PHINMA’s Likha Residences takes inspiration from the bahay kubo
Likha Residences is poised like a hidden gem. The entrance into the peaceful enclave entails driving along the busy main roads of the Skyway or the South Luzon Expressway. But once you’re inside, the outside world feels far and away. Despite this tranquil setting, the move-in ready townhome is not isolated from the city as exclusive subdivisions like Hillsborough and Alabang Hills, along with schools like Southridge and San Beda Alabang, are located nearby.
Nestled on a 1.2-hectare expanse and designed by architectural firm Mañosa & Co., this residential development showcases 68 designer townhomes, each spanning three to four storeys. Yet, stealing the spotlight during the Grand Launch were the latest Inner Garden Townhomes. On December 2, Likha Residences drew an enthusiastic crowd and nearly sold out their three-storey units. With a spacious pocket garden, the townhome served as both the event venue and a firsthand experience for guests.
The project is designed by the Mañosa firm founded by the late National Artist for Architecture Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa, now headed by his son Angelo Mañosa. Head of Sales and Marketing for Likha Residences Alice Dela Peña-Villanueva highlighted their choice of architectural firm, saying, “We wanted to showcase the value of Filipino design. [While] we did receive bids from other Filipino architecture firms, Mañosa stood out the most because they champion Filipino architecture, [drawing] inspiration from the bahay kubo.”
In the conceptualization of this modern Filipino townhouse project, the iconic bahay kubo, representing the quintessential Filipino home, served as the primary inspiration. For many, this conjures images of sweeping roofs and stilt structures crafted from bamboo, as well as native materials like rattan, cogon, nipa, and timber. However, the real estate developer moved beyond these visual cues.
Dela Peña-Villanueva highlighted that the essence of a bahay kubo lies not just in how it looks but also in how it is built. “The bahay kubo is essentially made for the climate of the country, meaning our houses are meant to be designed in a climate-conscious way,” she explained.
Within the units, a deliberate emphasis is placed on large windows to ensure optimal air and light circulation. Additionally, the staircase is ingeniously designed to function as both an air well and a light well, featuring broad Señorita steps that enhance safety and comfort for residents moving throughout the home.
On the third floor of selected units, a clerestory—a series of vertical windows along high walls extending from the roofline—is incorporated. The sales and marketing manager pointed out, “The idea behind that is because hot air rises, it keeps the house full, and that’s the same way bahay kubo is built. We took the principles and foundations of bahay kubo and incorporated them into the modern home.” In contrast to structures that merely incorporate superficial Filipino touches like handwoven rattan and colorful textiles, Likha Residences sets itself apart by aligning its design with the wisdom and functionality inherent in the iconic Filipino dwelling.
Inspired by nature
These townhouses, apart from being custom-built for the Filipino lifestyle, also prioritize sustainability. Natural light streaming through wide windows lowers power consumption and carbon footprint. Similarly, high ceilings and louvered shutters help keep the home cool without the need for air-conditioning. “The specs we use are made to last. The way that we built [our townhouses], when you’re inside the unit, it feels more like a house,” shared Dela Peña-Villanueva.
With 50 percent open space, each townhouse boasts two carport garages and an outlet available at any time. Units also offer access to a personal garden deck or a private back garden—spacious enough to accommodate a diverse plant collection, enjoy an alfresco meal, and provide a comfortable spot for lounging under the sun. In the spirit of bayanihan, balconies are positioned to face one another, fostering a sense of community and togetherness.
On the horizon
PHINMA’s commitment to Filipino tradition has significantly shaped its philosophy, a dedication that precedes its collaboration with Mañosa & Co. for the design of Likha Residences. As the longest-running all-Filipino conglomerate in the Philippines, the real estate developer made its initial foray into the industry with high-end townhouses in the ‘80s, showcasing iconic projects like the Manila Polo Club and Mariposa Villas.
Reflecting on the ‘80s as a post-revolution era, Dela Peña-Villanueva shared: “The mission of PHINMA is to make lives better. I mean, we’ve been making lives better since the start. That’s the core value of the company.” Transitioning from high-end housing, the real estate developer responded to the nation’s needs during a crucial period by venturing into socialized housing. In the years that followed, the company further extended its reach into economic housing.
Fast forward to 2018, more than three decades since the EDSA revolution, PHINMA made a strategic decision to re-enter the high-end market. Articulating this decision, Dela Peña-Villanueva posed, “There is an underserved market for the high-end—where is the alternative between expensive condos and houses and lots?” This move not only underscores PHINMA’s adaptability but also demonstrates its commitment to addressing the dynamic needs of the Filipino people. Remaining attuned to the ever-changing landscape, the real estate developer, through Likha Residences, is steadfastly progressing toward realizing its vision of a multi-generational home—one that can be passed down through generations with enduring purpose and significance.