Having built or even renting your dream house in the Philippines will give you the feel of a King, but have you picked the location that will give you the best area for security issues. Just because your home is built in a closed area and has security guards does not mean you are safe from burglary and worst. Imagine you have built a great western-style house in an area where everyone else is living in homes in squalor, ten you will be sticking out like a sore thumb.
For most foreigners, it is almost a given that when you buy a brand-new home, you buy one in a gated community. No one bothers to ask the implications. The reasons are obvious: security and exclusivity.
In foreign countries, though, there have been long-standing debates on the pros and cons of such communities. And so, foreigners, who think of settling in the Philippines, have asked whether it is better for them to buy such houses in these enclosed enclaves or live among the local residents.
A gated community is a residential area, which is fenced in, has a gate, and usually has security guards by its entrance.
Security is one of the reasons, local residents prefer to live in a gated community. The high fences supposedly keep criminal elements at bay. With the roads being closed to the public, less traffic is expected. Fewer cars mean less danger for children. It will also be more ideal for people who love to jog within the subdivision.
Other advantages of a gated community include less noise and the ease of maintaining cleanliness. It also keeps unwanted trespassers such as carolers, solicitors and vendors from barging into one?s doorstep without any invitation. Owners can also exclusively use the amenities of the community ensuring that it won?t be overcrowded.
For the investor, a gated community is usually priced higher than those of the neighbors. It also helps shield the price of houses from downward fluctuations, since houses are usually of the same type and within a certain price range. Even the allowable house designs are limited to the themes of the subdivision.
Another advantage is that residents of a gated community have more control over their environment such as in garbage disposal, security and delivery of other social services that the government failed to do. This is not a conscious reason why people prefer them, but it may well be an implication.
Another reason is the status symbol image that comes with living in a gated community. We all take pride in living in an exclusive community among only those of the same economic level as ourselves, or at least, of those whom we aspire to be.
Some people though point out the down side of gated communities ? dealing with the homeowners associations. If the members are unable to deal with each other properly, the delivery of its services could suffer a lot.
Take for instance security. They say that the security in a subdivision is only as good as you let them. This means that if the homeowners mismanage this aspect of the community, then security will actually suffer. The same is true with garbage and the general maintenance of facilities, amenities, and the general desirability of the environment.
Others also have the impression that those living in these gated subdivisions are rich snobs, and that they would not make friendly neighbors. Those who prefer to visit neighbors (manungbay) once in a while, would tend to think this is discouraged in an exclusive subdivision.
Another disadvantage is the maintenance of the roads. Unless you donate the street inside your subdivision to the government, its maintenance will be the sole responsibility of the subdivision owners.
This would mean high costs eventually. There are some old subdivisions here in Cebu which were the homes of the rich in the 70s and 80s. Now the houses are still big, but the roads are poorly maintained.
In a broader perspective, the critique regarding gated subdivisions, especially abroad, is that this is a form of economic and social segregation and, perhaps to some extent, discrimination. Some South American countries claim such subdivisions which are a relatively new phenomenon have caused social conflicts and distrust.
In the history of its implementation in the US and other countries, these communities were formed out of their distrust of the ability of the government to provide for their needs. So they took it upon themselves to do so by building their own safe enclave where the owners communally manage the delivery of their basic services.
On the other hand, some people feel as much fenced in as much as its intention to fence out some people. They feel restricted by the walls and by the watchful eyes of guards, who monitor their entry and exit. To foreigners, living in these places hinders them from getting to know the culture of the locals.
In Cebu, building gated subdivisions is not the sole practice of the rich. There are already many middle class and even low-cost residential areas which are gated.
The idea of gated communities simply evolved from the developers’ need to add value to their housing projects and to make it more attractive. Of course, their usual sales pitch is security and exclusivity.
Nonetheless, the lessons learned from bitter experiences of other countries regarding a seemingly well-intentioned and innocuous practice of building a comfortable and safe house project should be heeded, especially now with the volatile political and social environment.