Tag Archives: finance

The Trip Part 2: Ayala Alabang





Once Sara and I had adjusted to the time zone a bit, Sara’s Uncle Don took us out for lunch at the Asian Development Bank where he works as a lawyer. The ADB makes their business by helping Asian governments finance public works projects, like dams and bridges. The head office seemed more like a self-sufficient compound than anything else. There was a full-service garage with a gas pump, and the company store shipped in groceries from anywhere in the world for their international team of economic hotshots. The restaurant had a piano player and made quite the fine steak. From there we drove to Don and Judy’s house in the suburb of Ayala Alabang.




Aside from the Spanish colonial architecture and security checkpoint, Ayala Alabang looked like a pretty normal gated community. There was a church, a community field, a country club, and even a small convenience store. The neighborhood is home to quite a few expatriates, as well as the staff that maintains all the houses. The wages in the Philippines are as such that houses like these will employ cooks, housekeepers, gardeners, or combinations of all three. Don and Judy’s house was no exception. They had a gardener named Nestor, a cook named Natty, and a housekeeper named Anning.

Judy and Sara with Simon, Jonah and Noah respectively.

Judy and Sara with Simon, Jonah and Noah respectively.


Don and Judy's House


Guest House

Guest Room

Guest Room

Now, if you know Don and Judy, you may have heard of their three boys, Simon, Noah, and Jonah. They are fraternal triplets and are 10-years-old as of this writing. They are very intelligent and inquisitive. They go through books like nobody’s business, and I think they came up with a plan to buy an iPhone through buying and selling beanie babies after I showed them my own device. Since Judy is trained as a teacher, she home-schools the boys in a small classroom in the second level of their guest house where Sara and I got to stay.




Channeling my 10-year-old self, I thought it was very cool. Everything was very hands-on. They had charts to count in English, French, Roman and Mayan. For projects they completed relief maps of Africa and clay models of human skin layers. The construction of their tree-house was used to teach geometry. My personal favorite was their comparative novel studies. Simon, Noah and Jonah go through so many books that they were able to follow authors like Gary Paulsen, and made charts of all the similarities and differences between their novels.


Natty, Sara and Anning

I must say Sara and I never ate as well during the whole trip as we had when Natty was cooking. For dinner there was food like stuffed peppers, chicken stir-fry wrapped in banana leaves, and curried beef. Breakfast included waffles, french toast, bacon and eggs. Sara and I should e-mail them for some recipes. However, I doubt we’ll ever get the presentation right!

Plain English

This an explanation of the sub-prime mortgage crisis I came across a few days ago.

The Real Estate Market CrashFree Legal Forms
It’s a brilliant piece of work. Who knew that the use of stick figures and profanity could provide such an in-depth understanding of a complex issue? It’s the classic example of a boom-bust market cycle. Something out there makes Scrooge McDuck levels of money, eventually attracting more investors than the market for that something could ever support. The inferior somethings lose value, leaving millions broke. The same thing has happened with everything from stocks and south sea islands to tulips and comic books. Only now the hot commodity was mortgage loans, which involves a lot more money, and will cause a lot more damage.

Now, we could take this as a grand global lesson in how to manage our money and not live beyond our means. Basic arithmetic should keep us from making bad loans like this again. If we don’t have the basic arithmetic we should invest more in education so that we have the basic arithmetic. Then again, I don’t know if we’ll learn anything at all. The Sub-prime mortgage crisis, like most other economic crises before it, arose from attaining that sweet between scarcity and abundance. Mortgage loans were scarce enough to be valuable, but abundant enough so that anyone could get a hold of one. Whether it’s carbon nano-tubes or near earth asteroids, it’s always the next best thing in investing that’s going to tip off the next recession. We can only hope our laws are strong enough to pick up the pieces when the whole thing comes crashing down again.