Find out why this future retirement home is one of the top rentals on Airbnb

This future retirement home has amazing narra floors, stunning views, and an envy-inducing infinity pool


Couple Stephen and Vilma Monk’s retirement home stands on a sloping lot in Terrazas de Punta Fuego. Casa Monk appears to be a humble bungalow at first glance. This has made many a visitor say, “Oh, that’s it.” Vilma laughs at the memory as this all changes once they go through the arched front doors.

The characteristic reddish hue of narra set the tone in this future retirement home. Leather and wood furniture add to the homey appeal


The first thing guests notice is the all-narra finish that is central to the design of this home. The second is that the house makes clever use of the slope. Instead of a vertical rise, the structure is built downward. Visitors walk down to reach the main floor.

The location of their retirement home was actually Stephen’s second choice; the first being in another part of the world. What followed was a discussion that soon became a very hands-on design and construction experience for the British mechanical engineer and his Filipina wife.

The wood finishes continue into the simple but elegant dining area


Going down the first flight of stairs brings guests to the main living area. The kitchen, dining space, and living room are located here. Both Stephen and Vilma love the spacious kitchen with its wall to floor narra finishes and Volga Blue granite counters.

Luxurious Volga Blue granite counters provide balance to the all-wood kitchen. This granite is one of the most attractive stones in the market and is only available in limited quantities


Continuing down the wooden staircase leads guests to the guest bedrooms and a study room that features mahogany panelling and leather seats. “When you’re sitting there looking at the aquarium with a glass of wine at night, it’s fantastic. It’s a place where you can hide away after a hard day’s work, close the door, play some music. No one can hear you, and you can’t hear them,” says Stephen.

The spacious kitchen lets Vilma indulge in her love for cooking. A small nook allows diners to enjoy casual or more intimate meals


The last flight of stairs takes you to the main floor that opens to the infinity pool. The space is a great spot for entertaining with its bar  and barbecue station. There’s also a sauna and steam room which were among Stephen’s requirements.

The beautiful infinity pool looks out to great views of the surrounding areas


The couple’s taste filters through their home, though they let their contractor take the wheel for the exteriors. They sought the help of My Dreamhome Builder Inc. headed by Ghil Lagos, who had to work with the two restrictions of Punta Fuego for the house. They needed to meet the height requirement and have a Mediterranean style structure. This resulted in the somewhat deceiving exteriors of the house.

A sauna and steam room are located just a few steps away for guests to enjoy


“We intended to maximize the terrain and views the location offered so we created a bungalow-style from the access road. There’s the added surprise when you get to the actual four-storey structure that faces the view of Punta Fuego’s beach,” explains Ghil.

The study is one of the couple’s favorite spaces with its rich mahogany panelling, aquarium wall, and leather chairs


The plan for the couple to enjoy their Batangas home is still being written as Casa Monk is among the five star-rated vacation homes on popular rental platform Airbnb. Stephen says, however, that this is a short term gig as the house is their dream retirement home. Though his work takes him and his wife away from the Philippines, they found a great way to share the house they’ve put their heart into.

The  neutral-toned rooms are simply furnished but offer glimpses of calming  greens


Their experience of having a rental home has been a delightful one as guests have flooded them with nothing but praises. “It’s a home to be enjoyed. The house has a bit of everything–nature, the sea. It’s a refreshing feeling when you wake up in the morning,” says Vilma. The couple is only too happy to share their home in the meantime with others.