Design

Inside North Syquia: This Man Cave with a Killer View Has a Craft Beer Lab

An American in Manila builds a gentleman’s space filled with his many passions.
IMAGE JILSON TIU
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Moving into a new home is always exciting; the smell of fresh paint, an empty space waiting to be decorated, the sense of a fresh start. On the other hand, the logistics involved can be a nightmare. More so when there’s a raging typhoon. 

“The seawall broke during that storm about nine years ago,” Glen Carberry recalls. "I moved in here without electricity and a lot of water everywhere. It was warming me up for life in Malate… ha ha ha!”

American transplant Glen Carberry, who moved to his North Syquia apartment nine years ago, has built an eclectic space that reflects his passions.

Photo by JILSON TIU.

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Manila's famous sunset is one of the highlights of the pre-war apartment. This view also inspired the logo for Glen’s new project, 63 North craft beer.

Photo by JILSON TIU.

Glen’s Asian journey started in Japan where he lived for a while before moving to Hong Kong to establish his IT company. He admits to having a great time in both countries, but felt more comfortable with Manila’s vibe. “As an American traveling around Asia, when you get to the Philippines, it feels a lot like home,” he says.

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For some time, the expat lived in an art deco building on Menlo Street in Pasay. “It was a lovely home,” Glen says, “but I didn’t know my neighbors.” Toward the end of his lease, he bumped into Dixie Mabanta, whose family owns North Syquia Apartments, and learned of a vacancy.

“Obviously, the view here is the best feature. But in general, my decision to move to North Syquia was mostly about the people living in the building, who I’m friends with,” he shares. “Plus the charm of this place. At some point, as a foreigner, you’re gonna ask yourself, why live in the Philippines if you’re going to stay in a super nice suburban area?”

His work desk, positioned next to a window, offers views of the fantastic sunset. The poster on the left was purchased in Hong Kong, where Glen lived for a few years.

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Photo by JILSON TIU.

Photography, one of Glen’s many hobbies, is represented by the various lenses on top of a side cabinet. 

Photo by JILSON TIU.
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'When you get that view every evening, some days you just want to enjoy it. Some days, you get the camera and try to get a great shot,' he says.

Photo by JILSON TIU.

He admits to having “a geeky instinct for collecting and hoarding,” but has no aptitude or interest in decorating. “I’ve been 20 years in this country now without a proper dining table... 20 years and counting. So, I’m definitely slow in decorating,” he adds. “Though I did a quicker job with my bars than my apartment. Ha ha ha ha!"

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But who needs a dining table when you have your own craft beer lab? It sits smack center in the apartment’s dining area, near a well-stocked mini-bar.

Over at the living area, Glen positioned the other essentials of his man cave: a desk by the large windows and, on the opposite side, a cozy sofa in front of a flat-screen TV. 

Glen’s skateboard rests against a shelf filled with books and various vintage curious. 

Photo by JILSON TIU.
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Below the mid-century starburst clock, an eBay find, are watercolor paintings of Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown, where he is from, and the main buildings of Georgetown University, his alma mater.

Photo by JILSON TIU.

A craft beer 'lab' sits at the center of the apartment’s living area.

Photo by JILSON TIU.
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The fish painting is from the now-defunct restaurant Le Souffle. 'I spent a lovely evening drinking wine in the bar there. The fish were talking to me, so I had to bring them home,' Glen explains.

Photo by JILSON TIU.

Everywhere—on shelves, walls, and just about every surface—are Glen’s collection of vintage curious, books, artworks, and mementos from home, as well as his travels. He made room for his other hobbies, as well: two guitars parked near the TV, his ukulele resting on a chair, a keyboard tucked in a cabinet somewhere, and finally, the handsome bike alongside a skateboard. 

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“I play the guitar, not well at all. Ha ha! They're mostly for my own amusement. Something to do while watching television. As for the bike, I like the bike itself as much as I like riding it,” he says. 

All that plus the killer sunset view make Unit 63 the man cave that most guys can only dream of, except that it’s not really Glen’s intention. “I don’t want to turn this into a complete man cave," he says. "The more time my girlfriend spends here, I think it softens things up a little bit. She also helps me tidy up.”

This cozy seating area is where Glen lounges while strumming his guitar.

Photo by JILSON TIU.
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The carpets are from Uzbekistan, which Glen visited around 15 years ago.

Photo by JILSON TIU.

Above the minibar, a poster reminds him of home. 'I like travel posters. Obviously, when an American ends up living in Asia, travel is always an important part of everything. So I enjoyed that,” Glen says.

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Photo by JILSON TIU.

The move to North Syquia, Glen realized later on, marked a professional turning point. Homebrewing, which started as a hobby, is fast becoming Glen’s full-time job. He started to brew around eight years ago and supplied the beer for some of North Syquia’s parties.

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“It was well-received,” admits Glen, smiling at the thought. “This beer project really grew out of my love for home brewing.” With small-scale commercial brewing on the horizon, Glen gave it a name—63 North, to honor its roots—and incorporated the view from his apartment into the logo. “The coconut trees turned out pretty well,” Glen proudly exclaims, “when I paired them with a fairly art deco-looking font. 

It seems the IT world is about to lose one of its entrepreneurs. “There’s less IT work for me these days,” he muses. “And I’m in the process of opening a new business—Baler Brewing Co. Brewpub—in Baler, where we’re heading out next week. I’m looking forward to spending more time at the beach… and making more beer out there.”

More Syquia: How the Spirit of Carlos Celdran Lives on in His Former Apartment

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Devi De Veyra
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