Last June 28, 2017 Base Bahay Foundation and The Sorsogon City Local Government held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Don Jose M. Berenguer Sr. Base Bamboo Village in San Lorenzo Sorsogon City. The project is a joint effort between Base Bahay Foundation, Inc. and the Sorsogon City Local Government who was headed by Mayor Sally Lee. The project aims to showcase fifty disaster resilient Cement-Bamboo Frame houses to be given to the less fortunate residents of Sorsogon, a city frequently hit by the yearly typhoons in the Philippines.

Base Bahay Foundation turnover Sorsogon City Mayor, Sally Lee
Sorsogon City Mayor, Sally Lee

“Life is really different if you don’t have your own house. There is [a certain] insecurity,” Mayor Sally Lee added as she recounted her experience of losing her own home to a fire years back. “People deserve a home. It is part of upholding their human dignity… and it greatly affects their quality of life.”

Sorsogon City Pier
Sorsogon City Pier

The Situation

Sorsogon, a city of 180,000 inhabitants, combines extremes: attracting eco-tourists for its diving spots, while facing vicious cycles of vulnerability for its fishing and farming population due to frequent typhoons. The city is known to be one of the most damaged by the country’s yearly typhoons; and these damages continue to grow the longer it takes to provide more resilient building methods.

Product Development Manager Luis Lopez in one of the finished houses in Bagong Silangan
Product Development Manager Luis Lopez in one of the finished houses in Bagong Silangan

 

The Opportunity

Base Bahay Foundation will apply what is called the Cement Bamboo Frame Technology; a building method that promises disaster resiliency, thermal comfort, and various opportunities for positive environmental impact, as well as new sources of livelihood.

General Manager of Base Bahay, Maricen Jalandoni
General Manager of Base Bahay, Maricen Jalandoni

In her message, General Manager of Base Bahay Foundation, Inc. Maricen Jalandoni emphasized BBFI’s advocacy toward providing everyone with decent living circumstances. “Ang tao, parang bamboo rin. Kapag na-develop, maaabot nila ang kanilang highest potential” (People are also like bamboo. When they are given the opportunity to develop they can reach their highest potential).

 

The NGO-local government collaboration offers an entry point for system change in the building practices of low income groups: using bamboo- in an engineered, yet affordable, socially inclusive and disaster-resilient way. A showcase settlement of 50 houses will bridge the gap between the city’s poor and the opportunities of tourism, while creating income by its bamboo value chain and skill building.

 

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