Saturday, July 31, 2010

Make Magic!

Make Believe Productions will have free demo classes today and tomorrow, at Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street! Regular classes start August 21.

Contact Teacher NiƱa at 0927-5547077. Also visit =)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 29 is World Tiger Day

November 2006 photo from my Zoobic safari experience
Probably only around 3,200 tigers left in the wild today. :(

Monday, July 26, 2010


hitching a ride to Makati :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mutts 100711

not smiling at DHL and the Bureau of Customs

Last Monday, July 19, I arrived home and saw a DHL invoice with an attached Amazon Japan invoice waiting for me. (See Exhibits A & B.) Apparently, someone sent me a package from Amazon Japan, but before DHL gives it to me, I need to pay them Php1,570.60 - reimbursement of charges. Per Amazon invoice, the cost of the books being delivered was just JPY1,567 (~Php800). So, I had to pay twice the cost of the books (sent to me as a gift) to receive them. Parang hindi yata tama ito.

Exhibit A. DHL invoice waiting for me when I got home last July 19

Exhibit B. Amazon invoice attached to the DHL invoice left by the DHL delivery guy

Since Ronjie was the only person I thought of who could be sending me packages from Amazon Japan, I called him to confirm. The books were gifts, a surprise. Aww... :) Na-surprise nga kaming dalawa, sa kailangang bayaran pa. Prior to this, when I received parcels from abroad, I would just receive a notice from the Quezon City Post Office informing me of a package for pick up from their office. Parcels would be held there until the recipient arrives to pay any necessary customs charges before they release it. I have experienced receiving books, magazines, and CDs, which I had to pick up in the QC Post Office along Agham Road and, each time, all I had to pay was a minimal Php35. Thus the surprise when for this package from Amazon Japan, I had to pay so much.

I call DHL the next morning, July 20, and asked to be clarified on the invoice I was holding. The customer service representative told me that she would refer me to the sales representative/account representative who handled my account; she got my contact number and told me that the account representative would get in touch with me. A couple of hours later, Rose Sabile of DHL calls. She was the account representative who handled my parcel. I asked about the amount I was being charged and asked for the breakdown. She would send the breakdown to me the next morning.

July 21 - I receive an e-mail from Rose, with the breakdown and computation of the charges. (See Exhibit C.) I only get to review it and respond to her e-mail that night. I asked about the brokerage fee, documentary stamps, import processing fee, and duty handling fee. I also point out and contest the amount used for freight (USD55, when per the Amazon invoice, freight was only JPY2,500, or roughly USD29). Sinasama na pala ang shipping costs sa amount to be taxed?! Wow. Kakaiba 'tong Bureau of Customs ng Pilipinas!

Exhibit C. Printed copy of the e-mailed computation of the breakdown of charges

Rose calls me the next morning, she received my e-mail reply. Brokerage fee, documentary stamps, import processing fee (what the?!) and duty handling fee are fixed costs. I question the freight cost used, USD55 daw ang minimum na ginagamit for packages from the United States, per IATA something. Nagkamali pa nga yung BOC kasi yung US rate yung nagamit when for parcels from Japan, the rate is USD83. I am already angry by then. Grrrr! In the first place, the package is of books, which aren't supposed to be taxed. (I read that somewhere.) Second, cost of the books is USD18, at kahit isama ang shipping costs (USD29), total would be just USD47, which is below USD50! Aren't parcels under USD50 exempt from tax?! I remember reading that somewhere, too. Third, kung isasama nga ang freight sa computation of taxes and duties, why use USD55 when actual cost was just USD29?! Saan nakasulat na USD55 ang minimum na gagamitin?! To try to appease me, Rose says that she will try to have approved a discount/waiver on the total charges, based on freight of USD29. Using USD29 freight (instead of USD55) and keeping everything else constant, charges would go down to Php1,360.83.

I pretty much knew already that the discount/waiver would be approved because it would mean less loss for DHL (Php211.77 vs. P1,572.60 if I decided not to pay and just leave the package with them), considering that they had already paid the Bureau of Customs and that what they were collecting from me was for reimbursement of charges.

I get a call a couple of hours after and I'm informed that the waiver/discount has been approved. We agree that I will pay P1,360.83, that delivery will be scheduled for July 24, Saturday, so I'm home to receive the parcel, and that she will give me the Bureau of Customs receipt for P1,572.60 showing that DHL paid that amount to the BOC, as the DHL invoice says "Please Reimburse the Total Charges Shown Below To: DHL EXPRESS (PHILIPPINES) CORP." (emphasis mine) (See Exhibit A again.)

July 24 - The package arrives but the BOC receipt is only for the P994! (Exhibits D, E & F are the BOC documents/receipts I receive from the DHL delivery guy that day.) Haay. I pay the Php1,360.83 anyway and receive the package. With this, I am now assuming that Duty Handling Fee (Php250 + Php30 VAT) is a DHL fee (not something charged by the BOC which I have to reimburse to DHL). Dahil hindi naman nila ako binigyan ng choice to pay the BOC directly, they can now charge me for their handling of the customs duties/charges. Dito rin siguro nila binawas na lang yung Php211.77 na binigay nilang discount/waiver. Now, the informal entry declaration fee (Php30 + Php3.60 VAT) and customs documentary stamps (Php265) - what are those?! What are considered for a package delivery to be declared as informal entry? And what are the documentary stamps for? And while we're at it, isama na rin natin ang ibang fixed charges. Bureau of Customs, what is import processing fee (Php280, inclusive of VAT)?! And why is brokerage fee so high? DHL, is the Php700 brokerage fee a component of the JPY2,500 freight paid by the sender of the package? What is brokerage fee?

Exhibits D, E & F. Bureau of Customs receipt for the Php994 and an attachment to the receipt

Goodness. Rate of duty is just 5% nga but everything gets inflated because of all those fixed charges and VAT. (What happened to books not being taxed?! I still feel bad for having paid the P1,360.83 I paid, kahit ba discounted yon. Discount-schmiscount!) Parang this is fraud already. Starting with the BOC, tapos ngayon, nakiki-ride pa ang DHL, taking advantage, to charge their customers Duty Handling Fees, and Informal Entry Declaration Fees and Customs Documentary Stamps. Haay. Grrrr!

I think this is my longest and most text-heavy blog post, to date. :D

P.S. I e-mailed DHL and the BOC my queries (and also to let them know my sentiments) with the hope that they enlighten me on all these. Will e-mail again and send them a link to this post. I hope I get some feedback. Readers, I will let you know. :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I want this cake.

grabbed from

counting blessings and more happy surprises :)

1. Nutella!

Was snacking on some when I decided to take a photo and suddenly came up with blog idea (this!) - I'm counting my blessings today! :)

2. Snail-mailed art and heartwarming birthday messages

drawn and painted by Charina

3. Packages from Japan and virtual hugs

I love you too, Ronjie ♥

4. Menthol bodywash - sarap! lalo na ngayon na mainit ang panahon

free supply c/o brother-dear :)

5. Free anti-ageing stuff, hehe

from Rocky again

There are so much more! These muna for today. :)

green tea Saturday

shampoo and conditioner for green tea hair!

inuwi ni mommy from some hotel

And a green tea-related video I copied off Jill's Facebook wall. Haha!

Friday, July 23, 2010

tempura Friday

Was feeling Japanese so I got myself some ebi tempura takeout for dinner. :D Yum.

I ♥ ebi tempura.

quoting Mohandas Gandhi

"A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

chocolate curls Thursday

Advanced birthday surprise from my former household :) Aww... *group hug* Thank you, Chris, Marilyn, Ina, Shiang, Anne, Cha J. and Dulce for the happy surprise! ♥

my first birthday cake for 2010 :)

photo by Cha J. - it's a nice blurred effect :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

peach tea Monday

Tea party, anyone? :) My officemate gave us some tea to try and so I got a cup of hot water and started steeping. Steuarts peach tea is yummy!! I had my tea hot and cold. (It was a busy morning, lumamig na yung tea come lunchtime after I had finished trading.) The tea was yummy both ways! :9 I just added a teaspoon of sugar (but I'm told honey is better).

The trouble lang with drinking tea is that it has really quick effects on the bladder. I think I was in and out of the toilet very 10 minutes. :-S

I came home to a DHL invoice, charging me for customs charges, etc. for a delivery. Someone sent me something from Japan and to receive the package, I need to reimburse and pay DHL for costs they incurred at the Customs. Grrrr... More about this in a future blog post.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

more Pico Iyer

I first encountered Pico Iyer in a crossword puzzle... the clue was something related to travel.

Back in my crossword puzzle phase (I would try to solve the daily crosswords in the Philippine Daily Inquirer), I would make it a point to always check my answers/fill in the empty boxes using the answer key in the following day's paper. This familiarized me with the usual crossword puzzle words, which in turn helped improve my crossword stats. (I stopped crosswords after I finally solved one in full, and when sudoku started gaining popularity. :D)

The next time I came across Pico Iyer was in a travel-related essay where the writer quoted him.

Pico Iyer is a travel writer. I haven't read any of his writings, except for an essay entitled "Why we travel" published online in The first few sentences...

"We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again -- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more."

Read the whole essay here.

Good evening. :)


"None of the truest things in life - like love or faith - was arrived at by thinking; indeed, one could almost define the things that mattered as the ones that came as suddenly as thunder."

- Pico Iyer, in his book "The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto"

Saturday, July 17, 2010

treasure find!

While cleaning the den this afternoon, I found a box of long-lost treasure! :D "Healthy balls" from one of Ronjie's Taiwan trips.

Lifted off the package insert:

Directions of Healthy Balls

Healthy balls was developed originally in Chinese Sun Dynasty (960-1127 AD) for Martial art purposes, and was later played by the imperial families after the improvement of the sound like roaring dragon and singing phoenix created by ramming each other with hands.

Practicing healthy balls every day is good for one's physical conditions and also relax ones mind.

One can put two or more balls in a hand, and turn them by fingers slowly at the beginning, then increase the speed and strength gradually.

(This could use a lot of grammar editing. :D)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

pineapple 100715

Steadily growing... It takes 1.5-2 years for pineapples to flower and fruit! Tagal pa! This one has not yet even been in existence for 6 months.

Some information from Wikipedia: "The pineapple is a herbaceous (has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to soil level) perennial (lives for more than 2 years) plant which grows to 1-1.5 meters (3.3-4.9 feet) tall with 30 or more trough-shaped and pointed leaves 30-100 centimetres (1-3.3 feet) long, surrounding a thick stem. The pineapple is an example of a multiple fruit: multiple, helically-arranged flowers along the axis each produce a fleshy fruit that becomes pressed against the fruits of adjacent flowers, forming what appears to be a single fleshy fruit. The fruit of a pineapple are arranged in two interlocking helices, eight in one direction, thirteen in the other, each being a Fibonacci number."

Earlier today pala I saw a moth-like insect by the MRT station.

Is this a moth?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday surprise!

Happy morning surprise: Waking up, going down to the kitchen to scrounge for food, opening the refrigerator... and seeing a bowl of fresh cherries! :) Thank you, Erica! :)

pasalubong ni Erica from her Australia trip

Saturday, July 10, 2010

ice cream-happy :)

Yesterday, we celebrated in the office because the fund level of one of our UITF products went up by a couple more billion since last quarter (end-March 2010). Yay!

the EVP treated us to Selecta ice cream :9

There were so many flavors to choose from! But I got just Quezo Real, Pistachio and Cashew, and Berry Strawberry. I love Selecta's Berry Strawberry! :9 Was a happy employee yesterday.