Building a vacation house in Dumaguete? Heads up, got some tips for you


For those who are planning to build their vacation/retirement house in Dumaguete or nearby areas in Negros Oriental, here are some tips to guide you and some pitfalls to avoid.

Zorich Guia, President of the United Architects of the Philippines, Dumaguete and Negros Oriental Chapter and President of GH10 Architects and Associates, shared some preparatory steps  buyers need to do to determine the ideal location of their vacation home.  “We must first examine our needs and lifestyle.  Do we wish a location that’s accessible and centrally located, within walking distance to business/commercial areas, universities, church and hospitals?  Or do we want a quiet, secluded place by the beach or on the mountain? Once we have determined our choice, it would be best to look around for a licensed real estate agent/broker who would do the background check and verification and smooth processing of lot titles and tax documents for you.  They can give you accurate technical advice before you part with your savings/hard-earned money,” Zorich noted.  As we know, there are many unlicensed real estate agents around who are out to make a quick profit off an unsuspecting buyer.

Once you have chosen your ideal site, you may consult with the architect or contractor who would ideally be working with a team composed of a civil engineer (or structural engineer if your building is more than three stories) a master plumber and an electrician.  These consultations are usually offered  free of charge or with a minimal fee but it would be well worth it to guide you. Is the type of soil sandy or swampy?  If it is, then it could be more costly to build on this type of land since a strong foundation is needed for the structure.  Is it in a flood-prone or earthquake-prone area?  The good news is  there is no major fault line in Negros Oriental.  If your desired property is near bodies of water, you will have to follow the regulations as provided for by law, specifically the Water Code or P.D. 1067.  For residential areas, the property must be three meters from a body of water.  For agricultural land, it must be 20 meters away from the body of water.  Above all, LGUs are mandated to adhere to the Building Code, as provided for by P.D. 1096,” he explained.

Now that you’re ready to build your vacation/retirement house, make sure your technical team is in place:  the architect, civil engineer, electrician and master plumber.  You might also want to hire an Electrical and Electronics Engineer if you want build a Smart home with automated features.  “There’s an art and science behind the design and construction of spaces. It is not advisable to “copy and paste” what we like on the internet.  If there are errors in the implementation process, there would be more costs involved,” he reasoned.  The design process is a collaboration between the owner of the house and the architect and would depend on the activities and lifestyle of the owner.  Does he/she work at home?  Then a lanai or terrace looking out to a garden and  ample working space can be provided.  Does he/she  have an 8 to 5 job?  What kind of lifestyle does the owner have?  These will have to be incorporated into the design as well.  The adjacency of spaces, the colors of the rooms, the height of the furniture will all have to be designed to suit the owner’s activities.  Colors convey moods, too.  If you love to entertain and bring friends over for dinner parties, the suggested color of the room would be yellow, a strong and lively color.  But when you need to sleep, shades of blue or green would be best to evoke a natural and relaxing mode.

Whatever the style of home we want, whether Victorian period, Mediterranean, Tropical, modern or contemporary, there must be a good collaboration between the owner and the architect/contractor for the design to be implemented the best way.  After all, this is going to be your vacation home.  It’s got to be a happy and relaxing place to be.