Arkitektura-A A +A
By Betsy Gazo
Saturday, March 10, 2012
IN CONNECTION with the Ani ng Sining: Philippine International Arts Festival in February, 32 beautifully-made large posters of the Anatomiya/Arkitektura, Morphology of Filipino Buildings exhibit are still on display at the Negros Museum until March 15.
From the Bahay Kubo, Ifugao Fale, Bahay na Bato, Mosque, Laboratoryo, Barong-barong, Fabrica, Parola, Sabungan, Mercado, Kampo Santo/Sementeryo, Palacio, Convento, Bungalow to the Mall to the Skyscraper, I believe that every Filipino should be aware of the structures that are part of our heritage and culture.
The posters are very informative not only to a budding architect but even to the everyday man who just needs to know not only the history but also the parts of his dwelling or the edifices that he sees around him in the Filipino setting.
The Bahay Kubo
I start with the Bahay Kubo, that traditional lowland Filipino domestic building. The word kobo is defined as a form of rustic house set far into the hinterland farms and forests, usually occupied by hunters or poor peasant families living in the realengos (uncultivated lands outside the pueblo) [San Buenaventura’s Vocabulario dela Lengua Tagala].
The house is usually square or rectangular, the height of its walls often equating the house’s width. The materials used are from many kinds of fibrous plant materials e.g. bamboo, nipa palm, rattan, tropical woods and cogon grass. It is also surrounded by flowers and vegetables to provide nutrition and beauty. I did remember as a child seeing the bayanihan spirit in full force in strapping men transplanting a bahay kubo to a new location by lifting the whole house, setting it on their sturdy brown shoulders and, with much strain and effort, quickly but carefully whisking it off to the new site.
The Maranao Torogan
The Maranao Torogan brings us to a more exotic setting. Taken from the word meaning “a place for sleeping”, the torogan is house and residence of the Maranao nobles. It is raised on stilts two meters aboveground with as many as 25 posts. We can learn a thing or two from this structure. It is earthquake-proof; timber parts are not buried into the ground but stand on rounded boulders which act as rollers that allow the structure to sway with the tremors. Its other benefit is preventing wood rot and termite attacks.
The interior of torogan is a big hall with no permanent wall partition. It is a multi-family and multi-purpose dwelling, with each family given a designated sleeping area and segmented off from each other by cloth dividers. Guests are not permitted into the gibon or paga (the datu’s daughter’s room) and the bilik, a hiding place at the back of the sultan’s headboard. There is sometimes a lamin (a tower-like structure for the sultan’s daughter and her ladies-in-waiting). Its entrance is always located near the datu’s bed. You can see torogans in Marawi City.
The Bahay na Bato
The Bahay na Bato is an incorporation of the wooden features of the bahay kubo with the more permanent material stone. It signifies the rise of the mestizo sangley in 19th century society. The evolution of pre-colonial houses made of indigenous materials and colonial houses made of adobe resulted in the bahay na bato which more or less was durable and less likely to be burned (like pre-colonial houses with their thatched roofs) and collapse in earthquakes (like the adobe houses).
We are familiar with terms, such as volada (a balcony surrounding the house) which the bahay na bato did away with, the zaguan (entrance hall at the ground floor), the caida (where guests were received), azotea (an outdoor terrace), calados (transoms with fretwork to allow air to circulate) and pasamano (window sill). Houses built after the 1880’s began using corrugated iron sheets and flat roof tiles.
Also with the Bahay na Bato lay-out is the Casa Real a.k.a. as cabildo, casa de ayuntamiento, casa del gobierno, and casa municipal. It was the municipal or city hall that served as the seat of the secular government during the Spanish colonial period.
The Ifugao Fale
The Ifugao fale is an ethnic house in Northern Philippines. It is a building that responds to lifestyle needs and environment. Fales are of Southern Cordillera architecture and these are clustered in rice terraces or ancestral lands. They can be found along valleys and hillsides, near forests or springs. They are built close to the ground, with sloping, triangular thatch roofs. Four massive posts rest on the earth with by discs that prevent rats from going up the house. The dark windowless space resembles a womb. The family eats, sleeps, cooks, and performs rituals in the single four to nine square meter dwelling. The loft and a few shelves also serve as storage for grain and firewood. The hearth inside provides warmth.
Get to know more about Filipino structures. And bring a pen and notebook for you will surely need to jot down facts and ideas about our buildings and perhaps incorporate designs and building details into a future house or building.
Anatomiya/Arkitektura, Morphology of Filipino Buildings can be viewed until March 15. Just be reminded that the Negros Museum is close on Monday but open on weekends.
"I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection - the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.
At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.
Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality "girlfriend time" helps us to create more serotonin - a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being.
Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings? Rarely.
Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.
There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising", we are doing something good for our bodies but, when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged. It is not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!
So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky. Sooooo let's toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it's very good for our health.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 10, 2012.