For Hazel Klenk Reyes—better known as actress Ara Mina, 28—the long search was worth the wait. She found the perfect location and house design to put her hard-earned money on. It's in a posh village in a somewhat hidden area in Quezon City.
"Ang tagal ko ring nag-ikot-ikot," she sighs. "Naikot ko ang North Susana, Tivoli Royale... Umabot ako pati sa Valle Verde area. Until nakita ko ito."
It was the Ayala Land Corporation that developed the village, and laid down the rules. "Napakahigpit," says Ara, who claims she's one of the first buyers there. "Kahit may-ari ka, hindi ka basta puwedeng magpa-extend o magpa-alter ng bahay nang walang permiso. Magsa-submit ka pa ng design for their approval."
Before this, Ara was in constant motion, never staying long in one place, renting either condominium or townhouse unit.
"Una kong na-rent, condo," she recalls. "'Tapos, nag-townhouse ako ng mga one year sa me Loyola Heights [QC]. Then, lumipat na naman ako, townhouse din, sa may Capitol Subdivison [also in QC]. Nakakaloka doon sa huli, may mumo [ghost]. Imagine, may sumasagot ng phone kahit walang tao? Umalis ako, umuwi muna ako sa Mommy ko sa Marikina. ‘Tapos, rent na naman habang gingawa ito."
For the house that she calls home, she paid in six figures monthly, for two years straight. "Ang dugo! Kasi nga, habang naghuhulog ako, me binabayaran pa akong rent" she recalls.
She vividly remembers how she felt when she finally moved.
"Habang hinahakot mga gamit ko, bigla na lang tumulo ang luha ko," she says, laughing at the memory.
After all the hard work constructing and renovating, Ara has truly made a home out of her posh house.