September 1, 2017 | Author: Michael Tasarra | Category: Aesthetics, Qualitative Research, Identity (Social Science), Modernism, Information
Share Embed Donate

Short Description

ESPASYO 2010...



EDITORIAL Gerard Rey A. Lico, Ph.D.


FOREWORD Jose Danilo A. Silvestre


Of Art, Symbols and Memory of Place: Exploring Philippine Architectural and Urban Design Character Coherence Potentialities by Utilizing UP Diliman’s Built Environment as Model Mark Anthony M. Morales


The Housing Regulatory System in a Period of Socio-Economic Ambivalence Grace C. Ramos and Kun-Hyuck Ahn, Ph.D


The Continued Teaching of Lumber and Wood Construction Methods in Architecture Emmanuel D.A. Litonjua


The Beginnings of Philippine Urbanism and Place-making: A Study on the Assimilation and Reinvention of the Plaza Complex Rene Luis Mata


Towards an Understanding of Place: Place-making and Archetypal Structures in Sariaya and Quiapo Emilio U.Ozaeta


Space Utilization in Filipino Culture: The Bahay Kubo and Quiapo Jennifer M. Cristobal


Urban Pattern and Architectural Style Guide for the Historical Core of Vigan Rhea C. Reodique-Olimpo


Filipino-Hispanic Ancestral Houses in Albay: An Examination of their Architectural Form and Influences Rino D.A. Fernandez


Buhay Chinoy, Bahay Chinoy: A Study on Religious Acculturation In Contemporary Filipino-Chinese Homes Kristine Ann A. Munoz and Catherine C. Reodique


Manifesting Faith and Devotion: The Role of Religion in the Use of Bedroom Spaces among Selected Middle Class Filipino Families Johanna Victoria Acab-Faustino


Enshrining the Nation Monuments to Forgetting and the Invention of Historical Memory Jaymee T. Siao



Architecture and Cultural Sustainability Rommel R. Alanis


Social Sustainability of Historical Districts Towards Successful International Collaborations through Workshops Maureen Anne Araneta



Building Imperfection: Concept, Th eory and Discourse in the Design of the SDA Building Edson Cabalfin BOOK AND EXHIBITION REVIEWS Reuben Ramas Canete

141 142 144

Archi [types/text]: Architecture in Philippines Life Diliman: Tracing the Terrain/ Monochromed Memories: UP Landmarks Designing Filipino:Th e Architecture of Francisco Mañosa

Editorial Gerard Rey A. Lico, Ph.D.

The Espasyo Journal and the National Symposium on Filipino Architecture and Design (NSFAD) are two endeavors which dovetail in both objective and output. Both are avenues for learned discussion in architecture and its related fields, and both endeavor to further ideas, trends and conceptions in design. It is serrendipitous, therefore, that the one activity – the NSFAD conducted in 2010 – is featured in the other – Volume 2 of Espasyo Journal. In this issue of Espasyo Journal are 11 peerreviewed papers delivered by professors from different design schools in the country during NSFAD 2010, which was held on 27 August 2010 at the Aldaba Hall of the UP Theater at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. With the theme The Poetics and Politics of Architectural Place-Making, the concept of Place and the process of Placemaking were explained and expounded on within the context of the Philippines. The theme is quite expansive, but the level of discussion required to even scratch its surface must be of the order of the analytical, insightful and comprehensive. Place and Place-making are extremely dynamic concepts, which involve the interplay among physical constructs, value-forming precepts and technical know-how. A mere descriptive picture of a town as a Place, for example, would therefore not be sufficient. The papers presented during NSFAD 2010 were luckily more than narratives of the observable. Presentations endeavored to seek the instigators of the process of Place-making, thereby elevating a domestic space, district or town into a Place. What is common among the papers presented was the contention that people make a Place, by virtue of their individual actions and group dynamic, as well as by the values that they lay upon architecture and spaces as the artifacts of human intent. Although the

process of Place-making may be initiated by the learned professional – the architect, the interior designer, the urban planner – it is still sustained and enhanced by the people who live and breathe within these spaces. It is people in general who make a Place and who drive the process of Place-making. Does this negate the contributions that design professionals make to the built environment? Certainly not. It does, in fact, intensify the importance of the architect, the planner, and the interior designer, in that these design professionals are endowed with the responsibility to stake the landscape with structures that physically and mentally anchor people to a space, so that, people, in their turn, can convert the space into a Place. Spaces and structures that are conducive to this conversion will laden a Place with commonly-held values, thereby making the Place enduring over time. The keys to a successful design professional, therefore, are to develop sensitivity to human behavior, to channel culture and tradition, and to insist that it is for people that one designs for, not colossal institutions, nor faceless corporations. Places are living systems that must be touched with delicacy and deliberation. The design professional is the artist, the surgeon, the translator who deftly adds to and enhances this living organism, to ensure that it persists over time, and to preserve the values that secure it in the minds of individuals and in the heart of the collective. Espasyo Journal and NSFAD serve as the devices to disseminate communal intent, by amplifying the voices of the members of the academe, who are themselves design professionals. The successful attendance to NSFAD is proof that the design community in the Philippines is of a singular mindset, armed with the conviction that to build the Philippines is to build a nation.




es pa syo

Foreword Jose Danilo A. Silvestre

This year’s National Symposium on Filipino Architecture and Design is a fortuitous event. The last NSFAD was held in 2007. This year 2010 marks the end of the first decade of the first century of our Third Millenium. It heralds the prospects and potentials that our nation and our Earth look to. Today we will be part of cerebral inceptions in architectural analysis, pedagogy and appreciation, intellectual incursions into the minds of respected faculty from various Philippine universities. The Poetics and Politics of Architectural PlaceMaking. This is our theme today, a theme that seeks to remind us of the continuing evolution of architecture not only as our profession but as our shared passion. We seek to remind ourselves that architecture can never exist autonomously, devoid of setting or context, to reinforce the intrinsic notion that Filipino architecture is but a part of a much larger whole, an essential yet often indeterminate element of that continuum.

The latter part of the 20th century saw a tremendous growth of our cities and urban settlements. This continues into the 21st Century as more and more people flock to our cities for what they hope will be a better life. Our cities continue to embody and manifest what we aspire for and what we hold important. Yet the linkages between architecture and the city, though inextricable, have become confused. We question not only our relevance, but the impact of our architecture and the core of its significance. At the onset of the Millenium, our theoreticians and pedagogues struggle with these issues and the clues they hold to our future. The dialectics and phenomenology of place-making in architecture are in an intimate dance with urban semiotics, our inquiries into the manifest meanings and symbols that infuse our smallest communities to our largest conurbations.



More and more we are called to task as to how well we have met the challenges of these aspirations and priorities. The failures as well as the spectacular successes of our architecture and our settlements are poignant proof of our relevance and our responsibility. Too often we have limited the focus of our efforts to deterministic science of use and function, with obsolete instruments that seek to compartmentalize and zone our cities into neat little boxes of segregated and exclusionary land uses, as if our lives can be similarly compartmentalized. Today we seek to reorient and redefine not only our roles, but perhaps our creative psyche. The strengthening of the relationship between our Architecture and our towns and cities demands that we likewise strengthen our understanding of what makes our lives meaningful. People, whether they live in a village or a megalopolis, will continue to make places in both poetic and prosaic ways. Will politics allow and enable this to happen? The issues that politics and governance will have to address in the 21st century are rapidly expanding beyond the grasp and capability of the tools of the 20th century. It is important that we come to terms with this.


es pa syo

The making of places is an effort and undertaking that goes beyond simplistic preoccupations with function or use. The transcendent substance of place-making is recombinant of the profoundly human concerns of meaning and spirit. The ancients referred to this as genius loci, the spirit of place. It is a concept that survives to the present but is in need of re-minding and redefinition. The loss of such spirit is what has led to the loss of those spaces which we hold inviolate, our Sacred Spaces, our hallowed grounds. This has hampered, if not crippled us from the creation of new sacredness. The process of imbuing our spaces with meaning, both sublime and mundane, both sacred and profane, relies on our ability to communicate that meaning and make it relevant to our lives. This is a singular responsibility we have, not only in the creative endeavors of our profession, but in the shared passions of our humanity. In this year's symposium and the inquiries, discourses and dialogues that we will participate in today, let us attempt to rethink and reorient, and by doing redefine ourselves, what makes us human and what it means to be Filipino.




es pa syo

Of Art, Symbols, and Memory of Place Exploring Philippine Architectural and Urban Design Character Coherence Potentialities by utilizing UP Diliman’s Built Environment as Model MARK ANTHONY M. MORALES Mark Anthony M. Morales is an Assistant Professor at the School of Urban and Regional Planning in the University of the Philippines, Diliman. He graduated with a B.S. in Architecture from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, and an M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from U.P. Diliman. A PRC-registered Architect and Environmental Planner, he is also a member of the Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society for the Social Sciences, University of the PhilippinesAlpha Chapter.

ABSTRACT How can art assist in developing our built environment? This study aims to answer this question by exploring the possibilities of creating a replicable system wherein character coherence, both in the realms of creative ornamentation and subtle abstraction, can be utilized to stem a propensity towards disoriented urban character aspirations. Initial findings point towards the need to study the symbols and imagery imbedded within the creations of visual artists, suggesting that without sensitive study of the underlying meanings and suggestions which these artistic creations are meant to convey, though physically scattered around us, our true identity shall continue to be hidden from plain sight. INTRODUCTION Humanity has always been spell-bound by the luster of new discoveries. A breakthrough over producing and controlling the properties of fire gave unequivocal power and control to Neanderthals over the harsh pre-historic environment; the invention of the wheel greatly facilitated the territorial aspirations of burgeoning empires from Mesopotamia, Asia, and Central Europe; and by harnessing the properties of steam, man was able to thrust itself (by leaps and bounds) into the industrial revolution. However, with every euphoric celebration that is entwined with new discoveries, man has been repeatedly observed to be at fault of setting-aside, at the risk of forgetting altogether, his collective past; a history that sets the precedent by which his soul and identity as an individual and as a people are hinged upon. This proclivity in embracing everything that is “new” to the detriment of the old is evident not only in man but also in his built environment;

particularly through the urban tapestry wherein cities and municipalities are historically interwoven with the people it serves. To be more precise, a myriad of stories abound wherein architectural bastions of cultural heritage, whose embodied forms and design symbols and ideologies stand as silent witnesses to the very foundation of a place’s collective history and identity, are utterly discarded and forgotten merely by the excitement brought about by new design trends and materials that are sweeping other parts of the globe. In the Philippine setting, many of these new trends and materials, when put in context to the local urban fabric, present conflict regarding the physical environment’s collective historical and cultural coherence and adaptability. The result of which is a propensity towards disoriented urban character aspirations and distorted definitions of a Filipino’s memory of place. CHARACTER COHERENCE AND MEMORY OF PLACE What is the significance of character coherence and memory of place in our built environment? Lorraine Farrely, in her book The Fundamentals of Architecture explains that “the concept of memory of place is based on the premise that impressionable places are strongly remembered; they have significant characteristics, sounds, textures, and events that make them memorable.” [1] Memories emanating from these places are heavily dependent, among other things, on the coherence (or incoherence) of the architecture and urban design character which a particular built environment offers, influencing to a significant extent the collective impressions of the people who visit, live or work inside these environments. It is through this concept that one recognizes the importance by which built environments (of buildings, streets,



and spaces), experienced by locals and visitors alike at any particular moment in time, are and should be the direct by-product of a communal heritage that justifiably mirrors the collective identity and culture of its inhabitants. In the pursuit of determining key character coherences and memory of place features in a particular built environment, it is imperative that research endeavors concentrate more towards qualitative aspects of data gathering and analysis. This is due because issues concerning collective identity, culture and place impressions are primarily concepts inherent to the realm of urban design, an artistic and sensorial discipline within the widely encompassing planning profession tasked in transforming spatial environments with temperament towards man’s “social, psychological, aesthetic, functional, and emotional needs.” [2] Taking reference from the work of Cooper, Boyko, PembertonBilling, and Cadman: In the past - and arguably, the present - decision making processes existed primarily within the planning and stemmed from a rationalist perspective, relying on the so-called precision of “hard” or objective data, such as mathematical models and economic formulae...from this perspective, information given by different groups, such as local residents, was often seen as too subjective or “soft” (e.g. anecdotal accounts), and therefore was considered less appropriate for the planning process. As a result, qualitative information often risked being discarded outright in favour of quantitative data (Green, 1996). Thus planning was viewed as a dominant decision-making process, with issues of urban design being largely ignored because of its emphasis on design as “art”. [3]

This research aims to explore the possibilities of developing a replicable qualitative system of aesthetic, theoretical, and symbolic relationship correlations which in time (and with a wider scope and scale of information brought about by a coalescence of related research endeavors), may lead into a qualitative and quantitative system of data gathering, analysis, and correlation that will help in determining a built environment’s original architectural or urban design character aspirations;

Symbolic ornamentation amidst modernist forms; N. Abueva’s Tribute to Higher Education, Nakpil and Concio’s Quezon and Gonzalez Halls


es pa syo

and serve as augmentative guide for future spatial development scenarios. Character coherence and memory of place shall be sought by dissecting and correlating the aesthetic and exterior attributes that bind a spatial environment together; along with theoretical and symbolical design aspirations concentrating on the underlying abstract meanings conveyed in subtlety by communities. Emerging patterns expressing these attributes (aesthetic) and aspirations (theoretic and symbolic), as manifested in spatial components such as buildings, open spaces, circulation patterns, and landscaping elements and structures will be explored in this study. Francisco Manosa was once quoted as saying that “the design of the built environment reflects man’s expression of his way of life; his emotional, philosophical, religious, technological and material values in response to his needs and environmental challenges.” [4] However, with such a varying propagation of foreign architectural flavors, design trends and styles - each jostling for recognition and acceptance in the local populace’ collective consciousness - the probability of losing one’s own identity in the process is relatively high. Perhaps, it is the lack of cultural cohesion and connection with the emerging built environment rising fast around him that contributes significantly to the Filipino’s lack of identity and sense of self. It is in this regard that many have tried before, and for this same reason that this author is daring to seek again, for possible methods which can adequately identify, analyze, and correlate key aesthetic characteristics and hidden symbolical aspirations in built surroundings; components of which will then serve as guide in preserving and promoting cultural coherence and historical identity within our people and with their local built environments. MICROCOSM OF A NATION Each and every individual who walks past the university’s hallowed halls and portals, inevitably exposes himself/herself to a multitude of life-changing experiences of academic, social, or

ideological nature. It is in the years of stay in a university that young minds are molded and shaped, where idealism is tempered with knowledge and the search for truth in helping bring about the necessary change in a society wrecked by pessimism and hopelessness; and wherein old souls are constantly reminded of the power of youth and the responsibility by which they wield in sharing wisdom to push farther the boundaries of man’s concepts of possibilities and probabilities. Like in most societies, it is the passing of culture, heritage and knowledge from the current to the upcoming generation, as well as the manner by which wisdom is disseminated amidst a conducive and supportive physical environment, that holds the key to a civilization’s survival and growth. In this regard, the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) campus is of no exception. The home to many of the nation’s best and brightest, this state-run university also holds the distinction of being an institution of learning for the country that is able to represent fairly well all faces and facets of Philippine society: students, faculty, support and administration personnel (even settlers whose stay inside the campus is of questionable legality) share daily experiences and constant interaction inside the 493-hectare university grounds regardless of economic status, religious beliefs and cultural or social preferences. In terms of the built environment, UP President Emerlinda Roman observed, and rightly so, that “the rise of structures parallels the development of the architecture in the country in an almost linear fashion.” [5] From the socio-economic and cultural configuration of the UPD populace, to the various physical facilities and spaces under varying styles, scales,

and magnitudes (even state of decay) spread-out inside its environs, the Diliman campus is a veritable microcosm in the developmental timeline of successes (and failures) of not only Philippine architecture, but Philippine urbanism as well. It is for these reasons of linear similarity and parallelisms with the country that this research is using the Diliman campus as study model; and in this regard this study is hoped to eventually contribute in augmenting established means of understanding character coherence, memory of place and culturally sensitive development strategies for the Philippine built environment as well. BIRTH OF AN ACADEMIC CORE The very first buildings to be built in the Diliman campus were the twin buildings of Malcolm and Benitez Halls, built in the latter part of the 1930’s and both designed along Neo-Classical lines by Juan Arellano. Development was part of President Manuel Quezon’s grand vision of a new city, a more humane and organized built environment that is worthy of the dreams and aspirations of a nation nearing the promise of full liberation. However, campus development by the fledging Commonwealth government came to an abrupt halt during the onslaught of World War II in 1941. It was only eight years later that development of the Diliman campus commenced. Quoting Ruben D.F. Defeo: A massive infrastructure program followed the 1949 exodus from Padre Faura to Diliman with funds largely coming from the United States War Damage Commission to assist the University build “the nucleus of the new campus”. One by one, new buildings began to dot the Diliman skyline. The library or Gonzalez Hall in 1950. The colonnaded administration building or Quezon Hall in 1951. The College of Engineering or Melchor



Hall and its mirror image, the College of Liberal Arts or Palma Hall in 1952. Until the early 1950’s, only these edifices dominated the fabled Academic Oval generously blest with acacia-lined lanes...the buildings were homogenous in character. And if that were not plausible, at least each building managed to relate to the next in quite a Hellenistic fashion, essaying an architectural harmony made hallowed through time. Today, this post Hellenistic consciousness has given way to a disposition favouring an eclectic, albeit confused, architectural persuasion. [6]

The aforementioned quote reveals a relatively solid starting point wherein our search for the Diliman campus’ primordial physical and sensorial identity may begin. With so many development trends, events and styles that have consequently passed through the study model, the risk of failing to extract its primary identity aspirations is great. Logic and prudence dictate towards a form of qualitative regression in finding the original aesthetic considerations and theoretical and symbolical aspirations by which the “pioneering”(as derived from Defeo) Diliman campus structures surrounding the UP Academic Oval, with their coherence in character despite of conflicting Neo Classicist and Modernist design perspectives, were primarily built to express. These are the academic structures built from the late 1930’s to the 1950’s; Malcolm and Benitez Halls, Palma and Melchor Halls, and Quezon and Gonzalez Halls. This decision is based on historical records that clearly state that it was these structures that established the Diliman campus’ original institutional character, and thus provide historical weight in the search for the spirit by which the university was first created to convey. It is of interest to note that Juan Arellano, architect of the earliest pre-war period buildings built in the Diliman campus (Malcolm and Benitez Halls), was


es pa syo

documented as to having tried to fuse Neo-Classical design, the American colonial governments’ favored style showing its “ambitions of inheriting the glories of Ancient Greece and Rome”[7], with touches of “Regionalism,” or vernacular design elements; a fact that led Winand Klassen to write in his book that “as a sensitive artist he (Arellano) must have felt that architecture must and should awaken the awareness of the Filipino people of their national identity. Arellano used various Filipino motifs in his designs such as the salakot as a roof motif...these were combined with ornamental items like the carabao, Igorot figures and others of Muslim origin to western features like arches and pilarettes.” [8] Unlike Arellano’s more famous creations outside the study model, no distinct vernacular symbols and imageries were found by this author integrated within the architectural embellishments of Malcolm and Benitez Halls. However, it is still worthy to mention that the first batch of formally educated and trained Filipino architects were already beginning to search for creative ways of creating physical environments that reinforce the Filipino identity amidst globally accepted architectural styles. The Modernist-inspired period of the late 1940’s on the other hand produced the simplified masses and volumes best described by the Gonzalez, Palma and Melchor Halls (Concio), as well as that of Quezon Hall (Nakpil and Concio). A common characteristic of these structures is an image of grandness in scale common in this earlier version of the period’s modernist designs. Veering towards the historical timeline perspective, being designed near the sphere of influence by the Neo-Classical themes of the Malcolm and Benitez halls, these structures flanking the periphery of academic oval convey a relative continuity in architectural character.

In this transition period, from post-war liberation to Independence, the ideals of the City Beautiful Movement were still very much in the consciousness of planners. This could be seen in the fulfilment of Parson’s plans of having structures built as pairs opposite a vista of park space. Hence, Quezon Hall was mirrored across the lagoon by Gonzalez Hall, while Palma Hall was paired across the Academic Oval by Melchor Hall, both exhibiting similarities in massing and volume. [9]

In comparing the visual and theoretical properties of these two architectural styles, it may be wise to first establish parameters in which correlations may be sought. Due to this study’s inclination towards physical or aesthetic characteristics and its effects to culture, character coherence, and the human sensory experience as primary issues sought for scholarly inquisition, it is proposed that efforts be concentrated on analyzing the aesthetic undertones of the Neo-Classicist and Modernist styles. In this regard, other planning and design applications which is of equal importance such as environmental, economic, mechanical, and institutional considerations shall be reserved for subsequent studies regarding this matter. We have been taught that form (volume and surface texture and color) and composition (contrast, proportion, scale, balance, rhythm, unity, and character) comprise the aesthetic realm of design [10]. For reasons of brevity, respect for creativity and artistic freedom, and the general knowledge that the precepts espoused by Modernism are a direct anti-thesis of those that are embraced by Neo-Classicism, let us begin our efforts towards the pursuit of aesthetic rationalization in the sphere of surface texture and color. Reasons for this being: a.) most of the espoused Modernist’s aesthetic properties and ideologies will only lead

towards the negation of the same properties in the Neo-Classicist perspective, and thus the probability of a compromise as it is, is relatively low; and b.) there would be no wisdom in rationalizing design considerations that risks infringing on the creativity and artistic freedom of our planners, architects, and designers; however, on the other end of the creative spectrum, we have laws such as the National Building, as well Fire Codes which ensure that this same creativity and artistic freedom are well within bounds of communal safety and security. On this superficial level of analysis, the relational similarities of the aforementioned pioneering Diliman structures, either Neo-Classicist or Modernist, are bounded on its play with reinforced concrete, use of bricks which are painted with the color maroon, and surfaces painted with hues ranging from white, maroon, beige, and grey. If we are solely to base our rationalization here, one would come to the immediate conclusion of the pointlessness of this scholarly exercise; the same conclusions may be arrived at by plain observation. Does this mean that as long as you use reinforced concrete, patronize the use of maroon-painted bricks in treating the façade, or paint a structure with the color schemes as mentioned above, that character coherence and memory of place will therefore be achieved? Surely, UPD’s rich heritage and culture, and its position as a microcosm of a diverse nation as promoted in this research, deserves more than just concrete finishes and color schemes as definitive determinants of its collective culture, character, and identity. As the search continues, we are reminded of how subtle and mysterious character coherence and cultural identity in the Philippine built setting is;



The Oblation: truth and honesty in the pursuit of scholastic excellence

and to succeed, one has to go beyond the obvious and the superficial in understanding the country and its people’s true identity and cultural aspirations. Architect Leandro Locsin was quoted by Polites as saying that “Philippine architecture is an elusive thing; because while it makes full use of modern technology, it is a residue of different overlays of foreign influence left on the Philippines over the centuries. What resulted may be a hybrid.”[11] Unlike traditional Chinese or Greek architecture and urban design, whose physicality and aesthetics scream of their collective culture and identity, ours is like a gem hidden under layers of various cultures and influences. Quoting Klassen: A consequence of the elusiveness of Philippine architecture may be this: that it cannot be arrived at directly, that it cannot be achieved by striving for it at the conscious level. If that is so, we have an interesting parallel in Philippine painting. Filipino architects striving for national identity or searching for the Filipino soul in their work, would do well to turn to the painters for guidance, because they were confronted with the same problems earlier.... there are two approaches to the problem of national identity in the arts, a direct and indirect seems to me that in the endeavour to arrive at an architecture which is truly Filipino, the indirect approach is more suitable. In other words, what the architect should strive for is architecture in the context of the physical and cultural conditions of the Philippines. If there is Philippineness in his work, it is arrived at indirectly and often subconsciously, depending on the cultural background and creativity of the designer. [12]

According to Klassen, the elusive Filipino identity and soul can perhaps be easier found not by simply relying at the direct or conscious level of analysis, but through the symbolical and subconscious level of study as well; pointing towards an identity whose meaning is more than what can be seen from obvious outside physicalities. To achieve this, Klassen alludes to the need of studying the symbols and abstracted images ingeniously imbedded within the creations of Filipino visual artists; it is


es pa syo

suggested that without sensitive study of underlying meanings and suggestions which these artistic creations are meant to convey, though physically scattered around us, our true identity shall continue to be hidden from plain sight. Currently, by limiting our research strictly within the comfortable confines of architectural styles and theories, we risk being at a stand-still in our pursuit of definitive character coherences inside the study model. The current research findings of achieving memory of place solely via the patronage of reinforced concrete, use of painted brick and common color schemes as seen in the NeoClassicist and Modernist buildings of UPD are too shallow. If we are to listen in the wisdom shared by Klassen, perhaps we should turn our sights over toward the visual arts, in the hope to find the truth in the true identity, symbolical, and cultural aspirations of the study model’s built environment. HYBRIDITY: MODERNITY AND ROMANTICISM Let us begin with the most iconic work of art that symbolizes and encapsulates everything that UP stands for: The Oblation. With its name derived from the latin word Oblatio and Oblatum, which means “to offer,” this three-and-a-half meter high sculpture created by the first National Artist for Sculpture, Guillermo Estrella Tolentino[13] shows us clues pertaining to the core values of the university; the inherent nakedness of the statue personifies the search for truth and honesty in the pursuit of scholastic excellence. Looking for architectural correlations, these are clearly precepts intertwined as well within the concepts of Modernism; where the search for architectural truths and honesty is primordial. This clearly points towards the campus’ identity and character needs to espouse the bareness and adherence to truth, as symbolized by the Oblation, in the modernist style of building character. However, Geronimo Manahan pointed out a sentiment pertaining to the Modernist approach that

UP Theater is an example of UPD architecture that is in adherence to truth and honesty, both in material and in form

“there was also evolving a deep-seated sentimental longing for architecture that is relevant to Filipino behavior, space needs and culture. The Filipino, being a romantic, reaches out for the free-play of forms, colors, and textures.” [14] In this regard, ornamentation is a core characteristic of Filipino culture and identity that severely lacks in the established precepts of modernism. It is an inclination that in turn, can be sufficiently addressed by one of the core elements of Neo-Classicism; particularly in the use of sculptural reliefs and ornamentation that symbolize among many other things, the progress of civilization and military conquests. The famous Arc de Triomphe for instance, located in Paris and commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806, has several sculptural “relief panels based on Roman designs, and heroic statuaries celebrating the glory of France.”[15] Through the acknowledgment of the UPD’s academic aspirations of truth, honesty, and bare nakedness in the pursuit of enlightenment - characteristics which are in consonance with the precepts found in Modernism - and by embracing Filipino romanticism as expressed via Neo-Clas-

Neo-Classical Arc de Triomphe, Paris

sicist sculptural reliefs and ornamentations, this study points towards an emergence of aesthetic as well as symbolic embodiments of architectural hybridity. This hybridity gives weight to an emergence of a vernacular form of romanticism - or Modern Romanticism as this author humbly suggests - which may be deemed as a present-day incarnation of National Romanticism, a movement which flourished in Germany and Scandinavia from about 1890 to 1920. “During this period, painters, interior designers, city planners and architects created a new kind of domestic architecture and interior design, as well as monumental architecture. Drawing on local and regional folk traditions, and encouraging a simple way of life, architects such as Eliel Saarinen, Hans Poelzig, and Martin Nyrop, among others, looked back to medieval and even prehistoric times for their models, as they tried to create a new architecture”. [16] This revelation, intriguing as it is, would not have been possible had we not sought to validate the beliefs and recommendations of Locsin and Klassen in finding answers through the realm of the visual arts. Let us then go deeper towards this artistic track by searching for examples of iconic campus

Relief panels integrated to modern built forms -- Tribute to Higher Education



art - sculpture, reliefs, and paintings -that further validate the findings initially found through the Oblation, and point the way towards true character coherences and a memory of place effectively manifesting UPD’s true collective identity, heritage, and culture. TRUTH AND ORNAMENTATION: ART AND THE SENSORIAL EXPERIENCE Aside from the Oblation, another iconic visual art piece are the two sculptural works of Napoleon V. Abueva lining the flanks of the campus’ University Avenue - one is entitled Tribute to Higher Education and the other, the University Gateway. Created in 1966, the Tribute to Higher Education is an avant-garde sculptural piece that is modern in character but romantically embellished with sculptural reliefs and symbols depicting the Filipino’s academic aspirations, history, and culture. The University Gateway on the other hand, are the two massive sail-like waiting sheds that perpetually defy gravity with its modern and massive form; at the same time seemingly pointing towards the main symbol of the U.P. system, the Oblation. The two Abueva creations exemplify modern forms that seek to exult man’s search for truth as manifested through its intended symbolisms and choice of textures and honesty to material. Among other meanings conveyed, there is massiveness yet lightness in character exuded by the University Gateway; the same meanings seen in the relative lightness by which four posts effortlessly carry into the air the “massive” body of the local bahay kubo, and the same lightness amidst massiveness as achieved in Locsin’s Cultural Center of the Philippines. There is also the tasteful placement of romantic and symbolic ornamentations amidst modern forms as seen in the Tribute to Higher Education, the same meanings exuded by the minimal and tastefully placed reliefs as seen in Quezon Hall. In relation with romantic ornamentation in our built spaces, it is of note that Paulo Alcazaren was quoted in observing that local buildings today


es pa syo

have lost its connection with the romanticism of Philippine art. Quoting Alcazaren, “In the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, the art of Filipino sculptors, painters, and craftsmen embellished the spaces, walls and facades of our modern architecture.”[17] It is in this regard that it may be of benefit to go back to the architectural history of the study model, wherein it can be recalled that the original design concept of Cesar H. Concio for UP Diliman’s Quezon Hall featured prime and adequate spaces for the inclusion of symbolic artworks on its façade. However, the eventual merging of the respective designs of Concio and Nakpil led to the Quezon Hall we are all familiar today. More than anything, this bit of history strengthens the relevance and cultural patronage of merging modern design precepts with romantic ornamentations and symbolisms in our architecture and design; of creating new forms of architectural hybridity which effectively mirrors our uniqueness as a country and as a people. These are emerging characteristics of coherence inside the study model; aesthetic and symbolical aspirations that can and should be maximized in the pursuit of distinct memory of place symbols and images. MOVING FORWARD: POSSIBILITIES This proposed system of qualitative regression and correlation, though still in its crude form, shows promise in institutionalizing the process of classifying key character and sensorial coherence features of a particular built setting, both in the realms of aesthetic ornamentation and theoretical, as well as symbolical abstraction. By doing so, we tune ourselves to the importance of the sensorial experience of people in the planning and development of our built settings and environments. It is of no secret that local urban planning and design professionals have had difficulties in delineating the equally important roles on which they play in the pursuit for better environmental development scenarios and plans of action. Perhaps this study’s approach of moving towards creating a replicable framework of analysis may set-

up the stage to better understanding between the two genetically interconnected professions; and set-up a bridge of understanding for the planning and design fields. It is hoped that by proposing this qualitative regression type of analysis, more positive collaborations maximizing both the planning and design professions strengths can be achieved. Prudence was consciously exhibited as well during the entire process by which this study was based upon; to provide as much creative leeway in aptly accommodating the need for artistic freedom by architects, designers and planners who will be creating, planning, and designing the future spatial development plans and programs of their designated built environments. Numerous research potentials and variations are likewise emerging. Instead of simply entrusting the character growth of their physical landscape to artists, planners and designers, private developers, and a few individuals in local government, this process may also open possibilities of empowering local communities toward hearing their voice by utilizing this systematized system of discovering collective identity in their built environment. By providing a systematic framework of identification and analysis wherein inputs from community shareholders and the visual arts are dovetailed with other planning and design precepts, we may help improve the determination and assimilation of a community’s collective identity, character coherence, and memory of place in both their urban designs and plans; at the same time establish the importance of art and culture to national development. Quoting Virgilio Almario, National Artist for Literature:

literature, fine arts, architecture, music, dance, film and other arts as cultural or creative industries that are capable of generating sizable employment and export earnings, apart from promoting and enshrining national talent and dignity. [18]

Furthermore, by proposing a consultative approach by which community lay-persons, key stakeholders and decision-makers, as well as designers and planners may interact through a participatory oriented, bottom-up approach of actionplan generating activities, we put ourselves in a good position that is geared towards improving the discovery of distinct urban identities and its importance to sustainable urban development and growth policy options. Perhaps future studies can be attuned in further developing or verifying this proposal; with an end result no less of creating lasting urban environments that is in touch with the collective identity, culture, and character of the people which it was originally meant to serve, nurture, and dignify.

It is necessary to formulate a national policy that fully recognizes and gives due importance to culture as the core and foundation of government’s political and economic policy...for the people’s welfare and well-being. for the potential of culture and creative work in economic production, meaning, invigorating



REFERENCES [1] Farrelly, Lorraine. The Fundamentals of Architecture, AVA Publishing SA, Switzerland, 2007, p.28 [2-3] Cooper, Rachel Designing Sustainable Cities, WileyBlackwell Publishing, United Kingdom, 2009. Pp.5, 8. [4] Caruncho, Eric S. Designing Filipino: Architecture of Francisco Ma osa, Tukod Foundation, Inc., Manila, 2003, p.17 [5] Roman, Emerlinda R. The Diliman Campus: The Changing Shape of the Future, Sites and Symbols 2, Office of the Chancellor-UP Diliman, Quezon City, 2005. P.3 [6] Defeo, Ruben D.F. The Diliman Campus Then and Now, Sites and Symbols: UP Diliman Landmarks, Office of the ChancellorUP Diliman, Quezon City, 2000. P.4 [7] Glancey, Jonathan. Architecture, Dorling Kindersley Ltd., London, 2006, p.346 [8] Klassen, Winand. Architecture in the Philippines: Filipino Building in a Cross-Cultural Context, Clevano Printers, Cebu City, 1986, p. 177

Cooper, Rachel Designing Sustainable Cities, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, United Kingdom, 2009 Defeo, Ruben D.F. The Diliman Campus Then and Now, Sites and Symbols: UP Diliman Landmarks, Office of the ChancellorUP Diliman, Quezon City, 2000 Doxiadis, Constantinos A. Between Dystopia and Utopia, Trinity College Press, 1966 Duhl, Leonard J. The Human Nature: Man and Family in Megalopolis, The Future Use of Urban Land, The John Hopkins Press, 1963. 133-154. Fagin, Henry. Social Foresight and the Use of Urban Space, The Future Use of Urban Land, The John Hopkins Press, 1963. 231250. Farrelly, Lorraine. The Fundamentals of Architecture, AVA Publishing SA, Switzerland, 2007 Florida, Richard. Cities and the Creative Class, Routledge Publishing, New York, 2005

[9] Lico, Gerard. Arkitekturang Filipino: A History of Architecture and Urbanism in the Philippines, The University of the Philippines Press, Quezon City, 2008, p.400

Florida, Richard. The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life, Basic Books, Perseus Book Group, 2002

[10] Wong, Wucius. Principles of Form and Design, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 1993

Frey, Hildebrand. Designing the City: Towards a More Sustainable Form, Routledge Publishing, New York, 1999

[11-12] Klassen, Winand. Architecture in the Philippines: Filipino Building in a Cross-Cultural Context, Clevano Printers, Cebu City, 1986, pp. 200, 201, 10

Glancey, Jonathan. Architecture, Dorling Kindersley Ltd., London, 2006

[13] Defeo, Ruben D.F. The Diliman Campus Then and Now, Sites and Symbols: UP Diliman Landmarks, Office of the ChancellorUP Diliman, Quezon City, 2000. P.7 [14] Manahan, Geronimo. Philippine Architecture in the 20th Century, Kanlungan Inc., 1994, p.48 [15] Glancey, Jonathan. Architecture, Dorling Kindersley Ltd., London, 2006, p.348 [16] Lane, Barbara Miller. National Romanticism and Modern Architecture in Germany and the Scandinavian Countries, Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, 2000 us/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521583098, downloaded 04 May 2010 [17]Alcazaren, Paulo G. Benchmarking Philippine Architecture,, downloaded 17 April 2010 [18] Almario, Virgilio S. Cultural Agenda for New President, Letter, Opinion Section, Phil. Daily Inquirer, 09 April 2010

GENERAL BIBLIOGRAPHY Bell, David, et. al. Small Cities: Urban Experience Beyond The Metropolis, Routledge Publishing, New York, 2006 Bridge, Gary. Reason In The City of Difference: Pragmatism, Communication Action and Contemporary Urbanism, Routledge Publishing, New York, 2005 Bronowski, Jacob. The Creative Process, Creativity: A Discussion at the Nobel Conference, North-Holland Publishing Co., 1970 Caruncho, Eric S. Art for Earth’s Sake: Public Art Not only Beautifies Space, it Initiates Thinking, Curiosity among Viewers, Sunday Inquirer Magazine, 27 April 2008


Caruncho, Eric S. Designing Filipino: Architecture of Francisco Manosa, Tukod Foundation, Inc., Manila, 2003

es pa syo

Grey, Arthur L., People & Downtown: Use, Attitudes, Settings, CAUP, University of Washington, 1970 Gutheim, Frederick. Urban Space and Urban Design, Cities and Space: The Future Use of Urban Land, The John Hopkins Press, 1963. 103-132. Jackson, John B. The Purpose of the City: Changing City Landscapes as Manifestations of Cultural Values, The Architect and The City, M.I.T. Press, 1962. 13-36. Klassen, Winand. Architecture in the Philippines: Filipino Building in a Cross-Cultural Context, Clevano Printers, Cebu City, 1986 Kostelanetz, Richard. SoHo: The Rise and Fall of an Artist’s Colony, Routledge Publishing, New York, 2003 Lico, Gerard. Arkitekturang Filipino: A History of Architecture and Urbanism in the Philippines, The University of the Philippines Press, Quezon City, 2008 Mackinnon, Donald. Creativity: A Multi-Faceted Phenomenon, Creativity: A Discussion at the Nobel Conference, North-Holland Publishing Co., 1970. 17-32. Manahan, Geronimo. Philippine Architecture in the 20th Century, Kanlungan Inc., 1994 Miles, Steven, et. al. Culture-Led Urban Regeneration, Routledge Publishing, New York, 2007 Morato, Jr. Eduardo A. Investing in creative industries, Business Section Phil. Daily Inquirer, 30 Oct. 2006 Mumford, Lewis. Cities and the Crisis of Civilization, The Sustainable Urban Development Reader, Routledge Publishing, New York, 2004 (1938) Pei, I.M. The Nature of Urban Spaces, The People’s Architects, University of Chicago Press, 1964

Perkins, G. Holmes. The Architect and the City: His Role and Training Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, The Architect and The City, M.I.T. Press, 1962. 64-75. Pile, Steve. Real Cities: Modernity, Space and the Phantasmagorias of City Life, Sage Publications Ltd, 2005 Roman, Emerlinda R. The Diliman Campus: The Changing Shape of the Future, Sites and Symbols 2, Office of the Chancellor-UP Diliman, Quezon City, 2005 Spreiregen, Paul D. Urban Design: The Architecture of Towns and Cities, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965 Tankel, Stanley B. The Importance of Open Space in the Urban Pattern, The Future Use of Urban Land, The John Hopkins Press, 1963. 57-72. Wong, Wucius. Principles of Form and Design, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 1993




es pa syo

The Philippine Housing Regulatory System in a Period of Socio-economic Ambivalence GRACE C. RAMOS and KUN-HYUCK AHN, PH.D Grace C. Ramos is a faculty of the UP College of Architecture and a practicing Architect and Environmental Planner. She is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Urban Design at the Seoul National University. She obtained a Master of Science degree in Urban Development Planning in University College London and B.S. Architecture in the University of the Philippines.

ABSTRACT The urban form is a product of the convergence of multi-level economic forces and state interventions. This paper discusses the extent to which the dynamics between these two factors have influenced the formation of residential patterns in Metro Manila. The findings reveal a paradox whereby state regulations have actually led to the dominance of market forces that it sought to control while managing urban growth. This study particularly looks at the intentions behind the Urban Development Housing Act of 1992 and how they have manifested in the housing forms 10 years after the enactment of the law.

INTRODUCTION AND PROBLEM SETTING The morphological processes that result in the changing disposition of spaces within a city represent the place-specific confluence of many internal and external factors. [1] This paper looks into the convergence of two of these factors. On the one hand, there are globally and locally-induced market forces that seem to naturally direct the physical growth and development of urban settings. There are, on the other hand, government regulatory systems that are supposed to be consciously established to control how such growth must proceed. Within the framework of economic globalization, market forces have been more intense and have placed cities in more prominent positions. The trend towards globally-linked economies consequently puts pressure on states to assert their roles in urban management. In this light, this paper explores the tensions between the economic forces and state interventions. How these two forces merge in the Philippine context is analyzed by focusing on residential forms and locations in Metropolitan Manila. It, therefore,

answers the general question: How have housing regulations manifested in Metropolitan Manila’s urban geography? The research objectives are: 1) To identify the dominant residential forms and location patterns in Metropolitan Manila. 2) To explain the economic bases of these forms and patterns in relation to general economic / housing market theories. 3) To explain the placespecific factors which underlie these forms and locations. 4) To analyze the forms and locations in relation to economic globalization. This research is based on the merging of the Private Enterprise Theory and the Public Enterprise Theory. The former basically states that decisionmakers involved in any business decision-making process aim at maximizing profits, while the latter states that government aims at maximizing the economic welfare of the country. [2] In the housing delivery process, the decision-makers on the private side include the developers, landowners, shareholders, funders and other stakeholders. Decisions are made regarding house types and features, locations, prices and timing based on given macro and micro-conditions. Regulation, in general, is a public sector function that aims at achieving order, equity and efficiency. Housing regulations in particular seek to ensure that construction and development-related decisions are done in accordance with land use plans, target market and other sectoral plans. Finding out how these two seemingly conflicting interests converge is the goal of this research. This problem is set against the backdrop of globalization, the trend to which the Philippine government sought to be up to through its neo-liberalist policies. How the housing sector figures into the pursuit of national economic development in



a globally integrated economy is twofold. Firstly, the government acknowledges the direct contribution of the housing sector to the gross domestic product. [3] With the wide network of forward and backward linkages, the multiplier effect of house construction-related activities is very high. Secondly, housing serves as an essential component that makes cities function. Labor, as a major factor of production, needs residential bases where productive activities take place. How the housing sector should be managed within the context of neo-liberalism is the national governance issue that this study tries to address at the end. While neo-liberalism is generally known to be a system where market forces take center stage, it also is one where state roles are critical. “Neo-liberalization is defined, in process-based terms, as the mobilization of state power in the contradictory extension and reproduction of market rule. This involves a new form of statecraft that is concerned with managing the consequences and contradictions of marketization. It implies that the boundaries of the state and the market are blurred and that they are constantly being renegotiated. Neo-liberalization is the dominant contemporary means through which such ‘boundary adjustments’ are being made and rationalized. Markets are not naturally occurring phenomenon or spontaneously actualizing systems. More often than not, they have to be made, steered and policed.” [4] The renegotiation process between market and state implies that the two are connected. Urban governance should proceed from the notion that it is not a matter of choice between one or the other. While the findings of this study would initially project the dominance of market forces in shaping residential patterns, a more in-depth analysis would reveal that the regulations in place, to a significant extent, have directed the manner by which house production has taken place. Government incentives that are built into its finance and regulatory frameworks have done little to encourage the participation of the private sector in the goal of alleviating the housing conditions for the low-income group of the urban population. The study further argues that patterns that can actually be seen indicate that there is an Asian urbanization model that underlies the disposition of spaces in Asian cities. The Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) of 1992 serves as the framework within which the various government housing programs are being implemented. This paper is a qualitative assessment of this regulatory framework based on the area of land that has been developed into saleable residential lots from 1994 to 2003. The database includes 1,500 development projects that have been issued Licenses to Sell over the 10-year pe-


es pa syo

riod. The study period allows for a two-year gestation period from the time of the enactment of the law. It also represents a period of socio-economic ambivalence because while it captures the time when the Philippines was referred to by the international community as the next Asian tiger, this was also the time of the Asian financial crisis. [5] The study area covers the Expanded National Capital Region (ENCR), which includes Metropolitan Manila and the contiguous provinces of Rizal, Cavite and Bulacan and Laguna. The tensions between private (public?) sector and private sector goals are operationalized in this study through the variables that would represent both sectors’ concerns, i.e., location and price factors that include distance to the Central Business District (CBD), city features and amenities, highways and transport facilities, land use and residential land availability, quality of neighborhood, and market base or population. FINDINGS With a land area of 619.50 square kilometers, Metro Manila ranks 8th among the top 10 mega-cities in terms of population, with an annual growth rate of 2.5 percent. [6] From the pre-colonial times Manila has emerged and developed out of the meeting of market forces and conscious planning. The old capital was chosen as seat of Spanish colonial government based on both its physical features and the concentration of native population at the time of conquest. This part of the country has been linked to world trade routes since the ancient times. It was, therefore, selected as the site for the “Intramuros” or the walled city. Planning principles followed the “Laws of the Indies” that required some level of agglomeration for the identification of Spanish Crown sites. [7] During the American occupation, Daniel Burnham prepared a plan for the city based on the principles of the City Beautiful movement. [8] This plan, however, was only partly realized because of the confluence of various external forces in the later years. The present urban fabric of contemporary Manila is characterized by a coarse texture and an uneven grain. Juxtaposed within the city are high-rise buildings, low-density residential subdivisions and the randomly disposed informal settlements. Six housing agencies are in charge of rationalizing the disposition of residential areas in the Philippines. The Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) is the lead agency that undertakes planning for the housing sector. The National Housing Authority (NHA) is tasked with augmenting and enhancing local governments’ capabilities in the provision of housing benefits to their constituents. The Home Insurance Guarantee Corporation (HIGC) provides the appropriate guarantee schemes to encourage financial institutions to go into direct lending for housing. The Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB)

oversees the enforcement of housing design standards and development of comprehensive plans for various urban and urbanizable areas. The Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) and the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) administer the different house finance programs. [9] The UDHA was formulated to achieve the objectives of uplifting the conditions of the underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban areas and in resettlement areas by making available to them decent and affordable housing, basic services and employment opportunities. It is also aimed at regulating and directing urban growth and expansion towards a dispersed urban net and more balanced urban-rural interdependence.

Fig. 1: House Distribution by City/Municipality

To achieve the above-stated objectives, the act sought to promote the following strategies for land acquisition, balanced housing, private sector participation, consultation and rural development. Strategies for land acquisition that called for varying degrees of government intervention include: community mortgage, land swapping, land consolidation, land banking, joint venture agreements and expropriation. The act aimed at balanced housing by requiring developers to allot 20 percent of the area of their projects for socialized housing. To fully tap the private sector in producing socialized housing, incentives in the form of simplifying accreditation and financing procedures were extended. Socialized housing developers were also granted exemptions from certain types of taxes. [10] In terms of price and market served, there are seven main categories of houses in Metro Manila. Residential/Commercial (RCCC) and Residential Condominiums (RC) are high rise buildings with an average of 18 stories. These housing types cater to the high-end market. Open-market housing refers to low-density types of structure with one to three stories, also catering to the high-end market. Economic housing (EH) refers to low-density structures that cater to the middle income group. EH selling prices cannot go beyond P2,000,000 or $40,000. Socialized housing (SH) has a maximum selling price of P225,000 or $4,500. The Community Mortgage Program (CMP) enables slum settlers to organize and, as one legal entity, purchase the land that they are occupying. Slum Improvement and Relocation (SIR) is also a program that addresses the informal settlers. The EH, SH, CMP and SIR are the housing types that receive public financial assistance. [11] Based on the housing database [12] for 1994 to 2003, more than half of the total area was developed for open market housing and, therefore, catered to the middle income and high income households. Twelve percent was developed for economic housing while only about 15 percent catered to the low-income group. (Figure 1)

Fig. 2: House Distribution by City/Municipality (Base Map Source: www.en.wikipilipinas, com, 2010)

The relative magnitudes of residential areas developed per city/municipality were plotted as shown in Figure 2. The distribution reveals a tendency for RCCC and RC types of housing to gravitate towards the old and new CBD areas. Economic housing dominates the second ring while the housing types catering to the low-income households are in the outermost ring with respect to the CBDs, where residential property prices are as high as $2,033 per square meter. Rental prices per month in the CBD areas average at $1,826. [13]



These graphs were then overlaid on the road map to see how the distribution relates with the highway system and the distance to the main CBD. It can be seen in Figure 3 that the areas with the largest concentration of residential condominium units are those that are located inside the 24-kilometer highway EDSA, which is a circumferential road encircling Manila, Makati and San Juan. On the right side of the ring are the mostly open-market types of housing that consist mainly of the low-density residential subdivision projects.

The three main highways, North Luzon Expressway, Marcos Highway and South Luzon Expressway, which radiate from the center, have spurred urban expansion in three directions, as shown in Figure 4. Growth has been relatively faster in the southern direction, where land prices have gone up due to the high-end amenities that have been developed in the area. These amenities include golf courses, retail centers and recreational facilities. Residential developments in the eastern direction have mostly been of the low-end type. Relative to transport facilities, the high-end housing units are located in the area enclosed by the two mass transport lines as can be seen in Figure 5. Vast properties were developed into open-market housing types in the areas were these transport lines terminate. Commuters living in the edges of Metro Manila take buses or jeepneys that connect to the mass transport stations. Another thematic map that was used to analyze the distribution of projects was the land use map, which indicates residential land availability (Figure 6). Residential lands make up almost 50 percent of the total land areas of Metro Manila. [14] The highest magnitude of low-density housing corresponds to Quezon City, which has the largest residential area of all. The cities with RC as dominant house type are those with large areas for commercial use.

Fig. 3: House Distribution relative to Highways and Main CBDs (Base Map Source: “Maps of the World”, 2010)

Fig. 4: Direction of Urban Growth (Base Map Source:, 2010)


es pa syo

In the highly uneven spatial setting of Metro Manila, it is not unlikely to find high-end housing right beside informal settlements. Segregation comes in the form of gates and perimeter walls. Gated communities are homogeneous in terms of social class of the occupant homeowners. The squatting phenomenon makes possible dispersion patterns that defy the classical bid-rent theory. [15] Figure 7 shows that where the high-end houses are located are also the areas with the highest concentration of informal settlers. [16] This is reflective of two things. Firstly, the disposition pattern reflects the process of gentrification that the high growth areas are going through. Old Manila is still in the process of transformation, where there is continuous tension between goals of preserving old structures and of modernizing the urban landscape. Old-time homeowners are subjected to pressures arising from rising land values as new buildings come up. The juxtaposition of high-end housing and informal settlements is also attributed to the mix of labor demand in the CBDs. These business districts are the locations of service economies which require manpower ranging from managerial to low-wage jobs. High concentration of slum settlements can also be seen in districts with strong economic pull forces such as the areas surrounding the Port of Manila in the City of Manila and the Government Center in Quezon City. The Pasig River Banks are also filled with

Fig. 5: House Distribution relative to Mass Transport Lines (Base Map Source: www.pinas, 2010)

Fig. 7: House Distribution relative to Slum Settlements (Base Map Source: Murakami and Pajilon, 2005)

estate values increase at a faster rate. This could also be explained by the high level of expatriate workers who live in these areas on a temporary basis. Increasing population not matched with corresponding rate of house production resulted in a huge backlog in the years that followed. The Medium-term Philippine Development Plan for housing took off from an almost one million figure for its 2005-2010 projections. [17]

Fig. 6: House Distribution relative to Land Use (Base Map Source:, 2010)

squatter settlements due to the number of industrial plants that are lined up along its length. It may be gleaned from Figure 8 that ironically, the high-density types of housing are situated in the areas where populations are decreasing while the low-density types are in those where populations are increasing. This could be attributed to speculative buying of properties in the CBDs, where real

In summary, the distribution of housing in the ENCR from 1994 to 2003 exhibits a concentric tendency with high-end residential condominiums gravitating towards the main CBD areas, as can be seen in Figure 9. Open market type of housing catering to the high-income and middle income households are in the middle ring, while the government-assisted housing types that cater to the low-income households are in the outer ring. This tendency would initially resemble the mono-centric city model that is reflective of the Ricardian bid-rent curve. [18] Consequently, it would also initially seem apparent that market forces were dominantly or even solely responsible for this distribution. As earlier argued though, what manifest as physical elements in a city represent the convergence of forces coming from outside and within the na-



tional boundaries of the country where it is situated. Internal factors such as state regulations have been among the determinants of this resultant configuration. The Metro Manila case is also distinct from classical urban models that stress the relationship between diminishing house prices/rents and CBD distance. [19] The distinction is due to the existence of informal settlers within all of the three rings. As earlier noted, the CBD areas, where highend housing is concentrated, also has the densest concentration of informal settlers. Informal settlers in the city represent un-served urban housing demand.

Fig. 8: House Distribution relative to Population Change (Base Map Source: FBDC, 2010)

Furthermore Metro Manila is hardly mono-centric. It has emerged as one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world due to its poly-centricity with each city/municipality having its own set of population pull factors. While the results of this study highlight the existence of a major CBD core emanating from the old city of Manila, the other cities/municipalities are sites of major amenities such as prestigious colleges and universities, multi-national corporation subsidiaries, industrial complexes, huge retail centers, international airport, government office, recreational facilities and others.

Fig. 9: General Concentric Tendency (Base Map Source:, 2010)


es pa syo

These incentives included lower than commercial interest rates for the development loans, origination capacities, purchase commitment lines and tax exemptions. In the early 1990s the interest rates in commercial banks averaged at 21 percent while the housing development loan programs of the government offered loans at nine to 12 percent interest rates. However, in the late 1990s until 2003, the commercial interest rates dived down to levels that were lower than those in the government sector. [20] Moreover, developers were given origination capacities and, therefore, directly screened applicant homebuyers who needed loans for house purchase. Along with development loans that served as seed capital, developers were also granted purchase commitment lines (PCL). [21] The PCL guarantees them payment for the house packages that they complete and with corresponding qualified buyers. Delays in releases of these funds, however, often resulted in liquidity problems for the developers.

Fig. 10: Mega-scale Mixed-use Developments (Base Map Source:

As far as the UDHA’s dispersion objective is concerned, the results show that there have been outward drifts in development directions. The contiguous provinces of Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan have clearly served as spillover areas for the housing needs of the metropolitan area. Most of the government-assisted housing developments catering to the low-income group are located in the edges of the NCR. Secondly, these projects are part of urban renewal strategies that seek to make underproductive sites more economically vibrant. All these four developments, however, resemble gated communities in the sense that they are physically segregated from the neighborhoods that they are in. Though not defined by perimeter walls, their grains and textures contrast with those in their adjacent areas. Such are the contrasts that spur the process of urban gentrification, which would eventually further make it difficult for the low-income households to live in the city centers where their jobs are. ANALYSIS First part of the analysis relates the low share of low-income housing in the total production to private sector participation. The second part relates the results of the study to the socio-economic ambivalence that comes with the process of globalization. Both parts highlight the need to factor into urban governance the dynamics among the actors involved in housing delivery and the changing realities within which the delivery process takes place. The private housing developers, which the public sector sought to entice into building low-income housing through the various financing programs, were supposed to respond to many incentives.

In the government’s Social Housing Development Loan Program, a developer who meets the criteria of the lending agency in terms of technical and financial track record receives a development loan that would typically be 20 percent of the total project development cost. The site to be developed will be posted as collateral, which is valuated based on its acquisition cost. The loanto-value ratio that should be maintained over the entire project duration is 0.80. The developer initially fully develops one portion of the site A and partially completes another portion B as shown in Figure 11. The fully developed house and lot packages are then issued their corresponding Licenses

Fig. 11: Incremental Development (Base Map Source:

Fig. 12: Project Phasing (Base Map Source:



to Sell. These packages are then sold to individual homebuyers, who are also given long-term loans that are payable in 20 years. The developers are paid the equivalent “take-out” [22] values corresponding to the total selling price of the sold units. The land titles corresponding to the sold units are then released from the collateral and then annotated with the individual homebuyers’ mortgages. Out of the total take-out payment that developers receive, 30 percent will be used to partially repay the development loan while the 70 percent will be plowed back into the project for subsequent development. While the total land area serving as collateral is reduced due to the release of some titles, the remaining collateral should still be enough to cover the remaining loan because of the increase in land value due to the partially developed areas. Why such well-crafted system did not work at par with objectives can be explained in terms of how private developers operate. Given the selling price ceilings for the government-assisted projects, the developers cannot realistically make profits that are competitive with those that they could make if they go into open-market housing. The concept of socialized housing, however, is anchored on principles of cross-subsidies and appropriate project phasing. The principle of cross subsidy is achieved by creating a product mix consisting of high priced and low priced housing packages. The low profit margin and in some cases losses that will be incurred in the latter can be compensated for by the high-priced units. Effective cross-subsidy strategies can also involve including commercial lots in the product mix. Profitability goals can also be achieved through phasing schemes, whereby the inner portion of the project site is developed first together with an access road and basic utilities. As can be seen in Figure 12, this inner portion can cater to the low-income group since the value of land at this point would still be very low. After this initial phase, the value of the remaining undeveloped land will go up and can be developed into packages catering to the higher income households. Cash flow and profitability issues arise when actual project development proceeds in a different manner. When the developer opts to comply with the UDHA rules by locating the 20 percent area for the low-income group in another site rather than in a contiguous site, the principles of the UDHA and the housing programs get defeated. The lack of low-priced urban residential lands that would meet the optimal land area of five hectares [23] for these kinds of projects also poses difficulties for private developers. Because of the common facilities e.g. community center, parks and playgrounds and utilities, e.g. roads, water, power, sanitation, that need to be provided, there is a minimum area that would serve the economies of scale objectives of the developers.


es pa syo

The inflexibility of cash flow assumptions regarding selling price, development cost and collateral value also poses profitability issues for the developers. All these project variables are pre-determined and hold until the project is completed. Cash flow projections, however, are subjected to various exogenous factors as the project progresses. Changes in the macro-economic environment render some of the assumptions obsolete over time. Interest rates, house prices and prices of construction materials fluctuate due to ups and downs in the economy. The developers who are granted development loans under the government housing programs are not allowed to arbitrarily adjust assumptions for these variables. Governance issues in the public sector side also impede the flow of the project when the targeted schedules for take-out and title releases are not met. Bureaucratic procedures usually cause delays and lags between the three main events that take place within the project duration. These activities are represented in the cash flow as production, release of titles, sales/take-out. Figure 13 shows a typical projected cash flow for a socialized housing project. This is laid out at the outset during the development loan application period to ascertain the financial viability of the proposed project. In principle, there should not be a wide gap between the three main activities because substantial lags would result in liquidity problems for the developer. The sales/take-out schedule corresponds to inflows in the form of sales proceeds. From these sales proceeds, 70 percent is used to develop the next batch of units and 30 percent is used for debt-servicing. Interest payments accrue to the developer even in cases of delays on the government side. As can be seen in this example, developers usually need to put up a substantial amount to serve as equity. The per unit house and lot price remains the same throughout the project life. Except for cases of force majeure [24] and other highly extraordinary events, the land development and house construction costs also remain the same. Collateral is valuated, not based on the actual market value that the land would command based on the macro-economic conditions, but on predetermined values. Designs are also pre-approved so developers also cannot manipulate these variables. The inability of developers to react accordingly as market conditions change run counter to project management principles within the private realm. Therefore, as far as profit-oriented goals are concerned, government-assisted projects catering to the low-income households are not very competitive. The financial studies prepared prior to project implementation may indicate some acceptable

Fig. 13: Cash flow for a typical Socialized Housing Development Loan Program Project (Source: NHMFC, 2004)

level of profits, but because of delays and changes in the economic environment, the original assumptions may not hold true until project completion. Hence, not many private developers are enticed to go into these types of housing projects. While the findings of this study can be interpreted in terms of how the private sector behaves within a given regulatory framework, they can also be explained in relation to a wider socio-economic network of relations to which Metro Manila is connected. Along with other regulations, the UHDA was formulated to assert the role of the state in the governance of Metro Manila as its connections with the global economy was getting more and more intense. While global economic integration has presented many economic development opportunities, it has also posed a lot of challenges and threats to nations and to cities in particular. The entry of many transnational corporations, which are the main drivers of globalization and the inflow of foreign direct investments have been accompanied by many urban issues such as urban blight, poverty and social polarization, environmental degradation and homogenization. The fast rate of growth of Metro Manila and other Asian cities is generally attributed to the post World War II modernization period, which was marked by industrialization. [25] Production activities shifted from North America and Europe to Latin America and Asia, which provided the labor base as well as market for manufacturing and other industrial activities. From a Fordist economy evolved what was known as the new interna-

tional division of labor that came with the transnationalization of economic activities. [26] With these two economic phases came the fast rates of urbanization in many Asian countries. Industrialization and trans-nationalization has manifested in the segregation of specialized activities within the city. [27] Hence, came the strategies of land use planning and zoning, which were the planning instruments used to assign special areas within the city, which itself was finding a special niche within the global economy. [28] These plans dictated where the residential, industrial, commercial and institutional areas would be, among other urban functions. The mobility of capital and the growth of the services sector have marginalized certain segments of society and led to the widening gap between rich and poor especially in the urban areas. Metro Manila’s Gini coefficient stands at 45.8 [29] which indicates a wide gap between social classes. This reflects in the residential patterns that are class and income-based. Environmental sustainability is another issue that comes with globalization. The UDHA is supposed to address this issue by rationalizing mechanisms for land use conversion. Since socialized housing needed low-priced properties, many of those that were developed during the study period were agricultural lands that were converted into residential use. This can be seen in the development trend towards the edges of the metropolitan area. Contiguous provinces were sites of many low-cost housing projects developed on previously agricultural lands.



The industrialization trends of assembly line and mass production systems also became evident in the types of houses that came out. Low-cost housing often translated to box-like structures made out of prefabricated components. Designs were largely dictated by cost and technology rather than the specific needs of the target users. Specific site contexts also mattered little in the preparation of designs even if the physical environmental conditions within the expanded national capital region varied. The reproduction of housing sites with monotonous characters was enhanced by the minimum design standards imposed by the Housing and Urban Regulatory Board (HLURB). The one-solution-fits-all proliferates beyond the house design level as cities tried to outdo each other in developing the modern image that attracts homebuyers. What the findings of this study stresses, however, is that Metro Manila, like other cities in Asia, has developed in a way that is unique and can therefore not be made to fit within existing western models. Metro Manila’s economy has significantly been supported by the informal sector. This manifests clearly in the existence of many informal settlements and informal smallscale businesses. While the general pattern reflects concentric tendencies, the more detailed disposition of spaces in the metropolitan area defies the logic that underlies the classical housing and economic models. Low income people have been able to locate in the central parts of the city as well as in the edges because of self-help strategies. Inadequacies of the mass transport system and other transportation facilities continue to support the indispensability of the jeepneys, tricycles, and pedicabs. While the existence of good roads and transport lines are among the criteria for assessing the technical feasibility of a proposed project, one cannot ignore the fact that wherever low-income residential subdivisions emerge, these informal types of transportation will surely later appear. Commuting needs are, therefore, addressed through informal means. Even formal retail shops and public markets are effectively complemented by the so-called sarisari stores. These are the small (about 3 sq.m. on the average) stores that are built right in front of the house and within the lot. The core structures are usually knocked off in front to accommodate these small stores. Since many of the low-cost housing projects are far from the large commercial centers and the homeowners do not own cars, the existence of these stores within the subdivision undoubtedly serve the need of the homeowners to easily access very basic goods. These are examples of people-initiated strategies that have made the existing residential patterns in Metro Manila possible. They make possible another kind


es pa syo

of multi-centricity as the functions of “the center” get replicated in a different way. Another feature of the Philippine economy that should be taken into account as housing needs are planned for is the high percentage of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). These OFWs have, over the last four decades, joined the waves of “transnational urbanism”. [30] The integration of economic activities come with increased worker mobility as people cross national boundaries to fill in the labor demand in other countries. These OFWs remit money to their families and come back to the Philippines with high purchasing powers after their contracts end. A study has yet to be done as to the spatial implications of these realities. These, however, clearly do not fit the classical Ricardian model that bases house location on distance to employment bases. CONCLUSION Four major conclusions regarding the Philippine housing regulatory framework are drawn from this study. These conclusions relate to private sector participation, market forces, need for flexibility and need for city-specific responses. Firstly, programs implemented within the UDHA seek to address the housing needs of the low-income group through partnerships with the private sector but do not adequately factor in its profitability goals. This was explained in relation to low profit margins compared to high-end housing, time lags that affect project liquidity and inflexible guidelines. Secondly, with the percentage share of open market housing in total area developed for housing from 1994 to 2003, residential development in Metro Manila appears to have been largely market-led. While market forces were clearly at work, as indicated by the relationship between the location factors and project locations, the stringent regulations also steered the direction of house production in favor of the high income group. Thirdly, in a globally integrated economy that is characterized by high mobility of capital and other factors of production, some mechanisms for flexibility and adaptability need to be factored into the process of formulating regulations. In the so-called age of post-Fordism, and constantly changing global relational networks, state roles as effective mediators between market forces and national interests are critical. Failure to manage socio-economic ambivalence impedes a nation’s quest for development. And lastly, while the general trend exhibit concentric tendencies, the urban fabric of Metro Manila is distinct from the western fabrics on which the classical house location theories are based. The unique confluence of market forces and state interventions in Metro Manila call for context-specific planning approaches.

REFERENCES [1] Henry Yeung Wai-chung (2003) “Theorizing Economic Geographies of Asia”, Economic Geography 79(2), 107-128, Clark University. [2] John Vickers and George Yarrow (1988). Privatization, An Economic Analysis, Cambridge: MIT Press. [3] Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (2008). “Housing Databases-Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan” Chapter 4, Manila. [4] A.Tickell, and J.Peck (1997). Making Global Rules: Globalization or Neoliberalization, Chapter 10 in Remaking the Global Economy, J. Peck and H.W.C. Yeung (eds), London: Sage Publications.

veloper under the PCL For every batch of completed units with qualified homebuyers, the developer receives the corresponding take-out proceeds that are used partly to repay development loans and partly to continue developing the other phases of the project. [22] Special Projects Department, National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (1994). “Optimal Project Size for SHDLP Projects”, Makati City. [23] Force Majeure in the home and development lending policies refer to extraordinary events, e.g. wars and natural occurrences, e.g. Mt. Pinatubo eruption and major earthquakes. These do not include the cyclic occurrences of typhoons [24] O.D. Corpuz (1997) An Economic History of the Philippines, Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.

[5] “Asian Financial Crisis” (2010). Thomas Brinkhoff, (2009) “The Principal Agglomerations of the World”,

[25] Folker Frobel, et al (1978). “The New International Division of Labor” Social Science Information, Sage Publications, London: 123-142.

[6] “Laws of the Indies” (2010). Encyclopedia Britannica Online,

[26] Edward Soja, (2000). Postmetropolies: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions, Urban Studies 38(9).

[7] “Daniel Burnham- Notable Commissions” (2010). http://

[27] UNDP (2009). “Philippine Millennium Development Goals”

[8] National Housing Authority (2007). NHA Primer, Manila.

[28] Michael Peter Smith (2000). Transnational Urbanism, London: Wiley, John and Sons, Inc.

[9] Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (2007). “Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 7279”, [10] HUDCC (2008). “Key Programs and Projects”, http://www. [11] HLURB (2004). Licenses to Sell Issued, Quezon City.

[29] Paul Knox, Steven Pinch (2006). Urban Social Geography: An Introduction, Essex: Pearson Education Limited. [30] Peter Dicken, Kelly, P., Olds, K., and Yeung, HWC (2001). “Chains and Networks, Territories and Scales: Toward a Relational Framework for Analyzing the Global Economy”, Global Networks 1(2):89-112.

[12] “Philippine Price History” (2010). [13] Metro Manila Development Authority (2009). “Metro Manila at a Glance”, [14] The Bid-rent Theory assumes that there is competition over urban land among different sectors. The allocation of land is governed by the land prices or rents that diminish with the increase in distance with respect to the central business district (McCann, 2001).

This research was funded by the University of the Philippines System through its Doctoral Studies fund and by the Seoul National University Urban Design Laboratory

[15] Akinobu Murakami, Armando M. Pajilon (2005), “Urban Sprawl and Land Use Characteristics in the Urban Firnge of Metro Manila”, JAABE Vo. 4 No. 1 [16] HUDCC (2010) “Medium-term Philippine Development Plan for Housing” [17] Arthur O’ Sullivan (2007). Urban Economics International Edition, New York: McGraw-Hill. [18] Philip McCann (2006) Urban and Regional Economics, New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. [19] Central Bank of the Philippines (2010). “Monetary, External and Financial Statistics”, [20] Origination Capacity refers to the ability of developers to perform the roles that are traditionally taken on by banks. These roles include screening and selecting individual home loan applicants. Purchase Commitment Line (PCL) represents the commitment by the government, through its lending arm - the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation, to pay the developers the total amount equivalent to the house and lot packages completed. The purchase amount is pre-determined. [21] Take-outs refer to the batch payments made to the de-




es pa syo

The Continued Teaching of Lumber and Wood Construction Methods in Architecture EMMANUEL D. A. LITONJUA Emmanuel D. A. Litonjua is an Assistant Professor of the College of Architecture at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.

ABSTRACT This paper shows the necessity for the continued teaching of modern lumber construction techniques in Architecture 24. Even though most structures today are constructed in concrete, steel, aluminum and glass, students of architecture still have to learn modern wood construction techniques as a number of existing structures are made with this material which they may have to renovate when they are practicing architects. Also, structures made out of wood are more environmentally friendly than concrete structures as trees are renewable sources of construction materials. Concrete and steel components are non-renewable. Further, wood structures are still being built around the world, especially in First World countries. If Filipino architects want to practice in other countries, they have to be equipped with the knowledge of wood construction alongside their knowledge of the latest developments in materials, technologies and building typologies.

ARCHITECTURE 24 The ladder type curriculum for Architecture education was implemented in the University of the Philippines College of Architecture (UPCA) in 1980. This curriculum offered 2 Diplomas before achieving the Bachelor of Science degree at the end of the five years. The Construction stream started with the introduction to Building Materials in Architecture 23 and was followed by Working Drawings of the different Construction Methods—Wood and Masonry in Architecture 24, Reinforced Concrete in Architecture 33 and Structural Steel in Architecture 34.

The latest curriculum of UPCA removed the emphasis on drawings and has concentrated on the technology and construction aspect. This means that the professor is free to choose the avenue of expressing the students’ knowledge—through models, actual field demonstrations and “selfhelp” or community building like Gawad Kalinga. Aside from this, Reinforced Concrete and Structural Steel were integrated into Architecture 33 and other components in construction were assigned in Architecture 34—estimating, scheduling, modular coordination, high-rise construction and the special structures (fabric structures, tensile structures, space frames, geodesic structures) of Division 13 of both the 16 Division (1995) and the 50 Division (2004) MasterFormat®. The syllabus of Architecture 24 deals with introduction to structures, reinforced concrete shallow foundations, short and light vertical framing systems, masonry in-fill walls, wooden floor/in-fill wall/ceiling/roof systems/framing/finishes and doors and windows. The construction method taken in Architecture 24 is known as modern wooden post and lintel construction that makes use of dimensioned lumber pieces in the building of light structures. This should be distinguished from heavy timber construction that had been used in historical structures from the Middle Ages to the churches built by the Spanish Friars all over the Philippines (usually, the churches had their structural roof frame made of Timber while the walls, buttresses and columns were made from stone or brick masonry). In the middle of the last millennium in Europe, houses, churches and other minor structures were built with heavy timber frames and components



(Palmes). Some churches have surviving beautifully and intricately carved hammer beam roof frames while a number of homes constructed of timber upper floors with masonry lower floors have withstood the ravages of time for half a millennium. These required the skill of a number of craftsmen. When the European immigrants set out to the New World, they could not readily build with timber so they needed lighter framing materials that did not require a number of people to carry and did not require craftsmen to produce the elaborately and precisely carved purposeful decorations and interlocking joints. Thus in North America was born the Balloon Frame which made use of lumber pieces measuring around two inches by four inches (Walsh) and, usually, two floors long. This later transformed into the Platform Frame when lengthy lumber pieces became scarce and construction practices were refined. CORNELL UNIVERSITY Cornell University in Ithaca, New York has a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) degree program that was ranked first in a nationwide US survey in 2007, a title that they have held for the past several years. The survey was conducted by Design Intelligence to determine what programs prepared students for the practice of Architecture; it questioned Architects from a cross section of professional firms (Cornell University College of

Architecture, Art & Planning). Cornell also has a professional graduate program that landed in the top 10 even though it was just started in 2004 (Cornell University College of Architecture, Art & Planning). One of the courses in the Cornell’s College of Architecture, Arts & Planning Department of Architecture is a Building Technology, Materials and Methods class that is required for both the undergraduate as well as the graduate students. This is an intense course program as the study of different construction materials has been combined together with movement systems, building codes, accessibility, fire safety and sustainability issues. Even though this course is the only construction class, wood construction is given significant importance—in the class taught by Associate Professor Jonathan Ochshorn, out of his five required class projects; wood framing was in equal footing with building code, reinforced concrete, structural steel and exterior wall cladding assignments (Ochshorn). Understandably, the Cornell program is not heavy on the technology aspect as this is just a Bachelor and not a Bachelor of Science program. Wood construction, as practiced in North America these days, follows the Platform Frame system wherein the walls carry the loads of the upper floors. Aside from single family houses, multistory/multi family dwelling units are still con-

Figure 1. Course Outline as taught by Arch. E.D.A.Litonjua in the early 1990’s—a precursor to the Architecture 24 Syllabus of 2002 (Source: Author)

Figure 2. Architecture 24 Syllabus of 2003 currently being used in the University of the Philippines (Source: UP College of Architecture)


es pa syo

Figure 4. Exterior of Santa Monica Church in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte

Figure 3. Wood Post and Lintel Construction in the Philippines (Source: Guico)

Figure 5. Timber Roof Rafters of Santa Monica Church

structed with wooden studded walls made from two-inch by four -inch lumber pieces. They also employ modern Heavy Timber Construction— the use of dimension or glued laminated lumber components with minimum sizes of six inches— whenever fire resistive construction is necessary in assembly and mercantile building occupancies. In the Philippines, our preferred method of wood framing is the Post and Lintel system. The wood framed walls usually made from two-inch by fourinch wood studs are non-load bearing, hence, they are just “filling-in” the cavity between the wood posts.

The wooden portions were built with wooden post and girder/girt structural frames and the infill walls were framed with two-inch-thick lumber and usually finished off with wood sidings at their exteriors and plywood panels at their interiors. Some of these homes may have had pressed marine plywood exterior finishes. A sizable number of these houses have survived for more than 50 years and are still homes to the original families. Some have been renovated or extended using similar materials as the original construction.

HOUSES BUILT IN THE 1950’S The Ayala Development Corporation converted about 80 hectares of raw land in the 1950’s into one of the premier subdivisions of Metro-Manila (Bel-Air Village Association). Bel-Air Village is situated in Makati—which was then a municipality of Rizal province until the 1970’s. The homes built around 1957, the year of Bel-Air Village’s incorporation (History of The Bel-Air Village Association (BAVA), Inc.), were constructed of what is known as “mixed materials.” They bore a resemblance to Bahay na Bato houses as their ground floors were made of concrete and their second floors were of wood. The concrete portions of the Bel Air Village houses had structural frames built of reinforced concrete columns and beams with reinforced masonry infill walls (usually of concrete hollow blocks with reinforcing steel bars—these walls are non-structural).

This type of construction is a combination of influences. The wooden post and girder/girt structural frames were drawn from the Spanish era Bahay na Bato houses while the light lumber framed infill walls must have been influenced by the wooden balloon or platform framed houses that the American homesteaders used in their migration westward in North America. Storms and earthquakes commonly experienced in the Philippines demonstrated the vulnerability of the light wooden balloon or platform frames that the reinforcement of the houses with the heavy wooden post and girder/girt system was required to form a more rigid and safe structure. Neighborhoods that were developed immediately before and after World War II in Metro-Manila and in a number of provinces have similarly designed and constructed houses if they were built through the 1960’s. These houses were built during the era that lumber was still plentiful in the Philippines. Homeowners made wood and concrete their ma-



In some instances, especially where there are very moist conditions, the termites may find their way from the ground up through the lower concrete floor in cracks and gaps in the mortar, tile grouting and plaster and into the woodwork of the upper floors. Wolmanized Lumber that was available locally until the 1970’s seems to have been quite effective against termites although the wood became rather brittle after several decades. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, homeowners started veering away from wood construction. The exteriors of residences were now constructed of reinforced concrete frames and masonry in-fill walls to better withstand the elements. However, some interior structural components were still framed in wood, e.g., wooden joists for floors, wooden trusses and rafters for roof frames. In succeeding decades, when wood became scarcer, these once wooden structural components were replaced with reinforced concrete suspended floor slabs and builtup steel-section trusses, rafters and purlins.

Figure 6. Cornell’s Bachelor of Architecture Curriculum (Source: Cornell University College of Architecture, Art & Planning)

terials of choice for their family dwellings as wood was affordable and easy to work with. The concrete portion was really just to keep the wood above the ground for durability and longevity of the lumber components. This type of construction is what is referred to as the “modern” building technology in the old Architecture 24 syllabus. In Blumentritt, San Juan City, a number of old structures rising to about three stories high are still being used for both residential and commercial purposes. The ground floor, which is built with concrete, usually serves as the commercial spaces while the upper floors, constructed of wood, provides the residence of the owners. WOOD USE WANES As time weathered the wooden houses, people noticed that much and continuous care must be provided to preserve or maintain these structures. The wood exterior sidings are susceptible to rot brought about by the exposure to the elements especially if the houses are not painted regularly. The interior wood finishes and framing may be damaged by subterranean termite infestation. Treatment of the surrounding soil and wood members themselves have to be performed continuously and thoroughly otherwise the termites may penetrate the chemical barriers established before construction.


es pa syo

Further, families that have relocated to newly acquired properties in the decades-old villages, subdivisions and districts have mostly torn down the original wooden houses to make way for new ones constructed of reinforced concrete, masonry and steel. To most, it is easier to build a new structure than to rehabilitate and retrofit an existing house to suit the needs of the new owners. Then, in the last decade until this time, in new gated subdivisions and in existing idle lots in Metro-Manila as well as those around the country, the homes that were being built were constructed of reinforced concrete, masonry, steel, aluminum and glass and may be finished with “newer” technologies like EIFS—Exterior Insulation and Finishing Systems (brought in the Philippines during the building boom of the mid-1990’s), wood siding simulated fiber reinforced cement (fi-cem) boards, moisture resistant gypsum boards with light gauge steel studs and ceiling furring channels, styrofoam-core moldings and PVC windows and doors, to name a few. These days, as locally sourced lumber becomes ever so scarce, wood has been relegated to the finishing materials as most interiors of homes will not be complete without the warm ambiance of exotic lumbers and veneers—mostly imported from other countries with active lumber industries or taken from old houses, sometimes centuries old, that have been dismantled from their original sites. In large developments like leisure projects, wood is used as thematic members either to blend in with and sustain the focus on the surroundings or enhance the visual and sensory perceptions as to recall the memorable experiences of warmth and nature.

CONCRETE The components of concrete are aggregates— divided into fine, typically sand, and coarse aggregates, usually crushed gravel in varying sizes—Portland cement as the binder and water to hydrate and lubricate the mix. There are times when admixtures and lime may be added to the mix to attain certain characteristics for the particular project being constructed.

Figure 7. In Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, a typical “Bahay-na-Bato” structure— the Ancestral Home where former President Ferdinand E. Marcos was born in

Figure 8. Bel-Air Village House with wooden second floor along Polaris Street. The right side portion of the second floor seems to have been extended using wood

Figure 9. Bel-Air Village House House with wooden second floor along Mercury Street

Figure 10. Bel-Air Village House with wooden second floor along Mercury Street

Figure 11. Bel-Air Village House with wooden second floor along Mars Street

The raw materials for cement—calcium, silicon, aluminum and iron oxides—are extracted from limestone, clays and other materials which are quarried by drilling or blasting rock (Holcim—Raw Materials Extraction). Cement clinker is obtained by burning the crushed rocks and materials in a kiln with temperatures reaching 2000 degrees Celsius (Holcim—Blending and Clinkerization). This production of clinker alone is one of the most intense carbon dioxide forming processes that has to be addressed properly as massive amounts of fossil fuels are still used at this stage. Coarse aggregates too are quarried by drilling and blasting rock to obtain gravel which is then hauled to plants where they are crushed to obtained the desired sizes. Fine aggregates are extracted from river beds and hauled directly to the users. River washed stones and gravel were used in the past but the smooth surfaces were undesirable in concrete due to the weaker mechanical bond between the aggregate and concrete. The angular surfaces in crushed aggregate make a stronger bond with the concrete. All these stages of cement and concrete production create substantial impacts on the environment. Although concrete has been in use since the Roman times, its production process entails a huge carbon, ecological and physical footprint. Hills and mountains were and are being lost due to all the quarrying. One such of these operations is being done in the province of Rizal for mostly the customers in Metro-Manila—Antipolo City has lost some of its hills and there are more hills being quarried. Massive landscape mutilation occurs every time quarrying operations are undertaken in a locality and no amount of rehabilitation can restore a hill or mountain. Moreover, the social impact is just beginning to be understood in the loss of these landscapes especially if these are treasured natural wonders. The Chocolate Hills of Bohol which was entered into the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative list in 2006 (UNESCO World Heritage Tentative Lists— Chocolate Hills Natural Monument) has been quarried for limestone even though it is covered by the NIPAS Act of 1992. The then acting mayor of Carmen, Bohol, issued a permit to a relative of his to undertake quarrying operations from 2001 to around 2006. It took the then Provincial Governor



to close down the anomalous operations through a provincial level Executive Order in 2006, as reported by a local newspaper (Bohol Chronicle— Guv bans mining near Choco Hills).

Figure 12. Bel Air Village house in need of regular repainting

Figure 13. A mid-1970’s reinforced concrete framed house in Greenhills West has wood framed floors and roofs

The river beds of Pampanga are gouged out continuously and sand is hauled by oversized dump trucks to project sites or, recently, sand is hauled by container vans (due to the larger volume hauled per axle payment in the North Luzon Tollway) to the concrete batching plants. Even though these may seem as dredging activities, studies may still have to be undertaken as to the impact on the hydrology of nearby villages as massive flooding may occur during high volume downpours during the wet months. STEEL The strength of concrete is used to counter compressive forces. Due to its rigid structure, concrete is brittle and will fail when exposed to tensile forces. As such, steel reinforcing bars are introduced into the matrix to create a material that becomes ductile as the concrete and steel are behaving as a single unit. Reinforced concrete is heavily used in areas that are exposed to lateral movement or forces. Structural steel in buildings has been in use since the late 19th century with the Home Insurance Company Building in Chicago as the first rigid frame skyscraper (Allen). Prior to that, cast and wrought iron was used to frame multi story buildings in New York and Chicago aside from the structures using load bearing masonry walls. The main component in steel is iron—about 98 percent and is usually alloyed with less than one percent carbon. Other minerals—manganese, vanadium, columbium, boron, silicon, nickel, chrome, molybdenum, titanium or zirconium—may be alloyed in blast furnaces with iron depending on the type of steel needed for a construction condition (Cowan and Smith).

Figure 14. A 1980’s reinforced concrete house in Antipolo with original wood structural components, e.g., wood trusses and wood stairs

Figure 15. Late 1990’s house in Greenhills West with EIFS exterior


es pa syo

Iron ore is mined from the crust of the earth usually in open pit mines (Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.). These mines may cover an area of approximately 600 hectares and go to depths of 400 meters—especially in arid regions where the groundwater level is relatively deep—and may take more than a couple of decades to exhaust the mineral deposits due to the sheer volume of the rock and soil that is moved (Pasyar and Schultz). The extraction process of iron from the ores like hematite or magnetite—beneficiation (Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.)—involves the continual pulverizing, screening and classifying of the materials which

produces the concentrate and the tailings (Samarco-Beneficiation). The concentrate is then mixed with limestone, bentonite and coal to ball them into pellets after they are fired in induration furnaces (Samarco-Pelletizing). The pellets are shipped to steel mills around the world and are used to manufacture steel products, i.e., steel sections for the construction industry, sheet steel for the automotive industry and others. The wastes from mining are usually pulverized rocks and the tailings. Tailings are usually disposed of underwater in ponds and dams to arrest the oxidation process of the wastes containing sulfides. If oxidized, these sulfides turn into acids that may corrode minerals and may leach into the environment. After the mines are closed, these tailings ponds and dams may be reclaimed but a monitoring system must be in place long after the mining companies have left to constantly supervise the efficiency of the environmental safeguards installed (Robertson). LUMBER Manual or mechanized felling harvests the trees from the forests. The felled logs are then extracted from the stumps to a landing either by mechanized or animal means where they are processed by removing the limbs and cut to length before loading onto trucks or rail car. At sawmills, the logs are debarked, sawed, edged and planed into dimension lumber. These lumber pieces are then graded and seasoned before they are shipped out (Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources). Illegal logging and the encroachment of agriculture on forests is a large environmental threat (Strieker). Habitat loss may lead to extinction of different animal species that thrive on large and contiguous tracts of forest to forage and nest. Soil erosion occurs when the soil is not restrained by roots of trees which contributes to the sedimentation of rivers and other bodies of water.

Figure 16. Elevated wood decking used in Tagaytay Highlands Golf and Country Club themed gardens as designed by the father of Philippines Landscape Architecture, Prof. Ildefonso P. Santos

PHILIPPINE FORESTS The remaining old growth forests in the Philippines are concentrated in the Sierra Madre of North Eastern Luzon, Palawan and Eastern Mindanao (The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund). These forests support biodiverse life and have very high carbon stocks and they are protected by the NIPAS Act of 1992—Republic Act (RA) 7586 and its implementing rules and regulation, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order Number (DENR-AO) 25 (Chan Robles Virtual Law Library). However, there are no physical barriers to these forests which leaves them open to illegal logging activities. Just in the last century, the Philippines lost about 90 percent of its old growth forest reserves considered to be the most diverse in Southeast Asia. These were lost to commercial logging and to clear-cutting for agricultural activities (Strieker). These old growth forests, high carbon stocks, is known to sequester carbon from the atmosphere at much lower rates than younger trees in tree plantations and reforested areas. The maturing of the trees aid in the absorption of the greenhouse gasses (GHGs) through photosynthesis. This presents great opportunities in sustainable forestry where we maintain old growth forests and harvest lumber from tree farms and plantations while gaining access to foreign investments. The clean development mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol allows industrialized nations to trade certified emission reductions (CERs) by helping developing countries implement projects that reduce GHGs (Lasco and Pulhin). SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY AND SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT The future of the local lumber industry will depend on conservation efforts currently being undertaken. Conservation in line with the Kyoto Protocol should have components that answer the need to use wood through development of farms for agro-forestry, biomass and biofuels while preserving the old growth and secondary forests and reforestation of grasslands (Conservation International/The Center for Environmental Leadership in Business). Tree farms can also be set up for the harvesting of wood for use in the local construction industry. The US has a very active wood industry as 90 percent of American homes are made of lumber (Western Wood Products Association). Yet, their amount of forest cover is the same as that of a hundred years ago mainly due to the reforestation efforts of the wood and lumber producers and, currently, compared to just 25 years ago, there is 20 percent more trees (Western Wood Products Association).



The practice of sustainable forestry or sustainable forest management (SFM) may vary but the basic principles seem to be conservation of biodiversity, soil and water conservation and multiple benefits in terms of social and economic aspects (United States Department of Agriculture). FORESTRY CERTIFICATIONS The use of wood and lumber products around the world continues to grow with the ever growing population. To encourage sound environmental practices in forest management, some countries have started to implement certification processes that identify the wood products that have been harvested in an environmentally friendly manner (Ozinga). There are a number of certifications around the world and some of them are listed: 0 0 0 0 0 0

Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) Canadian Standards Association Standard (CSA) Certificacion Forestal en Chile (Certfor) Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) 0 Sistema Brazileiro de Certificado Florestal (CERFLOR) 0 Sustainable Forestry and Initiative (SFI)

The FSC and SFI certifications are both US based certifications but have different supporters. The former is sanctioned by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) (U.S. Green Building Council) which instituted the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program while the latter is sponsored by the American Forest & Paper Association and boasts of being the largest certification program in the world. However, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, the US government’s arm in charge of the US National Forests, is still in the process of studying these programs in their forest case studies and has not yet openly supported one of the two programs. LEED GREEN BUILDING RATING SYSTEM The USGBC developed the LEED Green Building Rating System for New Construction (& Major Renovations) together with other rating systems for other building project types. These rating systems try to certify that the designs of buildings are “green” thereby improving their quality of buildings for occupants’ use and their impact on the environment. In the chapter on Materials and Resources, only certified wood is given a green rating alongside with the Rapidly Renewable Materials such as bamboo, wool, cotton insulation, agrifiber, linoleum, wheatboard, strawboard and cork. Steel, reinforced concrete, aluminum and glass are not rated unless they are part of existing components in the


es pa syo

structure that will be reused or recycled (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design). CONCLUSION Wood is still a highly sought after building material around the world. The study of wood by architecture students should continue if Philippine Architects hope to have a truly global practice. In the Philippines, lumber can gain popularity once we manage our forests responsibly and once we adopt a certification system for our forest products. Aside from these, studies may be done for a program of awarding of credits to the building owners (private as well as commercial owners), architects and builders of wood based projects— especially residential projects—over other materials as wood is more energy efficient than steal, reinforced concrete and aluminum both in their manufacture and use.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Allen, Edward. Fundamentals of Building Construction. 2nd. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1990. Bel-Air Village Association. BAVA Handbook. Makati City: BelAir Village Association, 11 June 2007. Bohol Chronicle--Guv bans mining near Choco Hills. 11 June 2006. 4 June 2007 . Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. Philippine Environmental Laws. 27 March 2007 . Conservation International / The Center for Environmental Leadership in Business. CI/CELB--Conservation Carbon: The Sierra Madre, Philippines. 30 October 2007 . Cornell University College of Architecture, Art & Planning. AAP Home > AAP News > Architecture Program Ranked No. 1 Nationwide. 19 05 2007 . _________. AAP Home > Department of Architecture > Programs of Study > B.Arch. Curriculum. 19 05 2007 .

Ozinga, Saskia. “Footprints in the forest-Current practice and future challenges in forest certification.” 2004. 21 October 2007 . Palmes, James C., ed. Sir Banister Fletcher’s A History of Architecture. 18th. London: The Athlone Press of the University of London, 1975. Pasyar, R. and P. Schultz. BHP Billiton--Western Australian Mining Operations-Presentation to Analysts. Australia: BHP Billiton, 2005. Robertson, A.MacG. “International Experience in Tailing Pond Remediation.” Wismut Tagungsband Internationale Konferenz 11. - 14.07.2000, in Schlema, Germany. 2000. Samarco. Investors’ Visit. Brazil: Samarco, March 2007. Samarco-Beneficiation. 19 October 2007 . Samarco-Pelletizing. 19 October 2007 . Strieker, Gary. CNN.Com-Loggers threaten last stronghold of Philippine biodiversity. 31 May 2000. 21 October 2007 .

Cowan, H. J. and P. R. Smith. The Science and Technology of Building Materials. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1988.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. “The Philippines Hotspot.” Final Version 2001. 21 October 2007 .

Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. “beneficiation.”. 28 October 2007 .

U.S. Green Building Council. 21 October 2007 .

_________. “mining.”. 28 October 2007 .

U.S. Green Building Council - LEED Intro. 21 October 2007.

Guico, Carlos. Sariling Sikap Sa Pagtatayo Ng Bahay. Quezon City: NEC / BRS / UP, 1984.

UNESCO World Heritage Tentative Lists--Chocolate Hills Natural Monument. 16 May 2006. 4 June 2007 .

History of The Bel-Air Village Association (BAVA), Inc. 11 June 2007 .

United States Department of Agriculture. “National Report on Sustainable Forests.” 2003.

Holcim-Blending and Clinkerization. 19 May 2007 .

UP College of Architecture. Syllabi 2003. Quezon City, 2003.

Holcim-Raw Materials Extraction. 19 May 2007 . Lasco, Rodel D. and Florencia B. Pulhin. “Philippine Forest Ecosystems and Climate Change: Carbon stocks, Rate of Sequestration and the Kyoto Protocol.” Annals of Tropical Research 25(2) (n.d.): 37-51. . Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design. Green Building Rating System For New Construction & Major Renovations (LEED-NC) Version 2.1. U.S. Green Building Council, 2002.

Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources. Timber Harvesting-Machines and Systems. 29 October 2007 . Walsh, H. Vandervoort. The Construction Of The Small House. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1923. Western Wood Products Association. WWPA-Lumber as Building Material. 29 October 2007 . _________. WWPA-Lumber as Building Material-Abundant/ Renewable Resource. 29 October 2007 .

Mineral Information Institute--Iron Ore: Hematite, Magnetite & Taconite. 19 October 2007 . National Steel Pellet Company. American Iron and Steel Institute-Iron Ore Processing for the Blast Furnace. 29 October 2007 . Ochshorn, Jonathan. ARCH 262/562 Course description: Fall 2006. 19 May 2007 .




es pa syo

The Beginnings of Philippine Urbanism and Place Making: A Study on the Assimilation and Reinvention of the Plaza Complex RENE LUIS S. MATA Rene Luis S. Mata is an Assistant Professor of the College of Architecture at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.

Such is the state of our current studies on Philippine urbanism: that we fail to see beyond the imposition of urban development by foreign elements and forget that such culture interrelationships engender both positive and negative reactions from a local cultural entity. There is this biased perception that the Spanish conquistadores, the first Western urban colonizers, encountered a cultural void with no urban tradition. It was, in fact, colonial policy to disregard any existing cultural groups. Alfred Neumeyer states that: …the unquestionable application of European architectural forms in the colonies has its firm foundation in the royal ordinances promulgated by the Consejo de las Indias (since 1511) in Madrid [The Law of the Indies]. The layout of cities with their plazas, houses, and courtyards is specifically prescribed and it reflects the rational and reasonable approach to city planning in the Renaissance Era. These ordinances bespeak not only the endeavor of the first modern centralized monarchy to keep the colonies under strict surveillance, but also a very definite religious philosophy. Only by obliteration of any vestiges of paganism could the triumph of the Catholic Church be assured.[1]

Robert Reed states on the other hand that urban development was a byproduct of culture transference: Predictably, such social and religious transformations were best accomplished within an urban milieu. If colonial towns and cities in the Philippines are to be effectively conceptualized in accordance with the conventions of geography and related disciplines essentially as principles of spatial organization and instruments of regionalism, therefore, we must acknowledge the critical importance of religion and culture in the processes of urban foundation and morphogenesis. [2]

Urbanism, therefore, did facilitate cross-cultural development, whether imposed or not, although there is little the recipient can do in terms of resistance. Urban transformation, nevertheless, is a question of adaptation – not all aspects of cultural transference are accepted and embellished. As a form of passive resistance, this needs no impetus to develop. Much worse, the succeeding American colonizers perpetuated the idea that they had come to “civilize” the country, disregarding the already palpable Spanish cultural integration of urban form as stipulated in the Law of the Indies. This brainwashing is still going on even in the belief that our problems in urban development – or the lack of it – can only be seen as this lack of American style urban imposition. Perhaps there was initial resistance - doubly so, since the local communities were already coping admirably with 300 and more years of Spanish enculturation. The question is not that there were urban formulas introduced into Philippine culture, but that there may have been adaptations of the local cultural communities to the device. The often-discussed Burnham plan and its succeeding changes for the city of Manila, and consequently other urban centers, died a natural death, or was scarcely implemented after World War II. Lack of political will is often blamed for this, although the possibility that such an urban concept may have been later subsumed by natural cultural differences and the earlier “reinvention” of the Spanish Colonial period urban form has not yet been fully explored. Lorelei De Viana stated with respect to the Bando (proclamation) of 23 November 1787 by Ciriaco Gonzalez Carvajal, newly installed Governor of Manila:



[Uncovering this proclamation] is just the beginning of clearing the cobwebs in the misty grey areas of colonial urban and architectural history in the country. There are more laws, decrees and proclamations that need to be unravelled and translated to better understand and appreciate Philippine colonial history under Spain. While many have marvelled at the American impact in city urban planning and development during the early years of the twentieth century, it would also be wise to go back and inquire on the Spanish contribution to urban planning and management for a balanced perspective on their effects to our history as a nation. [3]

These were efforts to manage, police and regulate activities in the city of Manila so that urban order could be realized. It also shows the existence of urban regulation as early as 1787, totally debunking earlier perception that the Americans introduced urbanism to the islands. THE PRE-COLONIAL URBAN TRADITION Pre-colonial conditions dictated the development of urban centers loosely connected by the general need for proximity to food sources and the imperatives of living in islands that had to be defended by (from?) roving bands of pirates and enemy tribes. The development of these settlements also facilitated the development of forts where the villagers would run to for protection, as they did to tree houses. Technology as such was not different from the general Southeast Asian region, but the concepts of ownership based on coastal settlements may have led to the predilection for advantageous sites and proximity to livelihood versus fixed urban centers. The heads or chiefs of settlements may have equated power therefore with the number of followers under his control and a strong naval force and the control of naval trade routes rather than land and its acquisition. Kelly J. Ross describes this as a Thalassocracy - the rule (krateîn, to rule) of the sea (thálassa, thálatta in Attic). This does not mean rule by the sea, as “aristocracy” means the rule by the “best,” which wouldn’t make much sense, but rule by those who control the sea. [4]

The territorial domain of the


es pa syo

The existence of both the Sri-Vijaya and Madjapahit Empires in Southeast Asian precolonial history and the difficulties in establishing their boundaries suggest this. Concepts of power, authority, property acquisition and urban configuration may have been a factor in future urban development. THE SPANISH COLONIAL URBAN LEGACY The arrival of the Spanish colonial juggernaut introduced – and imposed – the tenets of the Law of the Indies, with a rigid “quadricula” urban formula. This can be seen all over the islands with variations imposed by the fact that most settlements were founded in coastal sites, which was interestingly discouraged, since the Philippines was a collection of islands. Entry #41 in the Law of the Indies states: 41. Do not select sites for towns in maritime locations because of the danger that exists of pirates and because they are not very healthy, and because in these [locations] there are less people able to work and cultivate the land, nor is it possible to instill in them these habits. Unless the site is in an area where there are good and principal harbors, among these, select for settlement only those that are necessary for the entry of commerce and for the defense of the land. [5]

The difficulty in establishing new towns in an archipelago with dense tropical forests already leaves room for variation since most settlements had to be built either along the coast or next to navigable rivers. This led to the necessity for fortified coastal towns, of which the church would necessarily be the most natural fortified edifice in the settlement. Only in the late 18th and 19th centuries would towns be founded in the center of the bigger islands. Cebu and Manila, were in fact coastal towns in the beginning. THE PHILIPPINE PLAZA COMPLEX The Law of the Indies dictates the further disposition of the settlement from the plaza: 110. Having made the discovery, selected the province, county, and area that is to be settled, and the site

Plan for the capital of Batangas province, 1815.

in the location where the new town is to be built, and having taken possession of it, those placed in charge of its execution are to do it in the following manner. On arriving at the place where the new settlement is to be founded - which according to our will and disposition shall be one that is vacant and that can be occupied without doing harm to the Indians and natives or with their free consent - a plan for the site is to be made, dividing it into squares, streets, and building lots, using cord and ruler, beginning with the main square from which streets are to run to the gates and principal roads and leaving sufficient open space so that even if the town grows, it can always spread in the same manner. Having thus agreed upon the site and place selected to be populated, a layout should be made in the following way. [6]

The church and plaza of Pila, Laguna

Within the ubiquitous church and plaza complex, there still was much variation, as noted by Donn V. Hart of the Social Science Foundation, University of Denver, in his book: The Philippine Plaza Complex: A Focal Point in Culture Change. Unique in this source is that it was printed in 1955 , when much of the Philippine rural towns had not yet been influenced by succeeding [mis] The municipio, Pila, Laguna



Plaza mayor in Manila in the 19th century.

interpretation of American urban principles based on the automobile and the vigorous imposition of American style democracy through emphasis on the secular during the American occupation. The book offers numerous plaza complex illustrations in simple maps of Philippine towns dating to the 1950s. There is an interesting view of the plaza complex from the eyes of various Americans studying the dynamics of the plaza, with copious reference to plaza complexes from Mexico for comparison. The refreshing insights come from examples not yet tainted by American urban philosophy and balanced by actual informants of the period. It will however be seen how the already existing Spanish colonial urban legacy would soon lead to future American urban interventions, often through national socio-cultural and political policy. THE PLAZA COMPLEX AS SYMBOL AND LOCUS The need for settlements to be next to the rice fields still dictated homesteads, although the town center as instigated by the church plaza complex transformed as a valid symbol and landmark for the town center, and as a valuable tool for way-finding. The phenomenological as well as geographical reference of town identity further developed. Points of reference and sense of place would go hand in hand. In Sariaya, a town in Quezon, landmarks instigated consciousness of identity as well:


es pa syo

The designation of landmarks is thus also a people’s method of defining, comprehending and relating to their environment. Sariaya town in Quezon province, being bounded by the presence of both Mt. Banahaw and the waters of Tayabas Bay, reveals this with the local directional designations of itaas and ilaya to signify both twin orientations as well as the specific sloping landform itself. These linguistic clues point to the primal relationship of these natural landmarks to the Sariaya consciousness and are thus an indicator of the unique identity with the land. This primal relationship to nature is, of course, commonplace for any settled community and is, by supposition, a glimpse into its origins. Thus not only is a relationship to the land established but also an affirmation of the shared history. [7]

More important was the reality of the plaza complex as the vehicle for innovation and cultural change through the socio-cultural and political functions brought about by the elements of the town complex – the church, the municipio, the school, marketplace, etc, in most cases found on one side of the plaza, although this is not always so. In Hart’s book, he quotes from Felix Keesing’s report in the Far Eastern Quarterly IV #2 (Feb, 1945, p.41): “Almost invariably the community…is built around a central plaza. Here will be the old stone church, sometimes with ornamentation reminiscent of Mexican motifs, a presidencia (municipio) or government building, the inevitable Chinese store, and a market place.” [8]

Hart, Donn V., Ch. 1 The Plaza Complex. “The Philippine Plaza Complex: A Focal Point in Culture Change”, the Social Science Foundation, University of Denver. Yale University Southeast Asian Studies; Cultural Report Series, 1955

Public School, Negros

Hart, Donn V., Ch. 1 The Plaza Complex. “The Philippine Plaza Complex: A Focal Point in Culture Change”, the Social Science Foundation, University of Denver. Yale University Southeast Asian Studies; Cultural Report Series, 1955

The blanket statement alluding to Mexican motifs on the church facades only points to the writer’s orientalist views: the concept of motif as Philippine Colonial as a distinct style in itself totally escaped most art historians of the period. Variations do occur, but they may be overlooked by North American misinterpretation: anything remotely Spanish was considered Mexican.

Hart then concludes:

The presence of a Chinese store in the plaza complex of a typical rural town is an interesting observation not usual in Mexican – or for that matter Spanish colonial – plaza complexes and anchor us to the Asian side of our identity. Further studies on their demographic importance and position in a town’s economic life may well produce other insights. THE PUBLIC SCHOOL The most important innovative agency in rural Philippines at the time were the elementary and secondary schools, as associated with the plaza complex. The official policy of the department of Education at that time was to have the school become “…a civic center where opportunities for the performance of special activities and friendly democratic feelings between individuals of different social standing are made possible.” [9]

“In summary, the school is an important center for community activities in the Philippines, probably more so than in the United States. Filipino teachers are expected to assume a far greater role in community affairs than do most American teachers. In many ways the priest, as the model of correct manner, has been replaced by the public school teacher. The school often is the only substantial structure in the community with facilities for seating large groups or entertaining visiting dignitaries. The orientation of Philippine education toward the “community-centered school” attempts to increase its role in innovative and civic activities. In many ways the school has attracted community activities once dominated by the church. [10]

The separation of church and state now seemed complete: what was the function of the parish priest and his often over-large convento as civic center was now taken over by a vigorous secular educational system geared towards weaning the populace from the control of the friars to the democratic American way of life, albeit as a colonized people. To sum it all up, The municipio, center of governmental authority, the church, local focus of public religious activities, the school, center of both formal and informal socioeducational activities, and the marketplace, center of commercial transactions (most of the poblacion’s commercial shops cluster around the plaza – barber, photographer, drugstore, tailor, dry goods, etc. Locations around the plaza are the most desirable commercial



Evolution of commercial strip, with shops on the ground floors of the Bahay-nabatos some still with their clay-tiled roofs. Manila, late 19th century.

positions), are major public structures that cluster around the Philippine plaza – all heavily weighed, in varying degrees, with urban traits. [11]

THE MARKETPLACE The marketplace, a block away, often extended to the plaza on special days. More of a socio-cultural construct rather than an actual structure, its temporary nature belied its function as a node of constant activity and exchange of ideas. The marketplace is also a place where news of the outside area is exchanged, and appears to be a place where innovations are introduced. Urban traits are concentrated in the marketplace, e.g. use of currency, skills in adding and subtracting, sanitary precautions, supervisory functions of the local government, mechanical equipment, etc. For many barrio folk living isolated communities, operating locally under a barter economy, having few contacts (if any) with the government, the marketplace must be a focal point of innovation. [12]

The peasant classes necessarily still remained along the rice fields and farms, only coming to town when needed for administrative, religious and social needs, or to go to market to keep abreast of the most recent political news. THE PLAZA RESIDENTIAL PATTERNS 99. Those who have made a commitment to build the said town, who after having succeeded in carrying out its settlement, as an honor to them and to their descendants [and in] their laudable memory as found-


es pa syo

ers, we pronounce them hijosdalgo [illustrious men of known ancestry]. To them and to their legitimate heirs, in whatever place they might reside or in any other part of the Indies, they will be hijosdalgo, that is, persons of noble ascendancy and known ancestry. [13]

It is therefore clear that the original elite classes were therefore founders of the town, which in most cases was true. They were therefore instrumental in the creation of the town. Their unquestioned authority in Philippine urbanism is extended to their “acquisition” of the cultural and political function of the plaza complex, as well as their hegemony over the lower classes. Hart mentions the function of the principalia and the various government officials (caciques) in the town: “There is an apparent concentration of urban traits, supported and encouraged by the more acculturated group that lives around the plaza, and diffused outward to the barriofolk.” [14]

Also inherent in this was the tendency to build palatable residences situated at the town centers as a product of location, power, as well as convenience. Citing as an example of such patterns, Ozaeta showcases the town of Sariaya, Quezon: Encircling the plaza on all cardinal points and on the adjacent main Rizal street are the residences of the more affluent and prominent citizens of the town. These monumental structures, constructed during the heady days of Sariaya’s economic boom of the 1930s,

exhibit many of the more prominent architectural features of Manila at that time. Spanning the American colonial period to pre-second World War, these residences range from late evolutions of the bahay na bato to three-story edifices exhibiting European Biedermeyer influences. They stand as both landmarks and signifiers of town memory, replete with stained glass, Art Deco and Art Nouveau ornamentation. These referential indices of the gitna mark off the town in collective history largely because of their size, degree of ornamentation and location. As symbolic references, however, they again underscore the memory of Sariaya’s historic economic progress and the social evolution of the town into a more emphasized polarity of upper and lower class. Thus the palatial residences of the Sariaya gitna signify both home and history, analogous to old family portraits and memorabilia, in the gathering place of the town. [15]

The concept, therefore, of Pride of Place developed through the dynamics of urbanism and cross-cultural innovation. PLAZA CELEBRATIONS The social functions of the town fiesta, as a development of both religious and secular needs of the town would further engender these changes through the natural gathering of people from neighboring settlements at the plaza complex. These entities in themselves were repositories of new knowledge and innovation from outside the town, including political matters that could only be presented through such mass gathering of people. Ozaeta also discusses the fiesta as “ritual path and place:”

And it is in fact the observance of such fiestas and periodic public events that the communal selves disclose this identity through the experiential enactment of ritual path and place. The seasonal life …is marked not so much by secular occurrences but by the religious calendar of the Church. This provides an anchor in the regularization of the individual experience of home but, more significantly, also furnishes opportunities for the communal experience of the religious celebration and the procession. This latter is a telling signifier of …identity when, by its comparison with established notions of such rituals, it reveals marked contrasts not only in objective but also in practice. The procession, by definition, is a public and shared display of religious devotion instigated and established by Church authority. In it, the faithful, bearing aloft the religious image or sets of images, emerge from the church and, chanting prayers and devotional songs, wind their way around predesignated streets and then return to the church. The ostensive objective of this ritual is the public display of devotion as both prayer and sacrifice. It is in the actual performance of the ritual however, together with the peripheral events of preparation and recessional, that the significance of the Diwa ng Lunan (Spirit of Place) is established. [16] Ozaeta further connects this to Identity and Sense of Place:



Home, history, communality, and separation are the apparent themes that appear in an investigation into the references of the categories stated. Such themes are the result of an unconscious understanding of the Self in relation to the designed environment of Sariaya. This designed environment then becomes a significant expression of identity as a primary source. [17]

URBAN TRADITIONS AND IDENTITY As seen from the above observations of the transformation of the plaza complex from its original Spanish Colonial context, the gradual change of function and socio-cultural dynamics of Philippine rural towns occurred through a long process of assimilation and adaptation. It also shows the eventual moves towards the succeeding urban concept as fostered by American colonial policy, which in turn would be reinvented for good or ill. Genius loci or Spirit of Place is defined by Christian Norberg-Schulz as the distinct character of a locale which is so strong that it composes the basic images of the total environment in the minds of people. In Phenomenological terms, it is the unnamed and intangible personality of an area made up of the unique mix of the people of the community and the designed environment with both in a mutually dependent relationship. Norberg Schulz further states: “This character is often so strong that it, in fact determines the basic properties of the environmental images of most people present,


es pa syo

making them feel that they experience and belong to the same place.” [18] The experience of belonging, however, is tempered by how the Filipino regards space and ownership of that space. The concepts of public and private space are often in conflict in terms of what is legal by Law and by folk practice. Richard L. Stone, in defining the Cross-Cultural Definition of Law, writes: “When one examines this aspect of Filipino culture using these concepts it is evident that authority roles exist both in the formal legal and “folk legal” systems operating within segments of the total society. Stone quotes other writers – Lynch and Hollnsteiner (1965), Jocano (1965), and Corpuz (1965) – who suggest that the pre-Spanish system differed little in interpersonal relationships from the present system. “All of these scholars characterize the contemporary social system one with a leaders-followers focus, not land-based, but rather one where power and authority is legitimized by the number of one’s followers.”[19] Stone quotes Bulatao (1967) as suggesting: “the existence of a ‘split-level’ personality among contemporary Filipinos. This personality type is the result of the conflict between the mores and customs demanded of a Westernized, industrialized, urbanized society and traditional Filipino values that often run counter to imported configurations.”[20]

CONCLUSION The concept of identity therefore also encompasses the awareness of one’s need to adapt and transform any condition imposed as best fits one’s way of life.

[9] Handbook for the Use of Workers in Adult Education, Manila, 1937, p.25, as quoted by Hart, Donn V., Ch. 4. The Public School. “The Philippine Plaza Complex: A Focal Point in Culture Change”, the Social Science Foundation, University of Denver. Yale University Southeast Asian Studies; Cultural Report Series, 1955, p.21

The study therefore of Philippine urban transformation cannot be done solely through a history of the urban policies of the colonizers, but must be tempered by the reactions of the subject cultures, and how much of the urban impositions succeeded in transmitting their philosophy, or if they were in turn transformed into a different set of urban parameters tempered by a different cultural outlook.

[10] Hart, Donn V., Ch. 4. The Public School. “The Philippine Plaza Complex: A Focal Point in Culture Change”, the Social Science Foundation, University of Denver. Yale University Southeast Asian Studies; Cultural Report Series, 1955, p.25

The possible existence of several levels of sociocultural value systems may well explain the problems of contemporary urban regulation – or the lack of understanding of its inherent socio-cultural roots. It also points at the inherent demise of the old plaza complex when the principalia choose to rule by proxy and move to more metropolitan regions and forfeit their dominance in rural town politics to the more energetic but less financially endowed townsfolk. All of these premises however need further study and a more comprehensive look into Philippine value systems and attitudes to property and space.

[11] Hart, Donn V., Ch. 4. The Marketplace. “The Philippine Plaza Complex: A Focal Point in Culture Change”, the Social Science Foundation, University of Denver. Yale University Southeast Asian Studies; Cultural Report Series, 1955, p.31 [12] Ibid., p. 31 [13] Law of the Indies, [English translation by Axel Mundigo and Dora Crouch reprinted by The New City with permission from “The City Planning Ordinances of the Laws of the Indies Revisited, I”, Town Planning Review, vol. 48, July 1977, pp 247268. Translation of ordinances 92, 102-7 by Ramon Trias. Image: Plan of San Antonio, Tx] [14] Hart, Donn V., Ch. 4. The Marketplace. “The Philippine Plaza Complex: A Focal Point in Culture Change”, the Social Science Foundation, University of Denver. Yale University Southeast Asian Studies; Cultural Report Series, 1955, p.31 [15] Ozaeta, Emilio U. Architectural Heritage as Tourism: The Spirit of Place of Sariaya, United Architects of the Philippines Journal Vol. 1 No.1 2010 ISSN, pp.7-8 [16] Ibid, p.8 [17] Ibid, p. 9 [18] As quoted by Harry Launce Garnham, Maintaining the Spirit of Place, 1985 PDA Publishers Corp Mesa, Arizona 85203

ENDNOTES [1] Neumeyer, Alfred, Art Bulletin, XXX (1948) p.105, as quoted by Hart, Donn V., Ch. 1 The Plaza Complex. “The Philippine Plaza Complex: A Focal Point in Culture Change”, the Social Science Foundation, University of Denver. Yale University Southeast Asian Studies; Cultural Report Series, 1955, p.1

[19] Stone, Richard L. Philippine Urbanization: The Politics of Private and Private Property in Greater Manila Special Report No.6 1973 Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois p.7 [20] Ibid, p.8

[2] Reed, Robert R. Colonial Manila, the Context of Hispanic Urbanism and Process of Morphogenesis. Berkeley,CA: University of California Press, 1978. [3] De Viana, Lorelei D.C., Attempts Towards Urban Order in Colonial Manila: The Bando of 23 November 1787 by Ciriaco Gonzalez Carvajal, United Architects of the Philippines Journal Vol. 1 No.1 2010 ISSN, p.48 [4] Ross, Kelley L. Ph.D. The Proceedings of the Friesian School, Fourth Series, 2003 [5] Law of the Indies, [English translation by Axel Mundigo and Dora Crouch reprinted by The New City with permission from “The City Planning Ordinances of the Laws of the Indies Revisited, I”, Town Planning Review, vol. 48, July 1977, pp 247-268. Translation of ordinances 92, 102-7 by Ramon Trias. Image: Plan of San Antonio, Tx] [6] Ibid. [7] Ozaeta, Emilio U. Architectural Heritage as Tourism: The Spirit of Place of Sariaya, United Architects of the Philippines Journal Vol. 1 No.1 2010 ISSN, pp.6-8 [8] Hart, Donn V., Ch. 1 The Plaza Complex. “The Philippine Plaza Complex: A Focal Point in Culture Change”, the Social Science Foundation, University of Denver. Yale University Southeast Asian Studies; Cultural Report Series, 1955, p.1




es pa syo

Towards an Understanding of Place: Place-making and Archetypal Structures in Sariaya and Quiapo

EMILIO U. OZAETA The author is an Assistant Professor at the College of Architecture of the University of the Philippines. Much of his research has focused on the architectural phenomenon of Place and the concept of Spirit of Place as particularly evidenced within the Philippine sites of Pila (Laguna), Quiapo, and Sariaya (Quezon). He is, at this writing, undertaking parallel research in San Juan City in Metro Manila.

ABSTRACT What constitutes Place? How and why is Placemaking undertaken? The phenomenological approach to the study of architecture as a localized spatial experience appears to provide room for a more substantive understanding of the activity of Place-making. This paper undertakes an examination of the established definitions and structure of the latter through the lens of its local manifestations leading to its further understanding as well as re-definition. Here findings from two recent studies of Place-making in the sites of Sariaya in Quezon province and the Manila district of Quiapo are reviewed against the concepts of Place of Norberg-Schulz, Lefebvre, Heidegger and others and then further dissected in the light of the archetypal psychoanalysis of Jung. A subsequent analysis yields an insight into the nature of the concept of Spirit of Place and identifies a tertiary component to the traditional structure of Place itself. This definitional re-formulation provides thus a deeper insight into the experiential activity of Place-making situated within local settings.

INTRODUCTION A perusal of the prevailing and current approach to the local understanding and study of architecture appears to indicate its propensity to center to both the visually formal and spatial. Much contemporary literature on architectural studies reveals the unspoken notion that form production is a given premium with spatial concern, as designed container for human behavior patterns, in attendance. Periodicals such as Bluprint routinely feature current architectural works illustrating built exterior forms and interior spaces through

polished photography and descriptively engaging text thus privileging the visual mode. Such popular literature appears to reflect current Postmodern aesthetics featuring the scenographic, the faintly classicist and the nostalgic, echoing American and European trends such as Hightech, Neo-Modernism and New Formalism, and emphasizing the visual approach to architectural analysis and criticism while fostering the notion of architecture-as-object. And yet architecture is, in truth, not a mere visual display. While we may appreciate the intriguingly interesting large-scale objects that are splayed across the landscape and marvel at dynamics of the interior spaces contained, it is an actuality that we also feel our spaces experientially, that is, through the engagement of all our senses perhaps including our intuitive sixth sense. Spaces are felt rather than just viewed and we intuit familiarity, strangeness, delight, and aversion through the felt experience. We know what is home and what is not in an instant by what we feel, first, and see, only second. Perhaps what has been overlooked in the consideration of architecture is an accompanying experiential, rather than visual, approach centered less on the seen and more on the felt. Juhani Pallasmaa therefore argues that the prevailing elementarist view, that architecture is a mere combination of visual elements of form and space, in fact contradicts the claim of architecture as art in that all art must be experienced, rather than simply viewed, to complete a wholistic understanding of the work. He goes as much to state that it is experienced feelings that make up the true basic vocabulary of architecture rather than its visual elements.[2]



Place as a phenomenological concept has been discussed in literature primarily in the last century within the philosophical confines of Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Henri Lefebvre. The phenomenological approach to analysis as an antonym to the rational and empirical is paralleled with finality in the writings of Christian Norberg-Schulz who likewise advocates the primacy of the felt over the seen. Place, then, provides the foundational concept which we shall examine for further understanding. It is interesting to note that the empirical has pervaded the study of architecture to such a degree that current specialized dictionaries of architecture omit the term “Place” in spite of its legitimacy in architectural thought. At most they may recognize “place” as an empty space such as town or city square. This dichotomy between theory and practice (and instruction as well) thus minimizes a view of architecture as experience in favor of architecture as object or product. It may be significant, then, to acknowledge the felt as much as the seen and thus to view the phenomenology of the designed environment as a parallel and necessary approach to architectural study. Such an approach necessarily employs the concept of Place not only in its theoretical form but specifically in its local manifestations. THE NEED FOR AN UNDERSTANDING OF PLACE Place has been an established concept of architectural study since the appearance of NorbergSchulz’s seminal works from the 1960s to the 80s. From his establishment of Place as a focus of legitimate thought based on his reading of Heidegger’s phenomenology, much contribution has been made to this area to develop a clearer comprehension of the concept. While this situates itself within the realm of theory owing to the current mainstream approach, its expressions in local contexts remain areas for further study. An examination of the definitions and structure of Place in such contexts may provide a deeper and wider expansion of the established thought. This may likewise clarify and ground its attendant notions within concrete local sites leading to its further appreciation and possible re-definition. It shall be likewise established that analysis of Place’s meanings may be further subjected to discursive analysis using the metaphoric tool of Carl Jung’s psychoanalytic archetypes, a phenomenologically related approach corresponding to an examination of Place’s forms . This paper shall thus undertake a précis of the concept, specifically its definitions and structures. This shall be viewed against findings from the study of Place in two locales, Quiapo, Manila and Sariaya in the province of Quezon resulting in a revision of the conceptual structure of Place.


es pa syo

This consequential restructuring shall be further subjected to discursive Jungian psychoanalysis, a phenomenologically related approach. It is expected that a clearer understanding of the concept of Place shall then result informed both by theoretical study and local application. PLACE IN LITERATURE AND JUNG’S ARCHETYPAL PSYCHOANALYSIS The Structure of Place The SAGE Dictionary of Cultural Studies significantly defines “Place” in part as “…a bounded manifestation of the production of meaning in space.”[3] This introduction of the notion of meaning underscores all definitions described of the term. Such notion now imagines architecture as composed of the physical shell and the invisible within. The physical semiotic manifestations of Place contain its invisible meanings. Meaning, in turn, brings forth evocations of thought, intention, symbol, dream and memory from the human psyche. This is manifested in Bachelard’s influential Poetics of Space wherein he declares that dreams and memory make up Place. And this he does through his use of the metaphoric house which he signifies alternately as cradle, our “first world,” and eventually as body and soul. [4] For Bachelard, Place thus necessarily embodies the conscious and unconscious experience of home with its flavors of warmth, protection and nurturing, the realization that it is the foundation upon which we create all our future Places individually and in community, and finally the universal image of the duality of within and without, container and contained, flesh and the spirit. For him Place is poetry made spatially concrete. In this he identifies the singular requirement of the existence of Place: experienced meaning. Parallel to Bachelard’s work the phenomenologist philosopher Martin Heidegger posits the notion of Place as space and meaning in writing of location and meaning as the object of the necessary and significant act of humanity which he terms “dwelling.” He states that to dwell is to provide meaning to location and to dwell is to remain at peace, to cherish, and to protect. We dwell only by building, he declares, as building articulates location and meaning.[5] In this he may find affinity with the Tagalog term for home, “tahanan,” wherein “tahan” denotes the act of pausing, resting, and the phrase “tahan na” connotes a request to cease weeping. Thus “tahanan” takes on the expanded view of home as space of rest and peace free from the pain of the world as well as physical reality of house. For the Filipino, our home is the quintessential Place where we are one with family, friends and ourselves and where being at peace within and with-

out is an ideal. Place here then takes on an anthropocentrality similar to Bachelard’s analogous cradle where we are the focus of being in a home which is more than house and in which we are one with ourselves. Norberg-Schulz likewise declares that Place is more than location viewed in the abstract. The concreteness of location or space bounded by building employs much more than the physical senses in its appreciation.[6] In relation, Lefebvre states that the semiotic interpretation of architecture cannot, in itself, be useful for its understanding. This substitution of ascription of visual meaning for the inner merely relies upon the formal and perhaps the spatial without resort to a more significantly phenomenological approach which provides a truer satisfaction.[7] The “discovery” of meaning in form and space is mere mental delight compared to an inner knowing. Norberg-Schulz goes further by declaring an advocacy against the marginalization of the felt experience in his view that the ingrained approach to the definition architecture as objective product has led to our dissociation from the natural which is a source of Place’s meanings.[8] Thus the current effort of “green architecture” is, in fact, a recovery not only of the loss of natural resource but more perhaps significantly of inner meaning. By usage of such viewpoint we have lost our capacity to feel and truly experience relying instead on our physical senses, particularly the visual, which substitute for our inner ones. Summarily Norberg-Schulz states that Place is a whole, complete, and irreducible phenomenon experiential in nature. Such experience cannot be described by analytic concept but by the significant act of poetry with its employment of lyric and symbol.8 Likewise, Bachelard declares Place cannot be described or communicated objectively. Rather, all we can communicate is merely a focused approximation or what he terms “orientation.”[9] Place, then, for Norberg-Schulz, is location embodying a characteristic which he terms “atmosphere,” akin to meaning but inscribing the felt dimension in emphasis.[10] This he further expounds as being the particular identity of the Place itself which he terms “Spirit of Place.”[11] In this synonymic use of the terms meaning, atmosphere and Spirit of Place, Place then embodies the quality of uniqueness. Places are felt as distinct from one another much as one “feels different” in someone else’s home. Thus the common definition of Place is understood as the physical work of architecture embodying and infused by meaning which is only appreciated experientially and communicated by the poetic act and which is unique in relation to other felt ex-

periences of other Places. Lefebvre further significantly describes Place as “lived space” rather than “intentionally conceived space.”[12] Herein he emphasizes the experiential nature of Place and, in doing so, provides indication for the human as a necessary ingredient in Place-making rather than simply container and contained. This act of “making Place” is apparently an accidental one. Place is never constituted intentionally but is always the result of a fortuitous coming together of structure, human, and meaning. Thus Heidegger states that “Place cannot be located in a pre-given space.”[13] It is not possible to design a Place because it will always depend on the presence of people who experience it and infuse it with meaning, collectively and individually. This brings to light current apparently futile attempts by property developers to promote their work by draping them with ornament, at times “Disneyfied,” and providing amenities under the banner of Place-evoking names when, in fact, their prescribed “Places” do not provide an inner experience but merely visual delight, sufficient until they age and lose their entertainment value. Such “Places” provide diversion rather than meaning as true Place cannot come into being before dwelling. As meaning is both singular and many, a given Place may contain a multiplication of meanings. Norberg-Schulz identifies this by declaring that locations may possess different characters.[14] Places then take on unique characters by common consent through historic use and thus through their shared “lived experience.” Thus a simplyembodied character is never present in a Place but rather a complex conglomeration of meanings and symbols exist to provide a unique flavor to it. And thus too a phenomenological approach to the understanding of Place, with its emphasis on qualitative description rather than on elementarist analysis, is a necessary given. Architectural thought, then, has apparently agreed on the foundational definitions of the concept of Place: that it is dichotomous in nature in that it comprises both a physical form and psychic being. The nature of such being, alternatively termed character, atmosphere and Sprit of Place, is felt, experiential, and communicable through poetic means. But how is Place structured? Norberg-Schulz provides insight on such structure of Place in saying that it is composed of both man-made and natural phenomena.[15] In this he appears to indicate that architecture lies beyond the built and locates itself definitively within the realm of designed environment. As will be seen in the study of Sariaya, Quezon, natural landscape lends itself to the realm of memory and symbol as much as built structure and thus may comprise essential ingre-



dients to Place. Moreover, both landscape and built structure exist in symbiosis, at times, to situate themselves in turn firmly within the psyche of experience such that both are inseparable and definitive of each other. Thus both are necessities to Place although, as may be seen in the case of Quiapo, one may exist without the presence, or at least with the minimal presence, of the other. Again, Norberg-Schulz provides further thought on the structure of Place by declaring that its structural patterns may in fact be understood as vertical in orientation or composed of an inner and outer being or both.[16] Bachelard affirms this by stating the house, as his metaphor for Place, is both vertically and centrally imagined.[17] In doing so both de-emphasize the illusive and amorphous nature of meaning and provide a pattern wherein the anthropomorphic nature of dwelling is further revealed. As one enters within a home and fully dwells, one is made aware of and evokes both conscious daydreams and unconscious night-dreams as a consequence of dwelling. The former lies within the metaphoric realm of the upper levels of both the home and the mind while the latter seems to reside in the spiritual depths. Place thus brings forth both the stuff of dreams and the intuitions of contemplation in its upper and lower structure. Likewise as Place is both outer image and inner meaning so is the housebody composed of outer visage and inner spirit. As the house embodies the meaningful dream so the body houses the life-spirit within. In this Place becomes house becomes being. Finally, Lefebvre contributes a third structural dimension to Place in saying that the delineation of Place in fact requires that each visual element embodies the whole meaning or character and the whole be in each element.[18] Thus the sum of Place is not divisible into neat parts by semiotically identifying that this window ornament means this while that room configuration means something else, albeit related. Its truism lies, again, in the experiential nature of Place as all parts contribute to the felt expression and the entire spatial-temporal being embodies all the particular meanings into a seamless whole. In this we find kinship with the nature of a symphony wherein each instrument is an indispensible contributor to the entire musical work and yet each carries with it the entire intent of the composer, irredeemably ingrained in the performance of each musician. Thus Place is, in metaphor, the symphonic work of being one with the natural and humanly-created universe, and composed of a melodic meaningline which one follows linearly and centrally in a complete experience. The Analysis of Place But how is Place to be studied? In the current milieu of rational analysis Place may be understood


es pa syo

through the lens of psychology where NorbergSchulz identifies two functions of Place-making. The first, orientation, connotes the experienced location of oneself in a universe with a particular Place as lodestone. This recalls Piaget’s work on spatial cognition in children as well as Kevin Lynch’s thought of city images being composed of paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks. [19] Here Lynch’s elements may, in fact, be applied to an understanding of the componential makeup of Place itself. Lynch’s elements comprise a methodology of analysis of Place’s locations and, by association, its meanings. Thus orientation as a psychological function, using Lynch’s thought, involves not only situation of body in space but such situation also in relation to imagined form and spatial usage. One finds oneself not just by homogenous Place but specifically by the locational images presented to us and the various meanings attached. In our doing so Norberg-Schulz reveals that we likewise identify with the Place as now a part of ourselves.[20] We identify with and perceive specific Place and its attendant meaning or character as intrinsically entwined with who we are as now part of our memory and store of meaning. And in this we complete an appreciation of specific Place. Norberg-Schulz’s identification of the dual functions of orientation and identification in Place serve to underscore the psychological nature of the study and understanding of Place. Bachelard further delves into this study by identifying this as “topoanalysis” which he defines as “the systematic psychological study of the sites of our intimate lives.”[21] Thus both the examination of the dynamics and nuances of individual and collective orientation and identification in fact comprise a topoanalysis of Place. A distinction is made, moreover, between psychoanalysis and topoanalysis in that Bachelard views psychoanalysis as an objective study of the interior manifestation of place while topoanalysis is a subjective examination of the exterior.[22] This is further elaborated in that both are indispensible to a total understanding of the nature of Place. While psychoanalysis focuses on the workings of the unconscious mind topoanalysis seeks to shed light on the unconscious expressions of the mind in its creation and interpretation of Place.[23] Topoanalysis examines the physical expressions of Place and psychoanalysis its meanings. The latter comprehends the “what” of Place and the former its “why.” This necessitation of the psychoanalytic aspect of Place study is dissected further by NorbergSchulz when he discusses childhood perception of space. Here he states that in the maturation

of the spatial perceptive abilities a child, in fact, develops “spatial schemata” which are universal in nature in that such schemata are commonly shared and locally-determined as well as culturally conditioned and that these are also specific to a particular cultural locale and community. Such schemata are thus necessary both for bodily orientation in universal space and, with the creative self-understanding of accumulations of remembered spatial orientations, for the creation of identity. Norberg-Schulz thus declares, “Human identity presupposes the identity of Place,” further establishing the co-linking of topoanalysis and psychoanalysis in its study.[24] Pallasmaa underscores this with his statement that “Art arouses images interpreted archetypally.”[25] This then recalls the psychoanalytic work of Carl Jung with his recognition of specific universal archetypal images which come into use in behavior, perception and, therefore, the psychic creation of Place. Jung’s classic formulation of the psychic structure as founded on a “collective unconscious” emphasizes the universal nature of the human psyche. While this may be considered to be akin to the universality of a child’s spatial schemata, Jung further finds this to be comprised of “archetypes,” functional units of the psyche which serve to initiate, control, and mediate human behavioral characteristics and experiences.[26] Such components Jung defines as “identical psychic structures common to all men”[27] which comprise “the archaic heritage of humanity.”[28] These archetypes Jung identifies as born out of common dreams and mythological themes which are, in themselves, reflections of the communal unconscious human psyche and thus expressions of how we view and understand our inner world-made-manifest in Place. They are thus convenient as psychoanalytic tools for the subjective analysis of meaning in specific Place. Jung identifies these archetypes as the “anima” or feminine, the distillation of the essential female in all cultures and its attendant “animus” or male counterpart,[29] the “Mother” as the psychic symbol of nurture and the womb,[30] the “Child” or the mythical innocent who may have to be sacrificed that humanity may gain its treasure,[31] and the “Trickster” or “Shadow,” humanity’s primitive and dark past which surfaces every so often in unexpected ways.[32] Such typologies serve to clarify meaning in Place and provide a means of identifying the particulars of the meanings of specific Place. In summary, then, we have brought out the topoanalytical definition and structural dimensions of theoretical Place. In doing so the psychoanalytic partner-dimensions have been identified, with the

topoanalytical tools both serving as means for the analysis of specific Place. Correspondingly we turn to such specific Place as the locus of our discussion. PLACE IN QUIAPO AND SARIAYA The sites of localized discussion of Place shall now be seen against the theoretical backdrop of both topoanalytic and psychoanalytic examination. Here we shall situate, in turn, the definition and structures of Place and the Jungian archetypes relevant to Place as a means of determining its contextual specifics. Place in Quiapo Quiapo in the present time is one of Manila’s 16 districts occupying a land area of approximately 85 hectares. Bounded by Quezon Boulevard, the Pasig River, Legarda and Claro M. Recto streets, the district comprises a mix of commercial establishments and private residences with its main streets of Arlegui and R. Hidalgo bisecting it. The two Roman Catholic edifices of the San Sebastian Church with Plaza del Carmen at one end and the historic Quiapo Church or Basilica of the Nazarene and Plaza Miranda at the other bookend the district. The streets of Quiapo display a mix of residences and commercial structures with business establishments lining Quezon Boulevard and Claro M. Recto Street as well as the inner thoroughfares of R. Hidalgo and Arlegui. Commercial sites may be found clustered around Quezon Boulevard from R. Hidalgo to Quezon Bridge. Much of Quiapo, however, remains residential in nature with families inhabiting early twentieth century structures, many of them on the second floor of accesorias with commercial establishments on the ground floor. A seemingly apparent loss of Place in Quiapo was the subject of a study undertaken which sought to examine the characteristics of the Spirit of Place of Quiapo and its identity in the minds of the people of the district. In the process the structure of localized Place itself was uncovered. The study revealed the absence of the natural element of the Pasig River among the locational elements of the inhabitants of the district. Perhaps because it is now walled behind commercial structures lining its bank, the river ceases to detain the imagination of the community which now recognizes instead specific thoroughfares and landmarks as entry points and boundaries containing the Place of Quiapo.[33] And yet Quiapo retains a felt distinction unique to itself. Perhaps it is possible for Place to manifest despite the absence of the natural such as in the inner city in opposition to Norberg-Schulz’s statements. Significantly, the “atmosphere” of Quiapo, with its pedestrian-crowded streets, prevalently commer-



cial milieu, and aura of faded gentility is encountered not just in objective recall but likewise in every individual structure of its streets. Both residential and commercial built compositions bear the invisible but recognizable stamp of “Quiapo” such that loss of orientation is not possible. Thus Lefebvre’s insight appears to be borne out in this “one in all and all in one” phenomenon. The district’s organization of Place, however, appears to be diffused into smaller locales within the district itself such that, despite the presence of Plaza Miranda as an expectedly obvious center of focus, community meaning resides not in this spatial center but in its various neighborhoods borne out of its streets, clusters of commercial establishments, and its religious edifices. One does not recognize oneself as a resident of Quiapo but rather of a particular street and neighborhood marked by proximity to a church, the Quiapo mosque, or a specific commercial area such as the video stalls around Elizondo and Bautista streets. And so Norberg-Schulz’s notions of the structured verticality and centrality of Place are denied as we witness a diffusion and dispersal in the absence of a central spatiality. Meaning is thus not in its center but in its components. Place in Sariaya, Quezon The municipality of Sariaya in Quezon province lies before Tayabas and the capitol of Lucena and after Candelaria town. Its terrain rolls gently from Mt. Banahaw in the north to Tayabas Bay in the south, both elements taking up shared memory and landmark in the collective psyche of the community. The Sariaya town center situates its plaza, or parke as it is locally termed, along the main highway and is bordered by its Art Deco municipal hall, its Spanish colonial church, and the residences of the principalia whose lavish edifices were conceived in the 1930s at the height of Sariaya’s economic abundance. In 2007 a research and community development project was undertaken to link the various academic disciplines of architecture, music, food, human kinetics, and tourism to document and describe its Spirit of Place. The emergent themes of home, history, communality and separation appeared as meanings after the topoanalytic study. These result from an unconscious understanding of communal identity in relation to the designed environment of Sariaya.[34] Such topoanalytical thematic meanings reveal that, unlike Quiapo, the pervading presence of both Mt. Banahaw and the waters of the bay remain in the communal mind such that the terms “sa itaas” and “sa baba” have entered the locational vocabulary of the Sariayahin. Owing to its established built nature however, the town center, or poblacion, itself recognizes its constructed real-


es pa syo

ity as the entrances to its center have been firmly fixed in the communal psyche by its landmark of bridge and public market as entrance and exit into the town. Thus both natural and built have established themselves as elements of Place in the community. Such Place is clearly not unified, however, as it is colloquially recognized as composed of the town center and its satellite barangay components. This fragmented structure is observed again in the local terminology of “gitna” and “linang” wherein one dwells in relation to the center such that one’s domestic location is largely one or the other rather than on a specific street or barangay. Such locational markers likewise reveal social status as well as address. This is of such a degree that the term “Sariaya” may be employed by those from the “linang” referring to the town proper itself thus distancing themselves from political location and situating themselves psychically in the neighborhood instead. Thus Sariaya’s Spirit of Place is both in the “gitna” and in the “linang” in consonance with Lefebvre’s notion. And thus too, like that of Quiapo, the structure of Place in Sariaya is dispersed from a central construct such that one may recognize oneself as a Sariayahin, in relation to neighboring municipalities, but one is more often than not apt to identify himself as belonging to a distinct area of Sariaya rather than adopt a community identity. Spirit of Place, then, is again neither vertical nor central but diffused into its smaller community-components with the both embodying and expressing carrying Sariaya’s meanings and identity. AN EXPANDED UNDERSTANDING OF PLACE The distinct characters and attendant meanings of both locales are seen in both studies to be embodied in their respective designed environments and, in turn, contain the unique identities of the communities both experientially and symbolically. In doing so they fulfill the necessary foundational definition of Place: that it be composed of “body and soul” or designed container of meaning with its meaning contained within. Thus the delineated phenomenological description of Place as composed of dual elements is borne out and affirmed. In reviewing the given topoanalytical compositions of Place in Quiapo and Sariaya, however, we find modifications and expansions of the conceptual thought that comprise it. To begin with, Lefebvre’s dictum of Place elements, that each is embodied in the whole and the whole in each, is verified not only in the individual designed habitats as originally envisioned but likewise in the very mundane elements of common designed necessities. What were once deemed “infrastructure” and not “architecture” worthy of aesthetic appreci-




es pa syo

ation are now found to be bearers of the meanings that make up localized Place. Each architectural element, whether church, municipal hall, or plaza and street contain the whole of the Spirit of Place as does the totality. But, secondly, although Norberg-Schulz pronounces the integration of both the natural and the constructed as integrated features of its container, we find that, in the Place of Quiapo, it is possible for one to exist without the other. The Manila district’s urban locale has erased its former natural vestiges of river and estero and, in doing so, has managed to create a wholly built-up container of meaning instead. Thus Norberg-Schulz’s theorem may be seen to be modified in this case. Thus nature and built is now no longer and ‘and’ but may be seen as an “or.” Spirit of Place may reside in either and not necessarily both. Finally, Bachelard’s and Norberg-Schulz’s insight of the verticality and centrality of structural pattern of Place is denied as both sites of study display a dispersed, although admittedly somewhat centered, orientation. Both locate their loci of meanings not in singular consented sites but, rather, in multiple centers with Sariaya employing its various far-flung barangays and Quiapo its individual structures. It may appear, then, that the pronounced theoretical Place patterns are not universal in nature. In sum a topoanalytical examination of the localized Places discloses expansions to the theoretical givens. It may be that Place in our local settings are, in fact, comprised of both the mundane and the aesthetic, are either natural or man-made and not necessarily both, and are centrally dispersed rather than singularly central or vertical in structural pattern. Thus Place as once identified and examined now yields further insight. Let us now consider the archetypal psychoanalytic aspect of meaning in Place. From this vantage it may readily be seen that both locales provide a “home” or base for the community. Dwelling locations imbue an indelible identity on the individual such that the truism that one is where one is from is handily found in the greeting-question, “Taga saan po kayo?” The local communally-recognized setting of one’s home affords recognition of the self to one’s own psyche and, in doing so, brings forth the existence of the universal concept of home. This recognition of “home” then, in turn, may indicate the presence of the universal archetype of the Mother in our localized Places with its nurturing atmosphere and its connotations of family and familiarity. The Mother is the unconscious embodiment of our Places to the extent that we have consensually created the persona of “Inang

bayan” to represent our attachment to our land of origin and thus to our Place. It is the Mother that nurtures us and assures us of who we are which we derive from unconscious dwelling. But Inang bayan is not Mother to all regardless of locale. A closer inspection reveals that the Mother is merely the commonly accepted signifier of home in our Places. Each such home, however, in turn embodies distinct meaning unique to each localized Place. Thus Quiapo’s aggressive spirit, at once both loud and communal, is the masculine animus made manifest. Its physical and sensual messiness betrays its disdain for the feminine notion of order and the neat home. This is particularly displayed in its spectacular annual feast of the Señor Nazareno wherein the designed space of the street and becomes the setting for the community display of the male essence. The street becomes the site of meaning apart from the structures and, in fact, explosively underscores this in spontaneous communal celebration. In a similar manner Sariaya’s genteel provincial atmosphere conceals the Trickster within as the street also becomes the stage each May for its annual Agawan Festival in honor of the harvest patron of San Isidro. Here Sariaya sheds its demure Mother-image to reveal a boisterous spirit of juvenile comedy with its tone of good-natured but slightly menacing “sharing” of the annual harvest produce. Revelry, with undertones of infantile demand, emerges as the hidden spirit behind the Place. Again the street becomes the bearer of meaning and identity as Sariaya both evokes and displays its analogous and familial expressions of “I want” and “Give me.” The Mother archetype common to both locales, then, seems to conceal a Child both innocent in its simplicity and naiveté and unique to its Place which is birthed both from the container of space and from the community. Mother and Child appear to be the archetypal duality that typifies our meanings in our Places. The Mother with its image-memories of home and the Child of each Place embody the Sprit of Place for our communities. Thus in sum both a topoanalysis of structural Place and an archetypal analysis of its meanings likely reveal a third component to physical container and contained meaning: Community, or the collective being of the locale. It is from the Community that the Spirit of Place emerges and is birthed over time and through shared histories, memories, and dreams. Similarly, it is from the meaning-full Spirit of Place that the designed environment takes shape and is made manifest in sensual and intuitive experience. One is contained within the other which is again contained within another. Body contains the soul which now is seen as containing a communal Oneness.[35]



While both container and contained are recognized components of Place Community has still to be definitively established as essential to its phenomenological existence. Yet this may have been pre-figured in Bachelard’s alternative characterization of Place as a community of many images,[36] in Lefebvre’s description of Place as the site of community identity,[37] and finally in Norberg-Schulz’s depiction of the creation of Place as the gathering of symbolized meanings.[38] Community then seems to complete the triumvirate of Place components. It is emphasized, however, that this apparent conclusive understanding of Place is sourced from only two local studies. As further examinations of more locales are made perhaps an even more expansive perception of Place may emerge. A final and definitive understanding of Place, then, has yet to emerge. ARCHITECTURE AS PLACE AND FORMAL SPACE In our study, practice, and unconscious definition of architecture we reveal our habitual Modernist inclination towards the aesthetically visual. We are enamored with the delightful form and artfully-configured space and consider the pleasing to be art. Thus we believe that architecture, beyond its necessary technique, is no less an art than what is contained in the gallery or theater. We declare that architecture is the most public of arts with the designed environment comprising both stage and actor. In this we would state that what is essential is that which is only visible to the eye. And yet all true art contains the seed of truth within each work. Such truth reveals the human condition, displays our aspirations and dreams, and mirrors our humanity. In our desire for the visually pleasing and functionally correct we gloss over such truth as insignificant and difficult to perceive or comprehend. What is important is the right now and its material needs. The German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer once stated: If a building is a work of art, then it is not only the artistic solution of a building problem posed by the contexts of purpose and of life to which it originally belongs, but somehow preserves these even though the present manifestation of the original purpose is strange. Something in it points back to the original. [39]

NOTES [1] This notion, that architecture is primarily a physical object appreciated only visually, has been magnified locally as architecture is today merely viewed as a commodified product subject to the dictates of a market economy. New commercial and residential developments are purposely designed to appeal to the eye with attendant names evoking nostalgia or fantasy. A related and disturbing offshoot of this is the misguided “restoration” and even relocation of heritage structures intended to state an individual view of what is “Filipino” while ignoring the communal source culture. Architecture is thus only understood as a collective term for visually-appealing structures meant to be purchased and enjoyed by the consumer-public. Such a pervasive notion may perhaps be founded on the mandated standard architectural undergraduate curriculum of the country wherein the Modernist mode of instruction is still advocated. A recent analysis of the curriculum evidences the precedence of the visually formal and spatial in the required courses on architectural design thus producing practicing architects grounded in such a point a view. This is shown in Emilio U. Ozaeta, “Teaching Space: Spatial Learning in Architectural Design Instruction,” Espasyo: Journal of Philippine Architecture and Allied Arts 1 (2009): 18-20. [2] Juhani Pallasmaa, “The Geometry of Feeling: A Look at the Phenomenology of Architecture” in Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture ed. Kate Nesbitt (New York: Princeton, 1996), 449-451. [3] Chris Barker, The SAGE Dictionary of Cultural Studies (London: SAGE, 2004), 144. [4] Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space (Boston: Beacon, 1969), 5-7. [5] Martin Heidegger, “Building, Dwelling, Thinking” in Rethinking Architecture ed. Neil Leach (New York: Routledge, 1997), 100-107. [6] Christian Norberg-Schulz, “The Phenomenon of Place” in Theorizing A New Agenda for Architecture ed. Kate Nesbitt (New York: Princeton, 1996), 414-415. [7] Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), 221-223. [8] Norberg-Schulz, 423 [8] Ibid., 414-415. [9] Bachelard, 13. [10] Norberg-Schulz, 414-415. [11] Ibid., 417. [12] Lefebvre, 362. [13] Martin Heidegger, “Art and Space” in Rethinking Architecture ed. Neil Leach (New York: Routledge, 1997), 123. [14] Norberg-Schulz, 418.

All architecture contains its original meanings and, by reflection, our identity. To consider form and space while denying Place is to deny the artistic integrity of architecture.

[15] Ibid. [16] Ibid. [17] Bachelard, 17. [18] Lefebvre, 225. [19] Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City (Cambridge: M.I.T., 1960), 47-48. [20] Norberg-Schulz, 423.


es pa syo

________. “Building, Dwelling, Thinking.” In Rethinking Architecture Ed. Neil Leach New York: Routledge, 1997.

[21] Bachelard, 8.

Jung, C. G. Symbols of Transformation. Vol. 5 of Collected Works. U.S.A.: Princeton, 1970.

[22] Ibid., 10-11. [23] Ibid., 19.

________. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Vol. 9 of Collected Works. U.S.A.: Princeton, 1970.

[24] Norberg-Schulz, 424-425.

Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. Oxford: Blackwell, 1993.

[25] Pallasmaa, 449. [26] Anthony Stevens, Jung: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford, 2001), 47-48. [27] C. G. Jung, Symbols of Transformation, vol. 5 of Collected Works (U.S.A.: Princeton, 1970), 158.

Lynch, Kevin. The Image of the City. Cambridge: M.I.T., 1960. Norberg-Schulz, Christian. “The Phenomenon of Place.” In Theorizing A New Agenda for Architecture. Ed. Kate Nesbitt New York: Princeton, 1996.

[28] Ibid., 177. [29] C. G. Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, vol. 9 of Collected Works (U.S.A.: Princeton, 1970), 54-72.

Ozaeta, Emilio U. “Architectural Heritage as Tourism: The Spirit of Place of Sariaya.” United Architects of the Philippines Journal 1 (2010): 3-10. ________. “Re-visioning the Spirit of Place of Quiapo.” In Selected Papers of the 17th Annual Manila Studies Conference August 13-14, 2008 Ed. Bernardita Reyes Churchill Quezon City: Manila Studies Association, Inc., 2009.

[30] Ibid., 81-84. [31] Ibid., 151-181. [32] Ibid., 255-274. [33] Emilio U. Ozaeta, “Re-visioning the Spirit of Place of Quiapo,” in Selected Papers of the 17th Annual Manila Studies Conference August 13-14, 2008 ed. Bernardita Reyes Churchill (Quezon City: Manila Studies Association, Inc., 2009), 113114. [34] Emilio U. Ozaeta, “Architectural Heritage as Tourism: The Spirit of Place of Sariaya,” United Architects of the Philippines Journal 1 (2010): 5-8.

________. “Teaching Space: Spatial Learning in Architectural Design Instruction.” Espasyo: Journal of Philippine Architecture and Allied Arts 1 (2009): 16-23. Pallasmaa, Juhani. “The Geometry of Feeling: A Look at the Phenomenology of Architecture.” In Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture Ed. Kate Nesbitt New York: Princeton, 1996. Stevens, Anthony. Jung: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford, 2001.

[35] This perhaps has a significant parallel in universal spiritual thought wherein the conceptual Creator is commonly agreed to embody the singular quality of Oneness, meaning its shared presence in all and not as a distinct entity apart from all. Thus the Creator is the source of soul as soul is contained within the body. This, then , underscores the anthropomorphic and anthropocentric nature of architecture in an interestingly significant manner wherein the designed environment is now understood as far more than a constructed product of the human ego but, as Place, is an expression of the One in all sentient beings. [36] Bachelard, 5. [37] Lefebvre, 224. [38] Norberg-Schulz, 421. [39] Hans-Georg Gadamer, “The Ontological Foundation of the Occasional and the Decorative” in Rethinking Architecture ed. Neil Leach (New York: Routledge, 1997), 134.

WORKS CITED Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon, 1969. Baker, Chris. The SAGE Dictionary of Cultural Studies. London: SAGE, 2004. Gadamer, Hans-Goerg. “The Ontological Foundation of the Occasional and the Decorative.” In Rethinking Architecture Ed. Neil Leach New York: Routledge, 1997. Martin Heidegger. “Art and Space.” In Rethinking Architecture Ed. Neil Leach New York: Routledge, 1997.




es pa syo

Space Utilization in Filipino Culture: The Bahay Kubo and Quiapo JENNIFER M. CRISTOBAL Jennifer Cristobal graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelors Degree in Urban Planning and Historic Preservation. After working in that field for two years she pursued a Master of Landscape Architecture at Chatham University also in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2008, she moved to Manila with her husband where she worked as a landscape architect at a local firm. She recently took a position as Assistant Editor at BluPrint Magazine.

ABSTRACT The way a people use space is a window into their culture. Filipinos understand space in a time dependent way-as displayed in both traditional architecture and modern urban neighborhoods. The traditional home, the bahay kubo, and a modern commercial district, Quiapo, are compared to determine this uniquely Filipino understanding of space. New development models can be created based on these traditional ways of understanding space. In the same way that Americans looked to traditional land use patterns to create the New Urbanism movement, Filipinos can look to their own traditional land use patterns and space utilization to create a new, locally based, model of eco-friendly, locally inspired land use patterns for development. INTRODUCTION Traditional spatial use patterns seen in the architecture and daily use of the traditional Filipino home, the bahay kubo, reflect a distinctly Filipino pattern of understanding space and time. Quiapo, a dense urban market district in Manila, displays the same types of layered spatial uses. This timedependent way of using space spans from traditional architecture to the modern use of sidewalks and streets; it is a culturally important issue. In many ways, Quiapo is the cultural reiteration of the bahay kubo. Even as standards of living and ideas about living space change, Filipinos have still found ways to express their understanding of space and time when directing land use in an urban commercial district. This Filipino way of understanding space can be applied to various design-based disciplines, particularly those engaged in designing large-scale

developments and creating models for land use. Quiapo provides an opportunity to study a modern Filipino space. The adaptability and flexibility of the neighborhood offer insights into Filipino culture and create opportunities for local design professionals to understand the Filipino approach to spatial use. OBJECTIVES This is a case study of Quiapo, its central commercial district and the way people in the district utilize available urban open spaces like sidewalks, roads and plazas. These patterns of spatial use are compared with spatial use patterns in the traditional Filipino home. By identifying patterns in the ways that Filipinos use space, designers can tailor developments and outdoor spaces to this Filipino sensibility. This study may serve as a guide for other designers in the planning of mixed-use developments, residential developments, and other outdoor spaces, especially locally or in other Asian countries where similar spatial use patterns are observed. The study area is limited to Quiapo, particularly the central market district around Quiapo Church and Quinta Market. Specifically, the study aims to investigate Plaza Miranda as well as Villalobos, Hidalgo, Carriedo and Evangelista Streets around Quiapo Church. TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE The traditional Filipino home, the bahay kubo, follows the Asian rural archetype of the single-room dwelling where all family activities happen in one space. Three or more generations often live their separate but interconnected lives under one roof, most of the time staying in one room. After sleep-



that change as daily activities flow. [3] The interior of the single-room dwelling illustrates the Filipino approach to space. Unlike the western concept of space where each area is assigned a function like sleeping, dining, and cooking Filipino space is open and flexible. Activities in the home are timedependent instead of space-dependent. The bahay kubo can be understood in architectural or cultural terms; its form appears in many Asian countries. The arrangement of different spaces inside a house and their varying degrees of privacy demonstrate the lifestyle patterns of a culture. This Filipino way of understanding space remains an important part of local culture. QUIAPO Quiapo is among the most colorful of Manila’s districts: a neighborhood of Christians and Muslims, mystics and churches, the modern and the ancient. It was one of the first market districts in the Philippines. [4] Quiapo provides an opportunity to study a quintessentially Filipino space. The adaptability and flexibility of the neighborhood offer insights into Filipino culture and add to the richness of local design and planning professions as they seek to create places that are Filipino and not merely copies of international models. As a colonial country, many of the town and city planning concepts that were applied in the Philippines originated from western occupiers. The plaza itself is a prime example of this phenomenon. The Spaniards brought the plaza land use construct to their colonies in order to organize and control their subjects. Traditional Filipino land use patterns had no such organization at the time of Spanish conquest.[5] However, as the Spanish legacy became become part of the Filipino identity, the plaza became part of the Filipino cultural dialogue.

ing mats are rolled up in the mornings, the same space is used for daytime activities. Turning one’s back on the central shared space creates privacy. [1] The rural bahay kubo evolved into the bahay na bato, where the size of the house was enlarged but much of the single-room lifestyle remained. [2] This model is based on a simple open space but its use is complex—walls are not necessary for privacy, spaces layer upon each other, a big communal space gives way to smaller individual areas


es pa syo

One of the many interesting aspects of the Philippine urban fabric is the development of market districts, which are outgrowths of the Spanishplanned plaza complex. The Spanish provided the basic plan; Filipinos worked within this framework to create areas that suited their needs and desires. [6] These traditional, unplanned market districts still exist today in old neighborhoods like Quiapo. They offer a fascinating glimpse into traditional Filipino culture that is not based on shopping malls or automobiles. Quiapo is located at the heart of the City of Manila. Today it is a commercial district composed of shopkeepers and vendors selling a vast array of goods. It holds a population of approximately 10,000 people during peak daytime hours. At night, this population drops to 5,000 people including the area’s homeless who sleep on sidewalks or other open spaces in the neighborhood. [7]

An indoor market, a church, four main streets and a plaza make up the central market district in Quiapo. Four main streets create the primary commercial area. These streets are Carriedo, Evangelista, R. Hidalgo and Villalobos. Plaza Miranda fronts Quiapo Church (officially called the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene/St. John the Baptist Parish). The church is a major draw to the area on Friday afternoons; surrounding businesses bring crowds to this space every day. Quiapo is primarily commercial in nature, with 51 percent of the total land area made up of retail and wholesale stores, eateries, specialty shops and small shopping malls. The number of users varies throughout the day. The area feels particularly commercialized because most residential areas are in mixed-use buildings with commercial space on the first floor; mixed-use buildings account for 11 percent of total land use. Peak periods of use are nine to eleven o’clock in the morning, one to three o’clock in the afternoon and five to seven o’clock in the evening. Streets and open spaces make up 26 percent of the land use. During peak activity hours, streets, sidewalks and open spaces are host to the exchange of goods and services. At street level during peak hours, 88 percent of the land use is committed to commercial use. Today Quiapo stands as a modern day example of Filipino sensibilities about space that stem from life in the bahay kubo. Spaces and uses layer upon each other creating an unfolding daily, weekly and annual drama; cars give way to pedestrians, pedestrians give way to businesses, daytime vendors give way to evening vendors and daily users give way on January 9 to those celebrating the Feast of the Black Nazarene. Quiapo is more than a commercial district; it is a thriving space made up of people engaged in the business of everyday life. Life in Quiapo has a rhythm that is not present in newly developed Western-style areas. Quiapo’s rhythm has a comfortable feel. There is sense to the way that users share all spaces- storefronts, sidewalks, roads and plazas. Streets are not only for cars, sidewalks are not only for pedestrians and a church plaza is not only for worshipers. The rhythm—the life—depends on the various players: shop owners, merchants, churchgoers, shoppers. They also depend on the rhythm. The various elements interconnect and allow each function to operate independently in the same space at different times. SIDEWALKS AND STREETS Sidewalks and streets play an important role in Quiapo; the flexibility of sidewalk and street spaces is one of the reasons the area is flexible.



Sidewalks are not required to be clear of boxes, goods, vendors or small-scale services. In addition to traditional functions, sidewalks serve as overflow areas for businesses and vendors, places to display goods and areas for conducting business. Sidewalks are space for businesses and vendors to operate during peak hours. The flexible sidewalks allow early morning and late evening vehicular activity to be safe for pedestrians. It offers them a safe place to walk separately from automobiles. During peak hours, sidewalks allow the district to accommodate more business activities, encouraging more shoppers and supporting the economy of the commercial district. In Quiapo before nine a.m., automobiles dominate the streets; the sidewalks are available for pedestrian use because most businesses are closed. In the morning as the district comes alive, more shops open, vendors set up stalls and shoppers arrive. The sidewalks become crowded with business activities and pedestrians take over the road right-of-ways. During peak activity hours, business activities flow onto the sidewalk, making pedestrian passage difficult. Pedestrians do not use the sidewalks as a thoroughfare; the street-right-of-way is the preferred space for pedestrians moving directly from place to place. Those pedestrians who are shopping or browsing are more likely to use the sidewalks to browse goods, haggle with shopkeepers, interact with ambulant vendors and make purchases.


es pa syo

Sidewalks provide a space for pedestrians to move to in the event that a motor vehicle needs to use the street right-of-way. Arcaded roofs or cantilevered buildings cover most sidewalks. Sidewalk cover is important in the Philippines due to intense summer heat and heavy downpours during rainy season. Covered sidewalks offer refuge to pedestrians who find themselves without umbrellas during the most brutal weather. In late evening, as shops close, vendors take their carts away and people return home from work, there is a new set of users on the sidewalk: Quiapo’s residents. Sidewalks host local neighborhood activities; there are ambulant evening vendors selling food, people grilling outside of their homes, residents exchanging gossip and news and many sitting on low stools or steps outside of their homes. Sidewalks and streets in Quiapo offer a dynamic space for businesses, residents and shoppers. They facilitate off-peak automobile use of the roads and on-peak maximization of commerce. Time of day defines spaces. If not for flexible sidewalks and streets, the area would not be able to function as dynamically and flexibly as it does. PLAZA MIRANDA Plaza Miranda is the physical and symbolic heart of Quiapo’s market district. It anchors the main

commercial streets and absorbs overflow from the activities of the neighborhood. As a microcosm of Quiapo’s market district, Plaza Miranda offers a glimpse into the life of the area; it collects and condenses surrounding activities. The Spanish originally laid out Plaza Miranda. Today it is best known for two reasons: first, as the venue for the procession of the Feast of the Black Nazarene on January 9; second, as a venue for local politics until the 1970s. In Streets of Manila, Luning Ira said “Here, Manilenians sing, dance, declaim, debate, let off steam, let their hair down or simply congregate whenever they feel the need to affirm their public being.” [8] The life of this plaza shares the rhythm of the surrounding neighborhood. The constant movement of vendors and shoppers, churchgoers and onlookers marks the hours of the day, days of the week, and months of the year. This plaza is lacking shade, exposed to noise and air pollution, lacking in amenities and open to harsh tropical elements. However, joy and relaxation can be found there in addition to goods, services, and spiritual guidance. This plaza is the ultimate multi-use space; it is always occupied and there is an ebb and flow to activities and uses- in spite of relentless tropical heat and monsoon rains. The rhythm in Plaza Miranda is its life. Monuments, benches, lighting, or plant materials are not its de-

fining features. This space is about accommodation and flexibility. What makes it feel harsh and exposed also facilitates the daily, weekly and annual rhythms that define it. The daily influx of daytime and nighttime vendors is as important as the weekly influx of Friday pilgrims and is as important as the annual influx of believers and observers for the Feast of the Black Nazarene. Plaza Miranda offers lessons about allowing flexibility in public space and creating spaces that facilitate a user-defined experience. The people who use this space define it every day. They bring chairs to a space without benches. They spread their goods on the ground or bring it in carts where there are no tables. They carry umbrellas where there is no shade or rain shelter provided. Flower, fruit and vegetable vendors bring visual life with their colorful goods. Rain provides an interactive water feature for children who use this space. CONCLUSION At first glance, Quiapo is chaotic, impossibly dense and overwhelming. These issues mask a lively place where people live and thrive. There is a rhythm to life that is caused by the flexibility of spaces: sidewalks, roads, bridge underpasses and plazas. Without flexibility, this area could not function efficiently as a dense, mixed-use neighborhood. Various elements contribute to the success of Quiapo, creating a dynamic, living space that reflects Filipino culture and attitudes.



Quiapo is evidence that Western development patterns are not always ideal for situations in the Philippines. There are ways to create urban density that do not fit any Western model- by allowing spaces to be flexible. For example, planners do not always need to decide between pedestrianizing a street and leaving it open to automobiles. It can be both and Quiapo proves this. This space offers an interesting look into Filipino culture, particularly the adaptability and flexibility of the Filipino people and how they translate this into the spaces they inhabit. MODEL FOR URBAN DENSITY Higher density cities are commonly considered more sustainable than low density cities and regions. Planning theories such as New Urbanism, Transit-Oriented Development and Smart Growth are based on raising urban densities in order to increase overall sustainability. [9] Most research on the subject confirms that more overall energy is consumed in low density areas than in high density areas. [10] The Quiapo model offers an interesting alternative to Western New Urbanist concepts. Traditional Western European and American planning concepts are the basis for these land use models. These traditional concepts have been repackaged as a sustainable alternative to the dominant automobile-based development model that is favored,


es pa syo

particularly in the US. These concepts have been exported, in their entirety, to places like the Philippines, predominantly as mixed-use developments. There is merit to this development approach, particularly when it is offered in place of the more popular subdivision and strip mall combination. Quiapo’s Spanish origins are exactly the type of land use that the New Urbanist movement is trying to create. However, Filipinos in Quiapo took this Western model, embraced the plaza and modified the district to create something more suited to the life in Manila. This way of using space is, without doubt, partially a necessary mechanism to deal with such an intensely dense urban neighborhood. However, there is also a Filipino sensibility about the way spaces in the neighborhood are used. The Quiapo model could be used to modify New Urbanist and other urban density based planning principles to create a land use model more suited for the Philippines, as it was used to modify the original Spanish town planning model. In the same way that the American New Urbanism movement looked to the past for the most culturally sensible and environmentally friendly planning patterns, Filipinos can look to their own past and present for culturally correct, environmentally and socially friendly ways to address certain types of new development and land use. This is an opportunity for Filipino designers to ex-

ercise their creative potential and collaborative skills to create a truly Filipino model of modern sustainable development. In the same way that local architects like Francisco Manosa, Michael Pena, and James Jao are redefining the traditional bahay kubo into a beautiful, modern, and sustainable home, professionals designing outdoor spaces and other developments can take inspiration from traditional spatial use patterns to create a modern model for environmentally sensitive and culturally correct land use.

ENDNOTES [1] Quintos, Paul. “Bahay Kubo.” 101 Filipino Icons. Manila: Adarna House, Inc. and Bench, 2007. [2] Noche, Manuel D.C. “History of Philippine Architecture.” About Culture and Arts. (accessed September 17, 2007). [3] Gamalinda, Eric. An Invisible City. Manila: Philippine Free Press. December 1988. [4] Joaquin, Nick. Manila’s Dramatic Decades. Midweek. April 29, 1992. 6-11. [5] Zialcita, Fernando N. Quiapo: Heart of Manila. Manila: Cultural Heritage Studies Program, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Ateneo de Manila University: Metropolitan Museum of Manila, 2006. [6]Hart, Donn V. The Philippine Plaza Complex: A Focal Point in Cultural Change. New Haven, CT: Yale University, Southeast Asia Studies, Cultural Report Series, 1955, 60-71. [7]Philippine Census. 2007. Philippine Central Government. November 2007. [8]Ira, Luning B. Streets of Manila. Quezon City, Philippines: GCF Books, 1977, 86. [9]Katz, Peter. The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community. New York: McGraw Hill, Inc., 2004. [10] Newman, Peter; Jeffrey R. Kenworthy (1999). Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence. Island Press.




es pa syo

Urban Pattern and Architectural Style Guide for the Historical Core of Vigan RHEA C. REODIQUE-OLIMPO Rhea C. Reodique-Olimpo is a University of the Philippines Master of Architecture centennial graduate. She is also an Atelier Award recipient from the University of Northern Philippines, Vigan City in 1995, Philippine National Bank’s planning and design architect (1995-2006) and property appraiser and was presenter at the IUSAM National Taiwan University and Design Communication Conference, SPSU Atlanta, Georgia, USA in 2009. In addition, she is a part-time lecturer at FEU and DLSU-D.

ABSTRACT Study objectives are to establish an urban pattern within the historical core of Vigan and the architectural style of the amended five typologies of Vigan houses for the purpose of guiding new construction and restoration. To maintain historic town of Vigan as World Heritage Site, dimensions of urban elements are summarized -considering streets, blocks, lots, plazas/open spaces including current use and physical condition of houses. Basic plan pattern, function and spatial layout of ancestral houses present through space syntax analysis. Space requirements, façade heights, fenestration sizes, ratio and styles as acquired data applied to the recommended architectural style guidelines in Vigan. INTRODUCTION The study site is one of the five UNESCO World Heritage Sites found in the Philippines - The Historic Town of Vigan. Its inscription, in accordance to cultural purposes, is based on the following selected criteria that “(ii) exhibits an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within the cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town planning and landscape design” and (iv)”an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant change in human history(1). From the above criteria, the World Heritage Centre officially cites “Vigan represents a unique fusion of Asian building design and construction with European colonial architecture and planning” and “Vigan is exceptionally intact and well preserved example of a European trading town in East and East Asia.” Its inscription is therefore an acknowledgement of the genius of our native artisans who built our historical

buildings and monumental arts or town planning. It is also in recognition of the commitment of our present generation to preserve our architectural legacy for future generations. OBJECTIVES 1) To establish an urban pattern based on historical and archaeological precedent that will be used as basis for the conservation, restoration and reconstruction of Vigan ancestral houses in the context of its original urban configuration; 2)To establish the architectural style of Vigan for the preparation of Vigan architectural style guide showing the different typologies of Vigan houses for the purpose of guiding new construction and restoration within the historical core of Vigan. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Time, neglect, absence of occupants/owners of the property and non-maintenance contribute to the fast deterioration of ancestral houses in Vigan. When ruined, the houses lose their distinctive spatial and architectural configuration. Presently, there is no quantifiable and measurable basis to define the typology of Vigan ancestral houses. Although the typology of Vigan houses is stated in the amended Vigan Conservation Guidelines, their distinctive design and character is not presented and clarified. Therefore, some newly constructed buildings within the historical core show deviations and changes in their design features that are different from a typical Vigan house. SCOPE AND LIMITATION The study will be limited only within the historic core of Vigan, its urban elements including the 100 ancestral houses that have been identified



• The study will be helpful to architecture students and the academe in identifying distinctive features and types of Vigan ancestral houses and will also be beneficial to homeowners, tenants, designers and local officials and interest groups. It will set an example and to create an open mindset to identify Filipino Architecture.

Figure 1. 1 Vigan Heritage Village

Figure 1. 2 Ruins of ancestral houses

• It will provide a better understanding of the spatial and architectural styles of Vigan ancestral houses, the existing user/occupant needs and activities from the typology of ancestral houses that will be observed and to come out with an existing pattern. This will be used as an information and systems guide that can also be applied to the analysis of other ancestral houses in the country. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Considering the historical town of Vigan as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, theories and international strategies of conservation were reviewed and interpreted such as the “ICOMOS (International Scientific Committee for Analysis and Restoration of Structures of Architectural Heritage)” charters and other instruments such as “The Venice Charter, The Nara Document on Euthenics” and “The Illustrated Burr Charter (Australia ICOMOS) by Peter Marquis-Kyle and Meredith Walker as published by Australia ICOMOS Inc. 1992. Other historic sites in the country as reference in formulating the recommended architectural guidelines are contained in, “Rules and Regulations Governing the Development of Intramurals: Implementing P.D. 1616 creating the Intramuros Administration, as amended.” Its general and specific building requirements were applied in the study including the applicability of the National Building Code. BIBLIOGRAPHIC SURVEY The following are related studies that applied some methods and necessary information gathered that are applicable in the study:

Figure 1. 3 Deteriorating condition of fenestration

as subject in the study. Other urban facilities and furniture not covered in this study, however, will be subject for future research studies. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY • The study is envisioned to provide organized data on urban pattern and architectural style within the Vigan historic core to be used by architects, planners and homeowners as a style guide. • It will support the amended conservation guidelines of the city government and be used as basis by the Vigan Conservation Council (VCC) to evaluate the submitted proposed plans to be applied within the historic town by committee decision.


es pa syo

Yap, David Leonides T. Ph.D. “Transformation of Space in Philippine Traditional Houses: Studies in the Morphology of Space from the Pre-Hispanic to American Period” NFAD’95: College of Arch. UP Dilman, Quezon City. An analysis of transformation of space of the houses from the prehispanic to the American Period through the justified access maps during what may be referred to as the “transition period” reveal interesting insights into what may be the “unstated rules” concerning the spatial arrangement of houses in Philippine society. The key dimension of syntactic analysis is that the ‘depth’ or ‘shallowness’ of any segment from the external entry can be determined, along with the overall depth of the structure which a linear structure is twice as deep as the fan or the ring and it controls circulation and social interaction. The linear structure produces a spatial narrative with

Figure 1. 4 The Five (5) Typologies of Vigan houses (1)All Brick Type; (2) Brick and Wood,straight façade; (3)Brick and Wood with Volada; (4)Camarin; (5)American Colonial Houses

Figure 2. The Historic Town of Vigan

Figure 3. Syntatic Relations (Hillier and Hanson Robinson,1994)



Figure 4.1. Houses Built in Spanish Colonial (17401896) and American Colonial (1898-1935) Periods

very strong levels of control in all cells except the deepest. Another key is the degree of ‘ringiness’ versus ‘control’. The ringy structure is defined by its multiple and lateral connections, many possible pathways through it and dispersed control. The looped or ringy structure (ring type) offers many possible pathways, diverse encounters – the flow of life through space is only loosely controlled. The fan structure or the ‘tree type’ gives access to many segments from a single segment of control. Local works by Archt. Rabang-Alonzo, FNA include UNESCO Homeowner’s Preservation Manual, 2007, unpublished handbook submitted to UNESCO; thesis entitled The Conservation of the Historical Core of Vigan,1990 and the published article in Samtoy entitled “The Architecture of Vigan Houses, 1999” by Maria Lopez “Transformation and Current Use of Traditional Grid Pattern Cities,” by the Graduate School of Human-Environment Studies, Kyushu University, Japan and was presented at the 8th International Conference of the Asian Planning Schools Association from September 11 to 14, 2005. Various research studies submitted by the author during graduate studies program in architecture are the following: “The Architectural Features of the Ancestral Houses in Vigan, 2001;” “The Study of Fenestrations in Vigan Colonial Houses,2003;” “Defining Filipino Architecture thru the Fenestrations of Vigan Bahay na Bato, 2004;” “Movement System of Vigan Houses built during the Spanish and American Periods, 2006;” and “Spatial Analysis of Vigan Bahay Na Bato built during Spanish and American Colonial Periods, 2007.” From the studies, average of eight houses have been used as samples from these two colonial periods. Two houses from American colonial period were added


es pa syo

in the spatial analysis and about 20 houses were sampled in the study of fenestrations. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY An interpretive-historical and qualitative analysis is used in the study. Qualitative analysis denotes that “the reliability of the evaluation will depend on the number of structures observed and, therefore, on the experience and skills of the individuals concerned. An appropriate program of investigation and monitoring of progressive phenomena can increase its reliability (2). To achieve the objectives of the study, the following methods and approaches were applied: • Review of local ordinances and conservation instruments relevant to the study; • Coordination and information gathered from conservation architects, verifications from local government offices and interviews from present occupants/caretakers; • Secondary data gathering/collection of previous documentation works (i.e., history, plans and elevations of ancestral houses); • Ocular surveys, mapping and verifications of the ancestral houses; • Photo documentation of each house showing main facades and exterior fenestrations (i.e., main entrance door, ground floor and second floor windows and roof ceiling eaves); • Use of computer for tabulations and presentations analyzing gathered data and space syntax

Figure 4.2 First Houses Built in each Typology

URBAN PATTERN BASIS 1. Urban Elements Streets, Blocks, Lots Open Spaces/Plazas Domestic Structures/Ancestral houses a. Houses built during Spanish and American Colonial Houses (see Figure 4.1 and 4.2) b. Current use/Functions and Present Physical; Conditions (see Figure 4.3) 2. BUILDING PLACEMENTS Placement of Ancestral Houses on Lots within the Historic Core Zone (see Table 1) (%) Minimum and Maximum Building Footprint versus Lot Area (see Figure 5.1) (%) Minimum and Maximum Façade Length versus Lot Frontage (see Figure 5.2) Actual surveys and ocular inspections were conducted to identify the existing use and physical

Figure 4.3 General Use and Status of Vigan Houses



Table 1. Lot Types with house placements

status of the ancestral houses within the historical core including spot interviews with the occupants, tenants as well as neighbours. The physical status and exterior condition of the subject houses were observed and presented in Figures 4.3. Perfect - means that the ancestral house is being occupied and almost 100 percent in good condition. Deteriorated – a major dilapidation of the structure is evident and still with occupants.* Habitable – with occupants, with exterior minor dilapidations. Non-Habitable – no occupants/vacated, either major and minor dilapidation. The present scenario observed in the historical zone is that majority of the ancestral houses have residential units at upper floors while the ground floors are used as commercial units. Status shows that only 36 percent of the ancestral houses are presently perfect in physical condition and maintain their economic value. The remaining 64 percent of these structures with inhabitants show minor and major dilapidations which needs immediate repair and proper maintenance. However, the non habitable structures are too risky especially for the occupants where deterioration occurs rapidly.


es pa syo

2. Building Placements Placement of Ancestral Houses on Lots within the Historic Core Zone The placement of each building typology with their respective lot were studied and calculated to establishe their existing parameters as plotted and designed by the master builders of these houses. Generally, the house is placed in a corner lot positioned fronting the two adjacent roads. On interior lots, the house is also placed fronting the adjacent road where the façade walls serve as a perimeter wall. As shown on the lot types of Table 1, there are about 47 percent corner lots and 35 percent inside lots which are situated within the core. The house placement must be adjacent to the fronting road using the building wall also as the perimeter wall. Percentage Minimum and Maximum Building Footprint vs. Lot Area Each typology has certain parameters on the ground floor built area versus the total lot area. Among the five typologies of the houses, the following are noted:

Figure 5.1 Minimum and Maximum Building Ratio

The smallest structure of the five typologies is the Camarin with building floor area from four to 54 percent of its total lot area. Brick and wood type houses range from seven percent buildable floor ratio to a maximum of 85 percent ratio of its total lot area. All brick types have a minimum buildable floor area of at least 8.1 to a maximum of 124 percent ratio that exceeds its total lot area. Houses built during the American colonial period range from 12 to 91 percent. The brick and wood type with the volada/overhang has a 17 to 93 percent ratio. From Figure 5.1 showing the actual physical built area on each typology, the smallest is the camarin structure (1837 to 1921) while the American period houses (1898 to 1935) have the biggest built area ratio.

The houses during the American colonial period have a minimum of 25 up to 121 percent while the brick type houses have a minimum of 35 to 128 percent maximum ratio. Based on the existing condition observed within the heritage core of Vigan and considering the tabulated ratio between the main façade and their situated lot frontage, most of them fully utilized their lot frontages. Using firewalls are applicable for the three typologies except for the all brick and brick and wood type houses with approximately 0.50 to 2.00 meters spaces between houses was observed.

ARCHITECTURAL STYLE GUIDE BASIS Main Façade Length and Lot Frontage Ratio As shown in Figure 5.2, camarin has 11 to 92 percent ratio of its main façade and lot frontage;. The brick and wood type has a minimum of 23 to a maximum of 113 percent ratio between main façade length and its lot frontage ratio. Brick and wood w/ volada/overhang has a minimum of 23 to 100 percent ratio of main façade and lot frontage.

Profiles of the Five Typologies of Vigan Houses As amended by the Vigan Conservation Guidelines on Ordinance 7, Series of 2006, each typology has been tabulated in order based on the year constructed with their location and orientation, lot area, ground floor and second floor plans including floor areas. All elevations including build-

Figure 5.2 Minimum and Maximum Facade Lengths Ratio



Figure 6. Profiles of Brick and wood typology


es pa syo

Based from the documented plans of each ancestral house, bubble diagrams are used to present an area or space. There are two different colours for each bubble to be identified easily either at the ground and second floor of the house. Arrows are used as door type used to connect adjacent areas/ spaces.

Figure 7. Tree and Radial type

ing heights, exterior fenestrations of main door, ground floor and second floor window, ventanillas and windows, roofing/ceiling eaves as indicated in each column. See Figure 6. Space Syntax Analysis (Spatial and Functions) From the definitions and review of literature, the space syntax analysis will determine the following: • Spatial requirement and plan layout either linear, radial, ring and tree types or any combinations of the patterns; • Levels of ‘depthness’ from main entry point and functions of spaces either used for social , private and functional services; • Movement and connectivity of rooms thru door types used.

An example of the brick and wood type with portico house is that of Vicente Encarnacion, which has symmetrical tree and radial type layout. There are more spaces allotted for service areas than social and private bedrooms. The farthest level (L5) is the azotea and toilet at the upper floor. The sauna or covered garage at the ground floor serves as the main entry point leading to the rooms and corridor of second floor. There are 14 double panel doors and nine single panel doors used. See Figure 7. Summarized plan pattern layout as shown on Table 2. The Linear type is common to the four typologies except American colonial period houses; Radial type is common for all typologies except camarin, wherein its living spaces and hallways serve as connecting or radiating point to several other spaces; Tree type is common with the brick and wood type houses with straight façades and the houses during the American colonial period where the living and hallways is limited from one to three connecting points to other rooms. Ring type is prevalent with the brick and wood with volada houses where its bedrooms are interconnected to other bedrooms aside from volada feature that connects bedrooms without passing the living

Table 2. Results of “Space Syntax” analysis per Typology of Vigan Houses



CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS URBAN PATTERN 1) Description of the Entire Historic Core Zone The historic core of Vigan formed like an L-shaped bounded by Govantes river on the north, Mestizo river on the east, abattoir on the southeastern part and old cemetery with chapel adjacent to the new market place on the southwestern part and various commercial establishments with new buildings on the west. The area surrounding the historic core is called the ‘buffer zone’ which is used to protect and support the core zone.

Figure 8. Total Facade Height

area. All brick type houses have the farthest level (Level 6) of depth from its main entry point compared to others with level 5 as the farthest. Building Façade Heights The main facade heights shows the minimum, maximum and the average facade heights measured from the ground floor to top of cornice of each house typology.


es pa syo

The center of the historic core of Vigan has two plazas named Salcedo and Burgos with St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral and its Bell Tower in the center. The Archbishop’s Palace and the Divine Word College of Vigan are situated on the northern part, the Provincial Capitol building and Vigan City Hall on the northwestern part. On the southern part, more than 100 ancestral houses are within the core. 2) Descriptive Summary of the Entire Historic core zone

GENERAL GUIDELINES: Urban Pattern as prerequisite to the building typology and per area within the historical core of Vigan: Knowing the historical precedents within the historical core from the urban pattern elements as learned in the study, more than a hundred lots will be subjected for new construction or infill architecture for future developments. These vacant properties within the historical core will soon be developed and proposed to be erected with structures that should be part of the cultural significance of the place. The following are guide steps to consider for infill architecture or new construction within the historical core of Vigan considering a vacant lot without traces of previous structures that has been erected on the proposed site:

1. Locate the site and identify adjacent ancestral house in the area; (See historical core zone map of showing location of Vigan houses ) 2. Verify land zoning use and its compatible uses; (Section 5 of Ordinance No. 14 Series of 1997) 3. Determine lot area, type and frontage; 4. Identify the function and purpose of the building to be constructed and check appropriate house typology suited for that purpose as described on each Vigan house typologies; 5. Follow the recommended architectural guidelines specified for the appropriate house typology, not exceeding the minimum and maximum building area and open area, main façade heights,



rhythms and decorations, total building heights, fenestrations sizes and proportion considering their distinctive features. 6. All documentary drawings necessary for the approval of the building permits for the proposed architectural and engineering plans must be guided by and applied with the implementing rules and regulations of the latest National Building Code of the Philippines for sanitary, safety and protection. If traces of previous structures are evident in the proposed site, take pictures and document these traces and record whatever archaeological items are found during excavation works. Research on the original structure that has been erected on the place, collect previous pictures then reconstruct the typology of the house in the said area and assume its compatible use. SPECIFIC GUIDELINES a. Descriptions Summary of the Five (5) Typologies of Vigan Houses Describing the differences and their characteristics of the five (5) typologies of Vigan houses are as follows: a) Space Syntax Analysis; (Basic layout type ) Spatial Functions and Requirements: social, private and functional/service; number of levels (movement/depthness of rooms from main entry point); number of double door panels and single panel doors b) Upper Floor Space Requirements: azotea volada, sala and kitchen area c) Main Façade Walls and Rhythms d) Façade Height (ground flooring to top of cornice) e) Roof Type, Height, Overhang and Ceiling Eaves f) Total Building Height g) Main Door Type, Height and Shape (including puertita) h) Ground Floor Window Type, Height and Shape i) Second floor Window Type, Height and Shape j) Ratio of Main Façade vs. Fenestrations (exterior doors and windows) k) Volada/Overhang Type and Widths l) Firewalls and Front Setbacks


es pa syo

b. Applications of Data: Proposed Architectural Style Guidelines for Vigan Applications of data from the study have been indicated on the recommended architectural style guidelines for Vigan. The proposed general format of conservation guidelines are: Rule 1. Title and Interpretation; Rule II. Definition; Rule III. Land Use Policies and Regulations; Rule IV. General Building Requirements; Rule V. Specific Building Requirements; Section 1. Architectural Guidelines, Section 2. General Policies and Principles Affecting Architectural Standard, Section 3. Architectural Standards and Requirements. c. Administration and Enforcement of the Recommended Guidelines.

NOTES 1 Why the Historic Town of Vigan was inscribed in the World Heritage List? A Flyer. 2 Qualitative Analysis. ICOMOS Recommendations for the Analysis, Conservation and Structural Restoration of Architectural Heritage.

REFERENCES Deng, Yi, Shuji Funo and Tsutomu Shigemura. “A Study on the Block Formation and Its Subdivision into Housing Lots in the Inner City of Beijing – An Analysis of Quantong Jingeheng Quantu, Map of the Capital City of Quantong Period (1750)”. College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Qinghwa University: Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering. November 2002. Lopez, Maria, Takehero Higashimura, Odicea Angelo, Atsushi Deguchi. “Transformation and Current Use of Traditional Grid Pattern Cities” Graduate School of Human-Environment Studies, Kyushu University, Japan. 8th International Conference of the Asian Planning Schools Association. September 11-14, 2005. Marquis-Kyle, Peter and Meredith Walker. “The Illustrated Burra Charter” Making Good Decisions about the Care of Important Places. Australia ICOMOS Inc.1992. Mundigo, Axel and Dora Crouch. (English Translation). “The Laws of the Indies” Complied by King Philip II on 1573. The City Planning Ordinances of the Laws of the Indies Revisited, I. Reprinted by The New City, 1973. Ordinance No. 07 Series of 2006. “Vigan Conservation Guidelines as Amended”. Office of the Sangguniang Panlungsod. Vigan City, 2006. Rabang-Alonzo, Fatima N.A. “UNESCO Homeowner’s Preservation Manual” Unpublished Handbook for submission to UNESCO. Vigan City, 2007. Rules and Regulations Governing the Development of Intramuros. Implementing P.D. 1616 creating the Intramuros Administration, as amended. The Intramuros Administration. Ministry of Human Settlements, Manila, 1981. The Burra Charter – Australia ICOMOS. The Australia ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance. France: ICOMOS International Secretariat. Tiesdell, Steven, Taner Oc and Tim Heath. “Revitalizing Historic Urban Quarters”. Architectural Press.1996. Turalba, Ma. Cristina. V. “Philippine Heritage Architecture before 1521 to the 1970’s”. Pasig City: Anvil Publications. 2005 Yap, David Leonides T. Ph.D. “Transformation of Space in Philippine Traditional Houses: Studies in the Morphology of Space from the Pre-Hispanic to American Period”.U.P. College of Arch. U.P. Diliman, Quezon City: NSFAD, 1995. Zialcita, Fernando N. & Tinio, Martin I.”Philippine Ancestral Houses” Quezon City: GCF Books, 1980-2006




es pa syo

Filipino-Hispanic Ancestral Houses in Albay: An Examination of their Architectural Form and Influences

RINO D.A. FERNANDEZ Rino D. A. Fernandez is an architect by profession and currently the Academic Coordinator of Escuela Taller-Intramuros, a school on conservation and restoration funded by the Agencia Española Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarollo (AECID). In addition, he is also a faculty member of the College of Architecture of the University of Santo Tomas and a former dean of the College of Architecture and Fine Arts of Aquinas University of Legazpi.

ABSTRACT Like in other prosperous Philippine provinces during the 19th Century Industrial Period, ancestral houses were also built in Albay, some of which bear architectural features unexamined before. This study aimed to analyze these features and determine form and influences; i.e. whether these houses are distinct from or share similarities with those of Manila, Iloilo, and Vigan. The analysis focused both on exterior and spatial elements. Fifty-one houses in Manila, four in Vigan and 11 in Iloilo built during the Spanish period were used as references for comparison. To determine the historical development of both architecture and physical structure of the ancestral houses, various methods were used, including archival research, measured survey in producing plans and field survey in recording current features and conditions of the houses. Results show elements common to houses in Manila and Iloilo were also used in the houses in Albay, but overall design embodies simplicity, devoid of ornamentation. The houses in Albay represent qualities of an ecological and sustainable structure adapted to the environment, having their building materials drawn directly from surroundings. These findings will help widen understanding of traditional design principles of the houses and could be reinterpreted in modern Philippine houses.

INTRODUCTION Domestic architecture, particularly the single-family house, has continuously been at the forefront of architectural design and popular consciousness [Djuvic, 2005]. People need shelter in the same way as they need food and water. However, aside

from shelter, the single-family house offers privacy and security and allows every inhabitant to be intimate with those he is close to. It is a place where every child acquires the first lessons in life and which moulds his well-being as he journeys to adulthood. It is a structure that almost everyone dreams to have for his own. Besides the physiological reasons for needing a house, the way houses are built has also always been the focus in architecture. Houses rooted in tradition and culture may suddenly disappear and change through time. Leading scholars in the field of architecture share the same sentiments regarding the loss of the historical language of domestic architecture. In his study of American houses, Sudjic observed that modernity ends the tradition of domestic architecture. It became fixated by originality for its own sake and abandoned the idea of being rooted in the repetition and refinement of familiar forms that had been for a thousand years [Sudjic, 1999]. In Germany, Pfeifer and Brauneck, in their study on the housing typology, also observed that “modernity broke the continuity of using typologies. Form, content and meaning in architecture became detached. The exterior appearance of architecture develops into a fragment that is unhinged from its context and the historical development process.” Typology refers to the distillation and classification of existing building types and urban forms as prototypes in terms of function and efficacy [Porter, 2004]. In the Philippines, the introduction of non-traditional type of houses that is made affordable to the masses ends the wholeness of the Philippine towns. The architectural form that embodies the modern houses totally ignored those established by the traditional nipa hut structure and further



improved and enhanced Filipino-Hispanic or Fil-Hispanic ancestral houses. The Fil-Hispanic houses showcase the integration of multi-cultural influences of the indigenous architecture that respond to the environment and to history (Turalba, 2002) and reflect an evolutionary process that in the passage of time reached a certain perfection suited to the needs of the occupants (Manalo, 2002). In the province of Albay, a vast number of ancestral houses dominated every town until the early 1950’s. Majority of these houses were built during the period where great prosperity was experienced by the Albayanos brought about by the abaca trade. These houses have endured the ravages of nature and human action which include catastrophic volcanic eruptions, floods, destructive tropical typhoons and the Second World War. Having survived these forces of nature has proved that the houses were built according to local environment and custom - designed with the forces of nature in mind. No such houses in the country were so designed taking into consideration imminent danger posed by the environment. But, with modernization, these houses were gradually replaced with either multi-storey commercial and residential dwellings or new houses in modern forms. Although there are still a good number of extant examples of these ancestral houses valued as cultural treasures by Albayanos, their existence was neither examined nor their influences studied. Thus, the major thrust of this study is to provide information and determine the uniqueness of the architectural forms and influences of Albay’s ancestral houses, not just for the sake of posterity, but more so to provide an inspiration or a guide, a model to the new housing developments that are being introduced in the province. FIELD OF STUDY Albay is a coastal province in the Southeastern end of Luzon. During the last three decades of the 19th century, Albay had become one of the economically important places in the country due to the abaca material – a high-strength fiber that was used for cordage by the rope makers of England and the United States. Thousands of tons of this product was needed every year for rigging sailing vessels and, later in the century, for the twine used by mechanical grain binders to tie up harvested wheat (Owen, 1999). From an initial shipment of 41 metric tons in 1820, the Philippine exportation rose to 276 metric tons in 1825. The demand continued so that in 1850 it reached 8,561 metric tons. In 1900, it soared to its greatest export volume of 89,348 metric tons. And out of about five major export products of Albay, abaca ranked first in terms of importance, grossing $12 million annually (Betts, 1902). The importance of abaca led to


es pa syo

the declaration of Albay as a port of entry in 1873 and its growth continued until the first decade of the American occupation. The prosperity brought about by the trade from abaca transformed the traditional nipa hut settlement into a community of wood and stone houses. However, this period of prosperity was generally short and abrupt and such time element would certainly bring the idea that the development of a regional style might certainly not be possible. This assumption led to the idea of likewise examining the ancestral houses of certain places that the Province of Albay had contact with during the period, particularly such places as Manila and Iloilo. METHOD The study begun with actual documentation of ancestral houses in Albay built during the colonial period and assessment and analysis of their architectural forms. The well-determined and well-defined architectural forms could enable the researcher to formulate a basic parameter, which could be used as a tool for evaluating its uniqueness or similarities vis-à-vis the architectural forms of ancestral houses in Vigan, Manila and Iloilo that were also built during the same period. The study used historical, descriptive and analytical methods of research. In determining the architectural forms of existing ancestral houses in places under study, sequence of investigations were employed using documentary research, field and measured survey and open-ended interview. The documentary research included actual measurement of existing ancestral houses in order to produce documentary evidence of the project. The measured survey aimed towards producing not just the floor layout of every house identified but also included all exterior and interior elevations and important details. The field survey included recording of data to describe the present features and conditions of every ancestral house in the places under study. The approach employed the descriptive method based on ocular inspection and thorough assessment of the house plan configurations, exterior and interior elements and other details. A comprehensive photographic survey was conducted in order to establish the main visual and architectural field evidence of every house. To better understand the history of each house and to determine the possible changes that are initiated, open-ended interviews were conducted. Historical method was employed and included data mining of important archival documents such as plans, maps, photographs and other documents. Gathering of building plans as submitted by the building owner for permit purposes during the Spanish period were vital document especially

for non-existing buildings in the districts of Manila. For Albay, eight houseswere examined and analyzed. These houses have not undergone major changes both in the interior and the exterior fabric. They were built from 1880 to 1920 and utilized similar construction technology and materials. They were also considered the best examples of the remaining ancestral houses in the municipalities where they were located. These are the houses of Manalang-Gloria, Nuyda, Buenaventura, Jaucian-Lopez, Nolasco, Gonzales, Moyo and an unidentified house. To determine their uniqueness and/or similarities in the architectural forms, the houses in Albay were tabulated and analyzed together with a number of reference houses. These reference houses were the ancestral houses found in Vigan, Manila, and Iloilo built from 1880-1900. There were four reference houses from Vigan, 11 from Iloilo, and 51 reference houses from Manila that were obtained in the Philippine National Archives. The weight of this study was focused on the major components of the architectural forms classified as spatial elements and exterior elements. For spatial elements, the samples were graphically placed in tables in two main groups as plan configuration and spaces location. These groups consisted of the following sub-headings: • Plan Configuration: basic layout (square, rectangular, irregular shape), hierarchy of living spaces (evident, not evident), area of living spaces at upper floor (less than 100 sqm, 100-200 sqm, 200-300 sqm, more than 300 sqm), utilization of ground spaces (drop-off and service area, drop-off and living areas, rentable living spaces, rentable commercial spaces), number of bedrooms (one, two, three, four, more than four). • Bases of Spaces Location: main entrance (sun orientation, adjoining street/roads, wind path, scenic views, none), grand stair (lower floor focal point, sun orientation, proximity and relationship with main entrance, scenic views, none), living room (sun orientation, adjoining street/road, wind path, scenic views, none), sleeping area (sun orientation, adjoining street/ road, wind path, scenic views, none) However, much of the analysis for the spatial elements was done through the method of configurational analysis rather than by relying on the tabulated data. This configurational method provided a clear and accurate transcription of the house plan that were the subject of this study that cannot be shown using the tabulation. Particular to these were the spaces in every house, how they

were connected and sequenced, which activities went together and which were separated out. The result of transcribing each house plan was a justified-access graph that was used in the analysis of the spatial elements. For exterior elements, the samples were tabulated into two main groups as general characteristics and façade elements. These groups consisted of the following sub-headings: • General Characteristics: symmetry, horizontal wall division (four, five, six seven, eight) • Façade Elements: main entrance (square, triangular, semi-circular, semi-circular with keystone, segmental, Tudor), windows at lower level (square, triangular, semi-circular, semi-circular with keystone, segmental, Tudor), windows at upper level (checkerboard, horizontal louvered, diagonal, panel with glass, checkerboard with solid panel, solid panel), ventanillas (vertical balustrade, solid panel, ornamental grille, span [entire façade, window opening, central portion]), transom or “espejo” (checkerboard, ornamental grille, diagonal, checkerboard with louvered, horizontal louvered, oval-shaped with checkerboard, rectangular [solid panel, tracery, glass panel], span [entire façade, window opening, central portion]), ornaments (brackets, decorative roof ridge, grille, colonnete at window, decorative eaves), others (volada, curve corner) The tables and the justified access graph were used to draw conclusions based on interpretations rather than the mathematical terms and ratios. SPATIAL ELEMENTS Hierarchy and Use of Space Based on the justified-access graph prepared for both houses subject to the study and the houses used as reference for comparison, Fil-Hispanic houses have common hierarchy of spaces that were applied and became a standard and/or house building practice during the period. This hierarchy is very evident in all the houses that are subject to this study including the houses that were built in Albay. The hierarchy begins with a space, at the ground level, notably called as zaguan. However, certain houses used the term vestibulo, pasillo, and salon resibidor in lieu of zaguan. The term pertains to a transition space or hallway between the main entrance and the grand stairs leading to the living spaces at the upper floor, or a vast area of space bounded by the lower floor’s perimeter wall where the carriages and processional floats are kept and



Figure 1 Justified-access graph of two houses in Albay showing hierarchy of spaces common to FilHispanic houses during the period

other materials are stored. In Albay, the ground space of the houses is seldom compartmentalized providing a spacious hall for various purposes to support the home industry of the time – the abaca. The demand in the abaca industry requires a space, throughout the year, for stripping, drying, reeling, and storing of abaca. Processing from raw materials to finished product is labor- and spaceintensive that cannot be done outside the house especially during the months of June to December where heavy rains and strong typhoons occur. The spacious hall of Albay’s houses are indeed very much ideal for the said purpose. In Vigan and Manila, the ground space is compartmentalized with spaces intended for specific purposes such as bodega, patio, cuadra, cochero, camarin, carruajes, cuarto de cochero, tiendas, and entresuelo. Entresuelo is a space used as an office or living space and is seldom on the same elevation with the other spaces at the ground floor. It is elevated to about a meter in height and is usually accessible from the grand stairs landing. The purpose of elevating the entresuelo, and for not using the entire ground space as habitable rooms, is the belief that the humidity within the ground space is not ideal for human health. However, not all residents in Manila believe in the unhealthy effect of living in the ground space. In the districts of Paco and Ermita, utilizing the ground space as a complete living unit is a common practice. This was reflected in the houses of I. Tanbunting (1892) and Y. Alberto (1897) in Paco and L. Peña (1892) and Domingo Peñabella (1891) in Ermita. From the zaguan, the inhabitants are led to the grand stairs towards the living spaces located at the second floor. The basic requirement on the location of the stairs shows that it needs to be close to the main entrance, adjoining the street or the road. In Albay, stairs are commonly situated at the left side of the ‘house owner’ as he stands at


es pa syo

Figure 2 Justified-access graph showing three spaces connected in the caida of Manalang-Gloria house in Albay and five spaces for V. Cayugan in Binondo.

the main entrance to his dwelling, welcoming his guests. In Vigan, it is entirely the opposite wherein grand stairs are commonly in the right portion. In Manila, there is no specific consideration with regards to the location of the stairs. They are either placed on the left, center, or right side. The space immediately after the grand stairs is the caida. It serves as the transition space between the lower floor and the upper living spaces. In some houses in Manila, an antesala instead of a caida, serves the same purpose. In Albay, there are three main spaces that are adjacent and accessible to the caida. These are the sala or living room, comedor or dining room, and in some cases, the cuartos or bedrooms. In Vigan, aside from sala, comedor and cuartos, the azotea and cocina are also connected to the caida, providing a total of accessible spaces. In Manila, houses either have three spaces connected to the caida like Albay or five spaces, similar to the houses in Vigan. From the plans analyzed, living and sleeping spaces are put together while sleeping and cooking areas are kept apart. The sala and cuartos are not only adjacent to each other but are closely connected since bedroom doors are located in the sala. This is common of the houses in Albay and also of the houses in Manila. In Vigan, and in some houses in the districts of Binondo and Tondo, the sala is located at the center either between two bedrooms or flanked by four bedrooms. One particular house has this type of layout in Albay, the Manalang-Gloria house. The sala, being at the center, shows that it is the focus of the family activity. It provides a protected play space for children, a valuable work area, a private space especially for females of the family, a gathering place for social intercourse, and a cool, safe, and well-ventilated sleeping space in hot weather. During family festivities and celebrations wherein the sala is open to the community,

the sala also becomes the focus of public display of family’s status. Another common consideration for the sala is that it is located in an area of the house facing the street or road. In the past, where media entertainment was not yet available, the street provided every possible entertainment to the inhabitants. It was in the sala that every member of the family witnessed every activity that took place in the street, from observation of a simple yet enjoyable child’s play and adult recreation to a much anticipated and joyous cultural festivity.

Other spaces connected to the caida are intended for eating, cooking and for personal hygiene. These spaces are kept apart from sleeping areas and are usually placed at the farthest part of the house – especially for the baño (bath) and latrina (toilet) which are the end-point space of every Fil-Hispanic house. The hierarchy begins with the comedor that is attached to the caida, then from comedor, the kitchen follows. In Vigan, the comedor is not a defined space but a part of the spacious caida. The bath and toilet in Fil-Hispanic houses are placed either in a cocina or in an azotea. In Albay, it is commonly connected to or a part of the kitchen, similarly with the houses in the districts of Paco, Ermita, Sta. Cruz, and Tondo. For Vigan and the districts of Binondo, the bath and the toilet are parts of or connected to the azotea. The main purpose of connecting the toilet in the cocina is that ashes from the kitchen are sprinkled over the excrement to eliminate its smell. Both toilet and bath are small spaces that are intended primarily for personal hygiene. However, in the case of azotea, this is a spacious open area intended for other household purposes such as washing of clothes, storage, etc. In Albay, the views from azotea and the sunrise offer a wonderful place for a morning breakfast.

Connected to the sala, and sometimes to the caida, are the cuartos. In Albay, most houses have only two bedrooms except for the Manalang-Gloria house, which has about five bedrooms. The bedrooms have only one access and that is through a single door, opening to the sala or the caida. However, in the Manalang-Gloria house, each bedroom has two access doors – one opening to the sala and the other one to the adjacent bedroom. This layout offers greater privacy to the bedroom especially during times where social gatherings take place in the sala. The layout of the bedrooms in Manalang-Gloria house, with two access doors, is common in the houses in Vigan and also in the districts of Binondo and Ermita in Manila. Also, bedrooms in Albay do not follow solar orientation in its placement. It can be oriented in both east and west, like the houses of Nuyda and Manalang-Gloria, or south and north like the houses of Buenaventura and Locsin, respectively. Solutions to avoid direct sun exposure, especially the afternoon sun, are emphasized on the type of windows used for the room. In the Manalang-Gloria house, persiana are used as windows for west-oriented bedrooms while sliding capiz windows are placed for east-oriented bedrooms.

Sequencing and Room Positioning Based on the justified access graph, majority of the Fil-Hispanic houses in Albay have simple linear sequence of rooms which is also common among the houses in Manila, particularly in the districts of Sampaloc and San Miguel. In a linear sequence of space, every room is arranged in a linear order providing inhabitants a definite route within the house – passing a certain space before reaching the other spaces. The other room layout is the loop sequence where inhabitants have the

Figure 3 Justified-access graph of Lopez house in Albay showing linear a linear sequence of space

Figure 4 Justified-access graph of D. Singson house in Vigan showing loop sequence of space



choice of routes into and through the dwelling. The loop sequence is very common in the houses in Vigan and other districts of Manila, particularly in the districts of Binondo, Sta. Cruz, Tondo, Paco, San Nicholas, and Ermita. The loop sequence of space, however, occurs along the caida wherein major spaces such as living, sleeping, dining and cooking are connected. In Vigan and the districts of Sta. Cruz and Tondo, both sleeping and cooking spaces are arranged to have a loop circulation. In the districts of Binondo, Ermita and Paco, only the sleeping and living spaces are in a loop sequence. Aside from loop circulation, branching out of the major spaces occur along the caida. All the Fil-Hispanic houses analyzed, show such common pattern. The caida serves as the transition space between the grand stair and the major living spaces. The only notable difference regarding the spaces that branch out along caida is that in Albay and other districts of Manila, only two to three spaces branch out. In Vigan, the most common are four to five spaces. As to the number of space transition, the houses in Albay have an average of six transition spaces, almost similar to the houses in Manila which have between six and seven. In Vigan, it is less with about five transition spaces. Both the houses in Albay and in Vigan are bigger in terms of upper floor area than the houses in Manila, but both have less transition spaces. The reason for this is that the houses in Vigan are usually laid horizontally while in Manila, most of the houses are laid vertically. Houses in Vigan have wider building frontage as compared to the houses in Manila.

Table 1 The General Characteristics of the houses in Albay as compared with the houses in Binondo, Manila

FAÇADE ELEMENTS General Characteristics Symmetry The dominance of symmetry in the façade is apparent in the houses in Albay [see Table 1]. Symmetry is evident both horizontally and vertically and a common characteristic also of the houses in Vigan, Iloilo and in most districts in Manila [see Table 1]. The only places where symmetry is observed as not evident in the building façade are in the districts of Ermita and Binondo, especially for houses situated in a corner lot. The corner lot has a chamfer - a bevel or cant along the corner of the lot. In these areas, maximum utilization of spaces is prioritized. The form of building façade follows the shape of the lot resulting to a chamfer corner for houses situated in the corner of the block. The presence of chamfer in a corner lot of every block is very common in the districts of Manila. However, in other areas, a varied approach has


es pa syo

Table 2 The main entrance of the houses in Albay as compared with the main entrance in the houses of Ermita and San Miguel, Manila

been employed in order to avoid the chamfer corner and to maintain the symmetry of the façade. The house of Don Guillermo Lara (1891) uses the chamfer corner for its one-storey space with patio – similar to a pergola. Its roof treatment ignores the irregular shape of its walls and still follows the pyramidal hip roof. In Albay, the Manalang-Gloria house curves its corner in order to maintain its symmetry. In Vigan and Iloilo, chamfer corner is not common, resulting to a similar treatment of facade whether the lot is situated in the corner or not. Horizontal Division Another method of analyzing the characteristics of a structure is by determining the number of its horizontal divisions. For Fil-Hispanic houses, the main horizontal divisions are usually three. The first major division is at the lower level wall enclosure which is determined by the ground line and the upper wall finish line. In some houses, there are secondary divisions in the lower level wall due to the presence of decorative elements that create wall divisions. The second major wall division is the upper wall enclosure which, in most cases, are very evident due to the different material finish that are used as compared to the lower wall level. This second wall division is further divided, depending on the presence of horizontal bands, ventanillas, windows, and espejo. The last major division is the roof covering which is either a hip or gable in profile. All the houses in Albay subject to this study are consistent in having six horizontal divisions [see Table 1]. Majority has a single wall division for its lower floor and roof covering while the upper floor has either three or four divisions. It clearly shows the simplicity of the houses in Albay due to the absence of any decorative horizontal elements in both walls and roof structure. All the houses in Albay also share the same materials for both lower and upper wall enclosures. The lower floor uses volcanic stones plastered with lime mortar while the upper floor uses wood panel and frames. Houses in Manila, Iloilo and Vigan are not as consistent as in Albay in terms of their horizontal wall divisions. The divisions range between five to eight and are usually dependent on the location. In the district of Binondo, the common horizontal divisions range between five and seven [see Table 1]. The number increases for those houses located outside Binondo wherein the most common horizontal division is eight due to the presence of additional decorative elements. Compared to Albay, there are additional plinths at the lower wall for the houses in Manila. Aside from this, there is also an additional dripstone at the upper floor and decorative eaves at the roof covering. This shows that the houses in most of the districts in Manila are more ornate than the houses in Albay.

For Vigan, the common horizontal divisions are between five and six and both lower and upper floor use the same materials - plastered bricks. Although the horizontal division is much less, Vigan houses do not share the simplicity of the houses in the district of Binondo and Albay. This is because of the presence of the multiple lines that are very transparent between the upper and the lower floors which are part of either the capital of the pilasters or the dripstone below the balustrade. Aside from this, Vigan houses use brick tiles with horizontal profiles for the roof covering compared to the galvanized sheet materials used in Albay and Binondo. Façade Elements Main Entrance With the exception of the houses in the districts of Binondo and Sta. Cruz, most of the houses in the other districts of Manila, Iloilo and Albay utilize the simple square header entrance [see Table 2]. What differs in the treatment of this header is the addition or absence of a decorative moulding. Aside from the square header, the semi-circular type is also used in Albay’s houses particularly at the Nuyda and Manalang-Gloria houses. In Manila, the use of a semi-circular type was only observed in the house of Don Manuel Sotoico (1892) in Binondo. Aside from this, no other house in any district in Manila used this type of design for their entrance. Windows (Lower Level) On the aspects of the type of windows that are used for the lower floor, the houses of Albay use the same type of windows common to almost all houses in Manila and Iloilo. This is the square shape window [see Table 3]. The only house that uses a semi-circular type is located in the district of Binondo. For the segmental type that is very common for the houses in Vigan, only one house in Ermita is observed to have used the said type. Although common in its basic form, there are differences in terms of the decorative metal grille that are attached to the square type window. The use of window grille was really a must during the Spanish period since this was one of the effective means of protecting the ground level from intruders. It was observed that the design of the grille does not follow a certain pattern but more of the preference of the owners. In Albay, for example, almost every house differs in the design of the window grille. The houses of Nolasco and Nuyda use vertical plain circular bars that are evenly spaced from each other while the Manalang-Gloria house employs a combination of wood louvers and square wood that are evenly spaced vertically. For the house of Moyo, a more ornamental grille is used. For the houses in the districts of Manila and



Figure 5 The horizontal division of Burgos house in Vigan [Fernandez]

Table 3 Lower level windows of the houses in Albay as compared with the lower level windows of the houses in Binondo

Iloilo, same observation is noted. No particular design is common to a certain district. Windows (Upper Level) For the windows at the upper level, the most common in almost every house in Manila, Vigan and Iloilo is the checkerboard pattern. This type of window was also common in the houses in Albay. If there are variations, such are usually on the addition of a solid panel at the lower part of the window and the arrangement of the wood strips that serve as the frames of the capiz panes. The common arrangement of the wood strip is either vertical or diagonal. For the capiz panes, these serve as the glass of the windows that block strong winds and rains from entering the house while allowing daylight to pass through and give light to the interior of the house. Four houses in Albay use the checkerboard pattern without a solid panel while the rest use the combination of a checkerboard and a solid panel. These four houses that use the checkerboard pattern were built during the late 1800s while those that use solid panels were built during 1920s. The use of a solid panel increases the durability of the window since it strengthens the base of the window and reduces the area of the capiz panes. Aside from these, the houses that were built in the late 1800s have window openings of about 2.50 meters while those that were built in the 1920s have an opening of about 1.60 meters. It seems


es pa syo

that the windows of the 1920 houses are the result of the environmental adaptation that aim towards limiting any damage, not only to the property but more especially to the occupants of the house in the event that a strong or heavy typhoon occurred. Prior to 1920, strong typhoons were recorded to have devastated the province of Albay which resulted to the decline of the production of abaca and other important export commodities. Almost all the houses in Albay, except Nuyda’s house, use the vertically- placed wood strip for the capiz panes. For Nuyda’s house, a diagonally arranged capiz pane wood strip is used. It seems that this is common for windows in the community where Nuyda’s house is located since the remaining houses, including the church’s convent that were built in the same period have this type of window treatment. In the case of Manalang-Gloria house, an additional louvered panel or persiana is used aside from the checkerboard pattern window of capiz panes. This louvered panel is strategically placed along the eastern and western sections of the house in order to prevent direct exposure of the bedrooms to sunlight and strong winds. For the northern and southern portion of the house, only checkerboard capiz windows were installed. It seems that this approach is also a clear adaptation to the environmental condition of the Province of Albay although evident only in this particular house.

Figure 6 The checkerboard pattern, a common type of windows not only in the houses in Manila, Vigan, Iloilo but also in Albay [Fernandez]

Figure 7 Ninebeth Gonzales house, a 1920 house with much narrow window opening as compared with the Spanish period houses in Albay. Although located on higher ground and open to wind path, the house survived one of the strongest typhoons in 2006 - super typhoon Reming

For the houses in Iloilo and some districts of Manila, the use of solid panel of glass is also common aside from the checkerboard pattern with capiz panes. The checkerboard pattern window is extensively used in the district of Binondo while the solid panel of glass, called espejong kristal, is common in the districts of Sampaloc and Ermita.

were also houses with window opening at a very short span of about 2.00 meters and an unusual 4.00 meters. No house that is part of this study has a window opening of less than 2.00 meters or more than 4.00 meters.

However, more important than the window pattern is the window itself and its span or opening. In both subject and reference houses, it was observed that windows are an important spatial and external element. There is no particular space in every house that is not provided with windows. Every room has its own windows whether this is directly or indirectly exposed to sunlight. Aside from this, the width of the window opening does not follow a certain rule in relation to the space it serves. The width of the window is typical in every space and what differs is its number due to the grandness or smallness of a space. The use of windows provide varied purposes in every house. It provides a view of both the inside and outside environment; it provides access to natural air and light; and it is also a protection in harsh climates. The span of the windows common in every house built during the Spanish period suggests that views and access to natural air and light were the determining factors. The span of the window openings of houses in Manila were usually between 2.50 to 3.00 meters. However, there

The districts in Manila with window openings between 2.00 to 2.50 meters are Sta. Cruz, Sampaloc, and Ermita. The 2.50 meters opening is also common among the houses in Albay. In an area that is much more commercialized, the width of the window openings vary between 2.00 to 4.00 meters, as in the case of the district of Binondo. In Iloilo, the most common window opening is 1.20 to 1.50 meters, almost similar to the window opening of the 1920’s houses in Albay. The wider span of window openings suggests a wider access to a particular view and a wider access to natural air and light. And in a period where electricity, air-conditioning and entertainment provided by computers, television and other media are not yet available, provision for appropriate windows is a basic requirement. For views, the large windows allow everything into the room at all points. A person can see more or less the same vista regardless of his or her position in the room compared a small window which provides different views of the outside as the person moves in a room. Along with view, large windows can provide greater access to natural light and ventilation. Most of the houses that were built during the peri-



od have operable sliding windows. These operable sliding windows allow ventilation when a person wants or needs it. And in the case of exposure to sunlight, the small capiz panes and persiana provide the excellent solutions for low-angle sunlight during sunrise and sunset. The wide overhangs and media agua control the high midday sun. The span of window openings that range from 3.50 to 4.00 meters also suggests that, given an opportunity, the building owners prefer much wider windows for their houses. This was, however, restricted by the difficulty of operating a large number of sliding window panels. Aside from this, the width of the window sill or pasamano must be wide and strong enough to carry the numerous sliding window panels. Another decorative window element common to almost all houses in the districts of Manila is the use of the colonnete at the center of every window opening. However, this decorative feature is not common among the houses in Albay though it has a decorative and functional purpose. Ventanillas Another important façade element introduced in Fil-Hispanic houses is the ventanillas. Informa-

tion regarding its first use was not clear since this element was not part of the traditional nipa hut or the traditional Chinese dwelling in the tropics. Located just below the windows, ventanillas serve the purpose of providing additional ventilation to the house thereby cooling its interior. There are two components in a ventanilla: the operable door and the decorative protective enclosure. The operable door is a solid panel which can be opened either by sliding or swinging the door. The most common in almost all existing Fil-Hispanic houses is the sliding door, similar to the windows, since this does not require metal hardware mechanism, only grooves at the base of the sill. For the decorative protective enclosure, the material is either wood baluster or ornamental metal grille. This part of the ventanilla allows air to enter the interior of the house while concealing or protecting its opening. In Albay, the most common decorative enclosure is the wood baluster, spanning the window opening only [see Table 4]. This treatment can also be found in the houses in the districts of Sta. Cruz, Ermita, and San Miguel. In San Miguel, however, ventanillas occupy only the central portion of the window opening, not the entire span or opening of

Table 4 The ventanillas of the houses in Albay as compared with the ventanillas in the houses of Ermita and San Miguel, Manila

Figure 8 The espejo of the houses in Albay is the checkerboard capiz pane, similar to the window panels


es pa syo

the window. In Vigan and the district of Binondo, the most common decorative enclosure for the ventanillas is the ornamental metal grille. The span is generally similar to the span of the window opening. In Iloilo, both the use of the wood baluster and the ornamental metal grille can be seen predominantly in the houses. It occupies also the same span as the windows. However, there are also a number of houses in Iloilo that were observed not having a ventanilla or only used a ventanilla infront of the house. Transom (Espejo) Another interesting element of the wall enclosure of the Fil-Hispanic houses is the espejo or transom. This element is located just above the window and functions similarly to the ventanillas, which is to provide either additional source of natural ventilation or lights to the interior. The material of this element varies since it can be of the same design and materials as the windows, or have similar design and material as the ventanilla, or of different materials and style. The most common are the checkerboard capiz pane, persiana, or solid panel with decorative fretwork. The checkerboard capiz pane serves as a fixed source of natural light while the persiana and panel with decorative fretwork provide natural ventilation. In Albay, the most common is the checkerboard capiz pane similar to the window panels. There are also cases wherein both capiz pane and persiana are used alternately for the espejo. This is in the case of the house of Gonzalez. Regarding the span, this is similar to the window opening and the ventanillas. However, there are two houses in Albay that have espejos wrapped around the house. These houses are the Manalang-Gloria and the Gonzales. This continuous application of espejo is also common in the districts of Ermita and San Miguel. In other districts of Manila, the espejo are located only above the window and with width similar to the opening of the window. In Iloilo, the espejo is not very common. There is a space provided above the window but this is an extension of the wall paneling and not an element that could provide natural light or ventilation. The wall panel is painted with decorative motif similar to the design used in the wall panels. Ornaments All people have the instinct to decorate their surroundings including the houses in particular (Alexander, 1977). In the country, decorations or ornaments were already widely used by various ethnic groups even before the Spanish colonization. The ornaments were used not only for houses, but also as personal accessories such as clothes, jewelries, swords, etc. These ornaments were even printed in their bodies, in the form of tattoos, like for the people in the Cordilleras and

some ethnic groups in Mindanao. And these ornaments were commonly used to show the status of the family – particularly the economic wealth. For the Spanish period houses, it was observed that the ornaments were commonly integrated both inside and outside of these houses. Within the house, the ornaments can be noticed in the grand staircase, entrance arch, wall division, door panel and transom, ceiling, etc. For the exterior of the house, ornaments can be seen in the main entrance and door panels, windows, column capital, corner wall, roof ridge, balusters, brackets, etc. [Fig. 9]. In the houses subject to this study, the Fil-Hispanic houses in Iloilo were observed to be the most ornate, both inside and outside the structure [Fig. 9]. The ornaments were applied in almost all elements such as the column, wall, door, window, partition, staircase, arch, and roof. In Vigan, minimal application of ornaments can be observed in the exterior walls. These are applied inside the buildings, notably in the staircase, arches, partitions, doors and transom and furniture. It seems that the grandness of the house and the status of the family is not for public display but reserved only for invited guests of the family. In Manila, the districts of San Miguel, Paco, Sampaloc, and Intramuros were observed to have the ornaments in the exterior elements. However, since the archival documents did not contain information regarding the ornaments within the building, it is quite difficult to conclude whether ornaments were used or not in the houses of Manila. In Albay, ornaments were limited to small and almost unnoticed portions of the houses. In the Buenaventura house, decorative ancones were installed at the corner of the house below the window sill. For the Jaucian-Lopez house, the end of the projecting beam of the volada provided the ornament of the house [Fig. 10]. And for the houses in Camalig, Albay, biscuit decoration was used in the exterior panels. The houses in Albay are so simple and seem to be built primarily for the purpose of providing human habitation and not to showcase the economic status of the family. The simplicity of the houses can be attributed to the simplicity in life of the Albayanos that, during the Spanish period, was the subject of complaint by the religious leaders and even foreign travelers. According to Joaquin Martinez de Zuñiga, a French traveler who visited Albay in 1800: The soil in Albay is mountainous but there are big level tracts along the coasts where enough rice could be planted to maintain a population bigger than what inhabit this archipelago. Much abaca is raised, plenty of coconut oil is obtained, and wheat, vegetables, cotton, black pepper, coffee, cocoa and all other products commonly raised in these islands thrive here, as I



Figure 8 The espejo of the houses in Albay is the checkerboard capiz pane, similar to the window panels

have discussed many times before, if only the natives would dedicate themselves to cultivating them. But since they are contented with only raising their rice and since they have few needs, they dedicate so little to the encouragement of all these industries, preferring idleness to wealth (Zuñiga).

Similar observation was also noticed by the Franciscan missionaries, who were entrusted with the province, after their programs regarding cultivation of abaca failed. The Franciscan, particularly Fray Francisco Espallargas, conducted a series of successful experiments on abaca fiber in 1656. These findings on proper cultivation, raising, making of ropes and weaving of cloth were taught to the people; however, “enthusiasm did not last long and things returned to the former conditions. They, obviously, had no interest in exporting” (Fernandez). Another comment is from Bishop Isidro Arevalo stating that, “Bicolanos refused to work, even if they were dying of hunger – they contented themselves in living on roots and shrimps which they found abundantly in water” (Arevalo). This simplicity of the Bicolanos in general (including the Albayanos) is also evident in the civic building of every town. According to Luis Nee of the Malaspina expedition during his visit in the settlement of Nueva Caceres (now Naga City) in 1792: The capital of the province of Camarines, the Nueva Caceres, hardly looks like a pueblo. It consists of a disorderly group of small nipa huts in the midst of which is the Cathedral, Episcopal Palace, Casa Real and Seminary, partly constructed in stone, stand (Mallari).


es pa syo

Figure 8 The espejo of the houses in Albay is the checkerboard capiz pane, similar to the window panels

In Albay, similar conditions of civic buildings were observed by Juan Alvarez Guerra, a traveler which later became the leader of the town. Despite of being an important and rich province, Albay’s civic buildings “are ramshackle of wood and stone with nipa and galvanized roofing (Guerra).” The simplicity of the Albayanos might probably have been due to the following factors: the religious upbringing by the missionary and the geographical conditions of the place. On the first factor, the Albayanos were under the custody of the Franciscan Order which are also known for their simplicity in life and deep concerns for the people, especially the needy. The Franciscans, from the time they handled the religious formations of the people in Albay and the smooth transfer of the church custody to the secular after the defeat of Spain, have no record of religious conflict or abuses in the province. The second factor, Albay is very rich in terms of its natural resources. This was primary due to the favorable climate and fertility of its soil. Such conditions, most probably, resulted to inefficient labor because people did not need to exert so much effort in order to produce their necessities. They simply needed to work a little and immediately they could produce enough to meet their needs and provide little luxuries.

CONCLUSION The Province of Albay has been blest with a wonderful landscape and bountiful natural resources. At one point in the history of the province, these blessings have transformed Albay into one of the prosperous provinces in the country. Although this economic prosperity was not sustained, it had

been an instrument for the people of Albay to be introduced to a type of dwelling that is adapted to its surrounding and environment, not only as a response to economic, social, and political conditions. The Fil-Hispanic houses in Albay do not possess a style that is regionally distinct and regionally understood, like the houses in Vigan. Its architectural forms are similar to the houses in Manila and Iloilo that were built during the same period. However, despite these similarities, there are also distinct elements which could be seen by looking closely at these houses. One of these is its simplicity, reflecting the simple way of life of every Albayano that has been brought about by the teachings of the Franciscan missionaries and the abundance of the place itself. It was a common observation by outsiders (Spanish officials, priests, travelers) that Albayanos were indolent, preferring idleness rather than gaining material wealth. The fact is, due to the abundance of the place, it required only little effort for the Albayanos to produce enough to meet their needs and provide little luxuries. Second is that houses in Albay are adapted to its environment – able to withstand the natural calamities particular in the place. This is reflected in the 1920 houses that sustained the 2006 super typhoons that devastated Albay. Third, the houses in Albay epitomize a sense of autonomy and freedom, particularly during the period wherein freedom and democracy were not fully enjoyed by the people. This character is reflected in the setting of these houses – built in relation with the landscape and with wonderful views from it.

Harris, C. (2006). Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. The Mc-Graw Hill Companies, Inc., USA Heath, K. (2009). Vernacular Architecture and Regional Design: cultural process and environmental response. Architectural Press, Oxford Ipekoglu, B. (2006). An architectural evaluation method for conservation of traditional dwellings. Building and Environment 41, 386–394. Knapp, R. (1989). China’s Vernacular Architecture: house form and culture. University of Hawaii Press King, A. (2004). Spaces of Global Culture: Architecture, Urbanism, Identity. Routledge, NY Macleod, WS. (1910). “Hemp: an important Philippine product”. The Manila Times, Investors and Settlers Edition, 17 Manalo, M. (2002). “Balay: The Ibero-Filipino House in the Urban Context of Vigan.” First International Congress on Fil-Hispanic Architecture. Manila. 27-29 Nov., 2002 Marin, V., OP. (1901), Synthesis de un ensayo de los trabajos realizados por las corporaciones religiosas de Filipinas. Manila, pp. 361 Martinez de Zuñiga, J. (_____). Status of the Philippine Islands in 1800. ________________________, pp. 425 Noble, A. (2007). Traditional Buildings: a global survey of structural forms and cultural functions. I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., NY Owen, N. (1999). The Bicol Blend: Bicolanos and their History. “Abaca in Kabikolan: Prosperity without progress.” New Day Publishing, Quezon City, pp. 70-71 Perez III, R. (2002). “Spanish? Filipino? Fil-Hispanic?” First International Congress on Fil-Hispanic Architecture. Manila. 27-29 Nov., 2002 Pfeifer, G. and Brauneck, P. (2008). Courtyard Houses: a housing typology. Birkhäuser Verlag AG, Germany _______ and _________ (2010). Freestanding Houses: a housing typology. Birkhäuser Verlag AG, Germany Porter, T. (2004). Archispeak: an illustrated guide to architectural terms. Spon Press, London Report of the Philippine Commission. Report of the Provincial Governor of Albay, P.I.: Arlington U. Betts, December 31, 1902. pp. 738 Sa söz, A. et al (2006) Influences of different ages and cultures on each other from architectural point of view: Examination of historical buildings in Trabzon/Turkiye. Building and Environment 41, 45–59. Saleh, M. (2001). Environmental cognition in the vernacular landscape: assessing the aesthetic quality of Al-Alkhalaf village, Southwestern Saudi Arabia. Building and Environment 36, 965–979.

REFERENCES Conway, H. and Roenisch R. Understanding Architecture: introduction to architecture and architectural history. Routledge, Oxford, 2005, pp. 171

_______, __. (2001). The decline vs. the rise of architectural and urban forms in the vernacular villages of southwest Saudi Arabia. Building and Environment 36, 89-107.

Dincyurek, O. and Turker, O. (2007). Learning from traditional built environment of Cyprus: Re-interpretation of the contextual values. Building and Environment 42, 3384–3392.

Sudjic, D. (1999). Home: the twentieth-century house. Laurence King Publishing, London

Gerona, D. (1999). Abaca Industry in Bicol in the 19th Century: Camarines by Vicor River. Office of the Governor, Provincial Government of Camarines Sur, Philippines. pp. 89, 98-99

Turalba, C. (2002). “Documentation of the Bahay na Bato of the Hispanic Period.” First International Congress on Fil-Hispanic Architecture. Manila. 27-29 Nov., 2002

Gleeck, L. Jr. (_____). Albay in American Times (I). American Historical Collection, pp 14

Tweed, C. and Sutherland, M. (2007). Built cultural heritage and sustainable urban development. Landscape and Urban Planning 83, 62–69.

Goddard, L. (1910). “Albay Province.” The Manila Times. Investors and Settlers Edition, 61 Günce K. et. al (2008). Questioning the ‘ prototype dwellings’’ in the framework of Cyprus traditional architecture. Building and Environment 43, 823–833.

Villalon, A. (2001). Lugar: Essays on Philippine Heritage and Architecture. The Bookmark, Inc., Makati City Zialcita, F. and Tinio, Jr. M. (2006). Philippine Ancestral Houses. GCF Books, Quezon City




es pa syo

Buhay Chinoy, Bahay Chinoy: A study on Religious Acculturation in Contemporary Filipino-Chinese Homes KRISTINE ANN A. MUÑOZ and CATHERINE C. REODIQUE Kristine Ann A. Muñoz is an interior designer who received her degree from the University of the Philippines. She has written extensively on design and architecture for various publications and is currently a lecturer at the Mapua Institute of Technology. Catherine C. Reodique is a freelance interior designer and full-time interior design teacher for almost eight years. As an Interior Designer, she has experience in residential, commercial and corporate design. She is currently assistant professor at the Mapua Institute of Technology. She received her Master of Interior Design degree from the University of the Philippines where she also took her undergraduate studies.

ABSTRACT As a country that has endured centuries of colonization, the concepts of assimilation and acculturation are always relevant within the historical and cultural context of the Philippines. This paper explores the effects of how contemporary Filipino-Chinese acculturation have expressed themselves in the observance and practice of religious syncretism in their homes through the usage of religious artifacts and paraphernalia, altar configuration and location, and its possible socio-cultural implications.

INTRODUCTION Architecture and design never exist in a vacuum, but are bound to the context in which it was born into. From form to spatial use, structures and spaces are impregnated with meaning and are not merely empty, neutral vessels. This implies that the built environment is but one of the tangible expressions and elaborations of a society reflecting its priorities and values, and becoming the nexus between the abstract and material world. That being said, a chair is never just a chair, and a door is never just a door, they can be bearers and signifiers of status, of power. In the same manner, spaces have volatility to them, and more than just fulfilling its intended purpose, it becomes the “theater of action” where society plays out its organization and customs, and where beliefs and taboos are enacted or prohibited.[1](Ardener 2006) On the basic level, however, produced space may well be the mechanism by which its users and inhabitants can create or at the very least reflect their sense of individual self. This desire to establish identity is one that we know all too well. It is a real motivation to personalize the spaces

we occupy—our homes, offices, and cubbyholes. In this respect, produced space undergoes a process of signification, becoming both object and medium, and communicating to the whole world who we are and how we live. But if produced space is indeed a close and direct link to our sense of self, by that logic, it can also serve to link us to a larger group or society and thereby creating an identity and a sense of belonging. In a homogenous society, this may take on a relatively static character. Forms and spatial practice may very well remain unchanging and constant reinforcing and perpetuating an established identity. It is in the introduction of differing and sometimes dissenting influences that will invariably shift the balance and the static nature of space production. Concepts of dominance, hegemony and power will find its way into the stir and consequently create an architecture and spatial distribution that reflects the tension and struggle to achieve legitimacy and authority.[2] Foucalt (1980) further emphasizes the real nature of power—as one that is exercised for the purpose of repression, and in so doing will always seek a mechanism to which it will be given concrete expression. [3] Within the historical context of the Philippines, the comings and going of dominant foreign cultures do we find such expressions of repression that would go beyond political and militaristic aggressions, but nevertheless establishes the strength and power of the colonizers. From large Baroque churches and the plaza complex town planning of the Spanish to Neoclassic civic architecture and colonial urban planning of the Americans, these architectural accomplishments are telling, and



have contributed to the subjugation of local and vernacular forms. It is not to say, however, that the process by which the Philippines have relinquished their architectural sovereignty, as it were, and have acculturated into these dominant cultures have been met with great resistance. If at all, Filipinos have showed much eagerness to accept and embrace the influences brought in by both Spanish and American Colonial rule. [4] It is within this thread of thinking that concepts of assimilation and acculturation become relevant points of study from an architectural and cultural standpoint. However, it is not this paper’s objective to explore the architectural manifestations of Filipinos’ acculturation during the Spanish and American Colonial periods but only to illustrate the power vis-à-vis architecture and design. It will divert its focus however on a minority group that have had long standing relations with the Philippines, namely the Ethnic Chinese, and how this contact have resulted to the group being acculturated to Philippine culture, which in this paper is assumed to be the dominant one, and find expressions of this acculturation through the apparent religious syncretism displayed in contemporary Filipino-Chinese homes. This paper aims to answer several points: How is religious acculturation manifested in contemporary Filipino Chinese homes, specific to altar display? In what aspects are they observed and practiced? And lastly, what are the socio-cultural implications to the methods of altar display? ACCULTURATION, COMMUNITY AND IDENTITY Acculturation has been, for the most part, accepted as that of “borrowing or the adoption of local language, the indigenization of names, the adaptation of cultural practices.” [5] On the other hand, this would primarily suggest that the process of acculturation is one-sided, and that the receiving culture does not in any way impinge itself onto the stronger and dominant culture. This definition has been refuted by many an anthropologist, and has been re-qualified to be that of a mutual nature, and well within the terms of what can be described as a cultural exchange, and which occurs more in a diachronic fashion. [6] The diachronic characteristic of Reynolds’ definition clearly requires a continuity of contact for a culture to acculturate to another’s. [7] This is further supported by Dozier (1971) when he cites duration and intensity of contact as crucial factors needed for acculturation, though other causal factors should be considered just as equally important. [8]


es pa syo

Given these factors, the degree to which the recipient culture is acculturated is categorized as either acceptant or resistant. In the case of the Filipinos, Reynolds describes the type of acculturation as acceptant, where the recipient culture views the dominant cultures, such as that of the Spanish and the Americans as more progressive and well adapted, and believing that the latter could bring innovation and improvement to existing conditions. As a consequence, the recipient culture shows more eagerness to embrace new ideas. [9] Receptivity to another’s culture, as implied here, is more or less aligned to that of the recipient culture’s priorities, whether it is a belief system or a set of social reforms, or to the extent that the new system reinforces or runs parallel or at the very least does not challenge current beliefs. [10] The level of acculturation for the Chinese people, on the other hand, has been tagged, in large part, as being resistant. Studies undertaken of overseas Chinese in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the United States document the limited receptivity of the Chinese people towards the country to which they have emigrated [11] (Freedman 2000) that could have also led to the difficulty of fully assimilating and integrating into the larger society. A number of research studies have attributed the Chinese’s partial adoption of local customs, religion, language and even nationality as the means to gain conveniences as members of the society with whom they have chosen to immerse. Alternatively, the Chinese have sought social integration through the localization and syncretization of certain traditional and religious concepts, even going as far as renovating Chinese temples to incorporate traditional Chinese architectural elements, such roof styles to reflect the Chinese identity of a the local Buddhist sectors, as in the case of the Chinese in both Malaysia and Singapore. [12] The selectivity displayed by the Chinese brings to the fore a strong aspect of self-interest which translates to a position of significance and influence in society, economics and to a certain extent, politics.[13] This isn’t to say, of course, that Chinese religious traditions do not serve an individual’s spiritual and psychological need, but the communal functions of religion is also strongly hinted. [14] And the tenacity of the Chinese to preserve traditions and links with China, only furthers to solidify the sense of identity and community among members of the overseas Chinese and those from the motherland.

This brings us to the crux of the matter, which is essentially the notion of identity and community. In the case of the Chinese, their tendency to hold fast to traditional ways and their apparent clannishness is almost assumed a priori. Chinese proverbs such “fallen leaves return to their source”, or “when drinking water remember its source” have been used to simplify or explain this tendency of the Chinese,[15] though not too satisfactorily. But whether any real reason could be given at this point, the concept of community could serve as an explanation underlying this tendency.

worldviews on man and nature, values, and religion, which has influenced the way of thinking of the Filipino-Chinese. Jose Yu (2000) explained that within the polytheistic and animistic nature of Chinese religion, they believe that the world is composed of heaven, earth and man, and that these existences “mutually support each other in a harmonious relationship”. In heaven and on earth, sacred places are spread out where man can accomplish certain rituals to placate deities and spirits to maintain spiritual harmony. Failure to do so may cause misfortune and illness. [20]

In his book, “Imagined Communities”, Andersen (2003) attempts to find the ties that bind us, and which constitute a concept of nationhood even for the migrant people such as the Overseas Chinese:

Systems such as belief in geomancy (feng-shui), ancestor worship are but a few ways to achieve this oneness with the cosmos. Feng-shui, is commonly a method used to guarantee harmony among the different realms, and practiced in the construction and design construction of their houses, business, religious buildings and other structures, becoming quite the bane for some designers and architects. Feng shui, literally “wind” and “water” is based upon the five basic elements: fire, air, water, metal and earth. It is an attempt at interacting with the elements and the forces of nature to ensure a harmonious life on the planet. [21]

“Amor patrie does not differ, in this respect, from other affections, in which there is always an element of fond imagining. What the eye is to the lover—that particular, ordinary eye he or she is born with—language—whatever language history has made his or her mother-tongue—is to the patriot. Through that language, encountered at mother’s knee and parted with only at the grave, pasts are restored, fellowships are imagined, and futures dreamed.” [16]

Community, in this sense, transcends geographical boundaries and encompasses, but is not limited to a people’s history, language, religion, ethnicity and proximity. FILIPINO-SINO RELATIONS: AN OVERVIEW The state of Filipino-Chinese relations is one that it is long and complex as much as it has been arduous. At best, it is ambivalent. [17] And this is despite common historical knowledge that documents the two countries’ contact even before the first wave of colonizers came to the Philippines. Yet it was only during the 1970s that there had been any real attempt to fully integrate the Chinese socially and politically, through the government’s move for mass naturalization of Chinese residents in the Philippines. [18] With all this shared history, the Chinese still seems to stand at the periphery of Filipino society. Ang See’s survey presents the prevalent social imagery of the Chinese ranging from being clannish, refusing to marry Filipinos, and “unassimilable”—a belief perpetuated by the saying, “once a Chinese, always a Chinese”. [19] Yet for all these negative impressions and prejudices against the Ethnic Chinese and accusations of their inability to assimilate, it is interesting to note how they have successfully acculturated to Christianity here in the Philippines. To understand the success of their acculturation, it is logical and essential to review the Chinese

Another aspect is ancestor veneration or ancestor worship, which stems from the Confucian value of filial piety and, again, their belief on the afterlife. Respect, love, service and assistance to ancestors extend beyond death. Veneration is practiced during the dead ancestor’s funeral by burning paper money, paper houses, cars or other modes of transportation, and even servants to ensure that his or her soul is well provided for in the afterlife. On special occasions of the ancestor’s life such as the ancestor’s birthday, death anniversary or all soul’s day, veneration is manifested by offering food, drinks and other supplements to ancestral altars. But not only is ancestor worship a clear and direct expression of superstition, it has integrative functions for the Chinese family.[22] Yu also offers pragmatism and utilitarianism as part of the Chinese mentality as another factor to their acculturation. In their pursuit of success in family and business, they will resort to means that are feasible and effective that can be achieved in a practical and efficient manner. Religious beliefs and practices are found to be congruent with other aspects of life such as kinship, economics or politics. [23] This mentality rationalizes the rest of their beliefs and practices. [24] Jacques Amyot (1973) echoes Yu’s view and goes further by offering it as a possible for the unproblematic syncretism of both Filipino and Chinese religions, stating that the Chinese are openminded about religion and gave way to the reli-



gious pluralism of the Chinese. He explained that any religion is welcomed as “as long as it does not interfere with anyone.” [25] As early as the Ming Dynasty, many Chinese religious thinkers have encouraged the synchronization of the three great Chinese philosophies— Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. [26] They believe that these philosophies are one and they have combined the best practices from each philosophy in their daily lives. The conversion of an individual to a particular religious denomination was not expected to discontinue the observance and ways of the old religion. [27] Whatever can help them prosper in their earthly life is adopted. Thus, it is common for a FilipinoChinese businessman to have his office feng shuied before construction and renovation, and have a Catholic priest bless it on its opening day. A Chinese may also be a devotee of the Catholic Virgin Mary—alongside Ma-Tzu or other Chinese gods— because of a miracle or luck the saint has brought upon him. Syncretism was also facilitated by the parallelism between religions. Teresita Ang See (2004) observed similarities in the teachings of the Bible and the Confucian Analects on equality, love and brotherhood. [28] There are also similarities between deities and saints and the motives for seeking intercession from them. The Virgin Mary resembles the physical and dispositional characters of the Chinese goddess Ma-Tzu and Guan Yin. The Virgin of Caysasay was named when a fisherman drew out from the sea an image that looked like the Virgin Mother. Ma-Tzu, on the other hand, is Chinese goddess of the sea venerated by fishermen and seafarers. Guan Yin, the Chinese goddess of mercy is portrayed as a beautiful, gentle and radiant and is well loved by the people much like the Virgin Mary. [29] A distinctly unique practice of religious syncretism among Filipino-Chinese is the displaying and worshipping of religious artifacts and images from different faiths side by side. These are common not only in the home, but also in business establishments, and even in many Chinese temples. This phenomenon is credited to the permissive and pluralist nature of Filipino society unlike in other Asian countries such as Thailand or Malaysia. [30] RELIGIOUS SYNCRETISM IN THE FILIPINO-CHINESE HOME A survey to document displays of religious syncretism was conducted. Households and respondents chosen should be Filipino-Chinese and they should practice religions from two cultures: any Chinese ethnic religion and Catholicism.


es pa syo

A survey questionnaire filled out by the respondent was divided into three portions: 1) the profile of the respondent 2) profile and religious history of the household members 2) religious practices observed around the altars and in the home. Observation of the altar, its articles and its surrounding space was also conducted. In cases where actual observation was not possible or permissible, photos of the altar were requested from the respondent. The observation sheet gathered information on the type of altar and the physical characteristics of the altar, its articles and surrounding space. All the direct respondents are either second or third generation Chinese. In some cases, one or two members of the family, usually a parent or grandparent had originally hailed from China but all respondents claim that no direct link to China still exists. The household heads have all been converted to Christianity, specifically to Catholicism, but maintain that they still observe either Buddhist or Taoist traditions and customs. Reasons for conversion include marriage and other legal issues such requirements to their children’s education. Religious Chinese practices range from ancestor worship, attending services at the Chinese temple to burial practices were given as responses, although majority have stated that Christian holidays and even marriage ceremonies are observed by the family. Whether they consider themselves devout or nominal Christians, there is an almost unanimous consensus among the direct respondents that they no longer fully understand their parents’ religions and their practices nor do they fully believe in the truthfulness of the practices they observe such as ancestor worship. Observance and participation in these traditional customs were usually out of obligation and respect for their elders. One respondent even commented that he would follow his father’s bidding to place food offering at different parts of the house because there was nothing to lose anyway if he would do so. There were three types of altars observed in the respondents’ houses: 1) altar for Chinese deities; 2) altar for ancestor and 3) Catholic altar. The ancestral altar and Catholic altars were both present in most of the houses. Catholic altars were present in houses where one of the parents is baptized Catholic in infancy. Also of note is the choice for altar placements. A respondent with a single altar serving both Catholic and Chinese traditions are most likely to locate

Figure 1 Combined Catholic and Chinese altar situated in the living room adjacent to the main staircase and in direct view from the main entry

Figure 2 A rosary is wrapped around the urn holding the ashes of a deceased parent. Candles and incense form the basic items found in any Chinese altar

them in prominent areas such as the living room or dining room. Those respondents with separate altars—one for the Catholic faith, the other for the Buddhist faith—on the other hand, tend to keep the former out of sight, or at the very least, in a more quiet area such as the bedroom or near the bedroom. The Chinese altars, whether for the deity or for the ancestor, are located prominently in public areas. However, it is also important to point out that with respect to the location of Chinese altars, the orientations were in some instances consulted with a feng shui master to reveal the directions considered as most auspicious.

ity or an ancestor/s, and flowers. For combination Catholic and Chinese altars, it is not at all peculiar to find elements from the respective faiths to be placed side by side—a picture of an ancestor, the deceased parent, is placed below a certificate of Papal blessing. Catholic santos are found amidst Chinese incense holders and candles inscribed with Chinese good luck symbols. Meanwhile, clear distinctions between the Catholic and Chinese altars are made for those who have decided to keep the two separate.

Figure 2 A rosary is wrapped around the urn holding the ashes of a deceased parent. Candles and incense form the basic items found in any Chinese altar Altars range from a small ledge mounted on the wall to a cabinet type or specially constructed niche as shown in Fig.1. Sizes and type of altar are not considered of consequence since little activity revolves around the Chinese altars. Lighting of candles or the burning of incense, and food offering are the most commonly observed rituals. Figure 3 Example of a ledge altar mounted to the wall. Auspicious direction is a consideration in altar placement, in this case, the east That said, basic altar furnishing and accoutrement include candles, or in some cases, electric candles from China, incense holder, image of a de-

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Concepts about identity, ethnicity and community were always found to be pertinent with regards to the issues of acculturation, assimilation and cultural integration. Bulatao (1973) notes in his study of ethnic attitudes that ethnicity creates “primordial affinities which may be diluted and overlaid with specific role obligation and status identifications as one matures.” [31] The FilipinoChinese who aligned themselves with the Chinese community had done so not as a matter of race or ethnicity but because of the cultural attributes that have been passed on from one generation to the next regardless if there had been a continuous contact between these individuals, their families and China. [32] Direct respondents for this research were second and third generation Filipino-Chinese whose contact with China had been minimal, if not none at all. Yet they have maintained and observed tradi-



Figure 3 Example of a ledge altar mounted to the wall. Auspicious direction is a consideration in altar placement, in this case, the east

tional Chinese religious practices just as their ancestors have done so, even if it they themselves regard these observances as nothing more than outward displays for show. Practices include but are not limited to ancestor worship, lighting of candles, burning of incense and the employment of Chinese good luck symbols. Numerous studies have proposed that the practice of religious syncretism by the Filipino-Chinese is to a great extent a result of the pragmatic and pluralist nature of Chinese religions coupled with the permissiveness and somewhat pluralist tendencies of Filipino society. How this syncretization is manifest is achieved by means of altar display. For most of the households surveyed, one of the parents is of Chinese religion converted to Catholicism, the other one baptized Catholic as an infant. Most of them have Catholic and Chinese altars, or a combination altar. The households therefore observe many Catholic special days and traditions together with important Chinese traditions and holidays. They have done them so with an effortless and practical attitude. It is of interest to note that most of the respondents did not participate in many Chinese traditions publicly except for the performance of the Chinese burial. The altar display becomes a personal way to participate in and connect with the Chinese community. The choice of altar location among the observed houses is revealing and supports the proposition from Wyld (1995) that Chinese religion is the sin-


es pa syo

Figure 4 A Catholic altar replete with santos is placed separate from the family’s Chinese altar

gle most important aspect of their Chinese identity. Displaying the Chinese altars so prominently show their commitment to preserving their ethnic identity. Foucault (1980) stated that power relations are interwoven with other kinds of relations such as kinship, family, and production.[33]The strong, powerful influence of religion within the FilipinoChinese family and the means by which it manifests itself is more than a desire to establish the self to the larger community. In a society that sees and regards the Filipino-Chinese as a minority, acculturation or full assimilation is a kind of defeat, a surrender to the dominant culture’s call for homogeneity. The altar just as the rituals practiced around it is a schema of power and a refusal to disappear.


[26] Yu, J.B., 2000, p. 95

[1] Ardener, S., 2006, The Partition of Space, Intimus: Interior Design Theory Reader, Wiley-Academy (London) p.16

[27] Reynolds, I.H., 1965, p.273

[2] Lico, G., 2003, Edifice Complex: Power, Myth and Marcos State Architecture, Ateneo de Manila University Press (Quezon City), pp.6-9 [3] Foucault, M., 1980, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Writings 1972-1977. Patheon Books (New York) , p.89 [4] Concepts of Acculturation, Acculturation in the Philippines: Essays on Changing Societies, New Day Publishers (Quezon City) pp.25-26. Reynolds categorizes this type of acculturation as acceptant and unbalanced, as adoption of cultural attributes may have existed unilaterally. [5] Freedman, A., 2000, Political Participation ad Ethnic Minorities: Chinese Overseas in Malaysia, Indonesia and the United States, Routledge (London), p.23 [6] Reynolds, H., 1971 Concepts of Acculturation, Acculturation in the Philippines: Essays on Changing Societies, New Day Publishers(Quezon City), p. 23.

[28] See, T. A., 2004, Confucian and Other Cultural Traditions: Impact on the Ethnic Chinese Community in the Philippines. Kaisa para sa Kaunlaran (Manila), p. 147 [29] Go, B.J. , See, T.A., 1997, Religious Syncretism among the Chinese in the Philippines, Chinese in the Philippines: Problems and Perspectives, vol.I, Kaisa para sa Kaunlaran (Manila) pp.60-75 Apart from the Virgin of Caysasay, documented cases of parallel worship of the Nazarene of Capalongan and the employment of Catholic elements in Chinese temples exemplify the degree of religious syncretism expressed by the Filipino-Chinese. [30] Ibid., p.74 [31] Bulatao, R. A., 1973 Ethnic Attitudes in Five Philippine Cities” University of the Philippines (Quezon City), p.2 [32] Reynolds, I.H., 1965, p.83 [33] Foucault, M., 1980, p.p139-142

[7] Ibid., p.23


[8] Dozier, E. (1971) Patterns of Cultural changes which are Applicable to Missionary Work, Acculturation in the Philippines: Essays on Changing Societies. A Selection of Papers Presented at the Baguio Religious Conference from 1958-1968. New Day Publishers (Quezon City), pp.12-15 Factors Dozier enumerates are those that he purports as relevant to the study of religious acculturation across cultures. Demographics, ecology, rites of passage and even the character of the religion as learned in various missionary works from the Yaqui Indians to the people of the Cordillera.

Amyot, Jacques. The Manila Chinese. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1973.

[9] Op.cit., pp.26-27

Bulatao, Rodolfo A. “Ethnic Attitudes in Five Philippine Cities.” Department of Sociology, University of the Philippines, Quezon City, 1973.

[10] Reynolds, I.H., 1965, Acculturation of Chinese in Ilocos, Hartford Seminary Foundation (Ann Arbor) p.23 This is similar to Reynolds’ view in his study of acculturation of the Chinese in Ilocos that cultures can live interdependently with each other may continue to operate parallel to each other without being fully assimilated. [11] Freedman, A., pp. 25-27 [12] Chee-Beng, T., 2000, Localization, Transnational Relations and Chinese Religious Traditions, Intercultural Relations, Cultural Tranformation and Identity: The Ethnic Chninese, Kaisa (Manila), p. 285

Ardener, Shirley. “Partitions of Space.” In Intimus: Interior Design Theory Reader, by Juliana Preston and Mark Taylor, 16. London: Wiley and Sons, Ltd, 2006.

Chee-Beng, Tan. “Localization, Transnational Relations and Chinese Religious Traditions.” In Intercultural Relations, Cultural Tranformation and Identity: The Ethnic Chninese, edited by Teresita AngSee, 285. Manila, 2000. Dozier, Edward P. “Patterns of Cultural changes which are Applicable to Missionary Work.” Acculturation in the Philippines: Essays on Changing Societies. A Selection of Papers Presented at the Baguio Religious Conference from 1958-1968. Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1971. 15. Foucault, Michel. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Writings 1972-1977. Edited by Colin Gordon. New York, New York: Patheon Books, 1980.

[13] Freedman, A., p.30 [14] Chee Beng, T. p.289 [15] See, T. A., 1997 Integration and Identity: Social Change in the Post-WII Philippine Chinese Community, Chinese in the Philippines: Problems and Perspectives, Vol. I. Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran (Manila) p.1 [16] Andersen, B. 2003, Publishing(Pasig), p.154

Andersen, Benedict. Imagined Communities. Pasig: Anvil Publishing, 2003.




[17] Even a casual survey and perusal of paper and studies on Filipino-Sino relations would reveal the biases and racial prejudices that the Chinese and Filipino-Chinese have endured for centuries. For initial reading, Teresita Ang-See’s compilations of papers lengthily talk about this subject, discussing socio-economic, political issues that beset the Filipino-Chinese community. [18] See, T. A., 1997, The Ethnic Chinese as Filipinos, Chinese in the Philippines: Problems and Perspectives, Vol. II , Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran (Manila), pp. 29 [19] ibid., pp.38-39 [20] Yu, J. B., 2000, Inculturation of Filipino-Chinese Culture Mentality. Pontificia Universita Gregoriana (Rome), pp. 56-57 [21] ibid., pp.80-81. This way of thinking explains the importance of being surrounded in their homes and places of work and worship with images that are supposed to impart luck and prosperity. The color red, for example, a symbol for health and vitality, is used on many sacred objects and places and is worn on important gatherings [22] Reynolds, I.H., 1965, pp. 274-277 [23] ibid., p.273 [24] Amyot and other writers note that Christianity, particularly Catholicism, was accepted more for its social advantage more than for its spiritual significance, thereby making it one of the influential reasons for conversion. [25] Amyot, J., 1973, The Manila Chinese. Ateneo de Manila University Press (Quezon City), p.79

Freedman, Amy. Political Participation and Ethnic Minorities: Chinese Overseas in Malaysia, Indonesia and the US. London: Routledge, 2000. Go, Bon Juan, and Teresita Ang See. Religious Syncretism among the Chinese in the Philippines. Vol. I, in Chinese in the Philippines: Problems and Perspectives, by Teresita Ang-See, 60-75. Manila: Kaisa para sa Kaunlaran, 1997. Lico, Gerard. Edifice Complex: Power, Myth and Marcos State Architecture. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2003. Reynolds, Hubert. “Concepts of Acculturation.” Edited by Peter G Gowing and William Henry Scott. Acculturation in the Philippines: Essays on Changing Societies. Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1971. 21-32. Reynolds, Ira Hubert. “Acculturation of Chinese in Ilocos.” Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Hartford Seminary Foundation, Ann Arbor, 1965. Sakai, Tadao. “Chinese Religious Practices and Customs in Singapore and Malaysia.” In Chinese Beliefs and Practices in South East Asia, edited by Cheu Hock Tong, 3-15. Selangor Darul Elsam: Pelanduk Publications, 1993. See, Teresita Ang. Confucian and Other Cultural Traditions: Impact on the Ethnic Chinese Community in the Philippines. Manila: Kaisa para sa Kaunlaran, 2004. See, Teresita Ang. Integration and Identity: Social Change in the Post-WII Philippine Chinese Community. Vol. I, in Chinese in the Philippines: Problems and Perspectives, by Teresita Ang-See, 1-19. Manila: Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran, 1997. See, Teresita Ang. The Ethnic Chinese as Filipinos. Vol. II, in Chinese in the Philippines: Problems and Perspectives, by Teresita Ang-See, 24-68. Manila: Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran, 1997. Yu, Jose B. Inculturation of Filipino-Chinese CultureMentality. Rome: Pontificia Universita Gregoriana, 2000.




es pa syo

Manifesting Faith and Devotion The Role of Religion in the Use of Bedroom Spaces among Selected Middle Class Filipino Families JOHANNA VICTORIA ACAB-FAUSTINO Johanna Acab-Faustino is an assistant professor in the Clothing, Textiles and Interior Design Department of the College of Home Economics, University of the Philippines-Diliman. She has a degree in Bachelor of Interior Design (cum laude) and Master of Interior Design. Her expertise includes the practice and teaching of residential and commercial interior design. She is also a regular contributor to various home and lifestyle magazines in the Philippines.

ABSTRACT This study is an offshoot of an extensive study that explored various manifestations of religiosity in the residential spaces of selected urban Filipino middle class families. By employing qualitative descriptive research design thru purposive sampling, fifteen Filipino Catholic families were chosen as respondents and were further divided into sub-groups, namely, lower-middle, middle-middle and uppermiddle income families. The theory of proxemics was used in studying the spatial organization and relationship of activities pertaining to Catholic practices. Results showed that the practice of religion is generally private and personal, as evidenced by the highest quantity of religious items found in bedrooms, as well as the frequency of religious activities practiced. INTRODUCTION Though there are several factors that may affect the use of space in a home, this study examined the specific role of religion in the use of spaces by Filipino Catholic families. What is the impact of religion in the Filipino Catholic families’ use of bedroom spaces? How does the practice of one’s faith affect the spatial configuration of a bedroom? The Philippines is said to have the most predominantly Catholic population in Asia. Majority of the country’s population belong to the Roman Catholic faith. This religion is likewise observed in some Filipino Catholic families where they convey the practice and identity of their religion in the use of their residential spaces. Some families in their homes observe religious practices such as prayers, novenas and other religious traditions. This suggests that religion may be a significant factor in the use of spaces in Filipino Catholic homes. Re-

ligious images as portrayed in statues, paintings, sculptures and prints, as well as the designation of a specific location to house these objects indicate the possible reverence given to one’s religiosity. This study aimed to determine the impact of Roman Catholicism in the use of bedroom spaces among selected middle class Filipino Catholic families. It specifically: i. Examined religious beliefs practiced by selected Filipino Catholic families and how these affect the use of bedroom spaces. ii. Identified physical manifestations of the families’ religious beliefs in bedrooms. iii. Analyzed the relationship between Filipino Catholic families’ religious beliefs and their manifestations in the bedrooms. This study highlighted the significance of religion in the use of bedroom spaces of 15 selected middle-income Filipino Catholic families living in single-family residences. A qualitative descriptive research design was used. Data was gathered through survey questionnaires, interviews and observations in the homes of the respondent families. Thru non-probability sampling, specifically purposive sampling, these 15 families were further subdivided into lower, middle and upper middle-income families. Respondents were all from Metro Manila, and the husband or wife were the primary source of data for interview. The Krus na Ligas Barangay in Quezon City was the selected location for the lower-middle income respondent families, the Monte Vista Subdivision in Marikina City for the middle-middle income respondent families, and Corinthian Gardens, Acropolis Sub-



division, Greenmeadows Subdivision and North Greenhills Subdivision for the upper-middle income respondent families. These families were all selected based on referrals. Age group was controlled, with the husband and/or wife at least 30 years of age. Identification of the social strata utilized social indicators aside from family income, which was seldom divulged by the respondents. These social indicators were the type of community, materials used in the structure of the home, interior finishes, accessories, size of the house and the estimated price of sale of lots in the community. [1] The bedroom, classified as a private space in a home, was studied in order to establish where religious activities and physical manifestations were most likely present. Purposed for renewal, bedrooms are usually designed for sleeping, sexual activity, and dressing.[2] However, in this study, only the religious dimension of the bedroom of respondent families was focused on. Since this is a study on proxemics, Catholic manifestations pertaining to Filipino culture were observed through a study of spatial configuration, location of religious items, their distances relative to height and width linked with beliefs and religious practices adhered to by the respondent families. The quantity of tangible manifestations of Catholic objects suggests the level or impact of religion in the use of bedroom spaces. Religious practices were also considered alongside the evidence if these physical manifestations were present or not in the bedrooms. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Deriving the theory from semiotics, proxemics, which was introduced by Edward T. Hall, is the study of man in relation to other people, his surroundings and how these may be significant to the organization of a space. [3] Spaces are a rich source of information to suggest one’s preferences, inclinations, beliefs and motivations. In fact, spaces may contain meanings that suggest cultural phenomena. Spatial use and requirements are influenced by man’s environment, and everything that man is and does is associated with the experience of the space. [4] In the observance of space, an awareness of the relationships between objects and the presence thereof, is also one way to analyze the importance of distances and level of significance of objects within a given space. Visually, one may find the answer towards the relevance of a particular object in a space by observing the relative importance granted each object and its distance, which is bound by culture and spatial necessity. Understanding one’s culture and finding the significance of relationship, activity and emotion is relevant to finding meaning to a


es pa syo

person’s relationship to his environment. [5] This theory is important to the study as it relates to the possible evidences of the impact of religion to the residential use of space among Filipino Catholic families. FILIPINO CONCEPTS AS RELATED IN THE USE OF SPACE There are pervading concepts of the early Filipino’s general outlook in life that can also be related to proxemics. One such is the belief there are spirits everywhere that control natural events and human activities are always subject to the forces of the spirit world. [6] This belief may suggest the Filipino’s socio-cultural outlook in his day-to-day activities, whether consciously or not. In history, it has been accounted that even early Filipinos acknowledged the existence of higher spirits as manifested in their belief that these spirits inhabit certain areas in the home like the rooftop, under the house and under the stairs. [7] In the Philippine setting, the practice of Roman Catholicism has become a symbolic representation of family relationships. The family has always been a core institution of lowland Filipino society. [8] Likewise, religion extends to the home wherein Filipinos reflect religiosity in their residential interior spaces as this bears an important role in the shaping and molding of the Filipino’s lifestyle. In most houses of Roman Catholics, one finds pictures of departed loved ones and saints whose representations stand on house altars, in churches and chapels. [9] Filipinos believe in people to people connectedness [10] rather than the belief in other cultures connecting them to their gods, to nature or to philosophies. Religious inclinations transcend the belief in the supernatural as well as attributing religion to the general notion that Filipinos have strong familial ties. [11] Religion supports family and family likewise supports the practice of religion. The notion that God and his spirits are inseparable to daily activities.[12] The interconnectedness of the faith in God with daily activities, between the natural and the supernatural, is a result of the closeness to nature of a Filipino that he sees in the divine reflection in creation. [13] Filipinos are basically a family-oriented people. Whether nuclear or extended, relationships among family members are vital to most Filipinos. There is a greater possibility for extended families if the members of the household are older, and because of this, care and support are given to aging parents and grandparents. [14] Evident in Filipinos is their inherent love for celebration. One of the avenues of the Spaniards

to conquer the Filipinos was through the Roman Catholic tradition which spread partly due to celebrations that give importance to religious observations. Religion is a part of the daily life of the common Filipino Roman Catholic and in the Philippines, is practiced individually and focused on the family. [15] Its role in the family “idealizes, legitimizes and sanctifies familial relationships” where symbols of religion express and strengthen the private and morally binding realm of life. [16] CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

Since this is a study on proxemics, Catholic manifestations pertaining to Filipino culture were observed through a study of spatial configuration, location of Catholic items, their distances relative to height and width linked with Catholic beliefs and religious practices adhered to by the respondent families. Religious practices of Filipino families show manifestations on how their faith is being carried out in the home. Since these manifestations may take their form in symbols, icons and objects that are placed in various locations in the bedroom, their locations, along with actual religious practices further strengthen the significance of religion imbued in the bedroom space. In the study, the bedroom can be classified as a fixed- feature space, where “boundaries of territories, furniture and location for specific activities are kept constant.” [18] Being a private space in the home, intimate distance (zero to 18 inches) and personal distance (one and a half to four feet) classify its use. [19]

Figure 1. Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework illustrates Philippine socio-culture as a complex whole that encompasses the belief systems of the respondent families in the study. The practice of Roman Catholicism transcends catechistic requirements to beliefs that some Filipino Catholic families deem relevant to further enhance their sense of well-being. Religious practices of Filipino families show manifestations on how their faith is being carried out in their home. These manifestations in the home may take its forms in symbols, icons and objects that are placed in bedrooms or other parts in their home. FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS OF THE STUDY Religion, in its practice and physical manifestations in bedrooms, contain values that may have deeper social meaning relevant to Filipino Catholic families. Religion is deemed to be important to a Filipino Catholic’s way of life evident in the application of religious beliefs in a room translated through religious practices and physical manifestations such as religious symbols and icons of the faith. Religion may also mean participation, as shown in the enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in homes, and even in fiestas, where a lot of things happen. [17]

Bedrooms are private areas where users can freely conduct their personal activities without the thought of being seen by others. In this study, it was found that the bedrooms contained the largest amount of religious objects compared with other areas in the homes of the respondent families. A total of 348 items were found across the middle-income levels. Based on the results, the middle-middle income respondent families had the most items, with a total of 186, compared to 113 items from the upper-middle income families and 79 items from the lower-middle income families. This implied that prayer (being the most common religious practice at home) was considered to be a personal, intimate and private experience for the respondent families. The results, especially with regard to the middle-middle income families, could also be based on the culture in their particular community. Based on the researcher’s observation, Monte Vista Subdivision in Marikina City is a small, close-knit community with several housewives participating in religious activities of the village. It may be assumed that since the respondents were mostly housewives, in their 60’s and up, and were active in practicing the traditions of the Catholic church, most had a considerable amount of religious objects present in their home, as compared to those found in the lower-middle and upper- middle income families. Although most lower-middle income families were active in religious activities and practices, the middle-middle income families still had more religious items compared to the lower-middle income families. Higher income and larger space could be the reason why the middlemiddle income families had more religious manifestations than the lower-middle income families.



Different kinds of prayer (through novenas, passion chants, rosary or thanksgiving) were habitually practiced by all the respondent families in their homes. Although there were instances where families would pray together, most still considered personal prayers to be uttered in the confines of their bedrooms, either in the morning or in the evening. It was observed that for most respondents, they end or start their day by acknowledging their reliance on God to keep them and protect them from any danger. This finding gives a strong indication that the practice of religion for the selected families is still considered to be a private and personal activity.

Figure 2. An Urna Located on Top of BR Door LowMiddle (LM Income Family)

Most of the respondents agreed that bedrooms should have altars because the religious objects in the room serve as guides and companions of the occupants as they pray individually at night and first thing in the morning. Rosaries were also commonly found in the bedrooms of the respondent families, alongside prayer books, and at times, the Bible. Religious images were apparent in the bedrooms of the respondent families mainly because of personal sentiments. Results revealed that the role of religion in the bedroom, other than prayer, was also that as a constant reminder of one’s faith. Altars were commonly observed in the bedrooms of the respondent families. Whether or not the altars were permanently fixed on walls, had niches or were just placed on tables as makeshift altars, these were seen in most bedrooms as articles to aid the respondents in their prayers and supplications. In cases where there was no altar, manifestations of one’s devotion to the Catholic faith may include a crucifix, images and even prayer articles. It is also worthy to note that most of these religious manifestations were strategically placed on urnas (small carved shrines whether with or without a glass cover where saints or relics are housed) [20] high on the walls (see Figures 1, 2, 4 and 5). This was evident in the homes of the lower-middle income families. It was also interesting to note that some of these urnas were placed alongside or above bills or daily reminders of the family (see Figure 2). This suggested that the particular respondent viewed religion as part of their daily life and they still counted on the sovereignty of God to supply their needs. Daily responsibilities and experiences were integrated with the practice of their religion. Because of this, the respondent is able to pray in spite of the clutter of their day-byday living. On the other hand, altar shelves placed high on walls were commonly found in the homes of the middle-middle income respondent families. Urnas were consistently evident in the bedroom spaces of the respondent lower-middle income


es pa syo

Figure 3. An Urna on the Left Wall; Mother and Child Cross Frame on the Right Wall LM-Income Family

Figure 4. A Makeshift Altar/Side Table LM-Income Family

families. However, in the bedrooms of the middlemiddle and upper-middle respondent families, it was found that urnas were not used as much in bedrooms but rather, in other parts of the home such as staircases and hallways. Although it was still the bedroom spaces which the families considered to be the best place for prayer, the display of religious articles seemingly were just incorporated with the rest of their rooms’ features. In other words, there was no evidence that urnas were a necessary part of their bedroom’s interior, although religious images, wherever it may be located, was still visible.

as a symbol of hierarchy or importance to the respondent families. There were also some instances where these places for relics or religious objects were also adorned with flowers, and at times, candles, perhaps meant as an offering. In fact, it was rarely observed in the study that a religious statue or relic was singly placed in an altar. Rosaries, dried palms and candles were also frequently seen on the altar, at times along with other religious statues. “Horror Vacui,” [21] is argued to be a Filipino cultural trait. Altars were usually filled up with various religious, and at times, non-religious articles. In fact, some religious altars and displays seemed to symbolize a family, with more than one religious persona present in the altar. This evidence may also possibly express the notion of the Filipino’s love for celebration, and the concept of group centeredness or pakikisama. [22] It was also observed that some respondents placed an image or symbol to suggest their devotion to the faith. These altars usually contained an image of Jesus, either as a child or a man, an image of the Virgin Mary, and sometimes, an image of their patron saint. It was also found that the Child Jesus was most often located on urnas or altar shelves in the bedrooms of the children of the respondents. When asked, the usual response is because the Child Jesus is perceived as the protector of their children. The Child Jesus was honored, respected and prayed to since they were usually placed in areas where the members of the family gather together to pray. In cases of individual prayers, the Child Jesus was usually placed along side other important religious relics and saints in the altars of the respondent families.

Figure 5. An Urna on Top of Wall in Bedroom LMIncome Family

Figure 6. Altar (shelf) in Bedroom LM-Income Family

Figure 7. An Urna on Top of Wall in Bedroom LMIncome Family

A noticeable factor in the location of urnas, niches and altar shelves where religious statues and relics were placed is their distinct location on the walls. These objects are mostly placed above eye level (approximately 1.80 meters from the finished floor line). This may be a symbol of the concept of God being higher than man. Another explanation may be a sign of reverence and worship for something or someone greater than oneself. It was noticeable that the location of the Child Jesus was placed either within or above the normal eye height of a standard person. In some occasions, the Child Jesus dominated the altar area,

It is apparent in this study that there were no religious items that were placed on floors. If religious articles were not placed high on walls or on urnas, niches or shelves, these were commonly observed within comfortable view sitting or lying down (approximately .50-.60 meters) from the finished floor line. The fact that there were no religious articles placed on the ground may suggest that religion is still given a high regard and that respect for the faith and its role in a family’s life is still prevailing in the homes of the respondents’ families. Protection against evil spirits through religious articles displayed suggests the socio-cultural dimension of the practice of the Catholic religion in the home. This was commonly observed in thresholds, where religious articles were displayed for protection against evil spirits and events. Some thresholds that were observed contained a crucifix, estampas, or even an urna or altar shelf containing religious statues. A respondent believed that the crucifix would take away evil spirits in their home. When inquired, most respondents



mentioned that placing religious items on top of doors symbolize protection and blessings to the individual. There is no institutional direction on where to put statues in the house although in the blessing of a house there are kinds of steps and stages that are employed by the Roman Catholic Church. [23] Across culture, thresholds such as entrances and exit ways were always deemed significant. For the traditional Jews, there is a practice of putting a representation of the Ten Commandments on thresholds where they will touch it and kiss it whenever they leave the house. Similarly, the Chinese would put a bagwa (octagonal mirror for protection) on openings to ward off evil spirits. In some homes of Catholics, it was common to put an image of the Twin Hearts (Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary) at the gates of the house. While these are not necessarily Christian practices, they were part of religious human sentiments. [24] For some people, thresholds mean entering another world, journey or dimension. Although the Catholic Church does not mandate an altar in the home, most still have altars because of tradition. Foyers, staircases, bedrooms, living and dining spaces also “attract” images and have become preferred locations for religiosity.[25] Strong family sentiments are important in expressions of the faith. There are various possible reasons why the respondent families chose to display religious images in their homes. Everything that man is and does is associated with the experience of space and the study of culture in the proxemic sense is therefore the study of the people’s use of their sensory apparatus in different emotional states during different activities, in different relationships, and in different settings and contexts. [26] This could explain why culture is significant in the analysis of space use of the respondent Filipino Catholic families. It was no surprise why some respondent families felt safer or were reminded to pray when they became aware of religious images in their homes. The tangible expressions of the religious images in the home may also mean those statues, images, relics and the like remind one of their living relationship with God and with the saints who have gone before them. In the study, it was established that not all of the respondent families had permanent locations for their religious articles. In fact, makeshift places for prayer and display for religious items were observed, especially among the middle-middle and upper-middle income respondent families. It may be deduced that most respondent families only considered having a separate place for religious observances in their home as an afterthought. Through experience, personal needs and preferences apart from religion, are the main considerations in planning and designing one’s bedroom. This may be because religion is not considered


es pa syo

Figure 8. Altar integrated in Bookshelf in Bedroom MM-Income Family Figure 9. Altar on Top of TV Cabinet with Rosary Collection MM-Income Family

Figure 10. Corner altar shelf in Bedroom MM-Income Family

Figure 11. Altar on Top of Dresser/ Bookshelf MIncome Family

Figure 12. Crucifix on Top of Threshold of Bedroom Door MM-Income Family Figure 13. The Eye and Oversized Rosary Fronting Bed MM-Income Family

during the design and building process of their homes. And while it is assumed that religion is not foremost a priority in the planning and designing of homes, it is evident that the respondent families have various religious items displayed in their bedrooms. This suggests a tendency of the respondents towards sentimentality, since some religious items displayed had sentimental value attached to them. [27]

Figure 14. Crucifix, Child Jesus and Virgin Mary statues on Nite Table Upper Middle (UM-Income Family)

CONCLUSION The study generally confirmed that religion played a significant factor in the bedrooms of the 15 respondent Catholic families. This was revealed in the religious practices observed in the bedrooms as well the physical manifestations of religion that were exhibited in the rooms. Some Catholic beliefs and practices affect the use of the home interior spaces of the respondent families. For instance, it was found that altars and religious icons in the bedrooms provided some of the respondent families a tangible persona where they offer their prayers. This was often placed on a wall or an area that is near the bed.

Figure 15. Crucifix on Top of Wall Clock Upper Middle (UM-Income Family)

Figure 16. Religious images found on top of the shelves in the master’s bedroom UM Income-Family

Figure 17. Images of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, Crucifix on Wall UM Income-Family

The private areas had a considerably larger quantity of religious manifestations compared to the other areas of the home. Bedrooms usually contained altar houses (urna) or makeshift altars commonly with the Child Jesus, the Virgin Mary and the respondents’ favored patron saint, sometimes alongside dried palms, flowers, rosaries and candles. The presence of these images in the bedrooms portrays religious significance and meaning to the respondent families. It was found that the lower-middle income families used urnas in their bedrooms, while the bedrooms of the middle-middle and upper-middle income families contained makeshift altars and shelves to double as altars for their rooms. This suggests that those who belong to the lowermiddle income families tended to incorporate the display of their religious articles as a fixed-feature of their bedrooms. It may be concluded that most respondent families only considered having a separate place for religious observances in their home as an afterthought, to be placed in the existing layout of the homes. This may be because religion is not considered during the design and building process in the homes. Since there is no religious mandate to placing an altar in the home, there still exists appropriating a special place for religious items in the homes of the respondent families. Religion was still found to be important to the respondent Catholic families from the manner in which they surround themselves with various religious objects. This strengthens the notion of the Filipino



family’s sentimentality because some of the religious items have sentimental values attached to them. They were either given as heirloom pieces or gifts on special occasions. The interior may provide an environment to support the belief in one’s faith through stimulating an atmosphere for worship and prayer. It was found that respondent families were motivated by religious images displayed throughout their homes, however cluttered the space may appear. Most of the respondents cite that these religious images in their homes serve as a reminder of their faith. They likewise believe that these images have the power to guard them against evil spirits. Culture is believed to envelope habits, religious practices, values and traditions of Filipinos. Social values, traditions and religion, as part of the socio-cultural paradigm, have resulted to the Filipinization of the Roman Catholic faith. [28] Religion is one factor that is being enveloped by socio-cultural conditions in Philippine society. The practice of the Catholic religion in the home is perceived to be based on pure Catholic beliefs, which are derived from the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. However, because religion is part of the socio-culture in the Philippines, non-Catholic beliefs intertwine with the practices of the Filipino Roman Catholic. Since the practice of religion in the Philippines is cultural rather than institutional (Cultural Catholicism), [29] it may be deemed that cultural beliefs and practices interconnect with religious dogma, which eventually affect the use of home interior spaces. As an example, cultural Catholicism is the belief of early Filipinos in a distant God who was difficult to approach directly, which is why intercessory spirits were also prayed to. [30] The practice of religion in the Philippines is individual and family centered. The doctrines taught by the Roman Catholic Church as an institution is further enriched by a focus on the family, [31] which may be infused with beliefs derived from traditions not necessarily a part of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Designers and space planners are encouraged to consider religious affiliations or practices in designing spaces. It was observed that some religious items were considered more valuable, and were placed in areas of significance to the homeowners. Having knowledge on the quantity of items or significance of items may provide the designers and planners a basis in incorporating the religious values of homeowners. It is also highly possible that religious items will continuously be added to possessions in the home. Designers


es pa syo

Figure 18. Display/altar shelves in master’s bedroom UM Income-Family

Figure 19. Religious images found on top of the table in the master’s bedroom UM-Income Family

should be sensitive to this possibility and design spaces that are multi-functional or flexible. This will allow an area where religious items may be displayed without cluttering spaces. It was established that there are some areas that highlight religious objects or suggest a preferred location based on the findings of the study. The bedroom, among other spaces in the home, was a significant location to house religious items. Therefore, it is suggested for designers to consider religion as a factor when designing bedroom spaces. It is the designer’s challenge to consider religious preferences and incorporate it to home interiors, without sacrificing utilitarian and aesthetic principles of design. It is also recommended for designers to incorporate religious preferences at the onset of the design and space planning of residential interiors. This may include incorporating religious symbols in the architectural features of the home such as door and window jambs, walls, windows, niches and built-in shelves in a manner that will blend with contemporary lifestyles. While this is a study that reveals religion’s significance to space use, it should be noted that the

practice of religion is highly personal and may affect each user differently. Therefore, it is the responsibility of designers to open the consciousness of their Filipino clientele about the uniqueness of dynamism of Filipino spaces.

ENDNOTES [1] Adelaida V. Mayo. “A Comparative Analysis of Residential Interior Space Utilization among the Lower, Middle and Upper Class Filipino Families”, CHE Monograph Series No. 1 (November 1991): 8, 13. [2] Mary Jo Weale, James W. Croake, W. Bruce Weale, Environmental Interiors (Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1982): 83. [3] Edward T. Hall, The Hidden Dimension (New York: Double Day & Company, Inc., 1966): 103. [4] Hall, 171. [5] Hall, 171. [6] T. Valentino Sitoy, Jr., A History of Christianity in the Philippines: The Initial Encounter 1 (New Day Publishers, 1985): 1. [7] Sitoy, Jr., 1. [8] Niels Mulder, Inside Philippine Society: Interpretations of Everyday Life (New Day Publishers, 1997): 18. [9] Mulder, 24. [10] Felipe de Leon, Jr. “The Unity of Spatial Concepts in Philippine Architecture and Other Arts”, The National Symposium on Filipino Architecture and Design: University of the Philippines College of Architecture (December1995): 148. [11] Mulder, 28. [12] Leonardo N. Mercado, “Elements of Filipino Theology” (Divine Word University Publications, 1975): 28. [13] Mercado, 28. [14] Belen T. Medina, “The Filipino Family” (University of the Philippines Press, 2005): 21. [15] Mulder, 28. [16] Mulder, 28. [17] Rene B. Javellana, personal interview, October 30, 2006. [18] Hall, 103. [19] Hall, 111, 113. [20] Jose Regalado-Trota, “Simbahan: Church Art in Colonial Philippines, 1565-1898” (Ayala Museum, Makati Metro Manila, 1992): 212. [21] Brenda V. Fajardo, “Pag-Unawa sa Espasyong Pilipino”, The National Symposium on Filipino Architecture and Design: University of the Philippines College of Architecture (December1995): 66. [22] Mayo, 8. [23] Javellana interview, 2006. [24] Javellana interview, 2006. [25] Javellana interview, 2006. [26] Hall, 171. [27] Allan Schreck, “Catholic and Christian: An Explanation of Commonly Misunderstood Catholic Beliefs” (Word of Joy Foundation Inc. 1984): 159. [28] Mercado, 7. [29] Javellana interview, 2006. [30] Tomas D. Andres, Pilar Corazon B. Ilada-Andres, “Understanding the Filipino” (New Day Publishers: Quezon City, 1987): 34 [31] Mulder, 28.




es pa syo

Enshrining the Nation Monuments to Forgetting and the Invention of Historical Memory

JAYMEE T. SIAO Jaymee T. Siao obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Santo Tomas, major in Literature. Her works have been published in La Salle’s Dalumat Journal, as well as in a forthcoming college textbook of the Humanities, published by the UST Press. A recipient of the AC-Angara scholarship at the Asian Center at the University of the Philippines-Diliman where she is taking up MA in Philippine Studies, she is currently teaching literature courses at the University of Santo Tomas. Her research interests lie in theoretical constructions of space, visual cultures, and topographic memory.

What purpose do monuments serve in Filipino society? Defaced, politicized, personalized or simply ignored, they now appear to stand for everything which they are not. Critiquing the use and abuse of monuments, this study investigates the ways monuments serve to provide an incisive criticism of social reality, and yet also produce, rewrite and politicize historical practices of remembrance. No longer functioning as keepers of memory to be consumed/used by the public, monuments have come to stand stolidly as parodies of a people’s past and present. Analyzed as texts, both cultural and literary, monuments are able to offer a view of history as literally weaved into the urban fabric and which allows for social, historical and cultural critique. It is the tension between remembering and forgetting that is explored in this study. During the precolonial period, the Philippines did not boast of any monumental works, be it statues or buildings.. Yet one would be mistaken in saying that Filipinos have no concept of monuments at all, just as in saying that gods did not exist for the Filipino would be missing the point of Filipino precolonial beliefs. Accounts of the Filipinos’ belief in gods called anitos have been recorded in the 16th century. Demetrio, Fernando and Zialcita’s book (1991) cites de Loarca as “[s]ince there are no temples… their (the natives’) houses are filled with these wooden or stone idols which are called tao-tao or likha. There was one house that contained one hundred or two hundred of (them).” Indeed, instead of temples, our ancestors made use of their houses as the site for the gods or anitos. Yet to be accurate, de Loarca does not explicitly state the lack of temples as the reason for the idols’ dwelling in the early Filipinos’ houses. In fact, as seen from

the previous citation, it was de Legaspi who mentions the early Filipinos’ lack of temples and idols. To cite de Loarca directly, one can see the nuances of these so-called anitos and gods: “When the natives were asked why the sacrifices were offered to the anito, and not to the Batala, they answered that the Batala was a great lord, and no one could speak to him. He lived in the sky; but the anito, who was of such a nature that he came down here to talk with men, was to the Batala as a minister, and interceded for them. In some places, and especially in the mountain districts, when the father, mother or other relative dies, the people unite in making a small wooden idol, and preserve it. Accordingly, there is a house which contains 100 or 200 of these idols. These images also are called anitos; they say that when people die, they go to serve the Batala. Therefore they make sacrifices to these anitos, offering them food, wine and gold ornaments and request them to be intercessors for them before the Batala, whom they regard as God” (Blair and Robertson, Vol. 5, 171-172). Notwithstanding the lack of temples, the anitos dwell in the early Filipinos’ houses because of a more personal reason: these statues stand as representatives of those family members who have passed away, and who may serve as intermediaries between the God (Batala), and the living. The reflections of their own family—consequently— make it more potent for the early Filipinos, as opposed to a carved god which is not supposed to stand for anyone in particular. The Spaniards, without fully understanding such nuances, or perhaps even without wanting to understand, forcibly took away these statues from the Filipinos, teaching them how to pray to one God. In an account by Fray Jacinto de San Fulgen-



cio, he places the anitos on an altar he erected, then proceeded to give a sermon on the “real” God, making the early Filipinos turn their backs on the beliefs and rituals “of the devil” which they have long been accustomed to. (Blair and Robertson, Vol. 21, 222) THE SPANISH COLONIAL PERIOD From the time Miguel Lopez de Legazpi became adelantado of the Philippines in 1565 until the early 17th century, Spanish administrators and priests sought to eradicate all evidences of native beliefs through the imposition of the new religion and culture. Without relying on military force to subdue and convert the Filipinos, the Spaniards instead used art as a tool to attract the people. The impressive display of images, coupled with pageantry, became a seductive spectacle for the public. The display of prayers, liturgy, as well as the solemn yet grandiose celebration of religious rituals naturally became a mystifying sight for the early Filipinos. With images as universal signs, religious art became a sufficient tool as well for the Spaniards, due to communication problems. With the building of the church came a demand for santos which were brought from Spain and Mexico, becoming the new models of sculpture, replacing anitos. The first Santo Nino in the Philippines was received as a gift by Juana, wife of Cebu’s chieftain Humabon, from Magellan. Even the Manila-Acapulco trade (1565-1765) served to propagate this new iconography: each galleon carrying with it a patron saint that served to guide them throughout their sea journey. It becomes evident, from introducing a new god in the form of a statue, how the Spaniards entered Philippine society and culture and have moulded this until the present time. Not only is there an abundance of churches and idol-statues in the Philippines (as Nick Joaquin succinctly puts it, the Santo Nino has been so imbibed in Philippine society that most Filipinos believe that it originated from the country itself, rather than introduced by foreigners, and that it has become a general statue that represents the Philippines in terms of religion and culture), but also that of monuments which have, at present, beset the urban landscape. This monumental frenzy adopted especially by politicians has its roots traced to the first colonizers, yet the question that is raised in this study is whether they have the same agenda: that of nation, or colony building. How did the Spanish colonizers help in creating a visual culture in the Philippines for their gainone that showcased their country’s own glory and splendour—to command respect and admiration from the early Filipinos? Mapping out the monuments that have been created during the Spanish


es pa syo

period will enable us to see what kind of colony the Spaniards wanted to create. MONUMENTS: A BRIEF DEFINITION In the socio-cultural or socio-political context, monuments can best be seen through the definition by George Mosse (1975). Symbols are needed by nations, being “the objectification of popular myths, giv[ing] a people their identity.” (8) And these “permanent symbols” are not merely “holy flames, flags, and songs.” Mosse makes a clear assertion that these are “national monuments in stone and mortar. The national monument as a means of self-expression served to anchor the national myths and symbols in the consciousness of the people….” (Emphasis mine, 8) Indeed, monuments are perhaps the best example of a national symbol, which is supposed to unite the people, “form[ing] one of the most essential aspects of the self-representation of the nation… penetrat[ing]… the people’s consciousness.” (46) Monuments are ideal for a nation—whether as self-expression, or as means of uniting its people. However it was, or is, not always so. As evidenced by the Philippine colonial experience alone, the colonizers took it upon themselves to make use of such a potent symbol to augment their desires, as well as agendas, for the colony. These monuments mentioned to be erected for monarchy or military leaders resonate within the Philippine context. Fitting the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines perfectly, during its colonial era, there have been numerous monuments to Spanish royalty which persistently stand in parks and open spaces today. The imperial government of the Spaniards took on several roles in its colonies: as “initiator and administrator;” as “intervenor and suppressor” (Villegas, 1998, 51). The Spaniards, after all, came to implant their civilization to the Filipinos, and aside from religion and its religious idols, Spain introduced its royalty, quite literally, through the creation of the kings and queens’ monuments. Surpassing the lives of their own royalties, these stone monuments marked the Spaniards’ presence not only in the Philippines but also in Mexico and Panama, among other colonies, while at the same time promoting the ideals of the Mother country. The spirit of Spanish colonial government was exhibited all over the country; the feudal as well as religious seal that carry the somber and solemn tone which the Spaniards press upon the monuments—be it stone statues or the buildings—can still be seen in traces today, along the urban landscape of even just Manila alone. Scenes of the streets in Intramuros, for example, carry the characteristics of Spanish architecture; its silent and melancholic tones carry the ancient ideals and austerity of King Philip II’s reign. As if

broken-down versions of what Spain represented, these streets, places and cities are testaments to a bustling and powerful reign by the colonizers. As Nick Joaquin (2004) states, “[w]hen we started to take off as a nation, after ages of static tribalism, we had for propulsion the triple thrust of Ikon, Friar and Conquistador,” referring to the Santo Nino, Fray Andres de Urdaneta, and Don Miguel de Legazpi. (119). Perhaps nation-building, or at least the thrust towards becoming a nation, was indeed propelled by the Spaniards’ triumvirate. Further discussed in the succeeding chapter, the Spaniards’ symbols, that is, their monuments, have in fact portrayed people in victorious stances, to further promote the “Conquistador” nature of the colonizers. In fact, one Santo Nino has been made in this position, which is an allthemorepotent symbol, blending religion and royalty in one:

Fig. 1

When the Spaniards united the Filipinos by making them live in communities or reducciones, they created a town plan—with the plaza as center. Naturally, this was the site where ceremonies, announcements and other public-related activities would be performed. The procedures were in Philip II’s set of 28 ordinances, entitled “Prescriptions for the Foundation of Hispanic Colonial Towns.” (Jose, 1991, 51) With the church outside the plaza to “command respect and be seen from all sides,” what remained within? It was instinctive to place a monument right in the middle, to represent an important person, and to remind the early Filipinos of who was in command. From the front of the plaza, one can imagine that the towering figure in stone immediately calls for attention,

and, set amidst the looming monumentality of the church, the native would be rendered defenseless out of awe. The Spaniards’ propensity to “center” the space only translated to a centering of Spain. For what was in the center but the monuments of their people, and the church? THE AMERICAN COLONIAL PERIOD Using Balibar’s notion of “producing the people,” Quibuyen (2000) teased out the effects of the period through various symbols and practices. Centering on the construction of the national hero and the myths and symbols surrounding it, Quibuyen demythicizes the notion of a Filipino national hero, as opposed to the normalized views, such as that of Constantino’s. Much like the popular view of the Spanish fiesta as a form of outlet (Bakhtin, 1984; Falassi, 1987; Rosca, 1988) that allowed the natives to let go of their feelings towards the colonizers once a year and engage in a Bakhtinian carnivalesque celebration, Quibuyen cites Katherine Mayo’s The Isle of Fear, where she describes and explains (rationalizes) the Rizal Day. Saying that it was “invented” by Taft to create an ideal, more important is her description of the Filipinos’ use of the said occasion; as Quibuyen puts it: “two contradictory phenomena were going on simultaneously: Rizal was being used by the American colonial regime to further the ends of empire and was being used by the Filipinos to express their patriotism and to demonstrate against the colonial regime.” Much can be said about Rizal and the American colonial period, and this will be further expounded on in the succeeding chapters. What becomes evident in the brief paragraph above is the way the American period “saw the beginnings of public monuments that paid tribute to the greatness of an individual or event,” (Javelosa, 1991, 71) and the “spur[ring] of a new spirit of nationalism which was expressed in the erection of monuments honouring national heroes.” (Pilar, 1991, 69) Indeed, this marks the transition from Spanish-style regal monuments, to American ones which extolled the virtues of heroes, exhibiting excellence and prominence, much like the Spaniards extolling virtues—but those which are inherent in Spanish royalty or personality. With the Americans, they were civic virtues—of (for) the people. If the Spaniards wanted to extol perfection which was natural to them—exhibiting Spanish royalty in monuments—the Americans created monuments which were easier for people to idealize and, therefore, become. Such was the Americans’ way of colonizing the early Filipinos and moulding them to become like their masters. Despite the fact that monuments now commemorated heroic people and events, monuments in



this period did not start out well. Perhaps because the artisans were skilled in fashioning religious icons, the newfound freedom to create something outside that of religion thus left them searching for new themes and subjects. Naturally, Rizal came to the fore. Being a product (construct) of the Americans, Filipinos caught on the ‘Rizal craze,’ and “the Philippine landscape became saturated with the Rizal icon.” (Quibuyen, 2000) These statues were all “done in a prototype showing the hero standing, holding a book.” (Javelosa, 1991, 71) This does not merely show the lack of artistic maturity; more importantly, it reflects the people’s lack of real knowledge about the national hero which, in turn, might be a commentary on Rizal as an American-constructed hero given to a public who needed someone to idealize. In each colonial period, the colonizers set out to shape a colony out of the Philippines, and though having the same mission, the means to achieve subjugation differed from one colonizer to the next. However, what is important here is that both made use of symbols to fashion the people and the colony. In creating these symbols for the consumption of the people, these colonizers believed that such an act will facilitate their ‘mission to civilize.’ As Jeannie Javelosa (1991, 71) clearly points out, “[p]erhaps more than other artists, sculptors have had more influence in shaping public perception by exhibiting their art permanently in public places.” Replacing sculptures with sculptors, one can say that sculptures have had more influence in shaping public perception through their being exhibited permanently in public places more than other forms of art. Being situated in public places for people to pass by and see daily, monuments have shaped, and continue to shape, be it consciously or subconsciously, people’s thoughts and consciousness as Filipinos and how we define and perceive our country and ourselves as countrymen/women in the past, present, and future. Therefore, it is important to study and analyze closely the meanings that can be culled from permanent public art. SELECTED MONUMENTS DURING THE COLONIAL PERIOD The shifting tides caused a major transformation in the images that dominated the country; from the anitos to the santos, and then to monuments. Yet one thing remains clear: we Filipinos were never short of anyone to emulate and to idealize. Working in the same principle, this includes Christianity and the state glorified martyrs who gave up their lives for the ideals that the institution supported. The people could call on the saints by invoking their names; Catholic Filipinos believed they would be saved or, at the very least, that someone


es pa syo

could intercede for them. Heroes, on the other hand, such as the colonial masters and their royalty, were to be emulated. From having someone to worship and pray to, and even to try to imitate, Filipinos then had people who were perhaps a bit more real; people whom the early Filipinos could find more similarities with and think of emulating. The terms themselves—“martyr” and “saint” connote an otherworldly nature; whereas a “hero” has more physical and human attributes. Monuments have a certain “physicality” in them in the sense that they carry certain ideals into the public sphere (where they are situated) and make these ideals and qualities tangible and obvious to the people. By making transparent the ideals which the idealized person or event represents, monuments are then able to communicate their message clearly to the people. Or do they? While they convey the message straight, the question of representations and motives remain. Who chooses what to represent and what to exclude? Which part of the person’s ideal should be made evident? Is it the stance, the act, or even the objects carried by the person being monumentalized? Which event should be commemorated and monumentalized? With a monument acting as a bridge between the message and the viewers through stating or showing the supposed “reality” of the event or person, it manages to bridge as well the realities of the past, present and even the future. As such, it becomes a useful tool for people who wish to communicate their ideals to the nation as a whole. Using the hero (someone to be emulated), one can easily make a group of people believe that the ideals carried in a monument are also the ideals one should follow. This monument gives power to its creator in that they can dictate whatever they wish the people to do or become, through that ideal cast in stone. One of the best examples would be the LegazpiUrdaneta monument made during the Spanish colonial period (1896), yet was ironically erected only during the American period (1901). Recalling the “El Conquistador” Santo Niño statue at the San Agustin Church Museum, one notices certain similarities between the two (see Fig. 2) The saint and the monument, though both holding different objects, symbolize the cross or religion. They also share the stance of a conquistador or an explorer; holding a sword meant to colonize and change (“civilize”) the people. The cross and the sword are known as the two pillars of Spanish misión civilizatrice. This “colonizer posture” is evident among Spanish period statues/monuments. King Carlos IV is another example (see Fig. 3)

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

Known for introducing the smallpox vaccine, he bears a stance that conveys self-importance similar to a number of monuments during the Spanish period in general. Proudly standing in front of the Manila Cathedral, King Carlos IV is seen to have once more given the Philippines an all-toowonderful gift from the Spaniards. To show how the early Filipinos have benefited from his gift, he is portrayed as standing magnificently with arm raised, rejoicing at having saved the Filipinos.

hero’s: Jose Rizal in Rizal Park, Manila. Apart from the theme of (children) reading together, there is also the mother and child theme, prevalent in American period monuments.

One detail that distinguishes Spanish monuments in the Philippines with that of the Americans’ is their positioning: Spanish monuments carry crosses and swords along with their victorious stance; while American monuments, on the other hand, usually carry a book, and are seen reading/studying, or even reading to someone else. What else would American period monuments flesh out than the intentions of the colonizers for Filipinos to become or to emulate their assimilators? As Lico posits, these monuments were ordered by the Americans to casually create and portray “...benevolent virtues and democratic pledge of American colonialism in the colonialism in the Philippines.” (2008, 283) These civic virtues evidently portrayed in their monuments show the significant shift from the Spanish style of compelling the early Filipinos to revere them, to the Americans’ desire to mould the Filipinos to be the way they are. Casting ideals in stone, after all, meant casting the early Filipinos into what they sought them to be. The exemplary monument during the American period is none other than that of the national

During the American period, women seemed to have entered and penetrated into the monuments’ exclusively male sphere. The role of women—especially that of the mother—is highlighted in several monuments. This was carried on to the postcolonial period. This monument seems to idealize what Rizal’s notion of a (his) mother is: ilaw ng tahanan (signified by the torch), and the first teacher of a child (as signified by the book she is reading). To note, the woman in this monument is actually in the act of reading the book she is holding, and not just carrying it, as some of the monuments, Rizal’s included, portray. With the lack of plazas here in Metro Manila, it would perhaps be understandable if monumentmaking also ceased. However, the opposite seems to have happened. More and more monuments are being created today, and they are being propped up in places unfit for monuments. The stretch of Roxas is one example. In front of the buildings are all the different newly-created monuments which people hardly pay any attention to. This different kind of monumental craze—focusing on the quantity rather than the quality (such as size and importance of event or personage remembered), makes us turn to a new question: what do we commemorate in the contemporary period? What constitutes our memory and what types of monuments do we create nowadays? With places like The Fort in Taguig (a shopping and dining complex



that calls to mind Walter Benjamin’s treatise on the Arcades in Paris) which are propped up with different kinds of monuments and sculptures, are these now the places that our memory inhabit? A closer look at the different monuments during the post-colonial period will show how we now define monuments, and how our notions of a ‘hero’ or a ‘heroic’ event have changed. SELECTED MONUMENTS DURING THE POSTCOLONIAL PERIOD Monumentsduring the postcolonial period have gone beyond the themes of Spanish and American colonial eras; new and different images, as well as themes, were used during the period. What kinds of images have been brought about? From of individuals like Lapu Lapu to particular events such as the Martial Law era, these new monuments exhibit certain characteristics that are different from the colonial ones. Take that of Gomez, Burgos and Zamora’smonument, for instance:

for melodrama? Instead of celebrating freedom, these show a celebration of defeat. Two theoreticians may help explain how this notion came about. Reynaldo Ileto’s seminal work, “Pasyon and Revolution: Popular Movements in the Philippines, 1840-1910” (1979) outlines how the Pasyon, the story of Jesus Christ’s life and death, has influenced social movements in Philippine history, teasing out its effects on the Filipino psyche (how they have strongly identified with the suffering Christ). Neferti Xina Tadiar (2004) also turns to popular culture and draws from film, particularly Himala and its lead actor Nora Aunor, who has captivated the imagination of Filipino viewers, explaining the popular hysteria it has created, and its parallelisms with the mass hysteria that is commonly seen in Catholicism, referring to this as the “Noranian imaginary.” As she argues that “there is no Nora Aunor film that does not script her ‘own’ life,” so too can one argue that the monuments built in the urban landscape are like film scripts that the sponsors write, and which the viewers eventually see as their own. The creation of a story that centers on the notion of suffering creates a problem in a nation that is just trying to heal itself from the wounds of a colonial past. MONUMENTAL CONTROVERSIES Yet these monuments are not simply stone ideals which were well-received by the public; not only facing problems of representation, these monuments were not exempted from being shuffled to and fro, in fear of being destroyed by the people. Indeed, the people represented by these monuments are still targeted, even as they are already set in stone.

Fig. 4

What is interesting about this is that it shows downcast faces and writhing figures. It clearly depicts the sufferings these people underwent, instead of being portrayed as proud, noble people. Despite GomBurZa’s famous picture that is widely circulated, no one made a monument like it. Why the need to portray them as suffering priests and martyrs? Does this reflect anything about the Filipino culture—its propensity to glorify the sufferers and/or suffering, as well as their penchant


es pa syo

The postcolonial period has not done away with these “monumental” controversies. One wonders if monumentshave already lost their purpose in the contemporary setting; weaved into the urban landscape far too much and too often, people have lost their respect for monuments, and whatever ideal/s they carry. However, issues and arguments have not ceased. Quite recently, a monument caused some public stir—that of Lapu Lapu’s in Agrifina Circle. (see Fig. 5) Called “The Sentinel of Freedom,” the monument is a donation from the Korean Freedom League. Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon placed it in the heroes’ circle in Rizal Park, despite National Historical Institute (NHI) Chairman and historian Ambeth Ocampo’s insistent argument that said location was allocated only to heroes who come from the area. Similar to the argument with Jose Rizal as an Americanconstruct, a reader of People’s Tonight wrote and claimed that Lapu Lapu is merely an “invented hero” by the Americans (15 Mar 2004), which leads to another argument on

Fig. 5

Fig. 6

Lapu Lapu’s apparent purpose of highlighting the struggle against the Spaniards, the effect of which was the downplaying of the Americans’ abuses. Alcazaren (22 Feb 2004), noted architect, jumps in on the bandwagon by choosing to criticize the monument’s design over the “mis-written history” of the nation. “What we should do is to consider the controversy instead in terms of what this trend of instant monuments-to-everyone-andhis-brother is doing to our urban landscape.” Politics is naturally interweaved in the urban visual culture, as one politician after another scrambles to inscribe his or her name in the urban fabric. Indeed, one problem is the lack of planning that goes into the construction of a monument, which leads to poor design and even location. Perhaps it is out of proportion, but at least the monument to Lapu Lapu is shown to be proudly standing (“guarding” indeed maybe not freedom, but the place, it seems) and not writhing in pain or anger, as other postcolonial monuments tend to be. (AB)USES OF MONUMENTS Monuments also play a vital role during rallies. As a number of monuments have been created to commemorate a certain person, event or period in history, so are they continually used by us Filipinos who either remember these people or events, or use them to help shake the people out of their (political) stupor. In today’s times, monuments continue to serve their purposes as important meeting points during rallies. This is true in EDSA, for instance. The People Power monument and the EDSA shrine are two monuments used for rallying purposes. However, these monuments, instead of pacifying people or being

used as an agent of change for peace, are witness to opposing forces clashing (that of the masses and the police, for example), as well as an ongoing and perhaps more pressing concern—that of the capitalist struggle in the country, as evidenced by the towering billboards along EDSA. The billboards serving as a backdrop for the EDSA Shrine where the rally is taking place somehow make the monument look like an empty signifier, as well as the people’s futility to rally for change in the country. From one end to another, people have found ways to render a monument invisible and useless; and that is, rendering its original purpose useless, but quite useful for practical purposes: the monument to the Mexican president sits quietly at a corner in Intramuros. A second visit yielded a more fortuitous account of the statue (see Fig.6) Using the feet as a cabinet of sorts, the many illegal settlers inside Intramuros have found a better use for this monument. With the kinds of uses and abuses that monuments in our urban landscape receive, one is left to wonder what will happen to these existing memory-keepers, and how their continuing destruction might affect not just the people, but the landscape as well. With the shifting of ideas and beliefs come new significations, and this is made tangible by the kinds of places and monuments we now have. MONUMENTS TO FORGETTING “The quest for memory is the search for one’s history.” --Pierre Nora (1989, 13)

While the argument today that monuments no longer function in the urban landscape is of note,



it is also rather reductive, as it fails to take into account not only the fact that monuments have an inherent passivity or ‘stasis’ if you will (as it quite literally locks a certain moment in time) but also the relevance of commemoration during the precolonial period, as discussed early in the work, and how it has carried-over in the present such forms of commemoration. A different perspective could be made with regard to monuments no longer serving any purposes. The utility or functional abilities of monuments may be different in the sense that today, one’s notion of a monument—and its functions—have radically changed. If, across centuries, we have traced the singular hegemonic agendas that the colonizers and sponsors of monuments have produced, it is only fitting to see a transformation, which is in direct proportion to the changes in the Filipino psyche or, to be specific, their notion of a ‘hero’, and urbanization as well. Nowadays, how do we make sense of the colonial monuments that we have inherited from the past? Moreover, what are their effects, if any? As we continue creating monuments of our time, do we create with deeper understanding—of what we have and represent now, and of what we have gotten from the past? Or do we still blindly erect monuments, one after another? Indeed, monuments have served their purpose during the colonial period—that is, serving the masters’ purposes. Do postcolonial monuments now serve the people’s interests, now that the masters are gone? Or has the hierarchy of power remained, merely shifting into new, internal masters? “We speak so much of memory because there is so little of it left”, says Pierre Nora (1989, 7). Stretching this notion further, we create objects of memory, or memories themselves, because there is none available at hand. It is perhaps ironic that one creates these objects of memories mostly in the form of monuments—which are temporally and spatially fixed, as well as, supposedly, unquestioned authoritative sites of history. Yet it becomes evident why so many politicians, for example, have this monumental craze; the perfect object which will carry their names, and even their own perspectives as well as projections, no matter how distorted they usually turn out to be. Without favouring politicians alone, even historians and sculptors are guilty of these representational errors. As such, how can the public see, and use, these permanent stone markers which will outlast them? A monument should already speak to a person viewing it. But what if it is not faithful to what it represents, as most often is the case? People’s differing perspectives affect both the outcome of the monument, as well as people’s reaction to it: how they will (ab)use this monument.


es pa syo

A monument lives in the sense that the creation of a monument, despite the overarching narratives or hegemonic agenda passed on by its makers, is a continuous process, in that its viewers continue to bring their own experiences, needs and understandings into their reading of it. To wit, the viewers create their own narratives, thereby subverting the real—or intended—one. This way, it is ever-changing; as alliances and interests shift from one generation to another, so do the readings—or uses—of monuments. Performativity in Monuments

have no memory, but that the people have been lulled into forgetting, not by the lack of people and events to remember, but by the numerous images (monuments) given to people (created in the urban landscapes) which ‘confuse’ them. Indeed, there is no absence, but multiple presences, as Eco has already said, decades ago. As Gillis (1994) puts it, “Memory tended to divide rather than unite.” (7) If Anderson claims that there is a national, collective memory, he is not blind to the requirement of “concerted forgettings” (or “collective amnesia”), in order for it to work.

In this sense, the creation of a monument is not simply a mere locking in of a certain event, memory, or person in stone; it is a practice that involves rituals, performed or set in a public space which may not necessarily leave behind anything permanent (such as that of the notes stuck on the Oblation). This is the living aspect of a monument—it may not necessarily prod or awaken dormant memories related to what it is commemorating or remembering, but it awakens dormant desires of a public that is searching for something for their memories to hinge on to, in a landscape that is bereft of “real environments of memory.” (Nora, 1989, 7)

Without the understanding that memory is something created and perpetually flux, one cannot make sense of one’s identity and one’s history. Following an elusive search for an absolute past, an absolute memory will only lead to an endless and futile search, which only explains the misrepresentations that often surround the creations of memory sites such as monuments, as well as the propensity of the people to simply make suffering as an ideal theme or fail to grasp historical accuracy by relying too much on what they think is the correct view of the past, or the correct way to idealize it. It is even questionable whether our nation has made, or is capable of, anything futureoriented. Which of the monuments we have portray a sense of the future? Indeed, the inherent contradictions in the way people see and think of a person or an event will inevitably come to the fore. As constructs, memory and identity are definitely political; tugging at the opposite poles of memory and forgetting.

Landscapes are potent sources of memory, such as the inscriptions of history that monuments provide, yet it is hardly an innocuous object or event in that people (ab)use these in several ways. And these inscriptions are not natural; they are political, tugging at the poles of remembering and forgetting, in a continuous play of opening and shutting the mind. For as Nora posits, we choose to let monuments do the remembering for us, and in doing so we become confident that history has been properly memorialized, and then we can forget. By “forgetting,” we mean using it in different ways; forgetting the real meaning of that object that stands before us, and hence, abusing it. With the abuse of monuments—both by the viewer and the creator—a rampant phenomenon, we are threatened to have monuments which no longer hold any significance. Knowing that whoever has the power to make these monuments also has the power to dictate and control the people, more and more people wish to erect monuments that will carry their name, as well as their ideals; and the result of such is the public’s lessening trust on these erected statues. As Umberto Eco (1988) states, “One forgets not by cancellation but by superimposition, not by producing absence but by multiplying presences.” If memory plays such a key role in nation building, what does this “lack” of memory say about our nation? Moreover, this study tries to push that notion further, or perhaps dispel with that notion altogether, in saying that it is not that people

However, this abuse is not to be regarded negatively. Monuments tend to flesh out whatever it is we think that a nation should be, or even ourselves. We project ourselves onto monuments too, thereby seeing our reflections in them. And is this not the purpose of monuments? Albeit seemingly abused by the people, used for their own benefits, seen through their own different lenses, monuments become reflections of man’s fears, unfulfilled dreams, frustrations and failures. Hence, monuments serve a crucial role in society: they keep us bound. We create monuments as we invent a nation; we need monuments just as much as we need a nation. Our tendency to hold on to something real keeps us building and erecting these monuments which carry our individual interpretations; and without them, without the tangible reality they offer us, perhaps nations will simply remain in the surface of abstractions. Perpetually in a state of construction and re-construction, the national identity is in “our responsibility to decode… in order to discover the relationships they create and sustain.” (Gillis, 1994, 4) And these relationships might be the very thing that will save us in our never-ending struggle to remember, and in trying to make sense of our society; the world we live in.



REFERENCES Anderson, B. (2003). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. Revised ed. Manila: Anvil Publishing, Inc. Alcazaren, P. (2004, February 22). Wow! What a Monument! The Philippine Star. Blair, E. and Robertson, J. (Eds.) (1903). The Philippine Islands: 1493-1898. Vols. III, V, XXI, XXXIII, XLIII. Ohio: A.H. Clark Company. de la Torre, V. R. (1981). Landmarks of Manila. 1571-1930. Manila: Filipinas Foundation, Inc. Demetrio, F. Fernando, G. C. and Zialcita, F. (1991). Soul book. Manila: GCF Books Eco, U. (1988). An ars oblivionalis? Forget it! In Publications of the Modern Language Association, 103. Gadamer, H. G. (1997). In Leach, N. (Ed.), Rethinking architecture: A reader in cultural theory. London and NY: Routledge. Gillis, J. R. Ed. (1994). Commemorations: The politics of national identity. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Guillermo, A. (1991). Sculptures in the Philippines: From anito to assemblage and other essays. Manila: Metropolitan Museum. Ileto, R. (1979). Pasyon and revolution: Popular movements in the Philippines, 1840-1910. QC: Ateneo de Manila University Press. Javellana, R. B. (2003). In and around Intramuros: An interactive guide. Manila: Jesuit Communications Foundation, Inc. Joaquin, N. (2004). Culture and history. Manila: Anvil Publishing, Inc. Jocano, F. (2001). Filipino prehistory: Rediscovering precolonial heritage. QC: Punlad Research House, Inc. Lico, G. (2008). Arkitekturang Filipino: A history of architecture and urbanism in the Philippines. QC: UP Press. --------. (1995). Edifice complex: Power, myth and Marcos state architecture. QC: Ateneo Press. Mosse, G. (1975). The nationalization of the masses: Political symbolism and mass movements in Germany from the Napoleonic wars through the Third Reich. NY: Howard Fertig. Nora, P. (1989, Spring). Between memory and history: Les Lieux de Memoire. In Representations, No. 26, Special Issue: Memory and Counter-Memory. 7-24. Quibuyen, F. (2009). A nation aborted. Rizal, American hegemony, and Philippine nationalism. Revised ed. QC: Ateneo de Manila University Press. Roces, A. (1995). Breaking out: An Eduardo Castrillo sculptural tour. Makati: Inyan Publishers, Inc. Tadiar, N. X. (2004). Fantasy-Production: Sexual economies and other Philippine consequences for the new world order. QC: Ateneo de Manila University Press. Torres, J. V. (2005). Ciudad murada: A walk through historic Intramuros. Manila: Intramuros Administration and Vibal Publishing House, Inc. Walkowitz, D. and Knauer, L. (Eds.) (2004). Memory and the impact of political transformation in public space. Durham and London: Duke University Press


es pa syo



Architecture and Cultural Sustainability




The creation of an architecture that takes into consideration the context of culture is holistic and pure. I believe that architects have a moral obligation to our country to help create an architecture of artistic and with cultural expression. True and genuine Architecture is the character of a particular culture. An architecture that is purely born out of technology and trendy fashion is ephemeral and rootless, therefore transitory. A truly creative architecture has a language of its own. Its character is apparent and its message clear and recognizable by the end user. In a creative modern architecture, native architectural character shall always have a place of prominence. Architects, designers and environmentalists should not only concern themselves with the protection and conservation of the natural environment but also the regeneration and sustainability of our native ethnic cultural heritage. The Philippines, being an archipelago of more than 7000 islands, is also multi-ethnic. There should be sensitivity in objectivity on the part of the designers in the design of ethnic communities. Character is a paramount design consideration. Architects have gained notoriety in imposing their high stylistic aesthetic biases and personal agendas. This was what they learned in architectural schools. The

es pa syo

age of the prima donna architect is past.T he planning of human habitats entails the involvement of class groups that have distinct values rather than the architect’s own preferences and biases. The resultant architecture and character shall only be the end result after all salient factors have been taken into consideration. Such important issues as social class, values and ethnic or anthropological consideration, if necessary, are essential criteria that must be consider by any designer to create an architecture of cultural sustainability. Cultural sustainability should be a major consideration in planning a community such as in mass housing. Itis common knowledge that mass housing in the country for low income group is way below what is sustainable and minimum standard quality. Here in the Philippines( unlike in some developing Asian countries) the government’s idea for mass housing is a big joke. Where on earth have you seen a aovernment sponsored mass housing where the poor recipients are treated like pigs: a small house called core type without windows (only a hole on the wall)without doors ( only openings) without water connection, or electricity and yet is called mass housing. In this country, the poor housing borrowers always end up holding the end of the stick. The big time so called mass housing developers who rake billions of pesos of profit in connivance with government home mortgage financing institutions are to blame for the failure of the government’s mass socialized housing program.This is tantamount to cannibalism:the most corrupt government officials and predatory property developers being the cannibals. Itis the poor and the powerless who always fall victims to both corrupt national government officials and the equally corrupt local government units. There shall be no poor people if there are no corrupt government officials. The issues on art and culture once these insatiable vultures are involved fizzle out.

But how can we talk of the higher realms such as cultural sustainability when we don’t even have social conscience to extract a pound of fleshfor every poor loan borrower? Although the National Housing Authority (NHA) has built millions of mass housing projects, the mass housing program of the government is a failure due to tcannibalism. Itis common knowledge that these corrupt real property developers have blanket authority to do their criminal activities in defrauding poor housing loan borrowers with the blessing and patronage of their cohorts- “trapos” and officials of the financial institution of the national government. The new government of President Benigno Aquino should run after crooked real property developers and officials of government financial institutions. They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Itis only in this manner that we could talk of the higher realms of art and culture: once corruption is minimized if not eradicated.

Good design sense does not necessarily mean high end stylistic pretenses but sustainability. It is the people who could give the architect the correct idea to design a viable, economical and culturally relevant community architecture-an architecture of the people.

Anyhow, art and culture can always transcend the evil of corruption thru our collective efforts to cultural sustainability and cultural regeneration thru peoples’ oriented developments. The NHA is on the right track: they are going around the country for consultative meetings with the very people they are building for. In these meetings, they want to hear from the general public what they want in the design of their housing units. Design preference survey is a very important tool for the Architect to know cultural variance among people of different cultural backgrounds. Design workshops are a very effective tool of the architect in finding out the peoples idea of what sustainability means; the sense of home and cultural recognition is the solution to the cultural void called Alienation..That sense of belonging, communality and comity among neighbors are distinct Filipino traits and values.



Social Sustainability of Historical Districts Towards Successful International Collaborations through Workshops

MAUREEN ANNE ARANETA The author of this commentary participated as a design adviser to student teams in the workshops in both Seoul and Hanoi. She is a professor at the College of Architecture at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has long established the existence of World Heritage Sites, emphasizing the global importance of the preservation of specific cities and locales of the world by virtue of their historic and cultural significance. These constitute the historic urban landscapes across the globe. These have significantly formed present-day societies and have important value in providing insight on how people live today.

Brigitte Colin states in her introduction to the UNESCO’s Round Table of Experts held in September 2004 on the Social Sustainability in Historical Districts that: “It is important to recognize that historical districts are not fixed in history. Centres of encounter and exchange, these socially and architecturally rich districts are not just the living testaments of a single culture’s history, but a record of the intersections of diverse peoples, ideas, cultures, politics, goods and services. Historical districts are , first and foremost, inhabited districts, whose populations are actively linked to urban spaces and buildings.”

The historic urban landscape, building on the 1976 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Safeguarding and Contemporary Role of Historic Areas, “refers to ensembles of any group of buildings, structures and open spaces, in their natural and ecological context, including archaeological and palaeontological sites, constituting human settlements in an urban environment over a relevant period of time, the cohesion and value of which are recognized from the archaeological, architectural, prehistoric, historic, scientific, aesthetic, sociocultural or ecological point of view.”

In this light, the UNESCO spearheaded the Vienna Memorandum on World Heritage and Contemporary Architecture – Managing the Historic Urban Landscape , which specifically states as one of its principles and aims that “taking into account the emotional connection between human beings and their environment, their sense of place, it is fundamental to guarantee an urban environmental quality of living to contribute to the economic success of a city and to its social and cultural vitality.” To achieve this, the Vienna Memorandum stipulates that:

The UNESCO has also acknowledged that World Heritage Sites and the historic urban landscape are living, dynamic systems where people reside in. Since inherent among humans is the capacity for change, such world sites are also subject to change over time.

“a central concern of physical and functional interventions is to enhance quality of life and production efficiency by improving living, working and recreational conditions and adapting uses without compromising existing values derived from the character and significance of the historic urban fabric and form. This means not only improving technical standards, but also a rehabilitation and contemporary development of the historic environment based upon a proper inventory and assessment of its values, as well as adding high-quality cultural expressions.”




The protection of such sites, in light of human development, requires a set of initiatives and programs that ensure that the historical and cultural facets of cities are preserved over time, in tandem with the modern interventions upon the built environment that people do in reaction to present needs and lifestyles.

es pa syo

With these principles and aims, the Vienna Memorandum developed Guidelines for Conservation Management, which emphasizes the requirement that “a deep understanding of the history, culture and architecture of place, as opposed to object buildings only, is crucial to the development of a conservation framework...”, in which case, “decision-making for interventions and contemporary architecture in a historic urban landscape demand careful consideration, a culturally and historic sensitive approach, stakeholder consultations and expert know-how. Such a process allows for adequate and proper action for individual cases, examining the spatial context between old and new, while respecting the authenticity and integrity of historic fabric and building stock.”

THE SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY OF HISTORICAL DISTRICTS: SEOUL (2009) AND HANOI (2010) The UNESCO Chair for Social Sustainability of Historical Districts, Dr. Lee Sang Leem of South Korea, has initiated an endeavor incorporating the knowledge-base developed by universities, and the young vitality of students of architecture, urban design and planning, in a workshop and symposium held in Seoul, South Korea in 2009, and Hanoi, Vietnam in 2010. The object of the workshops and symposia is to bring the academic international community to a city with pre-identified historical districts. These become the sites where innovative design interventions can be prepared and presented by professors and students from universities of different countries, with the express objective of ensuring the social sustainability of these locales. In the case of Seoul, the historical districts were Insadong, Iksudong, Donwahmoonro and Nakwon Building. For Hanoi, it was the Ancient Quarter,

more specifically its square, a typical street, a typical block and its market. The conduct of the workshop and symposium does not denote the inability of the host city to devise its own policies and designs to the built environment to maintain its historical and cultural persistence over time in light of its development. There is the chance, however, that over-familiarization of a locale prompts mental stagnation, limiting the types of solutions that can be generated by the local expert pool. What the workshop and symposium do is to cast fresh eyes over the landscape, inspiring foreign visitors, coupled with their unbiased view of the city, to make helpful suggestions to the local community in terms of the many possible ways an historical district, in light of change, can preserve its sense of place. Architecture, urban design and planning professors and students from universities in South Korea, the Philippines, China, Vietnam, India, the United States, Singapore, Thailand and the United Kingdom were invited to one or both cities to contribute to the worthwhile endeavor of providing constructive inputs in enhancing the social sustainability of Seoul and Hanoi. For many of the participants, it was their first glimpse of these cities, which proved advantageous in terms of guaranteeing their voracity and eagerness to live, breathe and understand the nuances of the city and the historical districts within it. Wataru Iwamoto, Director of the Division of Social Sciences, Research and Policy of the Social and Human Sciences Sector of the UNESCO quoted a portion of Fernand Leger’s 1933 speech to the 4th International Congress of Modern Architecture in Athens in his explanation of the preparation of the brochure, Historic Districts for All: A Social and Human Approach for Sustainable Revitalization :



“...there are some essential qualities to which the average person is attached and which he insists on having. If you destroy those qualities, then you have to replace them. The problem is an essentially human one. Put your plans back in your pocket, go out to the street and listen to the people breathe; you have to be in touch with them, steep yourself in the raw material, and walk in the same mud and the same dust...”. This contention thus validates that the local community can accept the suggested solutions that the visiting academia can offer, given their immersion, and not consider these a usurpation of the city’s development and sustainability. The first-time exploration of Seoul and Hanoi by the participants ensured that they imbibed the essential character of the host city, and identified what they perceived to be the hindrances to the social sustainability of the historical districts. This process of analyzing and synthesizing their firsthand experience of the city, with their classroom learning from their respective schools were important to the success of the workshop, for it ensured the production of ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions, which would not have likely dawned upon the local community. Being so engrossed in one’s city of residence, although ensuring full knowledge of the workings of the city, could also blind the local community from seeing what, to foreign eyes, are obvious signs of the threats to the preservation of the sense of place of these cities. Further enhancing the viability of the endeavor was the utter absence of any sense of contest among countries. The workshops were in no way presented as international design competitions. Instead, the workshops were international collaborations among students and professors.


es pa syo

Designated in each city were four historical districts, each one briefly described in an information kit distributed among the participants prior to the workshop. In addition, an introductory presentation and a day’s walk through the historical districts gave the participants a first look at the subjects of the workshop. Students and professors could then choose their top two options among the four districts, based on what they considered to be an intriguing challenge as well as a worthwhile test of their designing competencies. Having listed these options, the professors would come together to designate the teams dealing with each historical district, ensuring that students, as much as possible, would be granted their first pick, while at the same time making certain that teams would be comprised of students from different countries, with the additional requirement of including one student member from the host country in each team to serve as that team’s local guide. Professors were likewise distributed among the historical districts, coupled with a local professor. At the end of the grouping, each historical district would usually have three or four teams of three to four members each, with each historical district spearheaded by three professors serving as the design advisers of their respective student teams. This selection system ensures an international collaboration with the singular objective of preparing proposals to guarantee the social sustainability of these historical districts. By eliminating any sense of competition, the activity becomes an altruistic endeavor shared among different nationalities. The true challenge, then, lies in properly communicating design ideas within and among teams, given language difficulties, as well as delivering output within the short workshop timeframe of nine days. Although all participants can speak

English, it is not ordinarily their first language. This lingual discomfort, with the added pressure of preparing deliverables on a deadline, creates a very work-induced environment. Not that participants minded the work. In fact, such opportunities for international activities are welcomed by the relative achievers of the different schools. It provides them the opportunity to test their limits, as well as to learn from an international arena things that they would never be able to fully appreciate at a theoretical level in the classroom. In addition, language difficulties are not too much of a concern since schools of design can more concretely communicate with one another graphically, rather than lingually. To design, after all, requires the ability to draw, both by hand and electronically, in order to give spatial approximations of an idea. During the course of the workshop, the professors guide the student teams in their design evolutions and presentations. At times, the teams would go on their own sallies back to the historical districts, to review and reassess their design solutions. At the middle and at the end of the workshop are formal critique sessions, where student teams are given five minutes each to present, through slideshows, their respective proposals. The mid-critique session allows professors assigned to other historical districts to share their constructive inputs and reactions to the presentations. At the final presentation, heads from the key offices of the UNESCO, as well as local authorities, are invited to listen and gain perspective from the proposals. Although not a competition, the officials from the UNESCO choose the best three presentations, awarding the student team members UN Medals as a form of recognition. Their selection is based

on the responsive of the designs, as well as the practicality of implementation. The whole workshop is concluded with a symposium, where professors share their case studies of the social sustainability of the historical districts in their respective countries. A forum ends the symposium, where professors engage in erudite dialogue. Months after the workshop and symposium in each city, a book is published, containing all the works of the students, commentaries from the participating professors, and a transcript of the forum. The benefits and friendships gained from participating in the workshop and symposium far outweigh the intensive work and long hours involved. These serve as opportunities for students and professors to learn within an active site. There is a sharing of design and presentation techniques, and an interaction among cultures. Needless to say, it is an experience worth remembering.

PERFORMANCE OF THE PARTICIPANTS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES Participants from the University of the Philippines (UP) came from the College of Architecture. The curriculum of the college focuses on preparing students to become competent professionals in the field, after passing a licensure exam. The coverage of the five-year course is quite comprehensive, with classes in design, history and theory, which lean towards the more artistic side of architecture, and classes in construction, structurals and utilities, which slant towards the more technical side.



This background proved quite advantageous to Filipino students as participants in the international workshop, for it lent practicality to their proposals. Objectively speaking, students from UP were the most technically-adept, infusing their design solutions with structural soundness. Sadly, however, given the tight deadline during the workshop, participants from other countries would consider technical aspects a secondary concern and a misuse of time, and state that these need not be included in the final presentations, primarily because these are within the dominion of the engineer. Of a usable advantage is the Filipino participants’ command of English. Proof of this is the usual selection of the Filipino team member to make the final presentations to an audience. The most beneficial of all is the Filipinos’ ability to remain diplomatic and forbearing. Time pressure during the workshop produces frayed nerves and heated discussions among participants, although none, fortunately, become personal altercations. Luckily, Filipino participants are seldom involved in such instances. More usually, it is the Filipino participant who becomes the bridge among members within the team. Advantageous as this may seem, Filipino students, however, cannot afford to aggressively insist on their design contributions in their interactions with their fellows. Filipinos prefer to compromise rather than to dominate. Although this reduces the probability of receiving the UN medal of recognition for their design, Filipino participants honor the true objective of the workshop: international collaboration. The key to a successful workshop is collaboration. The key to successful collaboration is the ability to conciliate ideas and perspectives, with the prime objective of contributing to a city’s betterhood, by honoring its past, and preparing for the future, at the fore.


es pa syo

Building Imperfection Concept, Theory and Discourse in the Design of the SDA Building


From Intent to Translation: The Design Process Architecture begins with an idea. Some ideas are simple while others are complex. Ideas also come from diverse sources. Architecture might derive ideas from everyday experiences or from esoteric origins. Whatever the case, one needs to act on that idea for architecture to come to reality. Often, only people with vision and courage act on that idea. The College of St. Benilde - School of Design and Arts (CSB-SDA) building is a perfect example of how conviction, temerity and bravery are necessary in the actualization of an idea. It would take a designer with a strong passion for creativity and a patron with an unwavering commitment to innovation to fully realize the dream of a school of design that leads the way in design education and at same time becomes a hallmark of progressive design in the Philippines.

broadest sense. It is non-traditional in the planning sense, as the building almost becomes a compact vertical campus. Functional activities are stacked in a small and narrow site. Connectivity to other floors is achieved through elevators and stairs. Due to the limitations of the site, the external corridors had to become the internal “streets.” It is also non-traditional in the architectural sense as the design needed to be forwardlooking. Abandoning the predominant neo-classical style among the existing DLSU buildings, Calma sought to differentiate the new building as an elucidation of the CSB’s vision and commitment to “dynamic and innovative learning.” Innovation, in Calma’s understanding, demanded an approach in design that challenges, questions and dismantles preconceived notions of architecture.

For Ed Calma, designer of the SDA building, the program of the building informs the design of the school. Though the brief given by the college was not as clear at the start in terms of the amount and type of space, the intention of the building to be a landmark was already apparent from the beginning. Calma first addressed the primary function of the building as a school that houses the different departments of SDA by accommodating all the programs under one roof. Secondly, the program also required spaces and opportunities for interactions and collaborations between the various departments. Calma responded to this requirement by supplying an array of spaces that function as nodes or spaces of encounters. Spaces and building elements had to be multi-functional. Walls serve as physical boundaries as well as display areas. Corridors are not only passageways but are also points of intersection of students coming from different classes. The theater, for example, becomes the melding point of collaboration between different disciplines. But more importantly, as a design school, the building should also serve as a teaching instrument for the students. The building should inspire creativity.

What are these traditional notions of architecture that Calma wanted to challenge then? For one, Calma has always been attempting to rethink the idea of architecture as a box punctured with openings. In lieu of this, he proposes that architecture be broken down into planes, surfaces, edges and volumes. By doing so, a wall for example is no longer limited to an idea of a rectangular shape with a window punched through it. Walls, and subsequently floors and ceilings, are fully moldable and manipulatable. Walls are not just defined by surfaces, but can be formed by the juxtaposition of edges and planes. Ceilings are not just merely horizontal surfaces that end where the wall begins. The floor can become the wall and in turn also become the ceiling. Windows are not necessarily centered on the wall plane. Rather, openings can also be constructed out of the liminal spaces left over from intersecting planes and volumes. In such a manner, architecture is not a symmetrical and formal composition, but an asymmetric explosion and layering of surfaces, voids and planes. In the Pablito Calma house for example, edges define the zones, while the union of planes demarcate the walls and ceilings. Calma’s designs are unpredictable to a certain degree.

In Calma’s mind, for the building to inspire creativity, the school structure should not be “traditional” in the

For the SDA building, Calma’s design for Restaurant 12 (R12) admittedly was the starting point. The interior


building critique

Edson Cabalfin is Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture and Interior Design at the University of Cincinnati, teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses for architecture and interior design. He is a Design architect for an international architectural consultancy firm responsible for projects in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. As an Architectural historian, he specializes in 20th century architectures of the Asia and the Pacific, with particular focus on the Philippines.



es pa syo

was dominated by a series of morphing, twisting and folding ribbon loops that move progressively from the front to the back of the restaurant. The mezzanine area was created by the succession of continuous bands that link floor, wall and ceiling planes together into a coherent whole. The ribbons are fragmented while the overall forms are tortuous. Edges are crisp, while plane connections are articulated. The ribbons that peel from street to lobby and façade at the SDA building are highly reminiscent of the sequential bands in R12. There is a direct relationship between the restaurant and the school if formal manipulation is considered.

The SDA building is a celebration and elaboration of folding. Beginning on the street level, finger-like protrusions peel away from the road, producing a separation between the ingress and egress points into the site. The peeling continues further inside the lot, towards the entryway into the building. Again, strips of concrete are raised from the road, creating natural bollards with integrated lighting. Much like strips of carpet unraveling, the concrete fingers from the outside entryway progresses into the lobby and folds up into the ceiling plane. In one continuous gesture, people are motioned from the sidewalk into the lobby through these crawling strips.

But R12 and the SDA building diverge in terms of scale. The interior of the restaurant is largely restricted to the walls surrounding the leasable space. The experience of the person with the interior of the restaurant differs greatly from the experience with the school from the street level. The SDA building, on the contrary, is set within a larger urban fabric, with the property lines as the limiting factor. The vertical volume, however, becomes the blank palette with which Calma could carve out the spaces. With 14 floors and a roof deck, at a height of about 69 meters, or around 226 feet, the building arrogantly stands among its low-rise neighbors. While the restaurant space is intimate, the school structure is decidedly overwhelming and daunting in size.

But the pervasiveness of folding does not end there. The waving finger-like strips that move from the street, to the entryway, the lobby and to the ceiling now continue to crawl up the building. At one point, the ribbons appear in the interior of the chapel on the upper mezzanine floor. The ribbons create an intimate space, almost cavern-like in emotion, similar to the intimacy created in the R12 restaurant. From the lobby, the ribbons protrude out of the glass wall onto the entryway but this time elevated far above the pedestrian level. In this context, the strips meld and fold over the massive theater volume, enveloping the space within a skin of aluminum cladding. Jutting out of the building, the weight of the theater is held back by the skin that embraces it. The aluminum skin again begins to peel away from the top of the theater as ribbons of metal cover the top of the building. As the ribbons vary in movement and folding, slits of glass between the strips create opportunities for the sun’s light to pierce through the opaque skin.

Folding: Fragments, Shards and Slivers Interpreting the building program through form also included the articulation of functional requirements via surfaces, volumes and shapes. For the SDA building, the primary technique of expressing this conglomeration of activities is through the idea of “folding.” Folding in the literal sense means the bending of surfaces to create layers and creases. In the last decade, architectural theoreticians have taken interest in the writings of Gilles Deleuze and his explorations of the idea of folding in architecture. Deleuze for example considers the folding in baroque architecture as the disengagement of the façade and the exterior from the interior. Recent architectural projects that explore the concept of folding are demonstrated by Diller and Scoffidio’s interiors for the Brasserie Restaurants in New York where the floor plane becomes the wall plane that eventually morph into the ceiling surface; and Frank Gehry’s convoluted forms and layered surfaces, such as those seen in the Disney Symphony Hall and Guggenheim Bilbao, which bend surfaces into distorted planes. Other manifestations of folding appear in the works of Morphosis and Eric Owen Moss where the creases generate fragmented surfaces and volumes. From jagged surfaces to disfigured solids, folding affords new means of communicating architectural form and experiences. Concurrently, folding destabilizes common notions of walls, ceilings and floors as always being in an orthogonal relationship or having 90-degree corners. Folding also undermines the separation of the wall, ceiling and floor surfaces as distinct entities, and instead blurs the distinction between them. Moreover, bending and creasing surfaces render planes not only in terms of continuous flat surfaces but also into fragments, shards and slivers, often containing acute and obtuse angles. In doing so, distortion, skewing, twisting and warping become the primary modes of generating architectural form and spaces.

Inside the building, folding is particularly articulated on the walls and ceilings of the classrooms and corridors. Warping around the classroom spaces are origami-like planes, with irregular splinters of solid and transparent surfaces. As the walls are skewed and slanted, odd spaces appear between the shards. Some of these shards become viewing windows into the classrooms or clerestory windows on top of the walls. At times, the walls disengage from the ceiling as solid parts meld into transparent glass panels. In other cases the walls become the ceiling. The ceiling planes, like the walls, are also skewed and twisted. The stark white ceilings at first glance seem severe. But upon closer inspection, the changing folds and fragments of the ceiling planes create variations in patterns through the interchange of light and shadow. In an almost chiaroscuro effect, the deviations of shade among the fragmented planes create depth and interest in a predominantly white environment. The feeling while walking along the corridors and classrooms is both energetic and uneasy. The interiors are energetic because the volumes created within are unexpected and unpredictable. As each floor features a different configuration from the next one, the experience on each level is not necessarily the same. It is also uneasy due to the somewhat erratic nature of the planes. The jagged edges and acute angles present a challenge whenever furniture is introduced into the rooms. The spaces are equally exciting and stimulating, while being tense and anxious at the same time.



The Urban Lantern: Transparency and Permeability From afar, the building glows brilliantly amidst the dark night sky. It stands in stark contrast to its environment. The SDA building is akin to a Japanese lantern primarily because of its crisp horizontal lines and almost transparent skin. But the building can be construed as more of an “urban lantern” illuminating the Manila skyline. In a way, it serves as a beacon to the surrounding area, a landmark that serves as point of reference in orienting oneself in the city. Figuratively, providing “light” to the neighborhood might mean that the building can also potentially serve as a catalyst for urban renewal in the area. The introduction of a landmark building in the area, much like the effect of building Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, can contribute immensely to the urban regeneration of the area. As an iconic architecture, the building can in fact contribute to the influx of tourism in the university and community, as it becomes a tourist destination in itself. One cannot deny the inextricable relationship of architecture and tourism. In another sense, the urban lantern reveals the inner workings of the building. Much like Renzo Piano and Norman Foster’s Pompidou Center in Paris, France, the internal activities of the building are not hidden. In fact, the interior activity of the building is celebrated by placing the public corridors outside. While it is the utility systems (such as plumbing, electrical and HVAC) that are revealed at the Pompidou Center, it is the dynamic flow of people that is divulged at the SDA building through its permeable skin. If the façade lacks any ornamentation, it is the movement of people that acts as patterns on an otherwise austere exterior. This permeability also allows the viewer from the street to access the building. Subsequently, the person in the building is permitted to engage with the outside. Here, the demarcation between the inside and the outside is blurred. Furthermore, the transparent skin establishes a connection between the school and the rest of the city through the vista that is afforded on the upper floors. It is not an introverted building, made possible by the external corridors and the various vantage points generated from the slits and peeling layers.


es pa syo

Seemingly hovering over the houses and low-level buildings in the neighborhood, the external skin is a dramatic play between opaque and transparent layers. In some areas, the skin is close to the skeletal frame of the building, while in other parts, the skin peels away to reveal openings and incisions on the exterior. The strips of opaque aluminum skin on the floating theater, for example, incrementally unwrap itself from the top of the main volume, which in turn creates interstitial spaces that become pocket windows. Still on the southern façade, the transparent glass louvers open up like scales, allowing natural ventilation and illumination to enter the building. Yet one cannot help but think about the inherent contradictions in its permeability: the juxtaposition of opaque and transparent surfaces creates a visual “hide and seek” game where some parts of the building are consciously exposed, while other segments are intentionally concealed. Not everything is made known to the public. While it is also true that the permeable skin allows you to access it visually, it really prevents you from completely engaging in the building. Since it is only people who can afford to pay the school’s matriculation fee and therefore can use the space and the school’s services directly, the accidental passerby on the street level can only imagine what it feels like to be in such a space. Not everybody is allowed to engage with it directly. Though its skin is permeable in principle, it still serves as a visual and social filter simultaneously. Labeling: Modernist or Deconstructivist? It is quite difficult to place the SDA building within a stylistic category. On the one hand, the building seems to follow modernist attitudes in its conception and articulation. If we are to use Philip Johnson and Henry Russel Hitchcock’s canonical definition of “modern architecture” during the 1932 Museum of Modern Art exhibition on “The International Style,” the SDA building seems to fit comfortably within the category. Undeniably, the building features unornamented surfaces, emphasizes volume rather than mass, gives primacy on regularity rather than symmetry and focuses on the tectonic qualities of the structure through its material

articulation, which all point to the modernist ideal. The stark whiteness of its surfaces devoid of any ornamentation, in itself a hallmark of the modernist response to the Victorian ostentatious spectacle of decorations, is quite apparent in the overall formal approach in the SDA building. Calma’s color palette for the entire building, except for few areas, is quite limited to a white and gray schema. The regularity of the form is not dependent on the creation of a symmetrically balanced structure, but rather derives the rhythmic movement through the consistency of folding and fragmentation. On the other hand, the building can be reasonably classified under a more deconstructivist attitude. Deconstruction in architecture, an approach following the ideas of French philosopher Jacques Derrida, has been promoted by such architectural luminaries as Peter Eisenman, Bernard Tschumi, Zaha Hadid, Morphosis and Eric Owen Moss, which in the last decade have not only received much attention but also has been considerably concretized through actual built commissions. Deconstruction contests the idea of meaning as being homogenous and instead attempts to uncover the underlying inconsistencies and contradictions of meanings within a text. Formalistically, deconstructivist architecture challenges the highly orthogonal system of modernist architectures by emphasizing fragmented and acute angles of forms. The Platonic forms of the cube and sphere are distorted and warped to generate new experiences of space and place. The SDA building, in this context, follows the deconstructivist mode. The folding of surfaces creates non-orthogonal contours that challenge traditional notions of walls, ceilings, doors and windows. Whereas, we know of walls as vertical and ceilings as horizontal, the continual shifting and splintering of wall and ceiling planes into shards subvert these notions. The floor plate also shifts and morphs on each level, creating unique room configurations on each floor.

But is it possible that the building can be both a modernist expression and a deconstructivist experiment at the same time? This hybridity can only be understood if we abandon the idea of the building as having a particular architectural style. The approach in designing the building, as Ed Calma explains, is generated from the program of the school. While the original intent of the late Brother Andrew Gonzales was to maintain the overall neo-classic temperament among the university buildings (a style that was begun by Tomas Mapua in his design of then main De La Salle College in the 1930s) Ed Calma approached the building not as an extension of an architectural style but a celebration of the building program. The functional activities, the relationship of the departments and the primary role of the building as a didactic instrument all informed the form generation of the school. It then becomes not as an exercise in historical revivalism but more importantly a practice of innovation for the university. The SDA building at one point was dubbed as the “imperfect building” by Ed Calma. One can definitely associate the design process as not necessarily perfect. In fact, the design process was accidental to a certain extent. Calma intimated the origin of the folded and fragmented surfaces of R12 as the result of a book crashing the scale model of the interiors. The actual production was also not perfect because of the challenges faced by the construction team. Structural and constructional details were a not fully realized by contractors due to its technical difficulty. We can begin to understand the imperfection of the structure not because it hasn’t reached a form of perfection or ideal state, but rather the building should be understood as in flux. Continually changing and adapting to future users, the building is not yet finished. Different people will interpret the building in varying ways. Different users will appropriate the spaces differently. Different experiences and memories will be created as time advances. In a way the SDA building can never be finished and therefore can never reach a level of perfection.



To the idea of the SDA building as a “building that teaches” we should ask the question “to whom does it teach?” Ostensibly the building is a school for the SDA students, but in the long run the building will become a testament to the idea of architecture as a didactic instrument to Philippine society in general. The impact of the design to the De La Salle University and the immediate neighborhood might be directly palpable now, but the implications to the design community, the architecture profession, and the educational system are yet to be seen. The new SDA building contributes to Philippine architectural discourse by challenging widely accepted notions and opening unexplored avenues of expression. As the building investigated new concepts and ideas in architecture, it will become a new standard in expressing vision and intent. Through its conceptual rigor and coherence, the school building will undoubtedly become a critical watershed in the history of Philippine architecture.


es pa syo

Published through the auspices of Ani ng Sining, the contribution of the National Committee of Architecture and Allied Arts (NCCA) to the Philippine International Arts Festival 2010, Archi [types/text]: Architecture in Philippine Life is a compilation of the texts and images of eight exhibitions curated by Dr. Gerard Rey Lico, and held in various sites in Metro Manila, Cebu City and Zamboanga City. These exhibitions were unified by Lico’s reflections on the various modalities in which architecture is grasped as either form or figure. This is then elaborated upon by the respective exhibitions “Imperial Reproductions: Imagin(ing) the Philippines in Color” (held at the Atelier of the Bulwagan ng Dangal, UP Diliman); “Imperial Gaze: Representations of Far Zamboanga in Colonial Photography” (Fort Pilar, Zamboanga City); “Andres Luna de San Pedro: Architect-Painter” (Museum of the Filipino Peoples, Manila); “Deco Decadence: Philippine Art Deco Architecture” (Aldaba Hall, University Theater, UP Diliman); “Manila and the River that Runs Through It” (FEATI University, Manila); “Building Modernity” (United Architects of the Philippines Museum, UAP Headquarters, Quezon City); “Philippine Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, 1900-1960” (Ayala Center, Cebu City); “PA(ng)LABAS = architecture + cinema: Projections of Filipino Space in Film” (Glorietta, Makati City); and “The Vargas Collection” (Jorge Vargas Museum, UP Diliman). Archi[types/texts] thus puts in the reader’s hands a comprehensive set of texts that define and describe the relationship between space, culture, power, and social conditions through the lens of the Philippine experience in the past century, seen from a critical Filipino viewpoint. This series of exhibition texts can best be subdivided into two categories: those that dealt with imperialism and the reordering of Philippine visual space to conform to the white man’s imaginary of civilization; and those in which Filipinos themselves imagine space through colonial mimicry, technology and native realization, re-


book and exhibition reviews

Archi [types/text]: Architecture in Philippines Life Ed. Gerard Rey Lico. Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2010.


sulting in the hybridized conditions of Philippine architectural practice today. The first would include shows like “Imperial Reproductions,” where lush turn-of-the– century hand-tinted photography of Philippine scenes and portraits exemplify the notion of visual cataloguing of newly-acquired lands and people, becoming part of an imperial instrument of knowledge formation through which colonial policies of “civilization” and “benevolent assimilation” are then imprinted following Western cultural norms to a supposedly primitive and natural land. This climaxes in the building of modern urban structures that echo American notions of civility and nationhood. This notion of “capturing” and “projecting” Philippine space as both problematically savage, and subject to imperial redirection and tutelage is followed through by “Imperial Gaze,” which features the portrait photography of American soldier Harry S. Harnish, who was stationed in Zamboanga between 1898-1907, and now in the possession of the UP Main Library. Harnish’s photographs frames Filipinos as animalistic beings requiring the white man’s education to qualify for independence, while white colonizers like himself are seen enjoying the fruits of a tropical haven. This inculcation and subsequent impact on Philippine space and architectural practice is seen in the exhibitions “Philippine Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning” and “Building Modernity,” where American planning schemes, building technologies and ideological notions of imperial outposts can be seen in the urban plans of Manila, Baguio and other regional cities as templates of the City Beautiful Movement, subsequently segueing to more modern— and now postmodern—interpretations of planned space and built architecture. The exhibition “Manila and the River that Runs Through It” encapsulizes this historical experience by taking what Henri Lefevre calls “l’histoire de la longue dure,.” the long view from building plans of Manila along the Pasig River, drawn during the Spanish colonial period, the American period and the Independence period, each marking its relationship with the river in terms both ambivalent as well as pragmatic. The more decidedly Filipino viewpoint can be seen in “Vargas Museum Collection,” in which painterly depictions of Philippine buildings from the early-mid 20th century catalogue our own vision of space as rural, urban or devastated by war. On the other hand, “Andres


es pa syo

Luna de San Pedro” explores the life of the now-little remembered architect and only child of painter Juan Luna. Luling, as he was called by his father, became one of the Philippines’ most impressive advocates of Art Nouveau and Classic Art Deco in the first half of the 20th century, designer of the Perez-Samanillo Building, the Perkins Residence, La Casona, the Evangelista Residence, Santa Cecilia Hall of Saint Scholastica’s College and the famous Arcada de Crystal in Quiapo. “Deco Decadence” expands upon this theme by situating the Philippines—particularly pre-War Manila—as one of Asia’s most robust sites for Art Deco construction during the late-1920s and throughout the 1930s to the 1940s. Lastly, “PA(ng)LABAS” shows the cinematic construction of Philippine space through the lens of screenplays and directorial viewpoints that combine narrative, scenery and atmosphere in emphasizing our cultural conceptions of Filipino space in the latter half of the 20th century. Archi[types/text] thus circumnavigates and delineates the possibilities for contemporary Filipino architectural curatorship, and its circulation and reception by its publics. Diliman: Tracing the Terrain/ Monochromed Memories: UP Landmarks Curated by Gerard Rey Lico and Ruben D.F. Defeo. Bulwagan ng Dangal and Atelyer Basement, Gonzales Hall, UP Diliman. 18 June-15 September 2010. Exhibitions celebrating the centennial of the University of the Philippines (UP) emphasize both the historicity of the institutional structure, as well as the myriad contributions of its administrators, faculty, and alumni in establishing and maintaining the reputation of the Philippines’ National University as a top-notch tertiary establishment dedicated to developing the citizenry and national economy, as well as measure progress in terms of political and social justice. Whereas previous exhibitions emphasize the historic nature of the institution’s building fabric, the recent dual exhibition Diliman: Tracing the Terrain and Monochromed Memories: UP Landmarks (June 18-September 15, 2010) focus on the twin aspects of urban planning and collective memory. In Diliman: Tracing the Terrain, curator Dr. Gerard Rey Lico reconnects to the ideological and political project of Manuel Quezon’s 1939 vision of a new republican

capital established outside of “the hustle and bustle of a port city,” in which a “modern university... (can) provide an adequate educational plan conducive to moral and scholastic standards appropriate to our highest institution of learning.” That this magnificent new 493hectare campus would be housed by Quezon’s planners in such a site indicates the political capital invested upon UP as a (presumably compliant) state university that educated the brightest minds of the nation—a capital foregrounded on the quasi-imperial imagination of New Manila (later renamed Quezon City) as a new Washington. The connection is made through the plan’s belief and implementation of the City Beautiful aesthetic, with its expansive parks, stately neoclassical architecture, and wide tree-lined boulevards that were supposed to “civilize” the behaviour of its users, and allow them to aspire for higher ideals, without resorting to public protest or crime. How this plan is ultimately transformed into the UP Diliman campus of the present is also told by Lico, who as current campus architect has studied and applied his own stamp to the urban plan of Diliman. The Modernist narrative that superimposes itself on the 1939 plan of William Parsons and Harry Frost begins with Cesar Concio’s post-war translation of the symmetrical paired educational structures along the Academic Oval, symbolized by the beaux-arts neoclassicism of Juan Arellano’s Liberal Arts (now College of Education) and Law buildings, to the streamlined art deco-brutalist Palma and Melchor Halls. It was Concio who, working on wartime American planning interventions (since the cam-

pus was converted into a military base), also redrew the campus plan to reflect a more inclusive community, with dormitories, faculty housing, and centers for commerce and worship. The extensive use of International Style designs in the buildings of the 1950s and 1960s by Concio, Leandro Locsin, and Victor Tiotuyco also reflect this aggressively transformed narrative from City Beautiful to City of Tomorrow as the preferred ideology. The increasingly Postmodern slant of construction since the 1980s is also tackled, along with contemporary plans of new buildings. Ruben Defeo’s curated exhibition Monochromed Memories: UP Landmarks, on the other hand, spoke evocatively of the relationship between UP’s monuments and the memory of its constituents. Translated by alumni artists of the UP College of Fine Arts, Monochromed Memories visualizes the various structures most associated with UP Diliman, such as the University Gateway, Quezon Hall and the Oblation, the Academic Oval, Carillon Tower, University Theater, and various academic buildings like Palma Hall, Melchor Hall and Benitez Hall. A particular treasure is the pencil drawing of UP Manila’s Villamor Hall (now the Supreme Court), done by Dominador Castañeda in 1930, that leads to depictions of monuments in other constituent campuses: UP Manila’s Salcedo and Calderon Halls, or UPLB’s Rizal Carillon and Baker Hall, or those of UP Visayas and the Open University. Monochromed Memories thus serves to enflesh the human memorial narratives on top of Tracing the Terrain’s fabric of asphalt, concrete, and grass.



sanitary engineer Manuel Mañosa Sr. and former film actress Maria Tronqued, Francisco or “Bobby” was a precocious child fascinated with the properties of materials like stone and wood. Having lived in a bahay na bato along Azcarraga Street (now Claro M. Recto Boulevard), Mañosa’s aesthetic is defined by his reflections of the virtues of tropical architecture no matter how humble— the bahay kubo was an endless source of later fascination in his work, as it exemplified for him both the environment and spirit of its users, as well as the memory of rural childhood picnics.

Designing Filipino: The Architecture of Francisco Mañosa Eric S. Caruncho. Foreword by Robert Powell. Manila: Tukod Foundation, 2003. Published career retrospectives of Filipino architects come few and far in between. Before 2000, only National Artist Leandro Locsin’s work, in the form of The Architecture of Leandro V. Locsin by Nicholas Polites (Weatherhill Books) published in 1977, followed by the modest 1996 anthology The Poet of Space: Leandro Locsin by Augusto F. Villalon, published after Locsin’s death, could be counted on as reliable compilations of a famous Filipino architect’s body of work. This is a sad commentary on the lack of impetus in empirically documenting the richness of Philippine architectural practice, such as those of Arcadio Arellano, Felix Roxas, Andres Luna de San Pedro, Fernando Ocampo, or even those of National Artists Juan Arellano and Pablo Antonio. The need to comprehensively document contemporary Philippine Architecture according to the body of work of its practitioners is even greater, since this is the period when Modernism and national development played a hand in erecting the current generation of structures with their own idiomatic appropriations of the International Style, vernacularism, and Postmodern/Neo-Modern transfusions. More recent attempts to address this lack of documentation include the 2003 publication of the works of Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa. Titled Designing Filipino: The Architecture of Francisco Mañosa, the 255-page hardbound coffeetable book written by Eric S. Caruncho, published by Tukod Foundation, and sumptuously photographed by Chester Ong, the book discusses the ideas, historical context, as well as subsequent design forms that the 79-year old architect and most wellknown advocate of Philippine neo-vernacularism has produced over a 50-year long career. The son of Manila


es pa syo

The inculcated encounter with Modernism, through his architectural education at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), also impacted upon Mañosa’s formal vocabulary, with the technical dominance of the International Modern Style that he grafted and skilfully reset in indigenous native forms, such as his breakout project of the now-demolished Sulo Hotel in Makati (1960), done in collaboration with brothers Jose and Manuel Mañosa Jr. who formed Mañosa Brothers and Associates between 1954-1976. The Sulo Hotel’s soaring roofline, imitating the curved profile and massive ceiling beam of a traditional Moro house, instantly defined the sensuous curvilinear line that Mañosa would explore in tandem with regulated polygons, such as hexagons and octagons. Its brutalist facade wall, on the other hand, also provided the modern counterpoint to this vernacular icon. The book catalogues these explorations and variations of theme and motif that he made after he established his own firm, Mañosa and Partners, through sections divided by form. In Homes and Residential Buildings, Mañosa shows his decisive interventions in reiterating the nobility of the traditional bahay in such structures as Tahanang Pilipino (Coconut Palace, 1981), Puerto Azul’s Bamboo House (1981), his own house in Ayala-Alabang (1982), the Luym House in Cebu City (2000); and the spectacular modular arrangements of the Concepcion House in Tagaytay (1999), and the Hoffman House in Nasugbu (2000). Through his house designs, Mañosa interprets the cultural roots of Philippine architecture as that of formal symmetry, expert use of flora as material and the use of dramatic vistas and sight lines. In the case of Mañosa’s Churches, the emphasis is on soaring lines and colors that lead the eye upward; or expansive horizontals that emphasize nurturance. The first includes the Risen Lord Chapel in Pulang Lupa, Las Piñas (1999), as well as temporary structures like the famed tripod-shaped monumental cross for the 1987 Eucharistic Congress Altar. The second includes such icons as the Shrine of Mary Queen of Peace at EDSA (1989), or the Mary Immaculate Parish in Las Piñas (1988). The expansion of Mañosa’s design scale to include hotels and resorts, such as the famous Pearl Farm Resort in Samal Island (1994), Amanpulo at Pamalican Island (1994), or the Mactan Shangri-La Plaza (1993) are all indicative of his ability to stick to the vernacular elements of traditional architecture, while strengthening it with modern accents and cross-cultural references to address the burgeoning tourism economy of the country. Despite the often-massive scale of his projects, Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa deftly passes that most critical architectural design challenge: that of ensuring that detail is never lost amidst the monuments.

View more...


Copyright ©2017 KUPDF Inc.