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University of Santo Tomas

2nd Semester AY 2007-2008
Lecture 2
Bahay evolved from the word BALAI- which means house
Southeast Asian type of domestic architecture
Hill, sea, mountain, river, field, plains, etc.
1. BAHAY KUBO, Nipa Hut/House
Lowlands all over the Philippines

Kubo derived from cubo , a Spanish word for cube

Height of the walls is equal to its width - gives a boxy appearance or a cube-shaped housed.

In the 16th c. bahay kubo were used for only a few years then abandoned.
1. Tagbanuas of Palawan
Agricultural soil wear out
Abandon the house when a member dies to avoid misfortune
2. Lingayen Gulf, Laguna de Bay, Northern Mindoro, Eastern Shores of Cebu - had taken root
in a fixed spot
Varies across regional and ethnic lines
Structure of light materials supported by posts elevated from 2.5 m. to 5.0 m. from the ground.
moist ground and the flood
protection from vermin and other animals of the low ground
Built close to each other as a community and to serve the defensive need of the inhabitants.
Construction method and features:
1. Assembling is like basket making
2. Parts are woven, fitted, inserted, coiled, tied or basket. stitched together using nearly
the same materials in producing a basket.
3. Consists of various kinds of wood, rattan, cane, bamboo, palm, nipa, bark or cogon.
4. Roof can be assembled on the ground
5. Steep roofs either of gable (dos agues) or hip (quarto agues) type made extensively of
nipa shingles or cogon thatched
6. Molave is the favored wood for house post (haligi)

7. Posts stand in a variety of ways:

- Holes may be dug and posts inserted in, sometimes kept firmly in place by a circle
of buried rocks
- Mount the posts on flat on stone slabs
8. Floor is of bamboo slats spaced from each other at regular intervals
- Light and air to pass through even if the windows are closed
- Vegetables to ripen
- Conducive for sleeping
- Even to throw waste matter out through the gaps

9. Wall sidings are assembled on the ground and are made of:
- Flattened split bamboo woven together into herringbone patterns to form sawali
- In Papangkol two panels of vertical-split bamboo are clamped together for the
panels to grip each other, keeping the rain from coming in
- Samil refers to several layers of nipa leaflets that have been combed lengthwise
over bamboo slats
- Coconut leaves, cogon grass and anahaw palm leaves
- Wall sidings surround the house posts and stand independently.
- Sidings of the walls are kept in place with the help of the rattan lashings, horizontal
bamboo studs clamp the sidings together on both sides and at the same time, the
studs enter through holes into the sidings vertical support: the bamboo poles that
stand between the roof beams and the floor sill.
10. Silong, the space underneath the house is an airy siding woven by passing bamboo
strips that are long and thin over and under horizontal studs in alternate sequence,
called sal
11. Doors are of sal and are attached to a post with rattan hinges
12. Windows of the awning-type have nipa or buri-palm window coverings that can either
slide from side to side or pushed out by a pole that serves also as support when at rest.

13. Usually no ceilings nor room divisions, however when required, room partitions are
low and do not reach the underside of the roof or the ceiling to allow the circulation of
air within the house.

Gililan floor sills run around the outermost periphery of the soleras to support the walls
Halige house posts
Kahab-an connects the bottom ends of the rafters together
Kilo rafters
Palatpat bamboo strips tied on to the rafters with rattan vines as the mainsupports of the
Palupo ridge pole
Patukuran beam laid over the yawi at right angle, thus completing the perimeter.
Pawid nipa shingles made by stripping leaves from the petiole and bending them Sahig
slatted floor. Rattan or bamboo strips tie the different parts to each other.
Sikang poles which cross the rafters halfway down the slope
Soleras - floor joists are laid
Tarugo wooden peg
over a narrow bamboo slats
Yawi- master beam which runs from one post to the other and is lashed to with rattan

Parts of the House:

1. Bulwagan (Living Rm)
The custom was to sit on mats spread out on the floor, sometimes around the dulang,
low table. Chairs and tables were still unknown.
2. Silid (Sleeping Area)
Sawali partition divides the bulwagan and silid where chests and woven trunks
(tampipi) keep clothes and personal belongings. Some houses have no furnishing
except for a few papag or built in bed, dulang, a low table , bangko or bench,
3. Paglutuan or gilir which may sometimes be a separate structure where food is
Dapogan consists of table, river stones and a shoe-shaped stove (kalan)
4. Bangahan later hispanized into a banguerra pots, dishes and other utensils are kept
5. Batalan porch which opens from the paglutuan
6. Silong - Lower part of the house (silong) is used as an enclosure for keeping
domesticated animals such as swine and fowl and storage for household implements,
goods, crops and is some cases as burial grounds for the dead
7. Kamalig separate storehouse on stilts where unhulled rice is kept
The bahay kubo is well adopted to the tropical condition
Although small has many kinds of edible plants song of bahay kubo
The idea of a Bahay Kubo connotes a one-room or an open space which can be
transformed into different spaces at different times of the day
It is common to see an altar with religious icons and photos of deceased family
members adorned by candles, flowers and other offerings
Bahay Kubo has evolved during the Spanish Period and at present


People of Mindanao:
1. Lumad
2. Muslims
Katawhang lumad - Cebuano term meaning native or indigenous.
Group of non-Islamized (neither Muslim or Christian) indigenous peoples of the southern
Considered as "vulnerable groups", they live in hinterlands, forests, lowlands and coastal
18 Lumad ethno-linguistic groups in 19 provinces namely:

Blaan Bukidnon

10. Manguwangan
11. Manobo
12. Mansaka
13. Subanon
14. Tagakaolo
15. Tasaday
16. Tboli
17. Teduray
18. Ubo.

Descriptions of selected Lumads:

1. Bilaan or B'laan
Concentrated in Davao del Sur and South Cotabato.
Practice of indigenous rituals despite adaptation to the way of life of modern Filipinos.
2. Manobo
Cotabato Manobo is a language spoken
3. Subanen
First settlers of the Zamboanga peninsula
River dwellers or Suba-nuns.
Family is patriarchal while the village is led by a chief called Timuay. He acts as the
village judge and is concerned with all communal matters.
4. Higaonon
located on the provinces of Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Iligan City,
and Lanao del Norte.
means "people of the wilderness".
Traditional way of living.
Farming is the most important economic activity.
5. Kalagan
Majority of the inhabitants of the region are of Visayan lineage.
Ethnic residents include the Manobo, the Mamanwa and other tribes.
6. Kamayo
refers to as a group of people or as a society in a certain place in mindanao means "A
Way of Life" or Pamaaging panginabuhi-an in kamayo term.
peacefull, kind and loving people.
Located in the municipality of ,Bislig, Hinatuan, Tagbina, San Agustin, Lingig and
other part of Caraga region, Compostella Valley and Davao provinces.
7. Tasaday

group of about two dozen people living within the deep and mountainous rainforests of
Called "Linat Batang, though not a "Stone Age People," they continue to hunt and
gather, dwell in caves, use stone tools and wear garments of curcoligo (a kind of fern
8. Mamanwa
Belong to the Negrito tribe and are nomadic.
Vanishing tribe who could be traced only in the deep and distant mountains like the
Mandajas who inter-marry with the Manobos.
Believe in a collection of spirits, which are governed by the supreme deity Magbabaya.
Produce excellent winnowing baskets, rattan hammocks, and other household
Deeply routed in the indigenous culture
Transfer from place to place - usually happen in case of deaths for it was the old
customs to pack up and leave the place when death occurs even if their plants are ready
for harvest.
9. Mandaya
"the first people upstream".
Refers to a number of groups found along the mountain ranges of Davao Oriental, as
well as to their customs, language, and beliefs.
Found in Compostela and New Bataan in Compostela Valley Province (formerly a part
of Davao del Norte Province).
10. Mansaka
"the first people to ascend the mountains or go upstream."
found today in Davao del Norte, specifically in the Batoto River, the Manat Valley, the
Marasugan Valley, the Hijo River Valley, and the seacoasts of Kingking, Maco,
Kwambog, Hijo, Tagum, Libuganon, Tuganay, Ising, and Panabo (Fuentes and De La
Cruz 1980:2).
11. Sangir or Sangil I
Located in the islands of Balut, Sarangani, and the coastal areas of South Cotabato and
Davao del Sur.
Sangihe - an archipelago located between Sulawesi and Mindanao, their original home
but they migrated northwards.
12. Subanon
suba, "river," means a river people.
Originally from Misamis Occidental and are seafaring people but were forced to retreat
deeper into the interior because of sea pirates in search of slaves.

Known as Toboli, T'boli, Tbli, Tiboli, Tibole, Tagabili, Tagabeli, and Tagabulu;
Lives in the high elevation of the mountain ranges of South Cotobato and Sultan
Kudarat Provinces, south of Mindanao
Live in harmony with nature with a colorful lifestyle through their outfits, dances and
Tiboli women are fully ornamented
- Tinalak - unusual tie-dyed and woven abaca cloth used for dresses during
ceremonies and festivities.
Use a variety of musical instruments:
1. drum,
2. agong,
3. kulintang,
4. bamboo zither,
5. flute,
6. hegalong (a long, slender and spindle-shaped two stringed guitar).

Women are not allowed to flirt or they will be killed express it in music, and with
their body movement.
Men can have 5-6 wives, depending on his income.
- Wives can all stay in one house together.
- If a wife wants to be independent, she may move to a different house.
Tboli house in general
- Located near the banks of scenic Lake Sebu or on a hilly portions
- House vary according to difference in economic stability
- Polygamy is practiced and adds to the number of residents in a house.
- Three or four houses form a cluster
- Remains cool in tropical weather because it is elevated on stilts and has a roof
with overhang.

GUNU BONG Tboli house

- Located near the banks of Lake Sebu or on a hilly portions;
- House vary according to difference in economic stability;
- As polygamy is practiced - adds to the number of residents in a house; 3 - 4 houses form a
cluster. Large two-level house is home to an extended family averaging between 8-16
- Remain cool in tropical weather because it is elevated on stilts and has a roof with
- 2.0 m. above - bamboo stilts or timber post support with additional poles for stability
- Tree stumps - used posts in the interior.
- Laid out on rectangular plan of about 14.0 x 8.0 m.
- Lower central space is integrated with the elevated side areas
Area for honor
- Shape of house is appropriate for the weaving area of the sacred tinalak fabric

Animals are kept underneath the houses such as chickens and pigs.
Dos aguas roof made of bamboo frames and thatch, not steep
Walls are made of split bamboo finely worked into a flat wall
Few openings. Awning doors and windows opening outward with hinge at the bottom
Ladders - made of bamboo or wood are drawn up at night to keep animals and intruders

Multilingual ethnic group and the largest mainly non-Christian ethnic group in the Philippine.

Moor Spanish word who lived in a region dubbed as Bangsamoro.

Led by the sultans or datu. Islamic influence brought the concept of having a sultan as leader in
the community.
Polygamy is permitted but rarely practiced
Pork is not eaten, considered as taboo under the Quran
1. Badjao archipelago of Sulu, Tawi-tawi
2. Iranun coasts of Illana Bay and border towns between maguindanao and Lanao del Sur
3. Jama Mapun Cagayan de Sulu ad South Palawan
4. Kalagan Davao del sur
5. Kalibugan Zamboanga del Sur and Norte
6. Magindanao Pulangi valley , Cotobato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotobato.
Coasts from Tamontaka down to Glan, South Cotobato and cost of Zamboanga del sur
from Sibugay eastward to Tukuran
7. Maranao Lake lanao region faling within the Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte
8. Molbog South Palawan
9. Palawani- South Palawan
10. Sama - Archipelago of Sulu
11. Sangil - davao del Sur and South Cotobato
12. Tausug Archipelago of Sulu
13. Yakan Island of Basilan

Ma + ranao (lake) - "lake-like, "by or near the lake, " or "lake dwellers".
term refers to the native people living around Lake Lanao.

Live in settlements of the shores of Lake Lanao, or an the hilly dry rice areas near a water
source; REGION 10 - Pagalunan, Taraka, Marantao, Lanao del Sur
Homes are lined along rivers, lake shores and roads;
Three major typology of a Maranao House:
1. Lawig small houses;
2. Mala-a walai large houses, a necessity in the polygamous culture;
3. Torogan ancestral home of the upper-class.
Ranggar/langgal small Islamic prayer housed would be located in the community.
Kota/Kuta or fortress early Filipino constructed forts in Mindanao, Sulu as well as in Manila
and Mindoro against enemy attacks. Inside the Kota is the Torogan

Made of lumber and raised on piling from 0.3 2.10 m. above ground.
Roofs, walls, floorings, doors and windows are made of bamboo materials latched together by
rattan strips.
Usually has 9 to 12 posts and a rectangular room covered by a steep roof sometimes shaped
like a carabao horn.
Rectangular measuring about 7.5 x 18 m. (25 x 60 ft)
One big room with no ceiling and no permanent partitions.
Spatial divisions and functions are marked by movable objects such as chest, mats,
brass trays.
Sleeping area is filled with bundles of rice stalks which are changed every harvest,
covered with riyara (woven mat) to prevent mildew.
Diverse spaces are created by means of several chest used as dividers or by using
sapiyay (wooden split rattan) and the kulambo (mosquito bar or screen)
Porch (kinansad) usually fenced with bamboo to prevent children from falling off.
Silong (space below the house) walled with split bamboo woven in crisscross pattern.
Women weave mats during daytime when it is hot upstairs
Storage for farming and fishing equipments, plow, harrow, mortar and pestle and big
vessel for storing rice.
Steep roof
thick cogon grass
sometimes bamboos which are cut into halves called rangeb
Wood shingles but uncommon today.
Two windows
Front watch neighbors pass by
right side. to check on the carabao which isusually kept in the corral below the house
at night.
Kota/Kuta or fortress - early Filipino constructed forts in Mindanao, similar to Sulu as well as in
Manila and Mindoro against enemy attacks
Inside the Kota is the TOROGAN
- Ancestral home of the upper class People.
o Kept their young daughters hidden
o Exclusive right to the okir
- Residence of the Muslim chief datu or sultan
o Sovereignty over the sultanates includes:
1. Pegawidan (royalty)
2. Pegawid (governed)
3. Oripen bisaya (slaves)
- No structure should be larger than the torogan
- Large, noble and dominating house with a single large room

Torogan (place for sleeping) - serve many purposes such as the residence of the royal
family, the warriors den, storage house, ammunition areas as well as ceremonial
Character and Construction Method
Appearance of floating like a royal vessel.
Sculptured to look like the prow of a boat.
Has a soaring, salakot-shaped or ceremonial umbrella design roof, ornate beams and
massive posts, to identify status of its occupants.

With okir designs:

o Internal and external beams,
o Posts,
o Floor panels and sidings of windows - sometimes painted.
Windows are narrow horizontal slits from 2 m. long and about 15 cm. wide between the
Floor beams are supported by around 25 thk posts or trunks not buried into the ground
but are freely standing on large stones to allow the house flexibility to sway with
earthquake tremor.
o Bunga trees posts
o Barimbingan flooring
o Gisuk - walls
Center post or tapuwilih is put first followed by the ffour big tukud (corner posts).
Center beam or tinai a walai or intestine of the house holds up the king post of the
Cloth that hangs from the rafters were used as ceiling which also absorbs heat from
Huge posts made from tree trunks signify power. Plain and massive or may be carved
to look like clay pots or huge chess pieces.
Panolong - one of the most important feature.

o Row of carved projecting beam ends in ornate motifs usually five in front and
two smaller ones on the sides,
o Protrude from the side with the configuration of giant nagas (snakes) outline in
fernlike motifs. Appear in high spirited wavelike patterns of okir/okil/okkill
design and are sculptured to look like the prow of a boat. It gives the torogan the
appearance of floating like a royal vessel.

High steep roof similar to a Malacca house at the Batak and Minagkabau houses of
o Ceremonial umbrella design for its roof, soaring and flaring to identify status of
its occupants.


Gibon special space for the daughter of the datu.
5.0 x 10 m. temporary room, has one entrance (front) and exit (back) near the kitchen.

Lamin ladys dormitory which serve as another hideaway for the datus daughter and her
manga raga or ladies.
Used only when there are important gatherings in the torogan.
Way of announcing the presence of a royal lady in the community and serves to
preserve and protect the girls modesty, virtue, virginity and chastity.
Constructed atop the torogan. Entrance is located near the datus bed.


Central to all visual arts of the Muslim groups;
Refers to both the act of carving or engraving and to a particular type of curvilinear design
which combines scrolls, leaf and vine elements organized in varying methods of abstract
Include geometrical and angular decorative woven designs on various surfaces.
- Siyabit design on cloth and mats from Sulu
Two types
1. Okir-a-dato (gentlemens art) curvilinear motif on a mans work on wood and other
hard surfaces and engraving on metal.
o Motifs found carved on houses, boats, working tools, weapons, grave markers,
saddle looms.
2. Okir-a-bai (ladies art) geometrical configurations found on the hand-woven textiles
or mats produced by women.
o Motifs embroidered on blankets, pillow cases, and canopies, or painted on
various surfaces


Abraham P. Sakili, SPACE AND IDENTITY, 2003

Abraham P. Sakili, SPACE AND IDENTITY, 2003

Elements of Okir (Ukkil)

Abraham P. Sakili, SPACE AND IDENTITY, 2003

Basic Maranao Okir (Ukkil) compositions


The Philippines being an archipelago have naval architecture

Inhabitants who live in maritime regions have for centuries constructed boats and water crafts
for travel and fishing purposes
Houses varies among the different Muslim communities in the form of houses:
On stilts along the shoreline;
Land houses built completely over the sea with no attachment to the shoreline;
Houseboats which is home and fishing boat.
Settlements vary according to:
1. Interior farmers (tau gimba)
2. Shore-dwellers (tau higad) - along the coasts
Cluster housing are typical and may have more than 20 -100 or more houses.
- Single rectangular room raised on 6 to 8 piles and surrounded by a series of elevated
porches leading to a separate kitchen.
- Constructed from lumber, bamboo and sawali (bamboo matting) materials.
- House in the interior towns is surrounded by a bamboo fence (larang) for protection
against intruders and enclosing the animals.

The Philippines being an archipelago have naval architecture
Inhabitants who live in maritime regions have for centuries constructed boats and water crafts
for travel and fishing purposes
Sea nomads Samal, Tausog, Yakan and Badjao
Houses varies among the different Muslim communities in the form of houses:
- On stilts along the shoreline
- Land houses built completely over the sea with no attachment to the shoreline

Houseboats which is home and fishing boat to the Badjao


Tausogs are known as seafarers, but build their houses on land.
A site is considered lucky if it is flat and dry or gently slopes westwards towards Mecca
Traditional house rests on nine post each signifying a part of the body neck, shoulders,
navel, ribs, groin and hips
One-room house includes a porch and separate kitchen
Distinguishing feature of the house is an elaborately carved wooden finial - Tajuk
pasung placed at one or both ends of the roof ridge


Majority Muslim group originally from the island province of Basilan.
Known for traditional hand-weaving skills that produced Yakan blankets
Lumah- traditional house is a rectangular 50 x 100 sq. m., elevated on timber posts about
2 m. above ground.
Cluster around the langgal or local prayer house. Houses face east and beliefs mandate
that building materials be stockpiled also on the east.
Three major parts:
- Main house single room dwelling, partitionless with various functions such as a
venue fro social affairs, weaving area for women and sleeping quarters.
- Kitchen - both for cooking and dining. A bridge connects the kitchen to the main
- Porch or pantan main entry to the house which may be open or roofed. The main
wooden ladder to the house is located here. Water jars and dagtung , large bamboo
crafted as water containers are placed here.
Method of Construction
- Sapiaw or roof is steeply pitched cogon on bamboo or timber frames. Walls are woven
bamboo strips or sawali.
- No ceilings and only one tandiwan or window is allowed int eh main house. Another
tandiwan and another ladder are allowed in the kitchen house.


Source of livelihood and also their home
Build houses on stilts over water, along the shore or farther out
Supported by piles embedded into the reef floor
Joined together to the shore or to one another by a maze of catwalks and bridges of
timber and split bamboo
Elevation of the house depend on the maximum high tide level in order to allow the
storage of the outrigger boat underneath the house when not in use.


After fishing, the Samal could easily enter the house from their boats
Samal House
- Recent houses 4.0 x 6.0 m and 3.0 m high
- Simply designed to have one single room and in the upper level sleeping, living,
cooking and eating
- Silong or space underneath serve as shed for the boat and area for bathing
- Pantan or open porch or terrace is important to the Samal tribe. Also used as a
workplace, accept visitors, hold rituals and allow children to play.

True sea gypsies of the south
Spotted in channels of Tawi-Tawi province or where fishes and corals abound for their
Use shelters as a means of travel which they usually do in groups
Mobile shelter which allows them to flee to safe grounds in the event of typhoon or pirate
The dapang, one of the many types of house boats - comes in varied sizes and lengths
and is fitted with outriggers and used not only for shelter but also for fishing
The boat prows are usually decorated with okir/okil designs
Unlike the Samal house, the Badjao land house stands alone on an expanse of water and
is reached only by boat. It is not joined by bridges or catwalks to the shore or other


Alarcon, Norma I. Philippine Architecture During the Pre-Spanish and Spanish Periods.
UST Publishing House. 1998
Fernandez, Honrado. The Architecture of the Philippines Traditions and Changing
Expressions Transforming Traditions. Asian Studies Publication Series. 2001 p.115-160
Hila, Ma. Corazon C. An Essay on Philippines Ethnic Architecture. CCP 1992
Tiongson, Nicanor, ed. Tuklas Sining Essays on the Philippine Arts. CCP, Manila 1991
Turalba, Maria Cristina V. Philippine Heritage Architecture before 1521 to the 1970s.
Anvil Publishing House. Pasay City. 2005

Prepared by:


November 2007