Bit nippy for a nipa? Man starts importing iconic Filipino huts to Scotland

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A Scottish man has launched a business importing nipa huts into his home country

A Scottish man must be hoping for a warm summer this year as he has begun importing Philippine nipa huts to his chilly home country.

David Symon, from Argyll, was on holiday in the Philippines last December when he had his moment of inspiration while dining outside a restaurant. “I didn’t know what it was called at the time, but I thought, oh, this is quite nice. These would look lovely in a garden,” he said.

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After checking that nobody else was selling the huts in Scotland, Mr Symon, aged 64, spent three weeks touring the country before he found a family of nipa makers in Laguna and struck a deal to export them to Scotland.

Mr Symon has already sold four, even though they are not due to arrive in Scotland until May. One customer has told him that they intend to install a hot-tup in theirs. The six feet by six feet structures cost upwards of £2,000.

“It’s a summer trend and if a young couple or a family buy something like this for their garden, their neighbours will want one,” he said. “It’s keeping up with the Joneses stuff.”

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“We’ve had about 15,000 visitors to our website already. I think people find they are good value compared to traditional large sheds, and it’s something different.

“If they can stand up to tornadoes and typhoons in the Philippines, they can stand up in Scotland.”

Crafted out of bamboo and hardwood with roofs made from coconut leaves, the huts were originally built to shelter lowland families from flooding and fierce temperatures. Now, however, the huts are more often used for picnicking.

Manuel Noche, a historian at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, told The Scotsman that the construction of rural native huts in the country had “changed little” over the centuries.

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