Life in Roxas City

Retired & Raising my son in Roxas City


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Day 36

Even though I mentioned earlier that I planned to make daily updates concerning the construction progress.I changed my mind. At this time I feel that daily updates would be to much for our readers as the progress is somewhat slow in nature.

With this in mind it has been one week since the last update and quite a lot has transpired. After pouring the first eighteen inches or so of concrete into the retaining wall it was cut to the proper height. This is the height of the fill that will raise the floor level of the house above the street level.

003 (5)After the absolute wall panels were cut to height a secondary grade beam was added around the structure. A grade beam consists of rebar running horizontal which adds strength to the footings and slab. After this was complete I was informed by the architect this was not in the plans but what is done is done. Now our grade beams can support a second story. After the grade beam was tied in they commenced with adding a new set of panels around the base which will serve two purposes. The walls panels will be set approx two inches inward from the base to give water a path to travel off the foundation. If this was not done then water always wants to go somewhere and it would try to work its way under the walls into the house. Secondly this addition will serve as a decorative feature at the base of the house.

The next task for the crew of seven has been filling the area with the rock and dirt trucked in from the mountains to form the base for the slab. I have been amazed watching this process. The truck will arrive with its load from the mountains and dump it next to the site. This load of dirt including transportation costs $46.25. Then the crew with two shovels and four two gallon or so buckets move this pile of dirt into the fill area within two hours. The fill is then water down and tampered by hand and muscle for hours to compact it.

012 (2)It has been raining the last couple of days during sleeping hours and in the morning briefly. However it has been enough to endanger the road to the mountain therefore the fill dirt delivery has been slowed the last couple of days. The crew spent the most recent afternoon filling the empty cement bags with the kalibo gravel and depositing them over the fill for the based of the slab.

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Day 29

The last couple of days have been productive only after pulling teeth…lol. All of the interior wall panels that will help support the retaining wall for the fill dirt were installed. The crew was basically ready to start filling them with the initial concrete pour measuring about eighteen inches. However the ever present gravel supply problem reared it head again. The ideal size gravel to mix with the cement and sand for the wall panels is 3/8’s. Well it seems this size is not stocked in the Capiz area therefore we had to check with the AWS manufacturer concerning the rock size. Finally last night the supplier delivered a half truck of 1/2 inch gravel for us to test. The manufacturer approved the rock this morning. My hat is off to the crew. Instead of goofing off yesterday due to the gravel delay they double check all the panels for accurate placement and measurement.

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This morning bright and early the crew first poured a concrete paste mixture on the cold footings and then commenced mixing and pouring the concrete inside the panels. Despite the heat and humidity they finished filling the entire house with the first pour.

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Day 26

It has been about ten days or more since I have updated the blog concerning the construction of our new house. When we last left Roxas City the crew was on their way to vote in the mid-term elections in their various provinces. They were scheduled to return to work the following Wednesday. Well this is the Philippines. Because of limited transportation boat transportation between islands and bus schedules from the provinces to the cities they did not arrive until Friday. Taking Saturday as a rest day work did not resume until Sunday May 19. Needless to say losing 9 1/2 days of work is not good when you are on a schedule but it is what it is.

I feel that I have been neglecting Mr Blog thereforeI have decided to change my chronicling of this adventure. I will attempt to post a short segment each day detailing in short the work completed that day with a couple of pictures. We will see how this goes.

Yesterday the crew which currently numbers seven not the pre-election thirteen finished pouring the footings for the retaining wall that will hold the material that will raise the grade and thus put the floor level .55 meters above the existing sidewalk. We are doing this just for a little extra flood control. Living only five blocks off the beach we are about seven feet above sea level and do have excellent street sewers in our development but it pays to be prudent.

Today we really saw some development as the exterior wall panels which will eventually be filled with concrete were installed. They will be cut in half as the panels are four foot tall and we only need just over half a meter for the retaining wall. 008 009 010


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The best $4.13 I ever spent

I have spent $4.13 many times in my life. Well maybe not $4.13 exactly but pretty darn close $4.00, $4.12 maybe $4.25.  A hamburger, a pen, a bottle of shampoo, a toll charge in Florida among many other things. This $4.13 I am writing about today has happened three times since moving to Roxas City.  The best $4.13 I ever spent is on a haircut.

Now first let me say that I have had the best haircuts over the past seven years given to me by my lovely wife. In fact no one has cut my hair since we were married. But this $4.13 haircut  is by far like no other.

So I walk into the barber shop, announce I would like a haircut and within seconds I am greeted with a beaming smile, taken to a chair which he blows clean with a hair dryer and sit down. I am then outfitted with a clean comfortable cover and asked what I would like. I let him know I want a haircut with a number one guard. (by the way the next time I saw Bobby he looked at me and said number one, what customer service)

Bobby commences to cut my hair with the utmost care. He looks at every part of my balding head with the closest scrutiny and makes sure that he does not miss a hair. Next he blows all the cut hair from my head, shoulders and lap cover. Next comes out the scissors and he trims all around snapping those scissors like they were a natural extension of his hand.

Now you may be saying what is so great about this $4.13 haircut. I get this every time I get my haircut. But it ain’t over yet folks. Before I know it Bobby has a straight razor in his quick hands and with the utmost care and precision he trims my hairline that he just cut with the scissors to perfection. He then takes this straight razor and with a steady hand cuts all the little hairs growing on and in my ears and nose. Yes you gotta trust this guy with the straight razor in his hands.

Once again I think I have gotten a great haircut. However before I know it I am laid back in the barbers chair with a comfortable pillow under my neck for support. Alcohol is applied to my face and neck. Now here comes that straight razor again. I receive the closest and smoothest shave I have ever received. After the shave out come the scissors again and a quick survey of the complete cut is made to make sure there is not one hair missed.

What a cut. But wait remember I said this was the best $4.13 I ever spent. Well there is more. After the cut is finished my hands including fingers, arms, shoulders, head and neck are coated with some sort of menthol suave and I am given a very vigorous and stimulating massage that takes all the stress out and gets the blood back flowing to these sedentary body parts. After the massage the menthol suave is completely wiped away with a hot towel.  The cloth drape is then snapped away from me and a large smile is presented with an enthusiastic THANK YOU SIR.

I hope you enjoyed my take on the best $4.13 I every spent. Loving life here in Roxas City.


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What an interesting week

What an interesting week it has been. When we last left the construction trail the footings had been dug and the crew was bending and installing rebar by hand. They certainly did a good job. This is an important step as it adds strength to the concrete footings that will support the weight of the walls and roof.

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The next step in the process is filling the rebar filled footing with concrete. This is where it really gets interesting. In most folks mind this is a fairly simple step. You pick up the phone, order the concrete, the truck arrives and pours the concrete. But this is the Philippines where many things are done differently.

Our engineer made the phone call or should we say many phone calls. The first was to the concrete company. And just like you would think the truck arrived with the cement…in bags. Then a day later the trucks arrived with sand which must be mixed with the cement to make concrete. The last ingredient is the gravel. Well there is a large mall being built on the other side of town and a bypass road from the seaport around the downtown area to the interior of the island which actually will benefit our family. These two projects it seems are using all the gravel that can be produced locally. Therefore our engineer spent three days before he good secure one load of gravel and finally two days later many trucks arrived with gravel.

Now you would think the interesting part of this stage was finished. But oh no wait till you hear and see this. It seems that the concrete mixer which looks like a small version of a concrete truck are all in use. Yeah not one to be rented. We have been promised one from day to day but it has yet to arrive. The project just cannot sit at a stand still after all we just waited for three days for gravel and the rainy season is coming soon. Therefore the crew commences to make the concrete from the cement, gravel, sand and water halo-halo. By hand. That is right, they mix the concrete by hand. This is really something to watch as it is probably some of the most physically demanding and back breaking work I have every witnessed. I know this is one thing I could not do. Again my hat is off to these guys, in ninety degree island heat all the while with smiles on there faces.

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This week also ended two more steps that are critical to the project and seemed to be never ending the building permit and installation of the electric service.024 (2)

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During a second small delay in gravel delivery the crew laid out the panel installation that will form the concrete walls to hold in the fill material as we are raising the floor level just over a half meter above the sidewalk.

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Whew what a week. If you are sitting down, reading this and thinking wow what a different and interesting week. I agree with you. However the week did not end here.

This coming Monday is mid-term elections in the Philippines which I have not interest in however it seems the workers do. I received a letter via email from the builder this afternoon that the workers had stopped working at noon today, would travel back to the island of Cebu tomorrow by way of overnight boat, prepare for Monday’s election, vote on Monday and then catch the Tuesday overnight boat back here to Panay and commence work the next day. What a surprise.


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We Finally Build

After three months of planning, budgeting, revamping and waiting we have finally commenced building our retirement home. Our architect arrived April 24 concerned the shipment of the AWS (absolute wall system) panels that arrived last week was unattended and exposed to the weather. I agreed. Friday four workers including the Engineer for the project arrived from Cebu and with our friend Opong they commenced building platforms and a cover to protect the panels. This also included moving all the concrete panels which was quite a heavy work load. The workers also constructed a bunkhouse that they will sleep in at night. All the workers except Opong are from Cebu and it is customary for them to stay on the site until the job is complete. This includes seven day work weeks. I have to take my hat off to these guys as in this heat that is quite impressive.

In the following pictures we see the AWS panels being off loaded from the container from Manila where they are manufactured. Next is the storage racks the crew has built to keep them out of the weather.

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WOW what a difference a few days makes. The 13 workers have been working full steam ahead. In just the last couple of days they have managed to build a sanitary outhouse, layout the house and dig the footings for the foundation. This evening about one hundred pieces of rebar was delivered for placement in the footings. when I checked in at the site this morning the rebar activity was in full swing. I found it very interesting watching them cut the bar with a hack saw (no power tools) then bending it to shape on a homemade table. That is one strong guy…lol. Whom every planned this work station was very smart because they built it under the only tree on the property.

I have been visiting the site every evening about the same time, taking stock of the days progress and snapping a photo from the same spot. I plan to do this everyday until the completion and then to make a video of the process. It should prove interesting watching it rise from the ground up. For the mean time I will post pics every so often during this blog for your viewing pleasure.

The following picture shows the panel storage and the bunkhouse that is serving as the sleeping quarters for the crew. The outhouse was built after this picture just to the left and behind the bunkhouse. In the foreground are a couple of workers cooking on their fire.

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