Lino Quiogue had toyed with the idea of putting up a rented apartment, but he never got around to pursuing it until he started his own family.
One day, on his way to an errand, Lino passed by a sign advertising a vacancy for bed space. Curious, he inquired at the advertised number, and was surprised to find that the demand for dorm spots wasn’t limited to students — the target market included working professionals. This discovery spurred him to go back to the drawing board — quite literally — to design The Communal co-living space in Pasig City. Inspiration came from YouTube, as well as Japan’s popular capsule hotels, but Lino (an engineer by profession) was worried that the market would not be so keen on small living quarters. “I had to address that,” he says.
The Communal may brand itself as a simple, no-frills space, but it isn’t another run-of-the-mill dormitory. Here, warm wood accents temper bare concrete interiors, and, unlike most dorms that offer only bunk beds, The Communal has capsule-inspired sleeping spaces to provide more privacy for tenants. “We provide a much better dormitory experience by placing value on what is personal,” Lino says.
Amenities include board games to help guests bond or wind down after a day’s work, a fully furnished kitchen and a coin-operated washing machine. The free WiFi access is a plus, and The Communal takes safety and security seriously: There are CCTV cameras in each area and a staff member is present around the clock. Access to the apartment is secured with biometrics, while fire alarms and smoke detectors are also in place.
The co-living space is only a year old, but the positive reception has prompted Lino to build an adjacent structure to accommodate more guests. “We want to be at a level where when people look for a dorm, they’ll say, “Do you have The Communal here?”
This article first appeared in the June 2019 issue of Smile magazine.