Bamboo Breakthroughs in 2022: Non-Profit Base Bahay Grows a Community of Bamboo Advocates across the Philippines

From the government to the academe to the private sector, bamboo brought together the housing community in 2022 through initiatives spearheaded by the non-profit Base Bahay Foundation (Base).

Partnerships to build bamboo homes for Filipino communities

Committed to a vision of “Building sustainable foundations for the future”, Base works with its network of partners to build homes for various beneficiaries all over the country using Base’s Cement-Bamboo Frame Technology (CBFT).

Base’s CBFT is certified by the Accreditation of Innovative Technologies for Housing (AITECH) and the National Housing Authority, making each Base home comfortable, affordable, disaster-resilient, and ecologically friendly.    

In 2022, 188 new houses were added to Base’s growing portfolio of over 1,200 disaster-resilient residences built across the Philippines, sheltering around 5,000 individuals in 14 communities.  Best of all, each “build” brings livelihood to its host community. This also includes the Negros Occidental Impact 2025 (NOI2025) project with Habitat for Humanity, which aims to build 10,000 cement-bamboo frame homes in response to the growing need for socialized homes in disaster-prone areas, particularly in Visayas.

As part of its initiative to scale up its projects globally, Base also has international collaboration in Nepal to build more disaster-resilient communities using its technology.

Last year the organization also moved beyond housing to co-develop the Kanya Kawayan Weaving Center in Nasugbu, Batangas, in partnership with Holcim Philippines, Inc. and Kanya Kawayan, a like-minded social enterprise that aims to elevate the use of bamboo. The 148-sq m Weaving Center will house the organization’s production of artisanal creations, which help generate employment and alternative livelihood opportunities for Batangueños.

With the aim to empower communities with further economic opportunities, Base also works with Ayala Foundation, Inc., and other organizations on the Planting for Productivity (P4P) project that teaches the community about organic urban farming.

“As leaders in the field of sustainable housing technologies, we recognize that we play a pivotal role in ensuring that every Filipino has access to a home,” said Base Bahay General Manager Dr. Pablo Jorillo, referencing the country’s housing backlog as he points out bamboo’s abundance. “We are excited to share that Base has signed a memorandum of agreement with five other organizations for the construction of bamboo structures and the implementation of other programs in their respective communities.  We hope to unlock more partnerships that will help us provide homes for more Filipino families.”

Working to bring bamboo into mainstream construction

Shares Base Bahay Head of Technology Luis Felipe Lopez Munoz: “a key part of our commitment to promoting sustainable housing technologies is constant innovation. Our vision is to be the global reference for bamboo and sustainable construction in order to help countries find alternative construction methods.”

At the Base Innovation Center (BIC) in Makati, the country’s first research and testing facility for sustainable and disaster-resilient construction technologies, Base is leading the charge on research and innovation surrounding the use of bamboo for the affordable housing sector.

Passionate about advocating the use of bamboo in mainstream construction, Base works with the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines (ASEP) to advocate the creation of our own National Structural Code for Bamboo.   

As part of its research and development initiatives in 2022, Base Bahay formed two new key partnerships with local universities Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP). BIC also partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry – Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI) for further research opportunities and to bring its innovative products to Base communities.

Today, BIC works with 14 local and international university partners, allowing them to engage in special projects, such as the use of an augmented reality application in panel fabrication with incon and ETH Zurich, and Panel Fabrication Table with Hilti P4.

“Since its launch in 2021, BIC has gained more attention from different local government units, institutions, and organizations globally with more people visiting the facility and engaging in partnerships with Base,” adds Luis Lopez.  “So far, BIC has conducted 14 research works and completed 5 publications in collaboration with different local and international institutions.”

Adds Jorillo: “These research partnerships are essential to BIC and Base, as we continue to push for sustainable construction, particularly CBFT, to be the building technology of choice in the industry.  CBFT homes are disaster-resilient, environment-friendly, and sustainable –important elements for permanent housing here in the Philippines where we face multiple typhoons every year.”

Within its own organization, Base invested in organizational development, and is standardizing its processes through the deeper involvement of its own employees in drafting plans and strategies.

“We have likewise started to undergo a series of training courses on Quality Management, so we can successfully adopt the system and get certified for ISO 9001,” Jorillo says.

Teaching a new generation of bamboo builders

On top of its focus on research and development, Base Bahay continues to equip the housing and construction industry by offering Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Programs to architects, engineers and other construction professionals; and skills training to workers.  Last year, online and in-person programs on Bamboo Standards and CBFT saw over 800 participants composed of professional builders and bamboo enthusiasts.

One of the highlights of Bamboo Month last September was the Bamboost, a forum on bamboo architecture and design developed by Base to upscale green construction.  Leading the line-up of local and international experts speaking at the forum was Jörg Stamm, a Colombia-based bamboo construction specialist and trainer, widely known for his design and construction of engineered bamboo structures in different countries.  Stamm was joined by Base Head of Technology Luis Felipe Lopez and three heavyweights in the field of bamboo architecture: architect and urban designer Munir Vahanvati, Filipino-American architect  and Kawayan Collective co-founder Ray Villanueva,  and multi-awarded Filipino architect Christian Salandanan who is widely known for his work with bamboo.

“This year, we are looking forward to establishing even more programs and other initiatives that will continue to put bamboo and CBFT front and center in the Philippines’ housing and construction industry,” says Maricen Jalandoni, Base Bahay president. “We believe this kind of technology is what we need to fulfill Filipinos’ need for more affordable yet high-quality and sustainable homes.”


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