The “Ugly American” Makes an Appearance at New Construction Site

a look at the new roof

My asawa has borne the brunt of the stress associated with the building of our new home in the Philippines. My spouse handles the ordering of materials and takes care of the payroll and makes sure all of our workers have an ample snack supply on hand for their daily merienda. Regular readers know that I don’t do much of anything and excel in that function. But the other day, I had gotten fed up with the excuses of our roofers, and thus the “ugly american” found it necessary to make an appearance at our new construction site.

Our roof had been nearly completed a few weeks ago when my wife received word that four small sections of the roof were still needed to finish the gable section shown below. I was not overly concerned. The additional roofing was not going to cost us anything and we we were not going to pay the roofers in full until said gable was completed.


the unfinished gables

But on three separate occasions the crew did not show up the day they said they said they would. On the first missed date it was reported to my asawa that the foreman was sick. But the other day, when the workers missed their third scheduled date, I hit the roof.

We had arrived at the construction site and noticed the roofers had not shown up. My asawa called Jolex, the roofing company representative who had ordered our roof and who had recommended the crew that had installed most of our roof.

After my wife got off the phone, she informed me that Jolex had “scolded” the lead man and assured me that the workers would arrive the next day. I was fuming! I took the phone from my spouse and called Jolex.

“Jolex, I am tired of the [expletive deleted] excuses this crew are giving us! If the workers are not here tomorrow I will pay them HALF of what we owe them yet!” I said in an angry tone and loud enough that the workers at our site, and the whole neighborhood, could hear.

“They will be there, sir,” came the reply.

“They had [expletive deleted] BETTER be here. I’m tired of these [expletive deleted] delays!” I informed him.

The crew arrived the next day and finished the job. My asawa and I will go to the site today to inspect the work and make the final payment to the roofers if all is in order.

terrace facing the nipa hut

That matter aside, while at the site, I took the pictures seen in the remainder of this post. The above photo is an inside look at our new terrace that faces my father-in-law’s nipa hut.  My wife plans to hang plants from the concrete beams above.

the electricians are finishing up

Our electricians, seen above, are finishing up their work. They’ve done quality work and will soon be adding motion-detector lighting to the front and rear of our new home in the Philippines.

progress on our new ceiling in the Philippines continues

The ceiling crew has finished most of the living room/dining room/kitchen area.

precast concrete

Our foreman, Boy, has been busy working on the concrete precast designs, seen in the pictures above and below, which will be installed outside of our windows and doors.

more precast concrete which will go above the doors and windows


view of the dirty kitchen

More hollow blocks are being added to the walls of our new dirty kitchen, seen above.

work on the dirty kitchen continues

That’s crew member, Gerry, on the left, along with my asawa checking out the dirty kitchen.

my asawa goes up the spiral staircase

Here’s my lovely wife again, posing at the top of our new spiral staircase which leads to the terrace on the opposite end of the house from the other terrace. This terrace, with the staircase, is located on top of our garage.

view from the terrace

Surprisingly, I easily climbed the new staircase and checked out the view with my wife. That’s our Ford Ranger in the background. The electricians’ truck can see be seen in the foreground.


another view from the terrace

We will have rails installed around the perimeter of the terrace. There was a good breeze that afternoon and I’m looking forward to having a few cold bottles of San Miguel Pale Pilsen, once the terrace is completed. A few cold ones can always calm down this “ugly american.”

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

16 thoughts on “The “Ugly American” Makes an Appearance at New Construction Site

  1. I do love the spiral stairs. It is good that you got on the phone and let loose with a little energy. The overall house is looking great. It sure will feel good when the work is done. What will there be left for you to twiddle your thumbs? The view from your site is fantastic. It has been very interesting to follow along by remote control.

    1. Thanks, don. The spiral staircase was entirely my asawa’s idea.

      Well, I’ve been fairly calm throughout the whole process though I do now recall I had to get “ugly” a couple of weeks ago at our local building supply company when supplies for the ceiling were promised and delayed by two days. My wife and brother-in-law always go in to order supplies but when my wife told me that the supplies, which had been promised on two earlier occasions, would be delivered after lunch, and not before, as was last promised, I walked in and of course, loudly announced my displeasure. We had a ceiling crew standing by ready to start.The supplies were finally delivered that day before lunch.

      I guess I will try and spend more time on the website once we are moved in. There are a lot of new ideas I would like to put into it. This coming August will be my sixth year of blogging in the Philippines and I would like to interject some fresh ideas and new life into the website.

  2. Dave,
    Filipino Time rears it’s ugly head again. But for the most part you really haven’t had any other problems, which is great for there. Hopefully the rest of the way will go smooth.

  3. looks like things are progressing along nicely. ceiling is looking good sounds like you had to use a little bit of authority lol.. sometimes that filipino time can get a little to slow. my asawa sister had to fire a couple of the workers during are construction do to there performance. she lived at the sight during the construction so she watched them like a hawk….
    also nice view from the top deck. i’m sure you will enjoy a couple beers up there. thats one thing we really enjoy about are private back patio it just looks out over the rice fields and mountains a place to get some alone piece and quit time….

    1. Thanks, Roger. It’s good you had a trusted relative on site. We always had my brother-in-law on the job and has done a good job of keeping an eye on things for us.

      The deck will indeed provide us a place to relax and I have no doubt a will pass the time there having a cold beer or two. Sounds like you have a great view at your place. Nothing beats relaxing in the Philippines with a cold beer in hand. 😉

  4. Hi Dave, I know how you feel some times it can drive you nuts we are busy renovating our bungalow you
    Have to watch the workers in case they decide to do the job different to what you told them very common
    Here, and like my wife says they are more wary of foreigners when you open your mouth but having said
    That it’s better living here then being stuck in our old jobs back home .Derek in pasig ,
    Enjoy your balcony chill out and have a cold beer you know the old saying Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    1. You bring up a good point, and one that I’ve heard from other expats here, Derek. At least our workers have been following our plans, but, that said, we do have our brother-in-law Joery on the job site, and he knows what we expect. Joery points out any potential problems in advance and aside from the roofing delay, things have gone fairly smooth.

      Derek, my best day on the job is better than my worst day here in the Philippines (excluding my kidney stone attacks.) I wouldn’t trade these almost six years in “paradise” for anything. Our new Rubbermaid cooler will come in hand for the new terrace to help keep those beers icy cold, just the way I like it. 😎

  5. yes dave it was good to have a trusted relative on the sight. but that being said I know she went thru a lot of stress making sure things were getting done and then also having to keep my asawa up to date with progress reports.
    you and your asawa have a lot of patients to be living there during the construction. I don’t think me your my asawa would have handled that very well.

    1. It is a stressful time, Roger. We will be glad when the house is finally built. It’s off to the big city of Iloilo today to buy more ceiling material, floor tiles and paint. As you know, there’s a million-and-one things to do.

  6. Dave: hope you had a successful day in the city purchasing material for your house.
    our woodworker has finished are chairs for the kitchen table he built. so finally after six months the kitchen is finished I consider that pretty good for custom built on filipino time…
    pictures sent to your email..

    1. Somewhat successful, Roger. My asawa is returning today to purchase the soffits which were not available yesterday. I am staying home. The floor tiles have all been purchased but the tile adhesive will not be in stock for three days. And so, we have to make another trip. But at least the tiles will be delivered to our home next week and we won’t have to bother with renting a jeepney and pump boat.

      I guess six months isn’t bad, Roger. Our door man has been working on our new doors for over two months now. The door jams he manufactured have been installed but we do not have doors. I made a rare intervention and called my brother-in-law, Joery, who works on site, to pay a visit to the door guy today and light a fire under his butt. He has no idea what I meant by that but he will check on the doors today.

      Thanks for the pictures, I have multiple email accounts and haven’t checked that email for a few days, sorry.

  7. it took a couple months for are wood worker to get are doors finished. but well worth the time. and considering everything is pretty much done by hand. better then buying factory built doors…
    I had to keep reminding myself patients is the key because i wanted them done right instead of done in a hurry…

    1. You’re right, Roger, the quality workmanship done by hand sure beats the stuff I used to see at our local friendly Lowe’s back in the States and the price here is a bargain.

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