I am more fortunate than others because I do not have blood-sucking in-laws who do not mind my obvious lack of marbles. To foreign eyes, this Filipino way of life may seem like mutual parasitism especially for some unfortunate foreigners who marry into families that make them feel like dispensers of state benefits. In my case, my in-laws have only really provided me with the rare opportunity to learn how to care and share.
I am still my parent’s daughter though and their value of independence, at the expense of mutual survival and family affection, is stronger in me. Although I appreciate the family aspect of Filipino culture, I still feel the desire to call my own shots. Hence, my current search for my own house. As things are going, I might as well have dug a burrow and called it home.
The most affordable option in one subdivision close to the city is a structure that is only 20 square meters large in a 40 square meter lot. I’ve been to farms with pig pens bigger than this. You can forget about interior divisions too. The kitchen, living room and dining area all share the same space. The worst part is that one wall is also the wall of your neighbor. That means your neighbors can practically smell how much your laundry stinks and hear every syllable above a whisper. It’s like having your very own wire tap.
Surprisingly, this wholly unattractive package will cost me P11,500 (+/-$287) a month for fifteen years! That’s more or less an entire month’s salary for an average earner. Sure, I can afford that if I don’t eat, drink, bathe and sleep for 15 years!
There are more affordable options in subdivisions in forsaken nooks that are miles away from work, school and civilization. Affordable houses in these areas are made by filling pre-fabricated slabs with cement like filling a waffle machine with waffle mix. A few years ago, several of these houses in one village took it upon themselves to take a ski ride down the slope over which they were built and land on the houses below in a heap of rubble and an assortment of rejected appliances from
Japan and . Korea
It’s depressing that many Filipino families simply can’t afford decent homes. I think I’ll go dig my burrow now.