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Thousands of years ago, a small civilization of hunters migrated to the coastal regions of Southeast Asia and they are now called as The Badjao or the The Sea Nomads. Up to this
day, they remain as stateless people with no nationality and no official state. They have been floating off the shores of Southeast Asia for centuries to make their living and lives in
stilt huts or boat houses on shallow waters. And yet, the Badjao is one of the few civilizations whose life practices have survived for so long in the human history and they consider
their Architecture as a “communal practice”.

Stilt houses are mostly built out of driftwood and debris from coastal areas around Southeast Asia. These houses are carefully built on stilts between coastal rocks and coral.
Neighboring Badjao often spares materials of their own to help strengthen damaged homes caused by the storm. They also ensure that no wildlife is going to be harmed when they
place foundations of the house and this is what they call, “communal practice/effort”.

In the Philippines, the Badjao is the second largest ethnic group in the Sulu Archipelago after Tausug. They were originally known as “orang selat” or “orang laut” and were living on
their “lepa-lepa (boats).

 Stairs
o Their stairs is only three (3) steps above the water to have easy access to go inside and work on water outside.
o Stairs also serves as their bathroom by squatting on the first step of the stair and fetch water from the sea.
 Sala/Sleeping room
o The sala and the sleeping room is at the same place and they don’t have bed.
o There’s no separation wall between sala and sleeping room.
 Kitchen
o The kitchen in badjao houses was placed outside the house, they put a small like veranda for them to have space for cooking and doing some house works.


A. Design of building envelope and ornaments
It is known that Badjao Houses are built on a stilt just above the water and that is why it is called as, “stilt houses”. In general, exterior part of a house gives an overall purpose or
function of the house. Their roof and exterior wall are made of palm or coconut leaves, it is fixed with moderate inclination to protect the users from intense heat and seasonal rain.
Materiasl are mostly gathered from the inland woods. Posts are tree trunks and front doors swing from rotating wooden hinges. The Badjao houses show how it adapts to the
environment and with the use of building materials with a limited resources.
B. Building Materials

 Roof – or as they call it, “atup”. It is made out of thin layer thatch covering from palm or coconut leaves.
 Floor – or “lantay” made out of small strips of bamboo and is closely laid above the floor joist
 Wall – or ‘dingding” it is an enclosure of the house with no windows made out of individual thatch panels from palm or coconut leaves horizontally tied to closely
spaced bamboo studs
 Ladder – “ or “harunan”, it is a thick piece of lumber with a carved and closely spaced foot rest
 Ridge – “batang-bubungan”, this is to support the rafters and the thatch roof, made out of straight trunk of wood or bamboo placed at the apex of the gable roof
 Rafter – “lubing-lubing” it is placed above the tie and ridge beams to support the thatch roof and is made of a piece of bamboo or wood
 King Post – “ubong”, used as support of the ridge beam and it is the center post of the house located at the portion with gable walls
 Tie Beam – “palimsa-an, this encloses the top-most portion of the wall and serves as a support to the rafters and made out of wood or bamboo
 Floor Joist and Girder – “dagan”, the horizontal structural member of wood or bamboo that ties and stabilizes the wood posts and provides support for the main living
 Post – “hag”, a piece of wood or thick bamboo buried in about 6 meters below the sea bed and extend beyond coastal waters in about half a meter during high tide and
tightly secured buy floor joists and girder.

C. Structural Design and Construction Methods

The traditional badjao houses is constructed using wood structural components configured in the post-and-lintel framework that gives a strong support to a steeply inclined
thatched roof. The badjao houses has a living and sleeping activities, that is raised on a strong post and foundations with a spacious and well ventilated roof opening above, to
provide direct solution to the environmental problems due to the effect of tropical climate, humidity, and seasonal monsoon rains.

The badjao houses don’t use nails in their construction, they use fibers instead of nails. The method they use is a usual vertical houses that has post and tied beams that provide
a load bearing structure to which floors, walls, and roof are attached. The structural method is the joining techniques, while the walls, roof, and other non-load bearing elements
are just a secured by wooden pegs and vegetative fiber lashing.

D. Siting and Orientation


Philippine Architecture during the Pre Spanish and Spanish Period by Ar. Norma I. Alarcon
Diksyunaryong Biswal ng Arkitekturang Filipino (A Visual Dictionary on Filipino Architecture) by Rino D.A. Fernandez
Arkitekturang Filipino (A History of Architectureand Urbanism in the Philippines) by Gerard Lico
https://www.academia.edu/FILIPINO_ARCHITECTURE by Ngoc Tan