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Moving display of Filipino culture to feature at Mela

By Rebecca Black

Published 28/08/2015

Kasey, Kirsten and Kathryn Leitch, members of Northern Ireland's Filipino community, help launch the Belfast Mela
Kasey, Kirsten and Kathryn Leitch, members of Northern Ireland's Filipino community, help launch the Belfast Mela

A unique showcase of Filipino culture will be unveiled at the Mela in Belfast this Sunday.

A traditional bamboo house, known as a bahay kubo, has been created.

Indirah Jairath, a leading member of the Filipino community in Northern Ireland, explained that in olden times, moving house in the Philippines was as simple as family and friends helping you lift your home and carrying it to the village you were going to.

Indirah explained this tradition was the inspiration for recreating a bahay kubo for Mela.

"This was the way houses were built in the Philippines before the advent of concrete," she explained.

"It is made of light materials, so when you change address you get people to help you carry it to the next village.

"The walls were usually made from bamboo and even the pillars made from bamboo, although in the Philippines these are more flexible. The roof is usually made of grass.

"It is really a symbol of everyone coming together to help."

Building the structure in Northern Ireland was very different to the Philippines, but community spirit prevailed with a local architect, who once lived in the islands, designing it.

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