Simple, low cost, hurricane resistant earthbag house in the Philippines

Simple, low cost, hurricane resistant earthbag house in the Philippines

“I have been interested in building techniques for a few years, with dreams of one day building a small castle. A conversation with Louis, a Dutch friend, introduced me to earthbag building techniques. Essentially, this involves filling rice bags with soil, tamping them down and using the blocks to build a structure. It is a cheap and effective way of building using local labour and materials.

In the local community I learned of an old couple whose house had burned down a couple years ago. They were living in a tin shack. I asked if I could build something for them on the plot of land that they own, and within 6 hours they had stripped the spot bare.

The sacks were bought from Dinno at Beltran Sacks in Divisoria. After explaining what I was doing he gave me a discounted price of 4 pesos per 25kg Atlantic wheat sacks, not rice sacks.

After first filling the trenches with loose rubble and gravel, the first layer of sacks were filled with gravel, and for the second layer the bags were filled with earth and tamped down with homemade tampers that we had made from a plastic container and concrete.”

More at Mark


Earthbag Building Philippines — 13 Comments

  1. Is it still standing? How about building permit, Was it an issue? Bcoz i am planning to build my house using earthbag in Philippines the only thing I am anxious about is the building permit from the local municipal.
    Cheers mate.

  2. Hi there,

    I am Wollinger to Builder Mike this in The Phili pines bit boy finding a National supplier of the Rafia rolls. Can someone tell me where to buy them in the Philippines

    • Yes it can if it’s built correctly and the storm is not too severe. But there is a limit to everything. Nature is stronger than what man can build. For instance, in Coron the storm put 2-3 houses on top of each other. So there are no 100% guarantees.

  3. Heartwarming story. Good for you Mark and the women! Let’s hope you’ve started a chain of earthbag building in the area. “Give a man a fish…etc”

    • It looks like a thin coat of plaster with white wash on top. Most people add 3 layers of plaster and try to get it perfectly flat and smooth, but that’s necessary unless you’re in a bad earthquake zone and want maximum reinforcement.

  4. I love receiving stories like these. This is a good sized house for only $5,000. That includes a very strong steel truss roof made locally. All I can say is good job Mark and crew. Love seeing people help their communities. What a different world this would be if everyone helped each other out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.