It is a small enclosed structure, a one-room affair that serves as living and sleeping room, kitchen and dining room. It is elevated above the ground by four posts made of sturdy tree-trunks with roots intact. It has solid panels for walls and tightly thatched roofing.
The two main base girders – the horizontal support (at the front and back) just on top of the posts are held to these posts by dowels. No nails are used. The Ifugao carve each part of the house as interlocking pieces, the girders fitting into the supporting posts. On top of the girders is a single-piece structure to support the flooring and on the four corners are the four king posts which bolt together the ends of the two base girder, the side girders and the rest of the structure.
Two girders are placed in the right and left uppers structure to support the roofing. A girder which is a one-piece structure spans these right and left girders and on which rests the upper king posts. Rafters are made of seasoned bilaureeds and bamboos or betel palm slats. The roof is usually made of bilau leaves of cogon grass. The rooftop has side openings where smoke escapes. The walls are made of wood or woven bamboo slats and the floor, of wood. These are also shelves around the four sides of the house at the level of the walls. These are used for storing plates, pots and other household items.
The house has only one entrance opening carved by a detachable door hanging or attached on a rope or rattan where the ladder is placed but there is a smaller backdoor for throwing things down or for emergency exit.
The Ifugao believe that spirits dwell in all natural things and they try to keep out the evil spirits by engraving on the door or on any conspicuous part of the house the figure of a lizard or a serpent believed to provide protection.
At night, the ladder is pulled up inside and the family is safe from human and animal intruders.
Leonardo Concepcion, in his lectures on... [continues]
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