The Philippines, the world's second-largest archipelago, is known for its crystal-clear waters and picture-perfect beaches, but there's another facet of the country that many overlook - Architecture.
Standing tall, these buildings and structures exude Filipino pride. They are a true reflection of the country's transition from past to present, telling the story of its rich history, with America, Spain, and the Chinese all leaving their mark.
Here are the top places in the Philippines that have become world-renowned for their artistry, eco-friendliness, and sustainability that architecture lovers should not miss.
5. Zuellig Building @Makati
Zuellig Building is located in the heart of Makati City, the Philippines' business hub in Metro Manila, at the busy intersection of Makati Avenue and Paseo de Roxas. The area is known for its financial institutions and upscale hotels, and it is home to some impressive skyscrapers; however, nothing quite compares to the gleaming skyscraper that is the Zuellig.
The all-glass facade of the 33-story, the 155-meter-high building draws the attention of most Makati residents. However, the glass panels serve a purpose other than aesthetics. They have a low emissivity coating that reduces heat and energy loss, as well as daylight dimming sensors and rainwater harvesting capabilities.
Because of its green architecture, resource-efficient building operations, and sustainable construction design, it was the Philippines' first building to qualify for the Platinum certification level of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2013. This is the highest level of certification for "green" structures.
Zuellig was also awarded the Urban Land Institute's Global Award for Excellence. It was one of the 13 winners in 2014. This award is given to structures that can
benefit urban society and serve as a model for other buildings due to their best practices. Because it is a major office tower, you cannot easily enter unless you have an official business meeting. The sun reflecting off this impressive contemporary building from the outside, however, is reason enough to pay this location a visit.
While you're there, take a stroll through the nearby Ayala Triangle, a famous park in Manila!
Ayala Triangle Garden
4. The Mind Museum @Taguig
If you're looking for something more contemporary, the Mind Museum is a great place to start. This futuristic building in Taguig, which took five years to complete,
is the brainchild of Lor and Ed Calma, a father-son architectural duo who are said to be a formidable force in the industry.
The unusual design of this building is what truly distinguishes it. Is it a bird, a plane, or something else? The structure, in reality, is said to be influenced by cellular structure and development, which is appropriate for the country's first interactive science museum.
This seminal work was honored with an international award at the 20th annual Thea Awards in 2014 for "Going the extra mile in expanding science into a fully experiential world."
It would be a travesty to visit this mind-boggling structure and not spend hours interacting with its 250 science galleries and exhibits.
The Mind Museum
3. Mactan Cebu International Airport @Cebu
When it comes to airports, the Mactan Cebu International Airport is the country's pride and joy. Its Terminal 2 received two awards at the 2019 World Architecture Festival, beating out competitors such as Singapore's Jewel Changi Airport and Australia's Barangaroo Ferry Wharf in the Completed Buildings-Transport category.
MCIA Terminal 2 was designed by Integrated Design Associates Hong Kong in collaboration with Filipino designers. Kenneth Cobonpue, a well-known Cebu furniture maker, also contributed to the design. His design aesthetic can be seen in the terminal's timber arches and floor-to-ceiling glass panels.
2. Philippine International Convention Center @Pasay, Metro Manila
It was designed by National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin and is known as Asia's first international convention center. With a floor area of around 70,000 square meters, its five buildings are versatile and accommodating enough to host a variety of events, from political summits to concerts. (Include Luisano Pavarotti, Ricky Martin, the Bolshoi Ballet, and Lea Salonga...)
It was first used in 1976 when the country hosted the World Bank's International Monetary Fund Annual Meeting. Following that, other Asian countries were inspired and began constructing international convention centers similar to the PICC.
The master architect's simple yet elegant design can also be seen in his other works, such as Tanghalang Mariang Makiling of the Philippine High School for the Arts and the National Theater, both of which are part of the CCP Complex.
1. University of Sto. Tomas Main Building @Metro Manila
Although the University of Sto. Tomas is Asia's oldest university, its main building was formally inaugurated in 1927. Many consider the main building to be an architectural feat because it was the first earthquake-resistant building in Asia.
Because of the Philippines' location in the Pacific Ring of Fire, Fr. Roque Ruao, O.P., an alumnus of the Faculty of Engineering, proposed in 1922 that the school's main building be earthquake-resistant. He even went to Japan to investigate the effects of earthquakes on buildings.
The structure has stood the test of time, surviving not only earthquakes but also historical events such as World War II, when the campus was converted into an internment camp for foreigners in Manila.