A House in Balayan Batangas

Although it may appear that there;s not much likeness between the two, the concept and architecture of the bahay na bato are largely based on the precolonial house. My visit to the Ramos house (not sure if they call it that) helped me understand how the kubo (literally “cube”) evolved into something permanent.

I’m thankful that the Ramoses (esp. the unico hijo) allowed me to see the inside of their house. There’s not a lot of these houses around so you welcome these opportunities. My imagination just takes off picturing what it must have been like to spend one’s life in these mansions. I had a great time inside. I picked the house because it exemplifies classic Filipino Hispano house design (some of the crooked stilts are exposed making the house appear like a precolonial coastal dwelling if you are to look at it from the rear). There are grander houses around Balayan but this house for me was just an outstanding example of that wonderful mix that highlights the union between hispanic and oriental.

The entresuelo is now occupied by a tenant (traditionally reserved for safekeeping but is also used for guest lodging). Thee are three cuartos in the house (approx with 10 square feet area).The patio of the house is adjacent to the comedor (usually adjacent to the zaguan or stable). The caida (the area after the grand stairs) is still used to entertain guest and has been largely kept as it was (complete with all the furniture). The sala has been incorporated to the caida. Usually, for big houses sala’s are reserved for dancing and parties. In modest homes, the caida and sala appears to be just one space. The comedor (dining room) is separate from the cocina (kitchen). We don’t see this arrangement anymore as most kitchen and dining area today are confined in one space. Another interesting feature of the house are the wooden strips (separated by inch gaps) flooring in the comedor and cocina. Clearly, a design inspired by the ancient bahay kubo. Beneath this area is the silong (no longer used) another tradition that was kept by the Filipinos. The latrina (toilet) can be found a near the cocina. Its a structure that is separate from the main house. Another interesting feature of the house are the timber posts (possibly yakal) that supports the house. These posts are exposed and can be seen at the rear portion. It reminds me of the precolonial coastal houses.

There’s pride in the houses of Balayan. You get that feeling. To them, an old Balayan bahay na bato is as Filipino as it gets.

The house and the tambay children wondering why in the world am I taking photos of an old house

The stairs leading the caida

The sala with all the furniture of the "Lola" and her altar

The house and her owner, Dona Consuelo

A wooden piano covered by an knitted clothe

The batalan

The kusina (notice the old iron stove serving now as stand for the modern gas stove)

The comedor overlooking a swamp teeming with kang kong

The patio. An open space for some relaxing

The view of the living area from the comedor (kainan)

The Lola's room with a picture of her hanging on the post. The whole house was made a shrine in her memory

There were many changes made in the house but they somehow retained much of the old. For that, "Bravo"!

8 responses to “A House in Balayan Batangas

  • Rollet Ramirez-Untalan


    I just found this article of yours and can’t help but shed a tear. You see I am one of the “apos” who spent so many summer days in this ancestral home. We call it Bahay sa Silangan ❤️ Its owned by my lola and my Dad grew up

    • Arnaldo Arnáiz

      it’s a beautiful house. i can tell that it was wonderfully kept by your lola. she has pictures there, one where she was inside looking out the sliding wooden window. it was so nice.

    • rosebcruz0208

      By any chance, Rollet Ramirez-Untalan, is your Lola’s name Ramona Ramos? My grandfather, Sofio Ramos is from Balayan, Batangas but raised his family in Nasugbu, Batangas.

    • Daisy

      This article is really good, by the way I’m from Balayan and I used to stare at this mansion when I was just little whenever we go to “silangan” for a family get together but unfortunately the house is no longer standing the sight of it made me a little emotional and my mom was like “It’s just an old house and it’s not ours” I know but I think it’s more than just an old house it shows the lifestyle of early inhibitors of Balayan and it’s one of my favourite ancestral houses in Balayan.

      • Arnaldo Arnáiz

        I feel the same. The old houses of my childhood, while not ours, were like anchors of memories. It’s sad and I guess writing about them is my way of trying to recover what really is not there anymore.

  • mariel martinez

    WOW. Hope you could feature more of our town soon!!! There are still many ancestral homes that you should visit in Balayan… like ours! 🙂

  • Letranizta

    I love old houses. This is a good article we r fast losing these architectural treasures

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