Vernacular Architecture

July 9, 2017 | Author: Michael Tasarra | Category: Framing (Construction), Roof, Door, Agriculture, Nature
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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.

The Sagada house resembles the Bontoc house but is fully covered. It is a wooden box with a steep thatch roof as a lid. With the granary within, the Sagada house is a "house within a house". The Kankanai house is still another variation of the Ifugao prototype. The roof is higher and wider, thereby providing a spacious loft above the living space. On the ground level, wooden planks are laid to create more livable space. The Ibaloi house has a larger room, a flaring roof, and a small porch. Some of the Kalinga live in octagonal houses. The central portion of the octagonal house rests on a fourpost-two-girder-and-three-joist structure. Beyond this frame, eight posts are added to form the eight sides of the 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. Boat forms appear to have inspired the Isneg house. The bamboo roof suggests an inverted boat, and wooden floor joists have the profile of a boat. The Isneg house has two sets of posts, the inner set supporting the floor, and the outer set supporting the roof. As in the Kalinga house, the floor can be rolled up.

The walls are vertical boards set into grooves that are cut into beams at floor and roofeaves level. A window is created by simply taking out a few boards. All the wall boards can be removed to make the house a roofed platform for village celebrations. The Isneg house is the largest among the Cordillera houses, since the entire family, and even married offsprings could live in it. It is not known when and how Cordillera houses developed into their present form. What is clear, however, is that these house forms developed in isolation and were untouched by Western influence, for the Spanish colonizers did not succeed in bringing the region and its people under their rule. On hilltops and rolling land, the T'boli of Southern Cotabato in Mindanao build large (me-room houses on stilts. The roof is of dried grass, the walls of woven bamboo, and the posts of whole bamboo and, occasionally, tree stumps. The central portion of the floor is slightly lower than the areas around it. The side sections are for working or resting. At one end is the entrance and the fireplace, and at the other is the place of honor for the head of the house. The interior of the T'boli house is one example of a characteristic feature of Philippine houses - space surrounded by space. Islam was established in Sulu in the 14th century and in Mindanao in the 15th century. The combination of a strong, 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.

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, and the southern, in the Ifugao, Ibaloi, Kankanai, and Bontoc houses. The octagonal Kalinga house is a combination of both strains The northern style is characterized by a gable roof, sometimes with bowed rafters; a threesection, two-level, reedmat floor; and two sets of posts, one; floor-bearing and the other, roof-bearing. The space below the floor is not used. The common features of the southern strain are a steep pyramidal or hip roof; a house cage, which among the Ifugao, Kankanai, and Ibaloi is the living area, and among the Bontoc and Sagada, a granary; and the house cage support consisting of four posts carrying two girders, in turn carrying three beams or joists. The space below the floor is used. Except in the Ibaloi style, the house has no windows. The prototype of the southern strain is the Ifugao haouse, which probably developed from a granary. This is apparent from the use of stilts and rat guards, features of granary constructions.

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. The space under the floor is not used. Igorot houses religiously employ post andlintel construction to the exclusion of diagonal bracing even in the roof frame. Roof supports consist of king posts, and queen posts in some cases, 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 interior design of both northern and southern strain houses appears as an attempt, conscious or otherwise, to visually expand the one-room space by means of levels and defined sections. The Ifugao house has a peripheral shelf at waist height. The Mayoyao and Kankanai houses have a low platform around the floor, or in fact, a two-level floor. The Kalinga and Isneg houses have lateral platforms which are used as head-rests or “pillows” and which provide space for storage. Platforms wide enough for sleeping create a play of levels in the Sagada house. In the Bontoc house, levels and clearly defined sections exemplify both a practical and ritual organization of space. In spite of its minimal area, the interior of the Igorot house is, like the far larger houses in the lowlands, a space surrounded by space.

RICH HOUSE/ POOR HOUSE Even before Christian lowlanders encroached on their lands, the Cordillera people were alreadydivided by class. Some families had plenty of Riceland, enjoyed full granaries, and hosted feasts where their many guests ate and drank for several days at their expense. Other families had limited land, had little to store, and never knew where their next meal would come from. In between these two extremes were those who, though not wealthy, were not destitute either. These extremes in social class are reflected in house types. The poor man’s dwelling, among the Ifugao, is called the abong, while the dwelling of the more fortunate, the bale. Barton says that the former does not have uniform dimensions, is built of poorer materials, is but slightly raised from the ground, has not rat fenders on its posts, rarely has a pyramidal roof, and has but one door. The abong’s walls do not slope outward from below, as in a bin, rather they stand perpendicular to the ground. Not only does the poor man’s dwelling have less rice to store, it is also less protected from rats.

Some bale dwellers are very wealthy. They commission carved posts in their interiors, flutings on their exteriors and underneath their roof eaves, a public status marker: the hagabi. The opposite ends of this carved wooden long seat have animal heads. Some claim the animal is a carabao or a pig, others say it is a goat. Whatever the heads stand for, 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. Wealthy Bontoc live in the fay-u, the poor in the katyufong. The fay-u holds a granary at its center and has walls less than a meter hight at the front and back, as though to openly boast of its resources. A display of carabao horns signifies bravery in battle and the owner’s wealth. In stark contrast, the katyufong, according to Jenks, has only a single story structure built on the ground with the earth as its floor, has mud walls that completely enclose it, and has no granary to show off. Among the Kankanai, the binangiyan is for the prosperous, while the apa and the allao are for the less fortunate. One type of apa is more simply built than the binangiyan, according to Bello. Like the poor Ifugao’s dwelling, the walls are perpendicular to the ground, while the four main posts stand directly at the corner, thus making it easier for the rats to scurry up. Instead of ine narra; split bamboo and runo sticks make-up the floor, while runo sticks and wooden boards comprise the walls. Though conical, as in thebinangiyan, the roof is lower and extends cloer to the ground. Rather unique is the allao, for its floor is rectangular and its roof a gable. Since the roof slopes down beyond the floor, its long sides may dispense with walls. The roof has no space for an attic, white the floor, being low, needs not stairway. Poor or young families intending to save for a binangiyan, live in an apa; the aged and the widowed in the allao.

n the rugged landscape of the Cordillera, Apayao is the only region that has a navigable river, the Apayao, after which the region is named. Thus, among the Cordillera people, only the Isneg are boatmen and boat builders. The Isneg boat, barana’yor bank’l, consists mainly of three planks; a bottom plank, which tapers at both ends, and two side planks, which are curved to receive the bottom plank. House design appears to have been influenced by boat design. The roof of the Isneg house suggests an inverted hull, and the floor joists, which are visible outside, suggest the profile of a boat. The Isneg house is about 8.00 m. long, 4.00 m. wide, and 5.50 m. high from ground lefel to the roof ridge. The binuron house rests on a total of 15 posts, which are visible, the floor being about 1.20 m. above the ground. The slanting wooden walls on the sides are about 1.50 m. high from floor to eaves. The main section of the house has a gable roof and is about 6.50 m. long.

Attached to one end is an annex, tarakip, as wide as the house and extending 1.50 m. from it. Its floor is slightly higher than that of the main section, but its roof is lower, sloping downward from the base of the gable. The posts, girders, joists and walls are of wood; the roof is of thatch or bamboo. Most Cordillera houses have pyramidal or hip roofs; the Isneg house, like the Lower Kalinga house, has a gable roof. Some Isneg houses have annexes at both ends. A ladder leads to a door on one end of the side wall, actually the front. In some houses the entrance opens at the gable and under the protection of a lean-to roof. Inside the house the space expands because the walls slant outward. No ceiling hides the roof’s woodwork. The space immediately visible within corresponds completely with the external form of the house. The floor, made of reeds, seems transparent, as light filters through, suffusing the house with a gentle glow. The floor is a space surrounded by space. The main section, datag or xassaran, is surrounded on three sides by narrow, slightly raised platform, tamuyon, and at the remaining end by the slightly raised floor of the annex. To make windows, three or four of the side walls’ vertical planks are removed. Indeed walls are constructed in such a way that al the planks can be taken out, thereby converting the house into a roofed platform for festive occasions.

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

Along the gable edges thick boards are mortised on to the beam and purlin ends. Where theatobtobo post stands, two beams are attached to these gable boards: one at the bottom, the other halfway to the roof ridge. Both beams are rabbeted to receive wall boards, but the space above the upper gable beam is left open. At the other end of the house, where the annex is attached, cogon grass pressed between a pair of frames made of reeds covers the gable’s upper half. The annex’s lean-to roof covers the lower half. In some areas, the roof covering consists of half-sections of bamboo laid on like shingles. The roof is quite thick, having as many as 15 to 20 rows of bamboo sections with wide overlaps. A narrow, flat “roof” of bamboo covers the roof ridge. Inside the house, next to the post opposite the door a square hearth framed by four sills welcomes the visitor. There seems to be no standard orientation for houses. Entrances may face once another or face the same direction or any of the cardinal points. Granaries are located near the houses or outside the clearing. Since the Isneg are swidden farmers and are often away from the village for prolonged periods, small temporary huts are built in their work sites. Isneg hamlets, which are scattered a few kilometers apart, have anywhere from three to 12 houses, and are located along waterways, elevated areas inside the bend of a river being preferred. One comes upon an Isneg village after traveling through groves and forests and across streams and stretches of quiet landscape. A village may consist of one cluster of houses or several small clusters. Formerly Isneg villages were surrounded by bamboo stockades or palisades of tree fern trunks. At present the houses are built in a clearing, in more or less circular or elliptical fashion, and surrounded by a fence. At the edge of the clearing are coffee, cacao and coconut trees, and beyond, wild grass, bushes and ferns.

he Chico river – or the Rio Chico de Cagayan, so named to distinguish it from the Rio Grande de Cagayan – runs north-northeast into the Kalinga region from Bontoc, and past Lubuagas, swings eastward to the Cagayan Valley. Flanked by ridges rising 1,500 to 2,000 meters, the Chico divides Kalinga into three sections and its people into three major groups. A north-south ridge east of the Chico divides Southern Kalinga from Eastern Kalinga. The Pacil River running from the southwest, and the eastern course of the Chico divide Northern Kalinga from Southern and Eastern Kalinga. The settlements are about 500 to 700 meters above sea level. Natives refer also to Upper Kalinga and Lower

Kalinga, the former being the region on the heights along the Chico, and the latter being the area including Balbalan, Pinukpuk, Tabuk and Conner. The Northern Kalinga, who are swidden farmers, live in scattered hamlets with six to 30 houses. A village consists of a nuclear group of a dozen houses, near each other arranged in two rows, and houses scattered singly or in two’s and three’s near the swiddens. Preferred sites are leveled sections of slopes or pockets which have an unobstructed view of the surroundings. The Southern Kalinga, who farm on both wet terraces and swiddens, have town-like settlements, some with up to 200 houses, as well as small villages. In large settlements houses are built close to each other and are sometimes grouped around open spaces. Early in this century Kalinga villages were protected by bamboo stockades, and on the trails leading to them were warning devices, deadfalls with heavy logs, or pits with sharpened stakes at the bottom. The octagonal house called binayon orfinaryon is found in Upper Kalinga, in settlements along the Chico River. It is not, however, the only house type in the region. Rectangular houses are just as common, if not more common. It has been suggested that the octagonal houses were houses of the rich. This, however, may be disputed. It has also been suggested that the octagonal house is the older type. This has yet to be verified. An account written in 1887 by Alexander Schadenberg mentions the octagonal – and even round – houses of the Guinaanes, the name given to the inhabitants of the region around present-day Lubuagan. The scholarly eye of the German traveler noted that houses were painted on the outside with “round designs or figures, representing men and women with strongly marked genital parts.” Whether this was traditional decoration or juvenile graffiti not cleaned up by time is open to question. The exterior of the octagonal house does not have the architectural impact of other Cordillera houses, since its features are not strongly defined. The thatched, hipped roof is not high and steep, and the eaves form a rough edged circle. The octagonal form is not clearly pronounced in the wooden and bamboo walls. The octagonal house is about 6.00 m. long and 5.20 m. wide. The floor of the living quarters is 1.20 m. above the ground. The height from the ground to the roof ridge is about 4.50 m. Unlike in the Cordillera houses previously described, the roof ridge is parallel to the sides. The visitor enters the house through a ladder leading to a narrow platform on the front wall. A low door opens to the platform. Beside the ladder, on the left wall diagonal to the front wall, a door at ground level opens into a small ground level working space within the house. Opposite the front door, on the back wall is another door. The walls from floor level to eaves are of wooden boards placed vertically. From ground level to floor level, the walls

are of plaited bamboo orsawali. Logs are piled against the lower section of the wall. The interior of the octagonal house is remarkable for its patial concept and organization. The floor is divided into three parallel sections running front to back, the central portion being lower than the sides. The eight sides are more clearly defined inside the house than outside because of the exposed structural frame of walls and roof. The roof’s inner configuration dominates the interior space. In the Cordillera houses previously described, a loft or granary conceals the roof from the living space. The Kalinga roof’s vault and octagonal plan create a sense of expansion within the interior. The floor, consisting of reed mats that can be rolled up, gives the interior a play of textures. 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. Girders and joists passing over these posts support the floor laths, while rabbeted beams on the eight outer posts receive the wall boards. Four tall posts are mortised on to intersections of the beams and joists. They carry two crossbeams, each of which supports a pair of queen posts. 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.

To the left, as one enters the house, and towards the rear, is the fireplace slightly raised above floor level. The Kalinga house is not an equilateral octagon, the four diagonal walls being shorter than the front, back and side walls. The floor is not a perfect octagon, since the corners are not all floored over. 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. As one sits inside the Kalinga binayon the walls and roof seems to form a dome-like and even spherical space, which suggests expansion rather than enclosure. The traditional house in Lower Kalinga is about 6.00 m. long, 5.00 m. wide and 5.75 m. high from ground to roof ridge. The roof is gabled and its ridge is parallel to the sides of the house. Houses are generally located near the river, and the roof ridge, which marks the axis of the house, does not follow the downstream flow of the river, but rather lies crosswise, crossing it, as it were, like a dam, in order to prevent misfortune. The roof, of moderate pitch, may be of thatch or bamboo. The floor rises about 1.50 m. above ground level; a ladder connects it to the ground. The walls from ground to floor level are of horizontally laid bamboo poles, and from floor to eaves level are of vertically set wooden boards. In front and at the back, the wooden walls end at height of about 2.50 m., and from there on to the roof ridge horizontally laid bamboo slats cover the gables. The floor consists of a wide middle section, dattagon, and two narrow slightly elevated side sections,sipi, each about 1.20 m. wide. It is basically a bamboo mat woven with rattan strips and laid on laths. At the middle section the bamboo strips of the mat run crosswise; at the side sections, lengthwise, thus further defining the levels and spaces. Front door and back door do not face each other directly. Windows open at opposite ends of the house diagonal to each other. Or they may be at both ends of the same sipi. As in the Upper Kalinga house, the roof’s inner configuration is a prominent feature of the interior space.

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

he Bontoc have large, compact settlements, built among rice terraces and divided into wards called ato, each ato has 15 to 50 houses and a communal center consisting of the chap-ay, a circular open space paved with flat stones; the fawl, a house where old men gather , and the pabafunan, a common dormitory for young men and boys in their adolescence. Corresponding to the pabafunan is theolog, the common dormitory for girls, where

young men visit them during courtship and trial marriage. The Bontoc house, fayu, is about 3.50 m. in frontage and 4.50 m. the roof is hipped with the ridge parallel to the front. It projects about 1.20 m. beyond the sidings of the ground floor that ends at 1.20 to 1.50 m. above the ground. The basic form is like that of the Ifugao house, except that the house cage serves as a granary, falig, and the living quarters are on ground level. The granary, resting on threejoists-on-two girders-on-four-posts, is about 1.50 m. above the ground and about 2.00 m. square. As in the Ifugao house, the walls of the house cage support the roof. The extent of the roof necessitates additional posts, one at each corner to receive the end of each diagonal rafter. Each outer post is provided with a rat guard directly under the rafter. The ground floor is enclosed at the front and sides by horizontal wooden boards up to waist height, lashed to the outer posts, and at the rear by a stone wall of the same height, leaving a continuous opening from waist to head level, an opening well protected by eaves. Through the doorway one enters the ground floor called cha-la-nan which includes the space under the granary. To the left of the entrance a mortar for husking rice is embedded in a square sunken area, measuring about 1.50 m. square. Beyond this area, between the two left posts of the granary and bounded at the rear by a low interior wall, is an area containing a fireplace and a shelf along the outer wall for jars. On the right side of the entrance, a platform about .30 m. high and 3.60 m. long and 1.20 m. wide extends from the front wall to the rear interior wall. On this platform sit baskets and implements, underneath are chicken cages.

We stayed in the houseboat of Jamiluddin for several days, either squatting or lying down under the low roof of the boat all hours of the day. To stretch a leg, we had to crawl out of the small space of a boatroom and stand on the ledge-lank where the prow begins. The furnishings in Jamilludin’s boat are just about the same in all the other boats: a sail, a lamp for fishin, one suitcase, a water jar, a stove, several pots and three plates, two bolos, a small chest, pillows and mats. The flooring is made of planks loosely pieced together and unnailed, so that things can be hidden underneath, like extra stoves and other pots. The rest of the flooring is made of bamboo slats. The roof is of galvanized iron but the sides are of nipa and rice straw. Above the roof and stuck between two holes with branching fingers are his fishing spears; he also owns a harpoon gun. The roof at its highest point is about three fee, and that is just enough for a person to squat without his head touching it. 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. You cannot stretch your legs as straight as you would want to, for the suitcase, the baol, and the pile of nets crowd the nipa walls; at best you take an oblique position or simply tuck your legs in as if you were cold. When you wake up in the morning, you find your face, arms and legs sticky with moisture. At noon, lying down, you feel the heat of the sun coming down from the roof; it is a warm kind of heat in

which you can hardly breathe. And the sun reflections on the water dance on the ledges of the roof and hold you in a blind trance.

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

The Badjao, water people though they are, do go on and stay on land – when they die and are buried. In Tawi-Tawi, the traditional burial grounds of the southern Badjao are Bilatan Boon and Bunabunaan. As their native religion is a form of ancestor worship, 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. They adorn their grave-plots with canopies and colored paper parasols and buntings. Their panglima or headman and imam or religious leader stick into this sacred ground little banners of red, blue, yellow and green colors and chant prayers over the dead. Because these spirts are still part of the family, a part of their life, the Badjao come to comfort them and make them as happy as the living. 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, Rizal.

n the Sulu Archipelago, the Samal mix on various islands with the Tausug who are the dominant group and whose concentration is in the Jolo island cluster. Generally the Tausug outnumber other groups in the northern half of Sulu and the Samal increase in number in the southern half, nearest Borneo. 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. “In the market centers – Jolo, Siasi, and Bonggao – the Philippine plaza, perhaps a school, shops and at times, houses of the elite. Moving away from the plaza one finds houses belonging to Christians and Chinese-mestizo elite. Construction is similar, usually manufactured board and either galvanized tin or shingle roofing, generally unpainted. Construction quality deteriorates the farther away from the plaza the house is located.” At the farthest point, Stone continues, “house construction is generally a variation of the Southeast Asian stilt houses with woven bamboo siding, bamboo flooring, and bamboo or palm frond roofing. Generally speaking, in Jolo, the Tausug who are permanent residents will live farther away from the water than the Samal.”

harles Frake in his study of the Subanun of Mindanao (1980) gives a sociological explanation of their traditional dwelling. The Subanun house – a

rectangular, thatched pole dwelling – “has among its physical aspects, three characteristics of social importance. First, it is small, as floor space averages about 12 square meters and rarely exceeds 20. this small size reflects single family occupancy, but it has the consequence of limiting the number of persons that can assemble together. “With the exception of all few religious ceremonies, all Subanun social functions take place indoors in a dwelling house; there are no outdoor areas or other buildings for such purposes. Although an all-night drinking party, a legal case, a wedding or a religious ceremony may pack people until there is literally standing room only, attendance at social gatherings can exceed 40 or 50 persons only with difficulty.” Frake describes the interior of a Subanun house as consisting of only one room and one heart. The sleeping area, the living area, the dining area and the cooking area “find architectural expression only in slightly different floor levels”. There is little privacy in working, cooking, eating or conservation. Pricacy comes only with darkness. The Subanun house, Frake concludes, “has no value as permanent real estate”. The Subanun are non-religious shifting agriculturists in the large mountainous interior of Zamboanga peninsula.

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. 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. This type sometimes has horizontal sides and sloping roofs. The roof usually slopes directly from one ridgepole to the edge of the platform, thus doing away wit the need for side walls. 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. Many more smaller poles are placed not only to support the flooring but also to extend upward to form the wall and the roof. An upper flooring made of beaten bark rests on crossbeams lashed by rattan to the uprights. Above the flooring are horizontal poles forming the framework for attaching walls of nipa palms.

In some houses two or tree foundation poles extend above the floor to support the ridge pole. In other houses the Mandaya would have kingposts resting on the beams which in turn are supported by corner poles. From the ridge, a number of smaller rods extend over the side walls and on them rests the roofing of nipa palm. Several inches of space often intervene between the roof and the side walls. The whole tree house is so firmly lashed together by rattan that it can withstand the severest of storms, 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.


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. For outside of their mosques which tower above the rural landscape, there is nothing significantly Islamic about the settlement patterns and housing of Muslims in southern Philippines. For instance, the torogan, the royal house of sultans and datus, 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. By tradition, the Yakan live in houses scattered among their fields, just like the interior-dwelling Tausug of Sulu, and just like many Tagalog and Visayan do. But, in the rebel war in Basilan in the 1970s, government forces made the Yakan come together in “protected” villages much against their habit and preference. The Yakan house, also elevated on piles with the stilts two or three meters in height, is one or more rooms connected to a kitchen by an open or covered porch made of split bamboo poles. The roof is conical and steep, usually made of thatch for protection against heavy rain. For walls, the Yakan use either sawali or horizontally-placed wooden boards or bamboo poles bound together with rattan, and for the floor, either split bamboo or rough wood supported by heavy posts. The Yakan make very small – and very few – windows in order to block bad spirits from entering the house so easily. The Yakan are careful in building their stairs for the number of steps – just like the number of rooms – must be an odd number. Even numbers connote death and other ill omen while odd numbers, to the, mean life. The Rites of Pilgrimage says that “God has 99, or a 100 minus one, excellent names and he who learns them by heart will be given access to Paradise because God is One and He likes odd numbers.” 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. When visiting a Yakan house you go up on a bamboo ladder or notched pole onto the porch and into the living room where, 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, you will see a long wooden or bamboo box for storing palay and used as a bench for visitors to sit on, chests for keeping clothes, brass metal containers, brass food trays, bronze boxes for betel and, of course, the mats. 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. What 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. For outside of their mosques which tower above the rural landscape, there is nothing significantly Islamic about the settlement patterns and housing of Muslims in southern Philippines. For instance, the torogan, the royal house of sultans and datus, 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.

By tradition, the Yakan live in houses scattered among their fields, just like the interior-dwelling Tausug of Sulu, and just like many Tagalog and Visayan do. But, in the rebel war in Basilan in the 1970s, government forces made the Yakan come together in “protected” villages much against their habit and preference. The Yakan house, also elevated on piles with the stilts two or three meters in height, is one or more rooms connected to a kitchen by an open or covered porch made of split bamboo poles. The roof is conical and steep, usually made of thatch for protection against heavy rain. For walls, the Yakan use either sawali or horizontally-placed wooden boards or bamboo poles bound together with rattan, and for the floor, either split bamboo or rough wood supported by heavy posts. The Yakan make very small – and very few – windows in order to block bad spirits from entering the house so easily.

he Maranao arrange their houses in a line patter along a liver, road or lake shore. Each hamlet is made up of three to 30 multi-family dwellings raised on pilings 31.5 to 220.5 centimeters above the ground. In the hilly, dry-rice areas hamlets are smaller and their houses cluster in an irregular pattern near a water source. The Maranao house is raised on pilings from .31 to 2.21 meters above the ground. The roof, walls, flooring, doors and windows are made of bamboo material lashed together with rattan. Depending on its size, the house usually has nine to 12 posts and the main room, without partitions, measure about 7.86 to 18.9 meters. For the roof, 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. But if they have enough bamboo, they use them for roofing instead, placing one set of halved bamboo face up and covering all the spaces in between with the other halves in sequential patterns. Some use wood shingles as roof, but this is not a traditional practice. Most of the houses have no ceiling.

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, especially at night. To open the windows, one has to push their covers to the side. The porch, fenced to prevent children from falling off it, is in front of the house while the kitchen, built a half meter lower, is at the back. The area under the house is walled with split bamboo usually woven in crisscross patterns. Here the women weave mats during the daytime when it is hot. The porch ladder has bamboo ladder leads to the kitchen door at the left side. Like many ordinary houses in the south, the old Maranao house is simply one big partitionless room and you create bed spaces by using several carved chests, the woven split rattan sapiyay or the

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

The gibon, roughly five by 10 meters, had one entrance at the front and an exit at the back near the kitchen. 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, and a canopy, embroidered sequins in okir design, hung above the mattress, bed and pillows with Maranao libotor appliqué. Datu Pimbarat’s grandfather had another wife who did not live with him in the torogan but in Bobo, Piagapo, Lanao del Sur, where he had met her while supervising his slaves at work. He developed Bobo into a community and formed a ndatoan there and people paid tribute to him. The grandfather had 47 slaves – who lived with him in the torogan – to work in the field, fish in the lake or do oddjobs in and around the torogan. In housebuilding, bunga is used for posts,barimbingan for flooring, and gisuk for walls, to gather the woods all cooperate and assemble in the site at the sounding of the gongs. Work usually starts on a Saturday, after the early morning prayer, and the woods are cut and floated on the lake. The center post or tapuwilih is put up first and then the four big tukud or corner posts. Coins of any amount are planted with the center post for good luck and insurance towards a better financial condition. All the posts stand on stones so that when there is an earthquake they rock with the stones and do not break. Around the posts tapuwilih paliyas, dunngaw or sapar are planted as a symbol of survival.

To the Maranao, the torogan is a symbol of rank, status and power. It is built for the sultan or thedatu whose sovereignty in the sultanate covers the pegawidan or royalty, the pegawid or the governed, and the oripen bisaya or his slaves. His rule over the ndatoan being such, 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. This is where he holds his conferences with his followers, sakop, settles family disputes, 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, a lady sultan. Aside from their mosques, 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. These end-beams are called panolong or boat-prows and the wings carry fern-like, snake motifs ornately incised into the wood. According to one informant, the Maranao believe that the naga or sacred snakes should greet the rising sun.

The floor beams are supported by as many as 25 thick posts, 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. 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 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. The wooden uprights behind each panolong, the floor panels and wall sidings of the windows are also decorated with okir carvings painted in different colors. Windows are narrow horizontal slits stretching some two meters long and 15.4 centimeters wide between thepanolong. Three round geometric designs are painted on the upper wall panels. 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. This beam is heavily carved and completely polychromed. What serves as the ceiling of the torogan is a cloth that hangs from the rafters and absorbs the heat from the roof. As a multi-family dwelling, the torogan has no permanent partitions. The several families occupying it simply divide the entire floor into sleeping areas, each area provided with mats, quilts, pads, pillows, and cloth partitions. This sleeping area becomes by day an all-purpose living area, where the families eat or the women weave cloth for garments or the men create designs on wax molds for their brasswork. In some houses, 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. This is also seen in thetorogan. The sultan’s panggao or ceremonial elevated bed – 3.15 meters long by 2.67 meters die and 57 centimeters from the floor – is at the place of honor and away from the entrance of the house, with the other families protectively surrounding him. Over the bed a richly woven canopy hangs from the ceiling in a carved frame. The bed’s wooden frame and legs are finely carved in okir designs. The slaves sleep either near the kitchen or under the torogan.

Aside from the gibon built near the sleeping area of the sultan, one sometimes finds a lamin or tower constructed atop the torogan-to hide the sultan’s daughter during conferences, celebrations and gatherings. This is one way of protecting her modesty, virtue and virginity and chastity – by not exposing her in public. In fact, there are cases when the sultan’s daughter is locked up in thelamin from the time of puberty until she gets married. But the presence of a lamin is also one way to announce the presence of a royal lady in the community. The mythical bird, sarimanok, perches on top of the roof. The walls of the torogan are decorated with thelalansay or a screen embroidered with sequins and beads. Sometimes the elevated brass tray is also hung

along the walls together with other brass vessels arranged beneath it. Since there is no living room set or other furniture, guests are received and fed where the beds are.

LIFE IN A LAMIN Before the advent of western and/ or modern influences, 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, and also to preserve the integrity, nobility and royalty of the family concerned. This practice is also the Maranao’s way of showing their love, affection, and respect for the sultan’s daughter, though nowadays the practice is no longer extant due to foreign influences.

The Lamin (lady’s dormitory tower) is constructed atop the torogan to hide the princess and her ladies. Its entrance is always located near the sultan’s bed. The presence of a lamin I one way of announcing the presence of a royal lady in the community. Being a symbol of the royal status of the Sultan or the datu’s daughter and her family, 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. Aside from these wood carvings, cloth decorations called mamandiyang (intricately embroidered with sequins in okir designs) are hung on the walls, to add to the beautification of the lamin. Inside the lamin is a well-decorated bed. The bed consists of a lapa (big mattress) and pillows all decorated with libot (Maranao appliqué). Two or more chests are placed to serve as headboards of the bed. They are provided with stands so as to be higher than the mattress and the pillows. Between the chests and the pillows hangs the cloth called somandig, which is also beautifully embroidered with sequins and sometimes made of libot (Maranao appliqué). A kolambo (canopy) embroidered with beads and sequins hangs above the bed. A lamin is not permanent place for a liyamin (the lady) and her manga ragas (ladies in waiting). It is ins most cases a place where the liyamin hides herself during times when the sultan or datu calls for conferences, meetings, and other important gatherings like weddings and death celebrations in the torogan. Aside from a lamin there is also constructed within the torogan a room called gibon. The gibon is a more or less permanent place for the liyamin and the maga ragas. It is usually built near the sleeping area of the sultan and his lady. Like the lamin, a gibon is also decorated with Maranao okir and other richly embroidered cloth. 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. In most cases a lamin is decorated with a sarimanok on top of the roof. --------------------------------------------------------------------------Like customary law which, in a Malay village, keeps the people’s customs and traditions, the Maranao torogan gathers all the elements that make up the okir or what is popularly known as Muslim Filipino art. David Baradas, anthropologist, claims that thetorogan is the only structure permitted to make use of theokir motif. However, since no sanction prohibits the use of this motif on other objects in the culture, the Maranao artisans have taken the

opportunity of carving all the available permutations of the okir into their musical instruments and everyday objects.. Baradas has traced evidences of an indigenous development of the okir in some houses in Molundo, Pagalongan, and Bubong – all in the basak area of the lake region of Lanao. These houses have nothing but geometric motifs and patterns all over and differ markedly from the torogan both in lines and in construction. 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.

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