A Guide to BF Homes Parañaque

With so many residential enclaves found in this metropolis to serve as home to its growing population, (housing issues aside, but that’s another story) a few can perhaps rival the colorful history and vibrant atmosphere of this residential community in the southern part of the  metropolis. Today, the Urban Roamer will be exploring BF Homes Parañaque. which was also known largest residential community, even in Asia.

BF Homes Paranaque

Beginnings of BF Homes

Telling the story BF Homes Parañaque would not be complete without mentioning the pioneering efforts of the man who envisioned it, Tomas Aguirre. Coming from a family whose business was, and still is, mainly in the pawnshop business, he wanted to venture beyond the pawnshop business, Thus, he established Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank* in 1964. With its innovations introduced in the Philippine banking industry, the bank soon became one of the top savings banks in the country, and its success gave Aguirre the needed capital to venture in a new business: land development.

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an Aguirre pawnshop in BF Homes, possibly owned by an Aguirre kin

Aguirre set his sights to develop on what was then a sprawling 768-hectare agricultural land in straddling mainly Parañaque and neighboring towns of Las Piñas and Muntinlupa. With Banco Filipino’s stellar reputation then, he decided to append the bank’s initials in the realty development he established: BF Homes Incorporated. What was to become BF Homes was opened up for sale in 1968; from then until the 1970s sales skyrocketed  as more and more families settled in, transforming a vast farmland into a bustling residential community of mostly middle-class households.

Along with the bustling property sales and the growing population in the area as a result, the BF Homes area, and southern Greater Manila as a whole, experienced a significant boost in commercial activity.

Changes in the community

Things unfortunately got bad in the area during the 1980s as the Aguirres found themselves out of favor anymore with the Marcos government, thus fleeing the country in the process.

Also at that time, the residents of BF Homes in Parañaque organized themselves and soon took over the administration of the community from BF Homes Inc. With the residents now in control, in what can be considered a puzzling move, they decided to divide the whole BF Homes area into 82 separate enclaves, each having their own homeowners’ associations. Thus what was known as the largest residential village in Asia became more of an informal tag now, though these separate homeowners’ associations have been organized under one umbrella group, the United BF Homeowners Association Inc. (UBFHAI) In addition, the whole area is also organized under one barangay called Barangay BF Homes.

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Apart from the changes in administration, there were also noticeable changes seen around the neighborhood of BF Homes Parañaque. Such a glaring example can be found along the stretch of one of the main roads that passes through the heart of the BF Homes Aguirre Avenue. Formerly a village road that is off-limits to non-BF Homes residents without a pass, it was soon opened up by the Parañaque city government as a commercial zone in response to the rise of commercial establishments throughout that stretch of road. Despite the protestations of UBFHAI, the courts sided with the government on that dispute. Thus, the road was opened and has contributed to the development in the area as a whole, which may be argued as a positive one.

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A Koreatown in BF Homes

In recent years there has been an influx of Korean in the area, making BF Homes Parañaque into some Koreatown of some sort. It has been said that you can find a Korean household or business every 5th or 6th door of BF Homes. Whether this is an exaggeration or not, there’s no denying that these expats from the Land of the Morning Calm have a strong presence here. Aguirre Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares that passes through the heart of BF Homes, offers such an example, with Korean restaurants, groceries, and churches can be found along its entire stretch. And speaking of restaurants, these Korean restos have contributed to the growing popularity of the area as a food strip haven.

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The BF Food Strip

Perhaps the biggest change that transformed this area is the growing commercial activity brought about by restaurants and other food joints that sprouted in recent years. While these establishments started out as small businesses catering mainly to the residents of BF Homes, thanks to word of mouth and influence of social media, these establishments found themselves gaining more customers not only coming from the BF Homes area.

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before it became the restaurant we know today, Sinangag Express started out at this spot along President’s Avenue in BF Homes

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another business that started out in BF Homes before hitting big is Conti’s Bakeshop and Restaurant along Aguirre Avenue

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Little Quiapo started not in BF Homes but along España in Manila in 1949, which soon became famous for its halo-halo

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famous in Tanauan, Batangas, this bakery operates another branch found here in BF Homes

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one of the few Irish restaurants in the metropolis

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Despite the popularity, one thing that has to be appreciated about these restaurants at BF Homes is that they have maintained a neighborhood ambience despite the dangers of over-commercialism in the now commercial zone of BF Homes Parañaque. The support and patronage especially of the residents have been a factor as well in the success of these businesses.

BF’s shopping scene

Thanks to the increase in commercial activity, BF Parañaque today has been transformed from gated community to a micro-town with different supermarkets, stores, even a mall that recently opened.

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Still, the most popular shopping place in BF Parañaque is the Good Shepherd Bazaar, which is home to different stalls that sell clothing, electronic items, and some food stalls that offer specialty items on their menu.

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In developments like this, there is always that danger of over-commercialism that hangs out there. In such cases, it is not easy for the community to address such matters. While  the story is not all good and rosy and not everyone is happy with how it all turned out, it is comforting to know that the community of BF Homes Parañaque has somehow been able to face these challenges, having managed to evolve while striving to maintain its residential character it has long been known for.

acknowledgements as well to the site BFHomes.net

© The Urban Roamer

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