fbpx
Connect with us

The Homes of Zee

House Hunting in Cebu: What You Need To Know

You may have decided on getting your own place, but the question is—do you know where to start? Real estate broker Morgan Tornilla gives us a checklist on the things you need to consider before going ahead and taking the plunge.

Getting your own place is one of those milestone moments in your adult life. You have some money saved up, and you’ve decided that it’s time to make the move. Now what? With a booming property market like Cebu, there are so many options and things to consider that it can be a little overwhelming. As a real estate broker, it’s my job to figure all of this out and make what can sometimes be a stressful process, as easy for you as possible.

While the things that you look for in a home will vary considerably depending on your personal needs and lifestyle (a growing starter family is going to require significantly more space than a workaholic yuppie who mostly comes home just to sleep) there are certain things that everyone needs to keep in mind whn looking for a new home.

Understand that finding the perfect home for you will probably be a long process, involving back and forth and a certain amount of negotiation. But in the end, it’ll all be worth it. You may have to make a few compromises along the way, but as long as you keep some of these tips in mind, your search for your dream home should be a fulfilling and fruitful one.

Good Location

In layman’s terms, this would mean somewhere that isn’t too far from your work, and regular leisure hangouts.

As brokers we like to consider a few more things:

  • Accessible location—How far is it from the main road? How wide is the road leading to the property? Is it commute-friendly?
  • Proximity to important public spaces, like grocery stores, pharmacy and hospitals
  • The neighbors you’re going to have
  • How prone the area and its surroundings are to flooding during the rainy season

Solid Construction

After Yolanda and the earthquake in 2013, this has become an increasingly important factor for homebuyers. You can paint the walls whatever color you want, but it isn’t going to matter if the house isn’t built to standard.

If buying an older home, keep an eye out for:

  • Cracks in the columns and beams
  • Windowsills that aren’t level
  • Doors that are uncommonly narrow
  • Rusted-looking pipes
  • Wall sockets that look burnt

When buying a new home, always look into the track record of the construction company or developer. If you can, visit some of their older projects and ask the homeowner’s association if there’ve been any issues with the building upkeep.

Sensible Floor Plan

The ease with which you can move through the various rooms and spaces in your home can have a huge impact on your daily life. Uncomfortably narrow hallways and awkwardly shaped rooms make it hard for light, sound and air to flow and circulate throughout the space.

Whether or not you believe in feng shui and the flow of energy, you should believe in being able to navigate your way around your own home without bumping into things or feeling cramped, and all of that depends heavily on the floor plan.

Documents

As unsexy as it sounds, you need to have all your papers in order. This is rule number one for any broker worth their commission and is part of the due diligence that should be conducted on any prospective listing. This includes verifying the Land Title with the Registry of Deeds (fake titles are a real danger, particularly when dealing with properties in Mandaue and Mactan) and cross checking this against a copy of the property’s latest Tax Declaration. Any discrepancies are considered an immediate red flag.

Financing Options

It’s always imperative that you know how much you’re willing (and let’s face it, able) to invest in your new home and what financing options are available to make that happen. 

As a general rule of thumb:

  • Don’t spend more than 30% of your take-home pay on rent
  • If you’re buying, use the same amount as basis for your monthly amortization and work backwards from there to figure out your budget
  • Set aside an additional 2-3% if the sales price for closing costs and various processing fees

AVERAGE PRICES

Condominiums

  • Cebu City – 1.3m to 14.5m
  • Lapu-Lapu City – 780k to 12m
  • Mandaue City – 1.1m to 13.9m
  • Outside Cebu City – 1.05m to 10m

House and Lot

  • Cebu City – 1.9m to 21m (for 3 bedroom)
  • Lapu-Lapu City – 970k to 10m (3 bdrm)
  • Mandaue City – 1.6 to 19m
  • Outside Cebu City – 800k to 11.5m

Source: cebufirst.com

Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2017

The Homes of Zee

Seashore Seclusion: A Beachside Abode in San Remigio

A cozy family getaway in San Remigio epitomizes the charm and simplicity of living by the sea.

by Shari Quimbo
photography Ezekiel Sullano

 

Admittedly, there are some challenges that come with living in Cebu; but having pockets of paradise being only a few hours’ away is an upside that’s hard to beat. One such paradise is San Remigio, a town that sits on the northwest side of the island, which means its serene shores are kissed daily by an amazing view of the sunset. Sure, you’ll run into some traffic while driving out of the city, but what awaits you makes the drive up north an easy challenge to live with.

A walkway leads into the house’s main living area, which enjoys an open floor plan for a relaxed and communal atmosphere.

When a chance to visit one family’s beachside getaway landed on our laps, we couldn’t pass it up. After a brief struggle with Mandaue City traffic, we were soon cruising through the towns of the north while the crystalline blue waters of the ocean peeked through every few kilometers.

It wasn’t long after when we found ourselves going up a pebbled driveway where a bamboo gate opened up to a footpath that led to the house. “We wanted to keep it simple,” the owner explains, sharing that he came up with the design while going through photos of houses online. With a thatched roof, rounded columns and a grooved concrete fence, the space is cozy and informal—a place that definitely exuded a laid-back beachside feel.

The living areas integrate into each other, with casual dining set-ups arranged around the open space, while oversized couches surround a solid wood coffee table. There’s a communal vibe that’s slightly deliberate. “We have a lot of friends and family that come in during the weekends, so we created a space that’s ready for that,” says the owner. “We didn’t want anything too formal. Some beach houses make you feel embarrassed to come in with your wet, sandy feet. We want a place where everyone would be comfortable moving around.”

Natural tones are complemented by richly colored fabrics

That said, the concrete floors, made for walking around barefoot, lead to the manicured grass where the infinity pool looks like its about to spill out into the beach below. The blues of the sea and sky complement the more natural tones of the house’s wooden furniture pieces and painted white walls. Pops of color come in with the throw pillows, hammock and matching bright orange lounge chairs that are around the pool.

As if keeping with the house’s casual vibe, the owner’s trio of dogs roams freely around the property, curiously coming up to us for attention. “They just showed up one day,” he laughs when I ask where he’d gotten the dogs, named Beer, Tequila and Scotch—perhaps giving proof of how fun weekends here can be. A bar sits by one of the dining tables and further cements this theory, as does the homemade lamp made from a bottle of Patron.

Off to the side of the house are the bedrooms, which are simple but spacious. “It’s so there’s space on the floor to bring in cushions for when we have a lot of people over.”

The house’s infinity pool seemingly spills out into the ocean, and is one of the best locations on the property to watch the sunset.

The beach house took just two months to construct about two years ago. “Weirdly enough, we built this house while I was still living in Malaysia,” shares the owner. “My sister manages a construction company, and I would just email them instructions and photos of what I wanted. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy.”

The bar is stocked with a wide array of liquors, and is proof of the residence’s festive spirit.

Of course, when typhoon Yolanda hit northern Cebu, the house saw considerable damage. A quick browse through his photo gallery showed the roof completely ripped off the structure. “I came back the weekend after Yolanda. It took me almost a whole day to get here because we had to clear the road as we went,” he recalled.

Repairs to the house took a backseat as the family helped residents around the area before they moved to reconstruct their own house. “It took a month or so to fix the roof and everything else that was broken,” he says.

When lit up with candles in the late afternoon, the walkway takes on a cozily intimate vibe;

Long benches flank the dining table to accommodate plenty of diners.

Now, the house is as inviting as ever. We spent the minutes leading up to sunset drinking beer by the pool. A few fishing boats float off the shore, with many locals walking through the beach. “I like the idea of having no fences and having people passing through,” the owner shares. “I like that it’s open. It makes the house feel more alive.”

Sunsets by the beach are priceless.

That, in a nutshell, describes the beach house. With its cheerful, casual corners, it surely feels lived in—as if remnants of the happy moments people have spent there still hang in the air and even add to its personality. It’s not hard to understand why the owners look forward to the two-hour drive up on the weekends—if we had a space like this, we’d be heading north more often too.

 

(This article had already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s April 2016 Travel Issue, “Beach, Please” on pages 98-101.)

Continue Reading

The Homes of Zee

Idyllic Isolation: The La Mer Veille

French architectural duo Humbert & Poyet create La Mer Veille in the Italian Riviera, a seaside cabin that has its fair share of charm.

by Shari Quimbo
photos courtesy of Alexandra Public Relations

 

With the azure sea on one side, the verdant mountains on the other and picturesque towns in between, the Italian Riviera is certainly a dream destination. More than its natural beauty, the region seems frozen in another time—a simpler one, when the days seemed long and the people keen to enjoy the moments.

It is here that La Mer Veille sits, a beachfront cabin that epitomizes the simple summer escape. Nestled between Bordighera and San Remo, its stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea are complemented by its predominantly white palette, down-to-earth décor and delicate materials.

The house is the creation of French architects Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet, the personalities behind the firm Humbert & Poyet. Since they decided to collaborate in 2007, the firm has worked on various projects around the world—the Wine Palace at the Monaco Yacht Club, the curated fashion store 55 Croisette in Cannes, and fashion designer Alexis Mabille’s first shop in Paris are just some of the projects the two have worked on together.

“We communicate constantly throughout a project,” Christophe explains. “Our symbiosis forms the foundations of our projects and ensures the space that we’ve imagined works.”

The result is elegant and timeless spaces that meticulously bring together various design elements—the choice of materials and lighting, for example, are carefully thought out to make the most of a space and to ensure the client’s needs and personality is reflected in the final design.

It’s understandable then why La Mer Veille sits at a perfect vantage point where it surroundings can be admired. The seaside cabin is simple and relatively small, but is put together to exude an unassuming luxury that dares not to compete with the views outside.

The living area, shared with the dining room and kitchen, is done in shades of white with earthy tone accents. The Carrara marble counters are complemented with brass fixtures, including a brass sink that was custom-made by Humbert & Poyet. The firm also specially constructed the sofa that sits opposite the wooden table, a find from a market in England. Straw-wrapped lighting, an old-fashioned fireplace and a brass backsplash for the stove just add to the overall rustic appeal.

The bedrooms also have that effortless charm, with various nautical details to remind its occupants they are by the sea—just in case they forget the views beyond the picture windows. The master bedroom features a mattress sitting on an elevated wooden platform, topped with an Ancient African throw purchased from an antique shop.

“We communicate constantly throughout a project,” Christophe explains. “Our symbiosis forms the foundations of our projects and ensures the space that we’ve imagined works.”

La Mer Veille is a space that celebrates its location, and its location is best enjoyed from the terrace. The creamy white palette is carried over to this outdoor space where distressed wooden floorboards and a cushioned seating area invite you to put up your feet and settle in. The mood is set even further with a hammock chair from Etsy hanging easily from the ceiling and some relaxing music from the piano.

Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet

Beyond its architectural details, it is the finishing touches that give this dreamy cabin its character—bunches of baby’s breath and other flowers tucked into pitchers and vases in various niches around the house, wooden stools with rounded seats, antique-inspired knickknacks like an old fan sitting on a shelf and a swinging love seat. These details make the house come to life in an interesting way; and with a view such as this, what a life it is.

(This article had already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s May 2016 Home Issue, “By the Sea” on pages 72-77.)

Continue Reading

Leisure

Hottest Summer Destinations to Visit in Cebu This 2020

by Chrissy Grey Resaba

Discovering unique travel destinations is getting more challenging every year. Modern-day travelers are seeking new experiences far from the hackneyed summer destinations we always see like the usual snapshots of beaches and bikinis that flood our social media feeds. However, living in Cebu as a local has always been a privilege as we have easy access to these newly-explored places. For our foreign friends though, the city offers countless adventures to experience, new hip activities to enjoy and places to bask or meditate. After all, travel should always be a therapeutic experience.

A few months closer and we can finally say, “It’s officially summer!”. Of course, as early as now, some are already tapping and scrolling their mobile phones for new and one-of-a-kind destinations and getaways. Sometimes, choosing where to go is quite a dilemma. To make it easier for you, here’s our list of the hottest travel destinations in Cebu this summer of 2020 that deserve to be explored by adventurers and thrill-seekers:

La Vue Cabine – Toledo City, Cebu

Experience luxury in nature. This cabin is atop the mountains of Toledo, overlooking the cerulean Tañon Strait. At the far horizon, in clear and sunny weather is the view of the majestic Mt. Kanlaon. One can truly feel paradise in this haven of relaxation and comfort. Aside from the scenic landscape, the fresh air will surely rejuvenate your senses!

Rancho Cancio – Brgy. Adlaon, Cebu City

For a while now, this place is making rounds on social media. This rest house is located at Brgy. Adlaon in Cebu City, a few kilometers away from Brgy. Busay. Be ready to get mesmerized with what’s in store for you at this picturesque destination.

Treehouse De Valentine – Balamban, Cebu

Treehouse De Valentine is best described as nature and rustic luxury in one self-contained space. Unconventional for the right reasons, this dream house is the perfect nest away from the hustle and bustle of the city. What could be an excuse not to list this perfect nook as your next stop for this year’s summer adventure?

Formosa Camp Resort – Bagasawe, Tuburan, Cebu

Glamping has been the name of the game this season. A term that resulted from combining the words“glamorous” and “camping”, glamping  includes outdoor overnight stays in glamorized tents with hotel-like amenities. The experience will surely be a different kind of bliss.

Continue Reading

Trending