BURST­ING AT THE SEAMS

Real Living (Philippines) - - Editor's Note -

My son was asked to draw a house in his preschool. I ex­pected him to bring home a typ­i­cal child’s il­lus­tra­tion of an A-frame house with a picket fence and a tree. In­stead, he brought home a draw­ing of hap­haz­ard build­ings and criss­cross­ing roads packed bumper to bumper with cars. The clouds and sun were rel­e­gated to the far re­gions of the pa­per mar­gin, and don’t ask about the trees. And I can’t say he was wrong, be­cause it is ex­actly what he sees.

I liken the cur­rent state of Metro Manila (and Metro Cebu, plus a few other de­vel­oped provinces in our coun­try) to a pin­cush­ion burst­ing at the seams. Sky­ways and pedes­trian walk­ways are built one on top of the other, Blade Run­ner-style. High-den­sity con­dos pop up left and right, with al­most 20 fam­i­lies per floor. If con­do­mini­ums were a lux­ury a cou­ple of decades ago, now, space is the lux­ury. The re­al­ity of condo liv­ing is that the home­owner, re­gard­less of so­cial sta­tus, has to con­tend with the fact that his house is a sim­ple box high above the city streets, and it is all up to the de­vel­oper to pro­vide his ex­tended liv­ing space, which are the ameni­ties. It is also up to the home­owner to make the most out of his sim­ple box, and in spite of the tiny foot­print, the ideas are end­less—just look at the condo homes in this is­sue.

In the fu­ture, small homes will get even smaller, and we won’t have a choice (save for mov­ing into the south of Manila—a good idea, which is also in this is­sue). We just have to make the most out of it.

(Right) Kamila Gar­cia gets in on the ac­tion in Miguel Habito’s wood­work­ing shop; (Left) Sun­shine Funa ad­mires the plas­ter mold­ing work in Space En­coun­ters’ newly re­fur­bished store.

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