The Better-Late-Than-Never Obligatory Valentine’s Day Post

My idea of romance, and the mythical happily-ever-after, was admittedly gleaned from years of watching rom-coms and Disney movies. Just now (really, as in just now), as I was cooking dinner and an Angelu de Leon and Bobby Andrews flick was playing in the background, I realized that my idea of grand romantic gestures had changed. I’m not sure when this happened, but I’m glad it did.

In movies, romance is when you stand at your girlfriend’s circular driveway, boombox in hand, with In Your Eyes blasting at full volume. Romance is coming back to the castle despite the angry mob armed with farm implements. Romance is when you make a deal with the evil sea witch – nevermind that it could spell trouble for your daddy’s under-the-sea kingdom. Romance is agreeing to meet again in six months at a train station, and leave posters with your contact numbers when she doesn’t show up in said train station six months later… Then writing an entire book about that one night, in the hopes of finding her again.

The exception, I think is Up‘s first few, tear-soaked minutes. There are no sweeping declarations of love – just an unspoken promise of an adventure together. It took me so long to realize that that was what I wanted, an adventure with my best friend, but I guess like this post, it’s something that’s better late than never.

You know, romance is when you go out on an early Sunday evening to drop off the laundry and do groceries. Romance is lying down on equal sections of couch, spending an afternoon lazing around, watching TV. Romance is having dinner at home, talking about anything, everything, and nothing.1 I guess that’s what other people would call boring – there are probably tens of thousands of Cosmo articles about ‘spicing things up’ and there’s nothing wrong with that. At the end of the day though, that’s what I want – that comfortable silence while sitting in traffic, holding hands and playing a game with plate numbers. That Friday night spent at home, sitting on the couch completely exhausted from the work week, watching Master Showman and howling in laughter at the complete absurdity of it all.2

That promise that all dragons – real and imaginary – will be slain together, and that promise that whatever happens, we will work things out.


1. Love is having a bad bout of gastritis, your partner going to the store to get you bottles of Gatorade, and telling you that you’re pretty despite the fact that your bowels have gone into the future, trying to shit food you haven’t eaten yet, and you therefore have to go to the bathroom every 5 minutes.


2. There was a Korean boy band who was lipsyncing so badly, I wasn’t sure they really knew the lyrics to their song. This spectacle was closely followed by a scantily-clad girl band with a name straight out of the kabaret. Then there was a boy band-ish group of gay dudes (gay boy band? That seems little redundant, I don’t know why) who sung about Blind Items. If there is such a thing as “mindless entertainment” this was it. I could feel the brain cells shriveling up and dying.

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
02/21/2013
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!

Yay!

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.