RT Cunningham


Moving Away from Olongapo after the Home Repairs are Done

moving away Josie (my wife) and I are in the process of repairing everything that needs to be repaired in and around our house. After everything’s done to our satisfaction, we’ll be moving away from Olongapo. We’re not sure how far away that will be, but it won’t be close to where we are now.

If I have my way, our relatives will have to take a bus to get to us. Any place close enough for a jeepney or tricycle ride will be too close.

Moving Away – How Far Will We Go?

I think it all depends on how angry Josie gets as the days go by. She doesn’t always get along with her relatives, many who live right next door to us in our compound. Who am I kidding? She fights with one or another of them at least once a month (usually more often). She doesn’t even speak to one of her brothers and his family. Some of them seem to think she owes them something (and she owes them nothing).

We want to sell the house but we can’t do that until we fix everything. It took us more than 10 years to fill up the back yard with dirt. This lot is next to a creek and it was originally washed out.

Whether we sell the house or not, if we stay in the Philippines, we’ll be renting. If we decide to head to the United States, we won’t be renting – we’ll be living with one of our sons and his family.

Home Repairs

What we’re doing now isn’t a repair. We’re building a fence around the back yard. Everything beyond the back yard is at a lower elevation and it’s for safety more than aesthetics.

Our house is in pretty good shape, all things considered. We’ve survived more typhoons than I can remember and two large earthquakes. We’ll be repairing cracks in the cement finish, painting the interior and exterior again, and fixing a couple of roofing eaves that need to be replaced due to water damage.

We’ve already repaired most of the plumbing mistakes. I think the only things we have left are replacing the innards in one toilet (of three) and sealing the edge of one sliding shower door (of two).

All of the windows blinds in the house are falling apart. We plan to replace them with curtains and drapes. They may not last as long but they’ll be easier to clean. A lot easier.

Moving Away is the Master Plan but…

As with anything else we plan, things can change rapidly and drastically. We don’t want to leave without selling our house. If it’s a matter of staying sane, we’ll be moving away even if we can’t sell.

We bought the lot a year or two before we moved to the Philippines. It wasn’t expensive because of the shape it was in. We built a riprap wall on the left side and at the rear, with a concrete wall and fence built on top of the front half of the left side. We’re just now building the walls and fencing to connect up with the original.

We spent about two and a half million pesos (about $50,000 USD) constructing the house. Since then, we’ve converted the driveway into a carport and built an extension on the rear of the house. The extension is split, with one half the laundry room and one half the dirty kitchen. I can’t remember everything we’ve done to improve the place.

With 10 years of real estate inflation and improvements alone, our house is worth well over twice as much. By the time we try to sell it, asking for eight million pesos ($160,000 USD) will be more than reasonable. At least, as a starting price to be negotiated. We’re talking about a two-story, three-bedroom, three-bath home with two kitchens, a dining room, a living room and a laundry room. The back yard is large enough to build another house on it.

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By RT Cunningham
December 17, 2016

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