Here’s the latest progress report on our new home in the Philippines, located on the island mango province of Guimaras, in whacky Western Visayas. This is Week 16 of construction.
We have hired a crew from nearby Iloilo to do our ceiling installation. That’s my lovely asawa standing in our sala, living room, where the installers have finished the framework for the new ceiling.
Here’s a look at two of the workers, part of a four-man crew. The men used laser pointers to layout the ceiling design. Our lead man, seen in the next picture with the orange shirt, is planning the same ceiling design he used for a residence of the Garin family, a major political clan in Iloilo. Our lead man was also the head foreman for the ceiling at the new Marriot Hotel in the MegaWorld complex in Iloilo.
We actually went to our site again late yesterday afternoon to deliver three granite counter tops we purchased at A.M. Builders in Iloilo City and a good portion of the living room had already been completed. It looks like we picked the right lead man.
We’re also having a spiral staircase, located in our garage, which leads to the terrace above our new parking area. The man building our staircase has manufactured the structure from scratch and originally wanted 8,000 pesos, 180 US Dollars, to do the installation. My wife was only able to knock 500 pesos off the price and she’s a tough negotiator.
Our foreman has started work on concrete precast designs which will go around all of our windows and doors. It adds a nice architectural detail to our new home in the Philippines and is something my wife wanted. Our foreman is being paid 250 pesos per meter. 5.66 US Dollars, and the total charge for this work is 55,000 pesos, 1245 USD.
The 55,000 pesos is the total labor cost and our foreman pays his workers on this job from this amount. Our foreman has now reduced the crew that my asawa, our pay master, is responsible for, from 19 to 5. These five workers, separate from our foreman’s precast crew, will be responsible for installing the doors in our new home and other remaining projects, such as putting in our new sinks and Comfort Room toilets.
Concrete trim, such as the section, shown above, will be added to all sides of the window and are cast ahead of time and then placed on the windows and doors after the concrete has dried.
That’s our foreman, Boy, on the left, explaining to my wife how our front doors will work. The doors, according to Boy, will be a double “fan door,” and will swing open to the outside. Each door will have a handle and two locks, but one lock will be a “dummy” lock. We will have deadbolts installed on all of our access doors.
The roofers were supposed to complete the one remaining gable, seen below, two weeks ago, but the lead man for the crew was sick. The installers will return tomorrow to finish the installation and receive their final payment for the job.
If you have new doors, you need door jambs, of course. We have double doors in the front and a set of large double doors in the rear of the house. Four CR’s, Comfort Rooms, will have the classic plastic “Pretty Door,” a standard bathroom door in the Philippines. Doors are also being built for the four bedrooms, laundry room, walk-in-closet for my asawa, plus the door to my office. A local furniture maker in Guimaras is building our doors.
We still have my brother-in-law Joery, along with his two-man crew, working on the new dirty kitchen. The men have started laying the hollow blocks for the new building and have constructed the chimney, seen in the following photo. We have informed Joery that he will not need to do any wiring for the dirty kitchen. We are installing solar light bulbs for the dirty kitchen. We found solar panels that will recharge two light bulbs for 3,500 pesos at a local hardware store in Iloilo. The solar panel kit also contains a solar-powered cell phone battery charger.
The dirty kitchen chimney
I leave you with this final image. One of the ceiling installers works out on his lunchtime with this set of homemade barbells he made with empty paint cans, plastic pipe and concrete. Another example of the ever-resourceful Filipino.