A Look Inside Columnist Susan Ople's P400,000 Bahay Kubo
When columnist Susan "Toots" Ople and her long-time partner, Fort Jose, decided to build their new home, they knew that a bahay kubo would be perfect for their love for the simple life, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
"Yung idea for the kubo kasi, parang a tribute din sa kultura natin, at the same time, feeling ko very refreshing siya, relaxing siya," Susan tells the OG team. "Yung bahay kubo life talaga, tribute 'yon sa simple joys of the past."
A simple yet functional space
Their bahay kubo, which measures 7.5x4.5 square meters, has all the essentials for daily living. The materials used were bamboo for the overall structure and amakan for the ceiling. Taking into consideration the damage that typhoons can bring, Susan specifically chose a long span roof.
At the front area of the kubo is a porch which serves as Susan's working area. Upon entering, one is immediately greeted by the house's contents: a sleeping area with a queen and a double-size bed, a living area, kitchen, and bathroom.
Mounted on the wall is a smart television, and behind it is a bright mural which features their dog. For their hot beverage needs, Susan and Fort set up a coffee and tea corner, while their kitchen has a small sink and a two-burner stove.
The kubo was built in the early part of 2021, during which Susan realized the structure's limitations such as space and cooling a naturally ventilated house.
"Nag-struggle din kami hanggang ngayon, yung sa pag-aircon ng bahay kasi siyempre may mga spaces in between the bamboo slats, lalo na sa flooring and sa sides na minsan nag-eescape yung cool air from the aircon."
"Siguro, lesson learned, maganda rin na merong professional na mag-ga-guide. Pero ang maganda lang dito yung vision na nasa isip ko na-carry out din namin."
A gift passed down through generations
There's a charming story behind the 750-square meter lot on which Susan and Fort's bahay kubo sits on. Originally the property of her father, the late senator Blas Ople, Susan recalls how he "sold" it to her for just P30,000.
"Minsan tinawag niya 'ko, sabi niya, 'Ibebenta ko sa 'yo yung lupa na binili ko noon-noon pa na same acquisition price,'" Susan remembers. Mr. Ople had just one request: that Susan name it after her daughter, Estelle.
"Sabi ko, 'Wow. Humingi lang siya ng bayad, pero actually, it's a gift talaga from him,'" Susan shares.
A place of healing and gratitude
All in all, Susan says they spent around P400,000, including the appliances and the mural design. More than a house, they consider it a place of healing and gratitude.
"It's a place na parang titingala ka lang and sabihin mo, 'What a wonderful world talaga and what a wonderful God we have.'"
For those planning a simple home just like them, Susan recommends the bahay kubo.
"Kung hindi kaya ng magarang bahay, ipagmalaki natin kasi yung nipa hut naman, yung bahay kubo, talagang part talaga ng kultura natin, e," she says. "Ang importante lang yung structure maayos. It's really not in the size of the house. The size of the house is secondary only to the love that is within the walls of the house."
Take a peek around the modern bahay kubo when you watch the full video below:
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