The northern province of Batanes is just about ready to be nominated for World Heritage Site listing because of a continuous occupation lasting 2,400 years, but some of the stone door-less houses that make Batanes unique are also seen by the locals as markers of poverty.
photo credit: click-the-shutter
New concrete Batanes houses â€˜with doorsâ€™
Philippine Inquirer Lifestyle, 12 April 2010
Because the ancient door-less houses with low open windows that could also serve as entrance are considered â€˜poor manâ€™s house,â€™ locals are constructing ugly concrete houses with doors.
â€œThey are door-less houses with low open windows that could also serve as entrance. He said that a â€˜door-less house is a poor manâ€™s house.â€™ Unless one gets â€˜security of job,â€™ he cannot leave his poverty. That is why when an Ivatan leaves his family to work abroad, he will be determined to save so that when he comes home, he could construct a new house with a door.â€
And thatâ€™s what is happening now in Savidug. Prosperous Ivatans have come home to construct a â€˜new house with a door.â€™â€
Ivan Henares writes: â€œFor those who are not familiar with Batanes heritage, the villages of Savidug and Chavayan on Sabtang Island are the two most intact villages of vernacular Ivatan architecture, showcases of the Sinadumparan and Maytuab styles of houses.
â€œThese new hollow-block houses being constructed will most definitely destroy the unique architectural fabric of Savidug.â€