December 26, 2018

Aspace Manila - After Three Months

Working remotely could get boring at times, and if you have colleagues working around the same area as you, you might opt to meetup face to face just to have a real human to talk to in person.

For college kids back when I was still part of that age group, the usual goto place would be coffee shops. But now, we got co-working spaces littered everywhere that usually have unlimited coffee!

Our team opted to go for co-working spaces, jumping from provider to provider every two to three months depending on the current scrum master. For the past three months, we opted to try out ASPACE Manila, and by the end of our stay, we had mix feelings about the place. Let’s drill it down from what’s good to what we personally dislike.

The Good

In-House Barista. If you’re going to pay around twice to three times more than you would rather pay if you met in a coffee shop, the space should at least be way more comfy, or have way faster and stable internet, or have their own barista. Just having brewed coffee in the corner would not cut it if the internet isn’t remarkable or the place isn’t as comfortable as your money’s worth.

ASPACE has their own barista, albeit until 11am only, but at least, they got someone that would deliver your preferred coffee to your table. And after 11am, you still have access to their brewed coffee, although I wouldn’t recommend it (Two of my collegues got their tummys upside down after drinking their brewed coffee at the meeting room on two separate occasions).

Even though I do not recommend their free brewed coffee, I would still add this up as one of the answers if someone asked me: “Convince me to try aspace out”.

Indie/Creative/Startup Vibe. We tried out ASPACE Greenbelt, and their coworking lounge is a fresh take for an office space, at least here in the Philippines. It felt more like a coffee shop than a office space, minus the noise in the coffee shop. I really appreciate the thought and effort that they put into setting up the coworking space. The previous place we went before ASPACE had a corporate vibe, which is why when we switched over to ASPACE, the ambience became a selling point.

Friendly Staff. This point is underrated, until you go through establishments that have super bad customer service. ASPACE always have staff working in the lounge, which is great if in case you have inquiries, or just need something from them. Also, they would know if the net is crappy since they’re most likely using the same internet as you do.

Location. Being just next to Greenbelt is a plus, specially if you’re looking for a place to eat.

The Meh

The Seats and Tables. They weren’t uncomfortable, but they weren’t comfy either. The chairs with back support is plastic, so you would want to stand up from time to time. I just tried sitting on their stools once, and I can say that if I would have to sit on those for more than once, I would put this point to the Bad. The stools looked gorgeous, but uncomfortable… It felt like it was meant to be sat on for a maximum of one hour, just like how long your longest stay would usually be when you eat in a fast food restaurant.

Air conditioning. It never was hot, but there were times that it was colder than usual. I usually do not bring a jacket when I go there since our initial impression on the place was that the temperature was just right. Which was the case most of the time… until the time it was colder that I couldn’t get my work done due to the number of times I had to go out because it was just too cold.

The Bad

Internet. The Lounge internet speed was consistent “most” of the time (There were some occasions where it was noticeably slower), but it’s only 5mbps. The previous place we went to had 20mbps minimum. Renting a meeting room would allow us to connect to a dedicated Wifi, but the speed is only upto 10mbps… Not to mention that one of the meeting room’s connection isn’t consistent.

If internet speed is important in your line of work, and 5mbps isn’t a speed that you would consider adequate, I suggest that you look elsewhere. Getting a separate internet line to bump the speed would be an add-on with a steep price IIRC.

Meeting rooms. The meeting rooms were initially a Meh until they changed the tables to a very impractical meeting table. I do not know what went through their heads thinking that a meeting table that has different heights on each side would be a great idea, not to mention that some of the “area” was too low that you would hurt your back if you had to type for quite sometime while in the meeting… unless their idea was that you should use your laps for your laptops, and the table be used for something else.

If you would need to go on a “normal” meeting, I’d suggest that you reserve the much pricier meeting room at the 3rd floor, rather than the one at the 5th floor. The 5th floor’s meeting room exchanged usuability for aesthetics.

Location. I added this as a Pros, but I had to also add this here as one of ASPACE’s Cons. If in case you work until 5pm, then you might opt to work until 9pm. The traffic in Makati is really bad that you’d be better off staying in the office til late at night. Whether you’re driving or commuting, Makati is one of the worst place to be.

Conclusion

If you’re just looking for a coworking space to do your work and meetup with your collegues once in a blue moon, then you should try ASPACE at least once. The vibe is unique, and the coffee is great. The location makes it really accessible, although it also suffers from Makati’s rush hour traffic.

I wouldn’t recommend this place if internet speed is important (ie. your work requires you to frequently upload or download large files), or if you’re picky with the seats.

All-in-all, I say that our three months stay with ASPACE wasn’t nightmarish, nor was it outstanding that I would go about telling everyone and their mom that they should definitely try it out. If someone would ask me “How’s ASPACE?”, I’d say: “Okay lang”.

Sorry, no pics. I guess I’ll take pics for my blog on our next venue: The Loft in Ortigas

© Daniel Cefram 2018