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  1. 24 points
    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.
  2. 18 points
    I noticed someone felt to need to announce they were leaving. I think that is just some passive aggressive attempt at a rebuke? Paul was always a gentleman. I found some psychotic wen site attacking him and non of the contents reflected my experience with him. Always a good guy to me. The new owner made an unsolicited contact with me to help me optimise a web page. How cool is that? I come here to pass the time. Maybe I am mistaken but I consider myself a realist. I don’t want or expect anyone to care if I leave or stay. I come here to pass time. None of my posts will be exceptional. I don’t join cliques and block those people. I just enjoy simple browsing and occasional interactions by posting. What is exceptional is how willing members are to help when it has needed most. I have donated money and time to people in need here. I have gotten much more back in priceless knowledge. So things are a bit different now but the core group of good hearted members are why I like it here and don’t think that can easily be replaced. I don’t like a beat down just because things may not operated the way I expect. Not my site. This is my way of supporting an overwhelmingly good core group of members. End.
  3. 17 points
    I am here on my 4th visit, and just want to share some things I have noticed since my last visit, including my attitudes. Some things for those of you that live here you are already aware of. For starters, GF has incredibly crappy hours that change, and it has killed a lot of the fun activities, but we are making the best of it. LDR's: I never saw myself being in one of this distance, and time in between. Sucks when I am away. 7 months since last visit... we really needed this! TRAFFIC: DAYUMMMM, it seems so much worse here in the city, maybe due to the holiday and summer vacation. Oddly, I am pretty even keel about it all, just chill in the back seat of the taxi, and I will arrive when I arrive. Granted the cost goes up, but it is beyond my control'. The street chaos and mayhem just seems to be heavier. SPEAKING OF TAXIS: Rear view mirror cams are new and even have rear-view cams, I applaud this! MORE TAXI STUFF: Honoring "No left Turn" signs, (Never did before) only to follow with sketchy and to me illegal, U Turns in front of traffic! FILIPINO ATTITUDES: Not sure if possible, but people seem even nicer than the last visit. SUMMER MONTHS: At times... Hot AF!! MY TAXI TIPPING: I found I am not suffering from the over tipping white knight syndrome any longer. If the driver attempts to carry on a conversation with me, I tip much bigger. Beyond that, about 10-20 pesos for the quiet ones and almost nothing for the ones that spend the time loud talking on their cell phones the entire time. NON AIRCON LITTLE BUSES: Riding this to and from the province will no longer be tolerated, by me, my ass, or my carbon monoxide filled lungs! LECHON: The addiction to crispy skin is real!!! I bought the 30kg for 5k, great eats! The family did the re-cook thing for other dishes with the left overs, not a whole lot to work with there. They bragged after we left showing off the FOUR Lechon for the actual Fiesta, and all the party videos. Someday I will actually get to attend. FILIPINO FAMILIES vs. AMERICAN: Poor Poverty Filipino families seem 10x happier than the average well to do families I know in the USA. FILIPINO KIDS: They crack me up over the pleasure they derive from the smallest of things, very refreshing! Also how mesmerized the little ones in the province are over a big old Kano! COMFORTABLE: Feeling more like I belong here (Being comfortable could be a bad thing) I keep my wits about me at all times, maybe confident is a better word. I know my way around a bit more, practicing more visyan, and have adapted to street crossing (AKA Frogger) much better. ROAD CONSTRUCTION: Saw a lot of it to and from the province. Looks pretty awful, so very primitive. FIESTA: Filipino's know how to have fun! EXPATS AT THE MALL: I really notice them much more this time around. So many are really "Creepers", and I will just leave it at that. Many of the couples the woman doesn't seem real happy, where the woman seems to be dragged through the mall trailing her man. MY ATTITUDE: Feeling like I am more relaxed, just accepting things as they are, and not getting overly worked up on the tiny details. I actually seem to have more patience than my GF (That could easily change! ) I think me being an Air Force brat and living in Europe and a lot of travel to 3rd world countries etc, has really helped me adapt to places like Cebu. MILLION DOLLAR VIEWS: They are everywhere in the province! (just have to look past the poverty) Just some stuff... I had some nice conversations with some of my GF's workmates. Quite intelligent, and inquisitive. Funny to listen to some of their views of what they think Americans are and what the USA is like. They were spot on about many things on how they view us (a lot of it is not good) I learned about paper wrapping Mangoes on the trees, and other oddities in the Phil's. I can see me living here, it's just a matter of where and with who . I have been checking out ads on FB for rentals etc, just to get a feel for it. Did I mention crispy skin is like crack? RESTAURANTS: Tried a few more to add to my list. Hit up the RACK at Seaside (the mall was packed on a Sunday!) Tried their Katsu, me liked! Ordered their BRICK of onion rings, that' was too much! Would be great for 4 people or so, not us and large meals to go with it. SHAKA, good food and vibes, loved the live music. PARK SOCIAL IT PARK, this time finger foods (Loved the fresh chips and dip) and adult beverage on a Sunday night, listening to 70's-80's rock stuff, very enjoyable evening. SUGBO MERCADO at IT PARK, didn't eat there, absolutely packed on a Sunday night, now on my hit list for the next visit. LEMON GRASS and HUKAD... great eats, love the soups. Just a few of the eats we had... STAYS: The Quest for all but one night, and the Maracossa Cottages in Moalboal for the second time during our pre fiesta visit to Alegria. Decent breakfast is included, and I stayed for free with my Expedia points. FLOWERS: I bought her the very first flowers she has received. I got more thank you's for those than anything ever! Such a simple thing meant so much to her! Really cute watching her take selfies with them. So far so good... I hope the trend continues in a positive direction. I am excited about living somewhere in Cebu, but still looking at other islands, nothing carved in stone. Hell, if me and the GF don't work out, visits to other countries are on the back burner. A few pics attached of my time here... leaving Thursday morning, not happy about that.
  4. 16 points
    Picture of my wife at 38. No make-up; eats like a pig.... ...oh wait, that's my daughter.... my bad.
  5. 16 points
    Damn, boy! Your friend's bright. HAHAHA. I see valid points. 1. Negative Expats 2. Right to complain 3. Negative article 4. Something to love here. I haven't met any negative expats. I have met some who have complaints, but not really negative. Because, sure, there are things to complain about. I complain about people getting in the elevator before I get a chance to go out, or people being so loud, or people being greedy about transportation and accommodation rates when you're on vacation, or cashiers being stern with me when I don't have the exact amount and their registers don't have change. People have the right to complain. It's ok to complain. Get it off your chest. Just don't let 10 bad minutes dominate your 24 hours. Also, don't generalize Philippine culture when you've only been to Cebu. And certainly not if you've only exposed yourself to a certain part of Cebu. Honestly, if you're going to call my country a rathole or a shithole, I will hate you first and then pity you because that means you actually CHOSE to live in a shithole - who lowers their standards like that? You have to admit there's a lot to love here. 3 hours from the damned sardine run. white beaches everywhere. whale sharks in the south. 35-peso meals. and if none of those appeal to you, then you have to find something that does. and if you can't, love yourself and leave. If you want changes here, then 'BE THE CHANGE.' It doesn't even matter if you can't make a big change, at the least, be the person you wish you'd meet in Cebu.
  6. 16 points
    Along time from now in a world far away 2 young men set out to seek their fortunes. Being from different countries their paths would only cross once on this journey. Approaching a city traveler #1 came across a wizened old lady selling food on the side of the road. He stopped and bought a bit of food and asked the lady what the people in the city were like. Being wise she asked what the people were like where he came from. He replied horrible bunch, drunkards, liars, thieves, can't be trusted, part of the reason he left. She smiled and said that was what the people in the nearby city were like. A bit later traveler #2 showed up and bought some food from the lady and chatted a bit with her, asking what the people in the city ahead were like. She smiled and asked what the people were like where he came from. His face lit up and he prattled on about what a great bunch they were. Fun loving and happy, great friends, was very hard to leave them behind. She smiled and replied that was the type of people he would find in this city! It's not them it's is YOU
  7. 15 points
    So the night before November the 8th I was tracking Yolanda real time on the computer...I had of course been tracking it for a week or so, I actually had it figured we would get a dead hit...had told some officials to include the Mayor but pretty much got the stupid American look. My wife had made most of her siblings and their kids come to the house (some under protest) until the storm passed....all were there except one of my BILs and he was staying put to guard his squatter nipa about 50 feet from the shore line...sometime that evening when they told me (I was not counting heads) I made my other BIL go get him and force him to come to the house, not that I liked him all that much but didnt want the family to loose their father... My house at the time was about 500 mtrs from the shore, on a narrow street, one story, its was surrounded by a eight foot concrete wall in front, and sides and a twenty foot concrete wall in the back, also every house but mine was two story and they surrounded us. We were on high ground and I figured the walls and the other houses would pretty much protect it from the wind I expected....things being what they are here, I told the wife no need to evacuate we are probably as safe here as anywhere. That proved to be true. About three or four in the morning I watched NoyNoy's speech on the TV and remember him saying, no worries we have it all under control, yea right. Shortly after I guess somewhere around 4am the power went out...little did we know it would be seven months until we would see it again... The wind gust were steadily picking up by this time and as I have no wind measuring equipment I can only guess it was somewhere about 60 mph with gust to about 80 mph... the winds steadily picked up and about sunrise they were really blowing a gale...as it got light I could look outside and see there already was a lot of damage to roofs and trees, guessing by then the winds were well over 100 mph, the high wall in the back was swaying in and out something like two feet...and I moved everybody to the master bed room as I figured out it was most likely the safest place to be, the thing I was worried about was the wall coming down, fortunately we had a huge hardwood tree in the back and when a strong gust would push the wall toward the house it would stop when it hit the tree...thats what saved the wall. As the storm peaked, the trees in front started coming down, one on the house, one took out the dirty kitchen, the house had three skylights domed plastic, about two feet wide and three to four feet long, we lost all of them, you would hear the wind gust pick up then a loud pop as the wind sucked them out....the water coming down the street was about four feet deep and rushing by so fast you could not have stood or swam in it...my yard was about two feet deep, thank God for the foresight the guy that built it had as he had raised the house something like four feet which was enough...at one point we saw a multi cab go by down the street like a speed boat..no driver...the gate to the driveway finally let loose, broke the locking cross bar...and now the water was about half way up the drive way. What was strange was the only leak we had in the roof was from the skylights going...that house was built very good me thinks... All we could do was hunker down and wait, toward the afternoon, it got to where we could survey the damage…it was a OMG moment…every house but ours had taken major damage, the closer you got to the main drag the more the damage…every wire and most of the poles were down, tin and wires everywhere, cars upside down, walls down, in some cases whole buildings down, as we got to the main drag, more destruction, dead bodies everywhere….people walking the streets like zombies…some with clothes and some without…I saw the damage to New Orleans from the air, saw the destruction from Camille from the air but I had never seen anything like this… Early the next morning, the day after the storm, we walked to where all the wife’s siblings houses were, remember the squatter area where they lived was over by the shore..right on the shore…we almost could not find where they had lived, there were zero landmarks…everything you could use for a guide was just gone…we only found where my BILs house was by finding a old concrete stove he cooked on buried in the sand…as usual after a storm, it was clear and the sun was beating down…the bodies that were everywhere were starting to get ripe and the smell was very noticeable. My BIL saw a new looking motorcycle helmet laying on the ground, thinking he had a new helmet he picked it up, only to throw it down as the owners head was still in it. After a few hours of checking the place out…we walked back to the house…broke open the booze and just sat thinking about what we had seen, I guess most of us were in shock a little bit. By the next day the looting had started, everything that was not nailed down the mobs were taking, we broke out the guns and my Bil got on the roof with the shot gun and I was downstairs with the .45, the neighbors did the same, which is a good thing as our street was the only one that didn’t suffer break ins and looting. We lived like this for a couple of weeks as the Army and the PNP promised by NoyNoy never showed up… To make a very long story a little shorter, it took about a month for the streets to get cleared enough to ride a bike and a few weeks longer to get them where you could drive a car. We got food by driving to BayBay or Ormoc to shop…used candles and oil lamps for the seven months it took to get power. Cooked with gas and wood, mostly wood as there was a lot laying around. We were fortunate as we had a hand pump deep well so we could get water, just had to boil it to drink….strangely, coke and beer were plentiful as the locals raided the coke and San Miguel bottling plants… And that my friends is my best storm story…
  8. 15 points
    I like reading posts about complaints by complainers complaining about complainers complaining.
  9. 15 points
  10. 15 points
  11. 14 points
    I am not a fan of over moderating , it dampens things a bit if someone is just strolling around looking for stuff to pick at , I would say right now is the smoothest and least moderating used since I joined here 12K posts ago, and everyone I think , is more at ease without over the top moderating ....for this to continue some self restraint is sometimes required from everybody participating ....particularly in controversial type subject matter. So we need to be selective with our wording and descriptions in these topics , and we also need to refrain from injecting political persuasion into things where it is just not necessary , no one in particular is being singled out here but we can sort of look at it as a notification of where the speed camera is going to be set up ...and hopefully avoid being pinged as we go through it.............
  12. 14 points
    Tomorrow we break ground on our final project, the upgraded laundry area with tiles connecting the dirty kitchen, sala and laundry. The contractor will begin with a small metal gate wall with door separating our sari sari and nrw pisonet cafe. Small store 4m x 3m and will divide into a 1.5m x 3m pisonet cafe with 4 computers and a water dispenser. Sari sari will be 2.5m x 3m, which is perfect for our small area. We started last week with a new steel door installed to gain access to the store from outside. Looked around and couldn't find a 24" door so had one made for p8000, complete with frame. Had the install completed in 1 day, for security reasons. I went with a different contractor as our was on a build and I needed this done prior to this construction. Yes the knobs are flipped but I don't care. The laundry area already features a gravel drain, included when our sod was installed. This will be upgraded with a steel roof on a steel frame with upgraded electric and plumbing for our Samsung front load washing machine. A ceiling fan repurposed from the store will also be installed. The biggest part is going to be the tiling. The new laundry will be tiled as well as the area connecting the dirty kitchen and sala. No slippers required to walk from sala/house to laundry or dirty kitchen (dream come true). There will be some manual labor breaking up the current concrete as well as a trench for water pipes and some consideration for drainage. There will probably be a 6" step to level things up as well. Our contractor has worked here many times and is currently building the house next to ours. However he has 2 employees that "don't listen" so Saturday he told them the house was in hold meaning no more work. He and his crew, less 2, will be here 6am to 6pm this week Monday through Saturday if needed. I'm confident they will complete then next week restart the house less the 2. Friday I went to Peoples Lumber Liloan and purchased p27k in metal and concrete, delivered Friday evening. Friday afternoon I purchased 1 cu sand and 1 cu gravel around 3pm, this was delivered Friday around 430pm. We are about 300m from nearest drop point so p1000 to 8 songs to trek everything into the compound. I'm going to try to update daily with progress, hope you enjoy. 1st 2 pics are before of the store, 2nd 2 of the new door, 5th pic is the laundry area and 6th is the tiling area. Sent from my SM-J327P using Tapatalk
  13. 14 points
  14. 14 points
    I built my house the Filipino way , i didn't want a concrete hollow block house , still standing strong after 12yrs high ceilings large screened windows ,, no need for stand fans most nights , much cheaper at the time i have sense build a house out of concrete ,, so if the big bad wolf blows down my bamboo house i have a place to run lol
  15. 14 points
    It's still tipping down with rain outside so I can't really take any decent photos of the outside house at the moment. So here are some pictures of the inside of the house. Here are some pics of the open-plan living room, kitchen, dining room:
  16. 14 points
  17. 13 points
    Final report: After a few week's absence, finally reached the finish line (almost)! Despite being the dry season we have pushed ahead with landscaping and laying turf. This means copious watering twice a day - fortunately nature has played its part the last few days with heavy overnight rain. Long may it continue! All units have been fully fitted out now and the water supply system installed - reserve water tank, pump and pressure tank. The system is rigged to run off city water unless the pressure drops below a certain level, which will trigger the pressure tank and pump to supplement the supply. Cable TV and internet the last remaining non-construction related items yet to be sorted. I hope this thread has been of interest to anyone considering a building project in these parts. Many thanks to our builder Dhing Santos, who yet again produced results far exceeding our expectations and without whose voluntary help in dealing with the local electricity cooperative we could never have reached this happy conclusion. Major credits to Belle Caldosa, co-owner of the apartments for her flawless eye for design and fantastic landscaping. Many thanks to Pakon, a lovely lady who single-handedly planted each individual piece of turf under an intolerably hot and unforgiving sun over the last two weeks. And lastly to Clary, my daughter, whose future inspired me to undertake this project in the first place!
  18. 13 points
  19. 13 points
    http://philippineslifestyle.com/bitter-expats-philippines/ An older article but I thought it was a good read. I thought it might inspire some conversation.
  20. 13 points
    It is the "live for today" mentality , which is endemic throughout the PI....."we have a huge fish , enough for 3 days ...lets invite everybody over and just eat it all now ...tomorrow is another day....."
  21. 13 points
    If it is not wrapped up amicably and quickly you do require moderating otherwise everyone else in the discussion becomes a victim to the bickering also and that is not fair play to those that are not involved in the bickering. Instead of being involved in a discussion they become witnesses to 2 people trading blows over their disagreement ...I usually let a couple of backward and forward remarks slide in the hope that those involved have got it out of their system but when it continues beyond reasonable it is time to put a stop to it so the rest of those with interest in that thread can continue their discussion.
  22. 13 points
  23. 13 points
  24. 13 points
  25. 13 points
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