When I first moved to Cebu City in the Philippines, I started looking for an apartment within days. It took a lot of Googling, map checking, and asking around to narrow down to the neighborhood I wanted to check out IT Park in Lahug. But from there, the process of finding a place was pretty easy and even fun. In the end, I got an apartment at Asia Premier Residences there, and I’ll tell you why I chose that one.
The Residences at Asia Premier
First off, it’s not like I had a lot of options there, as IT Park only has three apartment buildings. The first and most popular, Avida Towers, has a great location, in the ‘back’ of IT Park right across the street from the big park where they have the weekend night markets that are really a blast. It’s also kitty corner from Shaka; the Hawaiian themed resto bar built around a huge old tree that’s one of my favorite places to hang out in IT Park.
But going inside, Avida wasn’t as impressive. I looked at a couple of studios or one bedroom apartments that ran about $500 a month – way too expensive for what you’re getting there, as they seemed to have no real charm or utility other than the location. Avida does have a swimming pool that looks nice, but I was shocked that a condo complex that big doesn’t have a gym. Actually, they only had an outdoor area with a couple of calisthenic machines like you’d see in a public park but nothing else. Avida also lacked any real nice central lobby or hang out areas.
The next stop was Calyx Tower, which looks so cool from the outside – like a space aged Jetsons apartment building. The lobby, too, was gorgeous, with white marble and huge modern silvery light fixtures. But again, the apartments are constructed like little boxes, which is fine if you’re in downtown Tokyo but a little ridiculous in Cebu. I was impressed by the gym in Calyx, but not by the price tag – about $550 and up just starting for a tiny place.
So when I found Asia Premier Residences as an afterthought, I knew immediately it was home. Located on a smaller side street but over a Krispy Kreme on the corner, Asia Premier is much smaller and less well known than the other two. In fact, it has about 17 floors if I remember correctly, but I must have only seen 20 residents the whole six months I lived there!
The lobby is very nice, modern, and comfortable, but also simple and not over-the-top extravagance. Taking one of two elevators up, I found my studio apartment on the sixth floor with a great view overlooking the bustling street below. The layout was also good in this small place, with a modern full use kitchen, nice new cabinets, a fold-down murphy bed, and the best part, floor to ceiling windows on one whole side of the unit.
In the end, they charged me 20,000 Pesos a month – or $400. I had no major complaints, although the big window did heat up quickly (although the AC worked fine and they had heavy curtains), but the only thing lacking was the bed, which is fine for a few nights but too squeaky and unsubstantial for a permanent bed. But the view was killer and the location optimal, and Asia Premier even has a small but very nice infinity pool on the top and a fitness room that’s OK for a quick workout when you don’t want to leave on a rainy day. In all, Asia Premier served its purpose, and I highly recommend it over your other more expensive options in IT Park.
Thanks for reading – I’ll have many more travel tips and reviews coming soon.