#embracingthesouth: thoughts of a new south girl

(Updated) I was born in Quezon City. We moved to Makati around 1993 when I started high school in St. Scholastica’s College Manila. And then I began living in Quezon City again in my mid-twenties with J.

As an otherwise happy QC resident, I never imagined I would live this far out one day. But as with most things, once a kid enters the picture, priorities and perspectives simply change.

The ELJ Communication Center served as background for many photos and memories over the years. As much as we loved our old house and neighbourhood, moving out was inevitable.

It was only through the suggestion of a good friend from college to consider Paranaque that we ended up here. After all, the only reason we didn’t think of the south at all was that we didn’t really know a lot about it, and nobody campaigned for its good merits like she did at the time.

When we were finally convinced of the location, all it took was a good hard look at that potential future home, and to imagine yourself living in it. If the picture you see in your mind is something that warms your entire being, make you smile inside and out, and makes you snap up design and home and living magazines all of a sudden, well, all you can really do at that point is to praise God for such a clear sign (and enormous blessing).

As new homeowners, the thing I was looking forward to the most was obviously to dress up the house. Real Living magazine was a major find, full of practical and relatable ideas, and designs and styles across a broad spectrum. I appreciate that anything they feature is a good mix of local and foreign, and high-end and DIY.

Prior to moving in, I was buying almost every issue, and never regretted a purchase. Thanks to them I’ve grown to admire design studios like Space Encounters and Urban Abode. I also got plenty of ideas and pegs from the Houzz app.

When shopping or looking around, I gravitated towards Muji, H&M Home and Dimensione.

Talk about adulting, but now I completely understand why my mom had her own stack of Architectural Digest magazines back in the day. When I was young, I thought they were the most useless magazines ever, along with Newsweek and Time, haha.

Our living room still lacks window treatment, the powder room needs to be spruced up, I can still use a breakfast bar or kitchen island, and the dining table lacks proper chairs. Amongst many other things. But then again, we have managed to finally buy decent bookshelves  and have emptied all of the boxes from when we moved in that were full of books and comics (imagine, after more than a year of moving in, we still have stuff in boxes). I’ve also managed to get nice boxes for Aki’s toys, and we’ve bought some house plants, too.

It will fully transform into the home of our dreams, albeit in a slow and gradual manner 🙂 Gives you more things to look forward to.

Better Living addressed our concerns for moving out, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its own set of con’s. It just means that the con’s are things you live with.

The biggest headache so far would be the traffic situation in Dona Soledad. There are times when it can take an hour or more just to get out into the expressway – but getting RFID has helped lots.

We’ve tried some of the restaurants here already – there’s 50s diner themed Fat Frank’s, Rovilliaz and Hanako. There are more opening up too, just waiting for us to try them.

Naturally, we’ve also learned to explore the malls and lifestyle hubs around. Sure, there’s SM Bicutan for immediate needs, and there’s no shortage of convenience stores, but for a nice change, it’s pleasant to go to Alabang Town Center, or even go as far as Solenad in Nuvali.

We’ve also managed to nail down a good massage therapist that does home service. Pretty important for J and I.

We are liking our little corner of the world. We live in a quiet, family-friendly area where my kid can learn how to ride a bike and play with other kids her age, and I can walk my dog in peace.

We had a good run at a play school, and we’ve managed to find a good school for Aki (in fact she just finished summer school!) We are all set for school year 2016 this July. I even found a nice yoga studio to practice in.

While Aki’s school and the yoga studio are NOT in Better Living, I think it still adds up to a wonderful experience thus far living in the south. My friend Macon jokes that we live in the wrong part of the south, but I think we couldn’t have chosen a better spot to put down roots in.

Update: Summit Publications – the publisher behind Real Living – stopped the production of its magazines in April 2018. Real Living is available online.

Rovilliaz has closed.

9 thoughts on “#embracingthesouth: thoughts of a new south girl

  1. What a lovely post and home Holaina. 😀 I hope you fill your new home with lots of wonderful memories!


  2. welcome to south ! Your story is very inspiring it took a lot of efforts to find great ideas for your new home & being a full time mom at the same time. May you enjoy your chosen place to build a happier family like everyone else! Good luck !


  3. What a lovely home!! All your hard word paid off 🙂 I’ve always wondered how it is to live in the South. May you have wonderful memories. All the best!


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