Making it Simple: How to Invest in the Stock Market of the Philippines

“While it’s good to treat oneself once in a while, it is much better to save for the rainy days”, our grandmas and mamas would say. But seeing no dynamics in the money stuck in our bank accounts made the act of SAVING boring and discouraging. Some people would succumbed to get-rich-quick, multi-level networking and pyramiding schemes to feel the action and seeing their money grow in no time only to get fooled later along with heartbreaking, huge, irreversible losses.

If you are like me who continues to work because you find meaning in what you do by contributing to knowledge and society, while at the same time wants your money work while you sleep, then stay with me on this. You can be really good at what you do without compromising your hard-earned money which is a key to a comfortable future. A future that is ready for any emergencies for you and your family, a future where you can jet-off to some far away island when you need a breather, or simply buying that luxury item you’re longing for without the guilt. In other words… FREEDOM.

But before getting there, let me clarify some impressions that inhibit most of us from entrusting our money in the stock market: the RISK. Yes, there is… to everything we do actually, and the stock market is not an exemption! But we can mitigate the risk with the right amount of knowledge! It took me a little while to put my money in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) because like everyone else I do not know what to do, how it works and most of all, I am scared to lose! Before taking any action, let us change our perspective from short, get-rich-quick mindset to long-term, regular habit of investing to maximize potential returns. There are downs and ups, “dips and rallies” in the stock market and these are normal and should not take its toll on our emotions.

I attended mostly free, inexpensive trainings and seminars to keep me guided. There, I met several people, many of them young and highly-motivated and doing well in the stock market who became my role models. I come to realize, it is not difficult and risky as I have imagined. To know more about the stock market and how to earn and make money from it, click here for details.

I will cut to the chase and will only mention my actual experience. The core processes are opening an account, funding the account and winning strategically.

HOW TO OPEN A TRADING ACCOUNT

Go to the ColFinancial website. I started with 5000 pesos few years ago. On the left panel of the same link , navigate the numbered steps to open a personal account which I summarized below:

1. Choose your account type (mine is COL STARTER but you can choose COL PLUS or COL Premium depending on your budget and risk preference).

2. Fill out application forms. Downloading and printing out the form is mandatory. There are two forms that need to be submitted: Customer Account Information Form (CAIF) and Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Notes: needs a Tax Identification Number (TIN) when filling up the form; the account number boxes on top right panel should be left blank to be filled out by the COL officer; you can choose Individual account (no need to fill up secondary account holder spaces), Joint (spouse or any partner), or ITF (In-Trust-For, an account for a child below 18 years old); Philippine bank account number is necessary to cash-out earnings; Do not forget to put your signatures in the appropriate spaces.

3. Prepare additional requirements. There are specific requirements for each investor type: Filipino citizen (a photocopy of 1 government-issued ID and billing statement under your name); Resident foreign citizen (a photocopy of 1 government-issued ID and Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) or Work Permit from Department of Labor and Employment); Non-Resident foreign citizen (Authentication of a photocopy of 1 valid passport); In-Trust-For, ITF (Photocopy of 1 valid government-issued ID of the parent and Birth Certificate of the minor applicant).

4. Submit forms and requirements via courier to any of the following addresses near you:

<

p style=”text-align: center;”>COL Business Center
2403B East Tower, PSE Centre,
Exchange Road, Ortigas Center,
Pasig City 1605, Philippines
(+632) 651 5888

<

p style=”text-align: center;”>COL Investor Center – Makati
Ground Floor, Citibank Tower,
Valero corner, Villar Streets,
Makati City 1227, Philippines
(+632) 478 2954
(+632) 478 3316
(+632) 478 3275

<

p style=”text-align: center;”>COL Investor Center – Davao
2nd Floor Robinsons Cybergate,
J.P. Laurel Ave., Bajada,
Davao City 8000, Philippines
(+6382) 287 8192
(+6382) 287 8193
(+6382) 287 8194

COL Financial officers will evaluate the submitted forms and send you a welcome e-mail with your account number which you will use every time you fund your account.

HOW TO FUND YOUR ACCOUNT

There are several ways to fund a COL account: Online bank transfer thru BPI, BDO, Metrobank and Asia United Bank.  Each bank has specific instructions which you can see hereOver-the-counter payment can also be made thru banks such as BPI, BDO, Metrobank and Asia United Bank. You can also pay personally at the COL Business Center mentioned above. Overseas Filipinos can fund their account through BDO Kabayan Bills Bayad (click here for BDO’s website), iRemit (www.myiremit.com) and BDO Overseas Remittance (Click here for instructions).  Please note that there are minimal bank charges that ranged from 5 to 10 pesos per transfer transaction to your COL account.

When a fund transfer is successful, you will receive a notification via email. In the case of a COL STARTER account of 5000 pesos, you can already use this amount to buy shares from any company listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange which are all described in your COL account. Please note that each company requires a minimum number of shares to buy, also known as ‘boardlot’.  Your 5,000 pesos maybe limited to few companies. The personal COL account can be viewed online, anytime but you can only buy or sell stocks during PSE’s trading hours from Mondays to Fridays.

WINNING STRATEGIES IN THE STOCK MARKET

Since I am working and engrossed with it, I rely on the experts to give me some advise on what priority stocks to buy in a particular period after financial experts did fundamental and technical analysis of the markets. I subscribed to TrulyRichClub.com – Do You Want to Gain Financial Wealth and Spiritual Abundance at the Same Time? where they give me weekly or biweekly advise and more. You can also take free trainings at PSE Academy or at COL seminar series at their specific schedules usually on weekends.

Contrary to others, when I hear news that the stock market is down, I rejoice! Because that is the time I consider as “midnight sale” which means that prices of shares are at its lowest and it’s the opportunity for anyone to ‘buy at the dip’!

Another helpful strategy I found that is really working is the habit of regularly putting money on your account which could be few thousand pesos, they call this as Peso Cost Averaging, the continuous purchase of stock shares at a fixed amount and in regular intervals. You end up buying more shares when prices are low and less shares when prices are high, which over time, brings down average cost.

I have described here the detailed yet simple steps on how to open an account and start investing in the Philippine Stock Exchange. The PSE has been consistently performing good in the past few years, yet only a small number of the Filipino population is investing because most of us don’t know where to start. The best time to invest is now when the Philippines is ranked number 1 in a US News and World Report’s Best Countries to Invest In. I hope that this article will get us started and appreciate the beauty of investing!

Boracay is Now for Everyone: Our Budget Trip to the Island

In July 2017, my friends and I embarked on our very first trip to the award-winning island of Boracay. This popular destination was hailed as the Best Island in the World  by the international travel magazine Travel + Leisure (2012), topped the Best Islands in the World list by another international magazine Condé Nast Traveler (2014) and was included in the latter’s 2016 Top 10 Destinations to Watch. These accolades left us wondering, is it the powdery white sand that’s getting all the hype, the party-loaded nightlife or the smorgasbord of water sports and land-based leisure activities? We want to see for ourselves.

Below is the step-by-step guide for anyone wishing to experience the island at the most affordable cost whether going on a holiday, honeymoon or simply just wandering.

1. Get cheap airline tickets way ahead of the travel date.  I took care of the booking after subscribing to several airline newsletters to prompt me every time a cheap deal is available. I successfully got the 5 of us the cheapest fares 7 months before our trip (low season) through Cebu Pacific Air. We felt the overwhelming rush of excitement when each of us got a round-trip airfare of 1,663.00 pesos (~33 US$) from Manila to Kalibo. How cool was that? Kalibo airport is about 2 hours away from Caticlan (the port entrance to Boracay). Another option is to take the Manila-Caticlan flight but usually more expensive. The advantage of taking the Manila-Kalibo route was the chance to see the beautiful, verdant Kalibo countryside lined with rice fields and coconut trees growing luxuriously on both sides of the road.

2. Research possible accommodations. The next thing to do is to rigorously search online for an affordable yet decent accommodation.  We wanted to be close to the epicenter of island activities, so we chose to stay near the White Beach (a 4-km stretch of world famous gorgeous, powdery fine, white sand). Fortunately, we found Frendz Hostel, a fun and very affordable place, 2-5 minute walking distance from the shore. We chose a 5-bed dorm-type room at 2,000.00 pesos (40 US$) per night per room. That means spending only 1,200.00 pesos each for 3 nights. There were also villa-type accommodations at a higher price that surround the restaurant and bar area of the hostel but this option tends to be noisy during happy hours.

Our dorm-type accommodation for 3 nights.

3. Look for the cheapest island transportation deals.  Several Kalibo to Caticlan packaged transfers are available but we chose to do it on our own at reduced costs by taking a shared vehicle with other travelers. From Kalibo airport, we took a van for 2 hours to Caticlan Jetty Port for 200 pesos (4 US$) each.  There were many van choices right outside the airport arrival area so be sure to haggle for the cheapest deal. From the port, we took a ferry for 200 pesos (4 US$) which covered the boat, terminal and environment fees. Then we took an e-tricycle (powered by rechargeable batteries instead of gasoline) to Boracay Frendz Hostel at 30 pesos (0.6 US$) each.

Different companies offering packaged airport to Boracay transfers.

3. Food choices should be planned too. When you are at the White Beach (Stations 1, 2 and 3), you cannot expect to find cheap food as rows of fine-dining restaurants dominate the shoreline. What we did was to budget 200 pesos per meal at the most and stick to it. With this budget, we searched for restaurants that offer food that is within our budget and it’s usually near Station 2, D’Mall area. There were 7-Eleven and MINI STOP convenience stores where we bought our breakfast staples such as coffee, juice and breads. On our last day of stay, we indulged on steaks and gelato ice cream since we have saved on previous meals.

This lunch consists of tropical fruit shakes and grilled seafood.

4. Select suitable leisure activities.  Not all the fun is for everyone. My friends researched on the types and prices of leisure activities that we can all enjoy. The island hopping is a not-to-be missed experience. We paid 900 pesos (18 US$) for a 5-hour tour arranged by our hostel which includes unlimited supply of drinks and island music beats using the bass drum accompaniment. My friends and I love swimming very much so on another day we opted to go to a peaceful, public beach 30 minutes away by tricycle ride (70 pesos or 1.5 US$). We basked at the glorious beauty of Puka Shell Beach. Its crystal-clear, blue-green waters, white sand and subtly fierce waves were simply irresistible. Tourists can also enjoy snorkeling, kite-surfing, helmet diving, banana boat riding, parasailing, cliff diving, hiking and dancing to live band music.

P_20170725_155451_BF

Snorkeling is one stopover activity during the island hopping.

20292953_1603178546367340_6868961752637993821_n

Live band music and free pasta night on Wednesdays and Sundays at Frendz Hostel.

P_20170726_103143

Souvenir shopping at Puka Beach.

P_20170724_213736

Fire dancing scene on the White Beach where people sit on the sandy floor with their drinks.

5. Make the most out of your island stay. Traveling is more memorable when you connect with your companions in a fun way. It helps that they can just let you be yourself without criticisms on your opinions and lifestyle choices during any of your conversations. The quirky five of us threw punches of jokes at each other and there was never a dull moment or negativity. We were also joined by our american friend who was game at anything. One’s roots don’t matter when you respect individuals for who they are and allow them to show their genuine selves.

P_20170725_132343

Pre-island hopping boat photo with the drums.

Based on our experience, a budget trip to Boracay is possible for everyone. To summarize our expenses for the entire trip here is the breakdown in pesos: 1,663.00 (roundtrip airfare from Manila); 1,200.00 (3 nights accommodation); 1,000.00 (2-way island transportation from Kalibo); 2,500.00 (meals for 4D3N);  900.00 (island hopping); 500 (transport from residence to Manila airport and vice versa); party drinks (500). The total amount is 8,263.00 pesos (166 US$). They said to take nothing but pictures but I encouraged everyone to buy souvenirs to bring to your loved ones (pasalubong) which will help the local handicraft industry. But for me, the best souvenirs to take along with you are fond memories that will truly last a lifetime.

P_20170726_074948

Relaxing on our beach beds at Puka Beach.