Tips and Guides

Pinoy Decor Dictionary

Get acquainted with vernacular terms and school yourself in local design culture

Photography: Dairy Darilag (Main Photo)

If you’ve ever trolled the Manila FAME hashtags or have had a soft spot for your family’s ancestral home in the province, you know that Filipino design does possess unique, subtle and sophisticated qualities.

Whether you’d like to infuse your home with some sorely lacking local flavor, or want to go full throttle and recreate a Spanish colonial sala in your own home (Casa Manila style), it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different elements that all add to the country’s design backbone.

Abaca. Also known as Manila hemp, this plant is a local banana species. Its fibers have earned it its solid reputation. Used in everything from paper to rope, its weaves have been making waves locally and in the export scene for many decades.

Almario. Most likely a derivative of armario, the Spanish word meaning “wardrobe” or “cupboard,” an almario is used to store pillows and throws.

Aparador. Closet. It is the piece of furniture dedicated to holding your clothes.

Banig. Woven mat, used for sleeping and / or sitting down. Unlike picnic blankets or beach towels, the banig is not fashioned out of fabric or textiles.

Banggerahan. The part of a traditional home that is situated by a kitchen window. It is where all the washed plates, glasses and utensils are laid for drying.

Bodega. The basement of the house, usually used for storage.

Butaca. Also called the “sillion,” this is a type of chair that is used for lounging. The chair has particularly long arms that one can put his or her feet up on.

Bulul. Carved figures that are said to guard rice crops in the Ifugao and northern provinces.

Capiz. Mollusc shells particular to the Philippines that possess an iridescent, smooth and translucent finish. In traditional houses, they adorn windows, allowing natural light to filter through.

Dulang. A low coffee table, typically wide in span.

Gallinera. A wooden bench with storage below the seat, originally meant to place one’s roosters in.

Habi. The art of weaving.

Mariposa. A bench possessing the shape of a butterfly.

Paminggalan. A wooden cupboard for storing plates, glasses, and other kitchenware.

Rattan. A species of palm that is typically used for furniture and handicrafts. Rattan furniture had its heyday in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the local design scene.

Ropero. A laundry hamper.

Solihiya. A popular weave pattern often used in rattan furniture such as rocking chairs, beds, and lounges.

PHOTOS: Miguel Nacianceno (1, 4, and 5) | Dairy Darilag.

More on

5 Ways To Achieve Filipino Style

10 Things We Love About a Filipino Home

5 Filipino Design Elements for Your Home


Latest Stories

How To Vacuum Your Home Properly

Here’s how to avoid all the usual vacuuming mistakes. Plus, learn about a revolutionary new material that will help you bust all that dirt at home.

5 Things To Never Clean With Baking Soda

This finely milled powder has its downsides, too

There's An Affordable Way To Keep Your Home Smelling Good 24/7

Say no to artificial fragrances with this three-step hack

A KonMari Reality Show Is Coming To Netflix

Will de-cluttering diva Marie Kondo's new show spark joy?

You Only Need P5,000 To Work On These Home Improvement Projects

The best part? These can increase the value of your space, too.

What's Inside The Vatican Walls?

Aside from having one of the largest collections of art in the world, the Vatican holds many other treasures

Meet The Architect Behind This Industrial-Pinoy Home

Inspired by the Bahay Kubo, this architect worked with industrial details and affordable building materials to create an inviting space

Is It Possible to Paint Over Tiles?

No one likes the sight of lackluster tiles. Know what to do with these tips from an interior designer.

A Sneak Peek at the New Clark City

A Singaporean consulting firm has been tapped for the development project

You Can Use Wallpaper On The Ceiling, Too

Talk about having a one-of-a-kind accent in your space

Rockwell's Glasshouse Is The Chicest Restaurant Out There

Fashion retailer Harlan + Holden's response to the global trend of lifestyle dining is this airy and beautiful restaurant

6 Ways Wallpaper Can Enhance A Very Small Room

Wallpaper isn't just for huge, sprawling homes—the colors and patterns of this wall finish can visually enlarge a tiny space
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!