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COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE University of Santo Tomas

HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURE 4 2 nd Semester AY 2007-2008



The Philippines being an archipelago have naval architecture

• Inhabitants who live in maritime regions have for centuries constructed boats and water crafts for travel and fishing purposes

Houses varies among the different Muslim communities in the form of houses:

- On stilts along the shoreline;

- Land houses built completely over the sea with no attachment to the shoreline;

- Houseboats which is home and fishing boat.

o Boats are designed and structured for beauty, speed and easy maneuvering on rough seas.


1. Tausug/Tausog

2. Yakan

3. Sama/Samal

4. Badjao


Settlements vary according to:


Interior farmers (tau gimba)


Shore-dwellers (tau higad) - along the coasts

Cluster housing is typical and may have more than 20 -100 or more houses.

Known as seafarers, but build their houses on land.


Plan and Structural Elements:

- Site is considered lucky if it is flat and dry or gently slopes westwards towards Mecca

- Single rectangular room raised on 6 to 8 piles and surrounded by a series of elevated porches leading to a separate kitchen.

- One-room house includes a porch and separate kitchen

o Bilik - Living room/sleeping area

- Traditional house rests on nine post each signifying a part of the body – neck, shoulders, navel, ribs, groin and hips

- Constructed from lumber, bamboo and sawali (bamboo matting) materials.

- House in the interior towns is surrounded by a bamboo fence (larang) for protection against intruders and enclosing the animals.

Protective and Decorative Elements:

- Tajuk pasung


Distinguishing feature of the house is an elaborately carved wooden finial


Placed at one or both ends of the roof ridge









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Tausug Boats

1. Adjung

2. Parangkang

3. Lansa

4. Paraw

5. Sakayan – boat with outrigger

YAKAN From the "Dayak origin” originally from the island province of Basilan.

- Imam – prominent person who combines birth religion and socio-political leadership.

- They speak a dialect of Sama language and are culturally influenced in some respect of Tausog.

- Land bound agricultural, cultivating upland rice, corn and other crops.

- Live in houses scattered in their, like the Tausug of Sulu and other rural Filipino folks.

- Known for traditional hand-weaving skills that produced Yakan blankets

o Yakan women do their weaving (back-tension loom) inside the open room.

- Kitchen Implements:


Pots and pans,


Dagtung (long bamboo container) for storing water,


Kugutan (coconut grater)


Ligu (winnowing tray) and


Tapahan (smoking frame) for drying fish

YAKAN HOUSE – LUMA Plan and Structural Elements:

- Rectangular in plan of 50 - 100 sq. m., elevated on timber posts about 2 m. above ground.

- Cluster around the langgal or local prayer house. Houses face east and beliefs mandate that building materials be stockpiled also on the east.

- One room dwelling with similar accessories like in the Tausug house.


Baul (chest) for storing clothes,


Talum (bronze trays) for serving food,


Mama-an (bronze boxes) for betel


Mats, pillows and tilam (mattresses)

- Three major parts:

1. Main house – single room dwelling, no partition with various functions such as a venue for social affairs, weaving area for women and sleeping quarters.

2. Kitchen - both for cooking and dining. A bridge connects the kitchen to the main house.

3. Porch or Pantan – main entry to the house which may be open or roofed.

- Used as area for hanging and drying clothes and for entertaining guests and for relaxation of family members.

- Serves as entrance to house since this is where the ladder is attached. 2nd ladder is placed at the platform leading to the kitchen.

- May be covered with nipa roof

- Made of split bamboo poles

- Protective and Circulatory Elements:


Sapiaw or roof is steeply pitched cogon on bamboo or timber frames. Walls are woven bamboo strips or sawali.


No ceilings and only one tandiwan or window is allowed in the main house. Another tandiwan and another ladder are allowed in the kitchen house.


Provided with only few windows to prevent bad spirits from entering the house easily.


Wall - use of sawali or horizontally placed wooden boards or bamboo poles tied together with rattan


Floor – split bamboo or roughly cut wood supported by heavy posts.

Yakan Boat

1. Bangka Basilan – called by the Tausug, has a narrow hull and shor and small outriggers

designed for speed on a calm sea.

SAMA/SAMAL Sama" is a derivative of the word "sama-sama" meaning togetherness - described as a cohesive and peace loving people. Each Sama sub-group is identified geographically according to the name of their coastal settlement.

1. Sama Simunul

2. Sama Balimbing

3. Sama Tawi-tawi

4. Sama Sibutu

5. Sama Ubian

Sama society is composed of:

1. Barbangsa, of royal blood nobility, and

2. Mahardika, commoners who are free to exercise their basic rights over their private properties and free to exercise their own professed religion.

Sama/Samal and Badjaos are people of the sea.

SAMA House/Settlements:

- Source of livelihood and also their home.

- Usually built along coastal settlements for two reasons.


1. Sanitation, because of the natural movement of the tide and

2. Easy escape from enemies through ready vintas.

- Samas of Balngingi islands in Basilan and of Siasi, Sulu live in small compact communities of 100 – 150 people in each community.

- Plan and Structural Elements:



Built houses on stilts over water, along the foreshore areas or directly over tidal mud flats or reefs.


Supported by piles embedded into the reef floor


Consist of one or more small rectangular rooms and an attached kiichen – all on the same level and raise above the sea or ground on wooden pilings.


Joined together to the shore or to one another by a maze of catwalks and bridges of timber and split bamboo



In Sitangkai, Tawi-tawi - some houses do not have catwalks but small boats are used to move a person from one house to the other or to the town.



Elevation of the house depend on the maximum high tide level in order to allow the storage of the outrigger boat underneath the house when not in use.


After fishing, the Samal could easily enter the house from their boats


Recent houses – 4.0 x 6.0 m and 3.0 m high



Simply designed to have one single room and in the upper level – sleeping, living, cooking and eating


1. Silong or space underneath serve as shed for the boat and area for bathing

2. Pantan or open porch or terrace is important to the Samal tribe. Also used as a workplace, accept visitors, hold rituals and allow children to play.

Sama Boats

1. Kumpit – traditional boats

2. Pelang – Boat with outriggers

BADJAO • Sea gypsies of the south • Oppressed tribe and referred to as palao


Sea gypsies of the south

Oppressed tribe and referred to as palao or lumaan (God forsaken) name given by Sama and Tausug neighbors

Also called Samal Laus (Sea Sama).

Found in many coastal settlements in the Sulu archipelago, particularly in Jolo, Tawi-Tawi and Sitangkai where fishes and corals abound for their livelihood.

House and houseboats are furnished with items like lamp for fishing, sleeping materials, bolos that serve as protective weapons , suitcases, container for water and cooking utensils.

Stilt Houses


- Classification according to lifestyle:

1. Live in Siasi Island - semi-sedentary



Building stilt-houses over the water and engaging in fishing.


2. Group of the Sitangkai – build permanent homes on the shore while the group live in the houseboat called sakayan.



Stilt-houses merely serve as a temporary refuge during the time that their boathouses undergo repairs.


- Unlike the Samal house, the Badjao stilt house stands alone on an expanse of water and is reached only by boat. It is not joined by bridges or catwalks to the shore or other houses.

- Plan, Structural, Circulatory Elements:


Stairway has three rungs above the water leading to a porch like landing of irregular spaced boards.


One room which combines the function of a sala and a sleeping room without any bed provisions.


Stairs leading to the house also serve as the area where the Badjao woman does her laundry using sea water.


On stilts over water – cramped living room has two entrance doors leading to the landing and kitchen.


Kitchen is adjacent to the sleeping area marked by abuhan (stove) built with three rocks placed over a sand foundation.


Pass the kitchen door which leads to a long span of floor connected to the next house.


- Use shelters as a means of travel which they usually do in groups

- Mobile shelter which allows them to flee to safe grounds in the event of typhoon or pirate attacks

- As in houses, associations with human body parts are observed.

- Boat flooring is made of planks that are not firmly fastened, for some equipments are kept underneath. Rest of flooring is made of bamboo slats.

- Types of houseboats:

1. Lepa


No outriggers


Loose and has detachable long poles attached


Wider bottom which makes it glide easily along shallow waters


With Kadjang – nipa roof


Distinctive form with prow and stern carving outward “to meet the waterline ahead of behind the deck.”

2. Jengnging


Has slender body, flat bottom and almost identically pointed prow and stern except for the provision of a sangpad or shaft which determines the front end.


Equipped with double outriggers made of bamboo


House structure is walled on sides by wooden boards with windows and door openings,


Use of G.I. sheets for roofing of up to 3 ft./ 0.90 m. for the Badjaos to squat while inside,


Size depends on family economic status,


“Floating barong-barong of the Southern sea”.

3. Sappit


Similar to lepa


Bigger and its stern is fitted with permanent rudder while the lepa is controlled manually by paddles.

- Boats

1. Dapang


Comes in varied sizes and lengths and are used for long journeys.


Fitted with outriggers and used not only for shelter but also for fishing


Boat prows are usually decorated with okir/okil/ ukkil design

2. Vinta


Known as lepa-lepa or sakayan).


Made by Badjao and Moros lining in the Sulu Archipelago.


Has a sail with assorted vertical colors that represents the colorful culture and history of the Muslim community.


Used for inter-island transport of people and goods – Zamboanga City.

and history of the Muslim community. o Used for inter-island transport of people and goods –

Illustrations by: Leoncia Zapata

Illustrations by: Leoncia Zapata

Joel M. Catubig, Camilo V. Candelaria

Joel M. Catubig, Camilo V. Candelaria

Camilo V. Candelaria Joel M. Catubig, Camilo V. Candelaria SUMMARY 1. Except for the Badjaos who


1. Except for the Badjaos who live on the houseboats, ordinary houses and settlements of the Muslim groups share many things in common:

General pausing follows the contour of the land such as coast lines shaped by the water system

a. Sulu Sea - for the Tausugs and the Samas

b. Lake Lanao - Maranaos

c. Pulangi River - Maguindanaos

Settlement patterns along the coastlines show closely constructed housing units belong to families with kinship ties. For inland dwellers – Yakans and some Tausug and Maranaos, houses are set some distance apart and are usually adjacent to the land being farmed.

2. Structure and Space

Common features include:

a. a one-room dwelling,

b. temporary spatial specifications marked by movable art objects,

c. steep roof

d. porch which serves as transitional space between the main room and the kitchen and between the public space of the surrounding environment and the private space of the house proper.

Doors and window provisions vary slightly according to climatic conditions and certain social consideration.

– generally have small windows because of the cool

a. Maranao



b. Tausug and Sama Houses – big windows for good ventilation and considering

the hot environment. House materials and construction vary due to climate

a. Maranao houses – generally made of wood with walls and flooring kept closed to minimize entrance of unwanted cool air

b. Tausug, Sama and Yakan – generally made of use of strip of bamboo and spaced from the next strip to allowed entry and circulation of cooler air.

3. Use of biodegradable materials such as bamboo, wood and rattan for practicable reasons and also the philosophy and religious belief in the transient nature of man’ life in the world is considered.

4. One-room dwelling with no permanent partitions or divisions, common in all the houses signify family cohesion which in Islam is the basic unit of the Ummah or Muslim social community. However spaces could still be discerned by the use of different objects which are used as functional spatial markers or temporary dividers, such as mat, canopies, rattan stands, brass trays, and chests.

Maranao kulambo lowered at night defines the bedroom function and the privacy of the occupants who are usually the parents. During the day when the kulambo is raised, other activities can take place in the same space. Tausugs and Samas – unfolded mats signify the bedroom function of the space. And when folded the space can serve as living room, dining space or some other functions depending on the activity of the people.

5. Walls are prerequisite for deifining and isolating sacred space. Islamic architecture prescribes the creation of space that is at rest, devoid of tension and conducive to contemplation. It is found in the “cube” which is regarded as a perfect form which symbolizes stability and peace.

6. Common among Philippine Muslim house construction is the importance given to the central post:

a. Pipul – Tausog

b. Tapuwilih - Maranao

Symbol expressing devotion to God asking for protection and blessing for the

household members. Items tied to the central post such as rice, oil, fish or coins

Tausugs have preserved the practice of associating house parts with the parts of the human body.

o Importance attached by the Tausugs and Yakans to the center post – human navel is expressed in the way of the gantung ceremony which is a ritual suggesting a celebration of life.

7. Qiblah or Ka’bak orientation is observed in house building. In the Philippines Quiblah direction is to the west. In choosing a site, preference is for the lot to slope towards Mecca Sleeping position of the house occupant’s head follows the Quiblah direction. Toilets must be constructed separately from the main house. It is considered dirty and they do not pray on the floor which abuts the toilet. Today toilet can be placed inside the house as long as it is not situated on the side of the Quiblah wall. Tausug house – main door is opened towards the east which is supposed to be the direction from where the Muslim occupants receive the grace and good fortune brought by the morning sun. North is believed to be the direction from where the death comes. Directing the head towards the north while sleeping is discouraged.

8. Beliefs associated with the house construction – water, tree or wood and garden

Water figures prominently in Tausug, Yakan and Sama gantung or central post hangings. Tree in the Yakan, Tausug and Maranao beliefs figures in the kind of woof suited for house building. Garden (signifies paradise) is a desirable space for every Muslim house including those that are built on stilts over water where the porch or pantan has space reserve for potted plants or a home garden.


Alarcon, Norma I. Philippine Architecture During the Pre-Spanish and Spanish Periods. UST Publishing House. 1998 Dacanay, Julian E., Rodrego D. Perez III and Rosario S. Encarnacion. Folk Architecture GCF Books, Quezon City 1989 Fernandez, Honrado. The Architecture of the Philippines “Traditions and Changing Expressions” Transforming Traditions. Asian Studies Publication Series. 2001 p.115-160 Hila, Ma. Corazon C. An Essay on Philippines Ethnic Architecture. CCP 1992 Sakili, Abraham. Space and Identity Expressions in the Culture, Arts and Society of the Muslims in the Philippines. Asian Center, University of the Philippines 2003. Tiongson, Nicanor, ed. Tuklas Sining Essays on the Philippine Arts. CCP, Manila 1991 Turalba, Maria Cristina V. Philippine Heritage Architecture before 1521 to the 1970s. Anvil Publishing House. Pasay City. 2005

Other internet sources

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