Architecture of the Philippines
The architecture of the Philippines (Filipino: Arkitekturang Pilipino) is a reflection of the country's historical and cultural heritage. Most prominent historic structures in the archipelago are based on a mix of indigenous Austronesian, American, and Spanish influences.
During three hundred years of Spanish colonialization, the Philippine architecture was dominated by the Spanish influences. The Augustinian friars, along with other religious orders, built a large number of grand churches and cathedrals all over the Philippine Islands. During this period the traditional Filipino Bahay na bató (Filipino for "stone house") style for the large houses emerged. These were large houses built of stone and wood combining Filipino, Spanish and Chinese style elements.
After the Philippines was ceded to the United States of America as a consequence of the Spanish–American War in 1898, the architecture of the Philippines was dominated by American aesthetics. In this period, the plan for the modern City of Manila was designed, with a large number of neoclassical architecture and art deco buildings by famous American and Filipino architects. During World War II, large portions of Intramuros and Manila were destroyed. In the reconstruction period after the Second World War, many of the destroyed buildings were rebuilt.
In the late 20th century, modern architecture with straight lines and functional aspects was introduced, particularly in the Brutalist architecture that characterized government-built structures done in the Marcos period. During this period many of the older structures fell into decay. Early in the 21st century, a revival of the respect for the traditional Filipino elements in the architecture returned.
- 1 Prehistory
- 2 Classical period
- 3 Spanish colonial era
- 4 American colonial period
- 5 Modern period
- 6 Notable Filipino architects
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
For 2,000 years the mountainous province of Ifugao have been carefully cultivated with terraced fields. These rice terraces illustrate the ability of human culture to adapt to new social and climate pressures as well as to implement and develop new ideas and technologies. They also epitomize a harmonic, sustainable relationship between humans and their environment. The structures' original builders used stone and mud walls to carefully carve and construct terraces that could hold flooded pond fields for the cultivation of rice. They also established a system to water these plots by harvesting water from mountaintop forests. These engineering feats were done by hand as was the farming itself.
Maintenance of the rice terraces reflects a primarily cooperative approach of the whole community which is based on detailed knowledge of the rich diversity of biological resources existing in the Ifugao agro-ecosystem, a finely tuned annual system respecting lunar cycles, zoning and planning, extensive soil conservation, and mastery of a complex pest control regime based on the processing of a variety of herbs, accompanied by religious rituals and tribal culture.
Later on the invention of various tools allowed for the fabrication of tent-like shelters and tree houses. Early Classical houses were characterized by rectangular structures elevated on stilt foundations and covered by voluminous thatched roofs ornamented with gable-finials and its structure could be lifted as a whole and carried to a new site. Examples include the Ifugao House, Bahay kubo and the Royal Nobilities' Torogan.
The Bahay Kubo
The Bahay Kubo (literally "cube house") is the Filipino word for Nipa huts, they were the native houses of the indigenous people of the Philippines before the Spaniards arrived. They are still used today, especially in rural areas. Different architectural designs are present among the different ethnolinguistic groups in the country, athough all of them conform to being stilt houses, similar to those found in neighboring countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and other countries of Southeast Asia.
Skills in fortification
The architecture of the early Filipinos reflects the skills that were used at the time of war and on the battlefield. Due to the creation of various thalassocratic states within the archipelago, trade began to flourish. Neighboring states would often wage war for territory and trade rights in certain areas, this ultimately led to the fortification of villages and towns. Another reason for the development of these fortification skills was that of prestige and intimidation, leaders, mainly Datus, Rajahs and Lakans as they were called, often built forts and fortifications to intimidate other leaders in their area.
With the arrival of Muslim scholars from nearby Indonesia, the native Filipinos were introduced to the concept of the Kota or fort. The Muslim Filipinos of the south built strong fortresses called kota or moong to protect their communities. Usually, many of the occupants of these kotas are entire families rather than just warriors. Lords often had their own kotas to assert their right to rule, it served not only as a military installation but as a palace for the local Lord. It is said that at the height of the Maguindanao Sultanate's power, they blanketed the areas around Western Mindanao with Kotas and other fortifications to block the Spanish advance into the region. These kotas were usually made of stone and bamboo or other light materials and surrounded by trench networks. As a result, some of these kotas were burned easily or destroyed. With further Spanish campaigns in the region, the Sultanate was subdued and majority of Kotas dismantled or destroyed. Kotas were not only used by the Muslims as defense against Spaniards and other foreigners, renegades and rebels also built fortifications in defiance of other chiefs in the area. During the American occupation, rebels built strongholds and the Datus, Rajahs or Sultans often built and reinforced their kotas in a desperate bid to maintain rule over their subjects and their land. Many of these forts were also destroyed by American expeditions, as a result, very very few kotas still stand to this day.
- Kota Selurong: an outpost of the Bruneian Empire in Luzon, later became the City of Manila.
- Kuta Wato/Kota Bato: Literally translates to "stone fort" the first known stone fortification in the country, its ruins exist as the "Kutawato Cave Complex" 
- Kota Sug/Jolo: The capital and seat of the Sultanate of Sulu. When it was occupied by the Spaniards in the 1870s they converted the kota into the world's smallest walled city.
Limestone Tomb complex of Kamhantik
The Limestone tombs of Kamhantik is an excavated remains of a thousand-year-old village found in the jungles of Mount Maclayao in Sitio Kamhantik within the Buenavista Protected Landscape of Mulanay, Quezon, Philippines.
It is composed of fifteen limestone coffins that can be dated back from the period of 10th to 14th century based on one of National Museum's top archaeologist "a complex archaeological site with both habitation and burial remains from the period of approximately 10th to the 14th century ... the first of its kind in the Philippines having carved limestone tombs."
The tombs in the mountain forest of Sitio Kamhantik are carved into the limestone outcroppings of the forest floor. Historians speculate that the people who lived there used metal tools to carve the tombs. Radiocarbon dating suggests that these tombs are around a thousand years old.
Idjang Citadel "Batanes castles"
The Ivatan people of the northern islands of Batanes often built fortifications to protect themselves during times of war. They built their so-called idjangs A type of Citadels on hills and elevated areas. These fortifications were likened to European castles because of their purpose. Usually, the only entrance to the castles would be via a rope ladder that would only be lowered for the villagers and could be kept away when invaders arrived.
This Classical Filipino House have three types of house: is lawig the small houses, The mala-a-walai the large houses and the torogan. The existing torogans were built by the community and the slaves for the King in 1800s. This house of the King has no partitions and it is a multifamily dwelling where all the wives and the children of the Hari (king) lived. The windows of torogan are slits and richly framed in wood panels with okir designs located in front of the house. The communal kitchen is half a meter lower than the main house is both used for cooking and eating. The distinct high gable roof of the torogan, thin at the apex and gracefully flaring out to the eaves, sits on a huge structures enclosed by slabs of timber and lifted more than two meters above the ground by a huge trunk of a tree that was set on a rock. The end floor beams lengthen as panolongs the seemed to lift up the whole house. The torogan is suffused with decorations. There were diongal at the apex of the roof, also an intricately carved tinai a walai, okir designs in the floor, on windows and on panolongs. There were also brightly colored weaves or malongs hanging from the rafters, it was hung up using ropes around a particular territory for privacy. The house was built to sway during earthquakes. Twenty-five post of huge tree trunks were not buried but are freestanding. Sometimes, if needed, wooden pegs were used to secure the wood members. These were all used to prevent the house from collapsing.
Spanish colonial era
The arrival of the Spaniards in 1571 brought in European colonial architecture to the Philippines. Though not specifically suited for the hot tropics, European architecture was transposed via Acapulco, Mexico into a uniquely Filipino style.
Since the Spaniards brought Christianity to the islands, they created the need to establish religious structures to support the growing number of religious organizations. Some of the best preserved colonial churches in the country are found in the Ilocos Region, as well as those in the provinces of Laguna, Batangas, Cebu and Bohol. These colonial churches were typically designed by anonymous friar-architects and built between 1600 and 1750. Most were initially constructed with bamboo and nipa, but the friars realized that to instill a sense of awe, as well as to caution against the terrible menace of fire and earthquake, more grandiose buildings had to be erected. In spite of technical and material limitations, they managed to erect massive structures that often took years, even decades to complete, that have survived to the present.
Bahay na bato
In this era, the nipa hut or bahay kubo gave way to the Bahay na bato (stone house) and became the typical house of noble Filipinos. The Bahay na bato, the colonial Filipino house, followed the nipa hut's arrangements such as open ventilation and elevated apartments. The most obvious difference between the two houses would be the materials that was used to build them. The bahay na bato was constructed out of brick and stone rather than the traditional bamboo materials. It is a mixture of native Filipino, Spanish and Chinese influences. During the 19th century, wealthy Filipinos built some fine houses, usually with solid stone foundations or brick lower walls, and overhanging, wooden upper story with balustrades and capiz shell sliding windows, and a tiled roof. Excellent preserved examples of these houses of the illustrious Filipinos can be admired in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. In Taal, Batangas, the main street is also lined with examples of the traditional Filipino homes.
Intramuros is the old walled city of Manila located along the southern bank of the Pasig River. The historic city was home to centuries-old churches, schools, convents, government buildings and residences, the best collection of Spanish colonial architecture before much of it was destroyed by the bombs of World War II. Of all the buildings within the 67-acre city, only one building, the San Agustin Church, survived the war.
Fort Santiago (Fuerza de Santiago) is a defense fortress established by Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi. The fort is the citadel of the walled city of Intramuros, in Manila. The location of Fort Santiago was also once the site of the palace and kingdom of Rajah Suliman, king of Maynila of pre-Spanish era. It was destroyed by the conquistadors upon arriving in 1570, encountering several bloody battles with the Muslims and native Tagalogs. The Spaniards destroyed the native settlements and erected Fuerza de Santiago in 1571.
The order of the Augustinians, Augustinian Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines, built many churches all over the Philippines. These magnificent structures can still be found throughout the Philippine Islands.
The Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte is one of the most prominent types of these churches. This unique specimen of Filipino architecture from the Spanish era has been included in the World Heritage Sites List of the UNESCO. The church was built by the Augustinian friars from 1694 until 1710. It shows the earthquake proof baroque style architecture. The bell tower served as an observation post in 1896 for the Katipuneros during the Philippine revolution against the Spaniards, and again by the Filipino guerillas during the Japanese occupation in World War II.
San Agustín Church and Monastery, built between 1587 and 1606, is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, and the only building left intact after the destruction of Intramuros during the Battle of Manila (1945). The present structure is actually the third to stand on the site and has survived seven major earthquakes, as well as the wars in Manila. The church remains under the care of the Augustinians who founded it. The church also houses the legacies of the Spanish conquistadors, Miguel López de Legazpi, Juan de Salcedo and Martín de Goiti who are buried and laid to rest in a tomb, underneath the church.
The church has 14 side chapels and a trompe-l'oeil ceiling. Up in the choir loft are the hand-carved 17th-century seats of molave, a beautiful tropical hardwood. Adjacent to the church is a small museum run by the Augustinian order, featuring antique vestments, colonial furniture, and religious paintings and icons. It was named a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1976. Together with three other ancient churches in the country, it was designated as part of the World Heritage Site "Baroque Churches of the Philippines" in 1993.
American colonial period
With the arrival of the Americans in 1898 came a new breed of architectural structures in the Philippines. Foremost of the American contributions to the country was the establishment of civil government. This led to the erection of government buildings from the city all the way to the municipal level. Designed in the most respectable manner, these government houses resembled Greek or Roman architecture.
The revival period, popular at the turn of the century, became the foremost architectural parlance of the era as seen in such buildings particularly in Manila. Education of the masses also became the thrust of the American occupation, as such, public education was established, foremost of which is the University of the Philippines. With American rule firmly established in the Philippines, the military government at the time invited the well-known architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham to develop Manila. Burnham’s arrival led to the formation of the Burnham Plan which identifies the city of Manila as a uniquely European city in the tropics and as such opposed to develop its architecture in line with the existing style. The style of architecture, as suggested, varies little from existing architecture at the time as typified by the Manila Hotel. New structures continued the use of conventional motifs but were made of more durable materials such as concrete. This style of architecture prevailed even after the turn of the century.
The Luneta Hotel, located in Kalaw Avenue, is one of the remaining structures that survived the liberation of Manila in 1945. The hotel was completed in 1918. According to Dean Joseph Fernandez of the University of Santo Tomas, the hotel was designed by the Spanish architect-engineer Salvador Farre. The structure is the only remaining example of the French Renaissance architecture with Filipino stylized Beaux-Arts architecture in the Philippines to date.
At the Far Eastern University (FEU) in Quiapo, Manila, five Art Deco structures on the campus were designed by National Artist Pablo Antonio. Three were built before World War II and two, after. Although FEU buildings were totally damaged during the war, the university was restored to its original Art Deco design immediately after. The university was given a UNESCO Asia Pacific-Heritage Award for Cultural Heritage in 2005 for the outstanding preservation of its Art Deco structures.
El fraile island "The concrete battleship"
The El Fraile Island or Fort Drum, also known as "the concrete battleship," is a heavily fortified island situated at the mouth of Manila Bay in the Philippines, due south of Corregidor Island. The reinforced concrete fortress shaped like a battleship was built by the United States in 1909 as one of the harbor defenses at the wider South Channel entrance to the bay during the American colonial period. It was captured and occupied by the Japanese during World War II, and was recaptured by the U.S. after igniting petroleum and gasoline in the fort, leaving it permanently out of commission.
Art Deco theaters in the Philippines
During the rise of cinema in the Philippines as a form of recreation, several theaters were constructed in the 1930s to 1950s in the Art Deco style designed by prominent architects now recognized as National Artists. The Manila Metropolitan Theater is an Art Deco building designed by the Filipino architect Juan M. Arellano, and built in 1935. During the liberation of Manila by the combined American and Flipino troops in 1945, the theatre was totally destroyed. After reconstruction by the Americans it gradually fell into disuse in the 1960s. In the following decade it was meticulously restored but again fell into decay. The sculptures upon the façade of the theater are by Italian sculptor Francesco Riccardo Monti, who lived in Manila from 1930 until his death in 1958, and worked closely with Juan M. Arellano. Highly stylized relief carving of Philippine plants executed by the artist Isabelo Tampingco decorate the lobby walls and interior surfaces of the building.
The following are the Philippine architects who contributed and lead to the design of the classic Philippine theaters:
Iglesia ni Cristo churches
During American colonial rule over the Philippines, there were a variety of rural anti-colonial movements, often with religious undertones, and American Protestant missionaries introduced several alternatives to the Roman Catholic Church, the established church during Spanish colonial period.
The Iglesia ni Cristo is an international Christian religion that originated in 1914. Their church buildings primarily serve as places of worship and are used for other religious functions. These churches were described as structures "which employ exterior neo-Gothic vertical support columns with tall narrow windows between, interlocking trapezoids, and rosette motifs, as well as tower and spires." There are multiple entrances leading to the main sanctuary, where males and females sit on either side of the aisle facing a dais where sermons are made. The choir loft is located behind the dais, and in larger churches, baptistry pools for immersion baptism are located at the back of the church.
Meanwhile, Fernando Nakpil-Zialcita, an anthropologist from Ateneo de Manila University, said that INC churches can be uniquely identified for "its exuberant use of fanciful forms and ornaments [and a] brilliant white facade whose silhouette is a cusped Gothic arch or a flattened Saracenic arch. The distinctive spires represent "the reaching out of the faithful to God." Churches were started to be built in this style during the late 1940s and early 1950s with the first concrete chapel built in Sampaloc, Manila in 1948.
The INC Central Temple which opened in July 27, 1984, can accommodate up to 7,000 persons, and cost about US$2 million. The Central Temple features octagonal spires, "fine latticework" and ribbed windows. Recent buildings are variations of Carlos A. Santos-Viola's designs on the Central Temple. These are designed to accommodate 250 to 1,000 persons while larger churches in Metro Manila and provincial capitals can accommodate up to 3,000 persons. Prominent architects, such as Juan Nakpil (a National Artist of the Philippines for architecture) and Carlos Raúl Villanueva, had been involved in designing INC churches while the Engineering and Construction Department of INC oversees the uniformity in design of church buildings.
The aftermath of World War II brought major destruction especially in the capital city of Manila and a time of rebuilding ensued. The modern era dawned on Philippine architecture using the simple straight lines of the International Modern Style as a chief mode of expression. By the 1970s, a new form of Philippine architecture emerged with the filipinization of architecture. The Filipino style found its way in the re-emergence of traditional motifs, the Bahay Kubo and the Bahay na bato became popular forms to be copied and modernized such as the Batasang Pambansa and the National Theater. By the 1980s the country’s architectural idiom was swept by the tide of Post Modernism, a hearkening back of some sort to classical architecture.
Today, architecture in the Philippines continue to be vibrant and with the country opening up to the world, more first rate architecture is pouring in.
Cultural Center of the Philippines
The Cultural Center of the Philippines is home to the National Theater (Tanghalang Pambansa). The theater is the centerpiece of the 77 hectare (190 acres) arts and culture complex located along Roxas Boulevard in Manila. Designed by Leandro V. Locsin, the construction of the National Theater began in 1966 and was completed in 1969. The theater is a primary example of the architect's signature style known as the floating volume, a trait can be seen in structures indigenous to the Philippines such as the nipa hut. It houses three performing arts venues, one theater for film screenings, galleries, a museum and the center's library and archives.
The façade of the National Theater is an example of Brutalist architecture, it is dominated by a two-storey travertine block suspended 12 meters (39 ft) high by deep concave cantilevers on three sides. The building is built on a massive podium, and entry is through a vehicular ramp in front of the raised lobby and a pedestrian side entry on its northwest side. In front of the National Theater and below the ramp, there is an octagonal reflecting pool with fountains and underwater lights. Aside from the National Theater, other structures located inside the CCP Complex is the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo or the Main Theater, Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino or the Little Theater, Folks Art Theater and the Manila Film Center.
Parish of the Holy Sacrifice
The Parish of the Holy Sacrifice is the landmark Catholic chapel in the University of the Philippines Diliman. Known for its architectural design, the church is recognized as a National Historical Landmark and a Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Institute and the National Museum respectively. Five National artists collaborated on the project. The building was designed by the late National Artist for Architecture, Leandro Locsin. Alfredo Juinio served as the structural engineer for the project. Around the chapel are fifteen large murals painted by Vicente Manansala depicting the Stations of the Cross. The marble altar and the large wooden cross above it were sculpted by Napoleon Abueva. The mosaic floor mural called the “River of Life” was designed by Arturo Luz.
The image of "Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage" has been venerated in the church of Antipolo for centuries. The old church that housed the virgin was destroyed in February 1945 when the Americans bombed Antipolo as part of the liberation campaign of Manila. In 1954, a new church was built designed by the renowned Filipino architect Jose de Ocampo. The Antipolo Church is of a cupolaed design centered around the image of the Virgin. It functions as the center point of the pilgrimages to Antipolo.
The Philippine Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena being constructed at Ciudad de Victoria, a 75-hectare tourism enterprise zone in Bocaue and Santa Maria, Bulacan, Philippines. With a capacity of up to 55,000, it is the world's largest indoor arena once completed. It is the centerpiece of the many centennial projects of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) for their grand celebration on July 27, 2014. The legal owner of the arena is the INC's educational institution, New Era University.
Iloilo Convention Center
The Iloilo Convention Center (also known as ICC or I-Con) is a state-of-the-art convention center in the Iloilo Business Park in Mandurriao, Iloilo City, Philippines. Its construction was completed in September 2015 in time for the APEC 2015 hosting. It is built on a 1.7-hectare of lot in the district of Mandurriao donated by the Megaworld Corp. The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority allocated P200 million for the construction of the convention center, while another P250 million was sourced from the Priority Development Assistance Fund of Senator Franklin Drilon.
The state-of-the-art convention center designed by Ilonggo architect, William Coscolluela. The design was inspired by Iloilo’s Dinagyang and Paraw Regatta festivals. The paraw is a native double outrigger sailboat in the Visayas region, used in the annual Paraw Regatta Festival sailboat race. Abstract designs of the famous Dinagyang Festival are featured on the glass walls of the center. It is a two-storey structure with a total floor area of 11,832 square meters. The main hall on the ground floor has a 3,700-seat capacity and 500-seat function rooms on the second floor. A rooftop of 1,500 sqm is available for outdoor functions.
United Architects of the Philippines
The United Architects of the Philippines or UAP is the Official Voice for Architects throughout the country. The UAP was formed through the “unification” of three architectural organizations: the Philippine Institute of Architects, The League of Philippine Architects and the Association of Philippine Government Architects. It became the Bonafide Professional Organization of Architects upon receiving Accreditation Number 001 from the Professional Regulation Commission. Thus, UAP was the first professional organization recognized by the Republic. With the passing of the new architecture law or Republic Act No. 9266, UAP becomes the IAPOA or the Integrated Accredited Professional Organization of Architects. In 2014 they gave their highest award, the Likha Gold Medal Award, to Yolanda Reyes, who was the first woman to receive this award.
Notable Filipino architects
- Leandro V. Locsin (1928–1994) was one of the modern architects who shaped the modern Filipino Architecture. During his career, he built five churches, over 30 different buildings, over 70 residences, and major landmarks in the Philippines including the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
- Carlos A. Santos-Viola was an architect who built churches all over the Philippines.
- Juan Carlos Eugene Soler is the only Filipino to win the prestigious Glass Architectural Design Competition in Tokyo, Japan (2009).
- Cultural achievements of pre-colonial Philippines
- Culture of the Philippines
- Batanes castles
- Spanish Baroque architecture
- Baroque Churches of the Philippines
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Architecture of the Philippines.|
- Arkitekturang Filipino
- "History of Philippine Architecture". Archived from the original on 9 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-08.
- "Architecture in the Philippines". Archived from the original on 2007-03-14. Retrieved 2007-06-08.
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