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Building a House in the Philippines


Many of us dream of building our own house in the Philippines. The first step is finding a lot. That is easy, there are Real Estate agents to help, sub-divisions all over or just drive the roads and look at the posted signs.

You do need to keep in mind, there are some scams where people are selling lots with phony titles. You need to have someone to go to the government office and make sure the title is legal.

You also need to remember, a foreigner cannot legally own land in the Philippines unless you receive it in an inheritance and that can be hard. I am not going to go into all the legalities involved. So let’s assume you have that lot and you want to build a house.

There are many Architects here in Davao and all over the Philippines. The services here are somewhat different. In America an architect will draw the plans for all the areas needed to build the house and make sure it will pass the local building codes. From there you find a builder or licensed General Contractor to get the contractors and sub-contractors to do the work.

Part of the Architects job is not only to get all the plans needed to build the house, he also will include a full bill of materials to determine all components needed and a price to build the house. Also part of his fee is to visit the project to make sure the house is built to the

The typical type of construction here is masonry. They use the Post and Beam type of structure. That is concrete posts or columns vertically with concrete beams running horizontally. Then the walls are filled in with 4 inch masonry block. The interior walls are also 4 inch masonry block. After the block is laid and set, they come back and use a cement plaster to cover the finished wall. Over time, I have noticed cracks appear.

I have known from my work here for an Engineering and Architectural firm that higher end homes are using steel wall framing and using a concrete wall board. Hardie Flex is the product I have seen used. I have heard it can also be used for exterior walls. My only concern is sealing it to stop water and insect infiltration.

Doors and windows are usually made to fit the opening and there are some window companies that come to your location and cut and weld the window units on-site.

Roofing is mostly corrugated steel attached to steel trusses. There is some stamped steel roofing that looks like Spanish “S” tile or concrete tile. There is also tile roofing which means you have to have a plywood roof deck to attach the tiles to.

You do need to explain to your architect what type of house you want and your desire and needs since Philippine house design is different than American homes. Most Philippine houses do not have closets, bathrooms are narrow and storage is not thought of.

If you’re in the Davao area and need help in design or finding an architect or builder, feel free to contact me. In my time here I have developed a list of quality contractors, project managers and Architects. I am also available to manage the project to keep your project running smoothly with continual contact with you during the project.

115 Responses to “Building a House in the Philippines”

  1. Very interesting, if the days comes for me to build a house there!

  2. It will be my first house, so be good to me :). I envy you so much now Bruce. It snowed all day here yesterday, just as it started to feel like spring was in the air….hehe. I want to be able to run just in shorts all year round. I am feeling more and more each year that I am living on the wrong side of the world 🙂

  3. I admire people like you and Bob, who had made it over there. I am reading a lot of Bob’s advice and the guy seems amazing. I wish i was like that, enterprising person! The naysayers Bob talks about, that is really a lot worse in this country than anywhere else. It makes me even more interested to try the Philippines! The worst that could happen is that I have to come back here, right?:)

    • Bruce says:

      Yes Bob has the insight and knowedge to make a good living here. I am just surviving for now. Hopefully someday I will find my niche.

      • kenneth delancey says:

        no bob has not the insight nor knowledge to survive well in the opinion is that he just went there with enough money to set himself up cushy.anyone can do that.(anyone with lots of money).im planning on building a small house in the philippines on a small lot i just will be a fancy nipa hut that i can add onto as time goes by.i dont feel the need to build one of those big fancy houses that you guys are building.i cant own the land there so why should i build a large expensive house and my future wife has lived in a barn for her entire life therefore anything i build will be a large improvement for her.

        • Bruce says:

          I am not sure what Bob your referring to, all the Bobs I know rent or are planning to possibly build.
          If your comfortable in a nipa style home, great. Do you plan to build without permits or with?
          To me, comfort from noise, heat and insects are the hardest to overcome here.

          • maricor says:

            Hi Bruce,

            I just came across this site, and I must say it is very informative.

            My concern is not about building a house, though. It is more about this guy Kenneth, and how condescending – i don’t know if it’s the right word – he is, about his future wife being born in a barn and all that.

            If he is afraid that his future wife is only after his money, as his letter seems to imply, why marry her in the first place?

            It’s so pathetic that while it’s true many Filipinas marry “whites” to improve their living conditions, the “privileged whites” take full advantage of this, complete with a wife/servant to cater to his every need, and in some cases, take care of him in his old age, without him spending a decent amount of money because “my future wife has lived in a barn for her entire life therefore anything i build will be a large improvement for her.”

            That, to me, smacks of opportunism and blatant display of his trait as a user.

            Shame on you, Kenneth!

            Thanks for the space and time.

          • Bruce says:


            You are right, Kenneth does have a distrust of his wife, but to be fair to both sides, there are many filipinas out there to get a foreigner and steal his money nad then leave or get him deported. both need to be careful and protected.

            You call him a user, what about men who marry a filipina and then she uses his money to support her family?

          • kenneth says:

            hello.this is kenneth delancey.i wrote a response on here several months ago and just accidently happened into it again recently.i saw the responses and just wanted to defend myself if thats possible.i made the disrespectfull statement about my wife because,, before i was even married to hear i helped her move out of her moms house (the barn) and into a small new apartment.i payed each month 4,000 pesos for her to live in that apartment.this went on for about 1 year.she would sometimes complain to me about the apartment and that made me not someone who has much money so for me to go to the philippines and help someone takes much more courage than someone that hs a larger sum of money.she hated it at her mothers, and i helped her get out.since i wrote the last article i have been back to the philippines again and married her and built a small house on a 300 meter lot.all for $6,275.00 U.S..i just wanted to include that we did it the right way with all permits and requirements.i dicided against building a large nipa hut and instead used hollow blocks with conrete cross beams and a very strong house that can have a second story added later if we want to. and now im back in the u.s.a and now shes complaining about the new house.i told her i would be some time before she could have electricty,widows and water hahahahhaha.hey its not my running out of income is miserable right now here in the depressed U.S economy.if im not carefull i will spend all of my money on that house and not have enough to return there again.that doesnt work for me so if she has to suffer some than thats just the way it is.she knew when she married me that i was far from the way bob.i was a journeyman plumber here in the U.S for nearly 10 years.i have a lot of knowledge of plumbing.can you use a good plumber on your team???.i also have some carpenter skills.i could bring some tools with me.i was just joking about the water and electricity guys.i have provided those things for her.shes all set up.and now all i need to do is find the money and the time to return again

          • Bruce says:


            I am now back in the US and do not need a team. Good luck to you.

          • lovely says:

            hello bruce, can i ask you, if i build a house 1 storey and have 3 bedrooms and 1 big batrooms with thub and a nice kitchen and dinning and living room, how much it cost? bungalow house

        • kenneth says:

          hey bob.kenneth delancey here.i have built a small house in the philippines and come there sometimes to stay with my you need any plumbers on your team.i am an american with 10 years eperience plumbing new residential homes.i also have carpenter 55 years old but in very good house there is located in cabadbaran approx 30 minutes from butuan.i will work cheap just to have an income while im there.

  4. Anthony says:

    Bruce, I need a design of three bedrooms on 300-400 sq.meters lot single story. What would payment be for that? Probable two options with side driveway with sari store in front. I can wire money to you and have you deliver plans to father in law who is a builder. maybe i will have the two of you meet.

    • Bruce says:

      I would love to help design a house for you. Telling me a 300-400 SQ M lot is not a help. IT could be a narrow but deep lot, wide but shallow or square. Also I would like more information of what you like, eat in kitchen or small kitchen with dining area out. Closets, storage. Also do you just want a floor plan and elevation design or do you want full sets with structural for permitting. I can do as little or as much.

  5. I fell blessed that I found your post while searching for real estate in the Philippines. I agree with you on the subject Building a house: Pictures, News, Updates. I was just thinking about this matter last Tuesday.

  6. brspiritus says:

    Well you already know what kind of house design I have in mind Bruce, any luck on putting my design on paper? Weather is beautiful over here, 72 and breezy with the temp falling to the 30’s tomorrow night. kinda strange weather for Florida at this time of year don’t you think?

    • Bruce says:

      I sent you an email about the house.
      About the weather, Florida is like that, especially in winter. You can have a hot day then temp drops to almost freezing for a few days and then back to Hot and humid. There is a saying in Florida, “If you do not like the weather, wait a minute”
      Enjoy, here it has been SO HOT and HUMID.

  7. rick b says:

    Hey Bruce….since coming over here have looked and thought about the type of construction method and you know i kind of like it. Load bearing columns transferring load to reinforced pad foundations with roof truss’s bearing on the columns, everything else being non structural and infill….(roof sheeting, blockwork etc) Seems kind of practical and simple, doesn’t seem a need to introduce steel columns for example for me…but of course size of structure may dictate. Anyway Bruce just some rambling thoughts here, take care, best regards to you

    • Bruce says:

      The construction technology is simple and works. The problem with masonry is the earthquakes. I like drywall interiors for ease of adding electrical without having to break through block walls to run it.
      Also with masonry, if not done well, cracks constantly appear and if there are any voids in the walls, the ants build nests.
      The steel roofs have to be maintained so they do not rust.
      With no thresholds at doors, the bugs just walk in.
      Besides that, houses are wonderful here.

  8. gary cobb says:

    my wife will be there to find some one to build a house and aptment build on land that we have out side of davao how can she call you

    • Bruce says:

      Thank you for visiting. It will be my pleasure to help you and your wife with any design or building needs. What i need to help design a home or any building is the lot dimensions and an idea of # of floors, bedrooms, CR’s, and any requirements you need or want.

  9. Dan says:

    Aloha Bruce,
    Great blog. Thankyou so much for the time you put into it. I am an American who was brought up in the Philippines, Makati area during my younger days. I miss it alot and would love to move back.
    Regarding drywall / steel-framed construction. Are these materials readily available in the Davao area? If not, what is the lead time on bringing them in?


    • Bruce says:

      Thank you for enjoying my site. Having regular readers with comments make it all worth the time. Maybe you will make it rich and can retire back here and live like a King.
      Steel framing and drywall is available. One thing I have heard and noticed is there needs to be training for the installers. I have seen walls, even in a hotel in Manila where the seams showed meaning they did not tape and fill the seams. Just remember, paper has cellulose, so it is food for termites. Also the paper backing can absorb moisture and can grow mold. I would only use it if the building is airconed 24/7 or well ventilated. Instead here they will use a cement board for wall covering over steel framing.

  10. dan says:

    Good point. We live in Hawaii and mold is a problem on the windward sides of the islands due to high humidity; I can imagine Davao must be a bit more humid than here.
    Hardy-board is a good choice. I used it on a rental of mine. It stands up much better to moisture. In fact many of the newer homes here are being built w/ steel framing and hardi-planks as exterior siding w/ a Tyvex membrane in between.

    • Bruce says:

      I have not worked with hardi-plank and do not know how easy it is to patch if you want to add electrical or stuff, or even put in a nail for an art frame. Drywall is so easy but you see the bad parts of using it here.

  11. Bob Craig says:

    Hi Bruce,
    Planning to build a house in Davao. I have basic floor plans for preferred design but need these translated into complete plans for construction. Floor area is about 450 sq m.
    Can you do this? Would also aprreciate some idea on cost.

    Best regards

    • Bruce says:

      I would be willing to do this for you. Do you just want floor plans or a complete set for construction. Architectural, electrical, Plumbing, structural and civil? Do you want to have me assist in getting them permitted in the city? Do you need construction assistance? Also what do you want for interior and exterior walls? Most common is 4″ block for both. There is 6″ and 8″ structural block and also steel framing with Hardi-plank. Prices vary depending on how little or much you need me to do. Also if I need to bring in others. I promise you will get the best product you want.

      • Bob Craig says:

        Hi Bruce,
        I want to do this in stages so first step would be a complete set for construction.
        Permits would be next step followed by construction assistance.
        I have some construction background having built houses in Scotland and Thailand (not personally)but will still need some local help as I will not be living in Davao for some time.
        I would appreciate if you could give me some idea of cost for the complete set of plans.
        Thanks for your prompt response.

        Best regards

        • Bruce says:

          I will do the architectural drafting, but need architect friend for the rest of the package. I am guessing 450 Sq M will be 2 stories. I connected my friend to get an estimate since most houses here are charged by % of total cost of construction. I will get you the best price I can.

          • Bob Craig says:

            Hi Bruce,
            Yes a 2 storey house. I know that normally charges are based on % of construction cost but in this case I want work done on a freelance basis.
            As per my orginal message I have the house design so no design work is required. Its a question of turning the basic design into construction drawings obviously at the best price.

            Best regards

          • Bruce says:

            I sent you an email about costs. What ever you want, I can get you the best quality for the best prices.

  12. Evelyn says:

    hi bruce, i enjoyed reading this topic because i am also planning to do a renovation of my hauz…..i thought of hiring you but you are far from my vicinity.(smiling).anyway, love this post of yours…
    i’ll inform you if and when i go to davao so we’d get to meet..and so you could also visit gensan..tell me what’s the best time for you to come here?is it on a weekend or weekdays..

    • Bruce says:

      Thanks for the thought of me, but I agree, unless you had sleeping arrangements for me any any of my workers, it would be difficult for me to help you out.
      For us to visit you in GenSan, I would guess weekdays is better than a weekend, just give me possible days good for you. And we can check it against any appointments I might have. Also, how long is your stay going to be here?

  13. Evelyn says:

    tenks for your reply,bruce..
    i will be here until the 18th of may..
    ok i’ll let you know when i’ll be going to davao..
    hope to see you and elena soon

    • Bruce says:

      I hope to see you too. If you know some days available before your to return, let me know so possibly Elena and I can schedule a day to visit you there in GenSan

  14. ma. theresa c. villaruz says:

    hello bruce , i’m glad that ive found your post here , i have been searching for so many months looking for a good house plans that could fit the 280 sqm lot , i have a hard time looking for a design that could fit 2 cars , 3 bedrooms , 3 toilet and bath a lanai a small garden , and a kithchen , i prefer a bungalow house. Maybe you will be of great help to us . Am looking forward for your reply .Thank you and have a nice day ! Mrs. THeresa C Villaruz

    • Bruce says:

      Ma. Teresa,
      I would love to work with you helping you design a house to meet your needs. Between me and my close Architect friend if needed, I am sure we can come up with something you will like.
      Are you in the Davao area? Do you have a site plan or lot dimensions?
      I will also email you with my contact details.

  15. Martin says:

    Hi Bruce

    I am based in HK and i have a house at Gulf View, Bago Aplaya, tolomeo (near Matina opposite Apo golf). My bathroom on second floor has leaked and caused extensive damage. Looking for a good quality designer /contractor to renovate bathroom, repair damage and generally improve plumbing. Can you refer me to anyone?



    • Bruce says:

      I have contacted my people and have sent you an email for the local contact to visit the house and give you estimates and redesign ideas.
      Thank you for considering me to help. I promise the best work and professionalism for the best price.

  16. recelyn says:

    how much will it cost if i want a house with a floor plan of 150squaremeters? i want it a second floor,with 2 is big and two bedrooms w/ one guest room.actually i have already a house picture.

    • Bruce says:

      Are you asking to have plans done, or for a complete design build.
      About the costs, it all depends on the type of materials you want to use. I will get a sq meter average for each level of building material types.

      • Bruce says:

        Depending on the type of construction and level of design you can use this for a guideline for building costs:
        low end 8k to 12k sq mtr
        mid 13 to 18K
        high end 19k to 22K
        Real high end 23k to whatever

        Architectural fees are usually 7% to 10% of material and construction cost. That includes Architect visits and supervision of construction through project.

        I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me with any more questions or needs.

  17. AdB says:

    Hi Bruce!

    Are your costs, i.e., “low end 8k to 12k sq mtr
    mid 13 to 18K
    high end 19k to 22K
    Real high end 23k to whatever”

    similar to Manila construction costs?

    Appreciate this input of yours. Do you work in Manila too?

    • Bruce says:

      I have a word out to my Architect and Build associates about a percentage difference in Manila. I know everything is higher there. You can figure 10% to 20% increase in costs there in Manila.
      And yes, we can do design and construction in Manila.

  18. AdB says:

    Could you qualify “low end” please?


  19. hello bruce just browsing find out ur helping out some ofthe expat in the phillipines wer planning to build ahouse in palawan as wehad alrady in quezon province but wer needing another one perhaps not too big in palawan, aswe nid 3 bedrooms plus 1 toilet upstairs, and downstairs we 1 toilet and bath as well leavinfg area, kitchen , etc.
    tnx a lot hope i canheard fr. u soon as u read this mail ,
    much appreciated!
    Mrs. Pratt fr. scotland, aberdeen

    • Bruce says:

      If your serious about me and my connections designing and/or building a house for you, let me know and I will then find out if we can build in Palawan or just do the plans.

  20. Randy C says:

    Hi Bruce I am fixing to move to Davao or letey my wife has land in letey on the beach I want to build a small house in Davao just the 2 of us a 2 bed and 1 cr about 40 meters house or smaller with a nice fence around it and bars on openings about how much to build and how much to get started and how long to be finished will pay a little to finish by Nov of this year

    • Bruce says:

      Do you own the lot already here in Davao. If you do and since your in a hurry, I think best to meet me and my architect soon to get things in gear. He has all the contacts for permitting and construction. I will help work with your design and do the project management.

  21. BahayKubo says:

    I’m planning on building a simple Bahay Kubo on a lot in Davao. I’m considering building a simple concrete structure then building with native material around it.

    Appreciate any advice you can give on what planning permission is required and how you could help. Likely size is 10m x 10m with some internal walls only – no roof or additional work required.

    • Bruce says:

      What ever you build, to do it right you need to have it permitted. To have it permitted you need plans to submit to the city with an Architect signing.
      If you need help with the building and or material I can get you help there too.
      Let me know what you plan and what you need and we can go to the next step.

  22. virgie says:

    july 24, 2009

    hi bruce, are you in Davao? I have a lot 1,000 sq.m. somewhere in the south. I have no money yet to build the house. I have to compromise with you if you could build the house for me…… my offer is to give you a part of my lot let say 200 sq.m. then you will build me the house…with your that possible. please response

  23. virgie says:


    Thank you for the response…
    My lot is in Indangan near Sta. Lucia. I want a bungalow type with 60 sq meter floor area with 3br 2 cr and with carport.

    Thank u. rgds

  24. virgie says:


    IC ok thanks for ur time.

  25. virgie says:


    Its ok. Thank you maybe next time. God bless..

  26. Philippine wall says:

    so what you think about cast-in-place
    much better than hollow blocks,
    used in Trumps Tower in USA.

  27. Frank Woolf says:

    Hi Bruce,
    I have a 5,000 square meter lot on Samal not far from the ferry where I want to build a mediterranean style house. The walls can be good quality painted and the floors can be simple tiles. It is two story with a single story garage/workshop. When I met with an architect he said it would cost about 3 million but then he did a cost estimate and it became 4.1 million which is far too much for me. When I asked how we could bring it down to 3 million he said make it one story high instead of two which is really not what I want if I can avoid it.

    I have photoshop drawings of the house and even a simple survey of the land showing the slopes, etc. Can I send them to you for a rough cost estimate?

  28. Cal says:


    I have been following your website for about 3 months now, and have read all your posts. The information you put down on the site is very informative and helpful! My wife lives near Davao City, and is planning on purchasing a home nearby. The house needs some renovating done. Would you by chance know of any good quality painters for the walls, inside and out, and tiles to be put in one of the bedrooms? Any help or direction from you would be greatly appreciated, Thanks!

    • Bruce says:

      I am glad you have found my humble site and enjoy the information I share.
      I have a very good painter and tile man. What area is the house. I can pass your contact # to my contractors or if you wish, I can work with your wife as contact point.
      You can email me through the “contact me” tab.

  29. Sam Cason says:

    Hi my name is Sam Cason. I have lived in and out of Davao with a few business along the way. I am presently working in Kuwait and have my wife and sons with me. We had a house built in Panacan 3 years ago and it was a disaster. I wanted 100 sq meter house up and down. 200 sq meters on our land. What I got was 60 sq meters single story with 6 inches of it on someone else’s land. Needless to say we have never lived in it but use it as storage for a 3 bedroom townhouse of furniture. Its stacked all in the house with just a path going from room to room. My in-laws live there to protect everything. But the good news is its a nice looking house. Now here is my problem. We have 480 sq meters of land across the road that we own jointly with a friend. We will build ours First and I need someone to make sure the finished house is as we want it. I have a general idea of what we want but have no plans or designs as of yet. There is two requirements. One is that a american is involved and the second is our attorney approves all contracts. I have read your web site and am impressed. You seemed to know what your talking about. We have bank accounts there in Davao and my mother in-law, brother-in-law and attorney all have powers of attorney. My wife will be in Davao a couple times next month on business but I will be handling most of everything by email. We presently have rent houses in Davao and a Tricycle business. I am sure you have seen them running around mafori. They have Texas or Alaska on the front. If you need local references we can give them. So if your interested in taking on a house building project for me and possibly another for my buddy at a later date let me know.

    Sam Cason

    • Bruce says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I would be happy to work with you and your family to build you a home. I have a close Filipino friend who is an accomplished architect here in Davao. We can do as little as design or with our construction connections build your house. I will be involved all the way and will be the Architectural Project Supervisor on site with inspections as needed. I will also email you progress photos and accounting through the construction process. I will email you to have my direct contact information. Looking forward to working with you.

  30. Sam Cason says:

    Great My wife will be in Davao on the 25th Sept for 4 days. Hopefully we can try and get a agreement in place while she is there. She will be back in Davao again Oct 14 for a week. Then in April we will all be there for 2 weeks. I hope we can get a working agreement between you and us by next month and introduce you to our contacts and attorney. If this works out to our and your satisfaction then we have other projects to work on also. We are not rich but I do have a good job and we have been fairly cautious on spending. I hope to work 4 more years then take my early social security at 62 and retire. Retire? not really. We have been preparing for that day for years. I am Quality Assurance and Safety Manager for a U.S. contractor here in Kuwait. Don’t get scared I have no illusions about the Philippines. I know they have their own ways of doing things. For the most part they are good but sometimes they will not do as you want but what they think you should do. This is unacceptable. Don’t cut my house in half without talking to me because you think I don’t need that big a house. lol. I am your typical American when it comes to metric and U.S. measures. Nada. I have drawn a very rough drawing of what I want. I hope you look at it and can improve on it and come up with the proper measurements. But I want the basic layout used. I like ranch style exterior. My wife likes the fancy exterior. We will have to meet in the middle. I like all Americans am looking for a inexpensive home. Or as cheap as possible. I don’t want to take 20 years to get a dream home.
    I have taken many bids on building this home. They started out at 16 million pesos and the last was 1 1/2 million but they wanted to cut the house in half. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

  31. Christine says:

    Hi Bruce, I did not know you were a builder? My BF and I are planning to build a house in my hometown of Cebu North. It will be similar to the Oak Alley Mansion in Louisiana, with plenty of columns. I have included the link so you can see what I’m talking about. My question is, how easy (or hard) is it to obtain columns in Cebu? Also, I realized you are in Davao, do you have any associates in Cebu or can you recommend someone from Cebu? My BF will be in Cebu while the house is being built so he can be involved right through. I will try and get leave from my job in Oz also. Will appreciate any tips. Thanks Bruce.

    • Bruce says:

      I see you like the old plantation style home. Round columns can be done and I have seen Corinthian style column capitals here in Davao. Depending on budget a house can be done similar in a conservative construction to high and elaborate. I contacted my architrave friend to see what contacts he has in Cebu and will let you know. I can do the design, plans and get you a permit package and you and your BF could find a builder to build.

      • Christine says:

        Hi Bruce, thanks for the reply. It was the BF’s idea re-the Plantation style home. He is crazy about columns! Although I love the Oak Alley inside and out, we are only going to use its’ facade and use the interior from another design, which I am going to ask you re-costs to build? But I will send you the pic tomorrow because it is late here (12:50 pm, I’ve just finished my shift). I wasn’t sure what Corinthians looked like, so I Googled it. It is gorgeous! We are sort of aiming for classical Greek columns, so Corinthians will be perfect. I’m sure he will like it. Any idea how much are they?

        I will let him know that you are willing to do the design (it’s just a matter of combining the 2 styles). But you are in Davao and we will be in Cebu and he is not keen to come to Davao because he smokes! As I understand it, smoking is illegal in Davao? And we would need a Cebu based builder.

        • Bruce says:

          First of all, I smoke. Yes you need to be outside for a smoke and some places have smoking areas, but I survive. About the house plans, contracts can be mailed and computer drawings can be emailed. One permit sets are needed, there is LBC. It can be done.
          The big problem I see with people is they think building is cheaper than it actually is. In the States the cost for an architectural set of plans is based on the sq. footage. Here it is based on a percentage of the cost of construction.

  32. Christine says:

    Hi Bruce, I posted a comment and a question here ealier re- building a house in Cebu, , but it has not appeared? Do you put the comments on moderation first? Thanks….

    • Christine says:

      oopss, yes you do. It’s just appeared. 🙂
      I’ll await your reply.

    • Bruce says:

      The way this site is set up, the first time someone posts a comment, it goes into moderation. After it is approved, all new comments posted without moderation. One problem is if someone changes their name or email address, the post goes into moderation again. One thing, if someones comment is approved and at a later date becomes abusive or uses this site to promote their business, I can set them to be moderated again or sent to spam section.

  33. Christine says:

    Hi Bruce, this is the link for that house that the BF and I want to build in Cebu. We only want the interior part out of this design, then the exterior will look like the Oak Alley that I sent you earlier. If you can just have a look at the interior and can give us an approximation of how much it would cost us? There won’t be a fireplace (for obvious reasons) and we won’t have the basement either. So it’s just gonna be the main ground floor, second and top part. Do you think you will be able to put the 2 designs together? We plan to use Phil. Rosewood for the floors, but tiles in bathrooms and kitchens.

    If you think the BF smoking in Davao won’t be an issue, then we might come and see you when we make it to PI hopefully early next year (Feb). Kind regards to you and your wife.

  34. Christine says:

    Hi Bruce, I sent the link to your website to the BF, but he says it caused his computer to crash. So I copied your reply and pasted it on my email, sent it to him, that was fine, but when he clicked on that link with your name on it, it caused his computer to crash again. I advised him to Google “American in Davao, Bruce” which he did and again his computer crashed. So now he is convinced there is a virus in your website. I don’t know what would be the problem? as I was able to open your website using the several computers at work and have no problems with it, and I had no problems opening your website from my computer at home. I’m in Oz, he’s in the US, and we use the same virus protection (AVG by Kapersky). Any ideas? because I would really like him to read the posts here as well.

    • Bruce says:

      I have not heard any problems with my site. It can be his virus protection is blocking the site because of the ads. Besides that I am at a loss. If he can give me more information than just “crash”
      I have some expert friends in the IT industry and wall ask for advice once I knows BF’s problem.

  35. Rick Silberman says:

    Hi Bruce,

    Glad I stumbled upon your website! My wife and I own two lots free and clear in Villa de Mercedes, and hope to spend a few months next summer in Davao and begin construction. It would be great to have an American contact. We want to build a two story open floor plan to take advantage of our ocean view property, probably somewhere around 180 sq mt.

    I know you will need a lot more detail, but drop a line when you can, and hopefully we can get together in June.



    • Bruce says:


      Thanks for stumbling. I would be happy to work with you to design and build you the house of your dreams. I have visited Villa Mercedes and think it is a beautiful sub division.

  36. Merle K says:

    Hi Bruce,

    I stumbled upon your site too. Do you know anybody (an architect) in the Ilocos Norte (Luzon) area. I have a lot 10,000 sq meters on a hill overlooking China Sea, (where the windmills are)near Pagudpud (if you’ve heard of that tourist area). I plan to build an 1800 sq feet (I think that about 200 sq meters) home. I saw a house plan in the internet, I would like to buy that house plan, do you think that plan can be use there? I understand it will have some changes for building materials available and building permit purposes, etc.

    • Bruce says:

      I am sorry, all my contacts are in Davao. About materials, mostly used is 4 inch block for interior and exterior walls, but there is also poured concrete walls and use of metal studs and concrete board.

  37. analyn says:

    hei bruce, im a filipina living here n norway, im planning to build a two story vacation house in some months, im looking for an affordable contractor in davao , i have a tight budget coz my husband will juz give a such amount. i bought a lot in la vista monte phase, but i dont like d houses they have coz its small n expensive. can u recommend anybody?

    • Bruce says:

      I have on Architect that can assist with the contractors for construction. I also have a good friend who is a construction manager who can take on all the building as long as you have the permits.

      Let me know if you want their contact info.

  38. Bruce says:


    I will be in davao after new years and would like to talk about building a house close to ocean in manay, if this is possible i have ideas just need more info on this

    Bruce M

  39. dean says:

    if you ever need someone who can do drywall and masonry let me knoww 20 yrs exp.

  40. David Jay Jordan says:

    Hi ALL, seeing how this works.

    We (Filipina wife) will be heading back again to live in the Philippines. This time having bought a small house near Davao.

    Does anyone have any good experiences with any construction all purpose handyman types there. Any references ?

    I will be just adding some additions to the pre-existing house, fencing somewhat, porch, etc ….

    Donl;t want a contractor per say, as I will be living there while the work is being done and will be helping out, just maybe not doing all the labour.

    Labourers I can find, but a knowledgeable all round carpenter type, I don;t know as yet, and might be hard to find ? Any recommendations ?


  41. Ken says:


    I am interested in finding someone to help me renovate my house in Samal Island.

    I am wondering what kind of services you offer, and what kind of prices.
    I would like to renovate my house so that it is like new again and I need a professional company who can advise and assist with every aspect of the work.
    Thank you very much.
    Best regards,
    Ken Johnson

  42. fal says:

    I am building house DIY. it is a 2 story house but the 2nd floor will have to wait until i can save again. I want to build the posts to be ready for the 2nd floor. what is the correct materials for the post? my “panday” says that one post will need around 4 pcs of 12mm and 2pcs of 10mm steel bars. but I feel this is too big. Is my panday correct or can I reduce the sizes of the steel bars?

  43. elvin says:

    Sorry guyz but not all filipinas are user cheater or whatever we all know we have like them also in our country

  44. alan says:

    hi, would you please tell me how much i can budget for building a house of 300sqm… will be a boarding house for university students in rizal province…is there a rough peso/sqm price? i already own the land many thanks for your help

  45. Tim says:

    Hi Bruce,
    I am planning to build a house in my 347sqm lot area located at Toril,DAvao city.Just wondered if you are still in Davao city,could you please give me your contact details so I can call you or even meet you so we could see the area as it is a bit slope.Maybe you or your associates could give me idea in constructing a house.I do hope youll get in touch with me soon.


    • Bruce says:


      I am not in Davao any more. I am in Las Vegas. Also my architect contacts I would recommend. One passed away and the other I lost confidence.

    • Grace says:

      Hi Tim,

      Grace here,I can refer you a very good Architet in Davao City. Cheng Garcia is her name, so if you’re still interested & haven’t got one yet to help you build your dream house then you can give her a call.. Have tried her & such a thumbs up. She had numbers of high end project already and’twas a perfect one..

      Good Luck..

  46. mike says:

    I live in Davao. the cost to build is 6 to 7k per square meter. i was wondering does that include electricity and plumbing, windows, and doors or is it just for the bricks?

  47. Ric says:

    Hi Bruce,

    Greetings to you!

    My fiancee and I just bought a lot in Butuan Agusan del Norte with an existing wall/hollow blocks structure and a GI corrugate roof. It is a low cost housing and small, about 6 meters by 6 meters. We are now planning to finish the house.

    Butuan is about 10 hours by bus to Davao. Can you recommend any carpenter? hardware suppliers? architect?

    The general contractor that we talked with was charging 40% of the materials. Is that the prevailing rate?

    Since there is already an structure, we are thinking that we can just hire a foreman and carpenters. Please advise.

    Many thanks,

  48. Faith says:

    Hi Bruce,

    I and my husband have been planning to start building our house in Samal,but we can’t find a good architect whom we can trust. We both are not in the country so we cannot manage the construction. That’s our biggest concern. I read that you’re not in Davao anymore, can you recommend us an architect that you trust? I hope to hear from you.

    • Grace says:

      Hi Ms. faith.

      I can definitely recommend you a good architect in Davao. In fact she finished 2 projects in Samal already in Playa Azalea, for sure you’re familiar with that high end place in samal. You can contact Ms. Cheng Garcia and she will show you all her projects and t’was really great coz I have tried her already.. You can contact and sit down with her and discuss the matters and all yoir concern..

      Good Luck to you!!

      God Bless

  49. jon williams says:

    Hi Bruce. My name is Jon’I was looking for builders in the philippines when i came accross your website. I have just over 700sq mtrs of land in BATAAN Philippines. I want to build a 3/4 bedroom double storey house for my mother in law. we can use upto 350mtr of the land. What i need is a good architect and a good builder who are located in or close to Bataan. the builder would have to be reliable with a good finishing touch.Myself and my wife spend most of our time working abroad so have very little time to plan supervise and get the house built.If you could give me any pointers i would be most grateful..Jon.

  50. jay cris paguio says:

    nice to here from you guys..

    if your interested in building a home davao..
    im a freelance architect and interior designer..
    I could offer my services..

    heres is my contact numbers:

  51. Tami Ray says:

    Wow, what a video it is! Genuinely pleasant feature video, the lesson given in this video is actually informative.

  52. terry says:


    Do you have any photos of houses already completed that you have helped with? Is adding a Roof Top Patio to a two story house with to expensive?

  53. terry says:

    I believe it would be hard for a Filipina to have a foreigner deported.

  54. roxanne says:

    Im planning build the house this year but my brother in law still looking and negotiating the price of the architic to do all the building permits, im would like to know if anyone knows a license architic to do all permits

  55. ayra says:

    hi..this site is amazing..but i have to ask if i have a money just 150thousand peso..where will it take this to build a house

  56. Dear Sir/Madam,

    We are planning on building bahay kubo in Davao Oriental. Size 25’ x 35’

    I have been looking on the internet and the prices for building permits and architects plans seem very high.

    My materials come to about ?40,000 and I am using local builder at a daily rate of ?800

  57. Daffodil Harper says:

    I am looking to build a home on Samal Island and looking for some quality contractors and someone to do dozer work.

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