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Why do we think Bamboo is Filipino?

In our talks, we usually discuss the technical part of Bamboo Construction from harvesting to treatment to construction proper but little to none do you hear us talk about how and why it is considered Filipino. We do not always indicate in clear text that what we do is Filipino yet when fellow Filipinos see what we build, they look at it in awe and say “This is truly Filipino!”

This blog is not meant to argue that Bamboo is solely Filipino because this magnificent grass is abundant in Latin America and all over Asia. This is to share our subjective knowledge and attachment to this material; how it binds us and constantly reminds us of our roots.

Let me share with you a favorite philosophical concept of mine, commonly used to prove the emotional and intangible part of architecture – Phenomenology. Phenomenology as defined by Standford is the study of “Phenomena.” It studies structures of conscious experience as experienced from the first-person point of view, along with relevant conditions of experience. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, the way it is directed through its content or meaning toward a certain object in the world.

Applying the same concept to Bamboo, we Filipinos, at some point in our lives, have come across this material growing up. It could be from the cliché farmhouse drawings we did in our childhood,

the Bahay Kubo we used to play in our grandpa’s yard, an “Alkansya” we made for a school project, a dance prop for the annual “Buwan ng Wika” or Independence Day performance. It can be from different past experiences from our different subjective point-of-views, collectively creating a meaning that connects us and reminds us of home.

Bamboo is not necessarily ours alone. But it is something we grew up with. It is like someone from our childhood whom we rarely see yet fills us with nostalgia whenever we encounter it. As an Architect, our mission is not only to promote Bamboo as a building material for all its benefits to the environment. We also want to promote patriotism by offering new ways to cultivate what we are already rich at. We can go with the waves of the modern movement with cultural sensibilities, giving us a reason to stand out in the ripples.

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