Monday, August 27, 2012

BINANGI - the traditional Igorot House

by: Felisa Daskeo

The traditional house of the Igorot, called the “BINANGI” is a thatch-roofed 4 poster house that has no windows except for a small opening at the roof just in front of the door for the air to pass through.  The interior of the house is dark made even darker by soot caused by smoke from the hearth and the kind of lamp being used.
BINANGI- the traditional house of the IGOROTS

In the olden days, Igorots use the “Saleng” a kind of wood from an aged pine tree that works like the torch, for lighting purposes.  This is why the walls of the houses are black with soot.

Today, almost everything traditional has been wiped out by the new technology.  Nobody is using “SALENG” anymore, not even the very old folks in town are using saleng at home; instead, electricity has made lighting the house very easy with just the press of a finger.  Flashlights came also very available.

The houses today inTadian are like this.

What’s very sad, I only saw two “BINANGI” houses in town when I visited our town last May 2012.  This means that the Igorot traditional way of life is already vanishing and the new technology is taking place.
This is sad because the coming generation does not know anymore what life was all about in the olden days.  Culture is very important as a part of life and supposed to be preserved for the future generation to see.  The “BINANGI” that are left standing will perhaps stay for as long as the owners will not replace them with concrete houses.  But if the thatch roofs are not replaced, the roofs will fall down to the ground after many years.  And that will be the end of the “BINANGI” in my town.  

People of today love to live in houses that are big and sturdy.

I have never experienced living in a BINANGI.  I was born in the 60s but our house was already a two floors house built with lumber and GI sheets.  Our neighbor who used to live in a BINANGI loves to tell us that their house is warm when the weather is cold and cold when the weather is hot.  She was right and I had proven it true when I went inside their BINANGI house and I sniffed the fresh cool air.  

The thatch roof plus the walls and floors made of thick lumber is what makes the Binangi house cool.  Having a Binangi house today is next to impossible because everybody loves concrete houses embellished with all the beautiful materials inside.

As for the two binangi houses, I’d be very happy if they are left to stay and preserved for the future generations to see and appreciate.

by: Felisa Daskeo
Copyright 2012

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