On Turning 25

THIS TIME LAST YEAR, I was engaged and giving my all at work. Today, I just came back from a 2-day vacation in Boracay and had dinner with my husband and 16 members of his immediate family and in-laws. I’m also about to start my new job. What 365 days can do!   There’s a 

Continue Reading…


Reflecting On The Past Year 2014

“THE YEAR I SAW BEAUTIFUL THINGS.” That’s how I’d describe 2014. It’s the year I got engaged to Jovi, worked my first job out of college, learned to cook and bake, and hiked and explored countless trails in San Diego — my home for the year. How blessed is a hiker’s life. Me at San Jacinto 

Continue Reading…


Stories And My New Life In Cebu

    I SAT IN FRONT OF JAN YANEHIRO IN HER 79 New Montgomery office at downtown San Francisco. She’s dressed in a yellow wool jacket over a black top and long pants. Her gently parted bangs and lilac-colored eyeshadow struck me first as I stare at her.   “Crystal, your voice tends to fall off 

Continue Reading…


Letter To Myself 10 Years Ago

At 13 years old, it was a rough life for me. Inspired by Simple Dollar’s Trent, today I write about what I wish I knew ten years ago.  —— Dear Crystal, Today you are 23 years old. You’re leaving the US after five years of building a life there, worked and saved the most you’ve 

Continue Reading…


Saving Money (Part 2)

  (This is the continuation of my ‘Saving Money’ series. For Part 1, click here.)   The book that started it all for me: “Your Money Or Your Life”   SAVING MONEY TIP #3 – CREATE BARRIERS The illusion of superiority states we are not who we think we are. So, it helps to have specific 

Continue Reading…


Saving Money (Part 1)

  MONEY HAS ALWAYS BEEN a fascinating subject. Growing up, I witnessed how different social classes operate. Unlike the U.S. with a middle class, the Philippines’ rich and poor are two very different animals. We had friends who could not put food on the table; at the same time, we mingled with kids who had 

Continue Reading…