Building a House in the Province

As many of us have probably heard tale of or even been involved with, it is alot of filipina’s dream to build their family a house back in the province. Most of the bargirls, and even non-bargirls, come from meager backgrounds in the province where if they’re lucky they have both parents trying to grind out a living and provide for their ever growing Catholic families. They come to AC and Subic and a host of other places to make money to send home in the belief that it will help the family; school fees, grocery, health care are some examples I’ve heard for expenses and then there is always the drunk father or lazy brother who just piss away this money in gambling or drinking. Money earned by some filipina making a living on her back. It is their upbringing and philosophy to help the family and we’re never going to break them of that; family comes before them and way before their relationships with foreigners.

The house in the province is a symbol or sign of the families success; it is also a demonstration by the girl that she can care for her family properly. A well constructed house signals that she is now the provider of the family; a stature thing encompassing the father as provider and head of family. Now, MOST girls will NEVER achieve this degree of success by only barfining and getting her fair share of Lady Drinks. This type of success will only come thru securing a long time barfine, WU sponsor or by somehow finding herself a boyfriend or husband (which is extremely rare considering the insurmountable odds and number of bargirls).

Those of us on the board who’ve been involved in building a provincial house may not be willing to admit it due to expected degree of harassment that will come from the hardened mongers who see any type of compassion or support for a filipina as ignorant or SOMEHOW inhibiting them from fucking said girl. I have gathered some information that I’ll share with you. This is a Zambales house and the cost reflects that; it is potentially somewhat more expensive than buidling elsewhere off Luzon.

First off describing the construction technique; the home pictured was built on a piece of property where the family controls the land. The home replaced a single room wooden building with tin roof on piers. The new home is of block construction reinforced with rebar on a concrete slab. The kithen and CR were built first across the lot from the previous home which was later demolished to make room for new house. The kitchen acted as a base to support the family (cooking, CR and sleeping) while the remaining three rooms were built consisting of a main living room and two bedrooms. The kitchen comes with multiple venting blocks, a 12 foot concrete slab countertop, a sink, CR etc. No running water; water is stored in buckets in the CR to flush and bathe with and several surplus water jugs in the kitchen for cooking with. An electric water cooler provides cold and or hot water as needed and a two burner shellane stove for cooking.

Each room has at least one louvered window to allow for good air flow. Electric wiring was run to each room for lights, plugs, fans etc. One additional luxery was to put in a ceiling and linoleum on the concrete floor. Beds and some furniture were constructed out of the left over and surplus lumber; end tables, benches, tables etc. As time goes on, the linoleum can be replaced with economical tile and furniture purchased or acquired.

The whole place is being painted with the traditional filipina choice of pink, green or light blue with white ceilings. The exterior was not painted but skim coated with concrete to cover the block which looks nice but also serves to help prevent deteroation. The fence has yet to be finished to protect the lot from people walking in.

I will summarize the associated costs for construction of a two bed room, 520 square foot house (26 ft x 20 ft):

Block/cement/sand: P61,730
Wood/plywood: P46,200
Aluminum/metal/rebar: P22,028
Plumbing: P1510
Electrical: P5975
Misc: P17,917
Labor: P54,000
Total: P155,360 ($4425 USD or approx. $8.5 per square foot)

Which brings me to labor; this house as with many in the Philippines will be built by someone in the family who has some degree of experience in building. Don’t go down to your neighborhood construction company and expect this to be built for the same cost. This construction was done by one uncle and two helpers over a 3 month period and several hundred dollars worth of Red Horse and Emperador. There were 3 workers involved; 1 employee (uncle)for 12 weeks at P1500 a week. 2 helper employees for 12 weeks @P1200 a week and one cousin for 6 weeks who was paid P7200. Also, untracked was their food and meals which were provided as they stayed onsite 95% of the time. Overall, they did a decent job; the new house is a far cry better than the previous wooden shanty the family lived in raising 4 kids. It has already withstood one signal 3 typhoon and I expect it to sustain the family thru many more.

Now, to some this type of home would no cut it….it doesn’t have nearly enough luxery for them but for a filipina who came from a very very modest upbringing without a fulltime father to provide, this house is a dream. It can only get better with the addition of some furniture and necessities. It will remain like alot of provincial homes, a perverbal work in progress as money is available.

Early construction

Demo of the old house

Early view of the sala

Completed small bedroom

Completed sala

Almost completed kitchen

Completed big bedroom

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