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Building a house, native style: Nipa hut!

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I’ve been asked by so many people by email on the cost of building a simple house here in the Philippines. Sometimes the budget that they can afford is just low for a very nice house. So an idea came to mind for me again while I was looking at my old photos. I came across the house (cottage) built by a friend in Samal.

Like most of the email, they say they already bought a small lot for them to build a simple house. So the house I was talking about it can be 2 bedroom and one bathroom in the loft. The downstairs with living room you can have sofa-bed or have a nice futon bed if you have company. The house also includes with kitchen and dining room and one bathroom downstairs. With nice front porch. The walls are all brick. The roof has tin roof and the owner puts a nipa material (like straw hat materials) or a cogon (blady grass, kunai grass, or Japanese blood grass) on top the tin roof to make to look like a native house. It’s a very nice house and the cost was reasonable. The cost of that house when we inquired with the the owner he said he had it done with roughly half a million pesos. When we talked to him that was over 7 years ago though.

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What a beautiful "Nipa Hut"

What a beautiful “Nipa Hut”

So to date, the house that I am describing might cost a million or a little bit more now. But honestly it’s still reasonable with the nice brick and the good structure, for me it’s worth it. I saw just recently a friend built a house in Sarangani area with similar size and he built it for 1 million, it’s not brick but with a gorgeous view, I think it’s worth it. I liked both houses but I prefer the one in Samal the brick and the loft attracted me the most.

The thing what makes the house so attractive inside were the nice crown moldings and woodwork. They even used bamboo for some of the moldings and the woodwork. It’s really nice. Both houses, the owners decorated it with native furnishings and native accessories. I’m not really an Adirondack furniture kinda girl but they had it there and I liked it a lot. The side tables were made of bamboo too. The rails of the one in Samal I think he uses bamboo for the rails in the deck. He also uses if I remember in the ceiling lining were woven bamboo ply panels or the crushed bamboo. I’m trying to remember the place my friends, we were there ages ago already. LOL

Quite Nice

Quite Nice

I went to a friend’s house and they had bamboo stick for a a wainscoting and a bigger piece of bamboo as the border. It looks good. Really I think partly to make the cost lesser for building a house here, would be by trying using the local and native materials. Ask your carpenters to treat any woods before using it. My carpenter uses woods too when I had something built here in the house, but he always buys something to treat the wood first. It worked for us.

Good luck and have fun building your vacation house or your dream house!!!

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Feyma

Feyma Martin is a Columnist here on the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine, she is the wife of site Publisher, Bob Martin. Feyma is originally from the Philippines, but went to the USA for 10 years after marrying Bob in 1990. Bob & Feyma moved to the Philippines to live permanently in 2000.

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Ed
Ed
7 years ago

Good plan, but please everyone, be aware, the “budget” your wife quotes you is about 1/4th the actual cost you will incur before you ever think about sleeping there. Multiply what she tells you by 4 (or more) and withhold the balance for when you need to pay it, lest your money is **GONE**. Budget accordingly and be happy, or loose it all if you don’t. (Hint: construction materials deteriorate if not properly used and fast!) Don’t believe me, watch the walls of your half-funded half-built “house” fall down a few months after you started. Learn to spell “ulan” for… Read more »

James Everhart
7 years ago

This may be a very doable option for us Bob & Feyma, thanks for sharing!

joe bull
joe bull
6 years ago
Reply to  James Everhart

how many sqm is the house/lot?

Byron Watts
7 years ago

I found this article very helpful. A million of anything sounds very expensive, but when you do the conversion it’s not so scary.

Anthony Bosetti
7 years ago

around 23 k u s

Bob Martin
7 years ago

That’s great, James Everhart! I have been in this house too, and it is quite nice!

Bob Martin
7 years ago

That’s so true, Byron Watts!

Bob Martin
7 years ago

Spot on, Anthony Bosetti!

Lou
Lou
7 years ago

Thanks Feyma, I really like the idea of this nipa hut. I want to build something affordable in my home province so my family can have a place to stay for vacations and short visits on holidays. I would like to bookmark this.

Lou
Lou
7 years ago
Reply to  Feyma

I don’t know how costly bricks are in the Philippines, am sure it is not cheap. Poured concrete and use of other native materials are cheaper alternatives. I would like to use bamboo and nipa as those materials are more adaptable to our warm climate and beautiful too.

My friend who just moved back in Iloilo said construction costs are high. She’s building an American style house though. I just want a nipa hut for a vacation home, nothing fancy, just functional.

I wish you have more pictures of the interior. Thanks Feyma.

Don Rua Sr.
7 years ago

similar to what my wife, Roselyn, and I have in mind.:) … except we thought about elevating it a little.

Bob Martin
7 years ago

That is a good plan, Don Rua Sr.

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