The Ivatan House is a unique vernacular architecture developed in the province of Batanes. Its compact structure is divided into four areas: the main house, the cooking house, toilet, and bathhouse. During the cold seasons, the cooking house also serves as sleeping quarters. The houses of Ivatan are constructed and repaired through a cooperative system called kayvayvanaan or kamanyiduan. Through this system, houses are fixed with immediate action.
Most of the Ivatan houses are built with limestone walls, reed and cogon roofs, strong enough to withstand the numerous typhoons and earthquakes that visit the island on an average of eight times a year. Some houses have roof nets which allow the roofs to last from 25 to 30 years. These nets serve as the roofs' protection against strong winds during typhoons. Only three walls of the house have windows; the fourth wall faces the direction of the strongest typhoon winds. The inside is relatively cool during summer and warm during the rainy season.
There are different types of Ivatan houses.
The sinadumparan or maytuab is the most common type. It is a one-storey structure with a partially submerged basement that functions as a storage area. It has thick stone and lime masonry with walls topped by either a dos aguas or a cuatro aguas roof which is made of an elaborately crafted wood truss system with bamboo, reed rattan, and thatch cover. It has a distinct roof system built with a meter thick cogon bundles done by by no less than twelve persons at the same time. The roof nets, called panpe, are made of strong ropes thrown over the roof and fastened to the ground.
Compared to the sinadumparan, rakuh has bigger floor area with a lower level which functions as the storage area. The walls are made of lime mortar that binds the stones of different sizes. It has two doors and three windows.
Instead of thick stone and lime mortar walls, the jin-jin house has walls made of woven cogon thatch with bamboo or wood framework. The roof is made with the distinctive Ivatan multi-layered cogon system.
- Valera-Turalba, Maria Christina. Philippine Heritage Architecture: before 1521 to the 1970s.Philippines: Anvil Publishing Inc.,2005.
- Batanes: Sea and storm shape the islands Article by Aileen Lainez(accessed April 18, 2008).