25 June 2017

Window Shopping: Custom Made Furniture


Bunk Bed

Queen Bed Frame

Foyer Table

Delivery Fee


Antonio’s Quality Muebles






Mahogany & ¾ plywood

JB Woodcraft, Inc.






- Kiln
dried mahogany or gemelina wood

Jungle Vines Furnicraft






- Mahogany wood

Phoenix Home






Gemelina wood

Reach Out & Build Inc.






- Kiln
dried hardwood & marine plywood

Urban Abode






- Not


*TBA - To be advised.
**All rates quoted in Philippine pesos.

Here are the specifications I sent to all the furniture companies listed above:

The furniture companies were either referrals from friends or have been mentioned in articles from Real Living magazine.

20 June 2017

Renovation Update 18

Choi, from Reach Out & Build, informed us that the fence and carport are already done, and scheduled the turnover for June 16, Friday.

I arrive, look around, and then ask him, "So, when will you guys be finished?" His reply? "We're already finished."

Here's what "finished" looks like:

The polycarbonate roof is in two colors. There's supposed to be only one color, and that's dark brown.

Metal bars are still sticking out of the cement hollow block wall.

Trash is still present and they have yet to get rid of the excess cement from the garage floor.

Oh, when I left the house, some parts of the gate hadn't been painted and they still needed to repair the areas they damaged.

Seriously?!?! I really wonder how anyone could think that this would be acceptable? Well, apparently Choi did along with some of the workers who thought nothing of the two-toned roof.

It's been a few days and I still can't get over how low their standards are. Am I angry or upset? Not yet - as long as they'll fix things. Though this will mean even more delays.

15 June 2017

Renovation Update 17

As of yesterday:

They told me that the work will be done by tomorrow, but since the rainy season has started, I'm expecting a few more delays.

10 June 2017

Renovation Update 16

Alas, Reach Out and Build definitely did not meet their end of May deadline. Here's their progress as of two weeks ago:

05 June 2017

Refinancing Saga

The good news? We got approved!

The bad news? It will cost us an additional Php 25,000+ (on top of the Php 4000 assessment fee) and the rate is not guaranteed. If the loan is released before the end of June, then we'll get the 5.5% interest rate. If not, then whatever rate they have in July will be applicable.

At 5.5%, our monthly mortgage will be Php 3399 lower for the next three years and we'll be able to pay off the fees (so to speak) within 8 months. Potentially, we'll be able to save Php 95,172 over the remaining 28 months - money that can be used for other house bills.

So, what happens if we don't make the June deadline and the new rate isn't to our liking? We have the option of cancelling and getting a refund (except for the Php 3000 handling fee).

Another concern is the amount of the loan. We applied for the loan two months ago and our remaining balance has since decreased by over Php 20,000+. BDO officer Carol said that the bank will give us a refund for the difference. Not sure how that works, but we definitely don't want to pay more than what's necessary.

30 May 2017

Appliances: Abenson & PowerAire

Overall, Fair N Square was cheaper, but only by Php 1500. With toll fees and gas, that difference would be even less as I'd have to go to Binondo to pay for everything.

Recently, I went back to Abenson and Anson's to revisit their prices, and Abenson still came out lower especially when it came to installation fees. Here are a few examples:

Samsung fee for wall mount installation:
Anson's - Php 2500 per unit without bracket (unless you're buying the bigger models, then installation is free)
Abenson - Php 998 per unit without bracket or Php 1498 with bracket

Kolin installation fee for 2.5 HP split type air conditioner:
Anson's - Php 7500 for the first ten feet
Abenson - Php 6000 for the first ten feet

So even if Abenson costs Php 705 more for the 2.5 HP air conditioning unit, we still get to save Php 800.

Another point in Abenson's favor is that not only do they have a branch five minutes away from where we currently live, they also sell mattresses. I could potentially save even more on delivery fees!

So how did PowerAire get into the picture? After a bit of browsing, I came across a blog post that made a case for Daikin and non-inverter air conditioners. And after shopping around, I've found that a 2.5 HP Kolin will cost us around Php 46,200 including installation fees, while a 2.5 HP Daikin is roughly Php 42,000 inclusive of installation fees.

PowerAire is the nearest authorized retailer of Daikin as neither Anson's nor Abenson sells the brand.

25 May 2017

Window Shopping: Appliances

To simplify matters, we're thinking of buying almost everything from just one shop.  That way, there will also just be one company to deal with and we save on delivery fees.  After looking around, it seems only three stores offer the most products under one roof.

Please note that the prices below were quoted during the last week of January. Rates have since changed, but I'm posting them anyway to give an idea of how the three compare.






Fair N Square

Panasonic NR-BX468XSPH





La Germania TU65122DX





La Germania N3601SS

Range Hood




Whirlpool IFW 1020 10kg





Whirlpool AWD 70A 7kg





Whirlpool MWX 303ES





Kolin KAG 60 DME 0.5 HP

Air Conditioner




Samsung UA-32J4303










Delivery Fee
to Avida
















20 May 2017

Renovation Update 15

Based on the original timeline given by our contractor, Reach Out & Build, the construction of the fence and carport would be finished by April 21. Due to various delays, they only started on May 2 and said that they'll be done before the month ends. Here's a look at their progress as of this week:

Two of the four workers were absent as they went home to the province to attend their local fiestas. Do you think they'll be able to make their own deadline? Considering the many other things that need to be done inside the house, our goal of moving in by June is unlikely.

10 May 2017

Cleaners: Rainbow Cleaners

As much as I would love for the house to be sanitized and smell of eucalyptus, I've decided that I'd rather save the extra Php 6920. I can buy a ton of Clorox Wipes and an air freshener I actually like and still have a little cash left over. Here's hoping though they'll do a better job than Dirty Business, Inc.

I. Scope of Work: General Cleaning for 84 sqm
II. Estimated duration of work: 8 hours
III. Manpower: 5 staff with supervisor
IV. Term of payment: Upon project completion
V. Service invoice and Official Receipt to be issued upon payment of service.
VI. Above price is VAT inclusive.

Total: Php 10,780 (all-inclusive)

05 May 2017

Window Shopping: Cleaners

The house hasn't been cleaned since 2015, so can you just imagine how dirty the place is? The toilet alone makes me shudder (eww...). I wasn't too happy with the last cleaning company we hired, Dirty Business, Inc. They charged Php 10,000 for one day, but I felt the quality of work wasn't great. For example, they cleaned the middle and bottom part of the bedroom cabinets, but neglected the ones right above. I had to really check what they were doing and even then I was thinking that I could have done a better job had I done it myself.

Another company we hired to clean a 20 sqm bedroom with an attached bathroom was PRO Cleaning Services. They charged Php 4500 for 1.5 hours inclusive of steam cleaning one queen-sized mattress. I wasn't around at the time, but my mom said that while they were very thorough, she thought that they were too expensive.

Now that we're about to move-in, I want the house cleaned from top to bottom, in particular the ceiling, walls, window screens, and window sills. Five years worth of dust and bird droppings are not something I wish for any of us to breathe in.

I had difficulty searching for companies who were willing to clean a two storey house both inside and outside, so I decided to go with what's familiar and one that I discovered online.

PRO Cleaning Services
Rate: 17,700*

Estimated duration of work: 5.90 hours
Manpower: 4 staff

*Final bill will be based on actual time consumed.

Rainbow Cleaners
Rate: Php 10,780

Estimated duration of work: 8 hours
Manpower: 5 staff with supervisor

The main difference between the two, aside from the price, is that PRO Cleaning includes the following:

- Dry Steam Cleaning (175 degrees C high temperature cleaning and sanitizing) of tiled floor, kitchen countertops, toilet & bathroom fixtures
- Indoor Air Washing and Aromatizing with Eucalyptus (to get rid of stale indoor air, floating construction dust and other allergens and odors in the air)

The question is whether those last two features are worth the extra Php 6920.

30 April 2017

At Present

The contractors are about to start, so here is the current state of our house in pictures:

Ground Floor


Green Room


Blue Room

25 April 2017

Pest Control (Again): Timberpro, Inc.

Timberpro, Inc. gave the lowest quotation, but our main reason for choosing them was because of their guarantee. It's part of the contract that they will repair any damage (caused by termites) incurred after they've treated the house. Here are the details:

The service we offer aims to protect your investment in structural real estate (house or other buildings) from destructive subterranean termites and wood borers.

A. Termiticide Application on Soil - the process of drenching the soil with Fipronil termiticide formulation to create protection against subterranean termites within the immediate area of the structure. This termiticides manage termite colonies and eventually kills the whole population. To this end, this diluted Fipronil termiticide formulations are applied using our 5Hp gasoline-driven power sprayer, which can generate pressures as much as 965.3 Kpa to attain the maximum effective results.

A1. Mound Demolition - If mound exists.

A2. Cordoning Method - the process of injecting diluted termiticide formulations into the ground as close as possible to the structure, with our Soil Slab Injector.

A.2.1 Soil Slab Injection Method - a part of Cordoning Method for existing structures whose immediate surroundings are covered by concrete slabs. Holes ranging from 12.7 mm. to 25.4 mm. in diameter are bored, as close as possible to the structure, and deep enough to penetrate the slab. The liquid termiticides are injected through these perforations using our Soil Slab Injector. Treatment of existing perforated pipes/reticulation system is not included in the scope of work, because we cannot guarantee termiticide distribution through this system. If you wish to have your perforated pipes/reticulation system injected with termiticide, that will be charged separately and charges will be based on the reticulation system design. Service warranty will only be given if standard scope of work is done (Cordoning method) regardless of additional treatment of reticulation system.

B. Spot Treatment – surface application to limited areas where termites are present for immediate colony management.


A. Free Repair / Restoration of Termite Damage

II.A.1. A written warranty certificate with a validity period of (24) months will be issued starting on the date after the initial treatment has been completed. During this period, if there are any signs of termite infestation we shall carry out re- treatment as necessary and free of charge. Additionally and most important, termite damaged portions of structural materials will be repaired by patching or retouching as necessary; or if more than 40% destroyed, it will be completely replaced, labor and materials will be free of charge, after assessment of all damaged part by our Claims Department.

II.A.2. Free repair or restoration will only be done upon approval of Claims Department after presentation of certificate of warranty with official Timberpro Inc. seal and signature of the CEO/President with the receipt number signifying full payment and others that maybe required.

II.A.3. Repair will only be done when Timberpro, Inc. authorized inspectors declares the structure to be free of live termite infestation, to make sure damage on new material will not occur.

II.A.4. Claims for termite damage should be accomplished within the warranty, with a 1 month grace period.

II.A.5. Claims for restoration of termite damaged shall not be entertained if client has unsettled balances.

B. Free Inspection
Our Pest Management Professionals will conduct regular check-ups every four months on treated premises throughout the warranty period. Any structure found to have live termite activity will be inspected every 30 days or as necessary until termite colonies has been managed. Thereafter the case will be reclassified as 'regular' and will again be inspected every four months. However, if our inspection was refused without any rational reasons for 3 consecutive months, repair or replacement of termite damage that would occur during the warranty period will be forfeited automatically.

II.B.1. The restoration warranty benefit shall not be applied to areas where treatments and inspections were constrained by the client.

II.B.2. After we have completed the initial treatment and to keep our valued customers well informed, we submit a color-coded computer aided design (CAD) drawing that shows the discovered termite and woodborer damages at the time of treatment, and the corresponding recommendations on parts that needs to be repaired or replaced for the owner’s account, as well as areas on which termiticides have been applied for termite management. All portions heavily infested and found to be damaged by termites will be recommended for your repair immediately after Timberpro, Inc. finds no visible evidence of live termite during inspection. All portions reported for replacement but was not replaced as reflected on our accomplishment report is not applicable on Section II - A. However, if it is repaired by owner and termite damage occurred within our warranty period it will be repaired by Timberpro.

II.B.3. For structures undergoing major renovations warranty will start right after our initial treatment, all subsequent treatments needed in the structure will be done during the warranty period.

C. Free Treatment
Any time during the warranty period, the client should advise Timberpro of any changes on landscaped areas so that termiticide re-application will be done to maintain an effective cordon of termiticide around the structure. Such application would be free of charge during the warranty period. However, if treatment to additional soil is not done due to client's failure to inform Timberpro, this may cause forfeiture of the replacement warranty benefit.

II.C.1. Please advice Timberpro Inc. in cases where there are major renovations, such as new structures made that will affect the measurement of the original treated structure/area within the warranty period. Also, there will be a survey/estimate that will be conducted on additional areas and will be charged accordingly, this will maintain proper management and prevention of termite colony attack on the structure. New furniture added inside the structure needs to be inspected to make sure there is no structural pest such as termites or woodborers.

II.C.2. In cases where an existing structure will be demolished, benefits and warranty will be forfeited automatically. An Assessment/survey will be conducted base on the new floor plan for a new proposal/contract.


For the above-specified scope of work to be carried out on the areas as per attached Survey Plan:

TOTAL AREA: 78.40 sq. mts.

TOTAL COST: Php 19,650

20 April 2017

Window Shopping: Pest Control (Again)

One of the door jambs was eaten by termites. When we first hired Mapecon to do pest control, we thought we could just have the place treated once a year. But when they returned the following year, Mapecon informed us that one of the wooden door jambs was already hollow. We then signed up for quarterly maintenance as we didn't want any further damage to our house.

We're not sure who is to blame - was it us for not having done the regular maintenance schedule sooner or Mapecon for not getting it right the first time? To be fair, they did not guarantee complete eradication of termites which is why they were pushing for the quarterly maintenance schedule. Though some people I know only had pest control done once and that was it.

Either way, we've decided to try a different supplier. The following pest control companies require a two year contract and their rate for one year is similar to that of Mapecon, but they will only treat for termites. Mapecon did termites AND common household pests (e.g. ants, cockroaches, etc.) for roughly the same yearly fee.

Entom Pest Control
Rate: Php 22,100

Pest Away Corporation
Rate: Php 28,000

Timberpro, Inc.
Rate: Php 19,650

15 April 2017


Our three year rate term ended last March so now, our interest rate has increased from 7% to 7.5%. We asked if we could retain the old rate, but that request was denied. We could opt to go for a lower rate of 6.5% (yearly), but we would need to pay a Php 5000 repricing fee and even then, it's not guaranteed.

After asking around, someone informed us that Banco de Oro (BDO) was having a promotion, so I went over to inquire and they gave the following rates:

4.88% - 1 year term
5.50% - 3 year term
5.88% - 5 year term

I've often read that one way to save money is to refinance your mortgage, but we never really considered it before. Now I'm thinking that we should have done this ages ago! Well, here's hoping our loan application gets approved.

10 April 2017

Fence, Gate & Carport: Reach Out & Build Inc.

AQM, a company that started out by making furniture, is the trusted contractor of my friend Grace. While Reach Out & Build (RO&B) was referred to us by Erick Yambao, a landscape architect who was featured in Real Living. Both contractors also do custom made furniture.

The difference between the quotations they submitted was just Php 1180.42 so we could have gone either way. What clinched it for us was aside from RO&B's furniture rates being lower, they were the only ones who offered to inspect our house to give us a more affordable option.

Now we have a new contractor and a different carport design. Initially, we wanted the garage to look like the rest of the house, until Erick commented that it would be too dark. He suggested that we build a pergola instead so it would also seem like an extension of the garden which I thought was a wonderful idea.

Note: The total price for the design above is Php 389,850, but we're having the roof extended a bit for an additional Php 5000.

05 April 2017

Window Shopping: Fence, Gate & Carport

Due to how much it's going to cost us to move in, Earl was questioning whether it was necessary to build the fence and carport now. I pointed out that it will be much more difficult to have a construction crew over once we've settled in - the dust, noise, inconvenience, etc. I also told him to picture himself on his way to work during the monsoon season. Enough said.


• CHB Perimeter Fence - Cement Plaster Finish with Paint
- 13.00mts x 6’ ht per side x 3 sides (right side, left side & back fence)
- 6” concrete hollow blocks
- 10mm re-enforcement bars for post, tie-beams & dowels
- Smooth plain cement plaster finish on both sides
- 2 coats of latex paint finish (per owner’s color choice)

• Steel Fence - Picket Fence Design - Paint Finish
- Picket fence design
- 13.00mts x 6’ ht (front steel fence)
- Carport gate – 5.00mts x 6’ ht
- Pedestrian gate – 1.00mt x 6’ ht
- One layer of concrete hollow blocks before steel fence – paint finish
- Includes electrical provisions for post lamps
- Primer and 2 coats enamel paint finish (per owner’s color choice)

• Carport Roof
- No specifications except that it should match the rest of the house


AQM Interior Services

Telephone Number: 0920 948 0177
Email: proj.aqm@gmail.com

General Requirements - Php 99,000
CHB Perimeter Fence - Php 284,968.75
Carport Roof - Php 258,921.67
Steel Gate & Fence - Php 34,800
Total: Php 677,690.42

Gilladoga Construction Inc.

Telephone Number: 556 8991
Email: gilladoga@gmail.com

General Requirements - Php 97,579.73
CHB Perimeter Fence - Php 550,373.17
Carport Roof - Php 176,059.63
Steel Gate & Fence - Php 81,269.18
Total: Php 905,281.71

Reach Out and Build Inc.

Telephone Number: 372 4659
Email: sales@reachoutbuild.com

General Requirements - Php 95,800
CHB Perimeter Fence - Php 299,726
Carport Roof - Php 202,584
Steel Gate & Fence - Php 78,400
Total: Php 676,510

31 March 2017

Plot Twist

Long story short, we're now back in Manila and starting the process of moving into our house - seven years after it was turned over to us.

First up, we've hired a different contractor. Our front door was done by Rabacon but less than four years later, the paint has faded and peeled off, and the overhead roof that took them a year and a half to finish shows signs of water damage. Coupled with the fact that they kept getting delayed, Earl just didn't want to deal with them anymore.

We're currently waiting for all the permits to be approved before the fence and carport construction can start. In the meantime, we're window shopping for appliances and furniture. That I'm excited is the understatement of the decade.
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