Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sunlife: an afternoon with Mr. Aya Laraya on the importance of managing money and debt

Once again, Sunlife Philippines Inc. extended an invitation to attend a talk on money management, hosted by Mr. Aya Laraya, an investment and finance guru. The topic for the afternoon was about debt and the proper attitude toward it. I'm not usually beholden to crippling amounts of debt.  Nevertheless, I took the talk as an opportunity to learn that debt can be used as an instrument to increase one's financial standing and potential.

Debt simply means: the use of other people's money, usually for a fee. However, not all debt is supposed to be considered bad or given a negative connotation. There are good ones such as business receivables, credit, and collateral which are usually used in the ordinary course of business. Furthermore,  equity investment such as IPO's and partnership shares can be used to generate working capital for the operation of an enterprise. Thirdly, there are also investment instruments such as bonds, stocks, and deposit substitutes which are intangible investment instruments for the purpose of generating wealth.

While good debt is taken advantage of to boost income, there are also forms of debt that can debilitate productivity. These are in the forms of bad debt. Bad debt is generally used to finance consumer spending and short term gratification such as luxury items and non-essentials.

According to Mr. Laraya, a good informal rule for controlling the amount you borrow is to use a month's salary. Furthermore, you can also tell your credit card provider to decrease the credit limit in order to curb the temptation to spend more. Lastly, using the debt to fund more productive ventures is a better way to reconsider consumer spending.

 I also learned about good informal rules in gauging loan amounts. In business loans, a good rule to follow is to borrow not more than 50% of owner's equity. While in housing, having 35% of income amortization is the limit for monthly payments.

Also, there are 3 ideas which can be used to ask whether a person should enter into debt. One is measuring how much one owns. The second is the size of the debt; and the third is how much a person can pay.

Lastly, in order to gain freedom from debt, a person must do three things:
1.Eliminate the credit card as a means of quick cash.
2. Create a payment plan in negotiating debt.
3. Switch to more efficient means of living.

Debt is truly a powerful thing, whether for its good or bad aspects. Albert Einstein truly nailed the concept of debt when he said that the most powerful force in the world is compound interest.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Papa John's Blogger's Night at SM Megamall (September 9, 2016)

Papa John's Pizza is a testament to the hard work and dedication of its founder, John Schnatter. In his younger days, he worked his way from a humble dishwasher up to the pizza maker of a restaurant. In due time, he sold his car in order to open up the first Papa John's pizza joint in his hometown. His business has become so successful that the company has grown to 4,700 outlets worldwide under the umbrella of numerous franchisees.

Just last week, I was invited by Ms. Rizcelle of Berjaya Philippines Inc. to the Blogger's Night of Papa John's Restaurant at SM Megamall. According to her, Papa John's pizza boasts of a delightful array of flavors and fresh ingredients that is sure to whet the appetite of hungry diners. I wanted to try out this guarantee by tasting their dishes for myself.

Our food tour started with a taste of their appetizers. The Pepperocini Dynamite (Php 95) was composed of 6 sticks of pepperocini wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cheese sauce. It had a slightly salty and moderately tangy and spicy flavor fit for those who love their appetizers hot. Add to this their Ultimate Potato Wedges (Php 145), a sweet and peppery mix of fried potato wedges dressed with cheese, garlic mayo, bacon and lettuce, and you have a killer combo that's sure to whet one's appetite to the maximum. We were also given a taste of their experimental dish, the Spinach Cheese Stromboli, a baked pastry composed of cheese and spinach wrapped in a soft, chewy bread that kids and adults will surely love.

We then tried their specialty pastas, namely the Cheesy Mushroom (Php 99 for single/Php 200 for large), the Creamy Crab Meat (Php 99 for single/Php 200 for large) and the Spinach Alfredo (Php 99 for single/Php 200 for large). These three variants were complete with tasty sauces, generous servings, and fresh ingredients. The Cheesy Mushroom pasta had this thick cheese sauce and tasty mushrooms that made me, a cheese and mushroom lover, proud. The Creamy crab meat, I must admit is more suited for seafood lovers; while the Spinach alfredo is for those who want their pasta at a much simpler texture and quality. The latter had bits of spinach garnished with basil leaves.

The meal wasn't complete without their American style crispy fried chicken. at Php 390 for 3 pieces, Php 559 for 5 pieces, and Php 670 for 7 pieces, this generously served dish had huge pieces of golden brown chicken fried to a crisp. The taste reminded me of home style chicken that my mom used to serve me. However, this version boasted of thick and tangy gravy and a golden brown breading that left me wanting more. While I must admit that it's a tad pricey, I'd say that the price is still worth the experience.

The highlight of the night was the pizza flavors we were offered. I had three variants: the Super Papa, Chicken Bacon Ranch, and the classic Pepperoni. These are served in 9 inch (Php 350), 12 inch (Php 485) and 14 inch (Php 595) sizes. These premium flavors are usually drizzled with a generous helping of meat, particularly bacon, mozzarella cheese, and a chewy crust. The Super Papa is considered as their premier and flagship pizza flavor due to the generous helping of meat and vegetables. I particularly liked this variant because it had a wonderful balance of flavors. The Pepperoni, despite its oily and greasy state, was still an excellent representation of the classic flavor. The pepperoni slices were huge. Add to that a thick helping of cheese; and you'll really have the time of your life with the pizza. The Chicken Bacon Ranch reminded me of a chicken sandwich due to the ranch flavoring on top. While less stellar than the other two flavors; I'd recommend it for kids or adults who want their pizza conservative in terms of taste.

Lastly, the meal wasn't complete without a helping of their dessert, the Pineapple Cinnamon Rolls. While being at its experimental stage, I'd say that It may be a hit among diners. This delectably sweet rolls are good for those who love an explosion of flavors when it comes to dessert. It has 7 pieces and is truly delightful to devour.

Papa John's truly is generous when it comes to their events. Furthermore, their food does live up to the hype and adoration from its patrons and fans alike. You can visit Papa John's Pizza at Their SM Megamall branch is located at 3/F SM Megamall. 

The story in pictures:

The pizza menu

The Papa John's membership card.

The entrance

Their 199 promo.

The potato wedges appetizer

The Spinach Cheese Stromboli

The Pepperocini dynamite with bacon wrapped

I was examining the content of the Stromboli

The Cheesy Mushroom Pasta

The Creamy Crab Meat Pasta

The Spinach Alfredo Pasta

Papa John's around the world

The spacious dining area

The Super Papa - the flagship pizza

The garlic cheese sauce and pepperocini

The pepperoni pizza

Another shot!

Look at the generous pepperoni toppings!

The American style crispy fried chicken - just look at the humongous servings!

Another shot!

The chicken bacon ranch pizza

Pineapple Cinnamon Rolls

The menu

The kind kitchen staff!
Papa John's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato