Building the Kalapaw


Last October, after the rainy season, we assessed the project site and we chose a spot to be the site for the main living area (Zone 1).  This is the boundary of the rice field and the forested hill.

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We cleared some of the vegetation and gathered materials to build the kalapaw for temporary shelter.  A kalapaw is a small hut used by farmers as their temporary shelter whenever they’re in the fields.  The species of bamboo we have, locally called bolo, is good for making walls. We got some really big ones (bayog) from our neighbors, to use as the main posts for the kalapaw.  We’ve already started planting this kind of bamboo for future use.

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We started building the kalapaw first week of December.  We called on our friend Danny who’s an all-around carpenter, to help us build.  We also hired some locals, Allan, Zaldy and Noli, to help us.

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We finished building the kalapaw in two weeks.  It has a small sleeping area, a semi-outdoor kitchen and dining area.

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We also built a small outhouse with a waterless composting toilet and an outdoor shower area.  We only use sawdust (kusot), rice hull (ipa) and some weeds to “flush.”  And we plan to harvest the humanure after some time to be processed and used as fertilizer.  Our waterless toilet became famous in the community, and every now and then some neighbors visit just to see it.  They’re so amazed with it, they want to replicate it, because water is hard to access in some parts of the community.  Our supply of sawdust and rice hull are all given to us by our neighbors.

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This is our shower area made of bolo.  We get our water from the community water service, tapped from a mountain spring.  We will soon establish a rainwater harvesting system for our other water needs like irrigation.


We made our own filtering system for our graywater coming from the shower area, kitchen sink and the outdoor wash area.  We used river rocks, gravel and pebbles to filter the water. The soap residues and other impurities settle at the bottom.  We make sure we use natural or mild soap.  The filtered water drains to a pond where we’ll put assorted water plants for further filtering.  We’ll make a third pond where we’ll put some tilapias.  We covered the filtering system with lots of mulch like sawdust, rice straw, rice hull, bamboo scraps and dried twigs.  The mulch will eventually turn into rich compost, by then we’ll be able to plant on it.

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(Photos by Cye Reyes)


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