Our original ancestral home, and still the home of Filipinos in rural areas, is the bahay kubo, or “nipa hut”  The prehispanic architecture was perfectly adapted to the climate and could be easily repaired or rebuilt after the frequent typhoon, flood or earthquake using simple tools and native materials.

The Bahay Kubo is the native house of the Philippines and is also considered as its national shelter. Made of indigenous building materials like bamboo tied together and covered with a thatched roof using nipa/anahaw leaves. the Bahay Kubo is a  pre-hispanic  architecture was constructed to perfectly adapt to the tropical climate of the Philippines and to be easily repaired or rebuilt once damaged by typhoon, flood or earthquake which frequented the country.

Bahay Kubo is also known as Nipa Hut, this architecture can still be found along the countryside. It is constructed of indigenous materials that can easily be found in their local surroundings like wood, planks, grass, bamboo and large logs. Normally cubic in shape, this shelter is raised on stilts or posts of one to two meters depending on the area where the said shelter is constructed and it may be on solid ground, on a hillside or mountainside, or in shallow water. Raising the interior from the ground safeguards the shelter’s inhabitants from flood, and from snakes and other wild animals.

 A typical traditional house found in most lowlands all over the Philippines. Originally built as a one-room dwelling, the nipa hut changed as family needs become more diverse.Modern urban dwellings, on the other hand, are typically two-story structures with a concrete ground floor, sides of brick, concrete blocks, or wooden slats, and an iron roof. During the 19th century, wealthy Filipinos built some fine houses, usually with solid stone foundations or brick lower walls, and overhanging, wooden upper story with balustrades and kapis shell sliding windows, and a tiled roof.

In the Philippines, many old houses. The first house, the “nipa hut” or “bahay kubo” in tagalog is the home of the Filipinos living in the province until now. Its architecture is opportune for the climate of the Philippines because of the storm will pass by, flood, or earthquake.

The homeliness and simplicity of a nipa hut that is easy to build, to repair, to transfer from one place to another. The fresh winds, the welcomed sunlight and tender moonlight that accompany it throughout the day. Nipa Hut is  a simple appearance and humble representation as the simple way that life should be during this difficult time, but specially so the big utility and marvelous practicality it forwards for people to take note of and emulate in the way of living during these trying days.

“Their houses are constructed of wood, and are built on planks and bamboo, raised high from the ground on large logs, and one must enter them by means of ladders.  They have rooms like ours; and under the house they keep their swine, goats and fowl.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Antonio Pigafetta, 1521)


The nipa hut or bahay kubo gave way to the Bahay na bato (stone house) and became the typical house of noble Filipinos. The Bahay na bato, the colonial Filipino house, followed the nipa hut’s arrangements such as open ventilation and elevated apartments. The most obvious difference between the two houses would be the materials that was used to build them. The bahay na bato was constructed out of brick and stone rather than the traditional bamboo materials. It is a mixture of native Filipino, Spanish influences. Excellent preserved examples of these houses of the illustrious Filipinos can be admired in VIGAN, ILOCOS SUR. In TAAL, BATANGAS, the main street is also lined with examples of the traditional Filipino homes.

 As the name implies, the lower walls of the classic bahay na bato were traditionally finished in stone or masonry. So the house makes it strong and the people will leave in the house will be secure in anything happen.

When the Spanish arrived, they carried their architectural design, but the stone house that they could easily break when an earthquake come. When people grow and estates, the money they will make a bigger home. The call of the house is “principalia” and “ilustrados”. These houses are copied to the nipa hut and the home of the “Europe” and “Asia”. The house that it -Bahay na bato (stone houses) – has become the most famous home in the Philippines.

The bahay na bato had many modifications to make it withstand earthquakes. The wood frames that supported the house is one modification. As mentioned earlier, the wood frames lightened the load on the stone wall, and was an added precaution should the stone still splinter during an earthquake. However, the thickness of the stone wall was decreased. The lower half of the wooden posts were placed inside the stone wall to make the foundation strong. However such was the strength that stone wall along with the posts that they kept firm during an earthquake, while the exposed upper half took most of the brunt of the earthquake. The result was either the collapse of the upper half of the house, similar to a tent collapsing, or if the entire length of the post shook, they broke their stone casing.

“The third and final stage in the development of the Spanish-Filipino domestic architecture retained the wooden supporting structure but restricted the use of brick and stone to the lower level; the upper level consisted of an enclosure in vertical wooden siding which left ample openings for sliding windows.  Capiz shells were often used as window panes. What emerges is a Spanish-Filipino house.”

                                                                                                                                       (Architecture in the Philippines, Winand Klassen, 1986)

-During the transient period changed the appearance of our home because of the new equipment that can utilize to become more substantial our home. Today we can see how the houses evolve in years passing by. But we can not easily forget the history of our houses or shelter because our lives will not begin without the original house (bahay kubo). And we will not start a good lifestyle without our shelter. Bahay kubo and Bahay na Bato you can feel comfortable because of the materials used in making bahay kubo and bahay na bato. In bahay kubo u feel comfortable and stable. in Bahay na Bato you can feel that you super securee because of using the material bato (stone).

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