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  1. 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.
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