Rising in Bohol: Quake-proof houses

An artist’s design of Habitat for Humanity houses for earthquake-prone areas like Bohol. The design makes use of environment-friendly bamboo and cement meshed in steel bars.

An artist’s design of Habitat for Humanity houses for earthquake-prone areas like Bohol. The design makes use of environment-friendly bamboo and cement meshed in steel bars.

Its frame is made of lightweight steel. Its walls and flooring are a combination of bamboo mesh and wire mesh with cement overlay.

It is earthquake proof.

These are the main features of the prototype of the house Habitat for Humanity Philippines has been teaching people in Bohol province to build.

In October, a 7.2-magnitude tremor left thousands of Boholanos homeless. Many still live in tent cities.

Habitat for Humanity is rushing the construction of the houses for the quake victims this year.

The houses are being built by their future occupants so that they could better appreciate their homes and take better care of them.

Habitat volunteers assist the locals put up the houses, allowing for closer supervision and tighter quality control. During the building process, Habitat is able to impart the proper values of responsibility and caring to the future home recipients while enlightening them on the urgency of using environmentally friendly technologies, designs and materials.

Habitat has come up with four designs for houses in earthquake-prone areas like Bohol.

The prototypes are gender-sensitive: they have two bedrooms with indicative costs of P70,000 and P75,000 from the ground; P80,000 slightly elevated and P10, 000 with bigger area.

The roofs are not the traditional flat GI sheets, but are slightly inclined downward and the windows are wide pullout bamboo mesh with wire mesh supported by a thin long piece of lumber.

Steel frames are preferred over coco lumber because only 400 board feet of steel is required per house, compared to 250 board feet of coco lumber. Besides, the quality and size of coconut trunks is not consistent.

The bamboo for the walls and floors come from bamboo plantations and are cheaper and environmentally friendly, compared with plywood (made from hardwood species). Besides, bamboo does not peel off.

Each house has a floor area of 20 square meters made from lightweight steel framing system with the flooring made from concrete/purlins with bamboo slats, the roof with GI and corrugated roofing.

The exterior walls are treated bamboo (sigkat) or cement plastered; the toilet and bath are the pail flush type toilet bowls.

Plumbing is wastewater line and windows are wooden/aluminum or jalousie frame or smoke glass.

In Loon, Bohol, the indicative cost of a house funded by donations form the Union Bank of the Philippines is P120,000 and the half concrete cladding design is P75,000.

In addition, there will be row houses and resettlement houses for the informal settlers.

Funding for the housing comes from local and foreign donors, many of them celebrities who have generously given their time, money and connections to raise funds for such an undertaking.

Just recently, Habitat for Humanity Philippines and Union Bank of the Philippines partnered to build houses in Barangay Catagbacan in Loon. The bank donated P10 million to the earthquake victims there.

As Habitat for Housing Philippines Managing Director/CEO Charlie Ayco said: “Habitat brings communities together and brings hope. We can dream that everyone in Bohol has a decent place to live in or we can start building that dream now. We are very grateful that Bohol has not been forgotten in spite of the other disasters that have come after.”

“Let us rebuild lives not only in Tacloban, Samar, Cebu, but let us not forget our kababayans in Zamboanga and Bohol,” Ayco added.

The donation will cover 70 families with core housing units made of bamboo and cement—a combination that Habitat developed and was first used in Cagayan de Oro. Another 100 families will benefit from the Shelter Repair Kits to repair their partially damaged homes.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. Jurita L. Genita on

    Sir Ayco,
    How about those who needs your help that is also a victim of 7.2 magnitude coz mas marami pa ang nangangailangan and we dont have any idea sa mga requirements and mechanics sa mga benificiaries. Marami pa kasing nangangailangan ng permanent shelter.Ano ang maitulong nyo at ibang paraan sa mga katulad namin na nangangailangn ng tulong financially coz may kapatid akong nangangailangan na nasira sa lindol ang tinitirhan at buntis ang asawa.Nag start na akong nag construct our pernament shelter kaya lang kinapos sa bobong wala ng budget hindi ko naman mamadaliin ang hingi ng tulong ng kapatid ko sa abroad dahil may pamilya na sya naawa lang kasi ako sa isang kapatid ko baka manganganak na yong asawa nya wala pang matirhan nasa tent pa sila at kami rin on my case kinaya nalang matulog sa labas ng pintoan namin may naka extend na tent.May mga programa ba kayong maitulong sa amin kahit Loan that we can afford to pay monthly coz we really need to have a permanent shelter.

  2. The Cheecolite Building System, originated in London, and it licensed S.P. Chua company in Singapore and in turned licensed the Cheecolite Building System, Philippines, which built the COGEO low cost housing units. The latter corporation, no longer hold its license though. You can verify with the SEC, that got the existing license. They used cement, chicken wire mess as reinforcement, sand and the chemical fluid “CHEECOL” to form the frames(walls, doors, etc.) No steel bars for reinforcements. First make the molds, and pour the mixture to the said molds and let them sun-dried, then assemble them on sight. Very simple.

  3. You should adopt the Cheecolite Building System, then used in the low cost housing units at COGEO community at Antipolo City. These houses were first used in Africa. These units are hot and cold resistant. And reasonable costs. The molds are construcfed on sight. One unit can be assembled in one day, manually. The fences along the North Expressway are made of the Cheecolite Building System. Secretary Singson and engineers of DPWH take a look of my suggestion. No overprice and durable. Fire proof at that, no lumber be used.

  4. 20 square meter (5 x 4), it’s too small and good only for 3 people ? If the house is detached, we hope na may provision sa expansion ito in the future?

  5. Bravo to Habitat for Humanity! And to Gawad Kalinga and other organizations engaged in building communities of hope to replace the shattered dreams of those in devastated communities and shanty towns. The need for massive improvements in housing has been evident to visitors to the Philippines for many years. Boosted by the international aid following Yolanda, now is the time for the government to put reconstruction of communities at the top of its priority agenda, and to display a sense of urgency to get things done NOW.