Monday, March 27th, 2017

You have read about our retirement location and the specifics regarding where our property is. Now its time to introduce you to your home design. Our property if you remember is located within a gated subdivision just outside Davao City. http://www.philippinesorbust.com/2010/09/our-retirement-locale/ The lot itself situated on the golf course and having a fairly severe slope. […]

I recently posted that we had finally decided and purchased our retirement lot. It is located in the Subdivision Rancho Palos Verdes within the Barangay of Mandug / Indangan Davao City, Mindanao. It is about 20 minutes drive outside of Davao City proper. We looked at lots and subdivisions all over Davao City during our […]

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…

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/

Earthquakes When we hired the engineer to design our house we were aware that the Philippines was included in the “ring of fire” earthquake zone and that our part of Panay Island had experienced a magnitude 8.2 earthquake in 1948.  In 1948 the island was much less developed.  Doubtless all or almost all the hollow block buildings on the island were built after 1948.  The 1948 quake damaged or destroyed. …

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…

Ceiling Support System Our ceilings will be about 30cm (1′) below the top of our walls and 3.1m (10′) above the finished floors.  We wanted high ceilings because we hope that the hot air will rise above us but also because it makes our modest rooms feel more spacious.  Changing lightbulbs will be a challenge! Generally Philippine ceilings are marine plywood or one of the cement board products such as Hardiflex.  The price is about the same.  There are plusses and minuses for both.  Termites and rot don’t attack cement board but the cement board is more affected by roof leaks.  Originally we were going to use Hardiflex but we decided to use plywood instead.  Like gypsum board, cement board is a totally uniform material.  Plywood has some texture, some hint of once being a natural product.  We just like the look of plywood ceiling better. Ceilings can be supported by wooden joists or one of many suspended ceiling systems.  We decided to use 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ 2.5mm steel angle bar …

How to build a hollow block house in the Philippines and keep it cool. Concrete/hollow block houses with metal roofs are the norm in the Philippines and elsewhere in tropical Asia. Filipinos don’t build such houses out of ignorance. They have critical advantages. They resist typhoon damage. If they’re flooded, they can be cleaned out and used again. For the most part they are termite proof. Locked up at night, they provide pretty good security to residents. They are mostly built with low-tech local materials by local workers well versed in building with concrete and hollow blocks. Such houses can be quite inexpensive. So, in most respects they are well suited to the Philippine tropical context, but there is one huge and notorious disadvantage — they are so hot. The mass of block and concrete bake in the tropical sun and this retained heat is re-radiated into the house day and night. Compounding the problem is the metal roof which can turn the attic into an oven. The overall effect is a house which can be markedly hotter than than the outdoor temperature and very uncomfortable. Our …

Plumbing in the Philippines. We build our Philippine house. Interior plumbing We will only have “cold” water plumbing so our water supply plumbing is quite simple.  We are trying to avoid running pipes in tiled walls or tiled floors to avoid having to tear out tiling to make repairs.  In this photo the blue pipes are supply lines to a bathroom on the opposite side of the wall.  That way, if there’s a leak, we can make repairs from the untiled wall in this bedroom. Plumbing outside This photo shows three elements of the plumbing system.  The horizontal blue pipe is a 1″ water supply line which encircles the building outside.  Repairs and changes to these outside pipes will be simple. The vertical blue pipes are 1/2&#…

We’re building our house in the Philippines.  We build a carport as part of our Philippine house building project. A carport was a part of our original plans and permits, but we only decided to really commit to building it when our small crew started to run out of work while waiting for the house roof to be finished.  After the house roof is done, then there’s the floor to pour and finishing of the interior and exterior walls. In the meantime we could use our crew to build the carport.  Also we had over- ordered 16mm rebar …