Home Improvement

7 Popular Local Materials For A Filipino Home

Show your love for Filipino design and culture with these local products and the indigenous materials they are made from

Original Article: Tracy Villadelrey Photography: Yanko Design & Dairy Darilag (Main Photo)

When you say Filipino home, more often than not, the first thing you'd think of is a bahay kubo. However, over time,  it has evolved into a more modern structure—not just in design, but also through the mediums used. 

If you're in the process of completing your space and thinking about adding touches of Filipino design into your home, you may want to work with materials that are sourced all over the country. Here's a list to guide you:


Initially used as material for rope, the abaca found its way inside Filipino homes as a great material for furniture and decor. The versatility of abaca, or Manila hemp, makes it easy to work with or create different designs with it. Furniture makers and designers choose this material for their works because of its durability and availability.

Coconut Shells

Coconut shell laminates are considered at par with the quality and appearance of turquoise shells or ivory. When you look at photos of homes—whether in magazines or online—a wide array of boxes, lamps, tabletops, chairs, household accessories, and even wall treatments make use of these materials.


Homes in the provinces often use bed frames, sofa sets, and tables made of bamboo—proving that it's a versatile must-have that designers and homeowners should consider. Aside from being used in different pieces of furniture, bamboo is also sturdy and can give your home a laid-back tropical vibe. As a bonus, it can last a lifetime, too. 

Capiz Shells

If you think about it, you have seen capiz shells in different homes, in various forms. These shells are often used in crafting wall art, decor, and even lighting fixtures. Invest in one piece and use it as a focal point in the living area or dining room. There's no doubt it'll be a conversation starter at your next dinner party.


Made of climbing palm tree leaves, the rattan is another favorite of many designers. Rattan furniture pieces have evolved over time—as seen in the works of acclaimed designers Kenneth Cobonpue and Ito Kish, to name a few.

Santol Wood

Quite common among Filipino backyards and farms, santol is mostly known for its fruit that is popularly consumed and used as an ingredient. Little did we know that it has more to offer—while it is less dense than narra or molave, it is way easier to work with and polish. It is also highly resistant to wood borers (bukbok) which makes it ideal for skeletal framework. 


Rice Hull Ash Cement (RHAC)

Concrete is essential in modern homes, but if you're looking for a more cost-effective and sustainable alternative—RHAC is the answer. Ash from rice hulls or husks, when burned under 700 to 750 degrees Celsius, offers binding properties that make it a suitable additive to cement solutions. 

This story is based on a previously published article in July 2016.

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