I just asked the guy who owns my guesthouse if I could stay for two months, and got the go-ahead. It's not ethnographically ideal, but let's be honest - living in a studio by myself doesn't really lend itself to participant observation, either. And the place has WiFi and a kitchen and is well-established, unlike the anonymous landlady who I would have to pay with traveler's checks (that I sort of neglected to get before coming to Manila) who has been pretty crap at staying in touch with me thus far. I consider all these things to be huge advantages in favor of the guesthouse. (Also, it's $270 a month, which is pretty sweet.)
And then the owner mentioned this to a French girl sitting out on the patio, who pulled up a chair by my laptop and explained that her roommate is leaving and there's a spot open in their four person condo. It also has WiFi and a kitchen and identifiable owners, and I could skip the traveler's checks because it's so affordable that I could just take the rent out of an ATM and try to not get mugged for ten minutes. (To put it in perspective, a week at Oxford should cover a month in this place.) The downside is that it's in the swank neighborhood that's about twenty minutes from my field site, and I would actually be sharing a room with this girl (but in two single beds, like Ricky and Lucy except without any Little Ricky showing up midseries). And I'd probably get out more than I would if I lived alone, since I'm prone to hermitude sometimes.
Anyway, it buys me time. I think I'm going to scrap the two apartments and stay in the guesthouse, and if this condo works out, I'll move mid-month and still save money. Oh, the kindness of strangers.