What is ‘sharing real estate for 1 hour per week’ all about?

Peace and quiet. Motionless and tranquil. This is what one would feel during Sundays in what is an incredibly busy part of Barangay Bel-Air during weekdays.  Thriving offices and restaurants in this area of the Makati CBD fetch heightened foot and vehicular traffic. Salcedo Village is part of Makati where the population on ordinary weekday is six to eight times of its night-time population, according to the Makati City government. To add, there is the popular and pioneering eventful Salcedo market on Saturdays. 

Nonetheless, the village settles from its conventional hectic work week on Sundays. Yet, a small group of folks and families, traveling on foot or by car, are observed. The venue is at the entrance hall of a modern commercial-office building. On Sunday mornings, the lobby’s wide walkways, designed to accommodate heavy foot traffic, are restricted by the temporarily arranged furniture. The hall is filled with chairs that are arranged in rows from the base of the hall to the other end.  Although chairs are comfortably spaced, they are positioned to fit in wherever possible. The arrangement specifically provides an open space meant for a center aisle. All chairs face three tables that are put together at the end of the hall to form a long table. This becomes the focal point of the arrangement. Minutes before 11 a.m., a podium is brought in and is positioned at the front. Loud speakers and microphones are wired. Then, a white cloth is placed on top of the tables, which are finally set-up as an altar. 

This temporary transformed place of worship can be found in one of the buildings in Salcedo Village. For more than 10 years, this expensive real estate has shared its assets for one hour during Sundays so that mass can be celebrated by the St. John Bosco Parish. The voices of the Pugad Boys Choir add life to the sensible and amiable homily of Father Dave Buenaventura, SDB.  

If this building were to charge rentals for the space for its weekly event, the parish will probably incur a monthly expense of about P6,000 for a one-hour occupancy of the venue per event. This is based on a calculation of P1,500 per hour for the approximately 200 square meter floor area. Note that this would not include the rental of chairs and tables, which the building administrators provide for free. The set-up and clearing are also done by the building maintenance crew.     

The alliance of two organizations, a real estate business and a parish church begets many benefits and advantages to communities, institutions and establishments it links.  

First, the celebration of the mass promotes foot traffic during the inactive hours of the commercial building. Establishments that are open for business during the time of the mass celebration generate some income. On the other end, the business of the Pugad Boys farm is also endorsed as it is able to sell its products to mass goers. 

Second, community solidarity is developed. Sunday masses cultivate volunteers from the residents in the community who help organize the celebration. Organizers put effort so that every last one is given the chance to take part in different Sunday masses. By giving them pen and paper to write their requested special intentions, which are all sequentially read before the mass starts every Sunday, petitioners feel happy that many pray for what they ask for or what they are thankful for.  Participation of mass goers are encouraged as they are tapped to read the readings and prayer for the faithful. Also, the children are not left behind. Children enthusiastically carry the collection boxes. This makes them feel an important part in a community activity.  

At the end of the mass hour, everyone waits until Father Dave completes his blessings. As Father Dave walks on the center aisle, he reaches out to bless everyone with Holy Water. Finally, it is in plain sight that parishioners greet each other. Although not everyone knows each other by name, what is obvious are the warm smiles that enfolds the hall. Although most who attend are residents in the village, it is perceptible that other people from neighborhood villages also attend the Salcedo Village mass celebration on Sundays.  

Third, together with other donors, parishioners similarly help maintain the needs of the Pugad Boys, a center for marginalized young people from ages 17 to 24.  Pugad Boys farm and Casa de Don Bosco Retreat House are located in Balete, Batangas. The farm grows organic fruits, vegetables, honey bee and ducks. Every Sunday, Father Dave takes a few minutes to impart to parishioners any updates concerning the farm and progress of the Pugad Boys. What is nice to see at the end of each celebration is the swift disappearance of the little quantity of organic produce from the farm as they are hurriedly purchased by the residents.

The partnership of the owner and management of this real estate and St. John Bosco Parish reflects corporate social responsibility. The sharing of an expensive asset for one hour every week results in something that goes beyond the actual one-hour mass celebration. It generates positive outcomes needed to constructively build communities. Building relationships is a vital factor in forming communities that promote health, learning, and well-being of people. 

Dr. Ana Liza “Pinky” Asis-Castro is a certified real estate broker. She is a faculty member of the Management and Organization Department of De La Salle University, where she teaches management courses. She is also an Assistant Professorial Lecturer in the Real Estate Management Program of DLS-College of St. Benilde. You may email her at [email protected] The views expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.

Topics: Dr. Ana Liza “Pinky” Asis-Castro
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