The Latest Update: Building Our New Home in the Philippines

The Latest Update: Building Our New Home in the Philippines

Here’s the latest update on building our new home in the Philippines. I’ve included some new photos to go along with this post and have added some additional information regarding our recent property dispute.  We’re currently starting on Week 14 of this project. Prior to the start of construction, my brother-in-law Joery and his crew manufactured a new nipa hut on our nearly 13,000 square meter lots located on the mango island province of Guimaras. The nipa hut will serve as the new digs for my 84-year-old father-in-law who is afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Why not have Lolo, Grandpa, live in the new home, with over 250 square meters, 3000 square feet, of living space? With a living room/dining/kitchen open floor plan with 156 square meters, 1700 square feet, of space and four bedroom and Comfort Room, CR’s, there should be plenty of room for him.

Let me ask you. Have you ever lived with a person that is in Stage 6 of Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s? It’s not easy. While the fact that Lolo has no control over his disease, it still can be extremely annoying to hear him continually loudly converse at all hours of the day and night with his dead relatives, like Fernando, to say nothing of  his numerous attempts to wander off. And regular readers of Philippines Plus might recall my father-in-law’s violent outbursts such as punching me in the face and giving me a black eye. That happened last November and my black eye still hasn’t completely healed.

But at least one stressful item has been crossed off my list, our recent property dispute. I had originally posted that the size of the property in dispute was only 25 square meters. But after closer investigation I discovered that the size of the land in question was actually about 287 square meters. 

Here’s a look at our barbed wire fence as it now stands. Our new marker only had to be moved about half a meter, about 1.5 ft. Look at the boundary, the raised mound of dirt, that the complaining party was trying to claim as their property line. If we had agreed to what the protesters wanted, we would have lost a significant piece of land.

new boundary

At issue was a dry creek bed that is overflowing with water once rainy season hits. Now we don’t plan to grow any rice on our property. It’s just not cost effective according to my asawa who grew up on a rice farm and starting working on it at the age of seven. So having this nearby water source for a rice field was not a priority for us.

But the complaining party leases their adjoining lot to tenants that do grow rice, a common practice in our province. Check out the arrow I have displayed on the photo look at our barbed wire fence which can be seen  partially hanging in mid-air in the next shot. Now we have no plans to block that creek and restrict the water flow to any adjoining lots and never had such plans. Was the disputing party worried about getting access to the water? Perhaps.



boundary 3

Another look at the dry creek bed on our property and the red arrows pointing to our new fence line.

roof problem


Another issue that we have recently dealt with is our new roof. Thanks to Bill S., who pointed out a problem in one section of our roof as seen in the photo above. Note how the pattern is crooked in one area as noted by the red arrows?

My asawa and I had a conversation last Tuesday with Jolex, the young man that sold us our roof, which was manufactured in Cebu and shipped to Iloilo and then to Guimaras. We pointed out the problem to Jolex and informed him that this was entirely “unacceptable” and that we expected it to be corrected.

Jolex called over the lead roofer and made it clear that this problem would be fixed. The roofers had originally blamed this snafu on the roofing manufacturer who they claimed numbered each section of roof to be installed. They were just following the numbers. Hell, if I jumped off a bridge does that mean you would follow me?  I again made it clear in a polite but firm matter that I would not accept any excuses. Just fix it. They did.

the roof problem has been corrected

Here’s a look at the fix. Thanks, again. to Bill S. We were told the roof would be completed this Tuesday or Wednesday but my wife informed me last night that Jolex sent her a text message. The roof is short one small section. Jolex is the one that measured the roof and ordered it. He will have the new piece manufactured in Cebu, at no additional cost to us, and have it shipped to us. Since we’re not ready to move in yet, this latest delay doesn’t really concern me.

My asawa hard at work

Our new concrete floor is being completed this week. We had to have a water truck come in and hose down the whole area so the workers could tamp down the soil to make it level. That’s my asawa stomping down some dirt and that’s yours truly in the next shot pretending to do some actual manual labor. Regular readers of Philippines Plus know full well that I excel at doing very little.

The Kano hard at work

After the soil is leveled the reinforced bars go in, as seen in the next picture. Without the water truck, it would have been very difficult to get the floor tamped down to the desired level. We’ve had very little rain in the past six weeks and everyone is looking forward to the rainy season, which sometimes begins in mid-May in our pocket of paradise in Western Visayas. Just in time for the Manggahan Festival, which has been moved from April back to May this year.

reinforced floor

A look at a finished section of the floor. The living room, the largest area in our new home in the Philippines, will be finished last. At that time, our foreman’s laborers will have completed their work, having been on the job for four months now. Only carpenters and our side crew working on the new dirty kitchen will remain on the job.

our new concrete floor in the Philippines

A look at the steel trusses and the living/dining/kitchen area. The ceiling will probably be built with a product called HardiFlex. HardieFlex® Fiber Cement Board has no Asbestos and no Chrysotile fibers though at one time the product did contain asbestos. I will make sure the workers that install the HardiFlex will wear face masks as an extra precaution.

Is plywood an option? Not for me. The original roof at my asawa’s first home in Guimaras was built entirely of wood. The termites and the heavy monsoon rains destroyed it several years after it’s installation. How about gypsum board? No way. Even a small roof leak would demolish gypsum board.

Metal ceiling? Not cost effective. By general consensus of the builders in our area, HardiFlex is the best and most economical route to go.

a look at our new living room in the Philippines

The trusses are done. The roof almost completed. Plumbing fixtures are currently being installed. My asawa has ordered our new doors and we will have bids done for the window and screen installations. We’re hopeful that we will be able to move into our new home in the Philippines in June. More updates to follow.

28 thoughts on “The Latest Update: Building Our New Home in the Philippines

  1. Dave,
    That is a big piece of property to lose. You work about as hard as I do. Though here in the States I have done quite a bit more than I normally do. Hopefully the outside work of your house will beat the rains.

    • Yep, we weren’t about to give up that amount of land, Papa Duck. Everything worked out. I don’t mind having the fence moved over 1/2 meter.

      Well, we thought we would have the rains beat but today I have word that our roofer rep, Jolex, has to order four sections of roof yet. But when Melinda and I looked at the roof this past Saturday, all of the main roof was completed so the sections that have to be manufactured must be for the gables. Hopefully, those pieces will be installed before the rainy season. No one gets paid in full for the installation until the roof is 100% completed.

  2. Dave, I wonder how long ago someone dug that raised mound of dirt, thinking that’s where the property line lies. Guess they didn’t do a proper survey before digging 😛

    • Don’t know, Lance. To my knowledge this is the first survey the people had done. They had no boundary marker, no sketch plan from any previous surveys and no fence. They assumed that the dirt mound was the boundary. They were wrong.

  3. I’m sure someone else would have eventually spotted the roof misalignment but is always much better to find mistakes before the specific sub-contractor is paid and gone, otherwise you know who always ends up paying for mistakes, and I have paid for my fair share of subs mistakes over the years. Some will come back and fix the mistakes if they want me to continue using them on future jobs, but more prefer to walk away and see if I take them to court or not, sometimes its worth the expense other times its not.

    Just wandering Dave, do you use SOME KIND of insulation in the attics there dont you. I noticed a little bit of foil faced marine plywood being used on a couple jobs there, but was wandering if they dont use fiberglass or something in the attic’s there, to greatly reduce the heat from the roof and also for the noise reduction of having a metal roof. I was a dealer of Icynene spray foam here up til last year, the closed cell product would be a perfect product for attics there. Its waterproof, and has far better R-values than fiberglass and makes the building much quieter also. I know its available there in the Manila area mainly for commercial projects, but no idea if it is in other areas, but other brands may be.

    • Maybe, Bill S, but we appreciate you spotting the problem before the roofer left. As it is, I mentioned to Papa Duck, that FOUR additional sections of the roof need to be manufactured (our roofing guy screwed up), but at least we don’t have to pay for his mistake. I don’t think too many people in the Philippines would be too successful in bringing any shoddy contractors to court. The Philippines is not nearly as “sue happy” as the States.

      Good question about the insulation, Bill. My friend, Bob, over in Iloilo, has quite a detailed explanation of the insulation he used on his new home. Here’s a LINK to Bob’s article. Bob used reflective metal foil and fiberglass bat insulation called “ACI.” We will check on the insulation before installing the ceiling. Bob claims his house is several degrees cooler and it certainly is something worth checking out.

      • Yes, I followed Bob’s posts back when he was building there house also, he did a lot of homework about building products available there it sounded. He wrapped there house in a insulation blanket like they use here for metal commercial buildings. The foil does help reflect the heat buts its pretty minimal over not using the foil at all. I kept one of our spray rigs for Icenyne and figured I will bring it with me there. I cant move any of the 55gal. barrels there though since its considered hazardous material, and would have to get all kinds of permits to put it into our container when the time comes. If I can locate it or another brand of spray foam I will try to purchase a barrel of it for when we build .

        Here is the link for Icynene, http://www.icynene.com/en-us, just in case you might want to read about that type of insulation. Its very popular here in the southern states especially.

        • Bob left a very detailed record of his construction project, Bill S. If anyone is building a new home in the Philippines, a person could pick up some good tips from his website.

          Bill, I never considered a spray foam insulation but upon a quick check on Google found this product in the Philippines called Ecofoam. Per their website, Ecofoam “is a two component, closed-cell spray applied polyurethane foam designed as a structural insulation system for commercial, residential and industrial application. It is comprised of diisocyanate and a blended component which includes polyols, fire retarding materials, catalysts, stabilizers and non-ozone depleting blowing agent.” I will definitely have to check this out, thanks for the tip.

          • Ecofoam is just another brand, I have heard of it, but have never used it myself. Basically all brands are somewhat similar of there ingredients. Some here started using a soybean base quite a few years ago, so they could call themselves green earth friendy , but it was found they decomposed rather quickly. They are all 2 component systems, with a filler material and a catalyst, and the 2 components mix just as they leave the tip of the spray gun, and then expand up to 200 times there volume, just a few seconds after the application , by the chemical reaction, depending on the mixture being sprayed. Another good thing is that you can also mix pesticides into the mix as well as other types of additives but the pesticide will loose its strength over a few years. It does cost quite a bit more than fiberglass or rock-wool types of insulation, but it makes for a very tightly sealed house and higher R values. Let me know what you find out about it there, would be interested to know the price compared to here.

            • Thanks for the info, Bill S. Next time we go into the big city, we will have to see if the foam is available. As you mentioned, the foam would make for a tightly sealed house and the higher R values will help keep cooling costs down. I will let you know what I find out.

  4. Dave, house is starting to come together on our bungalow we used a fibreglass type of insulation does the job
    But Filipino workers don’t like using it ,there’s allways a chance if you get mice or rats that will use it as nesting
    We had a rat problem a couple of years ago soon got rid of them with poison , ever thought about solar power
    We have All this sunshine that’s here 12 hours a day I’m going to give it a couple of years see if the price comes
    Down on the panels then have a look at them , Derek in sunny pasig .

    • We have a problem now with rats, or “lolo’s” as my asawa calls them, at our present location, Derek. I hate the rodents. I can hear them scurrying around in our bedroom ceiling. We use poison mixed with fried rice to kill the pests.

      Solar power? We’ve checked them out but cost prohibitive at this time. We will also keep checking on the price as you are.

  5. Two things.

    Good looking roof. FYI the steeper the pitch, the longer they last. The rain hits them at an oblique angle and sluices off faster if steep. Yours is medium steep and will be fine.

    Rats. Poisoning. Not a good idea. If they die up there, they will stink a long time. Trap, not poison.

    • Didn’t think about the roof pitch, Owen, but it’s good to know that it least is at medium pitch.

      We put the fried rice and poison outside on the veranda, Owen, and sometimes they bite the dust outside. But they have died inside, under the ceiling and they do DO stink up the place. The farmhouse we live in now has more points of entry than the White House and hopefully our new home will be more rodent-proof.

  6. kano looks like it is going to be a nice big house when your finished me and my wife just finished building a big two story house in sorsogon city it was quit a project .
    we are planing to move there next year. we will be there to visit this oct. we presently live in central illinois and will be glad to get away from these cold winters.

    • Hi, Roger. Well, my wife wanted a big house. Happy wife. Happy life. Plus, we will have five people living in the house. We earlier thought of building a two story home but decided a one story would be easier on my aging knees, I’m 63. We lived in Auburn, IL, and I’m originally from Mt. Olive, Illinois, where labor activist Mother Jones is buried.

      I’ve heard on the news that there have been some really cold and snowy winters in the Midwest the past two years. I don’t missing driving to work on snow-packed I-55 one bit. Take care.

  7. kano great to hear from you your right happy wife happy life. that’s why we built our house in sorsogon city we just had are stove delivered yesterday and the box that we sent from the states with the backsplash tile and kitchen sink faucet should be there in the next couple of weeks she did not like anything there.
    yes the last couple of winters have been bad wait no they down right sucked. we have a house in a small town called mason city probably have to give it away when where ready to move houses don’t sell very fast here. we have a small business in licoln (nail salon) october can’t get here fast enough to get back to visit the family in PI

    • Thanks, Roger. So you shipped those items from the States? No weight limit on balikbayan boxes so that was a smart move.

      I do not miss the cold or ice one bit, Roger. I am waiting for the rainy season to start here, however, been extremely dry.

      Mason City? Yep, been past there many a time in the past but never stopped there. If memory serves me, a believe there was a well-known comedy club there at one time. Lincoln? Been there. Nice town. Went to a hot air balloon festival there years ago. Good luck on your move to the Philippines.

  8. yes there is a comedy club in mason city went there a couple of times. but haven’t been there recently they don’t have any top comedians come in to do shows. the balloon festival still is going in Lincoln every year it just keeps growing they now have a big barbeque cooking competition uptown during the balloon festival.
    love the balikbayan box system just takes some planning. we will send most all our things there in july for our October visit that way we don’t need to drag a lot of luggage with us.

    • Never made it over to the comedy club, Roger, but I did enjoy the balloon festival. And they have a big BBQ cooking competition to boot? Can’t beat that. No BBQ competitions on our little island, even during the Mango Festival, Manggahan, our biggest party of the year. Guess I’ll have to settle for the swimsuit competition and take some pics for my faithful readers. 😉

  9. maybe you can talk them into a wet T-shirt contest at the festival I’m sure you would gladly help them judge…
    as far as BBQ you will have to enjoy it from a BBQ stand. when were back in sorsogon we have are favorite BBQ stand we have to get there early or they sellout.
    enjoy the festival just don’t eat to many mangos or drink to many san Miguel’s

    • No chance of that event happening here, Roger. The girls at the local beach don’t even wear bikinis, they go out in the water fully clothed, but some of the ladies at the Manggahan Festival beauty contest do wear two-piece swimwear outfits now.

      Roger, I ALWAYS end up drinking too many San Miguels at the Festival but my asawa will be my designated driver. She has a lot more common sense than I do. 😉

  10. Wanted to comment on your article about your truck but didn’t get the leave comment at the bottom of the article.
    you have a very nice truck If you don’t mind me asking what was the cost? Hope you don’t have anymore accidents. my asawa keeps telling me she would like to get a vehicle when we move to sorsogon I myself have mixed feelings on the idea sorsogon city is pretty crowded. she say’s it would be used for going to the beaches for the day so we won’t have to rent a jepney I think it would be better to use public transportation to get around but I’m also pretty sure that I’m going to probably lose .
    but your truck is very nice looking and i’m sure it is making things easier getting around the island and taking care of things at the new house construction.

    • Sorry you couldn’t leave a comment, Roger, I have that fixed now. Here’s a LINK to the story regarding the truck. It cost about 24,000 US Dollars.

      My asawa, too, wanted a vehicle upon our move to the Philippines over five years ago. I invoked my seldom used “executive privilege” and informed her we will NOT be making payments on any vehicle and would pay for our new vehicle in cash when we cashed in our IRA, which we did late last year.

      A person can get by just fine by using the local cheap public transportation. We did for over five years.

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