Window Woes

How about portal problems?  Or Framed by a frame?  Juked by a jalousie?

I’m going to keep this part brief.  It’s purpose, aside from me venting, is to warn other people or foreigners that try to get work done in the Philippines on ANYTHING.  Houses, automobiles, motorcycles, or work on your body at a hospital.  Buyer beware!

We pulled out an old window.  While that may sound simple, it was a hassle.  The wood in the frame is exceptionally hard.  Nails bend in it.  But we got it out.  Bent screws came out the right side as the wood was soooo hard, screws wouldn’t penetrate.  So off to Salcedo to buy 1/8inch drill bits for pilot holes.  I eventually broke both 1/8 bits in that wood and we fought a new frame in to find that the new frames were one half inch narrower than the old ones.   Grrrrr!

One good thing came out of it.  Tiki eggs were tucked safely at the bottom of the old channel. 


They are about one quarter inch long on the long axis.  The one farthest to the left is a little dark on the top.  That is the head of a tiki gecko embryo inside the egg.  Two were dark, two were clear.  Looks like the little females lay two eggs at a time.  The spot these two females chose was excellent until we came along.  There were also four broken shells, babies that had hatched out earlier.  They rolled like crazy so I confined them in a jar lid with toilet paper to keep them still.  I hope they aren’t dizzy or addled, they rolled a lot for a while.

Next day, in to Guiuan to buy one half inch spacers in the form of molding.  Brought them out, painted them.  The next day, replace all the windows.   WRONG.

Somehow, one half inch and one half inch are two different things in the Philippines.  Nothing worked.  Now the gap was one quarter.  What the heck?  So we hired Imone to plane down our painted spacer.  His power planer quit, so we resorted to a block planer.  And, it still didn’t fit.  We were forced to use pliers and carefully trim the edges of the window jalousies.  And it went in.


Struggling all the way.  I tried a trial stainless steel bar to find that the spacing isn’t going to be correct.  A welder will have to finish this job.  But at least the window is functional.

We did another window across the kitchen and found that one half equaled one eighth.  So, no spacer at all.  Those windows are hanging by a thread.  A windstorm might remove some of the panes.  Egad!

Totally frustrating.  After asking around, we found that the contractor rushed the window part of the job and used inferior framing wood that was not properly sized or aged.  It’s twisted in the frame, requiring that every single window now be hand cut.  Also, our house had poor supervision while being built as Praxy and I weren’t here to oversee the construction.

Two other solutions.  1. Take all windows out and use the window glasses wherever they will fit.  We would have to replace a bunch of windows at the end as many window remnants would be way to short.  2.  Pull everything out including the wooden frame.  Hire a concrete contractor to come in and cement the window frame size perfectly in every single window.  It takes a week for the concrete to cure and put the new jalousie window frames up using concrete anchors.  Then we’d have to replace every single pane.  Some people in the barrio have done this already.

We’ve cried uncle, deciding to leave window replacement off the work list for the time being.  At one window a day plus library and security bars, we will run out of time before we run out of windows.  We will concentrate on the library and security bars.  Time to hire a relative to do the work now and after we leave.  If a window breaks, we’ll have him do it on the spot.  Let him fight ‘em in.  I’m sure he has more patience than I do.

We now need more parts.  Off to Guiuan tomorrow for more drill bits and a different size of spacer.  And hope for the best.

We had two and one half days off,  the afternoon of the 31st, New Year’s day, and Sunday.  So we’ve been lounging and making plans.  I’m going to try to rent a motorcycle tomorrow so we can get things done more efficiently.  If I can’t rent one, progress is going to be slow. 

We were invited to a New Year’s eve party, but didn’t attend.  You can’t sleep in the Philippines on New Year’s eve unless you are deaf.  Firecrackers, motorcycles, banging pot lids, anything to make noise.  And a new one on me, chainsaws.  Revved up with no muffler, a perfect way to wake everyone up.  Of course we were awake.  The party we were invited to was after midnight and neither of us wanted to get up, even after the people sent someone to remind us.  They didn’t hold it against us and in the morning, this showed up.


Most of the front shoulder of a pig, roasted the night before and still warm.  Plus the bread.   Nothing else for it.  I sliced it all up, ending with about 10lbs of excellent, tender pork.  We gave the bone and about 2lbs. to our next door neighbor along with a bunch of the skin.  Then, I fired up the charcoal grill and finished cooking the rest as it was a little under done.


Plus a couple pieces of beef that was given to use that morning.   If we had a freezer, this is about a week’s worth of meat, maybe more.  We’ll have to give more away.  We gave a couple more pounds to other neighbors around us with more of the skin.  The skin is a delicacy around here.  I know where that skin has been laying so I’m not interested.  I’m sure it won’t hurt me, but I just can’t bring myself to eat it.

Noon time and another party for us to attend.  This one was easier as it was during the day.  Us old fogies have to get our sleep, you know.  We had someone show us off  to the party.


A very brave little skink, the locals call it manananglaw.  It was sitting on our gardening trowel next to our stove and didn’t move a muscle when Praxy walked by.  Weird as most lizards around here flee at the slightest disturbance or movement towards them.  I was able to get my camera and get a couple of good shots of it staring me down.  I firmly believe I could have reached down and grabbed it, 40 years ago I’d have done just that.  It’s big enough that it would have defended itself by biting.  While uncomfortable, this guy wasn’t big enough to do any real harm with a bite.  Body length of about six inches with about another five of tail.  I now don’t pester wild things like this, just get pictures.

A couple of weeks ago, I rescued one of these out of a bucket.  We had captured a snail thingy called a ganga and I put a couple of inches of water in the bucket to keep it over night and hope it might expel sand.  It crawled out, the neighbors got a laugh out of that.  We never saw it again.  Anyway, I left the bucket when we went to town.  Upon arriving home I looked in the bucket and a small manananglaw was in the bucket with just it’s head out of the water.  Another inch of water and it would have been a goner and I would have been bummed out at my thoughtlessness.  I reached in and grabbed it out, it didn’t struggle a bit.  Glad to be out of there!  I relaxed my grip to look at it more carefully and it shot off my hand in a panic and it was aimed at our open front door.  I herded it out the front door and I haven’t seen it since.  The pictured one was much larger, maybe twice the size.

The ganga snails are a delicacy around here.  Everyone that saw it mentioned “good eating” and I was totally looking forward to giving it a try.  They have spikes on their shells and are good at climbing, especially climbing out of buckets.  It takes a strong lid to hold one in.  Praxy used to know this but had forgotten over the years.

Its two hundred and fifty yards to the ocean from our house as the crow flies.  I wonder if the ganga made it home?

Ah well, on to the party and lunch.


Another picture of Pilar in Asgad.  I mentioned her four years ago in an earlier blog entry.  She is now ninety one, and still pretty perky.  No one could remember the name of the lizard but her.  Her daughter is on the right.  Pilar doesn’t drink much hard liquor any more, so I bought her a bottle of Red Horse beer.   She really enjoyed sharing a beer with me.  I enjoyed sharing one with her.  Another good memory.

The water rose about four feet into this house, destroying cabinets, furniture, and the television set.  Five families cowered on the stairs and tables during Yolanda.

Speaking of memories, the town mascot has a new home.


This buoy came ashore from the Pacific ocean before Pilar was born, perhaps in the nineteen teens or nineteen twenties.  It’s now just inland of the destroyed Catholic church in Viejo Asgad.  The tip is buried and large pieces of church rubble make it a sort of monument.  It’s old location?  Well…

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This is all beach now.  Our old house (behind the buoy), the tennis court, trees, gone.  Long gone.   Sand and a bits of rubble.  Buoy now fifty yards inland.  We compared some pictures, the ocean’s edge is now 150 yards further out and the beach is lower.  Maybe over the next hundred years or so, the Pacific will deposit replacement sand and build the beach back up.

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One last picture from 2011.  The edge of the new beach is even with the old foundation of the church.  The church has been bulldozed into a breakwater for the town.  Ugh.  A break-water, chairs around the buoy, and paver stones.  Ignominious memorials to a once beautiful church. 

2:30pm  1/2/2016  Asgad, Eastern Samar, Philippines

About Ken

I am a federal employee that loves to travel. I don't get any time off during the busy salmon tagging season, March through November. So, I save my leave and explore the warmer parts of the world during the winter.
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