A Mango Moment!

Superstition or Stupidity!

For the last 6 months, we have been involved with a construction project here at the property. I may have mentioned in another post previously that we purchased the lot that adjoins our property and have been busy expanding our slice of paradise. I have made a series of videos titled “Expanding our Paradise” on my YouTube Channel if you are interested to see what we are doing. What prompted me to write this piece is when my welder, who constructed a spiral staircase for access to our observation deck, showed up with the completed staircase that was not to my specifications. I immediately noticed that the staircase wound in a clockwise direction instead of a counter-clockwise manner as I requested. When I questioned him about why, he seemed confused. I felt like I needed to refresh his memory as to when we initially discussed the construction of this stairwell.  I reminded him that I specifically requested a counter-clockwise spiral. I went back and forth explaining the difference between clockwise and counter-clockwise and, after a short pause combined with another look of confusion, he uttered “I do not wear a watch!” There was nothing I could do at this point and I really needed the stairs to be installed because of the upcoming family gathering. So we made some on site modifications and I had him build a landing platform at the top to accommodate the last step to the roof.  Note in the picture that because the stairs wind the way they do, I was unable to extend the bar all the way to the wall as we would have liked. While installing the steel structure, I then noticed that the step spacing seemed like it was more than the 7 inch spacing that I requested. I retrieved my trusty tape measure and sure enough the steps were spaced at 9 inches apart. Once again I questioned why he did not follow my instructions. This time however he had an immediate answer… “7 is not a good number for the Chinese” probably referring to some strange belief in Chinese culture. So I looked it up. While “7” is considered a lucky number in China, if it is combined with the numbers 4 and 5, i.e. 457, this would be extremely inauspicious as it would translate literally to “Death does not allow you to leave” or interpreted “Even in death you cannot escape.” At this point all I could say in disgust was “Do I look Chinese?”


All in all, the stairwell does function well, even if it wasn’t built to my specifications, and it is what it is. Or, as it is said here in the Philippines, Bahala na!

12 thoughts on “A Mango Moment!

  1. Despite the problems, it looks nice.

    Wife just left Calbayog on her way to Manila and home after months.

  2. Randy – I agree that the stairs look good, regardless of the interference problem with your bar. Perhaps one day you can have the stairs modified the way you intended. All of us who spent any time in the Philippines has encountered this kind of blunder. Next time a daily site visit to the “contractor” might help!

  3. Yep, I can see how you have allocated for the stairs.
    And they would have looked great in the anti clock wind 🙁

    I couldn’t change my plan, I would have lost it.

    As Ed stated, in future, visit the makers place * frequently * hahahahah

  4. Ha, easier said than done. He had drawings and did a site inspection before hand. The blame lies totally with him. They do look good though, huh!

  5. Look good even though he did build them backwards. Typical Philippine concept yes sir I understand until they show up with something totally different….

  6. My first thinking is, you did everything that drove me nuts when I was in the Philippines.
    But, instead I think I will go with, “Wow, your plasterer is skilled”.

  7. I completely understand. I seem to have gotten over it. And thanks, I will pass on the kudos to my brother-in-law!

  8. You’ve got a great place!!!! It is so beautiful. I hope your enjoying the ocean view sunsets!!! I encountered a similar situation building our manila house. The flipino comprehension and understanding is so great isn’t it!!!??? I NEED A DRINK!!

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