Torogan Architecture Puzzle

Torogan BALAY-BALAY architecture puzzle. The Torogan is the ancestral communal house of the Maranao royalty known for its intricately carved panolong (beam-ends) with okir designs.


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Torogan made by Balay Balay Architecture Puzzles


Now get to know the key parts and functions of the torogan!

Each part of the torogan is like a puzzle piece. Without any one of them, the torogan wouldn’t be complete.

Supporting the torogan are 25 massive posts or tokod¸ which are carved from whole tree trunks of hardwood trees such as narra, mahogany and magkuno (ironwood). They are laid out equally and are supported by interconnected tie-beams. Several lantaka or small brass cannons may be tied to some tokod.

Underneath each tokod are six or seven carefully selected wato or large stones, which serve as the torogan’s foundation. Half buried into the ground, they support the entire structure, and act as shock absorbers for tremors and earthquakes, as well as strong winds.


The underfloor space of the torogan created by the tokod and the tie-beams is called dorung. The dorung serves several purposes such as living quarters for the sultan or the datu’s servants; shelter for the draft animals; and temporary prison for thieves.

The second floor of the torogan is called poro, a partitionless living space for the sultan or datu and his family. It is the venue for various activities such as cooking, eating, and meetings with members of the community or with guests. Chests are used to create divisions of the living space including the sleeping areas.

The poro is distinguished by the wooden staircase or towak. The towak’s stringers are also carved with okir motifs while its railings or barandilyas remain plain.

The poro has a floor or lantay made from heavy wooden planks, which are supported by wooden floor joists or dolog.

The most distinctive feature of the torogan are its seven to eight intricately carved panolong or end-beams. Five to six panolong carved with the naga okir (serpent motif) decorate the frontage of the torogan while two panolong carved with the pako okir (fern motif) decorate its sides. The okir motifs show abstractions of forms of nature such as the scroll, circle, leaf, vine or wave, and bud or flower presented symmetrically and in repetitive manner.

The walls are made with wall studs called tartek. The tartek form the wall frame which consist of lumber pieces nailed to the posts holding the walling.

The wooden dingending or wall planks are nailed to the tartek.

The torogan has sliding windows called rowasan. Its surface can also be carved with okir. It can also be made of bamboo.

The torogan’s door called paitaw is made from wood and ornamented with okir carvings.

The rampatan or roof beams are the main support of the roofing materials. The carved center roof beam or tinai a walai represents the house’s “intestine”.

The pulaos bungan are the three king posts, which are ends and mid-spans of the rampatan. They also support the apex of the gable.

Early torogans had roofs or atup made of cogon grass and bamboo. Later, the roofing materials were changed into wooden planks. The American regime ushered in the use of galvanized iron sheets, which can still be seen in existing torogans.


About Balay Balay Architecture Puzzles

Balay Balay 3D Architecture is the manufacturer and distributor of toy puzzles of Filipino Architectural landmarks, Indigenous houses, traditional spaces and vernacular architecture made for adults and children. We train communities to create puzzles from their own Architecture identity and assist them through the prototype and operational stage. Puzzles take a month to complete and are meticulously painted. All of their products undergo rigorous anthropological and architectural research to replicate authenticity.

Balay Balay 3D is 2017 BPI Sinag Finalist, member of the British Council Active Citizen and exhibitor during the Social Enterprise International Study Visit and World Forum 2016.





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