Noise pollution is an issue in places where it’s impossible to prevent it. The number one cause of the noise in my neighborhood in Olongapo is the children playing, in ages up to adulthood.
Not all the time, of course. It’s mostly in the evening hours, after school and when the day starts cooling down. It’s horrible when they’re on their “summer” breaks because they’re out there longer than when school is in session.
It doesn’t matter where you go, and it doesn’t matter what country you’re in. The noise level will continue to increase in any given area until someone does something about it. When my wife, Josie, and I had our house built, there was very little noise. Fourteen years have passed, and you wouldn’t believe we still live in the same neighborhood when you compare the amount of noise back then and the amount of noise today.
If you put aside the usual daytime noise, you’re left with what the neighbors produce at night. It really doesn’t matter if it’s intentional or not. There’s a lot of construction going on during the day and unfortunately, it’s all within earshot.
My neighbors all think they own a gaming reserve and have several roosters in every yard. I’ve learned to tune them out, or I would never get any sleep. The roosters crow at all hours of the night. I even tune out the barking dogs (mostly stray dogs in the street) unless they’re having a barking contest right in front of my house.
The things that wake me up at night are the motorcycles and the motorized tricycles. Their mufflers leave a lot to be desired.
It’s unfortunate that the simplest solutions are usually the most expensive. I can’t do what I’d like to do without spending a lot of time and money. The return on my investment probably wouldn’t be as much as I’d like anyway. Sound proofing my windows would be the best answer, but I would have to tear out the windows and start over. The best windows would be dual-pane or even triple-pane, but I would have to make my own.
The best solution I’ve found is by canceling out most of the noise. I play music on my laptop while I’m working on something. The noise really doesn’t bother me if I’m watching a movie or some television episode. I just make sure my sound is louder than the sound coming from outside.
There are expats who disagree with my solution. Outside of calling the barangay police station every time someone makes too much noise, there really isn’t anything anyone can do. I’ve learned that most people, regardless of where I am, have no respect for the people they bother.
As I just mentioned, I have most of the noise solved, including the children running up and down the street in front of my house screaming at each other. One thing I can’t do anything about is the karaoke noise when neighbors celebrate their birthdays. I can’t figure out why they want the entire neighborhood to hear their feeble attempts at being the next YouTube star (or something). When they get drunk, they all sound alike anyway.
I try to respect my neighbors. When we have parties, which include karaoke, we keep the volume level lower than anyone else, and we quit earlier than they ever will. When they get started, I just have to bear it until they quit and sometimes that’s as late as three in the morning. It’s a good thing I’m retired, and I don’t have to go to work, or I’d have a lot of enemies.
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in June 2015.