Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Our Philippine House building project.  The accidental bodega and laundry.  First of all, in the Philippines a “bodega” refers to a warehouse or storage area.  We built our carport using …

Being your own contractor in the Philippines.  Our Philippine house building project is almost  complete.  After our unhappy experiences with hiring an architect to build our perimeter fence (see _____)  we decided to hire our own crew to build our house.  We hired an architect to do the plans and to come for site visits on an as-needed basis.  We shopped for our own materials and supervised the work with help from a foreman. Was this a success?  It looks like it’s going to cost us about 2.5 million pesos for our 150 square meter house or about P16,500 per square meter.  Houses can be built for that amount or less, but we tried to use top quality materials, so we feel as though we have gotten a…

The finishing (plastering, stuccoing) of  the pretty crude hollow block concrete walls is the process which covers up a multitude of construction sins and starts to convert the project into a finished home.  Finishing uses a mixture of cement and screened sand to create a smooth, paint able wall. Finishing Workers begin by laying out a network of guide strings to ensure that the finished wall will be flat.  During the process, about 3/4″ of finishing will be applied, first rough courses to level the wall and then increasingly smooth final coats.  Lots time and cement are consumed. Finishing – more It’s this process of finishing which makes me really appreciate the Filipino method of construction.  My workers are quite skilled at their finishing work.  I worked at restoring old houses in the U.S.  We always tried to use plaster rather than sheet rock when we could afford it.  Plastering, especially over wood lath, creates wall surfaces and interiors with character and visual interest whereas sheet rock is…

Philippine House Design.  Building our house in the Philippines. How the design for our Philippine retirement home evolved.  The original inspiration for our house was a residence we saw in Lucban, Quezon Province.  It was a new house but had a traditional Filipino and Spanish Colonial flair.  Bob worked in the field of hertiage preservation for almost 25 years and has an affection for traditional design. Excellent new construction on plaza in Lucban, Quezon Province, Philippines When we added some elements we wanted like a second floor verandah, this is what we got: Perspective Drawing for our Tigbauan House But we reluctantly abandoned these plans for a rather basic one story design similar to to a plan we had seen at SOS Children’s Village in Zarraga, Iloilo: Cottage – SOS Children's Village, Iloilo Here’s what we…

A ponke in action Building our house in the Philippines.  Ensuring concrete quality.  This photos shows the workers adding material to the cement mixer using a “ponke”.  The ponke is a wooden box with handles.  The inside dimensions of the ponke are 40cm x 40cm x 40cm.  The ponke is sized to hold one sack of cement.  I asked that the ponkes be built and used as a means of controlling the concrete mixture. After research,  we decided on a mixture of one part cement, two parts sand and three parts gravel …

We build a “bahay kubo” bamboo guest house.  We’re planning on building our conventional concrete house in early 2010.  The plans are just about complete.  More on that later. We decided we’d build one of the pretty native houses, a “bahay kubo”  as a first step.  We selected the above photo of a Panay…

Namocan, Tigbauan War Memorial This well-kept memorial is located on the north side of the National Highway before Tigbauan property.  It celebrates a raid by Filipino guerrilla against a Japanese truck convoy. Namocan, Tigbauan War Memorial Namocan, Tigbauan War Memorial

Capiz Shell Windows, Lucban, Quezon Province, Philippines Capiz or Lampirong (alternative spelling: Lamperong) Windows. One of the most distinct and beautiful architectural details of old Philippine buildings are the windows made with shell rather than glass.  We’re not sure if this is because glass was not made in the Philippines or it was just too expensive, but whatever the reason, it has has given us a treasure in these beautiful windows.  We had imagined that Capiz was something of the distant past until the stands selling “Lampirong” oysters ( Placuna placenta ) sprang up along the National Highway between Oton and Tigbauan, Iloilo on Panay Island in May.  The vendor told us that these Lampirong were harvested right in the immediate area, not trucked in from Capiz Province. One of dozens of roadside stands selling Lamperong near Oton The photo above shows Carol buying Lampirong oysters.  At first glance the Lampirong seem so thin that there could not be much meat.  This proved not to be the case.  The Lampirong were meatier than other local oysters and, according to my Filipino family, exceptionally…

Chong Hua Hospital, Cebu City There are many excellent doctors in the Philippines and some not so good.  It can be hard to tell which is which. Our suggestion — go to one of the top Philippine hospitals; St. Luke’s or Asian Hospital in Manila or Chong Hua in Cebu City.  These hospitals have web sites which list doctors by specialty…

This is a photo narrative of our trip to Boracay Island.  We traveled there from our home in Iloilo City by car.  First, a confession.  Although we have lived in Iloilo for three years, although we have explored many…