Building the next apartment in the Philippines

 ambient lighting on new stud wall

The partition wall installed this week between what will be the bedroom and the sitting room. Originally I was looking to put the spot lights above the TV unit but then thought to add it to the central wall and wired in individual switches to allow a more ambient feel for sitting in the evening and with the lights being directional ideal for directing wherever you want.

Cost P300 per spotlight + P250 for energy efficient bulbs + P200 for two way light switch and 4.5m of lighting cable.

plywood wall panel with spot lights

Even with the main lights on the wall doesn’t look so drastic and currently deciding on the finish to give it. Do I make it a statement and go with a deep red colour to contrast with the concrete walls or paint it the same colour to blend it in?


The bathroom area we have sealed the area above adding some glass blocks to allow extra light to pass through. With the new kitchen area going where the PC’s on the left are really didn’t want any risk of “odours” arriving from the toilet which is the main reason behind sealing the toilet unit up.

Now I know some people will be saying kitchen next to the toilet is a big no.. no.. but the majority of people renting these types of homes eat out and only occassionally cook this maximises the space as it allows the large open area to give a good seating area for watching TV and relaxing as well as a sofa bed as an extra bit of space for friends stopping over.

New toilet area

Shower area

  Currently the toilet and shower room is still under construction although nearly complete. As you can see a lot of filler has been going on the walls due to poor concrete mixing. Don’t worry its safe! the pillars that form up the concrete building offer the strength the hollow blocks in the middle actually aren’t load bearing its infill. I was abroad at the time of the construction which is a money saving tip make sure your here to watch everything going on and keep on top of things!

Tiles do have a habit of chipping a lot easier than ones I have used in the West so advise being very careful when working and if you can do the tiling last. Local toilets suffer with leaks which are two fold the first one is often the Cistern to bowl connections aren’t very good and often aren’t the ones designed for the toilet. You have to remember much of the “new” furnishings in the Philippines are actually second hand so the original rubbers may not even exist anymore and the sellers may just be selling a piece of rubber that “might” create a seal but often don’t as I find many toilets I come across leak. On top of that the inners of the cistern also often don’t work properly so if you can bring in a universal ballcox from the UK it may beneficial long-term. Toilet seats are also an issue as most are flimsy and would recommend shipping yourself some wooden ones.. ideal gift for most people as well!

glass toilet lightWhen your doing rentals try to do things that are functional rather than something you would do to your own taste. An example of this is the new toilet lighting as they are sealed units well they will be with a seal I am going to make with silicone. The reason being is the Philippines has a lot of moisture in the air so sealing the lighting will help reduce the risks of cables rotting and the fittings rotting. On top of that they are practical and attractive for around P500 each including the bulb.

Tv and multimedia unit.

I have also constructed a TV unit / Media centre as the apartment may end up being used by people waiting for visa processing so having a computer system built into the TV unit will allow people to keep in touch if they don’t have a laptop available as one thing we do have spare is computers. On top of that its ideal for watching movies with the nice 28” screen. The TV will be in the middle of the unit by the way currently its too the left because of wiring I am doing below. The top will be encased and then painted. The reason the TV unit went in was that we do have some plumbing that is in the way and can’t be removed as well as still needing access in an emergency where this came up as the best solution to the problem. As you can see as well filling along the wall has also began after the building has been up for over a year hopefully everything has now settled.