Monday, October 5, 2009

My Favorite Things Part II

2. Spanish Colonial Houses

Also known as Bahay na Bato (Stone house). These are the houses you see in Vigan, or some parts in Manila (like Intramuros). Usually, they have stone first floors, and wooden second floors, with tile roofings. If you don't have time to go around, you can just view some art galleries in 4th floor Megamall, where Bahay na Bato is a popular painting theme.

According to my Folk Art professor, Mam Hila, Bahay na Bato came from Bahay Kubo.

Bahay Kubo is a traditional Filipino house that is made of mostly bamboo. Sometimes, inside, there is no flooring but it's clean, brown ground. Instead, another structure inside the house, standing on stilts, with bamboo flooring served as sleeping quarters.

Filipino houses usually have separate kitchen spaces (which is inherited by some of today's housing standards). This set up was also seen in Bahay na Bato structures, but more on that later.

When the Spaniards came, they realized that everything in the Philippines are different from their beloved Spain. First, there are only two seasons--the rainy season, and the hot/sunny/dry season. Since bamboo doesn't stood a chance against tropical storms especially if built with two floors, the Spaniards built their homes in stone.

Wrong idea, actually. They later realized that there is condition number two: Philippines is the Ring of Fire; earthquakes happens more often than they used to.

This prompted building the first floor with stone, and the second floor made out of wood--the first floor will be strong enough to withstand storms and heavy winds, while the second floor will be pliable enough to withstand the earthquakes. Plus, it made the house cooler. The second floor is where most of the living spaces are found like the sala, dining area, and sleeping quarters. On the first floor is the kitchen and garaje.

You may point out that the first floor IS made out of stone, and therefore must crumble to the earthquake. To compensate, they used thick bamboo trunks in their foundation.

We all know bamboo is stronger than it looks :)

So there you go. That is the story of the Bahay na Bato :D

But if you're curious, it's the interiors I'm interested about.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! thank you for sharing.
    Uhmmm do you have details about the interiors? I really need those for my thesis :D