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Reflections of a Real Estate Investor: Ondoy's aftermath

I have been compiling a list of reflections from the point of view of a real estate investor that I want to share here in Foreclosure Philippines but after Typhoon Ondoy’s wrath, a lot of them have changed. Mike, a fellow real estate investor, said it best when we met the other day and mentioned to me that “You must have a million things on your mind Jay…”. Mike was right. There are just so many things running through my head right now.

Although it’s true that a lot has changed after Ondoy’s deluge, there are also things that cannot be changed even by such a calamity and I want to share these thoughts first. Don’t worry, I won’t be babbling about a million things, I’ll just include coherent thoughts and reflections.

Whatever happens, always count your blessings

During the past days, I sometimes find myself with a blank stare and teary eyed during moments of feeling overwhelmed with all the challenges I face in the aftermath of typhoon Ondoy. I have yet to fully assess the damage to our house in Provident Village, but I’m quite sure that just about everything inside it got ruined or destroyed.

Our kitchen or what's left of itOur kitchen… or what’s left of it.
Our house and our stuff. Notice the make-shift tent on the roof?Our house and our stuff. Notice the make-shift tent on the roof?
This used to be my son's toylandThis used to be my son’s toyland
One of our wall clocks that all stopped a little past 2:30am. This one is hangs on the wall 8 feet from the floor.One of our wall clocks that all stopped a little past 2:30pm. This one hangs on the wall 8 feet from the floor. Anyone left inside the house at that time would have surely drowned.

No need to feel sorry for me as I have found a way to get through these moments. All I have to do is just look at my son if I am with him or I just have to think about him and I am able to snap out of it. My 4 year old son along with Emily, his nanny, were spared by the rampaging floods brought about by Typoon Ondoy, thanks to the courage and quick thinking of Emily. They were both staying at our 1-story house on that fateful day while my wife and I had to attend to some matters which we normally don’t do on Saturdays.  Maybe I’ll write about this sometime when I’m ready to do so.

My wife and I feel that we are still very blessed and luckier than most who not only lost property but also loved ones. When we first entered our house and saw just about everything ruined and destroyed by the muddy flood waters, we didn’t feel such a big loss. What’s more important is all of us are alive and well. It also helped that we lead simple lives and we are not really in the habit of buying doodads. When I say that my ultimate goal in becoming financially free is to have the freedom to do what I want, when I want to, and with who I want, It’s quite obvious that I am referring to my family and loved ones as the “…who I want”. The bottom line is we know what is truly important in life which is why we still feel blessed in spite of all that has happened. What ever happens, I shall always remember to count my blessings.

My advocacy remains the same

My advocacy still remains the same and it is to help as many people as I can to learn about financial literacy and achieve financial freedom. I believe that financial literacy is a prerequisite to financial freedom and that financial freedom can really be achieved through real estate investing, with focus on bank acquired assets and foreclosed real estate. As a real estate investor, my mission is to be financially free with the ultimate purpose of helping people and my community. I advocate financial literacy with the goal of making a difference in the lives of people around me by sharing what I have learned in my journey to financial freedom. I want to help as many people as I can to achieve the same in the process. I am more focused on acquiring investment properties that generate passive income and when I surpass my passive income goal before the end of 2009, I shall retire from being an employee and go full time with my advocacy.

Some of you may be asking, “Sounds good Jay but how can you do it now when you have this major challenge that will cost you lots of money?” Actually, that’s a question I often find myself asking these past few days but the answer still remains the same. Real estate investing is still one of the best ways for ordinary people to gain financial freedom.  If you knew what I know, you’ll know what I mean. It’s hard to explain but I shall be doing my best to do so. I guess I may not have been doing a good job explaining the very basics which is why I also have plans to focus on sharing stuff that would be more beneficial to newbie real estate investors.

Let me put it this way, If I was to do it all over again, what information would have helped me conquer my fear of the unknown when it comes to real estate investing and start with my first deal? That’s the information I want to share.

Coming up next…

I try to share what I’ve learned and become aware of as a licensed real estate broker, homeowner, and real estate investor in Provident Village, Marikina City, Philippines. Read on to Part 2 of this series – Lessons learned by a real estate broker, homeowner, and investor from Provident Village

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About Jay Castillo
People encounter problems and make mistakes when buying foreclosed properties, and Jay wants to help people avoid those problems/ mistakes. Jay encountered a lot of those, which is why he started this blog in 2008 to serve as a guide where he shares lessons learned, and how to overcome challenges you may encounter when investing foreclosed properties in the Philippines … [Read more]
Avoid losing money, wasted time and effort caused by buying foreclosed properties that have too many problems, with our free 60-item Property Due Diligence Checklist. Grab your free copy now.

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41 thoughts on “Reflections of a Real Estate Investor: Ondoy's aftermath”

  1. Pingback: How I Started With Real Estate Investing (And Retired From Being An Employee)
  2. Pingback: What Is A Storm Surge And How Do We Prepare For It? (With Infographic)
  3. You said:

    “I want to help as many people as I can to achieve the same in the process. I am more focused on acquiring investment properties that generate passive income and when I surpass my passive income goal before the end of 2009, I shall retire from being an employee and go full time with my advocacy.”

    That was October 9, 2009.

    Are you now totally free to devote your life to helping others?

    I have two homes in Provident Village: one in Holy Family which is now occupied by my daughter and her husband, the other in St. Joseph which is still not restored at all, and burglars moved in and out at will — but they stopped already because they had already by this time ransacked the whole place exhaustively, and took away whatever they could bring with their hands, like anything they can sell to junk shops.

    I want to sell the one in St. Joseph, can you help me sell it?

    Here is a notice I put in two local finance forums:

    [quote]Title: Free* house and lot for any idea to make money legally.


    *Free, but you have to give me a cut on your net profit, or whatever negotiable.


    I have a house and lot in Provident Village, Marikina City, that is damaged by Ondoy (September 26, 2009).

    The lot is 409 sms.

    The house has two floors with a combined total area of some more than 250 sms, with 6 toilets.

    The concreted ground can park 6 cars, 3 of which can come in and out of the gate without disturbing the other 5 cars.

    If you need a place for any idea to make money legally, please contact me.

    I am the owner of the place, and the property tax is fully paid up to date, and every year.

    Owing to personal circumstances I could not undertake any income-generating projects with the property.

    And the house is built atop 1 meter elevation from street level.



    Gerardo Ty Veloso

  4. Pingback: Thank you and farewell to 2009! Happy New Year to all!!!
  5. Pingback: Our journey to our new house – Finding a new home like true real estate investors
  6. Pingback: Car got flooded? Why not consider looking at these bank repossessed cars for sale?
  7. brod, i hope and pray sa mabilis nyong recovery sa di magandang sinapit mo at ng family. marami pa din akong natutunan sa iyo lalo na ang pagiging matatag mo sa mga gantong pagsubok.
    wish you all the best and god bless sa iyo at sa buong family mo.
    and thanks ng marami sa mga info na constantly mong isini-share sa aming lahat.
    mabuhay ka!

  8. Pingback: Lessons learned by a real estate broker, homeowner, and investor from Provident Village
  9. I will pray for your family.i know you can earn those things again.thank you for sharing all your knowledge in real estate business,god bless

  10. I am very sorry to read about your house. I appreciate for your faith in god and the future. Continue this way of thinking in the future also. Hope Everything will be fine with god’s grace. Don’t loose your courage.

    • Hi Tyrone, i’m glad you and your family are also safe. I just hope the flood in your area will subside soon.

      In our case, the flood was gone the next day but left very thick layer of mud and debris. The challenge now is the clean-up but I’m confident this can be done, although I’m not sure how long it would take.

  11. Hi, Jay. God is faithful. He will restore everything you had in two-fold just like how He did with Job in the Bible. Hang on! Greater things will come your way. Just keep on trusting God!

    • Hi Bee, thank you so much!

      It’s uncanny you mentioned this, there were a couple of times this past week when I remembered about Job and I felt what happened to us is a far cry to what happened to him as he lost everyone and everything.

      Nevertheless, I do believe God is good and he will help us all get through these challenges. Thanks again!

  12. Hi Jay!

    I didn’t know how badly devastated your house was and how dangerous the situation your son and Emily were into until I read this post. My apologies for sending you just a short SMS.

    But, I’m just glad your son and yay are ok! I remember how adorable your son is and indeed, our children make us very much stronger in facing life’s trials and temporary losses.

    I admire your inner strength. I believe only God can place that in you and so I pray that He will continue to strengthen you and give you hope! He knows our future!

    Take care bro and just let me know if I can be of help.

    God bless!

    .-= Bryan Uy´s last blog ..Investing in Your Relationships =-.

    • Hi Bryan, why are you apologizing?! I was so glad to have received your SMS! A day after the flood, I had no phone for nearly 2 days(my old fone fell apart and just won’t recharge anymore a day after I dropped it in a frantic moment during the flood). I’m just thankful my sister had a spare phone which she lent to me and I was finally able to receive and answer text messages that did not expire in transit from concerned friends and relatives who were asking how we were doing, I also managed to check the situation of friends who I suspect were also affected by the floods.

      Yes, our children and loved ones are what truly matter and situations like these help put things in their proper perspective. Thanks again Bryan!

      I believe people in our community in Provident village are already through the worst. However, I believe those affected by Pepeng up north are in dire need of our help. Let’s all pitch-in and help whichever way we can.

  13. Jay,

    I do not feel sorry for you Jay as you have very strong conviction in life and has a strong desire to share your blessings to us to be able to attain financial freedom. Misery are temporary, important is the spirit and focused mindset is high….Wisdom and Knowledge is above them all and will never be taken by any Ondoy’s and the likes.
    My wife and family are here in Dammam and we sold our house in Malanday Marikina very close to the river at the back of Malanday high school but my sister and cousins were still living just ajacent to my previous house and they evacuated to the third floor of the schol to be safe, the flood reached the ceiling of the 2nd floor. Praise God my sisters family and kids were safe. There were lots of lives gone within the tumana area of Marikina.

    Jay, your website is always an inspiration for us couple over here seeking also financial freedom.
    There surely be financial freedom…., Anything we think real becomes a reality!


    • Hi Noli/Lorie, thanks! I also learned about what happened in the Tumana area and I’m glad your relatives that were still living in the area all safe. Thank you also for the kind words!

  14. Hey Jay,
    Always valued the information you share via these blogs and looking forward for us to work together. It pains me to know that the disaster affected you personally. Good thing we are alive! My prayers and let us know how we can help you.
    Some of my clients have asked for listings in provident if any are for sale, pls. secure authority and refer.
    Heard stories from other Provident residents friends– there is trauma too.
    Looking forward to the continuation

    • Hi Caren, thank you so much. Wow, I wasn’t expecting people would be looking for properties inside Provident Village this soon. Okay, will contact you soon. Thanks again!

  15. Pingback: One Day With Ondoy
  16. Indeed, we don’t know what lies ahead..anytime, anywhere, calamities like this may just happen in a twinkling of an eye; events which may bring us down or keep us Up to the One who knows the unknown. I thank God for people like you who can manage to think it through and think it well. You showed strength and focus on the most important things in your life – your family; and that what makes you successful and different from the rest.

    Keep up your advocacy of sharing financial literacy that will eventually bring financial freedom to a lot of people like us. Your blogs are encouraging and enlightening. They are precious information and data bank for real investing business. I learned a lot from it.

    Thank you Jay and I pray that God’s grace and blessings be with you always even in circumstances like this.

    God bless,


  17. Jay,

    You’re luckier not only because your family is well and safe but because you were granted the faith that many has lost during these times.

    One with you in prayers,

    • Hi Liza, Thank you so much. Let us also pray that others who may have lost faith will be able to regain it soon. Thanks again!

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  19. Life Is What We Make It!

    Your outlook on life, basically your attitude can determine your happiness and success in life. How you view your world. How we regard these events can be attributed to our attitude. Do you see the positive or do you focus on the negative? We can make our life misfortune or sad and feeling sorry for oneself or we can learn from it and move on. It’s all in our mindset.

    • Hi Darwin, very well said, thanks! I truly believe that we are still blessed and more blessings are on their way, not only to me and my family but also for people all over the world, and it does not matter if they have been affected by these things happening all around the globe or not. At least, that is my outlook in life. 🙂

  20. Hi Jay, I really really really admire your positive outlook about this whole situation. People who are at the top of the game are the ones who always succeed beyond their expectations and I can see that situation happening to you now… You have been doing a very good job in conquering your not so good emotions regarding the aftermath and you are able to shift your focus to your goals… I would say that you truly are an unstoppable mean fighting machine 🙂
    If there is something that I would learn from your ordeal, it is your vision of creating a good life for you and your family. You are such an inspiration 🙂

  21. When I thought the media was just overacting on the disaster Ondoy brought to the Philippines, I now believe what really happened just by seeing your house. I know you will recover what was lost and I know it would be better soon. You’re an inspiration to all of us who are starting investing in real estate and I just want you to know that you are helping a lot of people just by posting simple articles and blogs through this site. And I know it because your articles have helped me a lot. I hope you and your family the best and God Speed.

    • Hi Jeffrey, thank you so much for the words of encouragement which really help give me strength. I also wish you and your family more blessings to come!

  22. Hi Jay, I am so sorry for your loss. But like you said, and I understand completely what you mean because that was exactly how we felt,

    “My wife and I feel that we are still very blessed and luckier than most who not only lost property but also loved ones. When we first entered our house and saw just about everything ruined and destroyed by the muddy flood waters, we didn’t feel such a big loss. What’s more important is all of us are alive and well”

    ika nga, bahay lang yan. mas importante pa din ang buhay.
    .-= Dinah´s last blog ..How to Claim Insurance from Pag-Ibig for Typhoon Ondoy =-.

    • Hi Dinah, I just learned your house was also devastated. You’re absolutely right. Life is definitely more precious. I’m glad that you and your family are also safe. Thanks by the way for posting information on how to claim insurance from Pag-Ibig. This is on my to-do list. I also financed our house through a housing loan from Pag-IBIG.

  23. I am so sorry! this is terrible… your house was destroyed.

    Don’t lose hope there is always a future. just be optimistic.

    God bless!

    • Thanks investor guy. Yes, I’ve always tried to see the good in every situation just like this one. God Bless you too and your family!

  24. Pingback: Reflections of a Real Estate Investor: Ondoy’s aftermath

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