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.
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.
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.
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.