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This Family Went From QC Renter To Laguna Homeowner: 'Best Decision We've Made'
PHOTO BY courtesy of Janice Catral
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    From an apartment in Tandang Sora in Quezon City, husband and wife Janice and Trinity Joseph ’Bugit’ Catral made a giant leap to transfer their young family to Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna six years ago.

    It was a tough decision because the couple worked in Manila — Janice in a school in Quezon City while Bugit works as a biomedical engineer in Caloocan.

    Moving to have a place to call their own

    “At that time, we wanted to have a place of our own, but the cost of properties in the Quezon City area was too high,” says Janice.

    When she heard the school where she works was putting up a new branch in Laguna, she applied for a post. They decided to buy property in Nuvali when the school’s human resources office offered flexible terms for the downpayment. By that time, Janice had a feeling she had “a 70% chance of getting the post.”

    The Catrals decided to move to Laguna in 2014. “Since the kids were very young at that time, they were excited because of the village’s amenities like the swimming pool, basketball court, and the wide street where they could bike around,” recalled Janice.

    However, six years ago, the development they moved into was still relatively new. Houses and establishments were few and far between inside the more than 2,000 hectares of land.


    Janice said the supermarkets and malls were few at that time, and she had to drive 10-12 kilometers to get to the big supermarket. They didn’t have a fast internet connection or cable TV as well. Mobile data connection inside the development was also very weak at that time.

    “Because the kids didn’t have much to do after doing their homework, they would sleep around 7:00 or 8:00 pm. I would say they missed the city life because they used to go to the mall every weekend and play with their cousins who lived near our apartment in Manila,” says Janice.

    Provincial feel in a city

    Sta. Rosa may be a city, but inside the spacious development where the Catrals’ village was located certainly felt like a province.

    “After a year without reliable internet connection and TV, my kids began to appreciate the simplicity of life and being with nature.”
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Janice Catral
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    At that time, their village used to be surrounded by vacant lots with tall grasses and small trees, making them hear the sound of crickets at nighttime.

    “My kids used to witness fireflies glowing and dancing in the dark when they went outside because streetlights were still few along our street that it made their’ glow very visible,” recalls Janice.

    Despite the isolation of the place at the time, Janice and Bugit couldn’t have been more thankful. The school's new branch in the South was a five-minute drive from their home. Her kids were also enrolled in the school, which meant one trip to and from their home.

    Bugit continued to work in Caloocan and would come home during the weekends. “Because we are far away from each other most of the week, communication, trust, and confidence in each other were very important.”
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Janice Catral

    ‘We feel safer here’

    These days, the Catral’s neighborhood is growing, and the development has welcomed more businesses. The children are 16 and 12 years old now, and Janice allows them more independence and freedom to go to nearby malls.

    “Because we feel safer here, we let our kids take the public shuttle service in case they need to go home early from school or hang out with their friends’ house at the nearby village or mall.

    “This makes them feel independent and responsible with their time and actions while being vigilant and alert with their surroundings and strangers as well,” shares Janice.


    Janice and the kids at one of the play parks in their village.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Janice Catral

    Looking back on that hard, doubt-filled time when they had to make the big leap from Manila to Laguna, Janice says she and Bugit don’t have any regrets. They may not have felt it early in their move, but now they are confident their transfer here has given them a better quality of life.


    More importantly, Janice adds, she and Bugit became independent both as a couple and individually. “Moving here in this development in Sta. Rosa was the best decision that we’ve made,” she ends.

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