Bahay na bato

July 7, 2018 General Studies

The Bahay Na Bato, literally house of stone is the Colonian Filipino Noble House. The architecure is a mixture of native Filipino, Spanish and Chinese influences.

Typically raised or two-story, the main living area is on the upper level. To take advantage of cooling breezes, large windows surround the upper floor. The window sashes commonly have capiz shell panes and can be opened wide or closed for privacy or in stormy weather. Vents above the windows, protected by the roof eaves, let air in even when it’s rainy. Small shuttered windows below the large windows, called ventanillas, are screened with balusters or grillwork and can be left opened when the large windows are closed such as at night.

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As the name implies, the lower walls of the classic bahay na bato were traditionally finished in stone or masonry. More modest homes have wood walls for both levels and in more recent times, cinder blocks have been used to enclose the lower level. This space, the zaguan, was used to store the family carriage and processional cart in the old days and nowadays often function as office, shop or the family’s sari-sari store.

In this era, the nipa hut or bahay kubo gave way to the Bahay na bato (stone house) and became the typical house of noble Filipinos. The Bahay na bato, the colonial Filipino house, followed the nipa hut’s arrangements such as open ventilation and elevated apartments. The most obvious difference between the two houses would be the materials that was used to build them. The bahay na bato was constructed out of brick and stone rather than the traditional bamboo materials. It is a mixture of native Filipino, Spanish and Chinese influences. Excellent preserved examples of these houses of the illustrious Filipinos can be admired in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.[1] In Taal, Batangas, the main street is also lined with examples of the traditional Filipino homes.


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