04/13/15

The Urban Roamer’s BIR Registration Guide for (Part-Time) Freelancers

Truth be told, I had no intention of getting myself registered as a freelancing “professional.” (if writers are considered as “professionals” which the BIR says they are) It’s not that I do not wish to cheat on taxes despite my apprehensions and frustrations with the way things are run in the government today. Rather, my non-intent is borne out of practical reasons. One of them being I am currently a full-time employee, so I’m already paying taxes through the withholding tax deducted from my payslip. The other one is the fact that my writing gig is a part-time thing at this point, (something I stress much often) not to mention it’s a gig I am still a noob at. As such, whatever I’m getting at the moment is not that much, some of them are not even paid writing gigs, but that’s another story.

BIR, the government agency we all love to hate at times…if not often

But lately, I’ve encountered some challenges thanks to a directive by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) which requires professionals to be registered. Thus, some outfits I’ve been writing or wishing to write for are asking for official receipts from their contributing writers. Unfortunately, getting an official receipt for yourself involves getting yourself registered with the BIR. So, out of a desire to avoid possible issues in the future, I decided to have myself registered with the BIR as a professional, a part-time professional that is.

For quite a while, I’ve scoured the internet and elsewhere for whatever information I could find on being registered as a part-timer. However, most information I could find pertains only to full-timers. While I eventually found out that some of the details are basically the same, still it is frustrating that part-time freelancers like myself have not much reference to look up to, especially in the aspect of taxation.

Thus, in the tradition of the previous Urban Roamer guides, I’ve decided to put out this special entry as a “public service” of sorts for fellow professionals, especially the part-time ones like writers, who are considering or in the process of having themselves registered with the BIR. It is my hope that this would serve somehow as a handy reference that you would find useful. Enough of that as we detail the process after the break.

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01/17/15

Horacio de la Costa

If you were one of those who caught Pope Francis’ mass at the Manila Cathedral last January 16, you may have chanced upon the words of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle in which he quoted a fellow named Fr. Horacio de la Costa who said that the resiliency of the Filipinos can be traced to “music and faith.”

Fr. Horacio de la Costa, SJ (courtesy of Ateneo de Manila University)

While there is little argument to be made about that statement, some have raised a question as a consequence of the Cardinal’s statement: who is Horacio de la Costa? Today, this edition of The Guide will try to answer the question about this man’s identity and his contributions to religion, history, and even the landscape of the metropolis. Continue reading

01/13/15

A Pope in Manila

Other than a visit of a US President, no official visit gets Manila, and the country as whole, all abuzz than a visit here of the head of the Roman Catholic Church, the person we all know as the pope. Something that should be a no-brainer given the country’s predominantly Catholic population.

For Filipino Catholics, a papal visit is seen as an honor that the pope has taken time to visit them here, being a bastion of Catholicism in Asia and a chance for them to receive his blessings to them and to the country.

On January 15 this year, Manila will be graced by such visit with the arrival of the current leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, a papal visit that would last for five days. As the city is in high anticipation for this event, (high enough to be on the point of ridiculousness as far as some aspects are concerned) let the Urban Roamer bring you this edition of the Guide as we look back at the past papal visits in the country, particularly in the city. Continue reading

07/11/14

Mapping the Metro: Metro Manila In Online Maps

The advancement of technology these days has made it possible for us to experience the joys of modern navigation. Gone are the days when we have a map or atlas at hand trying to guess where we are at that moment as many devices today have built-in GPS systems that tell us where we are at. Mapping today has become more powerful as it has gone online, now boosted with features like directional navigation or even 3D views.

This advancement has also led to the rise of a number of online mapping services, which has, unfortunately but inevitably, created a bit more competition and confusion among users. Each service has its own strengths and weaknesses, each having features customers have come to appreciate. It is with this scenario in mind that today, the Urban Roamer will take a look at some of the most popular online mapping services out there, particularly at how they have mapped Metro Manila. Mind you that this does not aim to tell you which is the best, but rather provide an overview of them, as well as my personal impressions. So read on as we will learn about some of them.

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05/20/14

The World Economic Forum in Manila: A Primer

Manila, and the Philippines in general, will be once again thrust in the world spotlight as the World Economic Forum will hold its East Asia summit this week from May 21-23 in this bustling metropolis.

But for many of us, I suppose there are questions that will be asked about this event like:

– what is this World Economic Forum?

– what is this East Asia summit all about?

– will we get to benefit from this event and how?

So to the best that the Urban Roamer can do, let this piece serve as a little primer about this event with some of the basic information we need to know about it.

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