It was back in March 2021 when my father told me that his company had transferred him to their office in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. It would be a real predicament for him to go back and forth from home to office because we live in Cainta, Rizal.
Thankfully, a good friend of his, who has been living in Canada for a long time, allowed us to use his house in Sto. Tomas, which is a 10-minute drive away from my father’s new office. The house has had no occupants for several years, anyway, so life could be breathed back into it.
My father accepted his friend’s offer. However, my father could not stay in a big house all by himself, especially at night. For some reason, he could not sleep alone in one big, old house. Enter my mother and me.
My father asked us if we could accompany him to the house in Sto. Tomas every week. My mother and I would have shifting schedules: she would stay with him from Monday to Wednesday while I had to stay from Thursday to Saturday.
At first, I was slightly opposed to the new living arrangement, as I had to kiss my occasional Friday night hangouts with friends goodbye for a time. However, I reflected that it was a small sacrifice I had to make for all the huge things my father had given me since childhood.
It took time to get used to living in two homes every week. Waking up very early, packing a lot of stuff, a quite unfamiliar territory. However, as time passed by, I got to see the silver linings it had to offer.
In the end, I realized that this kind of living arrangement has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s what I’ve observed so far.
- A different environment. Moving back and forth from one home to another made me realize that a change of environment helps when you think your life has gone stagnant. When you need a boost in life or inspiration to do your many workloads, you can simply take a walk and peek into the two distinct sceneries you see from your two abodes. Excitement is at bay every time as you don’t remain stuck in the same environment every day. In addition, the second home can be your ‘quiet place’ when you just want to get away from all the negative energies you may sometimes feel in your main home.
- A holiday home. The second home can act as a vacation home, especially when the house is near picturesque vacation spots. In our case, Batangas has nearby beaches, so we can plan vacations in the province at any time without worrying about accommodation. The second home can conveniently be an alternative to hotels, which can add to vacation expenses.
- Work convenience. Speaking of convenience, another place to live might be suitable for those who want to spend less travel time going to the office. My father took his friend’s offer to live in his Sto. Tomas home as it is simply a 10-minute drive away from his office. It would be a hassle if he traveled every day from Cainta to Batangas and vice versa. Having said that, a second home near your workplace can lessen the stress and exhaustion you can feel from everyday commuting.
- Double the expenses. You get to see double when you live in two homes, specifically when it comes to the bills you pay. Not only will you pay for the water and electricity of your first home, but you pay for the utilities in your second home. Although the bills in Batangas are cheaper than the ones in Cainta, my parents still pay for each every month, adding to their monthly expenses. Add to that the gas we spend for our travels, keeping in mind that oil price hikes have been more recurrent than rollbacks in recent times.
- The hassle of packing. When you have short patience like myself, you find the frequency of packing and unpacking such a hassle. Every week, you transport your things from one place to another and you might find it exhausting every time you leave for your other home. I need to master the art of long patience for this one.
- Keep it spick and span. Maintaining one home is one thing, but what about two? It feels like you’re starting over again when you clean one house one day and another one the next. Cleaning two houses per week might look like a tough chore for some, so brace yourselves if you don’t have the patience of tidying up.
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The article was originally published in The Philippine Star and written by Adam Laurena.