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There are few things that made the pandemic year/s bearable, and no doubt the phenomenal Facebook group Home Buddies is one of them. In just a year, the private group has managed to sign up over 2.8 million members from all walks of life, from everywhere in the Philippines and abroad.

To call Home Buddies a home improvement group would be to undersell its spirit and underestimate its real-world influence. It’s a very Pinoy corner of the Internet where members call each other “kapitbahay”, and where the group’s founder, Frances Lim Cabatuando, is referred to as the “mayora”. Home Buddies terms like “budol”  have leaked into everyday usage, while popular posts have the power to drive hordes of buyers to stores both online and in real life.

While interior design and home improvement remains the core of the group, it’s become a place where users share important life milestones—a recent post, for example, had a member talking about dreaming of Hallmark card-worthy Christmas scenes when she was growing up living at the back of a store. She posted this with a photo from the past Christmas, where her children were watching a movie in their living room, with a tall Christmas tree in the corner.

It’s posts like this that has made millions of people stick around in this virtual neighborhood. But there also have been a number of genuine trends and memorable moments that the group kicked off. Here are some of the best from Home Buddies’ first year:

DIY Mirror Wall 

There was an explosion of mirror projects over the pandemic—maybe it was for all those Instagram and TikTok posts everyone started to do while on lockdown.

#TeamKahoy and #TeamPuti

Inspired by Scandinavian and modern Japanese aesthetics, Home Buddies kapitbahays used the hashtags #TeamKahoy and #TeamPuti to clue other members in to their minimalist finds.

Bea Alonzo’s Chicken Egg Basket

A post referencing actress Bea Alonzo’s quirky egg basket, which was spotted in a vlog showcasing her farmhouse, led to this trend.

Irish Spring Challenge

Essential oil diffusers is so 2019. The year’s biggest discovery was that all one needed for a shower-fresh room was a bar of Irish Spring soap by the air conditioner. Because of its popularity, Irish Spring began to sell out from stores. In a case of If-you-can’t-beat-’em-join-’em, the brand ended up partnering with Home Buddies for a giveaway! 

 

24/7 Aircon Challenge

Somebody started the rumor that keeping on the air conditioner results in a reduction in electricity consumption. Eager to verify this, many were quick to take part in what became the 24/7 AC Challenge. But while a few people—those with inverters— came out ahead, most were left cracking jokes to soften the blow of the bills they received.

This article, Social media phenomenon Home Buddies is just a year old, but already has 2.8M members, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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