Thursday, February 17, 2011

Not just a HOUSE but also a HOME



            The house where my family lives in was built in the early 80’s but was originally owned by our Yugoslavian friend. The structure is unique compared to those houses here in our village. It has a mixture of Filipino and American ornamentation and design in the perspective of a Yugoslavian. The house is a three storey structure which stands in a 150 square meter lot. It consists of one master bedroom, three bedrooms, one guestroom, one maids’ and drivers’ quarter, five bathrooms, two living rooms, a dining room and a dirty kitchen, two storage rooms, a garage and a foyer. Our house has two main doors, one is made of wood from an acacia tree and the other is a sliding door made up of thick glass and metal. The walls are made up of cement and stone, the floor is marble, the ceilings are wood. Our ceilings are not that high which is why we usually adopt with the outdoor temperature. Every room has huge and wide windows for air circulation and light passage; also, it has connecting doors for a faster and easy access in every room of the house to save time and for manageable movement. For me, the two living rooms are intended for the family and visitors to interact and socialize, it can be collaborated with the Filipino perspective of extended family and family love. Having many bathrooms is a plus factor, we don’t need to wait for someone to finish, and we don’t need to rush our bathroom activities, if ever a party is held at home the visitors won’t be having any problems too. The drivers quarter is located in the first floor for a reason and that is to keep guard of the main doors while the maids quarter is in the third floor for them to attend with our needs faster, because going down the stairs is easier compared to going up. In addition, the house has two staircases; the first staircase connects the first floor to the second floor and the other stairway connects the first, second and the third floor. For me having two stairways is a positive thing, especially for a big family like us. It may prevent crowdedness and also it leads to a quicker and faster access in the different levels of our house. In the question, how is your house a place versus a space, well first and foremost my house is a place for it has a purpose. It is where my family lives; it is where my family feels safe and secured. For me, my house symbolizes the structure of our family; its size, its interior and exterior design, everything about it manifests what my family is or in short our house mirrors how my family is. Also, it is a place for it is not only a house where we live in but it is more of a home. In this house, we have already experienced a lot of things, meaning it has always been part of our lives and our family history. We have a lot of reminiscences to remember whether these are good or bad memories. Like the first time my family moved in here, the first neighbors we met then later became our friends, my petty quarrels with my sisters, the New Year celebrations and many more. Moreover, it is our family heritage! Our house is not a space for it is not only built just for the sake of building the house, it is not designed to be like this for the sake of designing, but it is built and designed for a reason and that reason is my family’s vision of a home.


            Talking about vision of a home, one interesting minority group here in the archipelago are the Tausug people who are found in Sulu. As I quoted one of my sources “The Tausug house is made up of bamboo and lumber. It has a sala, a rectangular room beneath a thatched roof. Some house showcase elaborate wood carving and have slits instead of windows. This is both for protection and to keep its young maidens from view. They are fond of inviting many guests to their parties thus their sala is filled with thick mattresses and mats covered with colorful cloths, that are laid on the floor and large pillows placed against the wall.” As we can see my family and the Tausug people have commonalities in terms of accompanying visitors but also we can see a vast difference in terms of style, design, structure and reason for building the house. The idea of the house building tradition of the Tausug people where the parts of the house are coordinated with the parts of the human body is very interesting and remarkable. If I was to do that in my house then the masters’ bedroom would be the human heart and the brain, because in our house my mom is a source of love, passion, knowledge and inspiration. The other bedrooms will be the hands and the arms while the maids and drivers quarter will be the legs and the feet because in a house cooperation is needed within the people living inside it, whether you’re the boss or you’re the helper, one cannot complete a task without the help of the other just like with the arms and hands or the feet and the legs. The body will be the main edifice of the house for it supports the other parts of the house. For me, the living room will be the mouth because this is where socialization takes place, then the nose can be associated with the kitchen because the nose can smell various types of food aroma. The windows of the house can be the eyes because we can see the horizon and many things outside the window.


Sources: Cabalfin, Edson. “Intersections and Exoticism.” Reconfiguring the Historiography of Philippine Art Deco Architectures.(2003). Pages 26-39.
Cabalfin, Edson. “Conquest and Resistance”. Intersections of Colonialism and Modernity in Twentieth-Century Philippine Architectures.(2005).
“Philippine Provincial Profile.” The Provincial Profile of Sulu.1998. http://www.geocities.com/lppsec/pp/sulu.htm.

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