Inside the Fascinating World of Filipino-Inspired Sims Builds
Anyone who’s ever played The Sims knows that building your dream house is half the fun. But some Sims 4 fans—called simmers—take it to the next level with the sheer creativity they pour into making their builds.
Take for instance interior design graduate Sharina, who posts her creations on Instagram and YouTube under the username @paszerine. She created a charming pineapple farm, market, and village inspired by local rural scenery.
The build is called Villa Piña.
“Villa Piña was largely inspired by life in the province as depicted in Fernando Amorsolo’s paintings. I grew up in the province myself, and my family likes to take trips to admire the landscape every now and then,” she explains.
“I always found the 'probinsya’ scenery naturally beautiful, and in a way, I was inspired by the holistic character of rural areas. I wanted this build to be a little different from the usual and since the game also has its limits, I decided to create this transitional self-sustaining residential complex with a pineapple plantation based on ‘buhay probinsya’. I wanted it to reflect Filipino values and it is ideally a home for multiple generations of sims,” Sharina adds.
It took Sharina about four days to complete the build. If you’d like to download her build, you can search for her in the Sims 4 Gallery using her ID, paszerine. You will, however, need a whole bunch of expansion packs, stuff packs, and game kits, like Eco Lifestyle and Country Kitchen.
Sharina has been hooked on The Sims since 2005, and has played all four versions of the game. It even influenced her choice of career. “Since I was younger, I’ve always loved telling stories and I enjoyed doing so through my sims. I think the best part about this game is that you can let your imagination run free and you can be as creative as you’d like,” she says. “Everyone has their own type of play-style and I love the freedom of it. Growing up, I also got very much into art, architecture and interior design, and it's because of my experience building in the Sims that I was inspired to take up Interior Design at university.”
When asked how she became so good at making custom builds, Sharina thinks she has an advantage as someone who has studied interior design and played the game for years. However, she points out that she only began building in The Sims 4 last year.
“I started out just like most people: basic shapes, getting used to the controls, discovering what works and which items match, etc. Landscaping and exteriors were a struggle since I am more into interiors, so I initially just renovated existing homes in-game. Then one day I wanted to see if I could create a nice house with a pretty landscape. I gave it a try and even though it was a little out of my comfort zone, I found that I enjoyed it,” she says.
“So I started practicing, doing more research, learning from studying architects’ works and taking notes from more experienced builders,” she adds. “This may just be a hobby, but personally I’d like to think that the Sims games are a fun way of discovering your passion, and it’s easy to become inspired. Today, I’m still actively learning since there are many possibilities I haven’t had a chance to try yet.”
Sharina created her Villa Piña build as part of an initiative called Kababayan Sims Collab, which was started by Filipino-American player Simmnice. The project brings Filipino simmers together to create builds based on Philippine culture. They can be designed from scratch or based on real places in the Philippines.
“I met Simmnice on Instagram and she is one of the larger creators in the 'Simstagram' community. She is a Filipino simmer like me who is proud of her heritage and we became friends. There aren't a lot of Filipino simmers who are actively taking part in the community, so whenever you meet a Filipino simmer, it's always a joy to connect with them,” she explains.
Simmnice got the idea for the Kababayan Sims Collab when she saw other players sharing creations inspired by their home countries. As someone born and raised in the U.S., she thought it was a great way of connecting with people who shared the same cultural background.
“I didn't really grow up with a lot of Filipino culture around me, other than the food. I am sad to say that I can't even speak or really understand the language of my family, so doing this collab is one effort I wanted to make to keep my roots grounded,” she explains.
She started the first collab in 2020 and had so much fun bonding with fellow Filipino Simmers that she decided to host the Kababayan Sims Collab every summer from then on. She hopes to include different creators each year.
For this year’s collab, she created a Seascape Resort inspired by her one and only trip to the Philippines in 2018. She was able to visit Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, but it looks like Seascape Beach Resort in Cebu holds a special place in her heart. After all, it served as the basis for her Sims build. You can check out the expansion packs she used by scrolling right on the Instagram post below:
As one of the bigger Filipino simmers within the community, she has some advice for fellow Sims content creators. “It is so easy to get caught up in the little obsessive ‘traps’ that social media sets for us—the numbers (likes, views, and followers),” she says. “Seeing your simstagram's platform grow is definitely fascinating, but don't get so obsessed with it that you forget that at the end of the day, it's just a game. And games are meant to be fun. Don't let the numbers consume you so much that you forget to enjoy the very thing you're making content for. Have fun, connect with other sims players, build friendships, and enjoy it!”
Kababayan Sims Collab participants have come up with some seriously impressive content over the past two years. Just look at this Home Along the Riles build by Dee:
It took Dee about five hours to finish the build. “I have always spent my time building—that's gameplay for me. It takes lots of practice and patience to actually build nice. Watching YouTube videos or asking other simmers in the community for building tips also helps,” she says.
While she normally uses only one to five packs for her builds, she went all-out on Home Along the Riles. Some of the packs she used were Island Living and Laundry Day.
Meanwhile, Sophia has us wishing we could hop on the next flight to Boracay with her recreation of Henann Crystal Sands:
And simmer Chelle has created the perfect setting for Sim weddings with her charming Caleruega Church build:
Last year’s collaborators came up with some stunning builds as well. Check out Ivory’s recreation of Paoay Church:
It’s certainly great to see Filipino simmers showing their love for our culture and heritage
through the game. “It is essential for us to advocate the importance of our cultural identity. Our
heritage and history is something we should be proud of and we can find many ways to share it
with others,” Sharina says. “Contemporary visual arts and media are powerful tools in this
regard especially among younger generations, and it seems even videogames are capable of
showcasing the beauty of our country too. Sharing our Kababayan Sims Collab allowed us to
connect with many people from different cultural backgrounds and it was a wonderful
experience all around.”