When most Filipinos envision a successful future, their dreams almost always tend to include a home.
The exact house may differ from person to person – the business process outsourcing (BPO) worker might want a condominium in Bonifacio Global City, while the father of 4 might want a 5-bedroom house in a southern subdivision – but the goal remains the same: We all want a place to call our own.
It is a bit ironic that we all aspire to own a home, but very few of us – myself included until only very recently (and I’m still learning more and more every day) – know what it takes to get one. In other words, we do not necessarily have a frame of reference for understanding how to go from not owning a home to being a proud home owner.
On the outside looking in, homeownership appears the privilege of a select few – the mayayaman (rich), as some might dismissively say. Yet owning a home is well-within every Filipino’s reach, especially as there are increasingly more resources to help us get there, such as the government’s Pag-IBIG fund.
To prove that homeownership is attainable to all Filipinos, my company, ZipMatch, started a feature series entitled #HowIGotMyHome. In each installment, we will interview a different Filipino – everyone from a security guard in Pasig to a copywriter in Makati – on how they were able to get their dream home.
In our first installment, we interviewed Carla Manantan, who used to teach in Korea. Here are 4 key takeaways from her interview, so you, too, can begin the tough but ultimately fulfilling journey toward home ownership:
It takes personal sacrifice to own a home. Manantan taught English in Korea for 4 years, an ocean away from her friends, her mother and two brothers, and everything she had known up to that point. Picture this: She was alone in another country where the culture was foreign and the primary language was not English. She enjoyed learning about Korean culture but living in the country represented a huge personal sacrifice. Still it was a job she stuck with because it gave her the greatest chance of eventually owning a home.
It takes financial sacrifice to own a home. As a Filipino living in Korea, it would have been easy for Manantan to fall into the trap of treating it as a vacation. She could have splurged on weekend jaunts around the country and nightly dinners at the most exotic restaurants. Instead, Manantan buckled down on all her expenses, including food, entertainment, and leisure, knowing she was in Korea for a purpose: to save up for a home. This approach had the ancillary benefit of forcing Manantan to find ways of enjoying Korea that other expatriates tended to overlook.
It takes financial smarts to own a home. When Manantan moved back to the Philippines, she realized something that many tenants in the country don’t: The money that she was spending on rent could also pay for monthly installments on a home of her own. So rather than having nothing to show for at the end of a lease, she could actually have a brand new piece of property titled under her name. Yes, she would have to pay for a reservation fee and a deposit for a new home, but after doing a simple cost-benefit analysis, she determined that buying a house was the most financially sound route to go. With that in mind, she paid her reservation fee with full confidence.
It takes the right attitude to own a home. Manantan’s journey, which began in Korea and ended with owning a home in Bonifacio Global City, looks easy in hindsight. But the path was long and very much a challenging one – it was only her attitude that saw her through. Whenever she was missing her family in Korea or skipping out on seeing that movie or eating at that restaurant, Manantan made it a point to mentally focus on other homeowners that she knew. “Kung kaya nila, kaya ko rin (If they can do it, so can I),” Manantan told us, exemplifying the quality that appears to have aided her the most in her hunt for a home – determination.
Watch our interview with Carla and be inspired to have a home of your own.
Rappler business columnist Ezra Ferraz is also the chief content officer at ZipMatch, a tech company backed by Ideaspace Foundation, Hatchd Digital, IMJ Investment Partners, and 500 Startups. He brings you Philippine business leaders, their insights, and their secrets via Executive Edge. Connect with him on Twitter: @EzraFerraz