Nabudol ka na ba? If you had been asked this a year ago, you would have thought of small business scams, networking frauds, and credit card cheats, among others. However, our lives took a different turn ever since the community quarantine was imposed last year, including the definition of the term ‘budol’.
If you are familiar with the words inverter aircon, Irish Spring soap, 24/7 aircon challenge, team kahoy, and team puti—then you are probably one of the 2.6 million members of the trending Facebook group, Home Buddies.
Home Buddies: The Birth
This massive group actually originated as an Instagram account called Nobi Home. Frances Lim Cabatuando, a full-time copywriter and blogger, put up this account to record her home improvement journey.
One fateful day in September 2020, she launched a Facebook group as an avenue to play the “Minimalism” game with her friends. This game involved decluttering for 30 days, and the person who got rid of most stuff wins.
Little did she know that this small group would soon grow into a community of Filipino homeowners eager to share their success stories in building their dream homes.
What Makes It So Special?
A lot of people may be intrigued about the popularity of Home Buddies. What is the recipe for this Facebook group to turn into a hit in just a short period of time? In an interview, Cabatuando said that it is most likely because the present situation made people realize the importance of having comfort in their homes. It took a pandemic for people to grasp that their houses were not mere sleeping quarters, but places which they can call theirs.
Dubbed as ‘the local Pinterest’— the group sends hope to Filipinos that they can easily achieve their dream houses. “It’s an inspiration feed but at the same time you know that it’s achievable kasi nabibili ‘yan sa Pilipinas, bahay ‘yan ng Pilipino,” Cabatuando explained.
Another thing that distinguishes Home Buddies is the multitude of inspirational stories from different people on their journey of building and designing their architectural masterpieces.It is like watching a telenovela, where people go through different kinds of hardships before they have achieved their dream homes. You can scroll through the page with ease and find story after story—countless testimonies that fuel the fire of those who are yet to reach their visions.
The Home Buddies Culture
Over time, members of the group gradually became closer to one another and formed a community. The group was likened to a barangay, where Cabatuando was referred to as the ‘mayora’ and her moderators were called the ‘tanods’. Meanwhile, the members address each other as ‘kapitbahays‘ or neighbors. “We’re all just buddies here—kapitbahays, friends—so anyone is free to share and speak up. It doesn’t matter how your house looks, or how much your budget is, as long as you’re interested in improving your home, the group is your safe space,” said Frances.
“We are fostering a community na tayo-tayo ‘yung magtutulungan because tayo-tayo ‘yung may kailangan. That’s the culture that we want to have in the group,” the mayora further explained.
Speaking of culture, subgroups later emerged in the group as the members increased exponentially. One of the most popular were #TeamPuti who are fans of IKEA-style minimalism, #TeamKahoy who are fans of wooden interiors, and #TeamNative refers to those who love to integrate native materials in their homes.
The Monday Market is one of the regular events hosted by this online community. Since the group is all about home improvement, small and large businesses will naturally want to promote their products. To preserve the original purpose of the group, Cabatuando has only allotted Monday where selling is allowed on the group. They do this in a very organized manner where products are categorized and the sellers have to comment on the details of their products in a systematic way.
Other activities include Friendship Day on the 18th of each month, where the neighbors are encouraged to exchange items which they no longer use but can be beneficial to other members. The Budolletin Board, on the other hand, is a free space where promos exclusive to members are posted. Aside from these, there are also games, challenges, giveaways, exclusive discounts, and tanod topic of the day to keep the kapitbahays entertained.
Trends, Challenges, and Future Plans
As the population of the community becomes bigger, discussions have also expanded on a wider perspective. “Hindi na lang tayo pang-Instagram at pang-budol, we’ve grown into the go-to group for all things home—from interior design, home improvement tips, home buying, legal concerns, and even the construction of homes,” Cabatuando explained.
Kapitbahays have also begun to post tips, hacks, memes, and ask for advice on a plethora of things such as applying for loans, recommendations for products, and choosing energy-efficient appliances for their spaces.
“Habang dumadami ang posts and topics sa group na ito, nagiging complicated na rin for us ang pag-evaluate ng posts. One wrong information can cause serious trouble to the homes and lives of our kapitbahays,” the mayora recently confessed in a group announcement. With regards to this, Frances and the tanods are keen on reviewing all the posts and declining those which may not be safe for the community.
To accommodate the community’s rapid growth, Mayora happily announced that they will now be collaborating with the United Architects of the Philippines Anti-Illegal Practice group to learn the correct process of building a house. The founder believes that by collaborating with experts, they will be able to avoid or even eliminate problems in the homes of all members. “We hope to bridge the gap between Architects and our Kapitbahays to make sure na maayos at safe tayong lahat at home… Lahat tayo, ano man ang estado sa buhay, sigurado makikinabang dito.”
In a Nutshell
In the end, what was termed to be a ‘budol’ was proven to be very helpful for the members of the group. Even when the kapitbahays claim to have been scammed with the items that they have purchased, it does more benefit than damage, as they can learn from the experiences of other people. There is indeed a reason why the group became a hit, and as the testimonies of other members continue to inspire the majority, Home Buddies’ popularity will not cease to augment.
LAYOUT BY: Casey R. Aguilos
PHOTO SOURCE(S): HB Facebook page