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Manila Traffic Is So Bad That Workers Are Going Back to Living in Dorms

For working professionals, they're called "co-living spaces."
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It’s no secret that Metro Manila traffic is horrible, but it’s doing more than wasting everyone’s time and pissing everybody off; it’s also changing the way we live.

Because of how bad the traffic situation is, Filipinos are changing how they address their living arrangements, as more and more working professionals are preferring to live closer to their offices rather than battling Manila traffic twice a day.

And it’s extending beyond the high-end condominiums that are usually reserved for the ultra wealthy. Workers on a slightly tighter budget are considering co-living spaces.

“Lessees prefer to relocate themselves nearer to their workplace to avoid problems and costs associated with transportation. Thus, residential developments both for sale and lease have become secondary and halfway residences for employees coming from different areas,” wrote real estate analyst Santos Knight Frank. The rise of co-living spaces is one of the eight megatrends it predicted for the 2019 Philippine real estate market.

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Dorms for adults

If that sounds like the dormitories you went to in college, it’s pretty much the same concept, except instead of students it’s catered to working professionals. That means that instead of being near universities, these developments are usually found in the fringes of central business districts like Makati and Bonifacio Global City (BGC).

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But Jan Custodio, senior director for research and consultancy at Santos Knight Frank, admitted that co-living spaces are pretty much “taking dormitories to a different level.”

“The worsening traffic situation has made it worthwhile to put up these developments so that employees will have an easier time getting to and from work, and mostly go home to their normal places of residence during the weekends,” he added.

Examples of co-living spaces include SM’s MyTown and The Flats by Ayala Land, which are both located within walking distances from the Makati and BGC central business districts.


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Difference with condos

Custodio explained that staying in a co-living space has benefits beyond convenience. Similar to college dorms, these spaces also encourage collaboration between its tenants, something that differentiates them from condominiums.

“Compared to condominiums, it’s a place where you can gather people who are like-minded,” he said. “In terms of the facilities, the co-living facilities are more oriented towards the residents having more interactions, whereas the condominiums have different sets of amenities available.

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“So it’s like the dormitory type wherein you have students living together and sharing the same experiences,” he added.

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Lorenzo Kyle Subido
Lorenzo Kyle Subido is a staff writer for Esquire Philippines.
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