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Dale's cob house, in the Philippines has morphed-I am moving there, taking over,adopting family etc.  RSS feed

 
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Well what if you were a devil worshiper?
I plenty of the drunken whoring lazy incompetent guys I've worked along side were fervent believers in G.O.D.

Besides , any devil haggling with you better count his fingers,  hooves and horns when the deal is done!



 
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I do love to get a good deal. Some things are very cheap in the Philippines, but there are many things that I can get a much better deal on in Canada. There's a place where I often buy decent quality used hand tools for a dollar or two. Good tools seldom exist on the used Market there, because they don't really exist brand new. They sell crappy hammers and screwdrivers and all manner of other no name and fake name products. So I am going to buy every decent set of vice grips and wire cutters and other things like that over the next few months oh, so that I can return with those things.

The one place where I won't drive an incredibly hard bargain is on labor rates. It is already so cheap that I don't plan to grind people down to the very minimum that they will work for. Instead, I'll pay the going rate and also make sure that they are all fed well. Employers often promised a meal but then they just try to fill them up with rice to save a very small amount. I did the math yesterday and if I work a full day here, I can hire a six-man masonry crew there, for 5 days. This includes three qualified masons and three helpers.
 
William Bronson
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By the way, I love how each of you reflect the upon the other.
Nova is right about your haircut, definitely looking good man!
On a more serious note, you are able to appreciate her as she is, where she, influenced by her own culture, dislikes her some of her own features.

Here in the states, Black women spend a lot of money buying "hair" .
These weaves and wigs are sometimes made  from the hair of women in the Philippines, and other hard scrabble places.
I find it sad.

 
Dale Hodgins
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My former girlfriend from Kenya spent a lot of money on plastic hair, because she couldn't afford to buy real hair from India or the Philippines. I always referred to it as the mop. We were in a department store and I found a kitchen mop that was about the same length and texture as the plastic hair. They had that stuff available in children's sizes. To her, it was a simple matter of being able to afford Indian hair. But her own hair was not bad and quite abundant for a Kenyan woman. I encouraged her to go with whatever style worked and she did for a while. But then she went right back to a mop. When she chose a yellow blonde one, she looked absolutely ridiculous. She's Luo, which are one of the darker tribes. At one point, we saw a lady selling bananas on the side of the road, with an expensive pile of plastic on her head. So I asked what that represented as a percentage of her income and my friend thought it would be somewhere around 10% of her monthly income. And that's a woman who is raising children with the income from selling bananas on the side of the road. Weird priorities.

In advertising, in both the Philippines and Kenya, the women pictured who are selling hair products and makeup and other things to do with woman's beauty, are consistently lighter-skinned with features that don't represent how most women look in their country. I have pointed it out to the crowd when I'm on public transport. Look at all these white women selling shampoo and makeup, and I pointed the advertising. They see it but it's so pervasive that they don't see anything wrong with it.

Nova, has completely given up on staying light or looking European in other ways. Sometimes on video call, when she calls me , she will have the camera close to her nose, and flare her nostrils several times as a way of saying hello. Then she says things like, you like that wide nose? She showed me her arm the other day, and said,  look I'm getting dark like a housekeeper, the way you like. So, she understands that I like her in her natural color, but she also associated it with a low paying job.

Loice, from Kenya, told me she wanted to get her hair done because she didn't want people to think she was someone so poor, that she couldn't afford to get her hair done. But many of the women who do this are poor and this needless expense doesn't help.

Advertising in the Philippines tells Nova that she should bleach her skin, have surgery to install a bridge in her nose and to make her eyes more round. Then she needs contacts that will lighten her eyes, and her hair needs to be bleached, then recolored.

After a really pleasant chat the other night, she commented that we always get along really well, and we never fight. "You never get mad at me."  So, I asked, what is something you could do that would make me really angry. She said, "Changing a bunch of things about myself, when you think I'm beautiful already." I agreed, and she agreed to not pluck out her eyebrows or do many of the other silly things that her friends and family say she needs to do, to keep me interested.

I have started calling beauty salons, ugly salons. When we go by, I say, look at all those women spending money to get uglier. People are strange. Especially female people.
 
William Bronson
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In my neighborhood we see these weaves blowing down the street often enough they have a nickname, "tumbleweave".

I feel blessed to have been raised in a family that praised natural hair and skin.
Natural food too.

I dig artifice,its fun to put on a show,but I don't want to live with it daily.

When Nova comes to Canada she will probably notice all the attention she gets.
You will have to endure a lot of cradle robbing comments, I'm sure you will deal with them in your usual aplomb!


 
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Nova is a truly fine looking lady, but I suspect that, in many, many ways, she is really older and wiser than most people on Permies - us men anyway. And has been for most of her life.

Rufus
 
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When my wife came here when she was 23 years old and weighted 92 lbs, I was 46 and about a buck thirty. We got alotta looks. Most guys young and old just loved it, they thought it was great. But I'll tell ya the women were a very different story.
Some actually seemed offended, which was actually bizarre to me. I didn't let it bother me personally, although I did feel a little sorry for them because it just seemed to me they had been ridden hard and put away wet and their best days were behind them. I'm sure you will get some of that in Canada too, I'm also sure it won't bother you either.

Good luck with everything, and don't spend all your money on tools, your gonna need to buy that girl some longjohns.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Rufus Laggren wrote:Nova is a truly fine looking lady, but I suspect that, in many, many ways, she is really older and wiser than most people on Permies - us men anyway. And has been for most of her life.

Rufus



She is very knowledgeable about some things but also incredibly naive when it comes to business and money. She was actually buying the stories that her former employer told her about their inability to pay her until later. A later which would never come. Many people in the Philippines have never had their hands on more than a few weeks pay at a time. She told me that some rich people count their money at the bank machine and do other things just to flaunt wealth. We agreed to only go to the bank machine when we actually needed to spend a bunch of that money right away, so that we never carried much cash.

I like to bargain for everything, but she asked me not to do it at the vegetable market. People there simply inquire about the price and if they don't like it, they move on quietly. It's not like a middle eastern thing where the vendor will start with a very high price and then you're supposed to argue over it. They don't do that. And  there's a very good chance that I have 100 times more assets than the lady selling bananas at the market. Nova didn't think it was appropriate to talk them down. I have abided by that on little purchases. But on big purchases I will always check the price. One Yamaha dealer wanted 120,000 pesos for a bike. Another dealer wanted 95000 pesos for the same bike. That's a huge spread.

Nova didn't fully realize just how rich many of the people she meets are and how poor others are by comparison. Old rusty bikes share the roads with new Escalades and Mercedes. I looked up the value of these things and showed her. We looked at houses on small plots of land that are for sale for less than $2,000 and we saw listings for beautiful Oceanfront places and private islands that are worth billions of pesos or millions of dollars. She wasn't fully aware that some people in her City may make thousands of times more than anyone in her family.

All of her family have dealt with the harsh reality of poverty. Their poverty happened because the father chose alcohol and died down by that beautiful river in the gorge. So he set his family on a 20-year trajectory of poverty. All of the children started working as house servants at 8 years old.  Her brother has mental issues. Before I left, her sister remarked that I am the father of the family now, and I certainty have taken on that role, with schooling and housing. There is one very serious condition. All of them know that they are not allowed to drink alcohol, not even one drop or there will be no money for schooling or other things.

So it will be a bit of a learning curve for both of us, moving in somewhere where we are likely to be the wealthiest people in the neighborhood. It means we shouldn't be really cheap with people but we will also need to be constantly on watch for anyone who thinks they are going to get a free ride. Even some of her family outside of the immediate family, seem to be under the impression that they have won the lottery.
 
William Bronson
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You clearly listen to her.
Your respect  for her is evident in everything you write.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I'm going to have to go back to the beginning of this thread and alter the title to reflect but it's not just about a cob house anymore.
........
Yes, I do have a great deal of respect. She always demonstrates such good judgment and watches for situations where someone may try to take advantage of us in some way.

She's finally getting over her reluctance to spend money. The cost of renting that awesome motorbike was about 14 American dollars per day. She thought we should squeeze onto a bike that was too small and half that price. So I had to remind her that I earned that much money in about 20 minutes. I always try to relate the price of things to how long I have to work to get it. She has always done the same thing, but was earning a little over $3 a day. Budgeting that sort of income is a supreme exercise in frugality.

Some things are very cheap there, but some things cost more than they do in North America. Good quality tools for instance are either not available or so expensive that I will bring them in my luggage when I return. High quality shoes are Ultra expensive. My landlord noticed that I had a pair of Clark shoes that I seldom used. He asked me if he could have them when I go home, so I gave them to him. I paid $5 at a second hand store, when they were almost new. There seems to be no use the market for high-end stuff in the Philippines, because they don't have the high-end stuff to begin with. I'm in a unique position being a natural scavenger living amongst wealthy people who donate awesome stuff to the thrift store.

I now have the sizes of all of the sisters and brother for shoes and other things, and I will buy only high-end stuff that is just not available in the Philippines. I brought her brother some hiking boots that would be in the $200 range here in Canada. They were barely used and I paid $6. He still wears his sandals when kicking around the village, but the hiking boots are attached when he carries heavy loads of supplies into the Gorge down a treacherous trail that contains many baseball-sized rocks.

The greatest way to increase efficiency, that I know of, is to put modern tools in the hands of people in the third world who do everything manually. I would never give the villagers a chainsaw, because they would destroy their home in no time, but decent quality hammers, pliers and screwdrivers could really help them. I have some unused spoke shaves. Several relatives are very skilled in shaping bamboo with these tools.

I am far ahead of the crowd even here when it comes to my use of high quality cordless electric tools. They are absolutely essential in a place where electricity is available but not usually in the place where you want it. Almost every metal roof I saw, was nailed on. Mine will be attached using those hexagonal headed screws that everyone uses here.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Many of the strange and wonderful tools that I will import, will be available for my friends and neighbors to borrow. We have had absolutely no trouble with people repaying debts and bringing things back. Cordless drills are quite inexpensive for me, but they can vastly increase efficiency for someone who is doing it manually. So I will lend them out whenever a neighbor wants to put on a roof or make a lot of other attachments with screws. These things have no value without the charger and that alone should help to make sure they come back. I'm sure many would like to borrow my cordless Makita circular saw. I don't use it now that I have the vastly superior Milwaukee fuel. The same goes for reciprocating saws and a few other things that I don't use much anymore. People will have to sign things out and I may require a deposit from some people.

I'm going to need some coconut wood or other boards. I expect to buy a very simple bandsaw mill. The type where you set rails on the ground, on a slight slope so that gravity moves the cutting head along. In some places they make all of their boards buy free hand cutting with a chainsaw. This laborious method wastes a lot of wood and it wastes a lot of gasoline. So I will provide something like this at minimal cost to the community and someone else will run it. So it will create a job and prevent many people from turning their logs into sawdust. Using the chainsaw method,  the man running the saw might charge 400 pesos a day, but gasoline and chain cost could be much higher.
 
Rufus Laggren
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> cordless tools... bring

Are the consumables available - like driver bits, extensions, saw blades, etc.? Also, the case or other carrying options for that tool. Almost all power tools require a variety of accessories to get the most bang/buck and one needs to keep those w/in reach of the tool at all times. Good cases help a lot.


Rufus
 
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It took me two minutes on my android to scroll down to "reply"I am so impressed at the Permie community dialogue! I think you plan a wonderful construction job!The community here is 100 percent supportive! Thanks!
 
Dale Hodgins
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Rufus Laggren wrote:> cordless tools... bring

Are the consumables available - like driver bits, extensions, saw blades, etc.? Also, the case or other carrying options for that tool. Almost all power tools require a variety of accessories to get the most bang/buck and one needs to keep those w/in reach of the tool at all times. Good cases help a lot.


Rufus



Most accessories are available. They have a thing called shopee which is very much like Amazon and many things can be ordered. I'm going to have to make sure that Milwaukee has a charger that works on 220. If not I can use a Transformer. Some things like that hex headed roof screws are uncommon. And I didn't see any Robertson screws or screwdrivers. Those are the square ones that are so much better than Philips, because they don't fall off the driver as easily.

It's likely that I will generate my own power using photovoltaic cells. I imagine something similar to Paul's contraption so that I can move it about. And it must be foldable so that I can put it inside a sturdy block building in the event of a storm. In many areas roof-mounted panels would be lost every few years unless extremely well secured.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Stuart Sparber wrote:It took me two minutes on my android to scroll down to "reply"I am so impressed at the Permie community dialogue! I think you plan a wonderful construction job!The community here is 100 percent supportive! Thanks!



Welcome Stuart. This one has morphed into much more than a construction project. We usually stay much more on topic.
 
William Bronson
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My friend Ivan regularly gives me tools he has moved up from.
He says,  "Upgrade your friends"
It makes sense, making your allies more effective.

My brother in law is from Nevis, a tiny remote island.
When he and my sister when to visit, they paid for space in portion of a cargo container.
They packed things unavailable and/or crazy expensive on Nevis.
They are hardly rich themselves,but compared to the material standard of living on Nevis, they were well off.

Everytime I read a story about a corporation abandoning a cargo ship with the crew onboard, I fantasize about taking it over as a family enterprise.
Utterly impractical, but having far flung family living  in financially poor tropical paradises makes me want to own the means of transportation.

I was thinking about your soap,  and who would appreciate it.
Selling it as a traditional handmade product to tourists or even at shops back in Canada might be the way to go.
It is small batch and artisan after all!
Charge more because it's fair trade!

Talking to my wife about the hair thing made me look into fair trade in that space.
Aside from the fact that women and children get outright robbed of their hair, many sell hair for peanuts because they are in dire straits.
One guy buying hair in Vietnam is paying 10 times his competition, and still sells hair for 10 times that amount,  minimum.
This is where I'm glad not to have a dog in the fight.
In places where $100.00 can change a families fortune, I suddenly find myself happy that someone else is willing to pay that much to wear someone else's hair.
It's still dumb to me,  but it's a better outcome.

 
Dale Hodgins
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I suppose if it's rich woman buying someone's hair, that's fine and I have no issue with women with cancer or who have lost hair for some other reason finding a replacement.

But my friend in Kenya grows perfectly good hair on her own head and her chosen to Follow The Herd and use a plastic mop on her head. As I said before the blond one looked really ridiculous. Fake hair is extremely common in Kenya and the majority of women who purchase it do not have much disposable income. In Ghana, about 80% of the women bleach their skin. And this expense often takes food off of their tables.

In many places they are only desperately poor if you look at what they can afford to buy that is made in a factory. It takes a long time to buy a motorcycle if you earn $3 a day and motorcycles cost $1,000. But if you make $3 a day and you grow your own food and you live in a house that you built on land that you inherited from your family, you are  only poor when you try to do modern people stuff. And of course that's what the majority of young people want to do. There are Filipinos who spend more money on electronics between buying the device and paying for access, than they do for food or transportation.

I didn't see anyone who was starving. The government has systems to make sure that doesn't happen where it  is visible, but of course an alcoholic can starve his family at home and no one will know about it. My fiance had to struggle for food when she was young and often resorted to wild sources, when she wasn't stealing. Many schools have a lunch program and it's free for the poorest. So a good meal becomes an incentive for kids to get their ass to school.

So often when we talk on the phone, she will ask if I have eaten and if I have enough food. When we first met she questioned me as to whether my children had enough food and my mother has enough food. And she was very surprised to find out that I don't send my mother money for food. It was a bit of an obsession, and I understand why. I have never gone hungry. I have forgotten my lunch or been stuck somewhere for a few hours without food and I didn't like it one bit. But I've never been in a situation where I didn't know when or how I would be able to eat next.
 
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Dale Hodgins wrote: I'm going to have to make sure that Milwaukee has a charger that works on 220. If not I can use a Transformer.



They do, and also one for 12/24 input. I haven't got one yet, but I'm hoping for notably better efficiency than the current double conversion from 24v to 120v to ~21v...

I also remember seeing a youtube link to someone converting the 120v input M18 charger to 220v input... but I haven't got the bandwidth to watch it..

Enjoying the adventure! Bet you're already counting the days until you go back...
 
Dale Hodgins
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Yes, I've been counting the days since I got on the plane. This is the nicest city in Canada, and the weather isn't too bad for January, but still I am currently covered in to really thick sleeping bags and one big duvet. I'm sleeping in my vehicle, outside of a house that is being demolished. And I'm really only here for that, to make a bunch of money and to collect some of the money I have already earned. Then I will go back to the Philippines and we will choose where we are going to live.

I don't think being born somewhere is a good enough reason to stay there forever. So we are not going to live anywhere near where  I'm from and we will be at least one day's travel from where Nova was born. Each island is a separate little world in many ways, even when there's a modern ferry system. She doesn't know anyone who lives on any of the islands we are considering, except for the island of visayas, where Cebu is located. Even there, she only knows people in that City, because that is where much of the family has migrated to.

So it will be a fresh start for both of us and for the entire family, since everyone who hasn't finished school is going back and everyone will leave behind the place they live now, in favor of something better.

So choosing this new place is a bit of a responsibility, since it's likely that the entire family will consider it home. They've never had a proper place to call home, where they weren't clinging to the bottom rung. There will be visits back to the home village, but only to visit a few of the relatives who have treated them better in recent years. Two of her aunts look out for her mother, and deliver supplies that the children pay for, and there are a few of the younger people but have also moved away, but who return at Christmas and on other occasions.

But I think that wherever we choose, will become the new family home. There was no safety net before. I have already become that safety-net and once we are established with a home with plenty of room for visitors, growing enough food to feed an army,  I think that will be pretty attractive to people who have gone hungry.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Once we are established in a new spot, our place will be a safety net for many people. There are many cousins and friends who survive on the edge of the economy. Whenever someone loses their job and/or apartment and they are really stuck, they will have the option of coming to where we are, and helping with whatever chores suit their abilities.

So, I will always make sure to have some projects ready to go. Things like trail-building or food production or being a laborer for someone I've hired to build. I'm looking at larger pieces of land and intend to put many little structures out in the forest, for used by visiting backpackers. These could be used by family visitors.

It will always be a limited time offer. They will be invited for a month or two months or whatever I think is appropriate to the situation. They will get food and housing and whatever amount of money is appropriate for someone doing that type of work at whatever level of production they are capable of. I won't pay somebody High wages to produce low output. They will be expected to get themselves together financially. For many this would mean completely shutting off the tap to anyone they are sending money to.

Some people will be able to get it together and some just won't. It's the same here. I've had my prodigal brother stay at my place for free and it did absolutely nothing for his long-term Financial Health. But there was a whole family from Quebec who fell on Hard Times, and I allowed them to live at my job sites when they were working for me and I often supplied him with materials that he didn't have to pay for right away. Within six months, Benoit and Carmel had transitioned mostly into renovations that used recycled products from my demolitions. The same sort of help was offered to people of different skill and motivation levels and the results were totally different. 20 years later, we are still friends.

Many of my relatives and acquaintances here in Canada insist that my wife will want me to take her whole country for a free ride in some way. But I know she will be much more firm than me. She's always telling them that they have to stand up and fend for themselves. Yesterday, her sister asked if she would continue to receive support after she is finished her education, which would allow her to work overseas. Nova told her no and then she called me to make sure that was correct. I told her that we might help her with transportation to her new job or any other start up cost associated, but then we would certainly not continue sending support to someone who is now able to make a good living. So, the two of us are really on side with this stuff. She hates freeloaders, and has no problem telling me that certain members of the extended family would definitely fall into that category should we allow it.
 
Dillon Nichols
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Given the sounds of the current village, a fresh start must be awfully appealing.

Knowing how much help to extend is a lesson that took me a while to start learning. I'm certainly not done. Being on the same page with Nova is obviously going to be hugely beneficial. I wonder how uncommon this congruity is..


Do you have a sense of how you'd like to split your time between the countries going forward?

 
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If she comes to Canada, I hope you won't make her live in your truck with you! Canadian husbands would get a bad name across the entire Philippines! :)
 
Dale Hodgins
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I'd like to say 11 months in the Philippines and one in Canada. That's not realistic for me just yet because I want to lay my hands on some more money. And I don't want to sell my place, without developing it in some way. But if I'm able to do really well with the $50,000 or so that I can invest without selling my property, then I might just decide to go all in, on my new venture. But I would always try to keep at least $100,000 in a Canadian Bank, just in case something unforeseen happens. Maybe Indonesia will invade.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Rebecca Norman wrote:If she comes to Canada, I hope you won't make her live in your truck with you! Canadian husbands would get a bad name across the entire Philippines! :)



She has mentioned this many times when we've been on video call from my vehicle, when I'm covered under a foot of blankets. I was perfectly comfortable under my blankets the other day, and she was laying comfortably on top of the bed in the Philippines. It was Just Before Dawn for me and 10 p.m. for her. Suddenly she jumped up and said I have to turn off the electric fan, it's freezing in here and then she covered under two blankets. It had probably dipped to 75 Fahrenheit or about 23 Celsius.

The landlord's brother has worked in Lake Louise and Edmonton, and he has regaled everyone with stories of just how horrible Canadian Winters are. I expect that when we come to Canada, it will be during the spring or summer, because that's when I can make the most money. She is very keen to be my assistant. Suppose that she's the only worth $100 a day in the beginning. Each day is approximately what she was earning in a month. But even a warm spring day in British Columbia can be colder than anything she's ever experienced. She doesn't like to shower during certain parts of the day because the water is frigid. She likes to bathe in 95-degree water. Or she thought she did, until I started solar heating the bathwater and then covering the big jugs with blankets, so she could shower anytime. Now she prefers using water that is at least five degrees above body temperature. We had some ice, so I put some in a cup of water a couple minutes later, got her to hold on to that glass. "That's how cold the water is in the spring. Would you like to go swimming." Then we went swimming in water that was only about 4 feet deep, just after the tide came in over the warm rocks. It was roughly the temperature of pee.

I'm going to guess that this water at The Falls was 90 degrees. We found it quite Pleasant.

I'm really leaning towards 25 acres that is near the falls.
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Dale Hodgins
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I found a video. Nova took some video while we were riding horses and sent it to my phone. We practiced her saying my name many times. This was very early in my visit. She was warning me about some barbed wire ahead.

The horse she was on, is two years old and in perfect condition. Really well-trained. $250 to buy it. It's on Mindanao, so unless I bought numerous horses at once, it wouldn't be worth shipping to a distant Island.
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Have you looked into making the house out of aircrete?  I am thinking about making some molds to pour the aircrete into and let it harden.  Then use the blocks to build the walls.

You need portland cement but it looks like a 50 lb bag can go a long way.  Suave shampoo is the other main ingredient outside of water.

Some youtube videos to how you want I am talking about.  Look into Aircrete Harry and the Honey Do Carpenter.  A simple device to mix the water, shampoo and portland is all that is required.  May have to play with different mixes.

This is on my list of want to learn how to do and it looks like it has some interesting insulating properties which is important in the Islands.  Also need to keep out the bugs and other crawlies.
 
Dale Hodgins
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When I use concrete, it will be concrete hollow blocks. Many people know how to work with them and the total cost to buy the block and have it laid is about $0.35 Canadian or $0.25 American.

You can put a white stucco finish, but they are perfectly suitable with no further treatment, so long as a suitable overhang is constructed. I don't know of any other method that can produce walls so cheaply.

I would be very surprised to find even one person with any experience doing aircrete in the places I'm looking at. So I wouldn't expect to find the labor or the equipment. I stayed in a couple different block buildings that were perfectly comfortable without any attempt made to heat or cool them.

Ventilation, shading, evaporative cooling the wise use of thermal mass, made it unnecessary to air condition. It gets hot, but not Las Vegas hot. I'm inserting a picture of the weather forecast for next week. The range is between 21 and 28 Celsius. This translates to roughly 70 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. That's the temperature spread for the entire week and pretty much represents diurnal range. There's only a 3-degree difference in the seasonal average temperatures, so this is not an extreme climate. Sometimes the downtown of Cebu or Manila will become extremely hot and it makes the news. But just outside of those cities, people who have constructed their houses under coconuts and bananas will be relatively comfortable on that same hot day.

I think many people who haven't experienced equatorial climate, have this idea that it just keeps getting hotter and hotter as you approach the equator. But the real extremes are found in places like the Sahara Desert and the Australian desert, both a long way from the equator. The ocean has an amazing moderating effect. Anyone with the brains to allow the cooler night air into their space, can live in comfort without ever experiencing energy cost.
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Dale Hodgins
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Cob

I do intend to use some cob, but not on the exterior of the house. Some seating and other structures will go on the inside, so that they can add to the thermal mass. Mostly sculptural stuff. There will be no need for a rocket mass heater or other heating device. I expect to separate the cooking area from the main body of the house.

Anything made of cob, will sit on rocks and not directly on the concrete. That's because the concrete will often the wetted to promote evaporative cooling. I've done it and even on days when the humidity is 90%, it has a positive effect. Many of the better houses have tile floors. At least some of my floor will be raw concrete that readily absorbs and releases moisture.

Drying laundry with in the house has a definite positive effect on temperature. We may become involved in a laundry business. There would be indoor and outdoor drying. In the home where I was staying, they had a rear lean-to where laundry was done and hung under the metal roof. It was the most comfortable area during the heat of the day.
 
Dennis Bangham
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If you are in a remote area and can afford an extra room or two then I suggest making a guest cabin for rent.  Sometimes the folks who left for work elsewhere come back with their new family and a Nipa hut is not acceptable and the nearest town is a way off.  
My wife built her father a very nice house out of block, with a nice front porch and it seems it was becoming the local place to hang out and chat.  They had to put up a fence and enclose the house and lot because it was happening at all hours.
 
 
Dale Hodgins
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Dennis Bangham wrote:If you are in a remote area and can afford an extra room or two then I suggest making a guest cabin for rent.  Sometimes the folks who left for work elsewhere come back with their new family and a Nipa hut is not acceptable and the nearest town is a way off.  
My wife built her father a very nice house out of block, with a nice front porch and it seems it was becoming the local place to hang out and chat.  They had to put up a fence and enclose the house and lot because it was happening at all hours.
 



Rooms for rent

You have arrived a little late to this thread Dennis. But there are also other threads concerning my move to the Philippines. Wherever I Go, I will build not just guest rooms but a motel containing at least six units and I hope to eventually grow that to 20 units. And also only looking for land large enough that I can put many guest cabins throughout the forest. My entire business plan is about having space to rent out. But at the same time I'm not going to spend more than one third of my assets right away. I have to see that investment pay off to some degree before I will go in any deeper. And one thing I don't anticipate ever doing is borrowing even $1 towards my plans. Not that anyone would be willing to loan me anyting. I don't think I've ever done one thing that anyone else would have wanted to invest in, and that's fine. Don't need them.

One of the things I have talked to Nova about, is the importance of choosing a place so nice, that it doesn't really matter if one guest ever shows up, and then only investing the amount we are willing to invest for our own home, should that eventuality come to pass. Then, once we have something built, I will start advertising and I will enlist local people to bring us bodies for a commission.

It's going to be a farm, a site for a motel, and a home for both of us, a part-time home for some of her family and maybe some of mine. I'm not going to get in too deeply financially at first. Probably not more than $30,000 to $50,000 in the first two years. Then if it goes well, we will invest everything that we make, plus maybe another $100,000 of current assets.

I don't anticipate ever hiring a building contractor or a designer or anyone else who I don't intend to hand a shovel or hammer to. Nova is much better with computers than I am, and she is going to take some online marketing courses. We will just figure out the marketing as we go, but without ever being in a position where we are under the gun and must generate customers.
 
Dennis Bangham
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I hope you expand to my wife's hometown.  There are not many choices and people who visit do not stay long.  
You will likely find all the skills needed to do this locally.  One thing I always realize is how much potential there is in the PI.  The people, the land and the food.

I have a relative who is complaining about the young people do not want to get into farming and there is going to be a shortage of farmers.  If the next generation can be taught permaculture methods and also show them how science is getting back to bacteria and fungi as the solutions for farming there is hope.   OF course the soil is largely still active since they do not do much of the toxic farming methods used here.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Yes, many people have completely organic products to sell, but they don't market it as such. Young people not wanting to get into farming I think is driven a lot by media. They see people in the city and all over the world who are much wealthier than themselves oh, and they want to get their asses to the city to get in on that. But most who go to the cities do not become wealthy. They become slaves to the few who are wealthy.

For people to be interested in farming, they have to see some future in it. And for that they need imagination, something that is sorely lacking. I look at people who've been doing the same thing for generations, and wonder have you not looked on the internet, have you not looked around in other towns? It seems that everyone who has hopes and dreams, chooses to leave the farm. I don't see people Tuesday to go in the other direction. I met numerous people born in the city of Cebu, which I certainly don't count as a nice place. Even amongst those who have saved a bit of money, none of the ones I talk to have dreams of moving to the countryside and farming. I think it's a class thing, and their society has determined that farming is low class.
 
Dillon Nichols
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The same sort of exodus took place in the western world.. now it seems there's a decent number trying to move the other way. Of course in the meantime granddad's farm got bought by the neighbour who sold out to the guy down the road, and now it's a multimillion dollar business scraping by on subsidies... and then if there's a quota system involved the barriers to entry *really* start.

Given the appalling wages, is land any cheaper for the average person there than van isl?

Providing an example of rich people(by local standards) deliberately choosing farmy stuff, and living well by doing so, might help a fair bit..


No wheelbarrows... someone needs to bring in some suitable wheel/axle assemblies to build bamboo wheelbarrows/handcarts onto!


Those temperatures aren't as bad as I pictured...
 
Dale Hodgins
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They have wheelbarrows at construction sites in the city, so most people have seen them, but they don't see them as a farming tool. They will be extremely useful on the dry sort of land that I am looking at. Not so useful in a rice paddy.

I see many things being done manually, when common tools could greatly increase productivity.

 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:For people to be interested in farming, they have to see some future in it. And for that they need imagination, something that is sorely lacking. I look at people who've been doing the same thing for generations, and wonder have you not looked on the internet, have you not looked around in other towns? It seems that everyone who has hopes and dreams, chooses to leave the farm. I don't see people Tuesday to go in the other direction. I met numerous people born in the city of Cebu, which I certainly don't count as a nice place. Even amongst those who have saved a bit of money, none of the ones I talk to have dreams of moving to the countryside and farming. I think it's a class thing, and their society has determined that farming is low class.



Hey Dale, have really enjoyed reading your adventures so far. I'm living in the Philippines but just south of Manila. The organic food movement has gained a lot of traction up here in Manila, and I'm sure it's just a matter of time before a city like Cebu catches up. In fact, I'd bet on it that there's a lot of organic farms already there.  Just look at the likes of farms like "Holy Carabou", "Down to Earth", etc. They're doing really well and charge good prices for really good food. I have a feeling that some of them are set up as cooperatives. Say you could have farmers grow produce with your methods (you could train them up) and then buy off them at better rates than the vegetable dealers and market in the city at high end malls.

Farmers get really horrible deals. Where we are living, for instance, they have Dalandan fruit (like a lemon/orange). The vegetable dealer will only pay me P2 / kilo but in the markets I see them for well over ten times that price.  I have heard horror stories though, of not messing with this current "vegetable dealer" system though, in some remote places the access roads etc, have all been built and paid for by the vegetable dealers, and if you mess with that then they may mess with you!

Organic produce is very abundant. You will learn that most rice farmers know very well the horrors of all the chemicals and pesticides they spray on their crops. They often have a small plot that they produce for their own family, free of any nasty stuff.

Anyway, I'm enjoying your adventures and look forward to hearing what you will start.  You seemed to have learnt a lot about the culture very quickly.  Just a bit of advice, always walk away from any verbal conflicts with aggressive males, never make a Filipino lose face in an argument. It is not worth it.

Regarding good power tools - a lot available here in Manila - you could always do a trip and send a crate back down to Cebu. I've been buying stuff from a place called Goldpeaks, they have a good selection. Also Lazada but sometimes they can have ridiculous prices. Please don't buy any 110V tools. I know you said you can just get a transformer, but it will always be someone else, not you, that inadvertently plugs it into 240V and there goes your tool...
 
Dale Hodgins
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Yes, I have checked out the organic farming scene in the southern Philippines and there are plenty of them. But it's surprising how just a few kilometers away, no one has ever heard of the place. I was on the relatively small island of Bohol and we met a group of ladies who were quite interested in our travels. They had never been to the Chocolate Hills or to the man-made Forest, which is really just a mahogany Plantation. This island is about 50 miles across at its farthest and people born right there, have failed to investigate the place where they live. This lack of imagination isn't Universal. Millions of Filipinos trained for something and then they fly across the world to do that thing for better pay. And everyone knows people who have done this. But in the neighborhoods that are predominantly farming oh, there are many people who just never go anywhere or try anything new.

I may very well be in the vegetable business, and if I am, I will market all of my own product. It won't be me selling the stuff. I would rent the table and have someone do it, or ship directly to customers. The best way to get paid for farm products, is to feed it to people who are paying to be there. So that way you get much more than retail.

So far I haven't had cause to have any sort of altercation with anyone. That's probably because I have no use for alcohol. I think I drove past some bars, but I didn't stop at any of them. I'm sure there will be people who think they deserve some slice of whatever I have. I intend to be my own building contractor and to do many other things on my own. I'm sure that I will buy many fruits and vegetables that we don't produce, I will pay someone to fix machines and I will hire local laborers for a number of things. I'm already pretty good at doing soft firings. I have fired hundreds of guys and they didn't even know they were fired. I just tell them that the job is coming near completion and we don't need so many of them. But I keep the best ones and invite them to help on the next job. I will probably avoid hiring immediate neighbors, because of how that might work when they need to be fired. In most cases I will have a specific project, and I will hire a few people to help. When the job is done, it's done.

The number one negative cultural trait I have witnessed, after the drinking, is jealousy or coveting or whatever you call it when people want things that they haven't worked for because they see that other people have those things. Some guy will get it together, take some training and then borrow money so that he can make it to a job in the Middle East. When he comes back, lots of guys who didn't get it together and take some training, think that this guy should share the wealth. Or they are jealous because he is suddenly more attractive to women. There's all sorts of resentment within families, because of huge disparity of income. And I don't see these problems being caused by the productive people who are in the better money. It's the ones who sit home penniless that make noise about it. I am naturally immune to that type of noise, but Nova is not. She has a tendency to listen to the chatter and sympathize with their plight. Almost every conversation I have heard, between women, has included the word peso. So I've asked them, do you ever talk about anything of substance, or do you only speak of money, especially the money that other people have? They thought about it for a minute, but then they went right back doing it.
 
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I've been to Bohol and the Chocolate Hills and Pangtow island. Rode the Ocean Jet there from Cebu. It's Beautiful there.
I was really amazed when I asked one of the locals , How were the Chocolate Hills formed, she answered Well a long long time ago there were to giants who became angry at one another and began to scoop up the soil and throw mud balls at one another and the giant muds balls formed the hills. I said to her, No really how were they formed? She answered Well as I just explaind a long long time ago there were two giants. I said, Okay, Okay I got ya, thank you I understand. She just looked at me kinda perplexed that I didn't understand the first time. It just says a lot about so many of the people there, living in their little world, dreaming, hoping envious and believing just about anything.
I remember meeting a guy from Checeslovakia, who had lived there for many years. He explained it to me, and I quote " The Philippine people have eatin so much shit, for so long that they will now swallow anything "
You be careful Dale.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I've been surrounded by ignorance all of my life, so this is nothing new, except that they are ignorant about different things. I've always found that the person with the most knowledge and the best plan wins. I'm not going to try to change the whole culture. I will just do what I'm doing and some people will see that that makes sense.

Many people from the same places have traveled to different parts of the world and have gained much knowledge on the way. And some simply went there to work but came back largely unchanged.

I'm looking to make a place suitable to Europeans and North Americans. So I will create something that I'm satisfied with oh, and some will agree.

I was raised with the Genesis story of creation. I don't see that it's much different than the two giants. If it were Australia, I would expect that two wombats had a digging contest.





 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:If it were Australia, I would expect that two wombats had a digging contest.



Nah, it was a rainbow serpent!
 
Dillon Nichols
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It is always... interesting... for me to remember, when being astounded at the basic ignorance of people in less educated countries, that a very substantial portion of the populace in the most highly educated places on earth will still profess belief in... some really improbable things.

I expect that the massive number of Philipinos working abroad has skimmed off quite a chunk of the most enterprising and productive people, who may also be the least credulous and best educated.. the western world has no such excuse!
 
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