This Family Rediscovered Simple Living Beyond the City in This Container-Inspired Home

In this episode of "Kakaibahay," Shirley Joy Martir welcomes us into her family's tiny home away from home.

Photography: Courtesy of Shirley Joy Llegunas Martir

When the first pandemic lockdown was implemented in 2020, Shirley Joy Martir and her family found themselves stuck at her parents' home in Bukidnon. "Umabot ng two [to] three months na hindi kami naka labas," she recalls. As a family of seven, it was quite difficult for them to not have a space of their own. "Medyo nagsisiksikan kami doon sa house ng parents ko kaya we [decided] to build a house while we're [staying] here."

Nestled in Shirley's dad's coconut farm, the family's home away from home is one-of-a-kind. Inspired by the unique houses they would see online, the couple designed it in such a way that it's reminiscent of a shipping container. "Cinustomize lang namin 'to... kasi when we [calculated] the costs, mas expensive [gumawa ng] container house.

"We feel so relaxed," happily shares Jong, Shirley's husband. "Napaka-comfy kasi iba talaga when you have your own space." 

For the Martir family, this KakaiBahay isn't just a temporary home—it has become their sanctuary during these trying times, and most importantly, it helped them rediscover the joy of living simply.

Kakaibahay is Real Living’s newest web mini-series that features unique homes with unique stories. From urban mansions to seaside cottages, we will walk beyond the threshold of aesthetics into the personal histories of those who live in them. Each week, we will have homeowners take us through their spaces, going down memory lane as we highlight favorite corners, interesting furniture, and sentimental pieces that culminate into a biography of building, adapting, and settling in.


Watch episodes on, Real Living's YouTube channel, and Real Living’s Facebook page. 

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Video produced by Mart Francisco, Jean Saturnino, Jico Joson, and the Real Living Team

Special thanks to Shirley Joy Llegunas Martir and family

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Do you have a unique home with a unique story? Send photos and your personal kuwento to [email protected] and we may just feature you in one of our next episodes!

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