If you haven’t heard of it by now, Home Buddies is the largest Facebook community in the Philippines and the rest of the Asia Pacific region. Less than three years old, the group has become the go-to reference for over 3.1 million home enthusiasts trying to find worthy budols, solutions to home-related problems, inspiration for their next renovation project, and more.
Behind its massive success is Frances Lim Cabatuando, known as the community’s “Mayora”, akin to a head of barangays’ residents (or kapitbahays, as the members are fondly called). During her appearance in an episode of the Wake Up With Jim & Saab podcast, she admitted to being retrenched during the height of the pandemic, before Home Buddies was born. For a period when travel restrictions were heavily imposed, the advertising agency she was with had no need for an Associate Creative Director handling tourism.
“When I wasn’t doing anything, I tried to do everything, like nag freelance ako. I tried to buy and sell things online. I tried to, yun nga, focus na lang on creating content. I even tried vlogging,” she said. “Sometimes it’s luck, timing, but also just use your skills and the insights that you have.”
She eventually found her way to building Home Buddies, where she used her experience in branding, writing, community management, and a little bit of design. While her parents were always supportive, they had no idea she was struggling financially because she didn’t want to worry them. Instead, she focused on trying to do well on her own. It helped that she received encouragement from her friends and even strangers letting her know how she helped them in some way and how they look forward to more of her recommendations.
When asked what made her think that she finally made it, she recounted how her management, NYMA, reached out to her.
“They said, ‘You know you can do this full-time. We believe in you,’” Frances said. “When they showed me the things that I could do for 2022, yun na, I left [advertising] agency completely.”
For Frances, it’s a combination of luck, hard work, and someone to have faith in you to push you forward.
True to Home Buddies’ core purpose—a place for people to help each other build and live in their dream homes, Frances went on to provide tips for the podcast hosts on which accounts to follow for home ideas (aside from Home Buddies, of course) and how to get rid of mosquitoes and flies. In another episode, she shared her best budols and warned listeners of the worst ones she fell victim to. Learn more of Frances’s hacks and products she swears by in the Wake Up With Jim & Saab episode and Ang Academy Awards 2022 episode.
As a NYMA exclusive talent, Frances continues to expand her career in content creation, hosting, and more. Ultimately, it’s her goal to grow Home Buddies outside of Facebook and produce more educational content for all “adulting home improvements”.
NYMA’s vision is to be the home of the best Filipino talents in the country and the world. The agency is one of seven brands under tradigital entertainment company KROMA. To know more about NYMA, visit nyma.ph.