My Dubai Rent: the Filipino couple who pay Dh2,500 a month for a 'tranquil' Dubai studio

Ailan Lapuz shares the studio with her husband but he spends the working week in Abu Dhabi

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My Dubai Rent takes you inside a reader's home to have a look at what they pay each month, see who they live with and ask what they like and don't like

Ailan Lapuz, 36, had always shared accommodation with friends and family since moving to Dubai 14 years ago.

To save money, the Filipina mother of four co-shared apartments across different areas of the city since 2008, including busy spots in old and new Dubai.

When her children moved back to the Philippines a few years ago, client relations manager Ailan and her husband chose a location where they could live the quiet life she craved as a self-confessed introvert.

Here, she invites The National into her home.

Where do you live?

I live in Discovery Gardens. My husband and I moved to the area three years ago, but we have lived in our current property for two years.

Tell us about the type of property you live in

It’s a studio apartment but quite spacious. We have a small balcony and really relish having that little slice of outdoor space.

How much do you pay per month?

Our annual rent is Dh30,000, so that works out at Dh2,500 per month, which includes cooling charges. I think this is still a lot of money but it is great to have my own space. My husband and I used to live in Deira with our children and shared a one-bedroom apartment with my brother and his family. It was a really busy household so I enjoy the peace and quiet of where we are now, so I’m happy to pay a little more for the privilege.

How is it living in one room with your husband?

Actually, my husband works in Abu Dhabi and rents shared accommodation there. He remains in Abu Dhabi on the days he works as it is too much to travel back and forth daily, and comes home to Dubai on his off days , which is usually one or two days a week. Because of that, most of the time I’m in the apartment on my own. I’m a real introvert, a real home body, so that kind of lifestyle suits me down to the ground. I stay home a lot.

The couple's studio apartment in Discovery Gardens, Dubai. Ruel Pableo for The National

Why did you choose to live in Discovery Gardens?

When we were looking for a place to rent three years ago the rental market was quite high so we were limited on where to stay. Old Dubai was good but very crowded and I like the quiet life. We wanted our own apartment so we were on the hunt for a studio as it was within our price range. Because my husband works in Abu Dhabi we thought it would be good to be located at the far end of Dubai, closer to the highways taking him straight into the capital.

We rented a studio for one year but the rent was too high so we found this place, which was slightly cheaper and we made the move. I love how green it is in Discovery Gardens.

The areas surrounding the buildings are nice to walk around and there is a basketball court near our place, which my husband loves to use on his off days. We have a communal swimming pool too, which is great when you want to unwind and enjoy the weather.

Is the area well-connected?

Yes, just before Expo started we got a brand new Dubai Metro station on our doorstep. It’s just a few minutes’ walk from our front door, so it’s great if we want to visit malls or different areas of the city. Within walking distance of our building you will find salons, supermarkets and coffee shops too, so we have everything we need.

How have you made your house your home?

Well, we live in a studio so I guess there is only so much you can do with such little space. We have a lounge area with a sofa and TV. I have a desk and chair that I use when working from home and we have a bed.

It’s all very simple as I am a very simple woman. The kitchen area is small but I spend a lot of time there cooking dinner and lunch. I don’t really have many family photos up and the décor is just quite basic.

Do you plan on staying here for a while?

I like the area so I don't plan on moving. Rents are so high in Dubai right now so it is best to stay put. As I said I am a very simple person, an introvert, so I don't like too much change.

Because of that I think we will stay here for at least a few years.

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Updated: April 17, 2022, 4:58 AM
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