Philippines Blog #47 – Curious Kids, Floodlights and Land Title

November 24, 2009 – Tuesday

Justin couldn’t resist seeing what it was like in our Shih Tzu dog YoYo’s cage. But just in case someone thinks we are cruel to our son, let me emphasise that we didn’t put him in there, he climbed in on his own and we grabbed a camera to capture the moment. Actually he seems very happy in there!
Our contractor wants to speed up the backfill by working after dark under floodlighting, but the electricity company will not extend the supply to the site without a copy of our title document which of course at present we are still waiting to obtain. We contacted the holder of the old master title to see if we could arrange to draw power from her farm next door but apparently there’s a heavy fine if you do "jumping" as it’s called. We informed the contractor and suggested that they could supply their own power with a generator for the arc lights. It looks as if they will wait until they have the missing document·
We gave our future neighbour and her daughter a lift back to their full-time home in Santiago City. The farm in Patul is a weekend thing for barbecues and entertaining but their house in Baptista Village is their normal home. We were invited inside. In the living room her husband who had recently been discharged from hospital after a stroke lay on a bed. As Gina had suspected, given the position of the village so close to the river, she confirmed that their house was flooded to first floor level, sometimes twice a year. When this happened they moved most of their furniture upstairs. She blamed the Hydro authorities who sometimes release water without issuing any advance warning. I wonder whether the inhabitants of this, Santiago’s earliest subdivision, were warned of the flooding problem before they purchased their lots.
We received a good news text later in the day yesterday to say that our documents would be "given" today. We assume this means that the deed office will register our title now that the publication of the notice has been done,, at least we hope so. Once this is done the building permit, electricity etc can begin to be arranged.
In the meantime backfilling was again on hold yesterday due to the heavy rain we have had and, apart from the area of the site already compacted, there was a lot of muddy gravel around. My observation to the contractor was that rain in the Philippines is not exactly a rare event so one assumes that the many projects they have completed in the past have also had to contend with similar weather. In Pampanga for instance we have already seen another Northcon team work in almost typhoon conditions but to be fair they were at the concreting stage.
Our backfill has presently only replaced the top soil removed to reach the hard, rocky ground 6 to 8 inches below with a further 1.6 meters to go before the site will be raised to construction height. I think we can safely say that, regardless of the outstanding building permit, they will not be ready to start construction until January.
We at last received our land title document this morning. Next is a visit to City Hall to see what documents are required for the building permit application.
We went to City Hall with our contractor’s engineer and it seems he has everything he needs to proceed with the building permit application except a certificate which evidences that we have paid the property taxes up to date. This needs to be in our joint names as the title document refers to Gina being married to me. The receipt we were given when Gina paid the tax at City Hall is apparently not sufficient and of course there is a fee for producing the certificate. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that the certificate must signed by one official. And guess what, he’s on a seminar this week and they don’t when he will be returning to work. There is no deputy either it seems. So it looks like it will be a very quiet week for the building permit office staff.
At least now we have our land title the whole permit application process including building, zoning, and fire permits is now the responsibility of our project engineer.
Now it’s time to get on with our lives in other ways. For instance, Gina wants to learn to drive so we need to arrange driving lessons. I want to spend more time on learning  All these things were parked while we were nudging through the title transfer stages etc.
Our car went in for its second service on Sunday, this time to Teguegarao City which is a 3 hour drive from Santiago City. Toyota Cabanatuan had arranged for us to take our car there to be serviced by qualified mechanics when the caravan visits from their head office. Otherwise it means a 5 hour drive to Cabanatuan over the mountains and 5 hours back. Hopefully eventually Toyota will approve them having a full service dealership at the showroom in Santiago City but at present they cannot offer regular servicing there or in Teguegarao City because they are both only satellite showrooms.