Need for Safe & Hazard Free Homes


The shocking, sad tragedy of the earthquake we experienced in Bohol and Cebu was a National Disaster, and we are told that it  may happen again. The devastating experience of our fellow Filipinos is a wake up call; the need for Action vs  Reaction.  To Act means to prepare, plan  and initiate  risk management strategies. No one knows when a deadly earthquake will happen. We can’t predict acts of  nature and the type of  calamities that devastate our country.

These are painful  trials that ought to make us wiser, prudent and stronger. We need to face and address these  problems, even before it happens. To act, means to have ready solutions, options and fall back positions.  We need to be prepared in times of trial. This is the situation we are  facing now.  There is a need to help each other, to reach out to the needy and victims of Bohol and Cebu. We are a Nation in Prayer, for the victims and for everyone, the homeless,  families suffering, because of the calamity.

Bohol is a Beautiful place. A major and important  tourist destination. One of our “wow” wonders  in the Philippines. Bohol has some of our  historical, heritage buildings like   the old churches, but they are gone, destroyed. Our wonderful  Chocolate Hills also collapse. But the saddest part are the lost of lives, loss of  homes,  damage of property and a tragedy that will be in the minds and hearts of the victims. Some still suffer with nightmares,  the horrors of the sad  experiences, shocking images and apocalyptic fears that hunt them.

In Cebu and Bohol, we are reminded that we too in Metro Manila or other Cities in the Philippines, may have the same disaster of an Earthquake, Fire, Floods…

The probability of dangers, or a catastrophe is high. In my conversations with Dr. Caloy Arcilla, he pointed out the scientific evidence that there are several Fault Lines, with in the Metro Manila Area, particularly what is known the West Marikina Fault.

Buying a house? Consult a geologist first. That is the article by Kathlyn dela Cruz of She said, people who are planning to buy or build a new house should make it a practice to consult a geologist first, according to an expert.

In an interview with “Mornings @ ANC” last October 16, 2013, Dr. Carlo “Caloy” Arcilla of the University of the Philippines – National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS) said Filipinos should make it a priority not just to consult a Feng Shui expert but also a geologist. “We don’t have that hazard sort of like mentality. People will pay Feng Shui artists first, they will not hire geologists… When you buy a t-shirt in Divisoria, you look if there are holes. If you are going to invest your lifetime in a house, why can’t you double-check?” Dr. Arcilla said. “I have nothing wrong against Feng Shui, but the thing is that it’s like when your child is sick, you want to see a scientist,” he explained. He also said that before buying a property or lot, “see your property in the worst weather” first. He said this is to see if the certain location is prone to floods or landslides. “It’s like choosing a partner. You have to see the good and the bad,” he said.

Use GPS, maps

Adventurous life of the legendary Dr. Caloy Arcilla, Engineer, Scientist, Geologist, a man of all seasons with Mr. Ramon CF. Cuervo III.

Dr. Caloy Arcilla, Engineer, Scientist, Geologist with
Mr. Ramon CF. Cuervo III.
source: Jojo Nicdao facebook

Dr. Arcilla said a GPS or global positioning system may also come in handy when looking for a prospective property. He said one does not need to be tech-savvy to be able to use GPS and that even mobile phones have it.

“Why is a GPS important? Because when you buy a property, the biggest fraud sometimes is that what you’re being shown is not actually what you will get. So you independently verify where the location of the property you’re going to buy is.”

He said upon getting the coordinates of the property, one can then check the website of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) “to see whether your house is near a major fault.”

Dr. Carlos Arcilla, however admitted that as much as Filipinos don’t have the habit of consulting geologists, they also don’t have the habit of using maps.

“One of the problems Filipinos have is that we are not very map-conscious. People don’t use maps; they ask ‘Nasaan ba dito yung street?’ We rarely use maps,” he said.

What happens if quake hits Metro Manila?

When will a disaster strike? We'll never know

Dark Horizon of Metro Manila, When will a disaster strike? We’ll never know

Meanwhile, Dr. Arcilla warned residents in Metro Manila to retrofit their buildings for a strong earthquake, noting that it is hard to predict when the “big one” will come.

A magnitude 7.2 quake hit Visayas, morning of October 15, 2013, leaving at least 107 people dead. The massive quake was triggered by the movement of the East Bohol Fault.

What will happen if a similar quake hits Metro Manila and nearby provinces?

“I’m confident for big parts of Metro Manila, things will survive unless if you’re built on the top of a fault line, there’s no engineering solution,” Dr. Arcilla explained.

He also said structures built on reclaimed land are at a higher risk. Developers should not be allowed to put up structures on top of fault lines while warnings should be placed outside buildings already sitting on fault lines, he added.

Adventurous life of the legendary Dr. Caloy Arcilla, Engineer, Scientist, Geologist, a man of all seasons.

Adventurous life of the legendary Dr. Caloy Arcilla, Engineer, Scientist, Geologist,
a man of all seasons.

“If a building is built on top of the fault, there has to be a sign outside the building that this building is built on a fault, buy at your own risk,” He said.

“Because if you build your own house, it is your own risk. But if it is already public conveyance, the people go into let’s say a supermarket, a hospital or a school that’s on the fault, then there is a public safety issue,” he added.

According to Dinna Chan Vasquez of Manila Standards Today, in her write-up about “How to have a Premier home”.  A person’s home is a reflection of his or her taste. A luxury home’s interior design is a reflection of the home owner’s artistic taste and cultural savoir-faire. There are those who leave everything to their interior decorators but there are others who want their homes to be elegant and truly reflective of the things and places that they love.

Ramon F Cuervo Jr., AU Valencia, Tony Varias, taking  pillars of Manila Board of realtors, now celebrating its 75years.

Ramon F Cuervo Jr., AU Valencia,
Tony Varias, taking
pillars of Manila Board of realtors, now celebrating its 75years.

To launch its new and exclusive customizable home loan rate of as low as 5.45 percent, HSBC Premier hosted a discussion on interior design trends for the Premier home with Interior Decorator Dustin Reyes and Living Innovations General Manager Ferdie Ong at the latter’s beautiful home in Makati City.

Both shared their insights on home interiors, and Ong showed off the latest items from luxury brands Minotti, Gaggenau, Bulthaup, Dedon and Bang & Olufsen.

HSBC Premier is a global wealth management service that offers its clients a high level of personalized service and exclusive banking and lifestyle privileges, allowing their clients to manage their wealth, families, everyday banking needs, and giving them the accessibility and flexibility they need to bank around the world.

Premier status is easily achieved with a loan of P6million or above, entitling customers to a wealth of options. HSBC Premier customers can enjoy the home loan rate of 5.45 percent for 1-year repricing while comfortably designing their loans to fit their unique needs and financial requirements. They have the liberty to choose what currency they want to transact in, which interest calculations to use, and whether they want to pay monthly, every 14 days, or even quarterly.

According to HSBC, a thorough and personalized approach to wealth management encompasses all your investments, including one of your most meaningful and major assets—your home. HSBC Premier believes that their role is to help their clients make informed decisions that best address their specific situations and needs.

“Your home is one of your most valuable assets, as well as an expression of who you are,” said Patrick Cheng, president and chief executive, HSBC Savings Bank. “Our objective is to help you maximize your investment and achieve your dreams for your home and your family, whatever that dream may be. And with HSBC’s new home loan proposition, you might be surprised at how easy that can be.”

“Your home is the most expensive material thing that you will buy in your lifetime so HSBC Premier wants to help make that purchase easier and more convenient for you. Aside from the lowest rate, we also allow payment in different currencies,’’ Mr. Cheng added.

Two boys covering and sheltering each other from the rain.

For our homeless , street dwellers, an umbrella, may all they have as a Shelter ..

If you want to buy a house, you could go online. In Franz Jonathan Dela Fuente’s article “Buying a house? Go online”, he said the real estate market, already described as robust, could further attract more buyers as online classifieds gain ground, industry players said.

Among the first major purchases an OFW is likely to make is a house for his or her family in the Philippines.

Property websites are reportedly attracting clientele beyond traders’ usual networks — overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), expatriates, and housewives — on promises of transparency, security and convenience. Moving forward, more sales are said to be likely realized online as listings grow and internet usage increases.

With just a click of a mouse button, access to hundreds of units are made available for viewing anywhere, thus attracting, among others, Filipinos abroad.

“We have at least a million OFWs already scattered all over the world and their main objective is to upgrade their lives back home, priority of which is to own a house and lot,” said Paolo Josef J. Abadesco, founder of the website that he claims is the first free online housing and property listing in the country.

“One of the first skills they normally learn is the Internet, thus opening the opportunity for property websites to prosper,” Mr. Abadesco said.

HousingInteractive, meanwhile, which has both Philippine and foreign listings, has OFWs accounting for at least a third of total inquiries, general manager John Riad said.

“Online real estate marketing allows for endless possibilities, where print media is a very limited option due to price per space,” Mr. Riad said, citing online opportunities such as more images as well as virtual tours and property walkthrough.

As per HousingInteractive policy, pre-screening takes place before a particular property is featured, to determine among others if the property exists. A team also conducts additional on-site inspections and this has assured many clients who have been deceived by print classified ads in the past, Mr. Riad claimed.

New buying segments have emerged to take advantages of this new medium, as opposed to male household heads that are the usual property buyers. Aside from OFWs, a growing number of expatriates are also benefitting from property websites nowadays, especially new arrivals to the country.

College-educated and home-based mothers aged 45 to 54 also comprise a large part of HousingInteractive’s visitors and buyers, he added. “They come up and follow up on properties and at the same time manage their household.”

“There is expertise and market knowledge that is still required for both parties to achieve an optimal transaction. And at the moment, since the databases are not complete, using the websites will not cover the entire market,” he said.

“There are some hurdles as in any developing market, but in due time the efficiency and practicality of these websites, especially in the non high-end residential sector, will continue,” Mr. Manuel said.

How to have a strong foundation in constructing a house:

Design Principles:

Regularly structured building, good house elevation and good roofing & walling structures.

Regularly structured building, good house elevation and good roofing & walling structures.

1. Foundations – A safe house must have a strong foundation.

2. The building needs a coherent structure – If the structure is coherent and strong, it
protects the whole house.

3. Joining walls to roof structure – Join walls and roof to strengthen each other.

4. Tying walls to building structure – Walls tied to columns protect them from

5. Roof Truss ties – Flexible but strong roof trusses enhance

6. Cross bracing of walls and roof – The walls and roof need bracing against
lateral movement.

7. Drainage Principles – Drainage plans are essential to good house

8. House elevation and location – Safeguards house and contents from
flooding, landslides, flash floods.

In many respects the foundation is the most important element of any building, be it a house or a high-rise. Simply put, the foundation is what everything rests on. So getting the foundation right will go a long way toward having a sound and stable building for many years.

From pilings to piers to spread footings and more, foundations can be built in many ways. The most common, though, is the simple foundation wall made of poured concrete or concrete block, and a poured concrete footing system. The vast majority of homes in North America are built using this approach, as it’s relatively inexpensive and there are scores upon scores of tradespeople able to quickly and efficiently build it. Therefore, the focus of this piece is on the typical wall and footing foundation system.

And remember that you should consult a local architect or builder to review any planned foundation and how local building codes will impact the system design and construction.


The three structural parts of this kind of foundation:

  • A continuous concrete footing
  • A foundation wall of either poured concrete or concrete masonry units (CMUs)
  • A concrete floor slab

These three elements are the foundation system’s structural components, serving to transfer the gravity load (the weight of the house) down into the ground. While concrete is an ideal material to handle the weight of the house, concrete isn’t very flexible. So steel reinforcing bars are introduced into the concrete to help resist any bending or twisting caused by ground movement.

A very important design consideration is placing the bottom of the footing below the frost line. This line exists at some distance below the surface and is where the ground, or any moisture in the ground, doesn’t freeze. Placing the footing below the frost line is essential to prevent any heaving or other movement caused by the freeze-thaw cycle.

Note that the depth of the frost line varies by location. The frost line is closer to the ground surface in warmer climates and much deeper in colder climates. But it’s essential to know where your frost line is when designing your home’s foundation.


Keeping water out. A foundation system is in many ways like a big bathtub. But rather than keeping water in, we want to keep water out. Several components built into a foundation do just that.

First, the exterior, ground-side face of foundation walls will have a waterproofing material installed on it. This material should be strong enough to prevent punctures or tears and flexible enough to allow for any movement the foundation will experience. This moisture barrier should form a skin not only over the wall but at the top of the footing as well.

Next in the line of defense against water is a perimeter drain near the bottom of the footing. This drain is a perforated pipe surrounded by crushed stone to keep dirt and debris from blocking the perforations. Groundwater will find its way to this drain and be channeled away from the footing. Making sure that these drains are clear is a critical step in making sure water doesn’t get into the basement or crawl space.

Other parts of the waterproofing system:

  • A polyethylene vapor barrier installed between the concrete floor slab and the ground to keep ground moisture from migrating up into the slab
  • A finish grade that slopes away from the foundation so that water drains away from, not toward, the house
  • A ground level of at least 6 inches below the top of the foundation wall


A nice touch for brick exteriors. There are many variations in any foundation system. One variant is the incorporation of a brick ledge into the foundation wall design. This is a nice design detail if you plan to use an exterior brick or stone finish. Rather than the brick sitting on top of the foundation wall, the brick can start just below the finish grade, making it appear that the foundation is constructed of brick, as it would have been in an older home. Of course, this type of detail has to be worked out carefully so that the foundation stays dry over the long haul.

Just make sure that you and your architect or builder work out the best foundation system for your particular project. Having a good, stable and solid foundation that stays dry will be worth every cent invested in it.

On the National Building Code of the Philippines R.A. No. 6541 Sec. 1.01.05 (Building use affecting public health and safety) states that (a) Any building or structure, or any ancillary or accessory facility thereto, and any alteration or addition to any building or structure already existing, shall conform in all respects to the principles of safe construction, shall be suited to the purpose for which the building is designed, and shall, in no case contribute to making the community in which it is located at eyesore, a slum, or a blighted area. (b) Adequate environmental safeguards shall be observed in the design, construction, and use of any building or structure for the manufacture and production of any kind of article or product which constitutes a hazard or nuisance affecting public health and safety, such as explosives, gas, noxious chemicals, inflammable compounds, or the like.

In Sec. 1.01.06(Maintenance) states that (a) All buildings or structures, both existing and new, and all parts thereof shall be maintained in a safe and sanitary condition. All devices or safeguards, which are required by this Code in a building or structure when constructed, altered, or repaired, shall be maintained on good working order. 

The land or site upon which will be constructed any building or structure, or any ancillary or auxillary facility thereto, shall be sanitary , hygienic or safe. Where the land or site is polluted, insanitary, unhygienic, unsafe, or hazardous, conditions contributing to or causing its being polluted, insanitary, unhygienic, unsafe, or hazardous shall be reasonably improved or corrected, or proper remedial measures shall be prescribed or incorporated in the design or construction of the building or structure in accordance with the provisions of this Code. The land or site upon which be constructed a building of structure or any ancillary or accessory facility thereto, for use of human habitation or abode, shall be at a safe distance from streamers or bodies of water and/source of air considered to be polluted, volcano or volcanic site, and building or structure considered to be a potential source of fire or explosion, such as ammunitions factory or dump and storage place for highly inflammable material. (a&b of Sec. 1.01.07: Insanitary, Unsafe, Hazardous, or Dangerous Sites)

In Sec. 1.01.08(Dangerous and Ruinous Buildings or Structures) states (b) Dangerous buildings are those which are structurally unsafe or not provided with safe agrees, or which constitute a fire hazard, or are otherwise dangerous to human life, or which in relation to existing use constitute a hazard to safety or health or public welfare, by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence, fire hazard, or abandonment; or which otherwise contribute to the pollution of the site or the community to an intolerable degree. Any building or structure which has any or all of the conditions or defects hereinafter described, or conditions or defects similar thereto, shall be deemed to be dangerous building: Provided, That such conditions or defect exists to the extent that the life, health, property, or safety of the public or its occupant are endangered:

(1) Whenever any door, aisle, passageway, stairway, or other means of exist is not of sufficient width or size, or is not so arranged as to provide safe and adequate means of exit in case of fire or panic;

(2) Whenever the stress in any materials member or portion thereof, due to all dead and live loads is more than one and one-half times the working stresses or stresses allowed in this Code for new building of similar structure, purpose, or location: Provided, That in determining working stress, the working stress method of analysis shall be used, and in the case of engineering “overstress”, the ultimate strength method;

(3) Whenever any portion thereof has been damaged by fire, earthquake, wind, flood, or by any other cause, to such an extent that the structural strength or the stability thereof is materially less than it was before such catastrophe and is less than the minimum requirements of this Code for new buildings of similar structures, purpose, or location;

(4) Whenever any portion or member or appurtenance thereof is likely to fall, or to become detached or dislodged, or to collapse and thereby injure persons or damage property;

(5) Whenever any portion or member or any appurtenance or ornamentation of the exterior thereof is not of such sufficient strength or stability, or is not so anchored, attached, or fastened – place so as to be capable of resisting a wind pressure of one-half of that specified in this Code for new buildings of similar structure; purpose, or location without exceeding the working stresses permitted for such buildings;

(6) Whenever any portion thereon has wracked, warped, buckled, or settled to such an extent that walls or other structural portions have materially less resistance to winds or earthquake than is required in the case similar new construction;

(7) Whenever the building or structure, or any portion thereof, because of: (i) dilapidation, deterioration, or delay; (ii) faulty construction; (iii) the removal, movement, or instability of any portion of the ground necessary for the purpose of supporting such building; (iv) the deterioration, decay, or inadequacy of its foundation; or (v) any other cause, is likely to partially or completely collapse;

(8) Whenever, for any reason, the building or structure, or any portion thereof, is manifestly unsafe for the purpose for which it is being used;

(9) Whenever the exterior walls or other vertica structural members list, lean, or buckle to such an extent that the structure falls within the condition described in the preceding subparagraph (2), above, or whenever any portion thereof suffers a material reduction of the fire and weather resistance qualities of characteristics required by this Code for newly constructed buildings of like area, height, and occupancy in the same location;

(10) Whenever a building or structure, used or intended to be used for dwelling purposes, because of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, decay, damage, faulty construction or arrangement, inadequate light, air, or sanitation facilities, or otherwise, is found to be unsanitary, unfit for human habitation, or in such a condition that is likely to cause sickness or disease; chan robles virtual law library

(11) Whenever any building or structure, because of obsolescence, dilapidated, condition, deterioration, damage, inadequate exists, lack of sufficient fire-resistive construction, or other cause, is found to be a fire hazard;

(12) Whenever any portion of a building or structure remains on a site after demolition or destruction of the building or structure is abandoned for a period in excess of six months, so as to constitute a nuisance or hazard to the public.

How Safe is your Home?



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