When people come here with intention to stay long term, they quickly find out that whatever they buy, it won’t last. Simply put, things break after only a few months of use.
Not everything breaks, a few items are made solid and they last but today I’ll write about those that don’t.
My first experiences were trully painfully disappointing. It all started with light bulbs in 2010. If there is one item that should last a few years, this should be it… a light bulb.
However, this was not the case on Palawan back in 2010.
I couldn’t believe how many light bulbs I had to buy in one year. They just wouldn’t last longer than a few weeks or a few months. Someone, somewhere, was making a bundle of profits on defective (rejects) bulbs.
Back in 2012, Home Depot started to sell them with one year warranty. After about 2 years time, and zillions of returned burned bulbs, they realized that they couldn’t make as much money as with ‘no warranty’ bulbs. We were in 2014 when they ended that promo.
And then a strange thing happened. Just as I was searching for a bulb supplier in Manila, the bulbs stopped burning. Since about 2014, we finally could buy non defective light bulbs on Palawan. They now last a normal life span of several years.
My best guess is that the local retailers run ‘out of stock’ of defective ones.
The next was the door handles.
Our first house had a strict minimum of doors. Only 5, but let me tell you, all door knobs failed after a few months of use. Not 100% fails but even a 5% fail is a total fail in my book.
Those were not cheap door handles.
The main entrance door handle cost close to P2000. The two other ones were about P1000 each and the two bathroom doors were about P400 each. The most expensive one failed the first, after only a few months of use. The cheap ones were hardly used at all but despite that, they became loose and I could never tighten them again. The two other ones worked… sometimes.
Now we have steel doors without door knobs. We installed P200 (each) worth air-cylinders that are normally used on storm doors and we are very happy. Living so remotely, we never lock the doors.
Did you ever notice how the electrical receptacles are hard to insert into? When you try to plug-in the cord, there seem to be a metallic obstacle inside that prevents you to plug it in smoothly, it’s because they are defective.
When pushed-on just a little too hard, the electrical switches get pushed-in and stay that way. Again, factory defective.
Once I unknowingly bought a new but burned electrical wire. It was 50m long. The burned wire was invisible and because I used it only a year later, I couldn’t even return it.
We have 4 water pumps on the farm. Two are 2Hp, one is 1Hp and one is 1/3Hp.
All had roller bearings replaced twice in less than two years. All had starting capacitors replaced once. All had leaking seals.
We bought a microwave oven in 2010 and junked it in 2014.
I bought a brand new Mitsubishi Montero 2013 and sold it because of involuntary and uncontrollable acceleration.
Now I drive a 15 year old clunker.
We have one clothes washing machine. We paid about P8000. It is 6 years old now and already had two major repairs. Now the total cost is around P16000.
One knob is broken, the drain pipe is broken, the plastic cover is cracked because it felt on the ground numerous times and the original glossy white look has become dirty looking rough finished dark grey.
Every time it’s being used, I always think it will be the last. It vibrates so badly during spinning that it walks. So much so, that we had to install stoppers.
Boy!, I wish I had bought a Maytag.
The last A/C we had was a split type Samsung with inverter. A little more than one year after installation, it was evening time, we heard 3 loud BOOMS…!!! I thought someone just blew firecrackers but no, it was a Gecko that shorted the motherboard and a few other components. It cost him his life, he got fried, and it cost me P9000 in repairs. Samsung is fully aware that we have Geckos, ants, spiders and all kinds of other critters here in Philippines, but they sell their A/C units totally unprotected… and then, they sell you “extra parts” for extra profits. How smart!
Now my solar inverter is totally enveloped in an insect proof membrane.
Buy high quality ceiling fans instead.
They do last here… no kidding.
Since 2009, we must have bought hundreds of ball pens, none of them works more than a few months. Buy pencils to cut the frustration. Keep the pencil sharpener attached, otherwise it will walk away. Kids love those.
Towels, high quality towels don’t last. Two to three years seem to be the norm. Clothes get dirty very quickly here and you end up washing much more often than up north.
Buy cheap dark colour towels and keep replacing. The white colour towels are nice but end up brownish/yellowish if not bleached.
I could continue writing but I don’t want to discourage anyone from coming here.
Overall, it’s nice living here despite the rants from above.
Remember, there is always a solution to everything.