At a time when a health crisis forced many to stay at home, the once posh condo living became more stifling than convenient. All of a sudden, luxury is found not in the city but in the province. A truth that resonated with Joey Ong and his family of three.
Like many during the pandemic, Smart Parenting's first-ever daddy editor-at-large, Joey Ong, faced the crossroad of whether or not to live in or leave the city. He chose to take the latter path and made the leap to lead the probinsya life.
Sometimes, the house of your dreams is not the one built with concrete but a simple one that lets you be one with nature, and there's nothing that could better capture that more than a bahay kubo—an obvious choice of shelter for Joey.
A Modern Day Kubo For A Modern Day Dad
Joey believes that more than being a provider, dads can also play the role of nurturer in the family—and that's what makes him a "modern dad" in modern times. To borrow from his Instagram bio, Joey defines himself as a "dad buddy." In fact, he even created an online community called DadbudPH to give dads a platform where they can share and just be open about fatherhood.
"Kami when we made this decision, ang una kong inisip is number one our kid, second is 'aantayin pa ba namin na matanda na kami before we enjoy this diba?'"
Joey went for a modern design for their bahay kubo in the province to match him being a modern dad. He also noted that he wanted to go for something that complements the nature surrounding them, so he chose to have bamboo as the significant element of the house.
"You guys are probably wondering, why bamboo? If you look at it, it looks very natural. It's really perfect for the environment," he explains.
He adds, "Pwede naman ako mag-container van. Pwede ako magconcrete, bahay na bato, but you know kasi if you're gonna move to the province and stay in a natural environment like this, it's always better or nicer pagka mukha rin siyang natural like for example a kubo."
Joey's modern-day kubo only has two bedrooms, one for the family and one for the guests. It's a 52 square meters shelter in a 1,000 square meters lot. This is because Joey wanted as much open space as possible where his son, Joselito, could play and run around.
He opted to have an open kitchen. A foodie, this is Joey's favorite part of the kubo house. The best part is, now that he's living in the province, he gets to experience farm-to-table dining experience.
"We were able to visit this farm where we picked our own veggies, so ganun lang siya kadali noh, 'yung mga kapitbahay namin dito sa area na 'to, they have their own plants, they have their own garden so it's very accessible," Joey shares.
If the main kubo is where they rest and sleep, the "siesta kubo" is where Joey, his wife Ciara, and Joselito spend most of their bonding time. This is also where they share hearty meals together.
The dad buddy also plans to have their own garden in their sprawling lot. With hundreds of square meters left on the lot, Joey says they plan to develop it more in the future.
How Living In The Province Made Joey Ong A Better Dad
Being in the province and experiencing the simplicity of life it offers, it made Joey reminisce about how he was raised by his own father. Something he also wanted to pass on to his own child.
"There's something inside me that got reignited. Growing up, I used to have this bonding time with my dad, and I have a brother. We'd always do a lot of DIY, we'd always do a lot of handiwork at home, but you know, when we moved here, wala na natuto lang ako ulit to do stuff, to make that another bonding opportunity for me and my son.
"Right now tinuturuan ko na siya, as early as 2 years old. I'm teaching him how to be creative with his toys, soon when we start planting, siyempre mag-gagardening na kami, so kung baga that is making me a better dad."
Living in the province is something Joey would recommend to other parents, especially now that remote work is doable.
Joey tells this to those contemplating to make the shift from city to probinsya living: "I'm sure maraming kagaya namin na nag-iisip to do the same thing, to get out of the city. My advice is if you can, if you can afford it, why not di ba? What are you waiting for?"
He adds, "Kami when we made this decision, ang una kong inisip is number one our kid, second is 'aantayin pa ba namin na matanda na kami before we enjoy this diba?'
"Retirement naman is not something you do when you're old na. We can all work remotely and something that we can all adjust to is the fact that there is WiFi available everywhere. It's actually very doable."
Watch Joey Ong's modern kubo tour in this Smart Parenting Exclusive: