Monday, October 16th, 2017

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. …

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 …

Our biggest Philippine house building blunders. В We don’t want to present our project as a paragon of perfection, so here we show what went wrong during our Philippine house construction project and why, in the hope that others can learn from our mistakes. Most of these photos also appear in other sections of the site. No room for concrete in this column This photo shows the top of a 15…

Building our house in the Philippines.  We decided to set up our own “welding shop” on-site.  The roof framing is all steel; trusses (15.5 meters long), center beam, purlins, and cornice framing.  All will be constructed on-site by our crew, two of…

Building our house in the Philippines. January 31, 2010.  We’ve just ended the first two weeks of construction.  We’re generally pleased with the progress.  We have thirteen workers on our crew including two foremen.  I’m on-site most of the time so there are three “bosses”. So far we’ve spent about $8,000 including “soft costs” (architecture, permits), equipment, materials and labor.  We’d like to keep our total cost to about P15,000 per square meter or about $50,000 for the 150 square meter house.  Every day one faces decision which affect the cost.  Should we use 6″ block for a stronger house — it only costs a P30,000 pesos more!  Should the concrete floor be a bit thicker to reduce the chance of cracking?  Should we use 1/4″ thick angle bar in building our roof trusses or the thinner…

Three of us visited SOS Children’s Village in Zarraga, Iloilo in December of 2008.  SOS Children’s Village Philippines is part of an international charity which provides long-term care to orphaned, abandoned and neglected Filipino children.  128 children reside at SOS Iloilo. There are six other SOS villages in the Philippines, caring for over 700 children in total.  The centers also provide outreach care and other services to families and communities near each SOS location. These “Family Strengthening Programs” help another 1,000 families in Iloilo and Guimaras Province. Bob has thirty years of experience in the U.S. working for government and non…