10 February 2012
Apart from the anáhaw cabaña, we have so far three other huts that we have and use. One is a simple concrete hut (above & below) with Mádre de Cacáo (Gliricidia sepium) posts that we cut from the start when we were still clearing the land. The roof is made of cogón (blade grass) which we just ordered from a neighbor. The louvered closet doors are just hand-me-downs from someone renovating in Manila; I felt it can still be re-used and I have yet to re-finish them.
The bamboo sofa is cut from our own grove and made by my staff. I wish we have access to wild rattan but I have to admit that the mat is something I bought on a trip to Paláwan while the round pandán pillows are apparently from Quézon Province.
I would jokingly tell people that one of the reasons why we still have not built a proper house is because we are still growing the needed parts! It may sound a bit radical but it actually makes a lot of sense (and savings). Meantime, from the nearby beach town of San Juan, I ordered palápas with sturdy muláwin posts, saság (split-bamboo) platforms and roofs made of nipà (mangrove palm) leaves. These are almost three years old now and of all the thatch roofs we have, it's the nipa that's beginning to wear off. I guess it really is not suited for inland and humid areas.
And did you know that the word "palápa" is of Malay origin but is now adopted by English to mean "an open-sided hut?" In the era of the Galleon Trade, Filipinos (then called Indios) would make the trip to Acapulco and were responsible for introducing to the Mexicans the use of palm leaves (palápa) for casual or temporary roofing. I guess this style of roofing fluorished along the coast where it made a lot of sense to have open-sided, casual-looking huts and so the name (of the roof, which is essentially what it all is) was eventually used to mean the hut itself.