Low cost shipping container homes for the Philippines

 They can do it in Mexico so why can’t we do it here in the Philippines?

low cost container home Mexico









The first issue is not funding but accepting the problem is only going to get worse not better. Reorganizing and developing infrastructure as well as new housing is badly needed to clean up slum areas. There may be land disputes at which point why haven’t the owners cleared these slums and fenced them off? For other areas that are legal these types of units could make affordable homes for the masses due to their flexible nature of being stackable upwards and sideways allowing dense populations to exist without looking like the photo below :-

Tondo slum, a part of Metro Manila.

Nowhere should ever get to this stage in the first place. But the finger of blame should only be representative of things to learn from so that we can move forward and stop it from continuing to happen. There is an influx of constant people to Manila looking for work as well as the birth control issues that are giving Manila its baby boom which no doubt goes hand in hand with high disease rates and death rates. Housing is not the solution but part of it, education is the key to all of the solutions and awareness that things can change. Especially by the actions of many individuals instead of one body trying to help thousands. Take the same area and utilize it the way a container village has been built in Amsterdam :-

shipping container, village, amsterdam  shipping container, village, amsterdam

Its not a quick fix and its not the be all and end all of problems in slums but it could be a step in the right direction. Additions of things like schools within the communities to develop education for those that need it more than most to help not only with basic education but teaching the links between poverty and family size, disease and waste management as well as many other key things that can help people out of poverty. Social awareness of responsibilities of people within a community and forming a real bond within the community to keep it clean and functional. Strict controls on the numbers that can occupy units and enforce it as over capacity living gets things back to square one.

But how do you get people to take action in the first place is my current dilemma as I want to make this happen and would love to be able to start on a small scale project and work towards a large scale slum to village conversion. I have been putting together costs for the last 12 months on materials and equipment to build the first shipping container home as I need a show piece here in Cebu that people can see how viable this is and can be to utilize. I would like to place it in a prime location and be able to invite people in to the home to see the benefits and dispel the myths on shipping container homes.

Its not going to be cheap initially because of the way the Philippines has an insular protective economy to protect the rich. Basically meaning the initial equipment won’t come cheap due to import duties at the same time its value is in the fact we can use it over and over again so this investment would be an initial one and after that will only need maintenance and repairs.

It won’t be an easy step and I have already spent 12 months on this project looking at the viability of it at the same time I need to prove it works to get other people on board more importantly Charities, NGO’s and Governments to make this happen. The initial stage is in our hands to create the first modular shipping container home to show piece the possibilities. After that I am sure even people looking to build a home can see the benefits of recycling containers as homes which also helps the environment.

If you would like to donate to the project please do so at Low Cost Housing Project

8 thoughts on “Low cost shipping container homes for the Philippines”

  1. I really hope I get to see this project become a reality and start the desperately needed shift from poorly constructed slums to sustainable and affordable housing. Funny thing is, with a few exceptions, even moderately priced new home construction quality is often well below any normal standards and will crumble and fall apart long before a similarly priced container unit would.

    Although it’s undeniable that this solution would be most valuable in improving the lives of the impoverished, the popularity of this type of housing is growing exponentially worldwide, and not solely because governments and organizations are constructing them as an alternative to slums or socialized housing. The big push seems to be coming from people who are realizing the value of container housing for combating urban sprawl and for their outstanding environmental and financial benefits.

    The west coast of Canada has seen a large increase in container housing and part of the reason it has gained so much popularity is because they have gained acceptance with average “middle class” people and families who have helped to, as you said, “dispel the myths” and shown others what is possible and why it’s an important alternative to the status quo.

    It would be great to see working professionals and young families in the Philippines offered the option to purchase or rent this type of housing and help it to gain more mainstream acceptance. The interior finishing options for these types of units are literally endless and could appease everyone, from those needing only “bare bones” units for shelter to those wanting fully functional and comfortable small homes.

    Unfortunately this is the Philippines and arguments such as: “reducing the urban chaos, improving communities and reducing poverty” or “you know how this country is destroying it’s limited resources?? we can help with that!!” even “hey, this will save lives”…..aren’t issues people with the money and power here are interested in.

    It would be ideal to have a university or corporation step up and build the initial village as a solution to student housing, or as affordable accommodations for working professionals. Prove the viability (and potential profitability) first, then use the concrete proof to convince other agencies that it’s a solution worth exploring for reducing the horrendous living conditions for the very large number of underprivileged filipinos.

    Anyways I’m a huge supporter and always willing to write some letters, meet/greet/present ideas to interested parties…anything!! so keep me posted on the progress of this project Matt!

    best of luck

    1. Hi Graeme it has many advantages which is the difficult problem of getting people to change their understanding of shipping containers. For example the recent floods building shipping container homes on raised bases would actually allow free flowing water underneath the homes while not actually damaging the property. Yes people will get cut off initially at the same time I do wonder for how long? If you built a village designed above raised water levels then pretty much most things could be accessible with a bit of thought and planning.

    1. Hi, im a filipino that works here at uk..my grandparents are from negros occidental..ive been looking at the internet about shipping container homes via youtube somehow it got me here…this kind of housing would be ideal back home because i think its cheaper compared to traditional homes millions of filipinos dont have the money to buy their own place or maybe just not enough to get a decent home…can i ask how much each unit cost? I dont have much money but maybe i can help.

  2. I am interested in acquiring container houses for my lot in 652 Protacio ext. Pasay City. I intend to get two 40-ft container houses.

    Pls provide the best design for the location and shape of the lot. I intend to use the container houses for rental to boarders. I want to have two rooms and two toilet and bath per container house. The first unit will be used as first floor and the second unit as second floor.

    I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you very much

Comments are closed.