Personal Spaces: The renovation of Bahay Banahaw

Bahay Banahaw was an old 80-square feet, two-bedroom apartment in Los Baños, Laguna. Built in the 80’s, it was rented out to tenants for about thirty years so it badly needed repairs by the time the owners decided to have it renovated in 2018. Orly Agawin, president and CEO of OSA Training and Educational Services, took charge of renovations, including financing. His mother owns the property, an inheritance from her own mother. “It’s the best remembrance we have from my lola, a memory of her thoughtfulness and love for her eldest daughter,” Orly shares.

When he decided to invest heavily on the renovation, he contracted the services of creative stylist and consultant Bie Magalong. The sister of one of Orly’s colleagues, Bie suggested to work around the Industrial / Modern Filipino concept, “a marriage of concrete and wood”. “It is a home in the countryside… a cozy, spacious, minimal and liveable space where we can dine, watch Netflix, and work,” Orly said. He also decided to give it a name, Bahay Banahaw, after the mystical mountain in South Luzon. 

Photos courtesy of Orly Agawin

It took four months to finish everything, and in April 2019, Orly and his family had the house launch and photo shoot. “It was the most rewarding experience, ever,” Orly shares. He continues, “The following morning, I woke up in my new room and headed for breakfast. I sat in the new dining area. I looked around and saw that all the lights were on. There was a sudden sense of euphoria. The house I saw that morning was the home I had in my dreams. ‘This is for you, lola,’ I said to myself. ‘See how gorgeous the house that you built for us is’.”


Orly’s tips for those planning to renovate their spaces:

1. It’s great to contract the services of people you already know and have worked with in the past, from carpenters and plumbers to electricians and designers. 

2. Renovation could cost more than building from scratch. Make sure you have enough budget to see it through, including the cost of buying new appliances and furnishing.

3. Don’t buy materials ahead of time as better options may come up during the construction period.

4. Avoid buying anything on impulse. Take the time to reflect before buying anything and make sure you really need it.

5. Focus on your original vision when you begin to doubt your decision to undertake the project. The rewards will be worth all the work and expenses.