The Nipa Hut, or known locally as Bahay Kubo, is considered as an architectural and cultural icon in the Philippines because of its native origin. This dwelling type was already in use even before the Spanish colonization, so its historical significance is beyond compare – no wonder it is the national house of the Philippines.

The construction of the house is fairly simple and economical, and is perfectly suited to the country’s tropical climate. Primary building materials such as bamboo, nipa leaves, and coconut leaves are locally accessible. Bamboo serves as the structural framework of the house, due to its “strong, lightweight, and flexible” nature — bamboos are tied together with “tree strings with dried coconut leaves or cogon grass”. The walls could either be constructed with bamboo slats or nipa leaves, and the “floor is  made of finely split resilient bamboo”. The house is structurally “raised with thick bamboo poles “, which give protection from wild animals, and natural occurrences, such as floods. Truly, the construction of Bahay Kubo symbolizes the resourcefulness and simple lifestyle of Filipinos, especially those living in rural regions. It is also a representation of the close-knit Filipino community, since its construction usually involves cooperation among the village people.

Growing up in the Philippines, Bahay Kubo is the first ‘architectural knowledge’ which I learned in school. It holds a special place in my heart. It reminds me of my cultural heritage. It reminds me of the moral values which were instilled in me during my childhood years. It reminds me of my humble beginnings. It reminds me to always look back to where I came from.

Reference: Bahay Kubo (from CNN iReport) by RonaldDJ. May 8, 2012.

bahay kubo by _rmx, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  _rmx 
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