Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

We had to buy a cook stove for our new Philippine house.  Here’s our experience buying an Italian BOMPANI range. Bompani 90×60 "giant oven" stove Carol is a fantastic cook.  One of her dreams was to have a decent kitchen stove.  Typically kitchen stoves in the Philippines are 50 or 60 centimeters wide — 20″ to 24″.  While these may have four burners they are very cramped for serious cooking.  We decided we wanted a 90cm (36″) wide stove.  The major brands in the Philippines are La Germania and Elba.  A 90cm range costs about P70,000.  This was just more than we wanted to pay.  The Citi Hardware chain is marketing a smaller Italian brand — Bompani ( www.bompani.it )…

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 …

Today we are introducing a new category of posts that will contain detailed “construction logs” by everyday people in the Philippines. They are building their retirement homes. Under categories / building your dream home / philippines building projects. The posts contained within were written by their prospective authors. We just wanted to consolidate the information […]

Our trials and tribulations with finding and installing granite on our Philippines kitchen and bathroom counters.  Today it’s over — the granite installers are done and gone. We must have looked at every piece of granite in Iloilo City ten times.  We looked at Moostbrand,  AM Builders, Citi Hardware and Merit Marble.  Merit had some lovely Italian granite, but the price was a bit too high for our budget.  Much of the other granite was saw was just too bland for us.  Finally we found what we were looking for at AM Builders, Tanza. The granite we selected Here’s what it looks like installed: Granite installed This “Jun Li” granite is from China, as is most granite for sale in the Philippines.  The pattern is called “weave white”.  The price per 60cm by 220cm slab was P3,990.  We required four slabs to do our kitchen and a small counter in our bathroom for a total of P15,960.  After some haggling we paid P13,866 including delivery to Tigbauan.  AM Builder’s Depot recommended an installer.  After negotiation, we hired the recommended …

Our Philippine house building project, kitchen cabinets.  We decided to follow the usual provincial Philippine method of building our kitchen cabinets.  This Philippine system for kitchen cabinets is radically different from that we’re familiar with in the U.S.  Generally, U.S. kitchens use a wood base, prefabricated cabinets which are of wood or particle board clad with a laminate or other protective finish and topped with various counter materials.  These cabinet systems are available in the bigger Philippine cities, but are expensive.  Most importantly we wonder about their durability, especially that of base cabinets, in the hot, wet, bug/fungus-infested Philippine conditions. Kitchen Counter Bases The Philippine system is a concrete skeleton; base, end panels and under counter.  In basic homes, the countertop may be tiled and the bare concrete painted…

Does anyone have feedback on the Italian Bompani cook stoves?  They are sold in the Philippines by Citi Hardware.  The pricing seems quite a bit better than similar La Germania and Elba ranges but I wonder about parts and service.  We contacted Bompani at their Italian e-mail address but never received a reply. This is the Bompani range we are looking at: Bompani 90×60 "giant oven" stove The cost is about P53,000.  A similar-looking La Germania seems to be over P70,000.  Any feedback? http://www.bompani.it/

We’re painting the interior walls of our new Philippine house now. Here are the steps we’re following: 1. The finished concrete walls need to cure from two weeks to a month before painting. The setting of concrete is a much longer chemical process than it seems. 2. The walls are treated with a neuralizer to reduce the alkaninity of the concrete. We used Boysen #44 Masonry Neutralizer. This is diluted 16/1. Be careful with these neutralizers. They seem to be pretty strong acids. We applied the dilute neuralizer with an ordinary paint roller and pan. When the neuralizer is dry the wall can be washed down with water or sanded to remove any effloresece caused by the reaction between the concrete and the neuralizer. Applying concrete neutralizer 3. Next we primed the walls. We used Boysen B701 “Permatex” flat latex paint applied with a roller. 4. At this point, there…

Crime concerns.  Our construction crew are mostly from Iloilo City.  They live on the site and go home Saturday night after being paid, so they can see their families –or girlfriends,and return for work at 7:00am on Monday.  When I got to the site this morning they were asking for a padlock for the gate.  They said that people are roaming the surrounding fields after midnight.   My crew are pretty tough guys.  They sleep with their knives at hand, but

Carport, almost done! Carport, big enough for delivery trucks Carport from the road House Construction Expense Report 1/1/2010 through 7/18/2010 (in U.S. Dollars) Equipment 2,379.95 Labor 9,465.06 Materials 36,341.32 Soft Costs 1,023.19 OVERALL TOTAL 49,209.52 Total includes stockpiled material; floor and wall tile, Hardiflex for ceilings, all plumbing fixtures and cost of carport.   Also included are the tools and equipment needed to build the house. Some of this (cement mixer) will be sold.  Some (power drills, saws, cut-off saw, welder, grinder) will be kept after the job is complete.  Many skilled workers are available, but realistically, the employer must provide the major tools.  You may be able to hire a contractor with tools, but you’ll pay more. House is 150 square meters Carport is 36 square meters Size of crew: 7

Discussions about crime and safety for expats living in the Philippines seem to generate big, passionate differences of opinion. Some feel that foreigners are crime targets. This view is supported by many news reports of foreigners being killed, mostly in home intrusions. Others have never experienced crime during their stay in the Philippines, feel very safe, that the dangers are overblown and that it’s safer in the Philippines than their home country. One of the things that amazed me when I first came to the Philippines is that houses, even in very peaceful small places, had steel bars on their windows. Where we lived in Upstate New York, such a thing was inconceiveable. Most people there did not lock their houses and left their keys in the ignition of their cars. Surely, something is different. See our discussion on crime and security at http://goiloilo.com/crime-against-foreigners-philippines/ My experiences in the Philippines have been exceptionally positive. However, we’re building our house in a quite isolated location with no near neighbors. We see that Filipinos with nice houses take security precautions, so we…