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Constructing a modern day 'Bahay Kubo'

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By Izah Morales INQUIRER.net "Bahay Kubo kahit munti ang halaman doon ay sari-sari…" The song brings nostalgia of how life in the rural side can be simple and modest. But as time ticks away, such life calls for modernization. Would a modern Bahay Kubo be possible in the age of digitization?
Isolina Calma made it possible when she conceptualized a modern Bahay Kubo 57 years ago. Her daughter, Jophine Calma-Lazaro recalled how her mother fancied bamboos. "She’s very artistic. Lahat siya ang nagplano at gusto niya kawayan (She plans it all and she loves bamboo," said Calma- Lazaro. Though she opposed her mother’s plan, her mother assured her that it will be a modern house. Hence the reconstruction of their old Bahay Kubo began in 1951 until 1952. Lazaro explained that it took a year for them to finish the house that stands in an 800 square-meter lot due to the superstitious beliefs of her mother. Calma-Lazaro said that according to her mother, bamboos must not be cut during months that do end with the letter "O." Her mother believed that if bamboos were cut in those months, (namely Enero, Pebrero, Marso, Mayo, Hunyo Hulyo, Agosto), then the bamboos would be eaten by termites or "bukbok." Thus the bamboos (Kawayan-tinik variety) were carefully chosen and cut during the months of September until December. Lazaro also related that the bamboos were first soaked in the Laguna de Bay for preservation before it was used in the construction of the house. Almost every part of the house was made of bamboo from the ceiling to the flooring. Despite the house’s age, Calma-Lazaro and her family have maintained their bamboo house. "Madali namang linisin ang kawayan. [Gumagamit lang kami ng] liquid floorwax at wet rug," Calma-Lazaro recalled. Eventually, her mother’s dream house became a reality and today, it is now attracting tourists who visit Los Baños. Lazaro said that occasionally they receive visitors from the International Rice Research Institute. Moreover, their house has also been used as a set for a film (Juan Tamad goes to Society) and a TV program. "Noon, hindi pa nagpapabayad ang mother ko because this [house] was her pride," said Lazaro. Calma-Lazaro said their favorite place in the Bahay Kubo was the terrace -- the place where her family and friends gather and celebrate. But they also believe that home is where their heart is.

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This page contains a single entry by published on September 22, 2008 7:11 AM.

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