It’s been a year and four months since I have permanently moved to my hometown in Mexico, Pampanga, due to our company’s work from home setup. Before the pandemic happened, I used to rent a condominium unit on Taft Ave. because my office is just near the area. Before that, during my college days, I lived in Diliman, Quezon City, where my school was located. All in all, I have stayed in Metro Manila for almost 10 years now.
As an original probinsyana, I have been contemplating which setup is better and more sustainable”•life in the province or life in the city. To answer this, I would like to analyze living situations using three factors: carbon footprint for sustainability, time spent with family and career growth.
The first is the carbon footprint. The Nature Conservancy defined carbon footprint as the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) generated by people’s actions. When I lived in Taft, my carbon footprint was higher than now that I am living in Pampanga. In Taft, I used to commute every day, eat out in fast food restaurants that utilize single-use plastic utensils, buy coffee placed in plastic cups, etc. Those day-to-day activities alone contribute to the increase of my carbon footprint.
On the other hand, when I moved back to my hometown because of the new work-from-home setup of our company, I think that I significantly reduced my carbon footprint. Because of our work-from-home arrangement, there is no need for me to commute every day. In terms of food sources, my mother serves home-cooked meals daily. There is no need to buy coffee in plastic cups because I could prepare my own in the morning.
Little did I know that my regular daily routines back in Metro Manila is contributing to the increasing carbon footprint in the environment.
Next important factor for me in choosing which setup is better is the chance to spend time with my family. When I was staying in Taft, I go home in Pampanga every after two weekends. I travel every Saturday morning via bus. The commute takes around two hours. So, I just have less than 24 hours to stay in our house to rest and catch up with my family. Then I go back to Taft every Sunday afternoon. This has been my routine for the past years. The time that I spent at home was not enough to fuel me for the incoming workweek. There were also some months that I only go to Pampanga at least once a month because of the school and workload that I have.
Now that I’m staying in Pampanga, I get to see my family every day. We eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together. I get to catch up with them the whole weekend. This rest and catching up with my family help me to regain energy every weekend that helps me push through with every incoming workweek.
Lastly, I also consider my work setup to assess which living setup is more sustainable. During the time when I report daily to work, I get to see my colleagues and my work friends every day. We get to converse and chat about how work is going, making work-related stress more manageable.
Now that we are already working from home, my colleagues and I get to meet only virtually. Catching up became harder as everyone in our team is busy doing his or her own work deliverable. It seems that workload became heavier because we are closely monitored to ensure that we still deliver outputs despite the work from home setup.
So, going back to the question, which setup is better and more sustainable for me? In general, I feel that living in the province is better and more sustainable for me right now. But I hope that one day, Metro Manila would also become a sustainable place.
The author is an MBA student at the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business, DLSU. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.