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The Quaintest House You'll Ever See 2017.01.01 18:57:17
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"The Quaintest House You'll Ever See"

Bahay Kubo, The Philippine national dwelling place



"Bahay Kubo, kahit munti

Ang halaman doon ay sari_sari.

Singkamas at talong, sigarilyas at mani

Sitaw, bataw, patani.

Kundol, patola, upo't kalabasa

At sake mayroon pang labanos, mustasa,

sibuyas, kamatis, bawang at luya

sa paligid-ligid ay puro linga."



           English translation: “Nipa Hut, though very modest… There are many plants over there… Jicama

and eggplant, winged beans and peanuts, long beans… gourds and squash… and also radishes,

mustard, onions, tomatoes, garlic and ginger… all around are sesame!”

 

          The name comes from when American teachers went to the Philippines to teach. They were

fascinated by the square houses that comprised of just one room. Yet this song is commonly translated

as "Nipa Hut" since these house are made with nipa palm leaves and bamboo.





          Based on Jong (2010), although coined by the Americans, the name of the primitive Nipa hut is

actually based on the Spanish phrase Cubo, meaning cube, probably because of its rectangular

appearance and Bahay is the Filipino word for house. By tradition this type of village dwelling is

onstructed out of organic materials, a perfect example of a totally green structure, a showcase of

extreme simplicity and sustainability that has been around for a very long time. The construction of a

Bahay Kubo is totally based on the local needs and conditions. Fabricated with the ever dependable

bamboo or kawayan and banded together by tree strings with dried coconut leaves or cogon grass.

Walls are made of nipa leaves or bamboo slats and the floor is made of finely split resilient bamboo. The

typical structure is raised with thick bamboo poles, one to two meters above the ground, depending on

the area where the shelter is constructed, providing the inhabitants a safe shelter from wild animals,

snakes and protecting them against torrential rains and floods. Bamboo is strong, lightweight and

flexible; it has diverse, functional and traditional uses. It holds and mirrors much of the Philippine

culture and it is part of many ceremonies, beliefs and traditions.




 

          But time has seen its share of evolution. In many places the traditional Bahay Kubo, the original

ancestral home is replaced by modern structures. Only in provinces can the original nipa huts still

be found, either clustered in barrios or simply scattered around the rural areas. In coastal areas,

nipa cottages are built on stilts in the water, and on lakes a floating Bahay Kubo is used as a shelter

for fishermen. At present it is very popular as a guesthouse, a romantic hideaway for lovers, a

favorite ornament and recreational accommodation in private gardens and holiday resorts, and as

a playground for children. The shape and size has changed throughout the years, but what remains

is the desire for a collective space in an authentic Filipino style and feeling, evermore embracing the

comforts of local tradition. The modern Bahay Kubo is used for family gatherings and is an ideal

and pleasant place for blissful relaxation with neighbours and friends, sharing those bonding

sessions while discussing family matters or the local gossip.





          To conclude, the humble Bahay Kubo is not only an indigenous house; it is an architectural and

monumental masterpiece, considered as a national symbol, a cultural heritage and a token of

togetherness. This time-honoured abode serve as a testament to the simple and clean but resilient

Filipino spirit, it embodies the character of the provincial landscape in the Philippines and reflects the

Filipino identity as well as the heart and soul of Filipino country life.




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