The Gen Z Approach to Living Spaces: What — and Where — Is Home Away from Home?

Choosing the best living space to get for your college-bound child? We asked students to weigh in and give four crucial aspects a home-away-from-home must meet. By Samantha Ramos-Zaragoza

Getting caught in the middle of a downpour along flood-prone Taft Avenue is a situation any U-belt student detests. But Rue, a College of Saint Benilde freshman, had to brave the rain one evening, waiting for a bus to take another two-hour drive home. Except every single bus was full, and she only managed to squeeze in one after walking a few kilometers. That same night, she declared to her parents to find her a place to live in that’s close to school.

It’s a situation that has plagued the minds of many parents with college-bound kids. Long commutes come with safety hazards, fatigue, and curtailed study time. Yet there’s looming fear with fast-tracking independence if they live far away. Add to that the living cost to account for, along with tuition and miscellaneous fees. But there usually isn’t any other choice when top colleges and universities are far away. It’s time to shop for a home-away-from-home.

But is it really a home-away-from-home when it’s a space that’s shabby at best?

We asked students and recent graduates to weigh in, and share the things that made living independently worthwhile. Make informed decisions with these suggestions before you send your child off to college.

Proximity to school

“It should be a short jeep ride away, ganun dapat kalapit,” said Nice, a working student from UP Diliman. The main point is to make attending school convenient. Settle for a place that’s walking distance, or at least in the center of activities with easy commuting options.

Instead of loitering during long breaks, having a place to rest is a big plus. “I’m happy I can shower on long breaks, lalo na ‘pag mainit,” said Jay who recently graduated from Mapua. But other than quick naps and freshening up, San Beda University fresh graduate Silva shared, “It’s nice that after school, I didn’t have to rush home and got to spend more time with my org and school work.”

Other than convenience, social activities, and added rest time, properties within the school’s vicinity save on travel costs, too. An upside when there’s rental or mortgage to think about. Avida Towers Prime Taft is a mere 800 meters from De La Salle University and is near Metro Manila’s three major cities — Manila, Pasay, and Makati.

At the center of Quezon City, Avida Towers Sola are 15 to 20 minutes away from Ateneo De Manila University, Miriam College, and University of the Philippines Diliman. The condominium’s location provides easy access to prime business district passageways and major highways with commuting options like buses and the Metro’s train network. The condo isn’t only great for school boarding but also an ideal start-up home for budding corporate workers.

Top-notch security

A lot of the rules imposed by dorms are for parents’ peace of mind. Yet having your child live far away entails a level of trust that they’ll flourish and learn on their own.

“It’s not even about the curfews or no guest policies, or even the no drinking and smoking in the room rules,” said Nice, “because if you want to work around them you’ll find a way. I don’t go home if I know it’s passed my curfew.” That’s another safety issue to think about.

Security from quality living options allow you to give your child that space to grow while they, and you, sleep soundly every single night.

Personalized RFID access, CCTVs in public areas and hallways, and screening guests are few of the security measures they find crucial.

“My boyfriend’s condo was so safe that he could leave the door unlocked and not be scared of losing anything,” mentioned Rose from DLSU. It’s the kind of discreet but high-level security that condominiums can provide.

Relaxing environment yet study-friendly, too

From comfortable common areas, study nooks, and soundproof walls to the nitty gritty details like good lighting, sturdy furniture, and lots of sockets, these are features that show how Avida Land developments understand their main market.

“It’s normal for us to study in a café after school. But if my apartment had a study area, less stress and gastos for us, because hindi na ko lalabas,” added Jay.

And when studying is over, there must a breather. That’s where amenities come in. “I thought I didn’t need amenities because I’m mostly in school anyway. But because my friend’s condo had a deck, it became our habit to sit there on most days and watch the sunset,” shared Rose.

And even the fine points, like the room and window sizes, add to that sense of rest and relaxation. “I don’t need a big room for myself, but I do want to have space to move around, even with a roomie,” mentioned Rue.

Such amenities separate Avida Land condos from its bare-boned counterparts. Avida Towers Intima, only 10 minutes from Adamson University, Philippine Women’s University, Pamantasan Ng Lunsod ng Maynila, and De La Salle University, prioritizes quality living with pools, a grand lawn, lounge, jogging path, and viewing deck. Also nearby are Avida Towers Asten along Malugay and Yakal Streets, One Antonio in San Antonio Village, and Avida Towers Makati Southpoint in Chino Roces.

All basics and bases covered

“I had a friend who stayed in an apartment tapos nasira yung nag-iisang elevator. It took a week to get repaired and he lived on a high floor. He had to bunk with a friend kasi hassle to go up and down the stairs,” shared Rose. A crisis management plan for times like this is crucial yet often overlooked.

“When I was renting a dorm, it was bare, not even a mirror and a door lock. My parents had to buy things to make it livable,” said Silva. She also shared an instance when she had to put out a small fire herself because the security took forever to move.

The management’s responsiveness to the needs of its tenants is the convenience that’s as vital as the tangible comforts students look for. The interviewees cited basic furniture, working water sprinklers, cleared drains, strong water pressure, clean surroundings, heater-ready shower, trolleys for bags, bathroom exhaust, and fast and spacious elevators as a few examples of the mentioned comforts.

Adding to the physical luxuries are the nearby grocery stores, restaurants, and retail shops that sprout around school vicinities. Avida Towers Vita and Sola in Vertis North QC, other than its stamp of quality service, has a retail area on the ground floor, while other Avida Land developments near colleges and universities are a stone’s throw away from commercial establishments, hospitals, and recreation areas.

Gen Z kids are clearly privy to their needs. And when it comes to school boarding, condominiums top the list.

You may think, though, that the fee of renting a dorm or apartment still trumps buying a condominium. But rent is an expense you can’t get back.

Investing in a condo guarantees future returns whether from selling after it appreciates (which will likely happen after four years) or renting it out to the captured student market. You can add it to your assets and use them as collateral.

Other than those, you too have a home-away-from-home when you visit your child in school. Best of all, you’ve made the right step in securing their future. A starter home after graduation or a gift they can choose to earn from, both choices help set them up as they venture into adulthood.

Interested to make that step? Visit