The banggerahan from lola’s kitchen

Nuvali house drawings
My parents and I always talk fondly of my grandmother’s kitchen in Bicol, which was small but no less efficient! Its key feature was the banggerahan, an open-air shelf or balcony for hanging plates and glasses to dry.

Lola Chedeng made good use of her banggerahan, which I learned is also called pinggahan (it’s meant to house plates or pinggan after all!).  In her tiny U-shaped kitchen, floor space was minimal but it also made everything within reach.  One minute you’re facing the sink; turn to your left and voila, there’s the range.  Turn once more to your left and there’s the ever reliable banggerahan, which was also used for planters for growing herbs.

From that kitchen came out many meals that made my dad, aunt and uncle what they are today– strong, healthy and well-fed with love.

I hope to integrate a simple banggerahan into my Nuvali home, so I asked my dad to make an updated drawing (shown above).  I want it to house not just my plates, glasses, cutlery and potted herbs, but also all the fresh fruits and veggies I don’t want (nor need) to store in the refrigerator.  Underneath maybe I can put my compost pit.

Was also happy to read on PinoyDreamHouseToday.com about Architect Bobby Manosa also incorporating this traditional kitchen feature into his home projects.  Author Jun Sanchez was kind enough to indulge me and share a pic of Manosa’s very sleek banggerahan (look for the link in the comments section).

Oh yet again, so exciting!  So many design ideas, have to work harder to stay true to my design thrust of keeping it simple.   For now though, kudos to the banggerahan and all the other back-to-basics lessons we can learn from our grandparents!

15 Replies to “The banggerahan from lola’s kitchen”

  1. Ah, so that’s what it’s called. I’ve seen a lot of those in the bukids and palaisdaans of San Pablo, Laguna, where I spent a good part of my wonder years.

    My minimalist version (true to form, hehe) of the banggerahan, which I’ve incorporated into my green kitchen design, calls for a countertop the shape of a half “T” (right side). So instead of under-the-counter cabinets, you have nothing but a short solid wall where part of the countertop sits, with the countertop protruding into an indoor garden.

    There will be no overhead cabinets, either, to block anything (including my head, ouch!), so the customized stainless steel countertop will be an all-in-one: banggerahan, sink, stove and space for gadgets and whatnot.

    So what you have is a fully open kitchen with the best dryer and deodorizer: sunlight and air. The roaches and rodents aren’t gonna be too happy because there’s no place for them to hide and thrive.

    1. Quick q: Your counter top is all steel and ribbed, shaped like an inverted L with the tail protruding to let water drip straight to your garden, am I getting it right? Why steel if I may ask? Where do you store condiments, etc? A separate pantry?

      1. Lots of kitchen time has taught me that a smooth — not ribbed — countertop keeps black mold away and cleaning a breeze.

        Haha, an inverted L is the easier way to describe it. Countertop is:

        – level, with subtle sloping to direct residual water toward the sink
        – protruding to save space and maximize ventilation (especially when frying garlic, hehe)
        – stainless steel, because the other options suck:
        a) granite: mined, radioactive, porous (chemical sealant has to be applied)
        b) tiles: hard to clean (especially grout), cracks, porous

        Countertop is about 3m x 0.8 m, so everything should fit in: stove, condiments, banggerahan, sink, juicer, etc.

        1. .8m is deep! does it include storage area for food (fruits, veggies, etc)? and you’re keeping all your kitchen stuff out in the open even after drying?

          Agree re the ribbed counter top. Am getting picky re tiles and grout too, and not just for the kitchen but more so for the bathroom!

          1. Washing pots and pans on my current .5m countertop/sink is a witch. I might have gone overboard with .8m, though, so I guess .7m is more like it, hehe.

            Yup, out in the open for everyone to see. I don’t need to hide the salt, ground pepper, cooking oil (coconut), plates, utensils, juicer, etc.

            Produce will be picked fresh from the gardens inside, outside or above.

            Budget permitting, I might go with glass instead of tiles for the shower wall, thereby eliminating the need for grout, which is also a witch to clean. For the bathroom floor, I’m using big 42x42cm tiles (which might end up on the wall, too, if glass option turns out to be unjustifiably expensive).

          2. Re: glass for your bathroom walls, will it be glass on top of concrete? frosted glass? Privacy concerns… 😛

            Right now so much of my kitchen space is taken up by fruits–I’m guessing your garden won’t have fruit trees, so where will they go in your kitchen? Also on the counter? Seems crowded…

            Speaking of floors, what are you using for your main areas (living, dining, bedrooms)? Have you explored local makers/suppliers of polished concrete?

          3. One other kitchen advice: get a deep sink. My friend’s mom is a chemist, so their kitchen sink is not just wide but deep–makes washing pots and pans a cinch!

          4. Yep, ocean deep. Not sure if I’ve properly explained that the countertop and sink are all in one seamless piece. At least that’s the idea. May end up as tiled countertop and stainless steel sink if costs prove unreasonable.

          5. Well, if the kitchen is open, so should the bathroom. What’s there to hide? Kidding. Glass on top of concrete it is.

            Gotta love glass — made from abundant natural sand, highly recyclable, non-toxic to manufacture and use, and non-porous which makes it so easy to clean (I’ve been scrubbing bathrooms since I was a child, no kidding).

            The counter is 3m long — I used to live in an apartment smaller than that.

            Will be planting papaya, banana, pinya, blah blah. The langka seedling at the rear setback looks like it’s gonna live. For fruits I can’t harvest, they go on top of the counter or dining table, or hung a la roadside stalls.

            Desperately wanted to go Filipino for tiles (Mariwasa and Lepanto), but ended up with a cheery Spanish (down to P108/42x42cm, as nobody seems to like happy yellow/orange/red).

            I trekked to Cypress Bomanite to interrogate them re polished (a.k.a. stamped) concrete, but was turned off upon hearing they use tons of liquid chemicals to achieve the look.

        2. .8m is deep! does it include storage area for food (fruits, veggies, etc)? and you’re keeping all your kitchen stuff out in the open even after drying?

          Agree re the ribbed counter top. Am getting picky re tiles and grout too, and not just for the kitchen but more so for the bathroom!

  2. This is the first time that I have heard of the term banggerahan though when I saw the sketch, I exactly know what it is. My grandmother also has one at her home. I have to admit these types of simple kitchen designs are just amazing something that is cheap yet functional.

    1. yes very cheap and practical! there’s a lot to be learned from the old practices of our grandparents… I also like looking at old Filipino houses to see what has worked for so long… take the ventanilla for example– such a simple design element that’s perfect for Philippine weather!

    2. yes very cheap and practical! there’s a lot to be learned from the old practices of our grandparents… I also like looking at old Filipino houses to see what has worked for so long… take the ventanilla for example– such a simple design element that’s perfect for Philippine weather!

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