Monday, May 31, 2010

House hunting

Ever since I returned to the Philippines, J and I have been living with his parents in Pasig (bordering Cainta). Of course, finding our own place has been in the pipe line even before we got married but I had to leave for studies and all that. The plans had to take a back seat.

When I got back, there was a lot of uncertainty. Despite a masters degree, I had no guarantee I'd get a good job. I'd run back to Davao if I would just think of my career path but work for J is not as thriving as it is Manila, so I figured we should try things out here first.

It was a crazy twist of fate that after six or seven years of freelance work, J got invited by a friend to work for his company. J, who was quite comfortable with the freelance set-up, thought that if he would be tied up to an employer, it might as well be with something he can really contribute to and someone he would want to help. So J was finally employed.

I, on the other hand, was becoming desperate for work having been two months out of school already. It is true what they say though, "when it rains, it pours" because calls for job interviews came one after another. I even had to turn down a couple and intentionally make myself undesirable for another one. After two and half months, I finally landed a job. Better-paying compared to my previous job and most importantly, the office is in the same street as J. We travel to work and back home together. :)

Things pretty much settled for us in terms of work. It was time to get our act together as a family unit. We both believe it begins with our own place. At first, I was just interested in renting a place near our work place. Just so we can avoid the traffic going to and from work. The nearer to work, the better it would be.

But events do happen as they please, even if things aren't the way you planned it. J and I came across a couple of pre-selling condominium units near Don Bosco. One was Vista Land and another Ayala Land. It was actually enjoyable checking out model units. I particularly love how Ayala Land was able to deck out the units to look quite homey and livable. Honestly though, I never really imagined myself to be a condo girl. I've always lived in a house with sufficient space for everything.

We found ourselves liking Avida Towera (Ayala) over Trevi (Vista Land) because it was better-designed and looked like it was given more thought. Here's the thing though... much as we would like to have at least a one bedroom unit, we could not afford it. It was almost double the price of the studio unit, which with a little bit of stretching, we can afford (if we stay with our work forever! :P).

The studio is this small...
26 square meters. 18 sq. m of living space, 3 sq. m of the bathroom and 4 sq. m of balcony (facing Manila Bay... if Filinvest does not cover our view!).

Just last Friday, I found out that our water and sanitation kits are 25 cubic meters. That's our condo unit. Wow. Teeny-tiny little thing. A container van would probably have a bigger space.

But we took it anyway. Over a bigger place that would be available probably somewhere in Las Pinas or Sta. Rosa.

1) I know that more and more development will happen that side of the world and most of them work our side of the world. The traffic will never go away. So we will have a nice big place we can't enjoy because we are too tired to do anything when we get home. Most of the time would be spent on the road.

2) We don't intend to stay there forever. We hope to have children someday and we would not fit in the teeny-tiny studio unit. It, however, will be an investment. Maybe rent it out or sell it. This is Ayala property we are talking about, so I'm sure it will be worth something.

3) The location is great. Just on the fringes of Makati CBD. We could walk to work. Yahoo.

The major catch is it won't be ready until July next year. Boo.

However, we are still excited for our little humble __C (our future unit address). J has been looking around possible expandable-contractable-convertible furniture in the internet. I have been visualizing how convenient it is to get around. We are both computing the mortgage. Mortgage... such an adult word.

So it begins... marriage takes a new turn for us. Excited to see how it goes. :P

Sunday, May 23, 2010

honeymoon: our first solo travel together (whu?)

Prior to getting married, J and I usually traveled with our friends. I actually don't remember going away on long trips just with him. And our friends are quite fun to travel with which makes every vacation a memorable one for us.

And we have such sweet friends! As their gift for our wedding, the fuhkers/barkadayawan peeps pooled their money together to pay for our tickets to Puerto Princesa. I was deeply touched and grateful for the wonderful gift. It was somehow appropriate. :)

It was our first night in Sabang and we have been going around the Baragatan Festival expo in the provincial plaza. After a while, we decided to have dinner in Ka Lui's. The restaurant is quite famous in Puerto Princesa so we wanted to try it for ourselves.

When we got there, we found out that the place was closed on Mondays. Whu?!! Just so we don't have to stress out on our meal too much, we decided to go the restaurant next door, Lotus Garden. The set-up of the place was beautiful and artsy. The food was just average.

I think we were having some soup when my new husband blurted out, "nakaka-miss sina Je." I told him, "di ko alam kung gusto kitang batukan e" or some vile thing like that. I was kidding of course, but I did not know what to make of it. I mean, it was our honeymoon for good sakes. Finally, after years together, we actually get to go to a place just by ourselves and he would say that. I quickly thought, was I that boring a company. I didn't keep it a thought for long. "So what, you think I'm boring company?" Half-kidding, half-serious.

"Di naman. Sanay lang ako na lagi silang kasama." I just laughed at the statement though a part of me still wanted to pinch him in the sides. Or maybe I did pinch him, I just don't remember any more. :P

A couple days later, we were having breakfast by the sea watching the calm early morning beach and the boats floating serenely, when I told J, "oo nga, nakakamiss sila." Then we started laughing and remembering the crazy adventures we had with our friends.

While we did miss the company of our friends, we did enjoy our honeymoon the same way we did with people. We explored most of Sabang, including silly poses (FHM-ish, can't help it, we were just too inspired by the scenery and the quiet) by the Sabang Falls. We splurged on our last day at the amazing, worth-it splurge of Daluyon resort.

Typhoon Frank did turn our relaxing week in Palawan into an Amazing Race trip home, but otherwise it was a perfect time together. A nice start to our new life. :)

The only thing I was certain of, the downside with just two of you in a trip... you don't get the best photos. But you do get a lot of silly ones. :)

In a hammock in Dap Dap Resort while waiting for our crabs to cook. I think I taught Jan to eat crabs more here. Pinaghimay ko ng konti e.

On the way to Sabang Falls. We were able to ask the caretaker/toll collector to take a photo of us.

Enjoying our last night at Sabang. Before we saw the sun set and the full moon rise. One of my best moments with the hubby. :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

our gift for the year

Some people may have thought that leaving during the first year of our marriage was not really a good idea. I would not say it was great but it was not something I decided on lightly. I am just so glad to have been blessed to have found a very understanding partner in J, for accepting my decision to pursue studies and conquer Europe for 15 months. He did not only accept, but understood.

Now that I am back in the Philippines, we are starting to build our life together. Soon, we will be starting our apartment search. This is something I am excited about. But there is something I am particularly thankful for, and that is J and I work on the same street in Makati.

It was quite serendipitous for us. He was invited to work for a friend's digital advertising company late February. After some deliberation, he decided to take the offer and be, for a first time in many years, an employee again. It took some adjustment but he eventually got used to having a fixed time. He also started to enjoy it.

I, on the other hand, have been on the prowl for work since January. March became my lucky month because calls came one after the other. I had to turn down one offer for various reasons. After some time, it boiled down to two organizations. Both had interesting work. Both were of international scope. I was more qualified and knowledgeable for one, while I needed a lot of work for the work of the other. It was amusing how I got a call a hiring from the other while I was on my way for my last stage of interview in the other. I decided to accept the offer and somewhat intentionally flubbed the interview I was going to.

The one I chose was the one I had less knowledge about. It was something I was weighing on for days. And while I know I can really perform with the other job, the idea of leaving every week was not as pleasurable as it was years ago. I knew that I had my time for travel last year. I think my call is now to find a way to start a family with J.

It was a wonderful bonus to have our offices on the same street. While his call time is 9AM and mine is 8AM, we go to work together. We also try to wait for each other when we go home. Sometimes we have lunch together. It's really a great set-up for us. We get to spend more quality time during the day together. This is something not a lot of couples get to enjoy.

I feel so lucky to have been gifted this chance to build a stronger relation with my partner. :)