Bahay kubo bags

Filipino culture wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for the oddest combinations that make for some of the most unique local references. From quarantine food recipes with dalgona and sardines to soap and milk in Pancit Canton packaging, there’s no end to the many ways Filipinos show off their creativity.

Recently, another odd combination has been born in the fashion world. The bahay kubo and bags aren’t exactly two things you’d think to put together, but a Filipino designer made it happen. Now, these Bahay Kubo bags might just turn into a trend that you won’t want to miss out on.

Local store sells Filipino-inspired Bahay Kubo bags

bahay kubo bags - bahay kubo bagImage credit: Ronan John

We’ve seen high fashion lab gowns and tribal tattoo-inspired face masks – maybe it’s time for something else that’s new and unusual to change up your wardrobe. 

This store in the Philippines sells bags inspired by the Filipino bahay kubo, or nipa huts. Called the Bahay Kubo bag, these brown backpacks resemble the iconic Filipino houses, with the bag flap as the roof, the body as the walls, and even have a pocket that’s shaped like a window.

How the Bahay Kubo bag was born

bahay kubo bags - shooting process
Image adapted from:
Ronan John 

Designer Ronan John didn’t have a full-on business idea in mind when he designed these bags. In fact, it started out as a project for his major’s design class where the class had to make a design inspired by a Philippine artifact

Assigned to design a bag, he decided on the bahay kubo to represent the spirit of bayanihan, an ancestral tradition where a group of Filipinos help each other lift a bahay kubo from one place to another. Hence, the Bahay Kubo bag was born.

Ronan John continues to be hands-on with the bags, mainly in designing them. He adds thoughtful additions to the design, such as the stilt-like feet on each backpack to help them stand and to keep them from getting dirty. After getting each bag’s base from his supplier, he attaches these bamboo stilts himself.

Products to get from Ronan John

bahay kubo bags - black bahay kubo bag
Image credit:
Ronan John

The Bahay Kubo bags come in a small version that’s 11 by 8 by 4 inches in size (P3,700, ~USD76.13) and a large version that’s 12 by 8.5 by 4 inches in size (P5,000, ~USD102.88). It also comes in a messenger bag (P4,000, ~USD82.30) variant that’s 11 by 15.2 by 4.5 inches.

Besides the classic brown, the Bahay Kubo bags also come in black, making them easy to pair with any outfit you have on.

bayong tote bagImage credit: Ronan John

You can also ask for custom-designed and custom-made bags, such as the bayong tote Ronan John made for a customer who wanted a tote bag made with Philippine handicraft methods. To sweeten the deal, the shop also offers shipping nationwide and worldwide.

Update your wardrobe with local pieces

Fashion means a lot more than just the shirts or jeans you choose to wear for the day. It’s also a form of self-expression, so if you ever want to express your Filipino pride, you can take it a step further by doing so with pieces from local brands. You can start with practical pieces that were inspired by our own culture, just like these Bahay Kubo bags.

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Cover image adapted from: Ronan John and Ronan John

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