Building a concrete block house – part 7

Ormoc Glass TradingBuilding a low cost concrete house in the Philippines – part 7

Windows and Doors and Finish work – The basic shell of the house has been completed, the roof is almost finished and the concrete floor will be wrapped up tomorrow.

Ormoc Glass Trading – 053 255 4519  located across from the Shell station near the Smart office – Aviles Street, Ormoc City.  Dennis Dominic

aluminum jealousy window frames

The Aluminum frames cost a tad over 200 pesos per set. They were 56 inches in length and will hold 16 panes of glass each. The panes of glass will be cut to size and installed later – the cost around 20 pesos each – depending on length.


The mulit-cab brought 10 bags of cement and some plywood up to the site and we had 5 cubic meters of screen sand delivered. The sand was 5,500 pesos, the Portland cement 210 pesos a bag, and the 1/2 inch marine plywood 600 pesos per 4×8 sheet.

windown and doors next stepThe floor is not quite finished yet because they ran out of screen sand while I was out of town.  Sifted sand will be used to do the finish work on the walls and to set the aluminum in the window openings. I don’t want to use any wood because of the termite situation.

carpenters at work

All this finish work should keep the guys busy for a few weeks. They work hard and once they are on a project they stick with it. I don’t like to have someone over my shoulder when I am working and they probably don’t either. The wages are very low so I prefer to let them work at their own pace.

safety inspector

note – this is not going to work for every crew – we share a mutual respect – they give me a good days work and I try to treat them fairly too. They are doing a good job and I am happy with the project even though it went over budget.

finish work on the concrete blockFinishing work on the interior concrete walls.

septic tankThe guys put in the septic tank down down by the creek.

The pvc pipe has yet to be connected to the outside cr which has yet to be completed.

Things came to crawl when I when took off for 2 weeks but we are back in the groove now.

We ordered 200 more concrete block because the kitchen and cr are going to be located outside the back door.

Setting the aluminum frames for the windows. We are avoiding the use of any wood in the frames because the termites don’t need any places to hide while starting a colony.

aluminum window frames set in concreteWorking on the windows.

working on building a small house in the philippinesThe whole neighborhood stops by to check out the project.

leveling the window sill

Lucito shows the level window frame he just made.

sifting screen sandSifting screen sand.

finishing the interior concrete wall

Finishing the interior walls.

concrete house in the philippinesBuilding up the center post for the window frames – the build up process is somewhat intriguing. I had some extra re-bar out back and insisted they use 4 pieces in the center posts.

concrete center postCenter post.

Making the center support for the window was something like making a sand castle.

Small scoops of cement mix are flicked onto the pile and then powdered with a sprinkling of pure cement dust. This technique seems to be the standard building method around here, but most guys use only 2 pieces of re-bar (we used 4).

The workers tell me that my system is “earthquake proof”. This area does get a lot of tremors and the neighbors house sustained a fair bit of damage during an earthquake that happened about 6 months ago.

preparing window openings Lucito works his magic – he is a pleasure to have around – positive attitude and a hard worker!

finish concrete workT-boy is the man on the cement – a master of the craft.

The whole community gets involved in these projects.

the peanut galleryThe peanut gallery.

aluminum jealosy window frames

The aluminum window frames are held in place with screws set into plastic anchors placed into pre-drilled holes.

window installerThe neighbor “Rojet” installed the windows for 100 pesos per window. He is a fast worker and got all the glass installed in 3 hours. The 32 pieces of glass 19 inches in length, for this window  cost 512 pesos.

installing windowsEveryone in town has to inspect the work going on – this would drive me mad on a real job but you just have to go with the flow here in the province.

Steel Bar window framesArmando Codilla has a metal shop that fabricated the steel bar window frame for the sari-sari store that in incorporated into the front of house. Many Filipinos supplement their income selling soft drinks, rice, junk food and cigarettes from small store fronts in their home.

security bars for window in sari sari storeThe steel bar store front window cost me 1900 pesos. Armando gave me a pretty good deal because we used to be neighbors in Ormoc City. He is one of the most cheerful guys I ever knew. The irony of the whole situation is that there is only potato chips and cigarettes and candy being protected by these bars – but that’s the way everyone does it here in the Philippines.

Mom's Hardware StoreThe red oxide paint cost 130 pesos a liter at Mom’s Hardware. The bars fit ok and I was able to install the frame in about 20 minutes. I used concrete nails to secure it and am about halfway finished cementing in the flat bar.

the gangMerry Christmas 2010 :)

Building a house in the Philippines – part 7

Nov 17, 2010

25 responses to “Building a concrete block house – part 7”

  1. DP,
    I really enjoy reading about your housing project. I’ve done the AC / Subic scene for a feeeeeew years… the last couple have been more for the Mates I’ve met, although the Ladies do still fit into the mix. I’m looking at taking an extended holiday and getting to know the real RP from the back of a motobike in the next 6 month or so (thanks again for the moto posts). Although I’m not quite ready to settle down and call the RP home, I do plan on sucking up the sights and sounds once I start my 2nd childhood (Retire from the Miltary) Great web page and thank again. DWH

  2. Hey Dutch!

    Am also trying to build a nest in Palawan myself. Was just wondering how much concrete, screened sand have you used for your structure? Also what is the size of that house and height of the walls?

    Am trying to figure out if my smiley guy is trying to rip me off. Am sure he is but I want to see the magnitude. LOL!

    Muchos Gracias!

  3. Hi Dp i was wondering how much would it cost a rough estimate to build a two or three bedroom in Palawan and maybe later expand that to a four bedroom later on , would 10,000 us in budget would it be a feasible thing to try and i am in the process of buying the land to build it on it will be in my wifes name as you know the rules of us owning land there any way it would be in bulwang on a 20 x 40 cu meter lot and should i build it with wood or will i be better off using concrete and wood especially due to all the storms of the seasons, i am very interested but since this will be my fist time at this i don’t want to get into a bad thing as far as planning and building it since my skills are minimal and i will find some help there as far as family and friends but it leaves me to asking you on this before i do this was looking for any good ideas and input, Frank

  4. im interested to build a house in ormoc city. please email me back.

  5. Do you know what you paid per square meter/foot?

    I will be retiring on Bantayan Island with similar labor cost was hoping to come up with a general estimate of my cost.


  6. is it possible you could put me in touch with you builder I am planning on building soon and could use some help and advice. thanks

  7. we will actually be building not far from where you built. I was looking for some local builder to help. your house looks good and sturdy.

  8. that would be great my number is ——– that’s a Canadian number. thanks for the help we have purchased the lot already and I have plans for a modest home I have done masonary work for many years but I would like some local guys who are familiar with the way things are done their. anyway thanks for the help and great site lots of good and interesting info -steve

  9. Love can always take a turn for the worst. The common Older man with the younger woman in the Philippines, there is going to be disagreements just on the age difference. Unless you just want to pay to build a house and you have money that is disposable, I would just rent to own or just rent period. Not too many worries that way. You are not stuck giving away a house that way, unless you have money that you just want to risk. Good luck.

  10. I want to build a small apartment over my wifes families house in General Santos phase 2. Twenty feet long—fourteen feet wide–eight feet high. Any idea what it would cost me US dollars?

  11. hi sir,
    i want to build a 3 bedroom house and two bathroom in a 100 floor area. a simple bungalow house. how much could it be? thank you po. good day

  12. how much you cost this house?

  13. I have enjoyed reading this because I am considering building a similar house about 10 minutes outside Ormoc, Leyte – not far from your location. It would be the ‘first house’ and one day be joined by the ‘homestead’.
    I would have recommened using tek screws for the roof instead of nails, because the screws wont ‘lift’ during a typhoon.
    I am also very much into insulation to help control radiant heat. Are you lining ceilings and fitting insulation?
    Also, have you wired it for electricity?
    Thank you. Peter.

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