War on Heat 3. Mechanical Means

11 - WOH3 Mechanical Means - Cover

(This is the 3rd in a series of articles tackling how we might possibly deal with the indomitable heat in the Philippines. If you haven’t checked them out yet, don’t sweat it. The articles read fine by themselves. When you have time, come back to War on Heat 1: The Cover Up and War on Heat 2: Designed to Breathe.)

In simpler times, you could have done all you could to cover up and insulate your house. If there wasn’t any wind to pull the hot air out though, then you were just out of luck. Of course, these days, we have mechanical ventilation.

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War on Heat 2: Designed to Breathe

10 - WOH2 Designed to Breathe - Cover

(This is the 2nd in a series of articles tackling how we might possibly deal with the indomitable heat in the Philippines. If you haven’t checked it out yet, visit War on Heat 1: The Cover Up. It might just save your life.)

Even if you were able to insulate your home 100%, it doesn’t mean it’ll be heat free. Try as hard as you might to keep it out, there will always be heat indoors. Your dog, the equipment you might have running, the sexual tension between you and the person beside you – all of these generate heat without having anything to do with the sun. At night the situation is even worse. As covered in part 1, your concrete hollow block walls re-radiate the heat into your space. Your enemy is already inside. You need a way to get that hot air out.

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War on Heat 1: The Cover Up

09 - WOH1 The Cover Up
War on Heat 1:  The Cover Up.


Just kidding, this is the Philippines. Even through the coldest months of December to February, heat is still one of the biggest issues to issues to handle in a Filipino house.

(This is the first of 3 articles on the War on Heat. So check in soon, and see if you can’t find anything that can help you against this godawful heat.)

It’s the age old problem. Even the OG bahay kubo and the bahay na bato were developed to combat heat and humidity. It might have been a completely different era, but techniques and components like long overhangs, and permeable materials and screens were developed to keep the heat out and let the home breathe. Today, these principles still hold true as methods of keeping a home cool and comfortable.

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Your All Important As-built Documents

Your All Important As-built Documents

Put simply, as-built documents are the drawn and written documentation of your house as its been put up by your builder. Having gone through a long and arduous design and construction process, this might be the last thing on your mind as you receive your certificate of occupancy and ready yourself to move in, but trust me – it’s important that you get it, correct and complete.

08 - As Built - Cover
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07. Philippine Feng Shui 1: Chicken Footings and Padugoats

07 - Chicken Footings and Padugoats
Chicken Footings and Padugoats –

Inherently Macho and logical, construction is largely a process and numbers game. Throw enough muscle and money at a project and it will get built. Like actual macho games or sports though, it’s also steeped in superstition. Construction in the Philippines is no exception. Superstitions and ceremonies surrounding the home and therefore construction generally fall under the catch-all label of Filipino Feng Shui. (You have to qualify it of course – Geomancy, like any idea, tends to be subject to cultural drift.) Like a migrant religion, it’s blended native practices with the imported dogma, creating an odd hybrid along the way

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Pre-Construction Patience 1: The Danger of (too) early construction

Pre-Construction Patience 1: The Danger of (too) early construction

Permit purgatory

Building permits can take forever to process.

Unless you’re in a place like Valenzuela where they’ve taken steps to remove possible interactions between permit applicants and the building officials who approve the design, it takes especially long if you don’t want to grease the machine.

Its especially stressful at the point when you’ve gone through the nitty-gritty of design, and the tedious back and forth of the bid process, having it hang above your head that you might not even be allowed to build. It feels like you’re just burning hours, and that December move-in deadline (yes, everyone wants to move in by December) is getting tighter and tighter.

Given friction and delay, you might be tempted to sneak in work before you have papers in hand. Your contractor isn’t raising any objections, or you’re managing your own labor. What’s the worst thing that can happen?

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