Words from the Editor

In a traditional Nipa Home

In a traditional Nipa Home

Well I must admit that I felt like some foreigners coming to visit the Philippines for the first time. Even though I come from a Filipino heritage and did visit once when I was five, I was a bit apprehensive to shed my comfy Americanized ways for a little adventure. I had childhood memories of riding a caribou in a farm that had no resemblance to the Old McDonald farms in my childhood storybooks, floating down a river on a raft made by my dad from banana trees and string (boat unraveling in mid-float – thanks dad), and being eaten alive by swarms of mosquitoes and head lice. Bathrooms were outside the main house with dirt holes in the ground with a water bucket next to it. Oh yeah, and how can I forget…..hot….HOT…HOT AND HUMID!

Some decades later and encouragement from my fellow Filipino friends who tout about the new modernized Philippines, I decided to go with a journalist’s spirit and an adventurous heart, and I am glad I did. Tossing my expectations aside, what I discovered was a beautifully rich diverse culture made up of wildly unique areas of conflicting extremes. Unlike other island nations, the Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands which creates a diversity of micro-cultures and thousands of languages.
The country is at a point in its history where indiginous culture clash with the modern demands of the global economy. Struggling to define the Philippine identity after centuries of foreign rule, designers and artists have taken on the responsibility to coalesce these two extremes to help shape the visions for the next generation of Filipinos.

Hopefully, we can plant some seeds for thought here by looking at a culture not normally followed as a forerunner in design by the rest of the world. Isolation has made Filipinos self-reliant and community-focused. Colonization has given them an added diversity not found in other Asian cultures. Simple living has made them attuned to nature and aware of their humbleness within the world. Because of these, Filipinos are closer to joining the global market than they may be aware. In many western nations, designers and artists are seen as self-indulgent, frivilous, and not connected to the “real world”. For the Filipino culture, they are critical voices for the next generation in transforming their heritage to the richness it deserves. Hopefully, we at Dollhouse Digest can play a small part by our support.

Ellen Riingen

Filed Under: Thoughts from the Artisans


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  1. Carrie Fletcher says:

    I subscribe to a website:TinyHouseDesign.com
    These are life size houses that are extremely small but liveable.There are many ideas here that would carry over into miniature dollhouses.The houses are designed by people from all over the world.It is a very interesting website and I get updates almost daily with articles on houses and their designers.

  2. Dollhouse Digest says:

    Nice find. These homes aren’t far from being miniature dollhouses themselves. The Japanese “hotel” is ridiculous. I’ll be bookmarking this one. Thanks again!

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