Let’s say you own a house in the Philippines. Just your average house in an average middle-class subdivision in Cavite, say. It’s not the best-looking house in the block, but heck, it’s proudly yours and you have spent quite a fortune having it built.

image Unfortunately, you are still abroad and couldn’t quite yet decide on whether to live there permanently or not. You don’t like the idea of having it rented, because you want it ready for you each time you go back for short visits. The concept of having other people live there is just…ghastly. You want the place all for your own.

So for the moment it’s just sitting there, unoccupied. And because the subdivision has tall perimeter walls and gates guarded 24/7 by security guards, you sort of feel assured that nothing will happen to the house.

One day, your caretaker informs you that there has been a forced entry into your house. How would you feel?

(a) Outraged. First at the intruder who had the nerve to break into your house, and second, at the incompetent guys who were supposed to be guarding the place.

(b) Indifferent. It happens, after all, it’s a Third-World country. Charge the losses to experience.

(c) Contemplative. By george, how did the burglar get in? Now, how could the locks be reinforced so incidents like these could be prevented?

(d) Vengeful. You feel like rigging the house with traps so that scums will get what’s coming to ’em. Give them what they deserve!

(e) Amused. That’s because you anticipated that somehow, somebody would eventually find out that the house is unoccupied most of the time, and so wisely enough, didn’t leave any valuables there. There’s virtually nothing worth stealing, unless the thieves are really that intent on stealing heavy furnitures. 😛 And because you also learned that the thief only managed to steal two things: the metal thingy on the gas burner (where the flames emanate from), and one small non-stick frying pan. Of all things!

(f) Feel sorry. What would have driven someone to do something like that? Only the hard-pressed for money would do it, you guess. Someone down on his luck, living a hand to mouth existence. At saka baka talagang kailangan lang niyang magluto? Di ba?

Well, that’s a roundup of the emotions I’m feeling right now, after hearing the unfortunate incident at our residence. I know, of course, that we have to quickly find ways to prevent something similar in the future from occurring again. Extra heavy-duty locks. Metal grills on the doors. Gaah. Personally I hate grills – they just ruin my concept of a "home sweet home." In our efforts to keep other people out, we risk turning our homes into something that closely resembles a prison.

On a positive note, the property manager of the subdivision said that they will pay for the repairs of the damage to our property. The damage is actually minor – the intruder had made a hole on the door to the master’s bedroom, in order to unlock the knob from the inside. He or she probably thought that there was something valuable inside, what with the door closed. What a disappointment it must have been to just find old pambahay (house) clothes in the drawers and cabinets!

Now, I don’t know if they would pay for the stolen frying pan and stove accessories, though. Naku, pano na kami magpiprito niyan, aber?

It’s a wake-up call, my sis remarked when I told her about it. Talk about one of the ugly realities of living in da Pilipins!

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8 Responses to Burglary!

  1. Karmi says:

    Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. I’d feel very angry. Even if nothing valuable was stolen, I’d still feel that my property was violated. Just the idea of someone breaking and entering in my home…gives me the creeps.

  2. bingskee says:

    i was amused by emotion letter e 😀 and was amused more with the thought of a burglar carrying the big, heavy furniture ha ha

    true, this is a reality that can be haunting at times. if one is better off living outside the Philippines, i think it’s a better idea.

  3. bw says:

    I’m glad your house wasn’t vandalized. That would be the ultimate turn off :(

    Alam mo naman sa Pinas, if people could find something valuable in a garbage dump, how much more in a vacant house? I’m sure your non-stick frying pans would interest these pathetic robbers who are ready to lay their hands on anything of value :) Just have it managed well by the subdivision – have them install alarms if possible.

    I also agree with you on having some relatives live in the house esp if they are slobs or indifferent, it will just ruin the relationship coz it happened to me duh. I booted them out, had the house for rent and ultimately sold it coz I couldn’t take the irritation any longer. Kaya ngayon, I have no more worries hehe :)

    Now I’m thinking of investing again on a condo perhaps so it can be properly managed. Dunno what happened to me but I now hate the sight of the crowd, the noise etc.. I need to be re-tuned it seems :)

  4. caryn says:

    man kathy, at least you didn’t leave anything valuable in there 😉 pero minsan nakakapanghina rin na manakawan kahit papano no?

  5. kathy says:

    Karmi, my thoughts exactly! Unfortunately, I’m sorry to say that the homeowner’s association handling our case hasn’t been very supportive. I hope we can resolve it soon.

  6. kathy says:

    Bingskee, if there’s anything I’m really grateful for living in Japan, it’s the security. At least I can leave my home there right now and not have to worry about anybody breaking in. This is not to say that there’s no such thing as burglary in Japan, but such incidents are relatively rare compared to those of other countries. We also have a high-tech security camera and alarm in operation all over the building, so that’s even added security.

  7. kathy says:

    BW, good thing that the house wasn’t vandalized! That would have been such a disaster, mapapauwi kami bigla ng Pinas niyan, hahaha.
    About having relatives in the house – I have some experience in this as well, but it was the other way around: I was the relative living in someone else’s house. So I guess I know exactly how it feels – if it’s not your house, you really won’t take care of it. You don’t have the same emotional and financial investment as the owner does.
    A condo would probably be more manageable, but perhaps you’ll have to pay a high price for the maintenance fees.

  8. kathy says:

    Caryn, yes no valuables are in that house except for some very big and heavy furniture and really lousy, cheapo appliances, hehe. But we’re not taking any chances. We’re likely going to ship some of our things here in the UK to Pinas, so we really need to fortify the fortress, so to speak.

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