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slowsmile

Building a house in the Cebu provinces -- cheaply.

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Dafey

Hi Slow,

Welcome to the Forum and nice report!

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slowsmile

Thanks, I'm a first timer. Just moved here from Luzon.

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Dafey

How deep into the province are you?

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billy
42 minutes ago, slowsmile said:

Hi All...I just thought I'd post some of my thoughts and reasons for building my house in the Cebu provinces in the hope to show people(with a relatively small pension) that it is easily possible to build a quality and an affordable house or home in the Philippines without the cost being too excessive. My house isn't finished yet but my Filipina wife and I are now living happily in the new house. 

People build their own houses in the Phils for many reasons. Here are some of the reasons why I built my house in the Cebu provinces on the north side of Cebu island:

* I only had a UK state pension and half a military pension(with a small lump sum) with which to build my own house.

* I had previously  been living in the Philippines -- in a rented house in San Fernando City, Ilocos Sur -- for the past 12 years. It was noticeably getting more expensive to live there(due  to its proximity to Metro Manila) and it was becoming too modern and civilized(read expensive) for my tastes. During those 12 years the total rent I paid was over PHP 1.4 million. That's really why I moved to Cebu and decided to build a house. I now pay no rent and only pay a yearly tax on my new house and land that comes to about PHP 500($10.00 or GBP 7.00) per year. Which is alot of money saved per annum, which means that my pension will go even further.

* We sold everything locally before we moved to Cebu, including all furniture, kitchen stuff and our car(old Revo). This gave us some extra money for the big move and also helped us to save money as well because shipping costs, even in the Philippines, I regard as way too high. 

* We shipped all our soft stuff -- clothing, bedding, curtains etc by LBC. That didn't break the bank.

* My wife's family also came for visits to SF and took delicate stuff(like the HD TV) back to Cebu for us. We couldn't have done it so easily without her family's invaluable help. 

* I designed the new house myself(it passed the local Municipal Building Regs with only a few mods) and have been self-managing the build with my wife since July 2017 -- still ongoing. By doing it this way and not hiring an architect to both design and manage the build, we saved a huge amount of money on architect design and management fees. The house will probably be finished round about June 2018. But I'm in no real hurry. I've also found that if you build slow and you're there all the time, you spot build errors well before they become too expensive to rectify. 

* I also made a firm promise to my wife that the house would be built the Filipino way. So that's just what we did. I've also watched over the house being built on a daily basis for many months. I'm happy with the build. All our walls were built in the normal way using 4" or 6" hollow block and plastered with cement. All house and boundary walls are bedded 4 ft down in the earth with a wide concrete base that contain vertical and horizontal steel rods for extra strength. All concrete vertical support columns(23 in total) are similarly constructed. We have 8 concrete steel reinforced cross-members(15" x 4 ") going across the width at the top of the house and 2 concrete cross-members(also steel re-inforced) that travel vertically down the center of the long side of the house to support the walls and roof.  I've used no wood in the roof construction(due to the well-known termite problem in the Phils). I wanted the new house to be earthquake-proof so I didn't skimp on the structure of the house. And, unlike most westerners who build houses in the Phils, we didn't import anything from Europe or America. We just bought all our needs locally. More money saved.

* I deliberately did not build my house near a popular white beach. I purchased a 400 sqm plot of land for building the house. This was in a beautiful agricultural area(above sea level so it never floods) very near the Central Mountains of Cebu. Our new house is only 2 kms from the local beach or coastline. The land cost me PHP 1500 per sqm. But if you buy land in Cebu city, Manduae or Mactan or on any white beach then you will pay through the nose and it will probably now cost you upwards of PHP 10,000 to PHP 20,000 per sqm. 

* Ours is a fair sized house for just two people --  9m x 16m -- with an approximate tiled floor space of 144 sqm. The house is just a simple bungalow with open plan kitchen, dining room and living room. It has a large master bedroom with attached toilet/bathroom. There are two fair sized guest bedrooms and a guest toilet/shower.  My wife's garden, herbs and orchids surround three sides of the house. There will eventually be a concrete front drive with an open garage with a well-shaded terrace at the front of the house where I currently sit every day, out of the sun and in the fresh air, to do my work. 

*  If my wife and I get bored or need to go for a proper shop or break, Cebu city is only 1.5 hours away across the mountains by car from our house. We always stay at our favorite hotels in Cebu(either the Montebello Villa Resort or the Leope Hotel, depending on how we're fixed for cash). 

* Where we live now, it's alot cheaper all-round than San Fernando City in Luzon. Food is so much cheaper and the utilities are also much cheaper here in the provinces. Here I run fans and alot of lighting as well as aircon(bedroom only.) -- the same as we did in SF. Our monthly electric bill in SF was PHP 7,000 whereas where we are now in the provinces electric costs us only PHP 3,000 per month. Same for all the other utilities -- even internet is cheaper by a third for the same Mb speed as we had in SF. This is because the tax and BIR is always cheaper in the provinces than if you live in or near any city in the Phils. 

I hope this post will be useful to some people.  

 

 

 

sounds like you made the right decision. we would like to see pictures

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slowsmile

@Dafey...I'm not so deep in the provinces. Just hop over the Cebu Central Mountains and then turn right on the highway at Balamban town. My house is about 7 kms north of Balamban, near Asturias,  in a new sitio(sub-division community) that used to be agricultural land.  I'm quite close to the mountains and sea with nice views of corn fields, banana plantations, coco-palms, mango trees etc and there's a jungle or forest community on the other side of the road from my house. It's quite peaceful here and the neighbors are friendly.  

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Headshot

Welcome to LinC Forums. After you have some more posts, you will be able to post pictures, and I hope you do. Construction threads are always very popular in the forums.

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to_dave007
1 hour ago, slowsmile said:

.. my house in the Cebu provinces .... 

... in the Cebu provinces on the north side of Cebu island ...

... a beautiful agricultural area very near the Central Mountains of Cebu  .... only 2 kms from the local beach or coastline.

I think this makes you a neighbour.  I'm in Tuburan.  Welcome to the neighbourhood. How far are you from Tuburan?

Edited by to_dave007

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Headshot
1 hour ago, slowsmile said:

I also made a firm promise to my wife that the house would be built the Filipino way. So that's just what we did. All our walls were built in the normal way using 4" or 6" hollow block and plastered with cement.

 

1 hour ago, slowsmile said:

I wanted the new house to be earthquake-proof so I didn't skimp on the structure of the house.

These two statements don't seem consistent. Typical Filipino houses (built using narrow hollow block construction) are far from earthquake proof.

1 hour ago, slowsmile said:

unlike most westerners who build houses in the Phils, we didn't import anything from Europe or America. We just bought all our needs locally.

I don't know where you got that from, but I don't know anybody who imported construction materials from Europe or America. You can buy pretty much anything you need to build a house right here in the Philippines.

Edited by Headshot
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oztony

@Headshot  Bill lets just let the new guy settle in a bit before we start picking everything to pieces, we don't want him to think we're inhospitable....and he has started off with a pretty good introductory thread that I know a few of us would be keen to see some pics of ......:respect:

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BossHog

Thanks for the good read. Quite informative and interesting. Congrats on your move and build and...Welcome!

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slowsmile

@Headshot...Thanks for the advice. The house isn't finished yet but the actual house(with roof) and concrete boundary wall are built now and the following living area tasks are completed: master bedroom and all toilet/bathrooms are done,  septc tank is in, 144 sqm floor tiling is done, full kitchen is finished, doors and locks installed, aircons properly installed in two bedrooms and the main front gate is finished. Garden is looking nice  

Jobs yet to do or still ongoing: Put ceilings up(marine wood) in the kitchen, living room and dining room areas, add vertical angle iron fencing to top of concrete boundary wall, concrete the drive, add open garage,  tile the front outside terrace area, paint the house inside and outside. Still some way to go yet.

We''re living in the house at the moment and we're enjoying it. Been living here since early December 2017(it was pretty rough living then). 

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Headshot
6 minutes ago, slowsmile said:

@Headshot...Thanks for the advice.

Please forgive my indiscretion, but there are very few houses in the Philippines that are actually earthquake-proof. It wasn't meant as a criticism of your building skills (and you may have reinforced the hell out of your walls), but as a criticism of typical Filipino building methods. Of the over 10,000 homes that collapsed during the Bohol earthquake in 2013, almost all were built using these same methods.

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RogerDat

And your English is very good for an Englishman, welcome to the forum.:rolleyes:

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slowsmile

@Headshot...Well, to answer your questions or doubt, I've lived for a while up in San Fernando City in Ilocos Sur. Up there I had one Dutch friend who imported all his furniture from Holland. It must''ve cost him a fortune over the years to ship all his furniture to his new house in Bauang near SF. There was another Swiss gent that who had a massive mansion not far from where I lived. His house was absolutely massive -- he was a Swiss nightclub owner. He had imported red velvet curtains in his main living room. Thick velvet curtains made in Switzerland!! It's OK to have velvet curtains in a cold climate because that keeps the heat in the house. But in the tropics? Are you kidding me? He also had expensive and even exquisite Swiss furniture in his living room(what about the termite problem in the Phils?). There were also several other people that I knew who imported all their furniture from US or  Europe. Sorry, but that's not clever if you want to save your money. 

The only  wood I would ever entertain in my own Filipino house would be either narra wood or molave. Termites would break their teeth on that wood. But who, except a very rich person, could ever afford narra wood or molave in their own own home. I'm not a rich man, so I just make do the best that I can. And, so far so good, I'm really quite pleased with my new house. 

 

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