House: October 2017 (start); January 2018 (completed) The average cost of residential buildings in the Philippines in 2017 is at P9, 605 per square meter. The monthly living wage is at P1,088 (IBON Foundation) while the minimum wage is at P8,411 (National Wages and Productivity Commission).
Lot: May 2018 (most recent acquisition) Depending on its proximity to the town center or the national road, agricultural lands in the Philippines can sell around P200 per square meter. The minimum wage salary in the capital is at P512.
Humans of FTO: Alemar
Farm to Office Table
“Farmer” won’t be the first thing that comes to mind when you look at Alemar. His frail body doesn’t seem capable of carrying anything that weighs more than the clothes on his back. And yet, he always wears this large, easy smile that nobody can resist smiling back.
FARMHAND. Alemar grew up in the countryside of Capiz and worked in these fields even as a child.
THE GOOD EARTH. Although 47% of the Philippines is agricultural land, most farmers like Alemar’s family belong to the poorest sectors.
From the age of 10 through adolescence, he had to skip school on Fridays to work in the rice fields until Sunday to augment his family’s income.
“Gapang-ani lang kami kay pigado lang kami mung (We had no choice but to do back-breaking work in the fields because we were poor.),” he said. But he says all that with amusement on his face.
Through the years he’s been with the company, Alemar has never been late or absent. Neither has he taken a vacation nor a sick day from work. For someone with his goals, a day’s earnings would be too precious that missing a day of work is out of the question.
Their old nipa hut, he said, looked like it was hit by a typhoon because it was leaning on one side. Thanks to Alemar’s good financial sense and his immense love for his family, he managed to turn it into a five-room concrete house. He meant it as a surprise gift for his parents, and they were indeed shocked when the construction materials he ordered started to arrive.
MONEY, WISE. From his salary as a back office support agent, Alemar managed to save enough to build a five-room house for his family.
HOME SWEET HOME. From a nipa hut to a concrete house, Alemar said there was no other secret but hard work.
LOVING SON. Alemar’s hometown is about four hours away from the city center, but from time to time, he treats his parents to family dinners and get-togethers.
His sweetest accomplishment by far is buying the very land he and his parents used to farm to feed themselves. They now cultivate their own rows of corn and rice. In addition, he was able to start a microcredit business from his savings.
When asked what his next goal is, he still thought of his family: “I want to send my parents on a well deserved vacation trip. They’ve been working hard all their lives!”