Our Philippine House Project: Architects and Builders

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All about choosing an architect and builder for your Philippine house — our experiences and recommendations from someone who has done it.

Perspective Drawing for our Tigbauan House

Perspective Drawing for our Tigbauan House

We spoke with many architects about our Tigbauan, Iloilo house project.  It seems to be the norm for the architect to either have his own construction crew or to have favored construction outfits they work with.  Most Philippine architects will just do the plans for you if you insist, but since most of the profit is in the construction, they are more eager to be involved in both design and construction.  Here are some of the options for the foreigner wishing to build his Philippine dream home.

1. Pay for design services and hire your own crew to do the construction work.   This approach can have major advantages if you have the time, skills, patience and confidence to use this approach.  If you don’t have experience with contracting and construction don’t try this.  Running your project will be a full time job with considerable frustration.

Educate yourself.  Read the book “Peace of Mind in Earthquake Country”.  Shop for materials in advance so that when your crew needs materials, you will know where to get the materials you want to go into your house.  Otherwise you’ll be forced into buying whatever is available at the time you need it.  Often, only the most basic materials are available in the provinces.  If you live in the provinces, consider spending a week or two in Manila getting to know prices and availability.  You may find it advantageous to shop for and ship materials from Manila to the provinces.

The advantages. You cut out the substantial profits which would go to the architect/general contractor.  You buy your own materials.  If things go well, you get the quality you want and avoid the cut the architect/contractor would have almost certainly arranged for himself — perhaps 20 or 30%.  As construction progresses, you are free to make changes without dealing with a contractor trying to get extra pay for change orders.  You are paying your crew by the day so you are in control of any modifications or added expense. Since the architect has no business relationship with the construction crew, the architect can be on you side, looking out for your interests.

Agree in advance that the architect is to make regular site visits, especially at times when there are problems you don’t feel competent to assess or resolve.   This has been a problem for us.  Once she was paid for her work, the engineer who did our plans was not especially interested in continued involvement with the project.

The key person in this approach is the construction foreman.  An honest and competent foreman is essential.

The plans were provided by our engineer were lacking in detail.  Evidently, some architects and  engineers assume that many of the construction standards and details will be worked out by the construction crew, or that the project will be overseen by an engineer.  If you are going to have your own crew, it’s essential that the plans be detailed, that you can read and understand the plans and that the architect and engineer make regular visits to the job site.

2. Hire an architect to do the design work and put the project out for bid. Shop your project to several contractors.  As in the U.S. this approach invites contrators to low ball their bid and then to cut every corner and seek additional pay for the smallest change or ambiguity in the plans and specifications.   There is little possibility that this approach will work unless the plans and specifications are very detailed. Establish strict mile posts and a corresponding payment schedule.  Be very careful about requests for a large “mobilization” initial payment.  Do not let payments to your contractor get ahead of work actually completed.  This will be a constant struggle.

3. Hire an architect to design and build your house. This is not the least expensive option, but may be the best for property owners unwilling, unable or unavailable to hire a crew of workers and supervise the house construction project.  Here, everything depends on the integrity and competence of the architect-builder.  You must do a comprehensive background check.  Find out what he’s built and not just from him. Look at the houses he’s built.  Talk to owners.  Usually they’ll be glad to show off their houses, or share complaints.  We used this option to hire a talented and personable young Iloilo architect to design and build our perimeter fence.  I did everything wrong.  I only looked at one of his projects.  He drew up the contract and I did not review it critically enough.  I advanced too much mobilization money. The money must have been spent for other purposes because work slowed to a crawl.  I had to take over the project.  It went well after that, but we lost a lot of money which we were never able to recover. You can read all about it in a separate account here.

With the usual trepidation,  can suggest an Iloilo design-build outfit. Joemarie Yao is a talented designer and an experienced builder. We’ve seen a number of his buildings and spoken to satisfied clients. As with many sucessful architects, he’s a bright, articulate and charming salesman for his firm.  Once your contract has been signed, your project will probably be turned over to his staff.  The only complaint that we’ve heard is that things do not progress quickly enough for some clients.  If we were going to hire a design-build firm, it would be that of Joemarie Yao, mostly because we appreciate his design talent which tends toward simplicity rather than ostentation. We have no business association of any kind with him.

Joemarie Yao
JV Landmark Inc.
email: jv_landmark@yahoo.com.ph
J.V. Building, J.V. Locson St
Dulonan, Arevalo, Iloilo City

4. Buying a lot and house package in a subdivision. Many buy their homes as a lot-house-financing package from a subdivision developer.  There are many such heavily promoted subdivisions in Iloilo City, some run by large Philippines development companies.  They buy large tracts of land cheaply, make improvements (especially lavish gate houses), and make money multiple ways;  selling the lots, building the houses and interest from installment payments.  You’ll be shown a prettily furnished model home.  The base price can seem reasonable, but often not much is included — maybe not even kitchen counters.  By the time you add in all that’s needed to make a livable home you may find that you’re paying a high per square meter price for a house of mediocre quality.  I have heard so many complaints about the quality of such houses and the unwillingness of developers to correct after sale problems.

Buying a house and lot package is an easy option, but we believe it is better to buy a lot and build your own house on it.  Most of the high-end subdivsions only sell lots and leave it to the purchasers to build their own houses. The house lot packages are mostly sold in the lower and mid-range subdivisions.

Read all about our Philippine House building Project at /building-our-philippine-house-index/


Comments (28) Write a comment

  1. Hi Bob,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience in building your beautiful home. I have a plan too of building a home, hopefully next year in a countryside of passi city iloilo. I always prefer to live in a farm.To grow some vegetables and flowers. Actually I planned building a house like 2015 or 2016 but when the yolanda hit central panay and destroyed our house(my parent’s house),it is built with light materials like bamboo,wood ect. Im thankful that my family are all safe and I decided to take on my plan next year,I want to build a house for my parents,that later on will be our(me and my husband)’s retirement house in the philippines. Me and my husband both working here in upstate NY,Im in the healthcare and he’s at the apartment business,we just cant bear that almost every year taxes here are rising,property tax,school tax,ect, so i told my husband my plan. Im just so happy to found your blog and I learned alot.


  2. The comment from Tim to Jim:

    “I would not try to compare the culture and construction of building here and in the USA though. The culture is very different and construction methodology is even farther apart.”

    That is by far the most insightful comment that should be communicated to ALL expats! Don’t expect the standards here that you would in the states. And that is not saying you won’t get a safe, secure, well built home. It is just at Philippine standards through mostly manual labor. Be smart, be patient, ask questions, and you should come out with a very nice home.


  3. From: Tim Wong
    Submitted on 2013/08/01 at 11:14 am | In reply to Myra.

    Hi Myra,

    I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience. For people who read this in the future. It is best to ask your General Contractor for the following:

    1. Portfolio. Any decent contractor should have a printed copy of his portfolio to present.
    2. A visit to his finished site. and a visit to his current construction. These two would help you reference how he works.
    3. Visit their office. Construction is a good business. How is it possible not to afford an office? Plus you know where to find them.

    These two will be a good references to weed out those who can waste your money. Hope this helps.

    I am sure that you have reasearched well before constructing your house. A good tip is to also look at a house you like, then ask the owner who if they can refer their architect and contractor to you.

    Please also check if the professionals your dealing with have ties with organizations. I can only speak for architects:

    United Architects of the Philippines

    Philippines Institue of Architects

    I hope this helps.



    • Timothy,

      Thank you for your insightful posting. We have selected an architect for a house we will be building on Camotes Island. We reviewed his projects and spoke with his current and past clients. He has worked with Americans. He understands and speaks English well, and he has already demonstrated an understanding of punctuality and honoring commitments. Also, he is a member of the United Architects organization. We are confident in our selection.

      In the future, though, we will be looking for and qualifying building contractors. Do you have any advice for finding respectable builders? Simply finding them appears to be much more of a challenge. Often, houses of comparable building quality are sheltered in gated subdivisions; thus, limiting our ability to knock on doors to ask for referrals. There’s no such thing as the American “Yellow Pages” from which to find potential builders. Also, the Cebu builders tend not to have much of an Internet presence. Our architect has referred a builder to us thus far, but I’m naturally skeptical. We haven’t qualified that company yet. Besides, we will eventually want a larger pool of builders for bid solicitation. Are there any professional builders associations that would include Cebu-based contractors? Note that we wish to perform the “man on the ground” routine to inspect the on-going work and materials; however, we do not want to source our own materials and labor. Thanks for any recommendations you can provide.



      • Jim,

        We wish we could be of more help. What you have is somewhat like the problem one has in finding real estate for sale. The best way is to have some inside information and the next best is driving around and looking for little for sale signs.

        Often you can get into gated subdivisions. Sometimes they will just let foreigners in. Another possible way is to express an interest in buying a lot. Talk to everyone you can but be skeptical of what you hear. If you are somewhat knowledgeable about construction, looking at projects under construction is worthwhile. Locals building in an upscale subdivision may have a better grasp on who to hire. Once you see houses, or even smaller commercial buildings under construction, stop and talk to whomever is there. You’ll probably be able to find out who the owner and architect is and can ask them about the contractor. There is a good chance you’ll get to meet the contractor. One nice thing about visiting construction site is that you can see details before they get covered up. It’s also good to look at the finished projects of the builder and speak to the homeowners. This is all a nuisance, but nothing compared to the pain of a bad builder. I don’t know if bidding is a good idea. It will exclude smaller contractors who may be good but don’t have the skills or inclination to bid. In my experience (in USA), many good builders don’t bid. They don’t need to. Good luck!

        Bob and Carol


        • Thanks Bob and Carol. Your point regarding good builders not participating in bids because they are already busy is well taken.



      • Hi Jim, with regards to your concerns, the best way is to find an architect who can really help you professionally. Make sound recommendations and advice. You will know when the right one will come. Never be tempted with cheap cost of services. you will never get good service. And at the end of the day the cheaper professional you will get there is a tendency the more it will cost you at the end of the day. There is no such thing as design and build services whereby they give design for free. There is no such thing as free services. Would you give your services or work for a company for free or give them 50-70% discount? At the end of the day, you thought you had free service but they gained 20-30% profit compared to hiring the right professional who charge the right professional fees accordingly. They will protect your interest as the client.


      • Hi Jim,

        I’m glad you feel that way for your architect. I think Bob has put it nicely when it comes to going inside gated communities. With concerns in Cebu’s associations, I honestly do not have any idea about Cebu, I am based here in Metro Manila. Most buildings under construction usually have a big banner where they detail the people behind the projects.

        However, here is another point of view I can offer with regards to bidding:

        In my previous office (and now that we have our own), we would have contractors bid for a project, UNLESS, a client already has a contractor in mind, OR they are fine with the contractor that we are very accustomed to work with (which is what I think is your situation right now, it’s natural to be skeptical).

        For the bidding, we would recommend at least 2 contractors, then the client can try and recommend at least 1. I personally think 3 choices are good enough for bidding a residential project. Anything more is very confusing, and in the end you’d end up with the “what if” feeling.

        I would not try to compare the culture and construction of building here and in the USA though. The culture is very different and construction methodology is even farther apart. I do believe that good builders here also bid on projects, that’s based on my experience because that’s how we’ve met the builders we still work with. You would be able to judge from the estimates they will produce and you would feel a connection once you’ve met them.

        I’m sure you may already know this, but I’ll just put it out for other readers: The lowest bid is not necessarily the best.

        We have some sort of a directory called arkispecs: http://www.arkispecs.com/v2/ hope it can help. Also try to look for BluPrint Magazine. They have been featuring works in Cebu, they always include the design team behind a project.

        One tip I can give you, since you are building for the first time here is to not build your dream house…YET. It is best to build a simple house at where you can gauge the capacity of your design team. From here you can also gauge if you and the team you have hired are a good fit. It’s faster and a more cost effective way to learn.


  4. Tim Wong

    A follow up tip to future home-builders. Please, please, please do not rush. hiring an Architect and a team is customizing the environment to suite your needs. It will take some time.

    This would be comparable to having someone customize your wedding gown or having a yacht built. Take your time to review your choices. The money spent in building is no joke.

    Should anyone promise to have a house built within a year, without outlining carefully the methodologies should make you cautious. Besides any house from scratch built within a year is considered instant gratification in the building industry. and, instant gratification is not always a good thing.

    I hope these helps people in the future. There are plenty of decent architects and general contractors here in the Philippines. It’s just that there is a lack and a need for a database for clients to find the right one.



  5. From: Greg Brawley
    Submitted on 2013/06/17 at 5:07 pm

    Hi…I’m an American ex-pat living in Manila with my Filipina wife. I’ve been living and working here for 8 years. During that time I have made the decision to make this our retirement home. We recently renovated a large condo unit in Ortigas (165 sq/m) as a “retirement base”. That renovation project taught us a number of very useful lessons.
    We found it very important to work with design and construction professionals. Perhaps there are more reliable sources in “the big City” but careful personal interviews and direct references for projects previously completed are very important. We made it a point to interview at least 3 designers. With modern computer modeling tools, we saw 3 different proposals from the 5 designers we interviewed. We also were quite careful when we came to contractor selection. We first had to do demolition to gut the interior of our unit. That was one contract and during that phase we were able to experience how the contractor conducted business. It was so important when it came time to start the new work, that we had a complete and thorough idea of what we wanted to do. Also, in the bid stage, we defined carefully which materials we wanted to buy ourselves and which materials we expected the contractor to provide. Hardware, plumbing fixtures, appliances, electrical outlets and switches, light fixtures, specialty tiles and finishes and similar items, we elected to purchase ourselves. We contracted for the kitchen cabinets and countertops seperately as well. The basic building materials need only be subject to “acceptance” by the owner. This means we did a lot of footwork….and zero physical labor. We also found it worthwhile working with a professional designer, because they provided supervision and “resourcing” as part of their contract. For a six-month complete renovation project, the designer’s fee for design, supervision and coordination of purchasing was less than $5000 US. That alone was like insurance, as the designer directly supervised the execution of the design. It was a great outcome, and although we spent what would be considered a “princely” sum in PI, it amounted to little more than a mid-range kitchen remodel in the US! We now enjoy a luxury condo unit that will be our operating base for whatever retirement years we have ahead of us! Love the Philippines!!!


    Thanks for sharing your valuable experiences. Your disciplined approach is the right one and I agree that it can save money if you are able to find and work with an experienced and honest designer. Shopping for and buying all the key materials is essential. Otherwise you might end up with the cheapest junk construction materials, and heaven knows there is lots of that. We envy you being able to shop for materials in Manila. The selection can be quite limited in the provinces. Also, I have seen some top-flight work done in Manila. It would be a challenge for a newcomer to the Philippines to manage things the way you have. That’s the big plus of taking your time. We hope you enjoy your condo for the years that come.

    Bob and Carol


  6. An exchange about down payments to and problems with contractors and engineers from Myra and Jan:

    Submitted on 2013/04/27 at 11:55 am
    Hi, I just read this blog and I’m sorry to say that We are the victim of a bad contractor, it’s a big project,a two storey home with the area of 554sqm for the house alone…we invested almost all of our hard earned money,..it’s an 8 month construction project. We hired a contractor in a package deal, as the months went by, we were on the project site every day looking at the workers doing their job and we are amazed with them working hard..but as the days pass by, we rarely saw our engineer onsite. Instead, he hired an apprentice engineer to supervise on behalf of him. Time came that we confronted this engineer we engaged our contract with about his supervision and he said, with modern technology nowadays I can supervise through my phone!! What?? Are you serious? You can supervise the big project with your phone anywhere you are? And that triggers our trust in him, lots of left over cement outside as everybody rushes to go home, using 1 week old hollow blocks in our expensive project plus lack of supervision of our engineer…finally 5 months of contsruction we decided to stop the construction by sending our engineer an email ordering him to stop the work and vacate the place..last day of their work he paid his people and move some of his stuff out of our property but left his two workmen inside our property, claiming that the project site is under his full responsibility..we went to the police asking them to get those two trespassers he left on our site but the police did not do anything..right now the construction is on hold and we got our attorney to file a case against our engineer for the lack of supervision, fraud, poor workmanship..the moral lesson here is that, please be careful with whom you are going to trust your project here in the Philippines, know your contractor well, gather information about him and his background, do not be easily carried away with his kind words about the project.. Be wise and don’t just leave the project without leaving somebody else whom you trusted to oversee it..take it from me, we are the victim of a greedy contractor!!
    But we will fight for our right and give this contractor a lesson. It’s a good thing we took pictures from day 1 of the construction started until the last day they leave..

    Hi Myra,
    What you are mentioning is my main concern when we will be building our home in Bulacan. It’s modest comparing to your project, but I am still concerned about engineer’s abilities and work oversight. If we were to sign a full contract he asked for 30% upfront funds, but I refused, as I can’t see he making a 30% progress in building the house in the schedule he presented. The total cost is about 5M, and there is no way that he can spend 1.5M in 6o days, for material and labor. We are at the point to pay him on daily rate, as if he was our employee. After all he will engage a master carpenter who is supervising the daily work. Engineer should be on the site for quality control. As it looks we will contract with him for labor only and buy the material ourselves. Hope you resolve the issue you have, and let us know the outcome. It might interest other people.


  7. We found in San Pablo that there are Engineers with their own crew that build houses as “packet deals”. It is easy to inspect their work by visiting their houses.
    We approached 2 companies here for a quotation on Architecs plans. the richest company quoted 50,000 and the other one was 20,000, the former was an inflated price because I am a foreigner.
    Our rough plans were converted into what the local municipal required for building permit. (Mila only) applied for the permit which was ready in about 10 days for 4,000 pesos.
    Signatures are reguired on each plan ie plumbing, electric, and so on, despite obvious mistakes that I could see, nothing was questioned.
    No one visited the site to check on foundations or inspect the quality of the build.
    your building can be what you want to do, anything goes provided that you don’t offend the neighbours.
    Our architecs company provided a foreman, carpenters and labourers that we paid at our rates. Carpenters are valuable workers and will amaze you how they knock up coco lumber to suit any scaffolding situation, most can do a good job as masons also.
    Being on site all the time pays dividends both in speed of work and quality.


  8. We made the error of arriving and getting straight into a new house with an architect giving us what we wanted. Living in the tropics and in the Philippines is a different way of life than what we are used to back home. We had ideas of our dream home but years later realized that we had made some design errors.
    ie sunlight is very strong here and large windows are not necessary to light up a room, you end up covering them with blinds.
    Bedroom must not face south or west because they become too hot. East facing is great plus the bathroom, gets you up in the morning and you can sing in the shower.
    Large covered reception porches are wonderful places to meet visitors or socialize from, forget entrance halls.
    Ensure that typhoon rain doesn’t get to wooden doors because in 2 years they will soak up the water and rot away, or swell and make opening difficult.


  9. Pingback: Updated – Architects and Builders at Our Philippine House Project | My Philippine Life

  10. Email questions from Theodore and my answers:

    Architect : Did you draw and develop your own floor plan with elevations, electrical and plumbing system, roof system and just let the architect develop footer, column and beam rebar dimensions, develop roof trusses and change all measurements to metric?


    I’m wondering just how much I should do on my house plans? Are detailed drawings necessary to get your ideas across, for example drawing elevations to show positions of wall openings, side views of house showing conduit beam penetration for electric, DWV positions, positions of toilet, shower and Lav in CR’s (bathrooms), etc. or are they a waste of my time?


    Should I prepare “elevation plans” (minimum)  for kitchen and CR cabinets noting materials to be used?


    How much “leeway” were you allowed for non-structural on-site changes (since the architect never saw the completed house?



    • Goiloilo,

      for your information, not all filipino architects are cheap. if you have the money why settle for 1000 per sheet architect? cheap architects=cheap architecture, remember that.


      • I agree. We hired a “plans only” architect but I wish we had hired an architect who could be a real contributor throughout the project. It would have saved us money and saved us from some missteps.


      • May I add to dale’s comment. Anyone who charges you PhP.1,000 on a sheet basis does not charge an architect rate. You may seem to get a bargain. No decent architect will charge a client per sheet.This is not a very good way to measure the quality of your future home.

        Also for future reference. It is in the UAP (United Architects ofthe Philippines) that professional fees for residential projects are at least 10% f the construction cost. This should cover for all the operational expenses. However, it is really not followed here. I would suggest that should anyone charge lower than 5% of your estimated project cost, be very cautious.

        I am not sure if Anyone has posted these yet. Here are a few sites for future house builders as additional resource:

        United Architects of the Philippines – divided into areas and chapters, so you can find architects closest to you

        Philippine Institue of Architects – also divided into chapters.


        Worldbex – materials, technology, there are architects and interior designers who have booths here too.

        Also, in the Philippines, house owners would recommend their architects and designers. So should you fancy a really nice house, just ring the bell and ask the owner. Architects aren’t allowed to post ads here (it’s in the code of ethics), so referals are really a good way for you guys to find good designers too.

        I hope these help!



  11. Email from Theodore and my response:

    I have found nothing on the Internet by a Filipino author (architect or structural engineer – if I say civil engineer it could be a surveyor) – probably because there are so many different “typical practices” and there are no enforced building codes. “Typical building construction practices” in the Philippines are probably as numerous as the different colored boxer shorts I own.



  12. Glen, we paid P25,000. Government permit fees were additional. We’re writing a new post detailing those.


  13. Living in the farm seems like a nice idea being away from the city, pollution and all. However, have you considered the fact that you are advertising your residence location, your picture, etc. You even put down builders and contractors who may be angry with you for loosing business. You advertise an architect who has not passed the board exam and say you have no business interests with him? Give us a break, you may fool old foreigners like your self but obviously profit is your motive too.

    Who would be the no. 1 target of kidnap for ransom gangs in Tigbauan, Iloilo or Panay Island? Isn’t it normally the white guy, the foreigner with US$ or Euros? They are internet savvy and use satelite phones and GPS too and probably have you on their list.

    I suggest you buy a lot of assault rifles, grenade launchers, ammunition and bullet proof vests. Also tell all your readers who to buy guns from and where to have your private army trained.

    My best advice to you is to watch your back and go home to the US where it’s safe. There you can write about living in Oklahoma or Montana and write against every home builder and contractor who makes profit.

    Wisdom goes with old age, don’t you agree, from your own experience?


  14. Pingback: Building our Philippine House – Index at goILOILO.com

  15. Sir,

    Thank you for the information. I just want to ask, approximately how much it cost? I have my property already. Only materials and labour. Can you please send me estimated amount? and how long it takes?
    One thing more, since we are in Barrio, do i need to get a building permit from municipality? about the house shown above?


    Marcelito V. Enriquez


  16. Don Roberto,

    The rendering looks like a smaller version of an old Spanish mansion – functional and space efficient layout, naturally(green) lighted and ventilated, and very charming. luv it!

    Is the master’s bedroom located in the front next to the veranda, or at the rear with it’s own veranda overlooking the mountains of Antique?



    • Hi Ron,

      Thanks for you appreciative comments about the house design. We had been working on it for three years, ever since we saw a similar design in historic Lucban, Quezon but we have to break the news that at the last minute we have abandoned this design and have decided to build a one-story house. I suppose our decision is really a triumph of practicality over aesthetics.

      We had lots of good reasons for wanting a two story house. We wanted a perch where we could have an unimpeded view of the mountains and surrounding rice fields. We wanted to reach up to the cool night time breezes. We wanted to have a second floor refuge from any flooding, especially after experiencing Typhoon Frank in Iloilo City. I wanted an upstairs refuge from the family hubbub downstairs. An upstairs bedroom seemed more secure from robbers. Those were the advantages we saw, on top of the instinctive aesthetic appeal of the two story house. Psychologically, it was perching above rather than crouching below. My mother-in-law says there are two types of homes and home owners, “perchers” and “nesters”.

      The building of our bahay kubo helped change our mind. As is traditional, the floor of the bahay kubo is about one meter above grade. This makes a standing adult above the level of the top of our eight foot fence. We are surrounded by land which either has already been subdivided or in in the process of subdivision. The pace of development in the Philippines is such that land around us will be developed, sooner or later. Our lot is only twenty-three meters wide. Our second floor would give us a ring side seat to whatever was going on a few feet away, karaoke, TV, crowing roosters and all the other aspects of exuberant Filipino life. If we built a single story house, our eight foot high concrete wall will provide a considerable buffer from whatever noisy chaos eventually surrounds us. I’m a little embarrassed to show how shallow or thinking was, but there you have it!

      There are other advantages to the single story design. This is earthquake country. Panay had an 8.5 earthquake in 1948 which destroyed many buildings. Proper engineering for a two story concrete house (most are NOT properly engineered) calls for lots of very expensive 25mm rebar and steel decking to support the second story floor. A one story house is simpler, more or less like our fence with a roof. Our property is unusually exposed to typhoons. We are one kilometer from the sea on a flat, exposed, treeless plain. That gives us good breezes when it’s hot, but the typhoons will really blast us.

      We came to realize that our experience with flooding in Iloilo City was not very relevant to our Tigbauan property which is about
      fifty feet above sea level and did not flood during Frank. Certainly the two story house would survive, but maybe we’d be a bit more comfortable hunkered down in a one story house.

      More importantly, we are enjoying having Carol’s niece in Tigbauan, sending her to school here and generally trying to give her a better future. Carol’s sister has also been staying with us. The only story house is less elegant, but gives us another bedroom for another niece or two. Eliminating the stairway and second floor complexity allows us to have a four bedroom house for less money than the three bedroom two story house.

      So what is our substitute design. Some months ago we visited SOS Children’s Village in Zarraga, Iloilo. This is a residential community for children. The residence buildings are said to have been designed by a Cebu City architect. I really liked the design because it incorporated the feel of a Filipino traditional house, especially the roof structure. See http:///sos-childrens-village-iloilo/ So, after years of refining our two story design we switched gears and came up with a new floor plan in a matter of hours. We are in a rush because we’d like to start construction in January. After an initial gulp and a payment for work already done, our engineer has been very cooperative. We expect to have conceptual plans by the end of this week. We’ll post the plans once we get them.



  17. Thanks for all the information. I am excited that the project continues, and hope to hear all the details, both good and bad. I think the building of the “bahay kubo” is a good idea, and pleased that you build it in local style.
    I wish you a lot of strenght in the coming period 🙂


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