“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Sunday, August 14, 2011


As promised I would finalize this blog on building our house with a post on statistics. Well here it is.

It is just a random and unsorted number of items that I could easily collect from my spreadsheet that I developed during the house building project. Much more could be produced, but for now this is my selection.

I will publish here some statistical details on the Project, House dimensions, Materials, Sub Projects, Pricing and a summary graph showing the cost components.

New projects

Although the house is finished now and we are living there, there are still many things to do, most of them will be new projects or existing ones to be completed.

To mention a few:

  1. some bathrooms need sinks and toilets & a whirlpool to be installed
  2. find a solution for wireless internet, as we don't have a land-line
  3. antenna's for aerial and satellite TV and internet wireless broadband
  4. grills for the stairs and balconies (ongoing)
  5. kitchen and powder room cabinets to be made
  6. cabinets for the the walk-in closets (5) to be made
  7. curtains through the whole house to be designed/ordered
  8. TV and home cinema set to be chosen and ordered (partly done)
  9. oven to be ordered and installed
  10. automatic gate opener (on-going)
  11. higher the fence and put razor wire on top (on-going)
  12. painting the grills, gate and fence front (on-going)
  13. plastering the front fence and making moldings (on-going)
  14. driveway from the gate to the house and outbuildings
  15. fountain design and implementing (on-going)
  16. landscaping and backfilling the garden
  17. swimming pool
  18. new larger roof for outbuilding

House building Finishing activities

One of the reasons that I didn't update my blog the last months was that we were busy 6 days a week with logistics and selecting and buying materials, the seventh day doing administration and taking some rest.

The other reason was I had to do the plumbing myself as my plumber/electrician didn't come for weeks, because he had meanwhile a big project in a church in Calasiao.

The last time I wrote about progress of the house was May 16, it was about the door jambs. That time I thought that it was a matter of weeks, but it was a matter of months to finish all.

Friday, August 5, 2011

House blessing

Last week Saturday (30/7) we had a blessing and praying party to celebrate the fact that our house is finished and we officially moved into the new house.

The night before an old couple, the previous owners of our property, slept in the house according to local tradition. At 4 a.m. the next morning we arrived to settle in and waited for the old people to wake up.
We prepared breakfast - toast and fried eggs with orange juice and fruits - for the four of us. For them it was as if they stayed in a hotel. They never experienced such an occasion as this one.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


You may want to know how our house was designed.

Well first of all we collected house (home plan) designs on the Internet. It must have been hundreds.

One house that I liked, from a Filipino/American architect from California, was selected to try to make a model to find out if this was a helpful method to better visualize the house. It worked well and we concluded that it was not as nice as we thought. By the way this was done in 2008 in Malden, The Netherlands, see the pics.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Flores de Mayo

Yesterday, Sunday, I was driving from a shopping mall in Dagupan to my house in Sta. Barbara and encountered on the highway a procession in barangay Tuliao.

I parked on the road shoulder and made the below pictures.

Later my sister in law told me that this is done in many cities / barangays as a celebration of the new season, the season of flowers (of May) called "Flores de Mayo". It is like we have in the Netherlands, called "Bloemen corso", but I haven't seen a lot of flowers, but lovely girls and women in nice dresses.

See the pictures bellow...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Door jambs

It's a bit late, but I forgot to publish this post, which I prepared already in February this year.
The only reason to make a blog about the door jambs was to show how they do it here in Asia, compared to what I am used to in the Netherlands.

The jambs are assembled on site and prepared for installation by hammering a lot of nails in the outer perimeter. Hence the jamb is positioned in the door opening and then cement added around the jamb.

Roofing (2)

The building looks like a house since this week the roof was almost finished.

The roof is from APO/Puyat (number one brand in the Philippines) and is made of 0.5 mm molded galvanized steel plate, and painted brown with an extra gloss for free as this roofing project is sponsored by APO as a show case in northern Luzon. APO gives a guarantee of 10 years on their roof materials.

It seems they want to establish a new plant in Mangaldan (only 15 minutes from here) and this roof will be in their new commercial brochures.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Importing Household goods and Personal effects

Our container ready to load at the storage location
It took me quite some (Internet) research to find out which procedures apply and what the tax rates are to import my personal stuff into the Philippines.

In this blog you find my experiences, some info and a serie of video shoots of the physical transport. A brief video impression is attached at the end of this blog.

By October 2010 the picture was clear, however that time I had not all procedural details available, as there is relatively few info on the Internet. The most valuable info I found was from a Dutch/Filipino couple who returned to the Philippines from the Netherlands, so basically the same starting position as we had.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lighter refiller

It was by accident that I witnessed a brief encounter of one of my workers, doing something along the road and two guys on a motorbike selling something.

When I looked for the second time I saw what happened. The guys had a gas bottle and refilled the lighter of my worker. It cost him 10 peso, saves 50 peso as a new lighter may cost 60 peso or so.

I remember that they had a special sound announcing their arrival, as every street seller has its own sound.

Roofing (1)

Last week the first phase of the roofing was completed, the trusses, C-purlins and facia-board, being the perimeter of the roof to which the gutter will be mounted.

Originally we were pushed by our engineer/supervisor to start the week before my short leave in The Netherlands, so mid of February. I am happy that we didn't do it for many reasons, the most important being 1) I could not follow the process and see the results and 2) the plastering out-side should be ready before the roofing is installed and that will be not earlier than end of next week. This is because the ceiling under the roof outside is included in the contract.

I had 3 offerings for a fixed price contract, already before my leave. Just after my leave I got a fourth offer, which was after some negotiations the best one, in terms of costs, what was included and the trust I had in the engineer doing the job.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Entrance of one of the bedrooms, the stairs are on the right
I am back already 2 weeks from my 4 weeks trip to the Netherlands, where I had to manage the transport of our household effects.

This means that the plastering which started when I left is now ongoing for 6 weeks already and I expect still 2 more weeks to go before it is completed.

In this period we consumed 1000 bags (or 40.000 kilo) of cement and still to go 2 or 3 hundred.

The pictures show some results so far, interior only.

Fish pond

A few weeks earlier I took this picture
Last weekend we had a rather strange activity on our premises. I was not in favor of it, but for the Filipino living with me - family and friends - it was a normal yearly event.

The issue was that, due to the long dry period since December last year, the fish pond was drying out. I estimate that we had only 50 to 70 cm water in the pond left. The water of course is warming up significantly and the fish would die if we wouldn't do anything. My solution was to add water with our pump to save the fish.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Septic vault

Digging the hole ...
In rural areas in the Philippines, as in most countries, there is no draining system for sewage or draining water. So we need a septic vault (sometimes called tank) for sewage water. Draining water will be discharged directly to the road shoulder.

Last week we started with two septic vaults. A large vault for the house of 3 x 2 meters and 2 meters deep, so 12 qm, was made last week. It is divided into two chambers, one for digesting the sewage water by bacteria and via an overflow the water comes into the sink chamber with outlets into the garden, feeding and watering the greenery.

Animal farm (2)

Last two weeks our animal farm is extended with some more dogs.

First we got Anakin from the largest pet market in Manila (Sta. Cruz) and then a week later we got Padme from a pet shop in Nepo mall, Dagupan city. They are from the Shih Tzu breed from Taiwan or China. I don't see the difference between them, so I don't know who is who. See the picture and find the differences.

When we visited the pet shop again in Nepo mall last week for pet shampoo, they suddenly had two German Shepards for sale. As I planned already to get one the coming months as my personal dog and guard, I couldn't resist the wish to buy one of them. Finally I choose for the male puppy. He is 2 months old and I call him Xander, which means the "protector".

Second floor (2)

The reinforcing steel and electric and plumbing pipes are prepared,
view is the study room and balcony
Yesterday was again a milestone in the project. The second floor was completed.

Part 1 was completed on 8/1/2011, part 2 two weeks later on 22/1/2011 and again two weeks later on 5/2/2011 part three was completed.

For part 1 we used 137 bags cement, and 11 extra workers 33 total
For part 2 we used 110 bags cement, and 3 extra worker 25 total
For part 3 we used 104 bags cement, only 22 workers

Sunday, January 30, 2011


The upper part from landing to 2nd floor is ready for concreting
A new step in building our house was completed last week, the STAIRS.

See the pictures below.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

13-A visa

Entrance to Intramuros is still guarded and closed at night.
Yesterday, 28 January 2011, I got my 13-A visa.

Read here how it started and what happened until I got it.

Wednesday, 17 November, we went to Manila with the whole family to bring my parents- and sister in law to the airport. They went to the USA.
My sister is living there with her husband and her parents got a permanent stay visa to live there as well permanently. They are almost 70 and I was doubting they liked to do it, but it seems they do. It also seems that the US government will pay them a kind of pension. Much more generous than the the Dutch government is.

The same day we went to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in Intramuros, old Manila, which is Spanish meaning: "between the walls". Indeed it is a special and old part of Manila, but it needs a lot of maintenance and apparently the government is not spending a peso to it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Animal Farm

Kring kring is about 2-3 months old
Last weeks we have got some pets to enrich our live. Although our house is not yet finished, we keep them most of the time on our property.

The first one was a dog, called Kring-kring, it seems to be the sound of the telephone in Pilipino. The dog was brought by my brother in law, and originates from his sister in San Carlos, who could not raise the dog (time, money??). So now we have to do it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Outbuilding (2)

Gravel and steel are put on the flooring sand ...
Last Saturday the windows and doors were delivered for the outbuilding in the back side.

And a few weeks ago we finished the floors in the Outbuilding.

Below are some pictures to show you how it looks now. Next milestone is to extend the front side of the outbuilding and to place the final roofing.

Second floor

Again an exciting week, we finished the first part of the second floor, about 40% of the total floor.

The coco lumber poles were nailed together to make a fully covering scaffold for the second floor and the arcs and  beams. On top of it sheets of plywood are nailed.

Next the wooden floor was covered by a grid of steel bars and on top a second grid shfted in two directions.

Of course the plumbing and electricity pipes were also installed. I had even a last minute change, hot water in all bathrooms upstairs.

Ground floor

Maid's room
Again an exciting week, we finished the ground floor - some people say 1st floor - walls, and the first part of the 2nd floor. The latter will be covered in a seperate blog.

We started with the walls, as usually made from hollow blocks, on December 9 and now after 4 weeks it's almost finished, only some small walls of the bed room downstairs have to be done next week.

However, most of the time was spent on preparing the supporting coco lumber for the second floor.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fence (4)

Small gate is delivered on top of the car,
notice the post-box in the middle
A new chapter has been written on the fence.

Last Thursday (29/12) the main gate and side gate were installed. It took them 2 half days to complete the work on site. A couple of problems had to be solved regarding the hinges, and the manual locker had to be repositioned.

The gap in the fence is finally closed. Only final painting is required, we will do that later.


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