FILIPINO ARCHITECTURE

ery likely, man’s earliest shelter was not built by him. He simply found it – or found himself in it. It was nature herself who fashioned hollows on cliffs and mountain sides that offered protection from heat, rain and wind. In Angono, Rizal evidence of ancient cave dwellers exists in carved figures on cave walls, the earliest known Philippine mural. The Tabon Cave in Palawan is considered to have sheltered the earliest men of the Philippines. Meanwhile, the food gatherer, the fisherman, or the hunter, who moved from one place to another in his search for food and game, needed a shelter that was portable. Thus, he fashioned the lean-to from a frame made of tree branches and twigs, using leaves and fronds for sidings. A screen resting on the ground and help up at an angle by one or several poles, the lean-to is both roof and wall, protecting dwellers from rain the heat of the sun. The floor can be the ground itself, or a bed of leaves, or a platform slightly above the ground. The lean-to is light enough to be carried to another site. However, the dweller can simply abandon it and build another. A pair of lean-tos can be joined together to form a tent-like shelter, or a double-slope roof, which, in effect, is the beginning of a house. Swidden-farming or kaingin led to a relatively settled life. After making a clearing in the forest, the swidden farmer could cultivate it for two years, let it lie fallow, the return to it a few years later. Although dwellings became larger and were better built, they were neither permanent nor durable because sometimes, the kaingin farmer had to move on. With the development of wet-rice culture, farmers became rooted to the land. Though hints of the kaingin lifestyle persisted in the makeshift character of various dwellings, houses were built to last. The Mangyan of Mindoro, who are swidden-farmers, have two types of houses – the single-family dwelling and the communal house. Although the communal house is occupied by several families, its interior is not divided by partitions. The area for each family is defined by a mat on the floor.

When a Mangyan house is built on a slope, the entrance faces the rise. The steep roof is of cogongrass, the sidings, of tree bark, and the floor, of logs and saplings. The house appears to have no windows. However, it has a narrow strip of opening between roof and wall.

For added protection from floods, wild animals, and enemies, houses were built on trees, anywhere from two to twenty meters above the ground. Such houses have been found among the Ilongot, Tingguian and Gaddang in Northern Luzon, and among the Mandaya, Manobo, Tiruray and Bukidnon in Mindanao. One type of tree house nestles on the branches of a tree. Another type rests partly on a tall tree stump and partly on a cluster of tall stilts. The people of the Cordilleras in Northern Luzon are swidden farmers. But some, particularly the Ifugao, Bontoc and Kalinga, are known for their rice terraces. With massive, towering walls and a skillfully devised irrigation system, the rice terraces are a wonder of primitive engineering. It is no surprise that the terrace builders were able to construct sturdy dwellings remarkable for both simplicity and ingenuity. The one-room Ifugao house known as fale is a little marvel of construction. Outside, the Ifugao house seems to be nothing more than a pyramid resting on four posts. The interior space enclosed by slanting walls, sloping roof and ceiling formed by the loft appears nearly spherical. The dark, windowless chamber suggests a womb. Four wooden posts rest on a pavement and support two wooden girders which, in turn, support three wooden transverse joists. On the posts are wooden discs that prevent rats from entering the house. The ladder is drawn up at night or is hung across the front when the occupants are away. The floor joists, floor sills, vertical studs and horizontal beams at about head level form a cage that rests on the posts and girders. Floor boards are fitted between the joists. Wooden sidings slant outward and rise to waist height to form the lower half of the wall. The upper half of the wall is formed by the inner side of the roof.

Boards flanking the front and rear doors rise to the beams. The rafters of the roof rest on the beams and extend downward close to floor level. The roof frame is sheathed with reedlike runo,then covered with thatch. At an inner corner of the house is the fireplace. At the level of the beam is a storage loft with a floor of runo stalks. The wooden parts of this house are joined by rabbeting and by mortise and tenon. Other parts are fastened by lashing. Since nails are not used, the house can easily be dismantled, carried to a new site and reassembled. The solitary room is also the sleeping room, kitchen, dining room, storeroom and shrine for rituals. Only husband and wife and youngest child or children in infancy live in this house. Upon reaching the age of reason, sons and daughters sleep in separate communal dormitories. Next to this house stands its twin. This one is actually a granary with the same design as the house. In Mayoyao, the Ifugao house is distinguished by its classic simplicity. Its roof is high and steep. Low stone walls and a pavement form the setting of this house. With the smooth, finegrained, hardwood posts, rat guards are not necessary. The elevated living space in the fale becomes a granary in the Bontoc house, as the living quarters move down to ground level. A low wall encloses the ground floor. The four-post-two girder-threejoist structure of the Ifugao is also used in the Bontoc house.

. It is not known when and how Cordillera houses developed into their present form. thereby providing a spacious loft above the living space. The roof is of dried grass. The walls are vertical boards set into grooves that are cut into beams at floor and roofeaves level. The Kankanai house is still another variation of the Ifugao prototype. The Ibaloi house has a larger room. organized religion and a high degree of political organization enabled the Muslim people of Mindanao to resist Spain's attempts to bring them under her dominion. and the outer set supporting the roof. eight posts are added to form the eight sides of the house. the inner set supporting the floor. occasionally.space surrounded by space. wooden planks are laid to create more livable space. and the posts of whole bamboo and. The roof is higher and wider. The bamboo roof suggests an inverted boat. What is clear. Boat forms appear to have inspired the Isneg house. Wooden laths resting on joists support the runo floor which can be rolled up like a mat and taken to the river for washing. The interior of the T'boli house is one example of a characteristic feature of Philippine houses . the walls of woven bamboo. and even married offsprings could live in it. All the wall boards can be removed to make the house a roofed platform for village celebrations. The combination of a strong. On the ground level. On hilltops and rolling land. is that these house forms developed in isolation and were untouched by Western influence. the T'boli of Southern Cotabato in Mindanao build large (me-room houses on stilts. Beyond this frame. It is a wooden box with a steep thatch roof as a lid. At one end is the entrance and the fireplace. the floor can be rolled up. however. and a small porch. A window is created by simply taking out a few boards. a flaring roof. With the granary within. for the Spanish colonizers did not succeed in bringing the region and its people under their rule.The Sagada house resembles the Bontoc house but is fully covered. Islam was established in Sulu in the 14th century and in Mindanao in the 15th century. The side sections are for working or resting. and wooden floor joists have the profile of a boat. the Sagada house is a "house within a house". since the entire family. As in the Kalinga house. The central portion of the octagonal house rests on a fourpost-two-girder-and-three-joist structure. and at the other is the place of honor for the head of the house. tree stumps. The Isneg house is the largest among the Cordillera houses. Some of the Kalinga live in octagonal houses. The central portion of the floor is slightly lower than the areas around it. The Isneg house has two sets of posts.

Except in the Ibaloi style. like the far larger houses in the lowlands. and the southern. in the Ifugao. The Kalinga octagonal house combines four poststwo girders-three joists support of the southern strain with the floor and roof construction of the northern strain. Kankanai. reedmat floor. In the Bontoc house. sometimes with bowed rafters. or in fact. levels and clearly defined sections exemplify both a practical and ritual organization of space. The space below the floor is not used. a granary. and among the Bontoc and Sagada. Ibaloi. conscious or otherwise. one. the house has no windows. a house cage. In spite of its minimal area. a threesection. the interior of the Igorot house is. and Bontoc houses. The interior design of both northern and southern strain houses appears as an attempt. roof-bearing. in turn carrying three beams or joists. The prototype of the southern strain is the Ifugao haouse. features of granary constructions. The space under the floor is not used. which among the Ifugao. The space below the floor is used. two-level. and two sets of posts. The octagonal Kalinga house is a combination of both strains The northern style is characterized by a gable roof. and Ibaloi is the living area. The common features of the southern strain are a steep pyramidal or hip roof. resting on beams and stabilized by horizontal straining members House size and structural design – the latter limited to short spans and in some cases multiple supports – appear to result partly from the custom of cutting timer in the forest to sizes that could be easily carried by men. . The Kalinga and Isneg houses have lateral platforms which are used as head-rests or “pillows” and which provide space for storage. The Mayoyao and Kankanai houses have a low platform around the floor. Igorot houses religiously employ post andlintel construction to the exclusion of diagonal bracing even in the roof frame. to visually expand the one-room space by means of levels and defined sections. Kankanai. Roof supports consist of king posts.THE MOUNTAIN HOUSES n a masterly study Willy Henry Scott classifies the Cordillera houses into the northern andsouthern strains. The northern is exemplified in the Isneg and Lower Kalinga house. The Ifugao house has a peripheral shelf at waist height. and queen posts in some cases. and the house cage support consisting of four posts carrying two girders. This is apparent from the use of stilts and rat guards. a two-level floor. which probably developed from a granary. a space surrounded by space. Platforms wide enough for sleeping create a play of levels in the Sagada house. floor-bearing and the other.

while the apa and the allao are for the less fortunate. rarely has a pyramidal roof. a public status marker: the hagabi. though not wealthy. Rather unique is the allao. the Cordillera people were alreadydivided by class. for its floor is rectangular and its roof a gable. as though to openly boast of its resources. has not rat fenders on its posts. were not destitute either. In between these two extremes were those who. The poor man’s dwelling. the walls are perpendicular to the ground. Like the poor Ifugao’s dwelling. . as in thebinangiyan. according to Bello. The roof has no space for an attic. had little to store. while the dwelling of the more fortunate. Among the Kankanai. In stark contrast. A display of carabao horns signifies bravery in battle and the owner’s wealth. has only a single story structure built on the ground with the earth as its floor. and has but one door. and never knew where their next meal would come from. being low. The fay-u holds a granary at its center and has walls less than a meter hight at the front and back. and hosted feasts where their many guests ate and drank for several days at their expense. These extremes in social class are reflected in house types. rather they stand perpendicular to the ground. Wealthy Bontoc live in the fay-u. Whatever the heads stand for. Some claim the animal is a carabao or a pig. Poor or young families intending to save for a binangiyan. flutings on their exteriors and underneath their roof eaves. according to Jenks. needs not stairway. the poor in the katyufong. is built of poorer materials. is called the abong. while the four main posts stand directly at the corner. the bale. They commission carved posts in their interiors. the binangiyan is for the prosperous. the roof is lower and extends cloer to the ground. has mud walls that completely enclose it. and has no granary to show off. The abong’s walls do not slope outward from below. it is also less protected from rats. while runo sticks and wooden boards comprise the walls. the aged and the widowed in the allao.RICH HOUSE/ POOR HOUSE Even before Christian lowlanders encroached on their lands. Though conical. Since the roof slopes down beyond the floor. Other families had limited land. Some families had plenty of Riceland. the katyufong. others say it is a goat. live in an apa. as in a bin. The opposite ends of this carved wooden long seat have animal heads. white the floor. is but slightly raised from the ground. among the Ifugao. split bamboo and runo sticks make-up the floor. Barton says that the former does not have uniform dimensions. Some bale dwellers are very wealthy. enjoyed full granaries. thus making it easier for the rats to scurry up. Instead of ine narra. Not only does the poor man’s dwelling have less rice to store. its long sides may dispense with walls. the several days or feasting and drinking before and after the hagabi’sinstallation plus the months of labor that went into its making will forever remind everyone of its owner’s preeminence. One type of apa is more simply built than the binangiyan.

the floor being about 1. which are curved to receive the bottom plank. suffusing the house with a gentle glow.50 m. high from ground lefel to the roof ridge. The posts. consists mainly of three planks. actually the front. datag or xassaran. above the ground. Indeed walls are constructed in such a way that al the planks can be taken out. Thus. Its floor is slightly higher than that of the main section. No ceiling hides the roof’s woodwork. The space immediately visible within corresponds completely with the external form of the house. tamuyon. as wide as the house and extending 1. girders. suggest the profile of a boat. . the Apayao. The roof of the Isneg house suggests an inverted hull. barana’yor bank’l. from it. the Isneg house. The binuron house rests on a total of 15 posts. tarakip. Inside the house the space expands because the walls slant outward. high from floor to eaves. has a gable roof. sloping downward from the base of the gable. long. but its roof is lower. Attached to one end is an annex. and 5. The main section. To make windows. The Isneg boat.50 m. as light filters through. only the Isneg are boatmen and boat builders. thereby converting the house into a roofed platform for festive occasions. long. 4.20 m. and the floor joists. seems transparent.n the rugged landscape of the Cordillera. after which the region is named. The floor is a space surrounded by space. is surrounded on three sides by narrow. The Isneg house is about 8.00 m. House design appears to have been influenced by boat design. among the Cordillera people. a bottom plank. which are visible. three or four of the side walls’ vertical planks are removed. which tapers at both ends. and at the remaining end by the slightly raised floor of the annex.50 m. which are visible outside. In some houses the entrance opens at the gable and under the protection of a lean-to roof. slightly raised platform. made of reeds. and two side planks. like the Lower Kalinga house.50 m. the roof is of thatch or bamboo. A ladder leads to a door on one end of the side wall. Some Isneg houses have annexes at both ends. joists and walls are of wood. Apayao is the only region that has a navigable river. The floor. Most Cordillera houses have pyramidal or hip roofs. The main section of the house has a gable roof and is about 6. wide. The slanting wooden walls on the sides are about 1.00 m.

Laths are mortised onto 11 floor joists which run crosswise across the girders. the atobtobo. They are laid alternately from the ridgepole to the wall beams in akind of pointer arch. They receive both the floor platforms and the lower ends of the wallboards. A reed sheath covering the rafters and rattan stems serves as a base for the thatch. three on each side of the roof. thin pliable boards and rattan stems. there on each side. Across the purlins pass rafters. rises outside the house wall. support the girders running lengthwise. Purlins running horizontally. an ensemble consisting of a carved king post and two queen posts. supports one end of the ridge pole. running parallel to and mortised one to the other but enclosing the roofbearing posts. touch the ends of the straining beams. carry the roof and one. The ridge-pole at the roof rests on a variety of posts. A special post. The floor frame is so constructed that it accommodates the lateral platform and allows wallboards to be removed. As among the Kalinga.The following is a summary of Morice Vanoverbergh’s description of a typical house: Of the 15 posts of the Isneg house. eight sinit or inner posts support the floor – six inner posts for the main section of the house. and two additional ones for the annex. mats made of reeds form the floor and can be rolled up and washed. Six other posts. . rides a central crossbeam. the adixi. An upper horizontal frame mortised to the crossbeams and girders grips the boards’ upper ends. The frame actually consists of two: an inner one and an outer one. the atobtobo. The six inner sinit posts.

so named to distinguish it from the Rio Grande de Cagayan – runs north-northeast into the Kalinga region from Bontoc. in more or less circular or elliptical fashion. The Pacil River running from the southwest. flat “roof” of bamboo covers the roof ridge. Flanked by ridges rising 1. and past Lubuagas. Where theatobtobo post stands. two beams are attached to these gable boards: one at the bottom. wild grass. and surrounded by a fence. In some areas. cacao and coconut trees. Entrances may face once another or face the same direction or any of the cardinal points. but the space above the upper gable beam is left open. and are located along waterways. the Chico divides Kalinga into three sections and its people into three major groups. The settlements are about 500 to 700 meters above sea level. At the other end of the house.500 to 2. swings eastward to the Cagayan Valley. which are scattered a few kilometers apart. Inside the house. the roof covering consists of half-sections of bamboo laid on like shingles. have anywhere from three to 12 houses. Since the Isneg are swidden farmers and are often away from the village for prolonged periods. A narrow. A north-south ridge east of the Chico divides Southern Kalinga from Eastern Kalinga. There seems to be no standard orientation for houses.Along the gable edges thick boards are mortised on to the beam and purlin ends. cogon grass pressed between a pair of frames made of reeds covers the gable’s upper half. Granaries are located near the houses or outside the clearing. A village may consist of one cluster of houses or several small clusters. and beyond. Isneg hamlets. having as many as 15 to 20 rows of bamboo sections with wide overlaps. the other halfway to the roof ridge. next to the post opposite the door a square hearth framed by four sills welcomes the visitor. and the eastern course of the Chico divide Northern Kalinga from Southern and Eastern Kalinga. bushes and ferns. At the edge of the clearing are coffee. The roof is quite thick. At present the houses are built in a clearing. he Chico river – or the Rio Chico de Cagayan. One comes upon an Isneg village after traveling through groves and forests and across streams and stretches of quiet landscape. where the annex is attached. elevated areas inside the bend of a river being preferred. The annex’s lean-to roof covers the lower half. small temporary huts are built in their work sites. Both beams are rabbeted to receive wall boards. Natives refer also to Upper Kalinga and Lower . Formerly Isneg villages were surrounded by bamboo stockades or palisades of tree fern trunks.000 meters.

who farm on both wet terraces and swiddens.” Whether this was traditional decoration or juvenile graffiti not cleaned up by time is open to question. since its features are not strongly defined. long and 5. and the eaves form a rough edged circle. A low door opens to the platform. Rectangular houses are just as common. however. Pinukpuk. This. may be disputed. on the back wall is another door. have town-like settlements. The thatched. in settlements along the Chico River. The octagonal house is about 6. The exterior of the octagonal house does not have the architectural impact of other Cordillera houses. the roof ridge is parallel to the sides.Kalinga. The floor of the living quarters is 1. and the latter being the area including Balbalan. hipped roof is not high and steep. who are swidden farmers.20 m. An account written in 1887 by Alexander Schadenberg mentions the octagonal – and even round – houses of the Guinaanes. and houses scattered singly or in two’s and three’s near the swiddens. the name given to the inhabitants of the region around present-day Lubuagan. It has been suggested that the octagonal houses were houses of the rich.50 m. It has also been suggested that the octagonal house is the older type. and on the trails leading to them were warning devices. live in scattered hamlets with six to 30 houses. the former being the region on the heights along the Chico. The walls from floor level to eaves are of wooden boards placed vertically. or pits with sharpened stakes at the bottom. The scholarly eye of the German traveler noted that houses were painted on the outside with “round designs or figures. as well as small villages. representing men and women with strongly marked genital parts. near each other arranged in two rows. above the ground. A village consists of a nuclear group of a dozen houses. This has yet to be verified.00 m. The visitor enters the house through a ladder leading to a narrow platform on the front wall.20 m. The Northern Kalinga. a door at ground level opens into a small ground level working space within the house. if not more common. Unlike in the Cordillera houses previously described. From ground level to floor level. wide. Preferred sites are leveled sections of slopes or pockets which have an unobstructed view of the surroundings. some with up to 200 houses. Early in this century Kalinga villages were protected by bamboo stockades. Opposite the front door. the only house type in the region. however. on the left wall diagonal to the front wall. deadfalls with heavy logs. It is not. The Southern Kalinga. The octagonal house called binayon orfinaryon is found in Upper Kalinga. Beside the ladder. The height from the ground to the roof ridge is about 4. Tabuk and Conner. In large settlements houses are built close to each other and are sometimes grouped around open spaces. the walls . The octagonal form is not clearly pronounced in the wooden and bamboo walls.

The Kalinga house is not an equilateral octagon. the four diagonal walls being shorter than the front. In the Cordillera houses previously described. In front and at the back. in order to prevent misfortune. The floor is divided into three parallel sections running front to back. Houses are generally located near the river. a ladder connects it to the ground. They carry two crossbeams.00 m.50 m. and from there on to the roof ridge horizontally laid bamboo slats cover the gables.50 m.20 m. each about 1. The crossbeams that connect the tops of the queen posts allow rafters to rise in a slight curve over the roof beams to end at three ridgepoles..are of plaited bamboo orsawali. gives the interior a play of textures. The floor consists of a wide middle section. is the fireplace slightly raised above floor level. like a dam. Four tall posts are mortised on to intersections of the beams and joists. at the side sections. thus further defining the levels and spaces. a loft or granary conceals the roof from the living space. The roof’s inner configuration dominates the interior space. wide and 5. The floor. each of which supports a pair of queen posts. The Kalinga house’s unique form is made possible by 12 short posts: four inner posts marking a square at the center and eight outer ones forming an octagon. which suggests expansion rather than enclosure. Logs are piled against the lower section of the wall. and two narrow slightly elevated side sections. the wooden walls end at height of about 2. The eight sides are more clearly defined inside the house than outside because of the exposed structural frame of walls and roof. long. lengthwise. The interior of the octagonal house is remarkable for its patial concept and organization. Windows open at opposite ends of the house diagonal to each other. the roof’s inner configuration is a prominent feature of the interior space. as one enters the house. but rather lies crosswise. above ground level. of moderate pitch.00 m. wide.sipi. The floor is not a perfect octagon. 5. The roof is gabled and its ridge is parallel to the sides of the house. At one side of the entrance a large portion of the floor is eliminated to provide a working space that reaches from ground level to roof height. The traditional house in Lower Kalinga is about 6. crossing it. while rabbeted beams on the eight outer posts receive the wall boards. Girders and joists passing over these posts support the floor laths. Or they may be at both ends of the same sipi. It is basically a bamboo mat woven with rattan strips and laid on laths. high from ground to roof ridge. At the middle section the bamboo strips of the mat run crosswise. As one sits inside the Kalinga binayon the walls and roof seems to form a dome-like and even spherical space. may be of thatch or bamboo. since the corners are not all floored over. To the left. . consisting of reed mats that can be rolled up. does not follow the downstream flow of the river. and from floor to eaves level are of vertically set wooden boards. which marks the axis of the house. Front door and back door do not face each other directly. The Kalinga roof’s vault and octagonal plan create a sense of expansion within the interior.75 m. as it were. As in the Upper Kalinga house. dattagon. the central portion being lower than the sides. and towards the rear. The roof. The floor rises about 1. and the roof ridge. The walls from ground to floor level are of horizontally laid bamboo poles. back and side walls.

rafters may be curved or bowed. bubong. Opposite each inner post. The roof ridge has a thatch cover. compact settlements. Outside the eight outer posts a rabbeted still receives the vertical wall boards. each ato has 15 to 50 houses and a communal center consisting of the chap-ay. Halved bamboo is laid one over the other in concaveconvex fashion. then becoming shorter again towards the ridge. A transverse beam connects each pair of such posts and carries a tapered king post. Their bottom ends may fork to rest like clamps on partly embedded stones. Beams crossing the tops of the outer posts secure the upper ends of these boards. several layers of bamboo are used.oton. a circular open space paved with flat stones. Clothes are kept in rattan boxes on the side floors. bounded by sills. evil spirits can look into the house and cause misfortune. where . the pieces are shorter at the eaves. The posts are partly sunk into the ground. a common dormitory for young men and boys in their adolescence. the fawl. These king posts pierce a horizontal brace and support the inner roof ridge. In the tinalob style. and at each corner of the house is an outer post. tall enough to support the roof. he Bontoc have large. Where thatch is used. They should be of chest or abdomen height – or above a man’s height – but should never coincide with eye or mouth level. from the front or back wall boards. a house where old men gather . only two layers of bamboo are used.On the left at the rear of the room is the fireplace. becoming longer towards the center of the slope. With the posts at eye level. and over which thatch is laid. In the kinimpal style of roofing. each one set around 40 cm. The floor is a bamboo mat which can be rolled up and taken to the river for washing. the common dormitory for girls. and the pabafunan. Corresponding to the pabafunan is theolog. Purlins on the rafters receive aruno sheath woven with rattan. built among rice terraces and divided into wards called ato. These eight outer posts stand on stones. at mouth level. On the sills that define the lower central section of the middle floor stand posts. Rice is stored on the sipi beside the fireplace. Four inner posts forming a square or rectangle constitute the house’s core support. Another kind of roof is made of bamboo. all the family’s savings will be eaten up. Rafters run over the beams to this inner roof ridge. and water jars on the sipi opposite it.

beyond the sidings of the ground floor that ends at 1. On the right side of the entrance. To the left of the entrance a mortar for husking rice is embedded in a square sunken area. either squatting or lying down under the low roof of the boat all hours of the day. you find your face.00 m. fayu. and that is just enough for a person to squat without his head touching it. like extra stoves and other pots. square.young men visit them during courtship and trial marriage. The Bontoc house. wide extends from the front wall to the rear interior wall. Each outer post is provided with a rat guard directly under the rafter. is about 3. an opening well protected by eaves. above the ground. At night you sleep crosswise on the length of the boat and your body hurts the first time because the flooring is uneven: your head and legs follow the upward slope of the bamboo slats while your lower back rump presses on the wooden planks. he also owns a harpoon gun. pillows and mats. You cannot stretch your legs as straight as you would want to. you feel the heat of the sun coming down from the roof. it is a warm kind of heat in .60 m. a small chest. Above the roof and stuck between two holes with branching fingers are his fishing spears. and the living quarters are on ground level. The roof at its highest point is about three fee. above the ground and about 2. is about 1. in frontage and 4. a water jar. The basic form is like that of the Ifugao house. We stayed in the houseboat of Jamiluddin for several days. leaving a continuous opening from waist to head level. The ground floor is enclosed at the front and sides by horizontal wooden boards up to waist height. one at each corner to receive the end of each diagonal rafter.50 m.20 to 1.50 m. falig. several pots and three plates. The granary.30 m. a lamp for fishin. the roof is hipped with the ridge parallel to the front. The rest of the flooring is made of bamboo slats. At noon. a stove. we had to crawl out of the small space of a boatroom and stand on the ledge-lank where the prow begins.50 m. two bolos. is an area containing a fireplace and a shelf along the outer wall for jars. Through the doorway one enters the ground floor called cha-la-nan which includes the space under the granary. and at the rear by a stone wall of the same height. On this platform sit baskets and implements. high and 3. It projects about 1. except that the house cage serves as a granary. so that things can be hidden underneath. for the suitcase. the baol. measuring about 1. As in the Ifugao house. resting on threejoists-on-two girders-on-four-posts. between the two left posts of the granary and bounded at the rear by a low interior wall.20 m. The extent of the roof necessitates additional posts. at best you take an oblique position or simply tuck your legs in as if you were cold. arms and legs sticky with moisture. lashed to the outer posts.20 m. To stretch a leg. long and 1. The flooring is made of planks loosely pieced together and unnailed. a platform about . and the pile of nets crowd the nipa walls. one suitcase.50 m. When you wake up in the morning. square. The roof is of galvanized iron but the sides are of nipa and rice straw. underneath are chicken cages. Beyond this area. the walls of the house cage support the roof. The furnishings in Jamilludin’s boat are just about the same in all the other boats: a sail. lying down.50 m.

The Badjao subsist on cassava and fish for their whole life. one built on three rocks over a circular metal disk. stumps and firewood. The stairs are also where the woman of the house sometimes does her washing by simply squatting on the last rung and soaking the clothes in sea water and slamming them against the stair post to dry. a boat builder and fisherman. The kitchen door at the end exits onto a long plank that spans the flooring of the next houses. one side has another window and the other side has a door that leads to the kitchen. across one roofbeam hangs a pile of fishing nets. cassava roots. were brought in the town of Bongao. What did we see in a Badjao house? The stairs. And the sun reflections on the water dance on the ledges of the roof and hold you in a blind trance. The stairs are fenced like a small verandah at the top and on the landing one sees poles that serve as washlines together with dried tree trunks. . They either buy these cassava roots or reap them from the fields inland. The cramped living room has two entrance doors with two small windows shaped out of the center wall and overlooking the landing. built is house over the water using such tools as two native patuk axes. leads a porch-like landing of irregularly-spaced boards. and to a one-room. plane. a coconut grater. a water jar and a big kerosene can. a water jar in one corner. he did not even have a saw. a branch of chili pepper leaves sticks out from the wall. the front doors swing from rotating wooden hinges. a flat-bottomed basket covers papaya fruits.which you can hardly breathe. The sala has two wooden benches. Posts are tree trunks. they do not eat meat. they hang there only to signify the number of children in the house. and between two beams on the exposed roof. In one corner. in like manner she washes plates and cooking pots. The sleeping room is practically empty. The kitchen furnishings are two stoves. and three mirrors on separate walls. however. we are told. They have rice only on festive occasions or as a form of dessert. The walls of his house were made of wood planks cut into boards from trees gathered in the inland woods. and several coconuts. from the sides of mountains. Maysahani. stand apart from one another. Actually. with three rungs above the water. Several pots around the stoves. chisel and a drill. Nationalistic scenes are crudely painted on them: the flag and eagle symbols of the Republic of the Philippines. a long plank carries a white duffel bag. The mirrors are placed in such a slanting way that one finds great difficulty in seeing his image in any one of them. two-door structure that is a combination sala and sleeping room without beds. a toolbox on the center side. A shelf protrudes from one side and holds a suitcase. hammer. These mirrors. the Leyte landing of MacArthur and his famous lines of “I Shall Return”. or clearings in the woods. a mat spreads out on the floor. the roof is made of nipa and matted coconut leaves. and mirrors are meant to drive away evil spirits. and the portrait of Jose Rizal as patriot and hero.

Because these spirts are still part of the family. houses of the elite. They offer their deceased ancestors food and packs of cigarettes and betel nuts and sprinkle on ever corner of their graves sweet – smelling tonic from tiny bottles that are manufactured by the Chinese in another part of the Philippine world: Caloocan. Such a situation has led Stone (1974) to make the observation that differences in housing between the Tausug and Samal are not clearly marked as between the Badjao and other groups. and Bonggao – the Philippine plaza. shops and at times. n the Sulu Archipelago. usually manufactured board and either galvanized tin or shingle roofing. Moving away from the plaza one finds houses belonging to Christians and Chinese-mestizo elite. blue. “house construction is generally a variation of the Southeast Asian stilt houses with woven bamboo siding. In Tawi-Tawi. They adorn their grave-plots with canopies and colored paper parasols and buntings.” harles Frake in his study of the Subanun of Mindanao (1980) gives a sociological explanation of their traditional dwelling. Their panglima or headman and imam or religious leader stick into this sacred ground little banners of red. bamboo flooring. Siasi. the Badjao make frequent cemetery visits to ask favors from the spirits of their deceased ancestors and relatives. They carve gravemarkers into birds and sea horses and serpents to transport these spirits into another life.” At the farthest point. in Jolo. nearest Borneo. “In the market centers – Jolo. a part of their life.The Badjao. The Subanun house – a . the Samal mix on various islands with the Tausug who are the dominant group and whose concentration is in the Jolo island cluster. Construction quality deteriorates the farther away from the plaza the house is located. generally unpainted. the traditional burial grounds of the southern Badjao are Bilatan Boon and Bunabunaan. Construction is similar. and bamboo or palm frond roofing. Generally the Tausug outnumber other groups in the northern half of Sulu and the Samal increase in number in the southern half. As their native religion is a form of ancestor worship. perhaps a school. Stone continues. do go on and stay on land – when they die and are buried. the Badjao come to comfort them and make them as happy as the living. yellow and green colors and chant prayers over the dead. the Tausug who are permanent residents will live farther away from the water than the Samal. Rizal. Generally speaking. water people though they are.

as floor space averages about 12 square meters and rarely exceeds 20. The sleeping area. Several inches of space often intervene between the roof and the side walls. thus doing away wit the need for side walls. First. there are no outdoor areas or other buildings for such purposes. From the ridge. a number of smaller rods extend over the side walls and on them rests the roofing of nipa palm. thatched pole dwelling – “has among its physical aspects. The more typical Mandaya house is built on top of a tree that has been cut 15 or 20 feet above the ground with the stumps serving as foundation. attendance at social gatherings can exceed 40 or 50 persons only with difficulty. . An upper flooring made of beaten bark rests on crossbeams lashed by rattan to the uprights. In some houses two or tree foundation poles extend above the floor to support the ridge pole. cooking. although it moves and creaks with every gust of wind: In such a case the house is secured further by anchoring it with rattan lines nearby trees. “With the exception of all few religious ceremonies. the dining area and the cooking area “find architectural expression only in slightly different floor levels”. Pricacy comes only with darkness. The whole tree house is so firmly lashed together by rattan that it can withstand the severest of storms. the living area. Although an all-night drinking party. a wedding or a religious ceremony may pack people until there is literally standing room only. There is little privacy in working. Many more smaller poles are placed not only to support the flooring but also to extend upward to form the wall and the roof. this small size reflects single family occupancy.” Frake describes the interior of a Subanun house as consisting of only one room and one heart. The roof usually slopes directly from one ridgepole to the edge of the platform. he Mandaya of Davao build their dwellings high in the branches of trees and oftenon the edges of cliffs which can be reached only from one direction. but it has the consequence of limiting the number of persons that can assemble together. all Subanun social functions take place indoors in a dwelling house. eating or conservation. This type sometimes has horizontal sides and sloping roofs. Frake concludes. Above the flooring are horizontal poles forming the framework for attaching walls of nipa palms. a legal case.rectangular. In other houses the Mandaya would have kingposts resting on the beams which in turn are supported by corner poles. The tree houses are of two kinds – the first is a crude one simply resting on the limbs of trees and conforming size and shape to the nature of the supporting branches. three characteristics of social importance. The Subanun house. “has no value as permanent real estate”. The Subanun are non-religious shifting agriculturists in the large mountainous interior of Zamboanga peninsula. it is small.

The Yakan cultivate kapok which they stuff into pillows and mattresses that they roll out at night or also offer to visitors to sit on at parties and gatherings. of course. For instance. the torogan. the royal house of sultans and datus. if you will not come upon some woman weaving cloth with one end of the loom fastened to the wall and the other end-cord wound around her waist. and just like many Tagalog and Visayan do. brass food trays. there is nothing significantly Islamic about the settlement patterns and housing of Muslims in southern Philippines. excellent names and he who learns them by heart will be given access to Paradise because God is One and He likes odd numbers. chests for keeping clothes. the royal house of sultans and datus. the Yakan use either sawali or horizontally-placed wooden boards or bamboo poles bound together with rattan. For outside of their mosques which tower above the rural landscape. mean life. no longer functions as one in Maranao country – an indication that what was once a symbol of Muslim ruling power is only an old glory of the past decades. government forces made the Yakan come together in “protected” villages much against their habit and preference. in the rebel war in Basilan in the 1970s. For instance. you will see a long wooden or bamboo box for storing palay and used as a bench for visitors to sit on. The Yakan make very small – and very few – windows in order to block bad spirits from entering the house so easily. For walls. the Tausug and the Maranao different from the Tagalog and the Cebuano is simply Islam and the system of sultans and datus. The Yakan are careful in building their stairs for the number of steps – just like the number of rooms – must be an odd number. By tradition. the mats. For outside of their mosques which tower above the rural landscape. W . The Yakan house. What makes the Yakan. and for the floor. just like the interior-dwelling Tausug of Sulu. no longer functions as one in Maranao country – an indication that what was once a symbol of Muslim ruling power is only an old glory of the past decades. The roof is conical and steep. either split bamboo or rough wood supported by heavy posts. usually made of thatch for protection against heavy rain. to the. When visiting a Yakan house you go up on a bamboo ladder or notched pole onto the porch and into the living room where. the torogan.” And the door of the house must face the east to embrace the morning sun and take in its promise of live and all of God’s new blessings.hat makes the Yakan. the Tausug and the Maranao different from the Tagalog and the Cebuano is simply Islam and the system of sultans and datus. the Yakan live in houses scattered among their fields. bronze boxes for betel and. also elevated on piles with the stilts two or three meters in height. Even numbers connote death and other ill omen while odd numbers. The Rites of Pilgrimage says that “God has 99. is one or more rooms connected to a kitchen by an open or covered porch made of split bamboo poles. or a 100 minus one. there is nothing significantly Islamic about the settlement patterns and housing of Muslims in southern Philippines. But. brass metal containers.

In the hilly. The porch. Some use wood shingles as roof. and just like many Tagalog and Visayan do. The porch ladder has bamboo ladder leads to the kitchen door at the left side. To open the windows. the Yakan live in houses scattered among their fields. the old Maranao house is simply one big partitionless room and you create bed spaces by using several carved chests. fenced to prevent children from falling off it. The roof is conical and steep. without partitions. they use them for roofing instead. is in front of the house while the kitchen. built a half meter lower. But if they have enough bamboo. dry-rice areas hamlets are smaller and their houses cluster in an irregular pattern near a water source. but this is not a traditional practice. the Yakan use either sawali or horizontally-placed wooden boards or bamboo poles bound together with rattan. also elevated on piles with the stilts two or three meters in height. flooring. Most of the houses have no ceiling. But.31 to 2. which is steep and shaped like the carabao’s horns. the Maranao usually use thick cogon grass and lash this to a split bamboo frame with rattan. is one or more rooms connected to a kitchen by an open or covered porch made of split bamboo poles. The Maranao house is raised on pilings from .By tradition. doors and windows are made of bamboo material lashed together with rattan. one has to push their covers to the side.86 to 18. The roof. For the roof. The Yakan house.5 centimeters above the ground. The area under the house is walled with split bamboo usually woven in crisscross patterns. For walls. measure about 7. Depending on its size. and for the floor. walls.21 meters above the ground. in the rebel war in Basilan in the 1970s. Like many ordinary houses in the south.5 to 220. the woven split rattan sapiyay or the . placing one set of halved bamboo face up and covering all the spaces in between with the other halves in sequential patterns. just like the interior-dwelling Tausug of Sulu. he Maranao arrange their houses in a line patter along a liver.9 meters. Each hamlet is made up of three to 30 multi-family dwellings raised on pilings 31. the house usually has nine to 12 posts and the main room. usually made of thatch for protection against heavy rain. The Yakan make very small – and very few – windows in order to block bad spirits from entering the house so easily. either split bamboo or rough wood supported by heavy posts. especially at night. road or lake shore. is at the back. government forces made the Yakan come together in “protected” villages much against their habit and preference. Windows are located at the front – to watch neighbors pass by – and on the right side – to check on the carabao inside its corral below the house. Here the women weave mats during the daytime when it is hot.

The roof the torogan was first made of cogon grass. Marantao.I. A long pillow stuffed with dried la’ing or banana leaves is placed at the head and a long mat at the foot of the bed. the mortar and pestle. and a big vessel for storing rice.mosquito screen as dividers or headboards. In the kitchen are stone stoves. Built between 1886 and 1887 by the people of the community and the slaves of the datu. Brass stands and brass tray cuspidors are well arranged in the room. round brass trays as tables. but during the American regime the son of Datu Pimbarat changed it to G. The cradle is not swung back and forth. while the parents rest in bed. the ancestral house of the upper-class Maranao. Under the house are farming and fishing equipment. If there is baby. To catch falling dust from the roof. Lanao del Sur made all the carvings. Bundles of rice stalks are placed under woven mats to serve as beds. The torogan. Although every torogan is simply one wide open place without rooms. There are shelves along the wall. sheets. his cradle is hung from a roof beam on a piece of rope attached to a steel spring. pots and pans. Datu Ramber of Bacayawan. In times past. instead the baby is rocked to sleep with an up-and-down motion. Marawi City was still standing badly in need of repair. is now only a precious reminder of bygone days when carving was an art exclusive to sultans and young daughters were jewels to be hidden in towers and secret rooms. and looking not even a skeleton of its former glory. the younger datu built a gibon or bedroom for one remaining daughter when his three others married and later moved out of the torogan. Some use kapok but others use the cottony flowers of masawseeds for their pillows and mattresses. as Ba’I a labi Tawano reminisces. low. water containers. the Maranao devised a bamboo frame that functioned like a colled spring to which the four corners of the malong were tied with pieces of strong rope hanging from the frame. the plaited bamboo tapaan on which fish or meat is smoked. the house still showed its beautifully decoratedpanolong and the multi-colored okir carvings on the frontal walls and sidings. The bed is sometimes fenced for the protection of little children. In 1980 the torogan of Datu Pimbarat at Amito. . the plow and harrow. a taritib or canopy is hung above the bed which can also be covered with curtains decorated with appliqué. The Maranao use small.

Though it was not a permanent place for the daughter and her ladies – it served as a hiding place when there were many people in the house – the whole room was decorated with chests and brass urns. dunngaw or sapar are planted as a symbol of survival. hung above the mattress. fish in the lake or do oddjobs in and around the torogan.The gibon. . All the posts stand on stones so that when there is an earthquake they rock with the stones and do not break. His rule over the ndatoan being such. settles family disputes. These end-beams are called panolong or boat-prows and the wings carry fern-like. bed and pillows with Maranao libotor appliqué. He developed Bobo into a community and formed a ndatoan there and people paid tribute to him. and a canopy. the pegawid or the governed. the Maranao believe that the naga or sacred snakes should greet the rising sun. Around the posts tapuwilih paliyas. It is built for the sultan or thedatu whose sovereignty in the sultanate covers the pegawidan or royalty. This is where he holds his conferences with his followers. The center post or tapuwilih is put up first and then the four big tukud or corner posts. Aside from their mosques. embroidered sequins in okir design. Datu Pimbarat’s grandfather had another wife who did not live with him in the torogan but in Bobo. he builds the torogan not only as a communal house for himself and his closest relatives but as a multi-purpose building for the community. had one entrance at the front and an exit at the back near the kitchen. Coins of any amount are planted with the center post for good luck and insurance towards a better financial condition. gathers the clan on the death of a loved kin and celebrates weddings and special festivities such as the coronation of a datu or a bai a labi. and the woods are cut and floated on the lake. where he had met her while supervising his slaves at work. and gisuk for walls. roughly five by 10 meters. bunga is used for posts. and the oripen bisaya or his slaves. Work usually starts on a Saturday. In housebuilding. snake motifs ornately incised into the wood. Lanao del Sur. Piagapo. to gather the woods all cooperate and assemble in the site at the sounding of the gongs. a lady sultan. According to one informant.barimbingan for flooring. the torogan is a symbol of rank. the Maranao have the traditional lawig small house and the mala-awalai large house but the torogan clearly stands out among them because the end floor beams in front and at the sides of the torogan protrude and flare upward into sculptured wings of wood with elaborate designs on them. The grandfather had 47 slaves – who lived with him in the torogan – to work in the field. To the Maranao. sakop. after the early morning prayer. status and power.

The bed’s wooden frame and legs are finely carved in okir designs. virtue and virginity and chastity – by not exposing her in public. and cloth partitions. Windows are narrow horizontal slits stretching some two meters long and 15. perches on top of the roof. This is also seen in thetorogan. The mythical bird. each area provided with mats.15 meters long by 2. intricately carved wooden chests are used as dividers placed side by side with the thick native-style mattress spread widely and covered with either a dampas mat or a woven cloth. with the other families protectively surrounding him. The wooden uprights behind each panolong. where the families eat or the women weave cloth for garments or the men create designs on wax molds for their brasswork.4 centimeters wide between thepanolong. The walls of the torogan are decorated with thelalansay or a screen embroidered with sequins and beads. As a multi-family dwelling. This is one way of protecting her modesty. Over the bed a richly woven canopy hangs from the ceiling in a carved frame. Sometimes the elevated brass tray is also hung . celebrations and gatherings. The slaves sleep either near the kitchen or under the torogan. The sultan’s panggao or ceremonial elevated bed – 3. one sometimes finds a lamin or tower constructed atop the torogan-to hide the sultan’s daughter during conferences. the torogan has no permanent partitions. The Maranao house has a high and steep roof similar to that of the Malacca house or the Batak and Minangkabau houses in Sumatra. The several families occupying it simply divide the entire floor into sleeping areas. the floor panels and wall sidings of the windows are also decorated with okir carvings painted in different colors. But the presence of a lamin is also one way to announce the presence of a royal lady in the community. This beam is heavily carved and completely polychromed. Aside from the gibon built near the sleeping area of the sultan.67 meters die and 57 centimeters from the floor – is at the place of honor and away from the entrance of the house. Three round geometric designs are painted on the upper wall panels. some of which are actual trunks of big trees or large and rounded balusters that are not buried into the ground but remain free standing on large stones. Inside the torogan the center beam known as the tinai a walai or “intestine of the house” holds up the king posts of the roof and stretches from one end of the house to the other. In some houses.The floor beams are supported by as many as 25 thick posts. there are cases when the sultan’s daughter is locked up in thelamin from the time of puberty until she gets married. This sleeping area becomes by day an all-purpose living area. What serves as the ceiling of the torogan is a cloth that hangs from the rafters and absorbs the heat from the roof. The carabao horn decoration on the roof the rumah adat house in Batak is identical to the Maranao diongal decoration found atop of the truss of the torogan. pillows. sarimanok. In fact. quilts. pads.

claims that thetorogan is the only structure permitted to make use of theokir motif. and also to preserve the integrity. Being a symbol of the royal status of the Sultan or the datu’s daughter and her family. Its entrance is always located near the sultan’s bed. to add to the beautification of the lamin. Aside from these wood carvings. which is also beautifully embroidered with sequins and sometimes made of libot (Maranao appliqué). the Maranao artisans have taken the . since no sanction prohibits the use of this motif on other objects in the culture. In most cases a lamin is decorated with a sarimanok on top of the roof. A kolambo (canopy) embroidered with beads and sequins hangs above the bed. keeps the people’s customs and traditions. the lamin is designs carved on wall sidings and sometimes pananaroons (love verses) are also carved on wood and placed in such a way as to be seen by visitors. anthropologist. though nowadays the practice is no longer extant due to foreign influences. LIFE IN A LAMIN Before the advent of western and/ or modern influences. a gibon is also decorated with Maranao okir and other richly embroidered cloth. The bed consists of a lapa (big mattress) and pillows all decorated with libot (Maranao appliqué). Since there is no living room set or other furniture. David Baradas. the Maranao torogan gathers all the elements that make up the okir or what is popularly known as Muslim Filipino art. It is usually built near the sleeping area of the sultan and his lady. guests are received and fed where the beds are. Aside from a lamin there is also constructed within the torogan a room called gibon. The only difference between the two is that a lamin is a structure built to stand out from the torogan while a gibon is a Room within a torogan. Like the lamin. It is ins most cases a place where the liyamin hides herself during times when the sultan or datu calls for conferences. A lamin is not permanent place for a liyamin (the lady) and her manga ragas (ladies in waiting). Inside the lamin is a well-decorated bed. They are provided with stands so as to be higher than the mattress and the pillows. The Lamin (lady’s dormitory tower) is constructed atop the torogan to hide the princess and her ladies. The gibon is a more or less permanent place for the liyamin and the maga ragas. nobility and royalty of the family concerned. However. in a Malay village. a Maranao girl belonging to a noble family was very closely watched by her parents and other close relatives so as not to expose her to the public. This practice comes from the traditional high regard for the virtues of modesty and virginity. meetings. Two or more chests are placed to serve as headboards of the bed. affection. cloth decorations called mamandiyang (intricately embroidered with sequins in okir designs) are hung on the walls.along the walls together with other brass vessels arranged beneath it. Between the chests and the pillows hangs the cloth called somandig. and respect for the sultan’s daughter. and other important gatherings like weddings and death celebrations in the torogan. --------------------------------------------------------------------------Like customary law which. This practice is also the Maranao’s way of showing their love. The presence of a lamin I one way of announcing the presence of a royal lady in the community.

opportunity of carving all the available permutations of the okir into their musical instruments and everyday objects. These houses have nothing but geometric motifs and patterns all over and differ markedly from the torogan both in lines and in construction. Baradas has traced evidences of an indigenous development of the okir in some houses in Molundo. And so he contends that these structures with these particular motifs are the forerunners of the torogan. . Strangely enough the quasi-geometric variety of okir that Baradas presents as pre-torogan or nonMaranao-ish is strongly reminiscent of the highly individualistic okir designs of the Badjao.. the boat people considered as a Muslim minority group though not yet thoroughly islamized. and Bubong – all in the basak area of the lake region of Lanao. Pagalongan.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful