Monday, September 06, 2021

Frances Finds: Modern duplex house in Antipolo

Let's go back to house tours! I showed you one last month, right before I disappeared because of work and school. But I said that the north was too far and so I started looking towards the east, and I found this duplex in Antipolo. I like it a lot! 

This duplex is newly built and located in lower Antipolo, near Xentro Mall and Masinag. So magandang-maganda location niya. Di malayo sa sibilisasyon pero very suburbia pa rin. If you watch the video, you get the feel na probinsya siya. Pero ang lapit nito super sa modern conveniences. 

Okay, bago ko pa ituloy ang post na ito, hindi po ako nagbebenta ng bahay haha I'm just really stuck at home and super bored. One of the things I loved to do before the pandemic was go on house tours. Literally. As in I would knock on a stranger's door or gate and ask to see their house. Most of the time, sa sobrang gulat ng mga tao, they let me in! They show me around. Kwento-kwento. Then alis na ako. Yun lang. Masaya na ako. Is it safe what I do? No. Don't do it! But so far, lahat naman ng bahay na pinuntahan ko, mababait ang mga tao so God is good. And people are good!

Anyway, back to the duplex. Gusto ko siya kasi maliwanag at maluwag. You know I love big windows. Di ko lang type yung divider sa dining room. It's ugly and unnecessary. 

Here's the dining area. It's right by the kitchen and there are huge doors that lead out to the lanai. I imagine opening up those doors and planting lots of flowers outside and then I can have coffee or my black tea while basking in the sun.

Here's the spacious kitchen! Again, maliwanag. I like the white countertops. My kitchen now is black granite countertops and backsplash. The black granite was nice 14 years ago but now I'm looking for a really white kitchen. It's my age. My eyesight is going bad and I now have a hard time seeing things in a black kitchen. So I'm attracted to white kitchens.

Here's what the ground floor looks like from the far corner of the kitchen. Big enough but not too big. I really like the maaliwalas feeling. Okay, now let's go look at the master bedroom upstairs!

This is the master bedroom. It looks bigger in the video. I like the balcony, but I'm thinking it would be nicer enclosed in glass and transformed into a sunroom or a study. There's an en suite bathroom, too.

There are also 3 bedrooms on the second floor aside from the master bedroom. And I have 3 sons! So I like to imagine that each boy will have a room when they're teenagers. 

Right now, they all like to sleep in the same room. They laugh and chat and sing till late in the night. It's very sweet. Very loud, though, and parental duty obligates me or their father to come knock and remind them to go to sleep. The house goes quiet but soon the whispers start again and they chat and giggle and sing, and I let them be.

It's nice my kids have each other. In a pandemic, they've done surprisingly well. I hope they like each other forever! But for that to happen in their teenage years, I think they'll need separate rooms. And this house has three perfectly sized rooms with big windows! Super love this duplex talaga.

There are two things I don't like about this property, however. First, it's bad feng shui. Haha para namang Chinese ako! But I just wrote about 7 feng shui tips to know when selling real estate for Upside PH, and I found that a property that's in a T-junction is very bad luck daw. And I quote from my own article: "From a practical standpoint, a house at a T-junction is a bad idea because the home will always be lit up by headlights and suffer the noise of car horns approaching the T-junction. In a worst-case scenario, if a car loses its brakes, it will crash into the house." Check out the article for other scary, mysterious, and ghostly reasons not to live in T-junction house.

Second, it's near an events venue (see that white wall). Pandemic naman ngayon so walang events but when this pandemic ends, that events place will mean lots of cars parked on the street, music and noise till late in the night, and dealing with strangers who might block your gate with their car tapos sila pa galit. Basta alam niyo na yun.

But everything else, type ko talaga. But... not the house of my dreams and not the neighborhood of my dreams. It's stilla really good property, though. 

Prayer ko talaga kay God ngayon is bigyan niya kami ng house of my dreams in the neighborhood of my dreams haha I'm really happy where we are now, okay. Our condo is really good! My friends ask me now and then if I want to sell our place. My realtor friends tell me our condo can fetch a really amazing price if we ever sell. I really live in a good place! 

Kung di lang dahil sa never-ending quarantine, di ako mangangarap ng ibang bahay. But kids need to run around, get some sun, discover insects and flowers, and just basically use up all their energy shouting and chasing and being little boys. 

Maybe one day soon. Pray for us! 

Sunday, September 05, 2021

5 things we learned from our first year of homeschooling

Been gone forever! August was a most exciting month. School started. And that's a whole big adventure there on its own, rights? So when this amazing job offer suddenly came up, logic said, "No, don't do it. You won't have the time!" But life is uncertain in a pandemic. Sieze the day! So now I have a new job. And still homeschooling. While cooking and cleaning. And trying to sell my book when I catch a breath!

Life is full!

Anyhoot, I missed you. I miss blogging. I have a lot to say, Loyal Readers know that about me. But life has to be lived and so I haven't been blogging. For now, I want to do a update - just so you know I'm still alive (I'm on Instagram btw!). Not just alive but thriving!

So anyway. I was a speaker at the Connect Homeschool and Intentional Parenting Summit #CHIPSThriveAtHome Homeschooling and Distance Learning Conference a few weeks ago. I was surprised they asked me to speak since I was pretty vocal about the daily hell homeschooling was haha But Tina S. Rodriguez (blogger of Truly Rich and Blessed) told me it's good to have someone at the conference talk about how hard homeschooling can be. They trusted me to be honest but not whiny haha I'm sharing with you the video I made on the 5 things we learned from our first year of homeschooling (scroll down belooooow). 

But let me tell you what happened here on my blog. Because at the conference, watched by strangers, I had to still be upbeat and inspiring. Here, I'm with friends (I hope!) and so I feel I can be a wee bit more honest with you all.

Last year, it was our first time to homeschool and it was HARD. I regretted it a few months in. But there we were and I'm the sort who will stand by a decision until it's impossible to stand it. 

Our unfortunate experience was mostly the fault of the homeschool provider we enrolled in. Yes. I say this not flippantly. I very rarely blame others for my difficulties but I, together with hundreds of parents, chose this particular provider because it was under the umbrella of the most prestigious homeschool provider in the country. It promised us a lot of good things that we desperately clung to because it was a pandemic.

But I should've listened to my gut when it felt queasy at the virtual Parents' Orientation and the speaker said very loudly, "Parents! Stop. Asking. The same. Questions. Again and again. Listen! Read! Pay attention!" I thought it was rude but hey, we were all stressed out last year, right?

Well, we got even more stressed out, I tell ya. Our former homeschool provider was disorganized, unhelpful, unprepared. Sad. We parents had to help each other out because our emails to the school were hardly ever answered, and when they were, the replies were curt and not helpful at all. Dismissive. Literally didn't answer the question. So upsetting. 

Well, we - as well as many parents - left that provider and things are soooo much better now with our new one. 

But our problems aren't over yet with the former provider. It's already September and I requested for my kids' report cards and certificates of enrollment many months ago. I need them so that my enrollment with our new provider will be complete. But still nothing from the old one. I emailed to follow up and an automatic reply said, "This email address is no longer active. For concerns, log your issue on this platform [link provided]." Not a surprise. But I dutifully logged the follow-up request as instructed and I got a reply that said (and I paraphrase), "Requests for report cards are filed by date. By sending another request, your request is now at the end of the list. Further requests will put your request at the bottom of the list. Refrain from following up."

Anyway. That's the least of my problems. There's a pandemic. There are anti-vaxxers. There's this government. The delay of my kids' records is my only problem in my life, and I'll take it. If that can be my only problem in my entire life, please let it be so. I'm not going to take all the good things in my life for granted. I'm happy, I'm healthy. I'm vaxxed. My husband is also super happy, also healthy, also vaxxed. Our kids are healthy and happy, too. And having so much fun with homeschooling! Hooray!

What a huge relief! Life is good. Life is great! So I'll leave you now with my little video on the 5 things we learned from our first year of homeschooling. I hope you like it and learn a few things from our experience.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Frances Finds: Beautiful house at The Glades Timberland

Hello! Ooh, I've been away. I've been busy preparing for the start of school and homeschooling, preparing my talk for the homeschooling event #CHIPSThriveAtHome summit, writing for the upscale property website Upside PH, and selling my book, Not Invisible!

(Please buy Not Invisible: A Memoir from Shopee, Amazon, Kindle, and Google Play. Thank you!) 

Anyway, I breathed a bit over the weekend, and for relaxation, I decided to watch property videos. Well, it was still kinda work since I wanted to enhance my real estate vocabulary for my Upside project but it was relaxing work. Anyway! I know you guys know I love Mid-Century Modern (MCM) houses. They're open, sprawling structures surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass windows. I just don't know if such a design works in the Philippines, what with our earthquakes, super typhoons, floods, and usyosera and pakialamerong neighbors.

Sa kaka-YouTube ko for houses, I saw three houses I really, really like, but I'll show you this one from The Glades Timberland first. Then tell me if you want to see the other houses!

But, first, no, hindi ko siya bibilhin so sa mga real estate people, please don't email me! Ang layo grabe. For me, sobrang malayo ang Timberland. Second, depende sa size ng lot, 16M to 25M yata ang price nito. Wala akong ganung pera haha Wish ko lang! And even if we had 25M, we wouldn't spend it on a house so far away from our families and friends. That said, I like it, I like it! Let's take a look:

Nice, no? Now let me share with you what I like:

This guy! He's not the best guy with describing things. Ako kasi, it was drilled into my head that when you present anything, you don't point out the obvious because that insults the audience. Don't go, "Oh, and this is the light. This is the staircase. This is the desk." We knooooow. We can see! But I like him because he's affable and earnest and he reads a Bible verse at the end of every video and I feel like he blessed me. He may not have blessed me with a house but I feel his intentions are sincere. I like that! God bless you, too, Zandro.  

Okay, back to the house! I like the roof, the big windows (almost MCM!). I like MCM's big windows aesthetics because it lets a huge amount of light in. I love light. I don't like dark houses. Sabi ng yaya ko nung maliit pa ako, yung mga parts ng house na di naaarawan, dun tumatambay ang mga multo and bad memories of the residents. So every day, Ate Marita would pull open curtains and doors and cabinets and wave away the bad spirits. And while I don't believe in ghosts now as a grownup, that remianed with me. Dark corners, dark houses - bad vibes.

In fact, that's why we chose our condo because of the windows that dominate practically every wall of our unit. Yes, we spent a fortune on curtains but the light and the views are priceless! But back to the house in the video:

Check out the spacious ground floor! That's just 80+ sqm but it looks so big, no? And ang aliwalas! I super like it talaga. I'd add a big, plush carpet and tons of bookshelves, and it's home!

Another thing I liked was the maid's quarters. The access is from the outside, it has a big window, and it even has its own toilet and shower! Nice! We don't have a kasambahay so I'm going to use this room as a home office. Lalo na ngayong pandemic, marami sa atin work at home. Sa totoo lang, my husband and I have a hard time separating work from home life because our workspaces are in the bedroom and the living room. Dapat talaga sana nasa labas ang home office para may mental shift and physical distance from work, kahit sa labas ng bahay mo lang.  

Another thing I loved was the kitchen! Look at it! It's soooo nice. It has that efficient triangle of traffic (ref, sink, stove). It has lots of counter space. And all that light! My goodness. I'm so in love with this kitchen. 

So there. I want this house. You can watch the video to check out the bedrooms upstairs. They're okay, too. It's only 3 bedrooms - master bedroom + 2 bedrooms, and I have 3 kids. Maybe I'll add a bedroom or just ask which of my boys want to share a room. 

Sigh, super like this house talaga! Please pray for me and my husband, for our dreams to come true! Para makabili kami ng lot at makapagpatayo kami ng ganitong bahay. Salamat! Mwah!

*Photos grabbed from Property Hunter Realty video.