Tag Archives: condos


SAN FRANCISCO, California (The Adobo Chronicles) – In other U.S. cities, protesters block streets and freeways, set vehicles on fire, break storefront windows and loot businesses. In San Francisco, they just take over City Hall.

That’s what happened yesterday as hundreds of protesters rallied at City Hall for a temporary halt to evictions in a popular San Francisco neighborhood where workers in the booming technology sector are accused of pushing out long-time tenants.

The protesters, chanting and screaming in English and Spanish, want a one-year halt on tenant evictions in the diverse Mission District and a two-year moratorium on construction of expensive high and medium-rise condos and other market-rate developments.

They then entered the building and evicted Mayor Ed Lee and all of the members of the city and country board of supervisors.

When City Hall officials called the police department to stop the evictions and restore peace and order, they were informed that 90 percent of the police force, most of them residents of the Mission District, went on leave. They were among the protesters.

Once again, the City by the Bay showed the country — and the world — how things ought to be done. Or undone.


Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima inspecting the luxury cells at the New Bilibid Prison
Philippine Justice Secretary Leila De Lima inspecting the luxury cells at the New Bilibid Prison

Manila, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – Condominium sales in the Philippines have been a very lucrative business in the last decade, with Filipino expatriates investing hard-earned dollars to purchase luxury units in Metro Manila and elsewhere for an average price of 2 Million pesos (about U.S. $50,000).

But in just the last couple of days, condo prices have hit an all-time low, with a one-bedroom unit averaging  below 300,000 pesos (about U.S. $5,000).

Blame it on the recent discovery of luxury prison cells in the New Bilibid Prison, a national penitentiary,  where incarcerated drug lords had saunas, jacuzzis, sleep number beds, mini-theaters, cell phones, computers , disco lights and all, in addition to a stash of cash, drugs and firearms in their units. And all it took was for these inmates to cough up 300,000 pesos.

When news of the discovery was reported in the media, the going price for luxury condos suddenly dropped to below 300,000 pesos.

“Why should I spend 2 Million pesos when I could purchase a more luxurious and furnished unit for much less,” said Elena Batongbakal, a retired Filipino American nurse who was visiting Manila and in the market for a condo unit to use as her retirement home . The luxury units at the national prison have been put on the auction block for expatriates like Batongbakal to bid on.

Winning bidders will have a unique street and mailing address: 1000 New Bilibid Prison, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines.


FullSizeRender (12)Makati, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – In the Philippines, as in many countries, there are three classes of people — rich, middle class, and poor.  The gap between and among these three classes has all but widened over many decades.

But finally, Filipino housemaids and drivers have earned their own class distinction.  While they are free to interact with the rich, they are not allowed in the same elevators with their employers or bosses. They either have to use service elevators, if available, or use the stairwell.

This new social class has emerged as the Philippines continues to experience an infrastructure boom, especially in condominium buildings.

Many condominiums in Makati and other Philippine metropolitan areas have implemented a policy barring housemaids, drivers and contractors from using elevators reserved for condo owners and tenants.

FullSizeRender (13)The new class system surfaced after a memorandum from a condo property manager was posted on Facebook. The memo, addressed to unit owners and tenants, stated:

“We would like once again to request all Unit Owners and Tenants to remind their household employees, i.e., drivers, housemaids, outside contractors, to strictly use the Service Elevator only.”

“The administration office has had a number of enquiries from owners in the building on why helpers are using the Passenger Elevators when only Unit Owners/Tenants and their guests are allowed to the Passenger Elevators.”

Apparently, this is a common practice in many condos in Metro Manila.

Overjoyed with their newly-attained class status, housemaids and drivers have expressed relief that finally, they are being afforded the special recognition they have long clamored for.