Sam I Am Blog

My Newspaper of News, Lifestyle,Culture

Home Sweet Home In The P.I.

with 2 comments

Home Sweet Home

In The P.I.



Home Sweet Home In The P.I. Day One

When you lay eyes on your Dream Home for the first time what do you say ?  “Surprised” is the word that came to mind.  Christy and I had sent money from the United States to have a business or home built in the Philippines on the island of Leyte.  Neither of us knew what to expect.  Nikon D 40 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I stood in the front yard and looked at my new home in the Philippine Islands and wondered, “What have I got myself into ?”


LIVING ROOM AND KITCHEN  Our Dream Home idea began as an idea for a Family Business.  The building was built to be The SW Rice Mill.  Before the building was finished, someone else opened a rice mill, near Barangay Baras.  The center concrete partition that serves as a room divider was suppose to support a rice mill machine.The ovious bamboo slats and openings design was to prevent the accumulation of rice dust in the building.  Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In 2011, Christy Warren, my wife, and I decided that we were going to move to the Republic of the Philippines. Christy is a Filipina, so she would be returning to her home. I am a retired American G.I., so I like to travel.

We lived in a double-wide on around 10 acres of land in rural southwest Missouri. When we decided to make the trip, we decided to sell the 70 plus acres of Warren Land across the road between Abesville and Galena, Missouri.


Back In The USA  Christy Warren, my wife, and I lived in a beautiful double-wide home between Abesville and Galena, Missouri back in the United States.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.


Our First Home In Missouri  After I retired from the United States Air Force,my wife, Christy Warren, and I, returned to my boyhood home between Abesville and Galena, Missouri.  We lived in this trailer only about 12 feet from the double-wide home that we would later move into.  Once while living in Missouri, we actually decided to “rent” this trailer as a place to live.  We only did it once because we decided that we were not the “landlord” type of business people.  We left behind the double-wide and this trailer and moved to the Republic of the Philippines because Christy hoped to be surrounded by her “Family.”  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

One of the major issues that drove our decision was: Family. Christy wanted to live surrounded by her family. She had 23 nieces and nephews that she had never laid eyes on.

By December 2011, we had all the paperwork llike Visas, Passports and medical paperwork for pets completed. We bought our tickets. Donna DeLong, my cousin, and Ken Sexton took us to the airport in Springfield, Missouri. The adventure began.


When we arrived in Manila, we spent a couple of days with Manila family

Bedroom, Kitchenette We left a double wide home in rural southwest Missouri to move to the Philippines and live in a room smaller than most of the barracks rooms that I lived in as a single G.I., in the United States Air Force. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.


I stood on the Barangay Baras highway and looked at the building that was to be our home. Numb. I didn’t really know what to feel. I really didn’t know what to expect. It looked like a large Nipa Hut that you would see in an advertisement for a tropical island.


 In Missouri, in 1969, Buck Gideon, Adrian Cline and my mother, Opal M. DeLong Warren had built a huge pole barn for cattle and hay. They drove the last nail the day the first man walked on the moon, so I called the barn, “The Moon Barn.” In cell phone conversations between the United States and the Philippines, it sounded like our new home in the Philippine Islands would be something like our Missouri “Moon Barn.” The barn in Missouri is longer.

I didn’t have much time to be shocked because it was December in the Philippines. The Philippines is on record as having “The Longest Christmas Season On The Planet.” It is true. As early as September 1, Philippine television stations start doing their countdown of “Shopping Days Until Christmas.”


Some relatives came with us from Manila. Others heard that we were enroute. By the end of the day, it seemed the only person in the Philippines that Christy wasn’t related to was President Aquino.

Build The Dinner Table.  We moved to the Republic of the Philippines from the United States in December 2011.  Christmas is THE All Important Holiday In The Philippines.  The arrival of family and friends meant we needed a bigger dining room table.  There is no Lowe’s or Home Depot in rural Leyte.  At the time, we did not know about Citi Hardware or the Leyte Home Depot in Tacloban City, so the solution was to build the dining room table from the available lumber. 

Canon EOS 40 D

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The building that we would come to call home was built to be “The S W Rice Mill. It seems humorous to think of “industrial espionage” in a rural setting, but, we had made the plans in the US and the building was under construction in the Philippines. While the building was being built, suddenly, a building went up outside of Barangay Baras and it became a working rice mill.

It is sad that the dream got snatched so quickly because Christy and I had hoped that it would provide a source of employment for family members.

THE DINING TABLE_5085_resized

The Dining Table When the relatives began arriving, it was obvious that we needed a dining room table.  Using the available lumber a table was built in the front yard.  Once the table was built, it was moved into the living room area and served as a kitchen island for food preparation.  Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.


Ramon watches and helps a local carpenter build a platform for the air conditioner.  Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 Now, that we had the building, it would be a matter of time to renovate it into a home.

SIDE VIEW_4940_resized

SIDE VIEW ONE  People who grew up in the rural hills of the Ozarks or on a farm will recognize the “Chicken Coups” at the side of the building.  The tiny bird house on top of the chicken coup is for the pigeons. The original roofing material was coconut tree leaves.  The leaves work great to keep out the heat and help with the circulation of air; however, the rains of the monsoon season will find any openings that have been overlooked. The soil does not always allow for quick water runoff or saturation into the local water table and in the early days the mud hole in the front yard had to be an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

SIDE VIEW TWO_4944_resized

SIDE VIEW TWO  This side of the building highlights that homes in rural Leyte are sometimes built with concrete blocks and mortar.  Concrete is cool in the summer.  Central heating is not a construction concern in tropical Leyte.  Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.


The Philippines is known to have “The Extended Family Concept.” In the United States, Family is mom, dad and the kids. Sometimes grandma and grandpa are included in the idea of an American Family. Aunts, uncles and cousins usually aren’t included in the “Immediate Family” concept of an American Family.

The Philippines derives a significant portion of culture from the long occupation of Spanish forces for about 400 years. Thus, Spanish names, surnames and Hispanic and Latino cultural ideas are everywhere and is even reflected in the native languages. Then, you factor in the idea of “The Extended Family Concept.”

The Extended Family Concept in the Philippines turns distant relatives into “Family.” If a third cousin shows up, he or she is considered “Family.” This is a beautiful concept “IF” the idea is based on “Family Heritage,” and “Love.”

While we were considering ideas about home renovation, it seemed a legion of family members had business ideas to offer up and none of them had to do with a rice mill or a business to already use the standing structure.

It has been almost a year since we arrived in the Philippines and we have made some changes to the building to renovate it into a comfortable home. There is much more work that needs to be done, but, for now, it involves finding a skilled carpenter, who understands the necessary renovations and being able to find the materials locally.

Relatives ?

Our first few days, were non-stop “Relative Receiving Lines.”

The beauty of time is that eventually the number of relatives tapers off. Relatives, whose “business ideas” didn’t get accepted, soon seem ready to leave on the first jeepney out of Tanauan.

When the dust finally settled, the real Family is left standing beside you shoulder to shoulder. Then, the real work of “Home Sweet Home” can begin. “Welcome to the Philippines.”



Stone County Missouri
Historical & Genealogical Society



It’s More Fun In The Philippines



Written by samwarren55

October 3, 2012 at 1:00 AM

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Thank you for the blog. I am from Leyte but now live in Tampa Florida. Every now and then I can’t help reminisce the past. Again thank you.

    Grace Champion

    October 5, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    • Grace,

      Thank you for the comment. I try to get out and about and cover what is going on locally in and around Tanauan and Tacloban City.



      October 7, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: