The (Un)Traditional Philippines Workplace for Social Impact

A small office desk and squeaky office chair cramped in a 1 x 1 meter cube of an office. Stretch your arms to the sides, and you can just barely touch the walls of your tiny cubicle. The pantry has that coffee maker from the 1960s, the wooden table has those tacky bubblegum stuck to the bottom of it, and the couch has those mysterious stains.

Do all of these sound familiar to you?

They’re the traditional workplace scenes. But now, the work environment is slowly evolving right here in Manila. To foster creativity and productivity amongst their workers, companies sought out to find these convenient and more modernly designed co-working spaces.

These spaces provide a more quiet space than your usual coffee shop, and a less distracting environment than your home (with your comfy bed and television).

The country has even been considered by several businessmen as a good testing ground to launch and nurture startups not only because of its low cost of living, and growing young and tech-savvy population that speaks English, but also because there is plenty of room for improvement like bridging the gaps in business services, tech, and financial inclusion of the unbanked, to name a few.

So for the past few years, co-working spaces, accelerators, and incubators are slowly on the rise in this country, here are some to name a few:

Co-Working Spaces:

The Common Space

Community, Co-Work, Create, and Collaborate: these are the four core values of this small start-up. Located in Pergola Mal in Paranaque, this convenient and modern work space is surrounded by restaurants, banks, and even a supermarket. They have a diverse community of freelancers, artists, students, and professionals.

For just Php 300, you get an entire day of fast internet, comfy and several productivity-inducing spaces to choose from. They offer printing and scanning services, and even food in their pantry

The Common Space is located at the Pergola Mall, Aguirre Ave., Cor. Gaches St., Parañaque.

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The Common Space Coworking Space (image credit : The Common Space Website)

WeWork, located in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, is the first Philipine based co-working space of the famed New York-based co-working space of the same name. Adam Neumann, CEO of WeWork, focuses on building community in this modernized workplace, encouraging more people to work there, which was the reason to Green Desk, their “greener” previous business venture into co-working spaces, not going bankrupt during the collapsing of the American economy in 2008.

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Common Area at WeWork Menarco Tower, Manila (image credit : WeWork Website)

In late 2018, they opened their first Philippine hub, positioning itself in Metro Manila’s business districts. It occupies two floors in Uptown Bonifacio Tower Three, which can accommodate 800 people, it has a sort of homey vibe and “chill”, laid-back ambiance with their rustic desks, chairs, floors, and warm lighting, further fuelling creativity and productivity.

WeWork BGC is located at Uptown, 36th Street Corner & 11th Ave, Taguig.

47 East 

“The prime destination for people who are passionate about tech, design, and entrepreneurship” is the description of this co-working space on their website. Since 2012, this Katipunan-based hub has been a modernized working space where people can either work silently or interact, forge connections, and meet new people; a dormitory (on the third floor is Solana Suites), and a venue for meetings and gatherings.

They provide basic services such as fast internet, printing, scanning, and photocopying, and even free water and coffee. They also have a lounge and outdoor terrace, for those moments of relaxation in between your “work” hours.

47 East is located at 47 Esteban Abada Street, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. For more information, visit their website.

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First Co Working Community

Want a more historical, vintage-feel type of co-working space? Well First is a co-working space in Old Manila’s Escolta street. The coworking space is a logical trajectory for the First United Building as a creative hub. Wide, floor-to-ceiling windows frame Escolta’s historic structures.

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The former Perez-Samanillo building was built in 1928 (image credit : Harvey Aquino on Escolta’s First Coworking Community Facebook Page)

They have seating capacity of about 36 people, but can accommodate up to 60. Their space is designed for flexible use, with long tables for conferences, shared desks for collaborative user, tables beside windows for a more relaxed environment to trigger those brainstorming sessions, and dugouts for a more private study/work session.

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A quiet environment and fast WiFi in a historical building (image credit : Michael Angelo Chua on

First Coworking Community is located at 5/F First United Building, Escolta St., Manila. For rates and more information, visit their Facebook page.


Network of Accelerators and Incubators:

Impact Hub Manila

Both incubator and a co-working network, Impact Hub Manila is a globally connected and locally rooted platform. They offer different programs for both local and global opportunities, supporting ideas that disrupt problems through ground-breaking innovations for a more sustainable world.

They have a program called KICK, which is an intense, 6-8 week incubation program designed to scale and grow business ideas into sustainable ventures. Mentorship of startups is backed by experienced entrepreneurs and the support of the Impact Hub Community.

Impact Hub Manila (image credit : Impact Hub PH Facebook Page)

With over 5 locations over the Philippines, and 102 worldwide, with 17,000 hubbers, they also provide a diverse array of professionals, mentors, entrepreneurs to communicate with.

Headquarters: Impact Hub Manila

25th floor, Picadilly Star,

27th street corner 4th Avenue, BGC

Cerebro Labs

Lead by a full-time, multi-industry team of mentors trained in Silicon Valley, this hub is a tech business incubator and accelerator for early stage startups of any field or venture. Those selected start-ups undergo rigorous training and mentoring sessions to help launch their products and services.

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Cerebro Labs hosts Brainsparks’ Google Adwords workshop (image credit : Cerebro Labs)


Cerebro Labs

3rd Floor Universal Re Building 106 Paseo de Roxas Street Legaspi Village 1229 Makati


Launchgarage Inc.

From a tech innovation hub and startup acceleration program in 2012, Launhgarage Inc has since became a venture capital company, providing a venue for open collaboration, knowledge sharing, and events at their Quezon city-base facility.

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Launch Garage (image credit : Launch Garage Facebook Page)

This hub, led by CEO Jay Fajardo, targets to invest in agritech and aquatech startups, and BPO enterprise software applications.

Headquarters: LaunchGarage Inc

Level 2, Industria Mall, Circulo Verde, Calle Industria, Bagumbayan, Quezon City, 1110 Metro Manila


XCHANGE is an incubator for early-stage social enterprises in the Philippines. It invests in organizations – both for-profit and non-profit – whose core mission is the creation of value for marginalized communities in the Philippines. As an active investor, xchange works closely with its portfolio companies to help them achieve their goals. Beyond capital, xhcange seeks to contribute its expertise in enterprise management and finance, built over decades of firsthand experience.

Some of xchange’s portfolio of startups include Kickstart Ventures-backed Bagosphere, and 500 Startups-funded mobile phone engagement platform engageSPARK. Bagosphere assists rural out-of-school youths gain the necessary skills to join the BPO industry via its “study now, pay later” call center training facility. engageSPARK is a platform for businesses and NGOs to interact, at scale, with the 5 billion people who have no Internet access or can’t afford data plans regularly.

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(image credit : XChange Facebook Page)


co.lab xchange

Unit 301 #3 Brixton St. Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig

Metro Manila, Philippines