We also built a concrete hollow block perimeter fence. The index to all of the posts in that series can be found here: Perimeter Fence Philippines: Index
We finally had all of the holes and trenches dug and it was time for some serious progress on the house! But…there was one more thing we had to do before the concreting began.
Bless This Build
The last time we had to bless construction was when we started our wall. That didn’t go well because the permit was delayed.
This time we had the permit in hand and a much larger offering for the padugo ceremony: a goat. Yep, you read that right. Offering. Although, I’m not sure that’s the right word for how they view it here.
You might be thinking that the Philippines is a Christian and Muslim nation and that the people believe in a God, not superstitions. That’s true but some old beliefs are still with the people here (as they are with people everywhere).
One of them is the sprinkling of animal blood in the post holes of a house under construction to “bless” it, to appease the spirits of whoever might have lived on this land over generations past, and to ensure a safe work environment.
Now, I’m going to include a rather gruesome photo here but only because it depicts the stark reality of the padugo. I’m only publishing this photo here because I think that those who might be building in the Philippines in the future should know what they’re getting into as far as working with Filipinos. Here on this page, the gruesome part of the photo will be blurred so it can’t be seen. But when the blurred photo is clicked on, the large unblurred photo will show. WARNING: If you don’t want to see a shocking photo, do not click on the photo at right.
A Word About Tools
I couldn’t believe the tools that the crew had to work with. Rusted pliers, hammers that had lost their handles long ago and had been replaced with metal pipes, rusted and dull wood saws and hack saws. Somehow, they got the deformed bar (Rebar) cut and wired together and the coco lumber cut and nailed up to hold the column “bones” in place with their beat-up and homemade tools.
If I had known these 10-piece Stanley Starter Hand Tool Kits were so affordable, I’d have bought three or four of them for the crew to use.
This is what setting up the columns looked like:
You might be thinking that if the house is made of concrete, we didn’t need to worry about termites. But the treatment isn’t to prevent termites from eating the house, it’s to prevent them from making nests in the soil and undermining the columns and foundation.
I can tell you that ants and their termite cousins love freshly turned soil for their nests. We had a pile of soil near where we sat to watch the crew work and in just a few days after it was put there, red biting ants had created a city in it. So, I recommend the treatment.
The contractor rented what’s known as a “one-bagger” concrete mixer. It’s meant to be used to mixe one bag of cement with gravel and water. You can rent mixers that are turned by hand and others that have motors to do the work. We had one with a motor.
It wasn’t really better for half of that day, though because the motor wouldn’t start!
The rental company sent a couple of their ace mechanics over to try and repair the motor and get the mixing running for us. They worked and worked, took parts off and put them back on, primed the carburetor and did everything they could think of. Like I said, it took them half a day to get is going but they finally did!
In the next installment, we’ll look at some more concreting and also getting the plumbing and electrical paths started.