Arts & Culture

The Design for This Tawi-Tawi Resort Was Inspired by Giant Clamshells

The architect blends the giant clamshell design with local context and culture.

Photography: DADA Design And Architecture

Deo Alrashid Alam is an architect who grew up in Zamboanga City and is the founder of his own architecture and design company, DADA, or Deo Alrashid Alam Design Architecture. According to the website, two of DADA's visions are “to conceptualize and develop sustainable, practical, economical and adaptable architecture designs” and "to cultivate the future of architecture as a form of art."

We think he certainly accomplished both with his design for Bihing Tahik, a resort in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi that means "by the sea" in Samal. In his post about the project on his Facebook account, Alam says he found inspiration in giant clams, which are often referred to as the “jade of the sea.”

“Following the smooth curves of the hardy clam's shell, our design mirrors both the strength and beauty found within them,” the firm says about the project. “The roof of each cabana is both anchored firmly into the ground and connected seamlessly to its neighbor. This not only provides a sturdy foundation with a connection to the earth but also makes for a solid but flowing structural component.”


In an interview with Esquire Philippines, Alam said the resort project’s design was inspired by a previous project the firm was working on—the municipal hall of Bongao.

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“When we were coming up with a form concept for the building, we had to do some research on the different tribes and their culture; from Badjao to Tausug to Chinese,” he says. “When we studied their art and crafts, I noticed a repeating pattern on the form. They all had wide shallow curves. I still don’t know what influenced this curve expression but decided to adopt it.”

Alam adds that when the firm was awarded the resort project, he looked for a way to express natural beauty and somehow connected the giant sea clams, which is abundantly found in the area.

“After researching more about the shape of the clams and how the apex of the curves is for structural integrity, I knew this was the best form concept to apply for a tropical environment,” he says. “There were customs and beliefs as well about clams giving healing properties so I figured this will be an interesting story for the guests of the resort.”


Alam says the resort project includes a restaurant, a reception area, and a clubhouse.

See photos of the design here:



Alam says that the project is about to enter the design development stage.

"We were scheduled to fly to Bongao last March but had to cancel last minute," he says. "We will try again this May."

Visit the DADA website here.

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* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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