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Leaving Iloilo. Next year. Why? Lolo’s  Alzheimer’s. No water. Constant brown outs. After nearly two years in “The City of Love,” and four years since moving to the Philippines, my asawa and I have decided to move back to her home province of Guimaras.  I’m fine with that.Leaving Iloilo City

Frankly, I’m extremely tired of not having a daily water supply and not being able to take a real shower. I’m also disgusted with the poor service of our local “power” company, Iloilo Electric Company (ILECO.) Three power outages these past Wednesday lasting a total of over seven hours, two on Thursday, and 10 for the month so far, makes me long for our days with GUIMELCO, where we had less brown outs with shorter duration’s. Combined power outages in our Iloilo subdivision are more than double what we experienced in Guimaras. 

The water situation in Iloilo shows no sign of improving any time soon. With running water only available three days a week, at least in Guimaras we had running water on a 24/7 basis and also had quality drinking water from our well. I wish our retirement funds would be available now so we could make our move, but we’ll have to wait until late next year when my present T-72 IRA can be tapped without me incurring an additional 10% tax for early withdrawal. The local tubig truck

(We won’t need to buy drinking water from our next door neighbor once we make the move.)

After another brown out last night, my wife, unbeknownst to me, took the initiative and sent a text message to the property manager of our subdivision, Sir Roy, to ask about the recent spate of power outages we have been experiencing. Sir Roy replied that he is meeting with officials from ILECO this Saturday. Hopefully something can be down about the quality of service this utility is providing. 

My spouse and I don’t plan to move back into the property she owns in San Miguel, but will be searching lots near Jordan municipality, where San Miguel is located, and have again decided to build a new home. We’ve scrapped our plan to locate a foreclosed property and refurbish it as we wish to supervise a new structure from the ground up. 

We’ll also be buying a vehicle and utilizing a roll-on, roll-off,  RORO, ferry service between  Iloilo and Guimaras.  Roll your vehicle onto the ferry. Pay a fee, which is now  only P400,  per one of my expat friends in Iloilo, and roll off to your destination. The ferry travels between Iloilo and the Jordan Wharf in Guimaras at various intervals during the day.

We’ll be using the RORO once a month to do our main grocery shopping. Using the ferry will beat having to load a pump boat, paying all the porters at the two docks and renting a multicab in Guimaras to bring our supplies home.

My father-in-law will be living with us once we have our new home built. For security reasons and to keep Lolo from wandering outside the premises, we will have a wall surrounding our entire property.  The wall will be based on the following design, though it will probably be built higher than the structure depicted. The Wall

I plan to buy a full bred German Shepard and name him “Killer.” The dog will give us an added layer of security. We won’t be living in a guarded, gated subdivision that we presently reside in, and I want us to be prepared. While I jokingly called my wife’s home in Guimaras “The Compound,” that description will aptly fit our new location. Maybe I’ve been watching too many episodes of “Doomsday Prepper’s,” but I see no reason not to have extra security at our new residence. 

The main drawbacks of living in Guimaras? The lack of healthcare facilities and shopping venues as opposed to Iloilo. But the new road from San Miguel to the Jordan Wharf is almost completed and in an emergency our new vehicle could make it to the dock in 15 minutes or less. A pump boat could get us to Iloilo in 12-15 minutes under normal weather conditions. We were 25 minutes away from the nearest hospital back at our home in Illinois.

The updated provincial hospital, shown below, would only be minutes away if we decided to use their facilities.

 Provincial hospital in Guimaras

But what about potential problems with relatives? I swear my asawa is related to half the people on her home province. I plan to hire our brother-in-law Joery as a caretaker/security guard for our new property. Joery will meet anyone coming to our front gate and inform the visitor, be it relative or The Pope, if we are home and available. He will screen everyone. That will be my policy and it will be strictly enforced. 

I’m excited to get back to the mango province of Guimaras. We’ll have a new home. Running water. More electricity (we also plan to have a generator) and  The Tom Cat and I will have more time to drink a few cold ones. But most importantly of all, my wife will be able to care for her Dad full-time and make sure he lives the rest of his years as comfortably as he can. 

21 thoughts on “Leaving Iloilo

  1. Glad you have changed your mind about building a new house again Dave, as I told you before, I was really looking foreword to hear about your building experiences there, but you said you had decided against it, and to remodel a house instead, but think you will be much happier with a all new house, depending on the house you might have bought, remodeling can be quite expensive also, and will usually incur structural elements that will require an architect and or an engineer also, as will a new house, but this way you can get exactly what you both want, by doing new construction.

    I have built quite a few homes here in the states, but just as a sideline not as my main business. Construction techniques are quite different there I have noticed, residential there is more like commercial construction here, since wood for the most part is not used, pretty much cinder block, and or concrete and metal seem to be the choices there, because of weather and bugs there I assume, have a feeling termites are awful there, but just guessing. I’m not very familiar with steel and concrete construction except for basements here, so look foreword to seeing lots of pictures and current prices for building materials and labor there, cause you always share what things cost there and not all put costs in there blogs.

    Hope you wont mind Dave, but I will be asking you questions, just let me know when you have had enough though, don’t want to become too big a pest. Most will be electrical, and what your electrical supplier is capable of supplying for new construction. Have read at one power companies website there,(don’t remember who the supplier was though as its been awhile) and it sounded as though they would provide a step-down transformer if requested,or if not, can the owner supply there own transformer and bring in 110 volt on 2 hot wires as apposed to 240V one wire, plus neutral, as seems to be the standard there. Just something I was hoping to be able to do one-day if I build there, then I could have 220 or 110 just by changing a few things in the breaker box, on each circuit and switch them back and forth if needed, cause I wasn’t too impressed with the quality of appliances and some other things I saw there, but as things need to be replaced I would have the option of buying there or bringing it from here. I assume other expats have done that, would love to hear from any that did, cause I can think of some problems if I did go the route, like if the transformer had to be replaced for one.

    You had said something about wanting to get an American washing machine, but didn’t know if you had planned on just using a plug-in type transformer or what, Dave. There seems to be lots of power spikes there also, or at least there was in Surigao del Sur where I checked it a few times, at my fiancess house, and they complained that appliances didn’t last very long either.

    Am sure this is not anything 99.999999% of people want to read about on here, sorry everyone. If you don’t mind Dave, maybe I could get your email address so as not to bore everyone else on here with my stupid questions,,,this way would only bore you, and I promise,,,I wont ask too many. I wont blame you Dave in the least, if you don’t want to give it out, after going back and reading this, I doubt I would give it to me.

  2. Hi Dave
    I am well and truly jealous. I wish I could get Irish to move to Guimaras. I would love to live on that great little island. I’ve got no hope now that she has her own business and Ivan has started school. Wish you the best.

  3. Crazy how living less than 10 kilometers away in the same city can be so different. I’m in the Mandurriao subdivision of Iloilo, we rarely have brownouts (none in about 10 days now) and only during power outages is there an issue with water. Electrical bill, monthly, is under 1,000 pesos (no A/C running). I also have no barking dogs, videoake, traffic noise or crowing roosters.

    Guys, for any appliances and electrical equipment it’s safe if you use an Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR). They will protect your equipment and only cost 280 Pesos. The electrical damage does not happen due to power spikes, it happens due to dips in power. The AVR regulates the power to a constant 220 via a built in battery (similar to a UPS, but much smaller battery).

    For US appliances, I know a number of folks who have brought theirs over. You can use one stepdown transformer for everything except dryers and ovens. Why? Well most 220 power here 220 on one leg and nothing on the other. US 220 has 110 on both legs. This doesn’t work with the dryers and ovens from the US, because they have components in them that are both 110 and 220. There is a way to use 2 stepdown transformers and some homemade wiring to overcome this. If anyone wants the diagram on how this is accomplished I’m more than happy to share it.

  4. Would still like to meet up with you sometime Dave, you seem like the kind of person I would get along with well. Maybe could meet you at Mandurriao plaza sometime and accompany you to market? Still haven’t made it to Mandurriao, thinkin’ it won’t be until Scott returns in October, but who knows. So many islands and so little time 🙂

  5. Dave, if you are having kidney stone problems, you should be drinking more beer not less 🙂 According to a study published last month in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, A beer a day helps keep kidney stones away, lowering the risk of kidney stones by 41% for a daily beer.
    http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2013/06/a-beer-a-day-helps-keep-kidney-stones-away/

    Wiki Answers says that “Even one beer a day reduces the chance of stones by 40%, and 2 by over 60% and 3 beers taken in one hour intervals in the evening can reduce or eliminate the stones altogether. Some beer does contain stone-prompting oxalate’s. … Binge drinking increases uric acid production and thus, the risk of uric acid stones.” So you will just have to drink the same amount of beer every day. 🙂
    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Should_someone_with_kidney_stones_drink_beer

    Good luck convincing the wife about that. 😛

  6. Thanks Dave, I’ll try not to make you sorry you gave it to me and keep questions to a minimum if I can.

    Next time I come to Philippines, I will be going to building supply stores just to get an idea what is avail. there, especially electrical supply. I looked a little bit at tools last time, and was not the least bit impressed with what could be found there. I run a small woodworking company here in the states, and have at least a couple hundred or more portable power tools in the shop, many of which I would like to bring with me, but again the voltage is the problem, as all small power tools here are 120 volt. Most machinery is 240 volt but is 3phase, some are single phase, but would like to bring a little of it also one day.

    Thanks for the tip on building a nipa hut first, would never have thought of that. Figured large companies would have fixed prices on everything that would be the same for everyone. I know I will have a lot to learn about life there, just hope the learning process wont cost me a small fortune though.

    Thanks Rease for your informative response also, I really appreciate all the help in learning how things there are done , that I can get. Yeah, I noticed that the power there was one hot leg only, that’s why I am hoping to be able to split it into 2 hot legs like its done here, then can have either voltage avail. Am sure it can be done, just don’t know if the power company will do it or if I will have do to it. Would also want to have a grounded system, which they don’t do there. Power spikes and dips can destroy things quick, especially anything that’s electronic, just don’t know if the equipment is readily avail. there for whole-house protection or not.

    Sorry to hear about you kidney stones Dave. So far, have never had them myself, but friends have. Been told it the male equivalent of giving birth. A friend gave birth to a pair of them a few years back, his wife even gave them names afterwards,,,Fred and Barney. Hope yours can be taken care of with drugs, and you wont have to give birth.

  7. Rease,
    Read your comment about living in Mandurriao Subdivision. That’s what Anne and Myself are looking for. We will be flying to Philippines on July 30th and we will be coming down to Iloilo in August if our boxes arrive by then. We will be renting house in Cavite for a few months until we get house in Iloilo. Maybe we can get together sometime when we get there. We will be meeting Dave too.

  8. Dave,
    I’m so happy for You and Your Family. You have to do whats best. Your house sounds like what we want for ours. Except we want one already built. It will just give us an excuse to visit Guimaras more lol. We will be more than happy to help you with your move in anyway we can. We are really looking forward to getting there. Hopefully our boxes will be there when we get back. We have a lot things to bring down there to you that are in the boxes. By the way we just got married this afternoon by a judge. We are so happy about that. Makes us even more excited about getting back and seeing you guys. Anne said she will call Melinda when we get back. SMB sounds good right now. Take care.

  9. Bill S., you’ll have to do the power split yourself. If you want a ground it will be a bit more challenging. The breakers, breaker panels, outlets and well… everything INCLUDING the wiring here have no ground, ground cable or even a ground bus. You will have to ship everything over yourself if you want that. To get US 220 you have to have 2 stepdown transformers, take the hot leg off of each and create your own plug.

    PapaDuck, would like to meet you when you get here. Liza (my wife) and I hired a trike for 3 days and beat the streets to find our place. There is no advertising here, so you have to physically canvas the entire area. Recommend you look close at proximity to transportation, relative positioning of house to sun (for shade), airflow in the house (is it built like a brick oven), shade trees and of course noise factors. All go a long way for comfort.

    Thanks Dave! Zyron on the 27th sound great. I know right where it is. On the Northern end of the new river walk. What time are you gonna be there ya think? Yes, Scott speaks highly of the beaches and snorkeling in Guimaras, when he returns I imagine we’ll heading that way.

  10. Forgot to mention, the “scratch and dent” store for the island is here in Iloilo. Any appliances (some very nice) that get even the smallest scratch in shipping are marked down half price and still have a one year warranty. I get all of mine there and have found some good quality reliable one’s. They carry refrigerators, ovens, washers, tv’s, A/C units, etc… Their inventory changes daily, so you kind of have to make a few visits.

  11. Rease,
    Thanks so much. We’ll definitely get together with you when we get there. We can all get together with Dave and drink some cold ones. Take care see you in August hopefully.

  12. Dave,
    Thanks alot. We decided to get married in Ohio and we will have a nice wedding next year in a church. Glad your feeling better from the kidney stones. I wouldn’t wish that pain on anybody. Have a nice weekend.

  13. Dave, two thoughts.

    1. The IRA. The traditional rule was (and I do emphasize past tense) with the money placed 50% stocks 50% bonds, you can extract 4% of the total in year 1 of withdrawals, increase the dollar extraction by 3% each year (for inflation), and it will last 30 yrs with high probability. If you yank 5% or 6% per year, it will run out about year 20. Take out 10% and a 60 yr old will outlive it.

    2. Surf around YouTube for “micro hydro”. These are one house sized hydroelectric turbines, and by that I mean something the size of a car alternator. If you live at the base of a hill with lots of rainfall, you can be spinning the alternator in a stream, charging up a bank of car batteries from junked cars 24/7. When power goes out pull on the battery.

    This would be different from most analyses, that try to take you off the grid. Rather, you’re just trying to fill in a few hour per week and not deal with rusted generators that won’t start, choking on 6 month old gasoline in the tank.

  14. Those soda bottles work great Dave. I was in a building in Molo 2 days ago that had them. First time I’d seen ’em. Guy said he had one “lesson learned”. Be sure to put some bleach in the water or gradually they’ll get mildew inside.

  15. Okay on the advisor. The point was not about the 50/50 portfolio asset allocation; it was about how much you can safely extract per year.

    When “need” exceeds safely, that’s a major league red flag. What the 4% rule provides is visibility into danger years before you wake up some morning empty.

    I’m familiar with the water bottle story. I had thought they were not recommended in cloudy areas.

    Re: micro hydro — remember that the goal is not 24/7 power; it’s a few hours every other day. You power that with a battery bank that charges at a low rate continuous. A car alternator can’t power air con, but it can load up a battery bank over several days, to be drained over a few hours of that air con.

    None of this matters unless you have a stream flowing past.

  16. Really? Things must be bad if you’re complimenting Guimelcock! Sometimes I wonder whether a big diesel generator would be a better option, especially given the astronomical price of electricity here. But I must confess I haven’t looked into it properly. Solar, etc., seems like a good idea but two people here who’ve installed big systems (6KW in one case) report on the high cost of that installation and hassle with the batteries. Oh, and I forgot to say, I’ll also have a gentle word with the dozens of drongo music system owners to see if they can moderate the volume in your proposed area from “Armageddon” to “Volcanic”, so that your crockery doesn’t rattle in your cupboards. I’m sure they’ll listen to reason.

  17. Hi Dave,,,,Sorry for neglecting my blog follower duties. We have just finished our new house here and the Asawa is in the final stages of decorating and getting ready for the house blessing. The whole process from tearing down the old house to sacrificing two white chickens to digging the foundation to actually moving in took six months. So I am very, very (almost to much) well aquainted with home construction here in the Philippines. Trust me when I say that there were several “eye openers” along the way. Will be more than glad to share my experience, strength and hope with all who are interested.

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