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California Is One Step Closer to Banning Plastic Bags

Have you put your foot down when it comes to plastic shopping bags? Well, if you live in California and haven’t stopped using plastic instead of a reusable bag, the time might come where you have no other choice.

California has been the trailblazer with regard to strict environmental rules and regulations, and this state is going for yet another rule: a ban against those plastic grocery bags. Although this bill passed through the Assembly this week, it still needs to be approved through the Senate. Even in light of this, California is moving toward its goal. In the case that this bill would pass, the ban would begin in Jan. 2012 for grocery stores at first and then would extend to other stores such as drugstores by July 2013.

So what would shopper’s options be if this plastic bag ban were to pass?

Well, customers would be held accountable. They would have to be responsible for bringing along reusable bags that stores could use to bag their groceries in. If consumers didn’t carry reusable bags, these individuals would have to pay at least 5 cents for a bag that was partly manufactured with recycled content. In light of the environmental issues and risks to wildlife that plastic bags pose, this added responsibility isn’t such a big deal.

You might already be turning down plastic bags and requesting grocers to bag your belongings in a reusable bag. However, if you haven’t taken this step, it’s easy to start. You don’t necessarily have to purchase a reusable bag—just use a large bag that you own. It can be a backpack, messenger bag, etc.

The next step is ensuring that you have these reusable bags with you when you shop. To make sure you don’t forget them, make a habit of storing them in your car or in your bike basket.

It’s still uncertain whether California will get this plastic bag ban passed, but you can vow a personal ban against them. This simple action will decrease the amount of waste going to landfills and will also prevent wildlife from eating or becoming trapped in them.

By: Marina Hanes
in Green News

Filed under: Environment, Green Living

Airline ticket scam dupes Pinoys in US

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

SAN JOSE – Hundreds of Filipinos wanting to buy cheap airline tickets to the Philippines fell victim to a ticket scam in the United States.

On Wednesday, the group went to the house of Lily Anne Sison-Lee in San Jose, who sells roundtrip tickets to the Philippines. They paid Sison-Lee but never received the tickets. Sison-Lee has disappeared since Thursday and has not returned calls.

Ethel Cavan, a victim of the alleged ticket scam, knocked on Sison-Lee’s home and said, “Hoy! Ibalik mo na sa amin ang pera!”

Cavan paid for 3 roundtrip tickets to the Philippines worth $750 each. She was told that she would get her flight itinerary only 3 days before the flight.

“Normally, when you buy your ticket, you immediately get it online, your e-ticket.  That was a red flag for me,” Cavan said.

Another victim, Charles De La Cruz, said he and his family bought 16 roundtrip tickets to the Philippines for a family wedding.

“Paalis na kami ngayon. Kaya lang kumuha na lang ako ng ibang ticket sa agency,” De La Cruz said.

They had no choice but to buy tickets from another agency worth 3 times more because he said Sison-Lee did not deliver. He said they spent all their pocket money.

“Pinambili ng tickets. Kaya wala nang gagastusin sa Pilipinas. Napasubo na lang yung credit cards,” said De La Cruz.

Chloe Homen acted as Sison-Lee’s middleman and is a ticket agent. She would buy tickets from Sison-Lee and then sell them to others. Homen has been in business with her for 2 years. She says Sison-Lee had always delivered.

This is the first time she failed her and Homen reported her friend to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“Mayroon na nga client na-ospital dahil sa stress,” said Homen.

About 240 people who bought from Homen have not received their tickets. She owes more than $200,000 because of the scam.

“Gusto ko man ibalik ang pera nila, I don’t have the capacity to pay kasi ako I’m also a victim,” said Homen.

Irene Mayor is Homen’s sub-agent. Mayor claimed that she lost more than $100,000 by buying replacement tickets for her clients.

“It’s just money. But its hard-earned money,” said Mayor.

The group plans to file a police report against Sison-Lee. Balitang America tried to reach Sison-Lee at her home and work but she could not be reached.

Records show there may be more victims. The FBI encouraged all those who have been victimized to band together to make a stronger case against Sison-Lee.

Johnny Francisco, Director of Mango Tours, said Sison-Lee purchased tickets from their travel agency and had occasionally paid cash because she was not an authorized reseller.

“They should have dealt with a legal travel agent. In the state of California, they should be dealing with travel agents who belong to the seller of travel. I strongly advise passengers, when they buy their travel tickets, more so especially in cash, they should also get not only their receipt but their electronic ticket receipt,” Francisco advised future travelers. Balitang America

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, Scam,

My Dad is a Broke OFW (An open letter to all OFW’s)

Kumusta na kabayan!

First, I would like to thank you for being an OFW. My dad used to be an OFW and I know the many sacrifices you are enduring right now just so that you can provide the best for your family. I admire you, I appreciate you and in my book, you are a true Pinoy hero.

Second, I would like to help you. I would like to help you in the same way I helped Bobet, a former OFW. Under my coaching, from being broke and in debt, in just 12 months Bobet became a millionaire. Bobet is in fact back in the Philippines. He no longer needed to work as a nurse here in the U.S. He no longer misses his wife and kids. He can now kiss and hug them everyday. He has achieved in 1 year what most OFWs will never achieve in their lifetime. How did he do it?

I taught Bobet the Secrets of Wealth. And if you want to be like Bobet, read on because I want to teach you the Secrets of Wealth as well. But there’s a catch. You will only understand the Secrets of Wealth by understanding how my dad, an OFW like you became broke.

I’ve experienced as a child what I call a roller coaster of wealth. In Tagalog, we call this “Gulong ng Palad” (Wheel of Fortune) because there are times we’re on top of the world and there are times we’re at the bottom. When my dad comes back from abroad it is like a fiesta. The alcohol is overflowing. The whole town seems to be at our door step and my dad’s pasalubongs never seem to run out. Packets of cigarette. Bottles of whisky. Chocolates for the kids. Jewelry for my mom. It is like we’re millionaires every time my dad goes home.

But we’re millionaires only for a short time.

Two weeks later, the money’s gone. My mom and dad start to argue. And my dad seriously considers going back to the ship. He borrows money from his mom – my grandmother (we call “Nanay”). One time, my mom and dad even asked me to borrow money from Nanay because both of them were already turned down. I guess that tactic worked because Nanay couldn’t say NO to his apo and we ate dinner that night.

Then things turn for the worse. The many friends who cheerfully greeted my dad’s homecoming are no longer around. Instead, creditors start hounding us, pounding at our door. At 8 years old, I am taught to lie and tell the creditor my mom is not around even though she is just there beside me kneeling and praying the creditor goes away.

From feeling like millionaires for a few days to being dead broke 2 weeks later – describing it as a roller coaster or a wheel of fortune is an understatement. My mom and dad managed to squander all their savings and more.

So 2 months later, my dad is back at the airport again. We have tears in our eyes once again as we bid him goodbye. My dad would have to work hard on a ship 10 months in a year mostly to pay off our greedy lenders and creditors.

My dad tried to invest – buying a tricycle but the business became bankrupt as fast as it was started. My dad recalled that tricycle with pride in his voice “It was the first stainless steel tricycle in our town”. He was proud of the product but he did not take the time to understand the business.

There were many days our home is literally dark because we couldn’t pay for the electric bill. Once, as a 9-year old boy, I was devastated when I saw my books have been sold so that we will have food on the table that day. Then the worst happened: we lost our home to foreclosure because there was no money left to pay for the mortgage.

Is the story above familiar to you? I bet most OFWs have the same lifestyle cycle as my dad. Rich one day then broke another.

Have you discovered the Secrets to Wealth in my dad’s story?

At its core, it really is very simple. You will be wealthy if you do the exact opposite of what my dad did.

Don’t waste your money by throwing a lavish home coming party for the whole town – SAVE your money instead. Have a small gathering with your family and loved ones. Your children will appreciate it more because they want your presence more than your presents. Get into the habit of saving at least 10-20% of everything you earn. The earlier you get that habit the wealthier you will become or the faster you will become a millionaire.

Bobet saves 50% of what he earns. No wonder he has become a millionaire in only 12 months.

But you cannot save your way to millions. You have to learn how to invest your savings. My aunt who used to work as a bank clerk, who earned 1/10th of what my dad earned as a seaman is now a multi-millionaire because she learned to invest her money. Your savings must go to “work” for you. They must produce good returns or profit. But you cannot stop there. You have to reinvest your profits so that your wealth can grow exponentially.

My aunt started a business butchering chickens in the wet market (palengke). She saved half of her profits and lived off the other half. She then put her savings to buy a store. The profits from the store and the chicken business were then invested into a farm. The profits from the farm, the store and the chicken business were then invested into a resort. The profits from the resort, the farm, the store and the chicken business were then invested into apartment buildings.

As a result of saving, investing, and reinvesting her profits, my aunt becomes richer and richer even as she works less and less while my dad because of spending, borrowing, then spending becomes poorer and poorer even as he works harder.

The choice is yours. Bobet chose to become rich and he put in the time to learn and apply the Secrets of Wealth. Bobet is now in the Philippines employing 30 people because of the businesses he started. 30 families now rely on Bobet because he applied the Secrets of Wealth and Bobet is proving you can become wealthy even back home.

I like you to be wealthy my friend. But the choice is up to you.

Dedicated to your success,


P.S. Please forward this to every OFW you know – in fact, forward it to everyone you know for that matter. Everyone needs to learn and apply the Secrets of Wealth.

Trace Trajano is a real estate investor, author of the best selling book “Think Rich – Quick” and a wealthcoach to students around the world. His vision is to create directly or indirectly 1 Million Pinoy Millionaires worldwide by the year 2020. Trace himself is an OFW living in the Mason Ohio with his wife and 2 kids. For more information go to


To our financial freedom!

Jay Castillo
Real Estate Investor
Real Estate Broker License #: 20056
Social Network:
Mobile: +639178843882
E-mail: ph.investor [at] gmail [dot] com

Filed under: Business, Business Ideas for OFW Families, Financial Literacy, Kwentong OFW, Motivation, OFW Corner, OFW Livelihood Training, ,

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