Like most people in the Philippines, I commute on a daily basis. My family lives in Novaliches, Quezon City, and my job is in Makati. For a while, I tried several ways to commute from home to the office, hoping to find a route that didn’t leave me feeling exhausted at the start of each work day.
My commute from Novaliches to Makati involved an excruciatingly long wait for an FX just to get to Quezon Ave. There were days when the MRT was okay, and some when it most certainly wasn’t. I also tried riding vans that transport people, but nahuhuli din naman ng pulis. Lucky na ako kasi may P2P, pero sometimes, kahit 7:00 a.m. na, wala pa rin yung bus because it gets stuck in traffic. There was a time when I left Q.C. at 6:46 a.m. and arrived in Makati at 10:30 a.m.
I couldn’t take it anymore, so my friend recommended that I look into condo-sharing. She told me to check websites like OLX and ibilik.ph as well as Facebook groups for condo-sharing that’s area-specific. My goal was to find a place in Mandaluyong (which is a halfway point between my home and my office). I found one, and I stay there five days a week and go home to Novaliches on weekends.
To give you an idea, the condo I stay in is around 44 to 55 square meters big: It has two bedrooms and a living room that has also been turned into a bedroom. My room has two double deck beds as does the living room while the other bedroom only has one. Right now, six of us are staying there, but the condo owner aims to have 10 people.
In total, I shell out P6,500 for this setup every month.
This covers rent, association dues, electricity, wifi, and water (with free drinking water delivered to the condo). Cabinets, containers, bedsheets, and pillows are all included.
Because my roommates and I all have similar working shifts, it really does get masiikip and hectic in the condo.
I have roommates, pero sa totoo lang, kahit naguusap naman kami, they are still strangers to me. The good thing is, so far, walang major conflicts. Give and take talaga. Sa umaga, naguusap kami kung sinong unang gagamit ng banyo. ‘Pag ubos na yung toilet paper, sino bibili. Mga ganyan. As expected, wala masyadong privacy, but my roommate covered her bed space with cloth so since ginawa niya ‘yon, no need to cover mine. In such a small space, ganun lang talaga yung privacy, e. Wala ding puwedeng visitors sa unit—hanggang condo lobby lang.
This isn’t the first time I’ve lived with people outside my family. I used to share a condo with my friends, but now, living with strangers—the experience is so different. When I was living with friends, I was more comfortable and relaxed because familiar ako sa personalities and habits nila. It was more spacious ‘cause there were only three of us. I could also cook and work freely.
Now, I’m more careful about leaving things out in the open—especially gadgets. I’m also more sensitive about my kalat. I clean as I go. When someone cooks, kailangan nakatago talaga yung gamit kasi dumidikit yung amoy. Since we share the refrigerator, we try to adjust and make sure everyone has enough space to store food. There are a lot of things to keep in mind. One of the perks is the balcony—it allows me to work at night while everyone’s asleep. The unit also has an aircon we can use all the time since included siya sa bills. Dati kasi when I was with my friends, binubuksan lang talaga naming yung aircon ‘pag summer para tipid.
Yung isa pang perk of this setup is it really changed my commuting experience. I can take a 20-minute bus ride and get to work fast. There’s also the MRT, which only takes three stops and some walking. My freelance job is also in the area, so it’s super convenient for me.
If you’re thinking about this option, here are some of my tips:
- Ask questions. Don’t automatically believe everything the condo owner says—especially if it’s too good to be true.
- Inspect the place thoroughly. I’ve been duped na in the past. May wifi raw, wala naman. May aircon daw for a low price pero wala pala. Weigh your options before you make a decision.
- Make sure matino kausap yung landlord. I chose my current condo unit because the owner managed the place well. The unit is clean and okay din lahat ng included sa charge.
As for me, I don’t see myself in this kind of setup for very long. It’s convenient for now, but my goal is still to save up and find a place of my own.