Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2005- Building my house

The Experiences of building a house in Balamban.

In 2005 after having looked at nth locations I finally found a suitable Lot to build my House in Balamban, Cebu
Why I took three years was mainly because I wanted it to be "perfect"and not just a lot to build something.Also I finally made my decision NOT to live by the Sea after having lived at the shore in view of my Sailyacht for almost three years in a rented house. As tempting as it sounds, but it has too many disadvantages.However, that is another topic.
So- again my "Lucky Stream"came to my aid.
First I was asked by a befriended widow of an Italian if I would like to live and watch their Mansion for a while in Pondol. This was were I had the "test living"in my future Land.
Because two years later the window then decided to sell the neighbouring 1100sqm Property of her Mansion and  logically asked me first. The Price was very friendly and I said YES.
It was a perfect land. Originally planned and  subdivided for wealthy members of a well known Political family, the lots were step by step sold to selected Foreigners also.
Far enough from the noise and pollution of the Highway, but still near enough. Embedded on a peninsula of Fishponds and "Nipa" forests and encased by a natural Reservoir of a river.
No future development to be expected. All surrounding Land in firm hands of nice people which plan to live their soon. Just nice.
That's my view today

So after I signed all the Papers and also bought the 400 sqm adjoining lot from another close friend I could start to build.
Plans where drawn by a Professor from the SW University ( as a gift ) and then i was thinking of the "How to do this project?"
Because I wanted to do a lot myself, I always had the Idea to build a house, even if only partly, by myself.
A philosophy I developed  since my "Ocean yachting" days and because i wanted to create things with my I own hands.
But of course I would lack the capabilities of raising statical elements such as structural columns and beams.
I might be an individualist, but I am not crazy.
The House was designed as a Two Story with Concrete Roof decks !

So I asked a befriended Contractor if he could help out and just build the columns/beams and I would then fill the walls with the required brickwork and walling.
He looked and checked and calculated and then said for the amount specified he could build not only the columns and beams but also the Walling and even a thin layer of  cement - ready to paint and move in also.

This was very friendly of him, not only towards me, but also towards his crew. Because Christmas was coming up and he thought this way he could give his casual extra worker army an employment well into the next year until his next project came up.

So - October they started digging ! All Columns were set into the ground within a week and the Ground flooring poured.
He worked with 60 Workers and 3 mixers at the same time.  One could see,that most of the time the contractor did Industrial projects and not Private housings.
That's the terrace & first Roofdeck

Then after another week and enough "curing time", the horizontal beam structure  and floor of the second storey were poured.
(To  pour beams and floor in 'one" is preventing any expansion leaks.)

Again another week and the final 120 sqm"Roofdeck" of my living area was poured in an overnight action, since the concrete Pump could not get that high above ground.
60 guys made a chain of buckets and the three mixers worked nonstop.

After 6 hours the Job was done and the "Lechon Baboy" ready to eat. A few case of beer to celebrate and then, as if GOD wanted to bless the House, it rained very lightly for 48 hours..
Which was another "Lucky Event"since the concrete stayed moist and could cure perfectly without any cracks.

Frontal view

It was December Now and the Armada of "Concrete Workers" got lesser and lesser, being replaced by Electricians and Plumbers.
I watched (as arranged with my Contractor Friend) the  Foreman, who then watched the workers.
Plumbers and Electricians were subcontracted by me, so I had to check on them personally. But no problems there,they worked smooth and perfect. Aside from my "extra wrench turn" on all Plumbing Installations.
But I like it tight, I had bad experiences in Cebu City with plumbers, who out of fear to"break"a thread did not use the desired "force".
No problem either, I did it when they weren't watching in order to not "insult" them.
View from the "right side"

The Christmas and new Years Holidays suddenly nothing happened anymore until at Jan.2.
But since I Already arranged two good helpers and a few tools, I started to lay Tiles . I have never done that before, but it went surprisingly well. One guy mixed the Tile Cement, I planned, measured and cut the tiles, and the third guy layed them.
Of course not in "German Speed", but also not for"German costs".
Thus we were finished with that within two weeks only.
The Restaurant, freshly tiled...
I still had no windows and sliding doors...they were made by some other subcontractor.

Restaurant almost done.

Well, after multiple complaints they also eventually came and the Contractor could finish his last "cementing" of the walls. The Garden, thanks to the Tropical climate , also started to look a bit more civilized.
View from the Garden back then.

February 2nd 2005 I moved in. Overnight ! And re-opened the Restaurant the next day. I did not even had one closed day...

Total Building time was 3 months only. Excluding Paintwork, which I had to wait a few weeks because of the concrete curing times.

February 2005 - Restaurant done !
 In the following weeks I Painted indoors and two guys
That's a few months later with paint
 did the exterior.

All in all those were the most stress months in my life so far.  But it was worth it.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Philippine Coastguard Auxiliary

Thanks to the acquisition of my Sail-yacht in the year 2000 I was invited to the PCGA

People may wonder what all those Uniform photos of me and others mean.

PCGA stands for Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary and is an Organization to assist and support the "Organic" or professional Philippine Coast Guard.(PCG)
It is a volunteer Organization under the Supervision and actually mandated in the 'Coast Guard law" to be formed by the PCG ( R.A. 9993,Sec.11)
The official directive is this :
The mission of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary is to assist the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in the promotion of safety of life and property at sea. The preservation of the marine environment and its resources, the conduct of maritime search and rescue, the maintenance of aids to navigation and such other activities that enhance maritime community relations which include civic action, participation under the National Service Training Program, youth development, recreational safety and other related activities.

Therefore People with private Yachts are often "deputized"and approached by the large volunteer member ship to "join".
This has also happened to me. In my case it was Rear Admiral ( then Captain) Bobby Inoferio, who was also in the Cebu Chapter at the Knights of Rizal who suggested to join them.
Why not? Helping People in Distress at Sea is anyway a moral obligation and Law Nbr.1 at sea, so why not expand this to more activities.

I am glad that I joined them. A fantastic companionship and a fine selection of Ladies and Gentleman of all walks of Life.
Cleaning up after Typhoon Pablo Dec 2012, Dumaguete
Yes, the past 12 years we (in Cebu) have not been challenged by a major disaster,and hopefully this stay that way ( as in Dec.2012 with Super Typhoon "Bopha aka.Pablo) which simply passed without any damage to Cebu.

So people here may not be aware by our presence, but in many other places of this beautiful, but disaster battered nation the PCGA is very much known and needed.
One can see them in TV, wearing their Orange Polos/Sweatshirts in the rubber boats helping Residents in flooded areas, or searching in mudslide areas for survivors.
Rescue Marschal Fluvial Parade.
Sometimes they rescue some people in distress with their fast private yachts, being nearby a Sea Mishap, but often the volunteers are anonymous.

Surgical Mission Asturias
They then help out a bit among the poorer and less fortunate in the Philippine Populations and coordinate/finance Medical and surgical Missions.
But of course also the environment is a main field of volunteer work. Uncountable mangroves and Trees have been planted and adaopted.
Carrying Mangrove seedling to the coast

As well as many school and students 'educated" in the environment.
Coastal Clean Ups are more Past time then really effective, but this was the same in Germany in the seventies, until the lawmakers and Population became "responsive" to the cleaning efforts of the Volunteer groups.
More effective are the regular Underwater Clean-ups,when Divers fish out the debris of steel and other hazards underwater.
The field of activities is countless and not just limited to the coast.

And the uniforms? Well, it took me a while to get used to Uniforms again, it is not worn very often anyway. But I see the reason for it.Ina real disaster People would most probably NOT listen to someone coming along waving some ID, but a Uniform they would.
However, as said, let us hope we will never be needed.
And if..our slogan is "
"We risk our lifes to save your life"...
and we have swoar an oath to do just that.  Lets hope and pray you will never need us.

Thank You
(Commander PCGA ) Guenther Vomberg