Bangkok | Renting a Motorcycle

My boyfriend Gui has been living and working as a model in Bangkok for the past month. I went to celebrate the New Year 2018 with him. His agency got him a condo in Town in Town near many studios and casting agencies. It’s a local and quiet area with a lot of cute cafes and small businesses.

 

Motorcycle Rental – 3,500 Thai Baht/Month

It was my first time in Bangkok and I wanted a local experience, so we rented a motorbike for a month from a small shop I found on Facebook called Motorbike Rent.

The cheapest rates for a motorbike went from:

  • Daily – 250 Baht
  • Weekly – 1,500 Baht
  • Monthly – 3,500 Baht

We rented a motorbike for a month, costing us just 3,500 Baht ($109). They also handed us 2 helmets to rent for free. For a full tank of gas it costs around 70 Baht ($2).  It definitely saved us money on transportation since I wanted to see a lot of the city. I’ve been trying to travel with a budget since I am currently renovating my 2-bedroom condo in BGC, Philippines.

Having a motorbike is a quick way to get past the traffic. At first it was scary but I got used to it in a couple of days. Gui is really skilled at driving through small spaces and in between cars. I wanted to learn how to drive so he taught me in the small streets of Town in Town, there was no way I was driving on the highway. Not only was I learning how to drive a motorbike, I was learning how to drive on the left side of the road which gets even more confusing! Every morning, Gui lets me drive to a cafe. I enjoy laughing while my hair smoothly whips him in the face. I had a lot of fun with this new experience and I was happy to hear from my agent that I can be presented for motorcycle modeling jobs since now I know how to drive!

 

Julia Quisumbing

Advertisements

My Daily Face Care Routine

I’ve always had dry skin. I was very stubborn when I was younger and even though my legs looked cracked, I refused to put lotion because I hated the feeling.

I grew up in the Philippines and would always spend weekends out of the city at the beach. I would come back sunburnt and peeling almost every time. Why? Like I said, I hated lotion so I almost never applied sunblock on my skin. I’d run away from my Yaya (Nanny) as a kid whenever she’d try to put that white creamy mask of sunblock on me. When I became a teenager, I started using tanning oil with no sunblock, very smart. I would also remove my makeup with harsh makeup-removal products that I would buy from any store.

A few years ago my stubbornness subsided because my face started to feel drier than ever and I started to get a little acne. I wasn’t used to getting acne because it never really happened to me before. I believe it began because my skin was getting drier and I wasn’t doing anything to take care of it. I think it was also because my hormones were jumping all over the place due to entrepreneurial life and the stress that comes with it. I searched through the Internet and read several blogs to find a solution, and that’s where I found some great products from The Body Shop and Human Nature.

 

Sunflower Beauty Oil – Human Nature

I began by looking for a healthy way to remove my makeup that contained less chemicals. Human Nature had a product called “Sunflower Beauty Oil” which was 100% natural, removes makeup, lightens dark spots, moisturizes the skin, and much more. I’ve used this for a couple of years now and from my experience, it’s one of the healthiest and effective makeup removers out there. Not only does it do a great job of gently removing heavy makeup, it even makes my skin feel rejuvenated afterwards.

Sunflower beauty oil.jpg

How to Remove Makeup

  1. Blot a little sunflower oil onto a cotton pad.
  2. Gently wipe the makeup off.
  3. Wet a soft cloth with warm water.
  4. Gently wipe off the excess sunflower oil from the skin.

 

 

 

Acne Defense Facial Wash with Tea Tree – Human Nature

When I started to get more acne, I discovered that I needed to use facial wash that contained Tea tree Oil because it is known to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. I am currently using “Human Nature Acne Defense Facial Wash with Tea Tree” which is 100% Natural and Hypoallergenic.

image_5776.jpg

 

I use Human Nature Tea Tree facial wash every other day, about 3-4 times a week. I don’t use it every day so to not abuse my skin because we do need to keep some of those natural oils. I’ve been doing this for a couple years now and the acne has subsided. It cleanses my face very well and I like that it does not contain any harsh chemicals.

 

 

VITAMIN E Aqua Boost Sorbet – The Body Shop

After using my facial wash, I apply a face moisturizer because tea tree dries the skin out. I use “VITAMIN E – Aqua Boost Sorbet” from The Body Shop. Now this product is amazing. I’ve been using it for 2 years now and it has done wonders for me. Remember how I was saying that I hate the feeling of lotion on my body? This product is refreshing and soothing and it doesn’t feel like a thick layer that masks the skin. This face moisturizer is refreshing with aqua sphere technology and drenches the skin with moisture for the whole day. This leaves the skin feeling cooler and softer. It is formulated with plumping hyaluronic acid, wheat germ oil and vitamin E, and it’s suitable for all skin types. I like to describe it as a thin gel with water particles that easily absorbs into the skin, giving you long-lasting hydration, and smells incredible! I don’t know about you but that seems like a pretty good face moisturizer! Honestly, I use this every morning after I shower and my face has never felt better than it does now.

vitamin-e-aqua-boost-sorbet-1-640x640.jpg

The Aqua Boost Sorbet has also saved me while I’ve been severely sunburnt. One day, I went to the beach and got so sunburnt that I knew my skin was going to peel the next day. I got very stressed knowing that I had a photo shoot coming up. I used this moisturizer 2-3 times a day and did not peel! This saved my life (or job) that day.

I definitely recommend this moisturizer to girls who hate the feeling of masking their skin with lotion or for those who just have a really bad sunburn. If you do get to try it out, please share your experience or story with me in the comments below. I’d love to hear how other skin types work with these products or any suggestions of other products I should try. Thank you for reading!

00100sPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180107175218437_COVER

 

Julia Quisumbing

How I Make Extra Income by Co-Hosting a Home on Airbnb

Last year my father asked me to find him a 30-48sqm condo in BGC to invest in. I used my House Hunting Apps to choose units I liked and set up several viewings. My idea was to find a damaged and old condo in the best area. I chose Burgos Circle (BGC) and went to see a 37sqm studio on the top floor of Forbeswood Heights. Since it was a penthouse unit, the ceilings were high and it felt very spacious. The view was of the Manila Golf and Makati skyline. These features including the location of the complex were what caught my attention. The building was across a grocery store, walking distance to a mall and cinema, and was surrounded by restaurants, bars, shops, drug stores, and convenience stores. The actual unit was a mess, deteriorated, poorly decorated, and dirty. Most people would walk away and not give the place another thought, but I believed it would be the perfect investment.

Before buying the condo, I asked the tenant how much her rent was and she replied, “P25,000/month” ($495). After renovations, I knew my father could only rent it out for P30,000/month ($594), which made renovations seem unnecessary. I wanted to make it worthwhile for him and make extra income for myself. I told him that we could make double or triple the monthly income if I put the condo up on Airbnb and managed it for him. Honestly, I had no experience with Airbnb but it was a risk I wanted to take as any entrepreneur would. My first investment in Baguio called, “Julia’s Cozy Mountain Condo” was still being built at the time and I only hoped that my statement of double profit would come true. I did go through a lot of ‘what ifs’ and doubts but I pushed myself through to the end. The most important thing was to prove to my father that he could trust I’d make it work. I had a good feeling about it and I believe you should always follow your instincts.

This unit was for sale at P4M ($79,300). We first offered them P3.5M ($69,400) which they declined. Then we increased the offer to P3.7M ($73,300) where they finally reduced their price and agreed to sell it for P3.8M ($75,300). I set up the meeting for my father and the owners to sign the Deed of Absolute Sale. As soon as the payment was made and the title was handed over to us, I hired a contractor and got to work.

Construction began and we completely turned the place upside down. All of the old furniture was thrown out, a door was added to convert it to a 1-bedroom, a split type air-conditioner was installed in the living room, the bathroom was remodeled, and a decorative feature was added to draw the attention of Airbnb guests; Brick walls. The decision to make the unit a 1-bedroom was to create more income. I placed a Queen size mattress in the bedroom and a sofa bed in the living room. The unit could now accommodate 4 guests at a time with a door for privacy.

Once I finished decorating the condo, I supplied essential amenities that would ensure that all guest’s would have a memorable stay.  I trained my housekeepers how to properly clean and turnover a nightly rental with my laminated cleaning checklist. Once everything was set, I put “Julia’s Urban Brick Condo” on Airbnb and immediately started getting bookings. I only had a few ratings as a host from my Baguio condo that I posted a couple of weeks before. I knew I had to increase my rating as quick as possible so I was happy that the process was sped up by having two homes on Airbnb.

Julia’s Urban Brick Condo” has a nightly price of P2,850 ($56), weekend nightly price of P3,050 ($60), cleaning fee of P500 ($10), Extra guest charge of P400 ($8) per person after 2, and weekly and monthly discounts. Our average monthly sales are around P70,000 ($1,390) and the average profit after bills is around P60,000 ($1,190). My statement had come true; we are earning double the profit of a regular rental and are recuperating the investment twice as fast.

My father is a very successful lawyer and partner of his firm. He knows how to play the game, he told me I could take 15% for managing the condo, I declined and said 30%, then he responded by increasing it to 25%, and I accepted. I’ve learned a lot from my father and he has been the best and most difficult teacher I could ask for. He never just handed something over to me, I’ve always had to work for it. I earn around P15,000 to P20,000 every month by managing (co-hosting) my father’s condo. That is around the same amount as many home-owners earn regularly by renting out a studio. I do everything on my phone and it takes very little time out of my day. I explain my daily tasks and the processes I go through in my post “How to Become a Superhost on Airbnb“.

You can become a neighborhood co-host with anyone, either solely managing their home or being a co-host meaning that you and the owner will both have access to the account to receive alerts and notifications. If you approach an Airbnb host or person who owns their home, you can offer your services to manage their listing for a percentage. I can imagine a lot of home-owners would like to do this if they travel a lot and especially if they’d like to earn a large profit without the headache of managing it.

For the last 5 months, the two small studio units combined have earned us more than half a million pesos ($10,000) on Airbnb. I’ve gained a lot of experience hosting two condos on Airbnb and cannot wait for my next unit to be ready! The income I will make from all 3 units will support my future investments and businesses.

My advice is to follow your gut, take risks even though you aren’t in any position to do so, follow-through, go over the top, and always believe in yourself. Try to filter out those doubtful voices, even if they are your own. Good Luck!

Julia Quisumbing

Palawan | The Crystal Clear Lakes in Coron

There is one place in the world that never ceases to amaze me – Palawan. It is the ultimate tropical escape. I love all areas of Palawan but Coron has always drawn my attention because of it’s two crystal clear fresh water lakes that hide behind tall rock formations, Barracuda Lake and Kayangan Lake.

img_8628.jpg

IMG_8129

Barracuda Lake is every free-diver’s dream because it plummets from the surface following the beautiful walls of rock to dark depths. The fresh water allows your body to sink quickly like you were wearing weights. See my video below or click here to see how easily I sink in Barracuda Lake. The air in my lungs help me float but once I release air slowly I gradually sink faster and faster. The underwater video and photos were taken with my GoPro Hero 4.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0811.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0794.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0816.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR0816.

It’s great to snorkel in the area and even better to scuba dive. It feels as if you were exploring the moon. There are also these cute little flute fish that stroll past you when you’re in the water.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0692.

IMG_6147

After the underwater adventure, it’s nice to grab a life jacket and float out to the deeper end to get a 360 view of the entire lake. This is where I like to lay back and relax. It’s fun in a scary way not knowing exactly what is below you. Since they say there are Barracuda in the lake, don’t wear anything shiny because they might think you are the silvery fish that they prey on. Well, I’ve worn shiny things in that lake before but nothing has happened to me, yet!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0832.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0831.

To get to Barracuda lake you take a short wooden staircase up and through the rock formations. Kayangan Lake is a higher hike, just a 5-10 minute walk up the steep mountain where you can take a beautiful shot of the view from the top, then climb down to the lake.

img_8072.jpg

Each lake has a wooden walkway for people to sit, hang out, or put their things while in the water. This site leaves you feeling relaxed and full of wonder. Even though you know many people come to this lake every day, it still seems like you have just discovered one of the most incredible places in the world.

smilecoron2199-copy.jpg

Coron Tour Tip:

Book a banka boat tour and make sure your package consists of Barracuda Lake, Kayangan Lake, Black Island, and one of the sunken shipwrecks. If you have to choose between lakes, I suggest making Barracuda Lake your top priority. It’s definitely worth it! Before getting on the boat, rent fins and masks with a snorkel because you’re going to want to see the beauty beneath the surface.

smilecoron2706-copy.jpg

smilecoron2719-copy-e1512317128533.jpg

IMG_2928

Fresh Food from the Wet Market

During your day tour, you’ll need to take a break for lunch. There won’t be any restaurants on the islands so head to the wet market in Coron Town before boarding your boat. Buy fresh seafood, meat, fruits, and vegetables. I always like getting Crab, Prawns, Fish, Pork (Liempo), rice, squash, carrots, zucchini, and mango. Buy soy sauce and mix it with Calamansi for a delicious dipping sauce. The boatmen can grill your food at any island you wish to stop at. I usually look out for the white sand beaches with huts and tables. Freshly grilled seafood on a tropical island is the most satisfying way to eat!

Coron Shipwrecks

Once you’re done eating, it’s time for more exploring! I usually head to one of the Coron shipwrecks. There is a shipwreck near Barracuda Lake that is shallow enough for snorkelers to see. If you’d like to go scuba diving, there are deeper and larger shipwrecks to explore in the area.

If you stop by Black Island, there’s a small cave that holds a little pond of water situated behind the beach.

All of the sights and experiences you can have in Coron are mesmerizing and thrilling. I’ve been there several times and it always seems like the photos I have taken or the memories I have never do justice. In my opinion, Palawan is one of the top destinations in the world and I plan to return many times.

Julia Quisumbing

Swimwear – The Minimalist Look

I grew up in the Philippines, so I naturally go to the beach a lot since I’m surrounded by 7,107 islands. Since I was a child, I swam in pools, snorkeled in the ocean, made sand castles on the beach, and was constantly in a swimsuit getting sunburnt. Once I became a teenager, I became a licensed PADI Scuba Diver and enjoyed free diving as well. The ocean is naturally beautiful and doesn’t need much to be. It’s blue with pops of color from lively coral. I like to blend into nature and the way to do that is by wearing a simple solid color or shade. None of this rainbow or patterned swimwear! I like wearing black, grey, white, nude, or pastel colors that are pleasing to the eye.

 

Recently, I bought minimalist swimwear from Mimosa Swimwear to wear during my beach travels around the Philippines. I believe that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Check out their Instagram! – @mimosa.swimwear.

 

Mimosa Minimalist Brazilian One-Piece

$27.99

IMG_1619

IMG_1614

IMG_1501 3

cropped-img_1651.jpg

IMG_2588 2

 

Mimosa Neoprene Bikini

$33.99

IMG_0700 2

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

 

Mimosa Solid Minimalist Bikini

$24.99

IMG_2892

IMG_5654

Julia Quisumbing