Ideas for our new Philippine house

These are snapshots of other tropical houses, tropical house details and so forth to help us define the design of the retirement house we plan to build on our Tigbauan, Iloilo land.  They are an unorganized hodgepodge of things we’ve seen, things which caught our eye.  Maybe something here will be an inspiration to your Philippine building plans.

A classic bahay na bato - location uncertain.

A classic bahay na bato - location uncertain.

Bahay na bato literally means house of stone but almost always means a house with a stone (or concrete?) first level and a second floor of wood.  See http://www.aenet.org/photos/bahay.htm for a little more narrative.  If you’re in the Cebu City area be sure to visit the Casa Gorordo Museum.  Casa Gorordo is a 19th century bahay na bato which has been beautifully preserved and restored (but not over restored) by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation.  On the grounds of the museum is a bookstore.  I bought a copy of a study of Casa Gorordo “Casa Gorordo in Cebu: Urban Residence in a Philippine Province” by Resil B. Mojares.  You won’t find better writing about old Philippine houses.

Casa Gorordo, Cebu City

Casa Gorordo, Cebu City

The oldest house in Cebu City c. 1738, a classic bahay na bato

The oldest house in Cebu City c. 1738, a classic bahay na bato

Note the fantastic old tile Chinese gambrel roof – “hsieh-shan” (sliced-off mountain).  Studies have shown that the vast majority of skilled building trades workers in Cebu were Chinese.  This place is a treasure.

This looks to be a bahay na bata but a modest version

This looks to be a bahay na bata but a modest version

Leyte House with the feel of a traditional design

Leyte House with the feel of a traditional design

Arcade in Florida

Arcade in Florida

Florida House

Enclosed porch in Florida. These offer a dependable shady place on sunny days.

Commercial building in Lucban, Quezon Province, Philippines

Lovely old residence (now commercial) building in Lucban, Quezon Province, Philippines

Excellent new construction on plaza in Lucban, Quezon Province, Philippines

Excellent new construction on plaza in Lucban, Quezon Province, Philippines

Roof structure on old house, Molo, Iloilo City

Roof structure on old house, Molo, Iloilo City

Roof, San Antonio Street, Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines

Roof, San Antonio Street, Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines

Bamboo over block wall - Sol y Mar Resort, Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines

Bamboo over block wall - Sol y Mar Resort, Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines

Bamboo wall (over block) pebble over block foundation, Sol y Mar Resort, Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines

Bamboo wall (over block) pebble over block foundation, Sol y Mar Resort, Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines

Classic Panay Bahay Kubo, San Miguel, Iloilo, Philippines

Classic Panay Bahay Kubo, San Miguel, Iloilo, Philippines

 

Wall gate, Montebello Hotel, Cebu City

Balcony without an entrance - San Jose Street, Molo - not an idea for our house!

Balcony without an entrance - San Jose Street, Molo - not an idea for our house!

Cottage - Pandan

Cottage - Pandan

Tiny Cottage - Pandan

Tiny Cottage - Pandan

Bedroom window 2m high and 2.5m wide (on a 3m ceiling and 3.5m wall).  Also note sliding screens.  These windows were custom fabricated.

Bedroom window 2m high and 2.5m wide (on a 3m ceiling and 3.5m wall). Also note sliding screens. These windows were custom fabricated.

Painted on moldings - it's hard to get more economical than this!

Painted on moldings - it's hard to get more economical than this!

Perfect place for afternoon nap!

Perfect place for afternoon nap!

Comments (6) Write a comment

  1. My and I have just retired in the Philippines and are in the process of finalizing a lot purchase. We have met with an architect with a great resume and a lot of hands on experience.
    We asked a lot of questions, though with no building experience in the Philippines we did not ask all that we should. We are fortunate to have a large family here with a lot of connections and have learned a lot over the last month or so, with the best information coming from your experiences.
    We would like to say thank you for sharing the information with all of us on the site.
    We will be making regular visits to the site and we will have an on site resident with experience overseeing things when we are not able to be there. From your experiences we have compiled a list of questions and a photo punch list for the architect and builder. We hope to avoid some of the problems you experienced by sharing your information and while we are not there requiring a daily photos of the work performed and the progress.
    We will try and share some of these with you and the other readers.

    Reply

  2. Forgive me for posting something long.

    I’m on the same boat, and I’d like to leave whatever help I can. I’m no architect major or anything, but I’m one of the only people who would go to lengths to get this thing right. I’ve been doing it for two years. Anyways, here it is.

    1) The biggest question is who you’re gonna have to talk to in order to get it done, or at least get started for real. If you’re talking national, you might mean two things:

    a) traditional
    b) neo-traditinoal

    Neo-traditional means taking an old tradition and marrying it with elements from the present in order to make it anew and revive its practice.

    Challenges:
    The National Building Code isn’t well-implemented, and neither government nor private sector bothers with this issue. It’s no one’s fault. Just that most Filipinos aren’t raised to be actively concerned with national architecture. We’re not Kyoto or the Thailand countryside. We have no such concepts of timelessness in local housing.

    It’s gonna need a heck lot of interested (trustworthy) people and reliable research.

    So if you know anyone who knows the ropes of exactly how on earth can you start a new national tradition that’d be great.

    2) There’s also the issue of diversity, since different ethnicities and islands come from different cultural influences. For example, I have an architectural design for Cebuanos referenced from pre-Spanish times. And you’ll need to think of today’s society, too.

    Who are living here, who consider themselves pinoys who come from other countries? Such and such. Since we are a melting pot it would be very mature to embrace the other cultures as part of our own–a kind of cultural marriage.

    Note that there are different house designs for each ethnicity (Manila, Bukidnon, Ifugao, Cebuano, Chinese, Spanish) depending on their historical and environmental conditions.

    It’s only my opinion, but I don’t think it would be a good idea to make only one house design representing the entire country (which is actually inpossible). If you’re talking about fair representation, you can’t make just one. That’s not democratic. And you NEED a democratic attitude towards this.

    Besides, sucha diversity is not only faithful to the true nature of the Filipino nation, but would also highlight our cultural richness, which hasn’t been seen for too long a time.

    3) About the question of Spanish architecture: we can actually use the bits (such as building techniques) that can enhance that intended local design. It’s been done by China, Japan, Korea, and pretty much everyone that had contact with the West. The idea is to make Western influence enrich the local design.

    This may include building materials, some icons, construction techniques, even interior design.

    It’s a lot of hard work geared towards a long term goal. If you’re willing to spill some blood (symbolically, hehe) you can contact me and we’ll see from there.

    Anyways, I hope this was helpful. Good luck.

    Reply

  3. We should keep the tradition of Bahay Na Bato, like Jose Rizals Bahay Na Bato in Calamba without that spanish garbage and be more like our neighbors in Asia, we’re not spanish we’re Asian!.

    Reply

    • I can sympathize. That’s why our house picks up some bahay kubo design elements and it’s also why we built a real bahay kubo. Remember, America was a colony too. We celebrate French influences in New Orleans, Spanish in California, Florida and the SW, German in Pennsylvania and the various English Colonial styles elsewhere. Further, I don’t know if there are any examples of pre-Spanish bahay na bato. However you feel about the Philippine colonial experience, the Spanish buildings that remain,mostly churches, are an asset and inspiration.

      Bob

      Reply

  4. Pingback: Ideas for our new Philippine house | Philippines or Bust

  5. I don’t know if you have your house plan done yet. From the pictures of different houses above, I like the Casa Gorordo’s front porch or veranda, both at the first and second floor. If your first floor will be elevated, so much the better with the steps and handrails, like the Gaston’s mansion. I also like their tile roof. Same with the pavers in front – similar to the plaza in your Lucban, Quezon picture.

    Reply

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