Friday, August 15, 2008

Househelp

So everybody told me that hiring house help here would be a little bit of a pain. At first I resisted the idea of even hiring help because it seems so unnecessary for me. I do not have a job that takes me out of the house, I do not have kids, why would I be unable to care for my house when I used to do it in the states in addition to working psycho 14 hour days? Well, I found it is necessary to hire household helpers for a couple of reasons. First of all, the house gets really dusty really quickly!! Some of it is like due to the construction taking place at my neighbor's house next to us, but in general, daily dusting is needed all the time. I never thought dust could collect quicker than San Francisco (Edwardians, although really cute in style, are evil for collecting dust) but it does! Everyday the furniture has to be dusted and the floors swept and mopped. Second reason is I guess burglary can be a concern here so it is always suggested that there is someone home at all times.

So we went ahead and hired a houseboy. His job is to feed the dogs, water the garden, use the vacuum thing in the pool, and wash all the windows. We hired a boy from a province about 10 hours (by bus) from here and he sucked. He was 16, and there are two types of 16 year olds--ones who want to work and ones that act like petulant teenagers. We had the latter. He was a frickin pain. He was lazy. He also had a seemingly huge adversity to wearing a shirt. Everyday we would have to tell him to put on a shirt. He made it with us 5 weeks. We sent him back to the province.

We also hired a maid. She is a godsend. She is actually the sister of my mother-in-laws houseboy and she is everything the evil teenager is not. She is efficient, does a perfect job, and is the sweetest person. I am hoping she works out and stays for the long haul. I also like that she is not scared of the rott and feeds him and can walk him with no problem (he probably weighs about as much as her). Although she is also from Bicol (a province surrounded by water), she cannot swim so I tried to teach her the other day. I am a bad swim instructor. I will have Ado do it. Since we have a pool here that is 7' deep in the far end, I will feel a lot better if she can swim. She came here because after working for four years for a family in Bicol, she was still only making P1,500 a month (about $35). That is lower than ANYONE in Manila pays. You would not even start someone out that low. It is REALLY, REALLY low.

It was weird. When hiring help, everyone had these weird opinions about which province was best to hire from and whether agencies had the best workers or if the workers from the agencies knew too many "tricks". I even listened to a conversation about a province to avoid because if they get mad, they will kill you. This was an actual conversation! The weirdest part of it, was when my friend brought up the province having angry people, my other friend agreed immediately! What a weird conception to have. There were also theories I heard about if someone should be from a nearby province or far, how old was best, if they had kids, etc. I guess in the end none of it mattered because we hired from the same province that everyone in Ado's family hires from.

So now we have to hire one more person. I am keen on someone who can drive because right now we have no driver and I only drive if I am with someone who can translate for me in the case of an accident. I never drive by myself. This means that Ado always has to come with me or I have to drag someone with me. Life would be a lot easier for me with a driver.....

12 comments:

David B Katague said...

Hiring household help in PI is an art. My relatives in PI, recommend that you hire only distant relatives if at all possible. If not there should be a trial period and always write your expectations/duties and pay them well. The P1,500 monthly pay is low. I am paying double that for my driver/gardener even though he serves us only 6 months out of the year. I also pay him all his SS and health insurance. As a Filipino- American (balikbayan)in the Philippines, I have a reputation of paying my maid, driver/gardener very well.

Sidney said...

3,000 pesos for Manila is still very low (even if you pay him SSS and health insurance).
9,000 to 10,000 pesos for a stay-in driver would be a more like it.
5,000 pesos for a stay-in maid.
450 to 500 pesos per day for a gardener.

Of course some people pay much less, especially if they take people from far flung provinces.But even at the above mentioned salaries I have a bad conscience...

Andrew's Daddies said...

Interesting. I always told my partner that when our home in Antipolo is done, I do not want a maid or house cleaner. Since we will both be not working..I think we could handle it...But after hearing your story about the dusting EVERYDAY...I may reconsider. I definately would hire only a relative to my partner. I'm not a very trusting person by nature..so it would take some time before I'm comfortable having a stranger in my home.

mtan said...

The daily wage in Manila (NCR - national capital region) is P390 a day. If you have a live in maid, it's entirely legal to consider the cost of lodging and meals when paying the salary, but P1500 is downright immoral. And yes, paying their SSS and health care insurance is part of the law.

I grew up with a household of maids and drivers, but nowadays, I can't live with anyone hanging around my space, so I just pay my mom's maid to come in twice a month.

The funniest story I've heard is that if you hire a maid/driver from Siquijor (a province down in Visayas), they'll end up using magic/voodoo on you. The province is sort of known for its mysticism, but I went around the island in March and not a bit of voodoo did I see or feel. But then I don't have a sense for the ghostly realm.

Anonymous said...

I Love The Philippines!

Jonnifer said...

Keek, I know you are busy with the house blessing but can you post and let us know what you are up to?

- A concerned reader

Jonnifer said...

I can only assume that the long wait time between posts means that you will have a very good house-blessing post. Can't wait!

- A very concerned reader

LAR said...

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My name is LAR and I'm a Filipino. I made a site to promote the beautiful island nation of the Philippines through pictures, and I am currently inviting anybody, Filipino or not, who visited/travelled the Philippines to help build my 'Photographic Profile' page.

If you have some time to answer a few questions and share some pictures of your favorite places in the Philippines, I will create a profile for you on my site. Through this, I aim to help more travelers, photographers and people get in touch with each other and publicly share information about the Philippines.

Please visit www.philtravelphotos.com for more information.

Thank you for your time and I truly hope to hear from you. Best regards!


Welcome to the beautiful Philippines!
L. A. de los Reyes
www.philtravelphotos.com
www.sapot-litrato.philsites.net

LAR said...

Good day! I saw your site when I was browsing the Internet for people who love the Philippines.

My name is LAR and I'm a Filipino. I made a site to promote the beautiful island nation of the Philippines through pictures, and I am currently inviting anybody, Filipino or not, who visited/travelled the Philippines to help build my 'Photographic Profile' page.

If you have some time to answer a few questions and share some pictures of your favorite places in the Philippines, I will create a profile for you on my site. Through this, I aim to help more travelers, photographers and people get in touch with each other and publicly share information about the Philippines.

Please visit www.philtravelphotos.com for more information.

Thank you for your time and I truly hope to hear from you. Best regards!


Welcome to the beautiful Philippines!
L. A. de los Reyes
www.philtravelphotos.com
www.sapot-litrato.philsites.net

digistamps philippines said...

are you still looking for a driver? we used to have a family / store driver that we had to let go since we managed to drive our kids to school ourselves, and some of our mall stores closed already...

Home Appliances said...

I follow your blog for a long time and must tell you that your posts always prove to be of a high value and quality for readers. Keep it up.

teri said...

Wow! You're lucky for having a very good househelp. Does she have a relative seeking the same work? We're desperately looking for one.