Pinoy startup bets on stylish tiny houses that cost as little as P89,000

Nika Lazo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 11 2021 07:49 PM | Updated as of Jan 12 2021 08:07 PM

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MANILA - A Philippine startup is betting on the popularity of "tiny houses" among millennials to carve a niche for itself in the country's growing property and building industry. 

Cubo Modular manufactures small houses that can be assembled IKEA-style in a matter of hours, and cost as little as P89,000.

Cubo CEO Earl Patrick Forlales said the company's easy-to-assemble homes are also resilient and can withstand typhoons and earthquakes.

"It's like getting our very own 'bahay kubo'. We're just upgrading it to become a 21st-century solution," Forlales said in an interview with ANC.



Forlales said the units are made with engineered bamboo, which is "14 times stronger" than concrete or the usual hardwood materials in the Philippines such as Narra and Yakal.

In December last year, Cubo built its first two completed units in Wack-Wack, Mandaluyong, which withstood a recent strong earthquake.

Cubo units can range from 6.5 square meters to 63.5 square meters in terms of liveable space.

The prices range from as low as P89,000 to P499,000.

The modular houses are built from their facilities and transported and assembled on-site in just a few hours.

"These houses are made by Filipino hands, and we take pride in that. So there really is a big demand. We are getting a lot of support from fellow Filipinos," Zahra Halabisaz Zanjani, Cubo's chief operating officer, said in the same interview.

The modular units are also compliant with the International Residential Code, which ensures that the units "pass the global standards in terms of quality and structure," Forlales noted.

Forlales said a lot of people have become interested in their modular houses and they now have orders for 7 Cubo homes this year, three of which are to be set up in Quezon City, Pampanga, and Marinduque in the next two months.

Aside from being resilient and affordable, Cubo said its units, as well as the manufacturing processes they employ, are sustainable and eco-friendly. 

The company said it plants bamboo trees, not just for their production, but also to help reduce the country's carbon emissions.

Forlales and Zanjani were among the recognized 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs in Asia by Forbes Magazine in 2019.