The Philippines has its fair share of typhoons each year averaging 20 which enter into the Philippine Area of Responsibility. As a young kid, we lived in a flood-prone area somewhere in Muntinlupa. We were also hands-on in supporting our kababayans in Leyte when they were ravaged by typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Thanks to some well-meaning friends from the U.S. and also here, we became instruments of compassion during that time.
Here are some of the photographs that my husband took of the typhoon-ravaged Tacloban in 2013...
There were, naturally, no commercial flights to that area then so he had to plead to some foreign nationals so he can hitch a ride on their Korean C130 --
The place was a mess and the air was literally filled with the stench of decaying bodies. Tacloban was a mess and people fell in line, day in and day out, in front of government institutions, waiting for relief goods to be delivered to them --
Now there is a reason why the traditional housing for Pinoys is the humble bahay kubo. It is a structure often made of nipa, kawayan, sawali or in more modern settings, coco lumber. These are sustainable, lightweight materials which are also known to be flexible - all characteristics needed to build a habitat that's meant to stand a typhoon and in flood-ravaged archipelago. There are even huts on stilts, ready to take on those waters.
Bahay kubo materials also allow fresh air to go through, thus, making it the perfect habitat even during the hottest summer months. Another great thing about it is, when it is damaged, you can just easily repair again. And when you're ready to move to a different location, just ask your kapit-bahays (neighbors) and they would surely help (this is referred to as Bayanihan)
This house has even become an icon that it even has its own song.
I'm pro living in a bahay kubo - I look forward to it now that the family is thinking of buying a parcel of land in Batangas in the next months. It's hassle-free, it's minimalist, it's functional. It would be awesome to enjoy the fresh breeze, cultivate the land, and to plant our own vegetables and fruits in our own yard.
Simpleng Pinoy, simpleng buhay.
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E.S. Villamor has made a career in writing for a decade now. Her online business - GIML (Gabriela Isabel & Miguel Lucas) Publishing started in 2014. She advocated for women's rights and was once enamored with imparting financial literacy through training and blogs but she is now focused on propagating all things Filipino. This site is also being groomed as a rich homeschooling resource.