Oplan Balik Yaman 2014

So I’ve finally managed to open a real savings account. /cue flashback

A few months back, Mabie and I discussed the shabby state of our finances. Really, the best word to describe the state it’s in is “in tatters”. I’ve been working for more than a third of my life and I didn’t have any money in case I trip and break my leg. And so to cure both our money-related ails, I proposed a challenge that shall henceforth be known as Oplan Balik Yaman 2014. We set our goals, a deadline, and a consequence in case one or both of us fail to meet our goals on the deadline.

I set a goal of 10,000 pesos in a Savings or Checking Account, Mabie set a deadline of February 28. The consequence is a 2,000 peso fine that will go to a communal pizza lamown kamown fund.

I therefore needed to open a Savings or a Checking account.

According to Remi, the ideal set up is to have a savings account for contingencies, a savings account for actual savings, and a checking account for bills and such.

I had two savings accounts. One I used for Paypal, like a money funnel that brings the money in and then takes the money to various bill vortices. The other one I had intended to be my contingencies account, but it has since been misappropriated into another money funnel from me to my Nanay to rent.

I scanned the banks nearby for initial deposits, interest rates, and requirements. I had an account with BPI, and I thought it was a logical choice to just open another account with a bank that I already have an account with. So then I applied for another one. To which BPIDirect replied:

Per checking, we have noticed that said application is your second
application and we have already opened a savings account for you last
May we suggest to use your existing account instead.

I took that to mean, “We don’t understand why you want another one, your other account’s balance is 0 pesos.” That’s true of course, and anyway, I’ve been using the account in a way that it was never intended.

A mini-segue: Do you know how hard it is for freelancers to open bank accounts? It’s very hard to explain where the money comes from. Every time I say, “I’m a freelance writer who works from home. My clients are overseas,” bank people seem to hear, “I am a unicorn, I pluck my money from the blinking ether!” They’d ask for company and government issued IDs and ask questions about my employment. I patiently explain that I am effectively self-employed, but I don’t have a business. I get work, money for the work done (if I’m lucky), and that’s how I get to eat three times a day. Some get it, others stare at me, mystified. I could almost hear what they’re thinking, “Is that even a real job?”

Anyway, so I scanned the other banks in the vicinity. After the hell that was ChinaBank, I swore never to enter their bank premises so that left me with Security Bank, Bank of Commerce, and Banco de Oro (BDO). Today I dressed up, intending to ask around the said banks. First stop was Security Bank. I asked about their deposit products, having read up on their Build-Up Savings and e-Secure Savings accounts. I was informed that I needed a regular savings account to get the e-Secure account. I asked what the requirements were for the Build-Up Savings account and was informed that I only needed an ID.

Oh, joy of joys!


I stood outside the branch, holding a passbook and an ATM. I lit a cigarette and looked at my watch. I had spent a grand total of 30 minutes inside the bank. The entire process didn’t take me a lifetime! I signed a deposit slip, a signature card, a passbook receipt, a form saying that everything in the application was accurate info, and a photocopy of my driver’s license. I filled out a short application form. That was that.*

*Caveat: Ease of banking transactions and overall awesomeness of customer service depends heavily on any bank’s branch.