The making of Bara Villagestay


The concept of the Villagestay is to build a self-sustainable traditional Filipino Nipa hut built on stilts. The challenge lay on the nature of the swampy land itself. Parts of the land have been dug to create a freshwater fishpond which will house freshwater fishes such as carp, catfish, and tilapia. Overlooking the nipa hut is another piece of a swamp land comprising of 2040m2 area. The original plan is to build a vegetable garden on the entire swamp land and a 1-meter wide channel had been dug on each side of the land which serves as irrigation and a tiny freshwater fishpond. The swamp land is now surrounded by a 1-meter water channel  that serves as a fishpond. Due to monsoon rains which last for 4 months every year, the swamp land is always full of water which gives way to a faster growth of unwanted weeds in the area. When the water dries up in summer, reclamation of the land will be done to make way for organic vegetable farm.


One challenge faced during the construction stage was the unavailability of the traditional materials such as bamboo, amacan (thinly weaved bamboo for interior/exterior walls), and wood as foundation due to the recent typhoon Haiyan that struck the southern Philippines. The lumbers used had to be bought and transported from the mountains of Leyte, which were restricted due to several illegal logging activities in the island. Several bamboo plants have been destroyed after the typhoon. Nevertheless, all the challenges faced during the construction of the Nipa Hut were overcome after all the painstaking efforts of friends and families who help built the house.