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MRP Building, Mola Corner Pasong Tirad Streets, Brgy La Paz, Makati City

Girl in a jacket

Really, we’re curious: Why do ‘apartments for rent’ in the Philippines look like this?

Filipinos are so naturally creative, we see it reflected in how our local apartments usually look like. As bright as it gets, as colorful as it gets!

Technically, there is nothing wrong with that. Who does not want colors in their lives? But the thing is, there is a persistent trend in color choices that seem to be just a tad too much. Just imagine your room painted Neon Green. Colors are supposed to uplift our moods and not put us in a constant state of being overwhelmed, but hey, this is the Philippines.

Incidentally, at the start of July, a meme about the bright paint colors of Philippine apartments went viral, as many Filipinos online found it hilarious and super relatable.

So, why do apartments in the Philippines look like this? Well, POP! takes a look at the possible factors for this:

High-quality paints and hiring day-laborers can get pretty EXPENSIVE

What many people don’t realize is that it takes a lot to invest in high-quality paints and to even hire workers to paint the apartments so most of the time, they just do it themselves. For Filipino landlords, what is important is they have a place to offer for renting, because profit is what matters most. Instead of spending more on paint, the budget can be realigned to other things.

Aesthetics is NOT important

Filipino landlords know that, at the end of the day, whatever it looks like, people who really need a place to stay will take any low or reasonably-priced apartment for rent. So what if it looks terrible to others? Apartment owners prioritize earning money over caring about aesthetics or learning about house designs. POP! interviewed one Filipino landlord, (itago natin s’ya sa pangalang Jomar) who shared, “noon kasi makukulay naman talaga ang mga bahay. At sa dami na nang nag-renta sa akin, wala namang nagreklamo sa itsura kaya hinayaan ko nalang na ganyan. Kahit naman ngayon parang wala namang masama sa kulay na ganoon [Houses (apartments) have always been colorful. Among all my tenants, no one has ever complained to me about the appearance, so I just let it be. Even now, there seems to be nothing wrong with a color like that].”

A not so popular theory: It’s a show of our inherent maximalism

As a nation, we’ve always been drawn to maximalism, which is an aesthetic of excess. I mean, there was an attempt to adopt minimalism during the height of Marie Kondo-The Minimalists boom, but we seem to have reverted to our innate nature of being maximalists. We want more, we want overwhelming, we want mind-blowing, mind-boggling. Why settle for drab white or cream, when we can use neon green or hot pink to put us all into sensory overload?

An EXISTING practice

The color choices for such apartments in the Philippines are common in poorer neighborhoods. Filipino landlords know their target market and that their target market would not care at all about how their apartment may look like. They went on with this practice and took advantage of the fact that dwellers settle and take what is already in front of them. At the end of the day, dwellers want a roof over their heads and landlords just want to earn.

It may have started with a meme but it actually represents an unfortunate reality that a majority of Filipinos face. Life in the Philippines is hard. As much as possible we find ways to save more money and whether that means living in a Neon Green apartment then Filipinos will accept it.


Other POP! stories that you might like:

Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook users should not screenshot chats, but Filipinos have been doing this nonstop for laughs

TVJ launches official social media accounts, ahead of July 1 airing

Filipino celebrities who showed their support and participated in this year’s Pride March

We can talk about insurance without being scared

Enter the red door at midnight. Catch midnight screenings of Insidious: The Red Door on July 5


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