog post so that I will have my own guide and so that you may have a guide, too.

I’ll be sharing two scenarios to teach you how to write an OR for VAT Individuals

Scenario one:

You charged your client Php 20,000 and you said that this is net of taxes. They asked you if you are withholding and how much percentage will that be.

Answer: The first thing that you always need to do (and this is for both scenarios that I indicate in this blog) is to send them the following together with your proposal: (1) your Certificate of Registration; (2) mention that you are a VAT entity just in case they don’t check the COR; and, (3) send a sample official receipt or invoice (a blank one).

Next, the Php 20,000 that you mentioned above also becomes your VATABLE amount. My PRO TIP is that it’s best to quote “net of taxes” because it’s easier for you and for the finance department of your client to compute. So what’s the computation?

VATable Amount₱ 20,000.00
+ VAT (12% of VATable Amount)₱ 2,400.00
Total Payable₱ 22,400.00

On withholding taxes

Since they are withholding, withholding taxes for VAT individuals are usually at 10%. I usually find it weird when big local companies (their finance) ask me what ATC do I want. The company that withholds should be the one to choose how they want to declare the person based on the COR and service to be rendered by the individual is.

Let’s pause for a while though and define an ATC or Alphanumeric Tax Code. This is the code that tells the BIR what type of tax are you paying for. There are ATCs in different tax forms, but let’s focus on Withholding Taxes. You can find the complete guide of Alphanumeric Tax Codes in the BIR’s website. It’s alphanumeric because the format is like this… WI080.

The Client that you have is called a withholding tax agent. In their COR or Certificate of Registration, they probably have to pay “Withheld Taxes – Expanded” or Expanded Withholding Taxes. That means, for each expense that they have, they have to withhold a certain percentage. So since they are paying you, they need to withhold a certain percentage and declare this to the government. This filing of theirs (to put it simply) has a list of all the people and companies that they have paid and this list is called a QAP or Quarterly Alphalist of Payees. So if you still don’t know how BIR knew you were paid even if you didn’t declare, this is it.

This is the reason why they need to give you the form 2307 or Certificate of Creditable Tax Withheld. It is proof that they really remitted the taxes they said they will withhold and pay for. This is important because you can deduct the taxes they withheld from the income taxes you’re supposed to pay. For paying of income tax and how to “attach or deduct” the amount from form 2307, just use Taxumo. They have an onboarding session where you will learn how to use Taxumo to pay for taxes without really needing to know how to compute the nitty gritty details. Use my code mommyg for a 10% from your chosen subscription plans: https://taxumo.com (if you are VAT, the plan for that is the SMB plan).

So going back to the computation, the withholding taxes are withheld from the VATable amount. So let’s say your ATC is for 10% withheld taxes: 

VATable Amount₱ 20,000.00
+ VAT (12% of VATable Amount)₱ 2,400.00
Total Payable₱ 22,400.00
LESS: Withholding Tax (10% of VATable Amount)₱ 2,000.00
Net Payable₱ 20,400.00

So what do you write on your official receipt? With all the numbers above, do you want to guess? 🙂

What you will write on the right side of the OR (where you write the amount in words) is the ₱ 20,400. You will then write the breakdown on the portion where you can write the breakdown, usually on the left side for the OR.

When you get paid, you will receive (1) ₱20,400 as payment in cash and (2) ₱2,000 as payment in the form of a Form 2307 Certificate of Tax Withheld. Make sure you get both!

Scenario two:

What if I failed to tell my client I was a VAT entity and I’m fine with Php 20,000 inclusive of VAT. What is the computation? The client will also withhold.

In this case, you’ll have to compute back from the total amount / VAT Inclusive Price to the VATable + VAT amounts. Don’t worry, doing so is very easy:

VAT Inclusive Price₱ 20,000.00
VATable Amount (VAT Inclusive ÷ 1.12)₱ 17,857.14
VAT (12% of VATable Amount)₱ 2,142.86
Total Payable₱ 20,000.00
LESS: Withholding Tax (10% of VATable Amount)₱ 1,785.71
Net Payable₱ 18,214.28

So there you have it. These are the two scenarios that I’d like to share with you. If your scenario is more complicated than what I shared above (it’s possible), you can consult with a CPA via Taxumo Consult. A 45 minute consultation with them is just at ₱1000.

Hope this helps you understand how to write an OR for VAT Individuals. Please share this if you find this useful.

P.S. For Non-VAT individuals, you can check this out: A Freelancers and Consultants Guide to Using Taxumo

4Life Transfer Factor Collagen

I’ve started taking 4Life Transfer Factor Collagen and have been adding it to my coffee. My husband saw me adding it to my drink and he was curious to know how doing this “extra step” would benefit me. I always thought that people had a pretty clear idea on what collagen does to your body, then I figured out that just maybe there a still a lot of people who wonder why I’m taking 4Life Transfer Collagen and what collagen in general is for. Also, a lot of you may wonder why I take this collagen supplement versus other brands during these times.

What is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein that is found in your body. It is a building block that is a major component of connective tissues like tendons, ligaments, muscles and the biggest organ of our body, which is our skin.*

As we get older, our body produces less and less collagen. You can naturally increase the collagen production in your body by eating or ingesting food that help increase collagen production. Here is a great list of food that can help you produce more collagen: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/g29486608/collagen-rich-foods/

Nowadays, a lot of products contain hydrolyzed collagen. Just to give you an idea of how big the market is, for collagen peptides, the market is seen to be valued at USD 599 Million in 2020. It’s projected to reach USD 795 Million by 2025.

What can Collagen do for us and our bodies?

I started becoming interested in adding collagen to my diet through supplements a couple of years ago. I added this into the list of supplements that I take alongside probiotics, etc. The reason why was that I started noticing that my body was changing — I had skin that was drier than usual and I started seeing lines around my eyes. I was feeling tired also most of the time.

I started reading about Collagen and found out that it really helps in many ways. Aside from glowing and supple skin, as we all know, since this is how they advertise collagen, it also helps in delaying degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis (which runs in the family).

It also helps stop bone loss and builds muscle mass. I’ve noticed that upon taking collagen for quite some time, I tend to build muscles faster. Of course, I also exercise at least 2x – 3x a week in addition to taking this.

What I do to increase collagen production?

I came across this company called 4Life. 4Life has been in the industry of creating food supplements since 1988 in Utah, USA. Their founders were intrigued with Transfer Factors (boosts immune system). They then created different supplements that contained Transfer Factors that support immune system health, body transformation, and general wellness.

I also joined their media briefing recently to really vet the company and see what it was about. I listened to Eileen Tan Dario, the country manager of the Philippines’ speech. She mentioned that 4Life has 6 US patents and 38 International patents. In 2019, 4Life Philippines has been deemed to be the 4th largest market.

What I got from the session is that in this day and age, when it comes to taking care of our bodies, there are a lot of things that are medically proven or backed by science that can help us. I wondered that if this were the case, I think I should take control of what goes into my body, and I really want healthy food, drinks, vitamins and supplements that will benefit me.

What makes 4Life Transfer Factor Collagen different from other collagen supplements?

4Life Transfer Factor Collagen is beauty + immunity in a sachet. Aside from collagen, it contains transfer factor (read more about transfer factor below**).

How do you order this?

4Life Transfer Factor Collagen can be ordered from their site. I actually have 2 boxes with me right now, but I’ll be ordering another box again soon, since I think my husband wants to try it out, too.

One box is at Php 1890. To buy a box, please visit: https://philippines.4life.com/gingerarboleda

I’d love to know what you think after you have tried the product.

During these times, I think we all need to be in tiptop shape. Fighting a battle with an invisible enemy is tough for everyone, so we have to equip our bodies with a strong immune system.

Sources:

* https://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/skincare/what-is-collagen

** https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1011/transfer-factor