Bahay kubo – how to do it

As shown on this self-build feature in the online Guardian newspaper


BH2 layout plan P1

BH2 layout plan P2

18 March marking out

The first uprights

Picture 030

The foundations

Picture 154

18 March marking out

Concrete block lower walls, amakan uppers and nipa roof

A few final touches required

Picture 006

Picture 007





If you like the bahay kubo shown here, we can discuss your design needs and provide you with an estimation. Contact details given in the About page.

Traditional Bahay Kubo

Robert and Dianne get to work on a bahay kubo

Robert and Dianne get to work on a bahay kubo

Dianne takes charge and work progresses quickly

Dianne takes charge and work progresses quickly

Happy with the first one, Dianne cracks the whip for a second

Happy with the first one, Dianne cracks the whip for a second

No.1 looking good

No.1 looking good

Room with a view...and a balcony. Note the woven palm frond roof

Room with a view…and a balcony. Note the woven palm frond roof

No.2 underway

No.2 underway


Low-cost Blooming Bamboo home

A recent commenter asked whether I was aware of any ground water drillers tapping into groundwater aquifers operating on Samal. At the time I didn’t, but recently there’s been an advertising campaign on the island for just such a service. At first I thought it was two companies competing, but it turns out that one company is putting out two different ads. I can’t vouch for the quality of their service, but their ads are here for you to take up (or not) as you please.

In the blue corner…

…and in the white corner…

A couple of articles about hobbit houses, here and here.

Samal’s own container house on the beach in Catagman

For a few years, I’ve had a fascination with using shipping containers as houses, offices, business spaces etc. My interest started in Hong Kong where it was standard procedure for shipping containers to be used as site offices on construction sites. Fitted with an air conditioner, and with a couple of windows and a door, you have an instant, durable and well protected office space. Later, I read about a hotel in London which was made from 10s of stacked containers. Recently, in Christchurch New Zealand, after the earthquake, the shopping centre was reconstructed with shipping containers. As a result in the global downturn in business, containers are in surplus (by the 1000s) all over the world. Consequently, they are very cheap. US$2500 will buy you a 20ft container. Here and here are a couple of new articles about using containers to build a home.

Spanish container holiday lets

Another twist on the container as house theme.

HomeBox offers family living in a space no bigger than a standard freight container

Model shipping container home: best thing since full-sized shipping container home

The movement continues with this self-contained project from Eco-Pak.

A byproduct of the GFC is that more and more people are questioning consumerism, and huge houses that demands

Earth houses give pupils refuge from Heathrow noise
Superadobe domes first used for Gulf war refugees rise up at Hounslow schools coping with lessons under flight path

WFH House incorporates shipping containers into a modular building system

SAVMS: prefab modular housing in under 3 weeks?

Hotels made from strange things

Container living: a home for under £50,000

Shipping Containers: Home Sweet Home

Twenty-eight containers transform orphanage in South Africa

Shanghai farm’s shipping container visitor center thinks a little bigger

Sleeping Around: Shipping containers revamped as relocatable B&B

Eco-retreat combines glamping with monster spotting

Architects design house in Austria that looks like it’s sliding down a hill


28 thoughts on “Bahay kubo – how to do it

  1. Hello, good day..

    I’d like to ask if it’s possible for me to ask for the floor plan of this bahay kubo you made? The one with concrete lower wall design. It’s really nice and I’m looking forward of building the same house for my family. Also, do you think my Php200,000.00 budget would be enough for this exact house? By the way, how many rooms is it? Planning to have 2 rooms, a kitchen, bathroom, and a living room. Do you think my 100 sq.meter floor area and 10×10 size of each room would be enough too? I’m just estimating the dimension since I’m not good in it..

    Hope you could share your ideas. Glad I found this site, very helpful for a person with very limited budget like me who wish to have a home for my family.

    Thank you..btw, my email add is


  2. Thanks for your feedback sir/maam. I didn’t find the dimension of the area, can I also ask the exact dimension of this house? Thanks.. 🙂

  3. It has been the desire of my family to own a bahay kubo such as this one, unfortunately our budget is only 250k, do you have available plan for the meager budget even for a smaller version, hope you could upload one

    • If you build using only natural materials such as wood, bamboo and nepa you can probably keep the costs in that budget. But remember, these are temporary materials which means you will have to be replacing and maintaining them after as little as 2 years. That will become expensive in the long-term.

  4. Hello will you help me built my bahay kubo? I have a very limited budget the lot area would be 50sqm, but it’s situated on near roadside but with minor elevation. It would be of great help if you can provide me a floor plan with three bed rooms, kitchen, one toilet and shower. Would it be possible? It you put veranda around it? The flooring would be ordinary cement, with roofing standard GI sheet. The wall may be two and half feet made of hollow blocks. My Budget is. 200k is that possible? Thanks looking forward for your reply.


  5. Good Afternoon, I am always fascinated with container houses. I thought it would look cheap if i use it to build my own house. But when i saw your white house which was built using the container vans wow it really look nice.. how much money did it take to construct that kind of house?

    • Hi Bianca – the container house shown on the website is not mine, unfortunately, but it is close to where I live. I believe that the builder is Japanese or Korean, but I don’t know the price. From AyoDito, I can tell you that a 40′ container is around P140,000.

  6. Hi, I’m very amazed with the design of the Bahay Kubo.
    My wife and I is planning to build one but we have a very limited budget. In this type of design(shown above) can you give us an estimate how much will it cost to build same structure and materials on a 60sq. m floor area?

    • Materials and labour costs have increased since we built our kubo 3 years ago, so I would imagine that the current cost would be in the region of P500,000.

  7. hello! do you have pictures of the bahay kubo interior? we are planning to have a 2 storey,50sqm too in brgy.cogon.

    • Actually, we remodelled the interior last year, so I should upload some photos showing both before and after the renovation. Originally, we had a kitchen/diner/lounge which we found to be very cramped, so we extended the building and moved the kitchen into the extension. The space is much more livable now.

      • Hi Louiza, we don’t have an office and our builders are busy on other jobs. However, if you want advice you could visit Emma at her eatery (The Kurri-pot) opposite the Warehouse Penaplata. She can pass on a lot of experience about City Hall and material sourcing.

    • Hi Tony. The larger bahay kubo cost around P0.5M at 2011 prices. You’ll have to factor in inflation of materials and labour since then,

  8. Hello!

    Is your contact number still active? Or maybe do you have an email address where I can send pictures or floor plans?

  9. Hi. I don’t know anything about construction but I would like to build a bahay kubo. My question might be naive. My question is: did you use (and is there a need) for a tie beam connecting the concrete bases from where the wooden posts were placed (or are standing on)? Thanks so much!

    • I’ve increased the size of some of the photos which might answer your questions. The tie beams are visible at the top of the verticals near where the roof meets the wall. At the base, the wooden posts (verticals) sit on concrete stubs which are higher than ground level (to keep the posts permanently above the flood plane). The foundations were then built stub-to-stub. As you can see the walls are not full height, only from floor level to around 3 1/2′, but these also reinforce the vertical posts. The building was completed nearly 6 years ago and apart from replacing the nipa roof (after only 2 years, it leaked!), the only other structural work was a small extension for the kitchen near the front door.

  10. i knew an American who built a wooden concrete house of only 130,000 Pesos. He made it in the Philippines and was proud of it because it Looks very unique and durable and beautiful . I thought it is much cheaper when a Filipino built a simple house for fun and Relaxing with low cost..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s