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July 06, 2011

Interview with DMCI Homeowner, Jojo Castaño of Royal Palm Residences - House and Lot Resident Turned Satisfied Condo Owner.

Jojo Castaño & Family
It was a hot day in May when I went to Royal Palm Residences, a DMCI Homes’ hybrid project in Acacia Estates, Taguig City to do another interview with a DMCI homeowner. But this time, it’s different because the unit owner that I’m about to interview is also a friend of mine. We are buddies in our high school years and even after. I also went with another friend to complete our trio. It’s like shooting two birds with one stone because we get to catch up with one another while I squeeze in an interview for It was really exciting because we haven’t met for over a year already. 

My friend’s name is Jojo Castaño. He and his family moved in Royal Palm in July of 2010.  No, he didn’t purchase their unit from me because I’m not yet into project selling when they bought their unit at pre-selling. He works in a TV commercial production outfit and he does a bit of painting in his idle time in between commercial projects. I know that he’s good in drawing but that day was the first time I saw his paintings. He turned their unit into a gallery of his works which I think really complemented the elegant ambiance of their home. After having lunch with his family, he led us to the clubhouse where we sat in one of the couches and started the interview. Let me share some pictures of his paintings below.

The Castaño Family

These paintings inspires you to take action. =)

In lieu of the traditional giant sized spoon and fork that hang on walls.

Inside the unit
I turned my voice recorder on and I started asking questions about their life in Royal Palm Residences with the goal of drawing a vivid picture on how it’s really like living in a DMCI condominium. Here is the interview:

When you’re still looking for a condo, what other projects did you consider and why did you settle with Royal Pal Residences.
We looked at Tribeca, a high rise project down south. We liked it but we opted to look for other options since we're not really that hot with condo living. We also considered a mid rise condo in Bonifacio Heights but it was already sold out, and then an agent recommended Royal Palm so we checked it out. We really like the amenities and its resort inspired theme. We also learned that Royal Palm has the biggest amenities area in all DMCI projects. After looking at the proposal, we really liked it and we actually started evaluating our finances to prepare for the investment.  We didn’t look for any other condo projects anymore.

I know that you previously live in a house and lot in Cavite. What are the adjustments you had to make when you moved in a condo?
I think privacy is number one because of the fact that we share walls with our neighbors. You tend to be more conscious on the noise that you make inside your home if that is the case. The second thing is the convenience of having sari-sari stores near your house. We don’t have that here although some of our neighbors sell soft drinks, cell phone loads and etc but  items for sale  are not as varied as in a sari-sari store and it is not advertised outside their unit too because using your unit for business is prohibited by the PMO (Property Management Office.)

The third adjustment is with parking spaces. In Cavite, we don’t have a problem in parking because it’s okay to park your car by the road but here you really need to have a parking space and the problem is,  the ratio of parking to a unit is not 1:1 so you really have to decide as soon as possible if you will purchase a parking or not. We bought a parking space for our car but now that my wife was issued another car from her company, I need to find a permanent parking for it soon. 

Have you ever felt limited by the condo rules and regulations here?
No, because we’re aware of that even before we  moved in  and I understand that we need those rules to maintain order in this community, preserve the beauty of the  buildings and common areas and to ensure that everyone is enjoying their right to privacy as well as the amenities that this project offers. Rules like, no laundry hanging at the balcony; you can only play basketball up to 10pm; no noise at the corridors; no visitors allowed to use the swimming pool during weekends and holidays and many others are all fine with us. We don’t feel somewhat limited whatsoever. 

What do you like best here in Royal Palm Residences?
 Aside from the fact that this has the biggest amenity area of about one hectare, we really like this clubhouse because compared to other clubhouses we’ve seen that only has an open space and a pool, this clubhouse offers more. It has couches and coffee tables where you can relax and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings; we have a nice gym here, function rooms for small and big gatherings like meetings, parties and Sunday masses and there’s free Wi-fi too.

 It’s very relaxing here. You don’t need to go out of town like in Laguna or other resorts to have this kind of relaxing atmosphere.  Just step out of your door and there you have it.  The amenities and surroundings here are truly resort-inspired. 

So would you say that DMCI’s promise of resort style living was delivered beyond expectation? 
Definitely yes!

How about the flood level during Ondoy?
We don’t live here yet when that happened but when I asked around, they said that only the basement parking of some of the buildings got flooded since it is at level with the main  road outside, though I'm not so sure about it, but the amenities area like the swimming pool and the open ground was not affected at all.

They say that one disadvantage of living in a condo is having noisy neighbors. Are you experiencing this problem in your unit?
So far we don’t have issues like that. I think my two boys are the ones making the noise around but we haven’t heard from our neighbors so far.(laughs)  Our neighbors have kids too but I think the reason why we don’t experience noise problems is because the atmosphere here is somewhat so tranquil that you wouldn’t think of creating unnecessary noise to disrupt it.  

The only noise we hear right now is the ongoing construction of the two high-rise towers adjacent to our building but it’s tolerable because they stop working at 5pm and they don’t work during Sundays

What can you say about the community in general, do you mingle with your neighbors?
I would say that this is a warm community. Yes, we mingle with our neighbors because there are many fun activities here that let us gather and work together. Would you believe that in Cavite, I don’t go out that much to mingle with our neighbors but now that we live here, I’ve totally changed. I go out to play basketball regularly and  have met new friends not just in our building but in the whole community. We even had a basketball tournament here. Each building has a team and even our security guards and maintenance personnel have their own teams. I remember one time before a game, the team of security personnel jokingly said, “We’re bound to lose because we are all guards, we have no forward nor center player.” (We all laughed.)

We also had trick or treat here for the children last Halloween and we even had an inter building spookiest lobby contest where all neighbors work together to put creepy decorations in each of our building lobby. Our PMO judged the contest. We had so much fun that time.

We also celebrate mass here every Sunday and each Sunday, sponsorship is assigned to a building cluster and the neighbors in that cluster contribute for the expenses like flowers and prepare simple food like lugaw (porridge)  that we all share after the mass. 

What can you say about the Property Management Team of Royal Palm?
Well, generally they are okay in terms of organizing community events and maintaining the common areas especially the swimming pool but our problem is sometimes we have requests that are taken for granted. We had several bookings for the function rooms that were not handled well and the slot we supposedly reserved was given to others. Things like that. Although they do something to resolve their lapses but there are times that they couldn’t resolve it anymore. My wife had several issues like that and it really annoyed her. I hope that it won’t happen again in the future. 

Anything you want to improve here in Royal Palm Residences?
Not much really but have you noticed that there is no single trash bin in this clubhouse and near the cabanas? I don’t know if they really intended it that way to prevent smelly garbage but I hope they put a few covered trash bins around here soon for the convenience of those who are passing time in the clubhouse.

Thank you very much for gracing this interview and I hope we can visit you again next time for a swimming.
Yes, that would be great and bring your family along so we can have a picnic by the pool. 

That was it. It was truly a beautiful day for us. I hope you now have a clearer picture of what life is like living in Royal Palm Residences. 

Live a Beautiful Life!

Ryan Rillorta
Real Estate Broker
PRC Reg. # 5578

PS. The two high-rise towers of Royal Palm Residences namely Rawai and Kamala is now pre-selling and will be completed on the first quarter of 2013 and 2014 respectively. Comprised of 1BR, 2BR and 3BR units. Be part of Royal Palm's warm community. Contact me for details.


  1. Hi! I was the 'another friend' that the author mentioned. I wanna be a witness as I saw the place myself. The place is really cool. What I really like about this place is the security, neatness, and its stillness. Actually, I'm considering of getting a place there.

  2. Thanks Ken, Now you know the reason why I asked you to come with me. =)

  3. Fell into trap! I knew it! But seriously, it was nice. I get to experienced entering an elegant community.


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