The “minor” millennial migration to quieter rural areas—specifically island towns—surged in the middle of the pandemic. We all know that one person who decided to leave city life behind for the peace of island living somewhere in the surf towns of Siargao and La Union. And who can blame them? For one, urban rents and the overall cost of living are skyrocketing.
Living a nomadic life so close to the sea and working remotely in one small cafe after the other sound like a dream. Plus, it is far cheaper paying for your own flat and comes with a self-congratulatory feeling of accomplishment having “helped” local tourism thrive. (Its subsequent gentrifying effect is another essay in itself. Not this one, obviously.)[READ: Why Poblacion’s gentrification is problematic]
You don’t even have to own property—not that we ever could in this economy. There are plenty of transient living spaces that cater specifically to restless millennials who are willing to squeeze themselves into tiny quarters in exchange for a sunset view and beaches you can walk on every day.[READ: Going to the beach is good for your health]
Still, there are dignified tiny spaces that don’t force you to give up your life of maximalism (just check this YouTube channel dedicated to them). And no, you don’t have to go to Japan—or god forbid, Hong Kong—to experience it.
A little (rentable) home in LU
In La Union at least, what you lack in floor square footage you can overcompensate with the fact that the beach is just a walk away. And in the case of Burt Little Home, a few functional features also can’t hurt.
The new concept is born from the same mantra that brought Burt Select Shop to life—“a home-style environment where we can connect to people on a deeper level” minus the literal clutter. So naturally, it is an extension of the minimalist multi-use space.
Burt Little Home is slated to open this August to travelers seeking slow-living shelter during the rainy season. Just like its sibling concept, the little home is brimming with natural wood finishes and natural light combined with the integration of tropical elements (there’s a tree growing inside!).
The construction started sometime in May with a few tweaks on an already existing house, Burt’s Troy Ventura said. “The major ones [were] the skylight, shower, and the kitchen. I also [needed] to buy a water tank because the water supply here is unstable.” He also worked closely with a contractor to stay on budget amid rising construction supply costs, something they were also able to accomplish with Burt Select Shop but at a P100,000 cap.
A month or so later, however, they had to stop construction for three weeks after their original contractor left. But they picked up the pace and continued on with a new one this month in hopes of finishing by July’s end.
Tiny but intentional space
Located in Ili Norte, San Juan, La Union, every nook and cranny of the rental home is well-thought-of starting with the entrance. When you open the main door, you will be met by a dark enclosed entry space intentionally constructed to create a Zen temple-inspired boundary between the inside and the outside worlds. The transition from the dark enclosed space to the bright and airy living space creates a sense of release that Ventura likens to “a portal from the profane to the sacred space.”
The bungalow has one expandable bed and one bath. “My space is ideally extra comfortable for one to two [persons] so you can focus more on your individual energy while staying in my home,” said Ventura.
If you think sleeping on one double-size bed (with a Muji Bonnell coil mattress!) sounds cramped, well, read this first: “I prepared a double-sized futon to accommodate up to four persons in case you have kids or just a group of friends who wants to interdepend with each other for a period of time.” The Japanese-style futon can be folded and stored in the cabinet during the daytime to make more space.
Ventura, who is vegan, also incorporated little details to encourage guests to live a low-impact lifestyle. These include a market bag they can use during trips to the palengke (a five-minute walk away) as well as a QR code on the wall next to the bag mount, which contains plant-based recipes. Yes, you can cook here too as it is equipped with basic cooking equipment like a stove and microwave oven.
Booking your minimalist vacation
Burt Little Home is currently in its finishing stage but you can already pre-book your stay with a 20 percent discount. A one-night stay for one to two people costs P4,650. The earliest booking date as of writing is Aug. 20.
They are also giving away a three-days-and-two-nights stay for four people on Instagram right now. All you have to do is follow their accounts, like and share their post on your story, and tag someone who you think needs to live their days a bit slower. The contest runs until Aug. 6.
Check this link to see its amenities and inclusions.