Meet your N.K.O.T.B. (New Kapitbahays on the Block)

If you haven’t heard of Home Buddies on Facebook, let me give you a brief background—this page was launched in September 2020 and, as of this writing, already has 2.5 million followers.

This is by far the most interactive Facebook group I have joined. They have activities on some days, like Monday Market where the entrepreneurs in the group can promote their products and services. It has Hanap Huwebes when members can post their inquiries if they are looking for a certain product, service or tips on how to solve any household issue. The creators of the page even came up with Laborangay, a database of skilled workers that were displaced because of the pandemic. This database will be shared to the members who may need their services. The main thrust of Home Buddies is that members which are called kapitbahays can share their DIY home improvement experiences. Even if this is the case, everyone is also aware that DIY home improvements have limitations and it would still be best to consult with professionals.

I enjoy stalking curiously through the posts, trying to find out if the page is just a trend or an evidence pointing to the fact that, finally, Filipinos seriously want not just the nicer things in life but the best possible life there is. I virtually talked to five kapitbahays to know more about them and to discover the real story behind their posts.

House flipping

Socrates Adan Padua bought an old dilapidated house. He admits that it is cheaper to build a new one than to renovate but he finds the latter challenging and being a big fan of flipping shows got the best of him.

His dream of flipping a house finally materialized with the help of his brother who is an architect. His father was the driving force during the renovation while he solely took responsibility for choosing all the finishes, accessories and furniture. When asked if he enjoyed renovating, Padua answered, “It’s a real joy to see my vision put to reality, and even after five years, my house still gets the same wow reaction from guests. So, I guess I need to turn my skills into something more profitable soon.”

Home office improvement

This is an awesome and easy DIY project by Reyson Lukban Imson. Instead of painting the wall, it was more practical to apply this 3D wallpaper with white brick design, which adds dimension to an otherwise flat-looking space. Imson opted for a bigger table and exchanged the monobloc chair with a more stylish tulip chair. He added a mini storage, some greens and affordable art. All these were purchased from department stores in the Metro. This proves that small DIY projects, when done appropriately, can bring positive impact to one’s life.

Sweeter dreams ahead

RB Ongpauco Balinado III took it upon himself to transform his bedroom, and it took him a month to change it from drab to fab! He originally wanted to be an interior designer but took up Tourism and now manages his own photography studio. Even without any design experience, he learned visually from Pinterest. It is where he got most of his design inspirations.

He had the discipline to stick to a neutral palette. He also added a dash of greens with printed and textured browns, resulting in this easy-to-the-eyes bedroom.

Lolatte’ Cafe

Sharry Ann Concepcion and her cousins renovated what used to be a front yard and a garage into a cafe dedicated to their grandmother who they lovingly called Lola Ate. Hence the name Lolatte’ Cafe. Sharry Ann shares the reason for this space conversion: “We want to start a business with a small capital. So, we used the area because it has a structure already and minimal renovation was needed.”

“It needed cooperation, being open and the ability to meet halfway,” she said, sharing the main takeaway from the project, especially because they did it as a group.

They adhered to the construction timeline and followed the agreed budget.  The project was made easier because one of the owners is an architect who managed the project with only four very efficient and skilled workers. Lolatte’ Cafe is located in Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Mini house by Lolo McGyver

This project is different from the others as this is not part of a house but an additional structure to their backyard. Michael Gonzaga has a five-year-old daughter who was spending more and more time with her gadgets since there’s nothing else to do after homeschooling. Gonzaga decided to build a mini house for her, but it was actually his dad who did most of the design and carpentry. They used old pallets and repurposed old furniture into a kitchen cabinet complete with sink and ref! His dad’s resourcefulness is exactly why Michael calls his dad as the Pinoy McGyver. His daughter is now spending more time in the mini house doing art projects and she is visibly a happier child than before.


I’ve been observing the local design scene for decades and, for the longest time, design has been reserved only for those who can afford it. Home Buddies may bridge the wide gap and bring interior design to the Filipino masses one DIY post at a time.