Houses I've Called Home

We moved around a lot.
  1. 1.
    My grandparents' house in Del Monte.
    We had a front yard, my parents got me a swing and slide combo set. My friends were the actual kids in my neighborhood. We'd catch guppies from the canal, make soap bubbles from gumamela flowers, and spend afternoons playing in the streets. It was only later, when I was older, that I realized that this was a unique childhood for a guy who grew up in the city. Then my parents split up. Dad still lives there. I've been back. The place looks smaller than I remember.
  2. 2.
    Apartment in Araneta.
    One day, our mom picked us up from school, instead of our dad, and took us to this apartment. We're living here now, she said. I was around 7. The wallpaper on one side of the living room was a floor-to-ceiling photo of the Golden Gate Bridge, or some bridge in the sunset. Very 80s. There was a balcony on the second floor. Mom would sit on the concrete ledge, smoking. She was so young then, I realize now.
  3. 3.
    Apartment in Mandaluyong.
    We spent a year here. Though we were living in a separate section of someone else's house, it was kind of cool because my brother and I had double deck beds.
  4. 4.
    Condo in Midland.
    I think I was 10 by now. This place was right across our school and I still arrived 30 minutes before the bell. Every time school got canceled because of the weather, classmates would troop to our place to use the landline. The landline! My brother and I roomed in the attic, I got the bed, he got the pull out. My dad visited and decided we needed a bigger place.
  5. 5.
    First townhouse in Gilmore.
    Nice place, nice neighborhood. Except that time a neighborhood kid "borrowed" my bike. Our place was near the compound's pool, it was practically in our backyard. My brother and I felt that we had it good. We had enough space to invite friends over. My brother and I finally got our own rooms.
  6. 6.
    Second townhouse in Gilmore.
    Right next door to the first one, they were mirror images of each other. Hardly remember anything from this house.
  7. 7.
    Third townhouse in Gilmore.
    We moved here in 2003. It's in a nice, shady cul de sac. It's the best one so far. The dining area looks out to the garden. There's a creek on the outside of the periphery wall and that makes for a pleasant background noise. It used to be that my bedroom had a view of an overgrown, empty plot of land - a rare pocket of greenery in this city. It's a condo now. My mom and brother still live here. I say "here" because I'm visiting and typing this out from the living room couch.
  8. 8.
    Woodside, Queens, NY.
    April, 2004. For $500, I had my own bedroom in a house of a lady who turned out to be relative by marriage (Filipinos are all around the world but come from the same bunch of islands in the Pacific 💙). It was a short walk to the subway, and there was a Dunkin'Donuts conveniently along the way.
  9. 9.
    82nd and East End (?)
    May, 2004. I think this was my address. But I'm pretty sure I went from 500 bucks in Woodside to living for free in the UES, thanks to a well off family friend. It was like having a fairy godmother. I had a doorman who knew my name, and a view of the East River. I shot some stuff for film school here. I miss NY.
  10. 10.
    My apartment in Makati.
    Moved there in 2011. It's a walk up, and a bit old (it needs insulation). But it's spacious, close to where I need to be for work, and it's my own space. A lot of my good friends live in the area, though some have moved away. I'm looking for indoor plants even if I always manage to kill them.