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Build a house in the Philippines in just one hour!

Build a house in the PhilippinesWhat?! That title doesn’t seem right! “Build a house in the Philippines in just one hour?” How can that be?

I could ask you to send me $49.99 to get a copy of an e-book with information on how you, too, can build your dream home in the Philippines in just one hour but I’m afraid that my conscience wouldn’t let me sell an e-book for that much that only had a few words in it.

What would those words be, that can teach you how to build a house in the Philippines in just one hour?  They would be, “Go to, download the free program, take the tutorials and spend an hour building your house in the Philippines.”

Well, OK, you can’t build the actual house and it won’t really be in the Philippines, but you can design and build a model house that you can eventually have turned into plans for the real thing.

Like a lot of other people who have the itch to build a house in the Philippines and move there permanently or part-time, I’ve surfed around the Internet in search of opinions (see “What’s your angle?”) on the how’s and what’s of building in the Philippines. I have heard that you need an architect, a construction engineer, an electrical engineer and a bunch of other profe$$ionals to design and plan a house. I’ve also heard that you don’t necessarily need an architect if you can present a competent draftsman with decent mock-up of your dream home.

Now there are cases where I’d use an architect. If I wanted a showplace, a real dream home or compound, something unique and tres chic,  and I had the money to back up the expense, then I’d be searching for an architect online instead of opinions from crusty old expats.

I’m simple, however. My wife is, too. We don’t want a Taj Mahal. We couldn’t afford to build one if we did. We’re looking to build a house in the Philippines that has one floor, 3 bedrooms, 2 comfort rooms and a nice, big partially screened-in patyo. We have a l0t that will be big enough for a garden and we plan to “harvest” to rain from the roof of the house to supplement the city water supply.

Enter: SketchUp. It’s an easy-to-use 3D modeling program that has free and paid versions. The free version is priced right for me and the paid version is $495 which gets you other programs that hook into the main program to aid the professional designer. During the first eight-hours of use, you get the entire full version with all of the bells and whistles to try. After eight hours, it reverts to the free version.

I suggest you either download the tutorials and step through them, especially the introduction and the three start-to-draw tutorials. I found them essential and I’m the type that dives right into software head first. There is a library of templates to build on and textures for your creations as well as objects like furniture, fixtures, autos, plants and people.

I found that the biggest help to me was using the template for building in metric units. As an American of a certain age, while I know the metric system, I’m still wired for the Imperial system. Seeing what our target house’s footprint of 120 meters-squared looks like in 3D has been very instructive.

SketchUp. Go forth. Learn. Draw. Build a house in the Philippines in just one hour!


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