Posted in Finance

Finance Friday: 12 Steps on How to open a COL Financial Account

I’ve been investing the stock market for since August 2016 and I wanted to share with you the steps I did when I finally decided to be financially independent. Before investing I want every one to know that the stock market is a very risky investment –but to tell you honestly all types of investment are risky, it just depends on your risk tolerance. I’ve learned about stock market investing when I was in college. Then, I didn’t have the gut to invest in the stock market or into anything not because I wasn’t educated but because every time I tell my mother or father that I wanted to invest in the stock market, all I hear is the negativity.  So I wasted the last ten years NOT INVESTING. Word of caution–> Listen to your heart. Invest in your financial education. Choose an investment. Invest. Wait for your profit. If you are already making your own money, you decide where should it go. Do not listen to any one else but yourself. I did the other way around and more than 10 years later, I can say that I don’t have any investment at all. So now I will tell you NOT TO FOLLOW the things I did 10 years ago. If I could just turn back time, I would. If I can go to the moment I read “My maid invests in the stock market.” and decided to start investing, I would. But I could not turn back time. I could not make JFC at Php10’s again. What I could do now is to focus on investing more money and focus on teaching my kids on how to invest their money (whether its a gift or in the future from their salary), I would teach them not to put every thing in the bank and that emergency funds and health insurance are as important as the food we eat, the water we drink and the roof under us. I will share more of my financial stories along the way. For now I will teach you the steps I did when I opened my COL FINANCIAL account.

COL Financial or previously Citiseconline is the first online stock broker in the Philippines. I chose the company as per Brother Bo Sanchez’ recommendation and as per recommendation by my cousin (who has been investing since she graduated college). I tried their 7 day trial but didn’t do the trading that much because those months I was busy and I didn’t have much time to be online. Anyhow, you can try it first before signing an account with them. At the end of the trial you will receive an email if you want to proceed or not. You can read more about COL Financial here.

  1. First and foremost read their “NEW TO INVESTING” tab. It’ll give you lots of ideas on what is the stock market, how to make money from it, why you should invest and the 4 golden rules. The golden rules is a MUST READ and you should live by it every time you invest, whether you’ll invest in the stock market, FOREX, real state, etc. The GOLDEN RULES are: Invest EARLY, Invest REGULARLY, Invest LONG TERM and Invest using DIVERSIFICATION.
  2. Educate yourself. Read books. Join forums and Facebook groups.
  3. Choose your account type. For newbies I recommend the COL Starter PLUS with a minimum investment of Php 5000.
  4. Prepare all required documents. This includes the COL application forms, valid IDs, etc.
  5. Send the documents to either of the addressed found here. Its also best to scan all the documents prior to sending to COL.
  6. Wait for at least one week for them to reply. Some may take up to two weeks to one month depending on your courier and your location. I sent mine from Saudi via air cargo and it was received by COL after more than one week.
  7. You will receive an email informing you that COL received your application and you are scheduled for an Skype interview. You are then required to send your Skype ID and your preferred date and time for the interview. col-account-opening-email
  8. Prepare all necessary documents during the Skype interview like valid IDs.
  9. Few days after the interview, you will receive an email with your COL account number and they will then ask you to deposit money in your account. You can more of how to deposit money or FUND YOUR ACCOUNT here. Its as easy as depositing money in the bank. I let my brother send money and he used BDO payment slip (Orange slip).
  10. After depositing you can scan or take a picture of the deposit slip and send it via email. They will then sent a confirmation email that they received the money deposited/funded in your account.
  11. The final email from COL will contain the “welcoming” remarks, your account number and the computer generated password. You need to change this password as soon as possible. last-email
  12. Log in to your account and start investing.


NOTE: You will receive emails every time you change a password, every time you trade, etc.


Girl in Scrubsuits

Posted in Book Reviews, Books

Book Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by JK Rowling

This book was a Christmas gift from Alex. When people ask me what I want for Christmas or as a present or a pasalubong, I always say “I want a book.” I looove books. I could spend all day reading books but I haven’t done that in years since I stayed in Saudi. I missed my books so much that is why I decided to make a book reading challenge for 2017. You can check the list here. This way, I’d have no excuse not to read every night. In Saudi, you have limited bookstores and their bookstores don’t carry that much books. Your choice is limited. You can’t stay in the bookstroe for too long and read books ala Powerbooks or FullyBooked in the Philippines. And so on Christmas, books was on my wish list.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Alex gave me two books. The other one is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which I actually read first but my husband was reading it also so I decided to read Fantastic Beasts instead. It’s actually a screen play. Its my first time reading something like it. And when I watched the movie, it was funny because the way they talked was what was actually written in the book. No adlibs.

So the story is set in 1920’s New York in the wizarding world of course. Newt Scamander goes to America with a case with him which contains a lot of cute, quirky, lovely and rare animals. So in the first few scenes we see his Niffler getting out of the case and looking for all things shiny and he tried to look for it and found in the bank where he met a No Maj (or a Muggle if your are British) who wants to apply a loan for his bakery. Anyways, some agent from MACUSA (their version of FBI or CIA or Interpol) saw him apparating and he got caught. Unfortunately, he was not able to oblivate (erase his memories about the magic or magical creatures) Jacob and he took the wrong case along with him. To make the story short, he was accused of letting the beasts go out in New York therefore exposing the magical world and causing war and destruction.

Fantastic Beasts exploring New York City

Just like all Harry Potter books, the twist is always unexpected. I can’t tell you what is it or who was the culprit (because I don’t like spoiling you) but it is indeed a new story and not a replica of all the other books. I’m wishing JK Rowling would write prequels before Harry or sequels after this Fantastic Beasts so we get to know and enjoy more of the wizarding world. It was carefully written to be enjoyed by adults and young adults but I got a hard time getting myself into the “screenplay thingy”–maybe because it was my first time to read a screenplay. There is less description (I suppose) of the scenes and events but nonetheless its still as good as any Harry Potter book.

I recommend it for Potterheads and for those who would love to start exploring the world of witchcraft and wizardry. Just be gentle with the script. 😉

Posted in Personal, Riyadh Adventures, Travel

Annual Red Sands Adventure

You have not been to Riyadh if you haven’t visited the Red Sands.
The place was coined as Red Sands due to its reddish-orange hue of sand dunes. Located approximately 45 minutes from the city center, Red Sands can be reached by car. A 4×4 pickup truck or SUV is recommended if you happen to love extreme adventures.

Red Sands, Riyadh via the Google Map

It was the 13th of January when we visited Red Sands again. It’s my kids second time to be there. The first time we went there was when they were both months old. We didn’t get to ride ATVs or what other people call as quad bikes. This year was my first time going with my husband’s staff. They rented a van and an SUV and the rest rode with us. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. The van was too small, the other car that’s supposed to come with us cancelled due to a lover’s quarrel, more staff was present and the boys who will be riding with us took the SUV. So we ended up filling our small car with four ladies at the back, two kids with me on the front seat plus the hubby driver. I do not personally recommend this type of set up and fortunately, we survived the 45-minute ride without being caught by the traffic police.

The road going to Red Sands is paved. You will pass by Dharat Laban and not far away from that is the majestic Wadi Laban Bridge which you can see from your left side. I’ve been dreaming to pass by that bridge due to its wonderful structure but after seven years in Saudi, fortunately, I haven’t been there. 😀 Here’s a photo by Edward Musiak.

Wadi Laban Bridge designed by Seshadri Srinivasan

When you are near the U-turn slot (seen on the map as Al Moqbel Palaces) you’ll realize how high Riyadh City Center is because of the ringing in your ears. You that feeling when you go to high places. You’ll pass by a valley with little green trees and desert shrubs along the way. Few camels of different colors on sight. You’ll see the usual mountains of sedimentary rocks on both sides and around 5 to 10 minutes after the U-turn slot, from afar the majestic Red Sands. You’ll see tents and array of quad bikes to your left side.

Red Sands

Red Sands has two main parts. The first one is a wider area for quad bikes but unfortunately, there are no trees for shade. There is a small place where Arabs will pray and for me, this is actually better if you want to ride with a 4×4 or ATVs due to a much larger space. Below the dunes are like smaller dunes (but not sand, it looks like something used for skateboarding), with different smaller wholes which is also good for ATV rides. The second one is at the back of first stop which is a little bit smaller but has numerous trees where you can park and will serve as a shade if you happen to have your lunch or breakfast there. Camels of different colors are also found at the far back side where you can take a picture if you want to. But for health reasons, you have to avoid camel exposure now due to the risk of having MERS-CoV.

Red Sands and Hidden Valley
Red Sands and Hidden Valley

Upon arrival, a flock of ATV owners came to where we parked our car and offered ATVs for rent. During this season, SR30 to SR40 for one hour is a good price. If you rent more or if you rent by the group, you can get SR 20 to SR 25 for one-hour quad bike ride. Choose ones with new wheels are they are more durable and easier to driver especially when getting up and down the dunes. In non-peak seasons it can go as high as SR 50 to SR 100. Friendly tip, do not go on summer season because of the heat and expensive prices. Go on spring, autumn or winter and go on weekends. I haven’t been there on weekdays but it’ll probably cost more because of fewer people on weekdays. We did not rent ours just yet. We hiked on top of the dune, let the kids play in the sand and took pictures. After around 15 minutes, my husband rented his ATV and rode with our Carlisam. My son, Johann is afraid of riding so we ended up playing in the sand and taking selfies together. When the ride was finished, I saw Carli’s face, she looks like she enjoyed and is very satisfied. Johann got jealous and suddenly he wanted to drive. So he and my husband went off driving again while we down and ate chips inside our car. There are no stores in the place. You can pack your lunch or breakfast and there. There is a mobile ice cream parlor where you can buy ice cream to beat the heat. We stayed inside the car and turned on the AC and music while waiting for the two. By the way, there are no restrooms.

After a few minutes, when everyone was done with their quad bike adventures we decided to eat out lunch in Hidden Valley. This place used to be beautiful with all the trees but now its just piles and piles of soil, rocks and sand with one or two shrubs. I think there is a quarry going on in that area. The road is now really rugged and it got bumpy due to the rocks but we reached safely. It’s a 5-minute ride from the Red Sands you just have to turn left after the next checkpoint. Do not turn left prior to the checkpoint (like we did and got lost).


We had pancit and lumpia for lunch. Someone baked puto flan for dessert. After lunch we rested for a while, some explored the Hidden Valley, took a photo, climb the mountain, etc. My Johann found anq empty bottle of mineral water and started collecting rocks. We got a fossilized shell (proof that this might have been part of the sea millions of years ago) and a few marbles. Carli did her favorite thing-sleep (which was good for me because I got to rest from running after toddlers for a few minutes.


We left Hidden Valley and reach the city around 2PM. It was a short trip but the kids enjoyed and that’s what’s important.

Next stop prior to Pilipinas vacation:

  1. King Abdullah Park at night
  2. Riyadh National Museum or any other museum
  3. Food trip
  4. Maybe another Edge of the World


Girl in Blue Scrubsuits



Posted in Personal

On being optimistic and starting challenges

Last week I attended our weekly leadership meeting together with other members of the Nursing Department. We do this meeting and present different topics at least every two weeks to be able to share ideas, experience to our colleagues. There was nothing new last week except for the fact that Mr. Mark is the speaker and I love listening to him, the topic was on personal development but during the lecture I was do touched that I had to start blogging again.

He told us that we should all be positive thinkers because if we come to work and think negatively we tend to influence the people around us. I was touched in a very personal way because as we all know that by this time of the year, the country where I am working, Saudi Arabia is in an economic crisis. I’ve posted several complaints in Facebook about the fees or taxes to be collected and how it is unfair for us since we have been working our asses off while the locals are just coming to work, sitting, playing in their iPhone 7, etc. While I was listening to him, it was actually a massive impact telling me “It did not hit us yet!” so why fret? The company did not collect fees yet. Our company is not even asking us to leave. The only thing our company asked was to help them cut the costs by not hiring new staff nurses. We are in a very chaotic economic crisis but we are still indeed lucky as compared to government hospitals and construction firms. After the lecture I decided to do something this 2017. I decided to be more optimistic and to enjoy the gifts and blessings we have been receiving.

First, I started to document out family adventures in Facebook. I created a page wherein all our pictures will be posted. Any picture from our family like going to park, eating in a new restaurant, going out to new places, etc. I will fix it and make it “better” during the vacation.

Second, I started reading again and dedicated myself to a 2017 Book Reading Challenge. I decided to finalize at least 24 books (which I don’t know if I can read for the whole year but who knows?) and kept it open if I wanted to add more books. I also decided to document all the things I’ve read in either Instagram or Facebook and will use the hashtag #comfortlibrary. I hope I’d be successful in this and I might do it again next year.

Third, I started the customized 52 week challenge. I’m making it a 12 month challenge for me and my husband. The money will go to our travel fund. (We are planning to go Japan on 2018 and US on 2019.)

Fourth, I re-started this blog again. Deleted the old posts and started with this new post. I also added a family bucket list which I did not finish yet. I will be asking hubby to add ideas (which includes me in a zipline!).

Fifth, I will also be doing a coloring challenge. Maybe at least  coloring pages every year or one every two months.

So this is like my New Year’s Resolution. Let’s all be optimistic and challenge ourselves this year.