A Two-Storey House with Proud Filipino Design

Indigenous materials and dynamic spaces complete a contemporary Filipino home

Original Article: Tisha Alvarez Photography: Jun Pinzon Pictorial Direction: Carlo Vergara Styling: Issa Villar Architect: Angelo Manosa

Making a house feel “lived in” can often be a daunting task, especially if the space can be easily taken over by the look of generic modernity. But for homeowner Jimmy and architect Angelo “Gelo” Mañosa of A. Mañosa + Architects, the challenge was how to incorporate a distinct Filipino identity into the space as well as how to bring the outdoors in.

The result is an intelligently-designed space that takes advantage of the natural view corridors, garden backdrops, good ventilation, and natural light, while displaying a penchant for homegrown materials and a respect for traditional Filipino architectural details.

Original article by Tisha Alvarez. Styling by Issa Villar. Pictorial Direction by Carlo Vergara. Photographed by Jun Pinzon.

 Read the original article (“Pinoy Pride”) in the November 2007 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at


The house looks modern and majestic from the outside. Architect Angelo Mañosa created a high pitched roof and wide overhangs, which he says are ideal for our hot and humid climate.

Facade Detail

Long overhangs are needed to protect window and wall openings from the effects of "heat gain" better known as the amount of energy a material absorbs.

Facade Detail

Architect Mañosa also made use of a Mañosa trademark, which his father Arch. Francisco Mañosa popularized: the finial. “This was placed on top of the roof apex as a symbol of the Philippine salakot," he shares.


Buffed yet unpolished, slip-resistant floor tiles ensure safety during all kinds of weather.

Door Detail

As one of the first statements that guests will notice, the front door of a house can be designed as a foretelling of things to come. In this case, the Lagdameo door was inlaid with wood in vertical configurations.

Living Area

Rather than creating one structure, the house was broken down into two pavilions by cutting a pond between the den and the living room. The pond can be seen on the extreme right. The narra floor in the living room is actually recycled wood from the old Philippine National Bank building in Escolta. The furniture in the living area is from Diretso in LRI Design Plaza, N. Garcia St., Makati. The pieces make use of Cebu abaca which does not darken unlike other abacas. Other interesting items in the living area are an old Muslim baul, overrun with a mother-of-pearl inlay, and a smiling blue-and-white Buddha on the shelf, a travel find.


When making a house design, it's important to consider how to let light and the outdoors enter the interior spaces. The den is one of two rooms one would step into upon entering the house. Both living room and den are bathed in sunlight owing to the many windows and glass doors.

Den Detail

Artworks featuring Philippine rural scenes adorn the walls. Drawings on the wall are by National Artist Jose Joya.

Storage Tip

Shelves display some of the resident's travel finds. They also act as nifty storage solutions.

Den Detail

Ceilings may add visual interest in many parts of the house. In the den, the high pitched ceiling is reminiscent of traditional Ifugao huts.

Den Detail

The ceiling height allows air to circulate more within the rooms. Too add visual texture, the ceiling is lined with banig.

Décor Detail

In the passageway between the den and the living area is a glass etching of a cross-section of the Gloria Maris, a Philippine shell.

Dining Area

As a means to entertain guests, an island bar can be constructed midway between the dining and living rooms. This not only delineates spaces but provides another lounge area where guests can transfer before feasting.

Dining Area Detail

The refurbished dining table is from the family home in Paco, Manila. The chairs are newly custom-made to go with the vertical slats of the dining table. The artwork on the wall is by Cesar Buenaventura.


The dining room leads up to a lanai that opens up to the garden. Spaces that open up to the outdoors are bathed in natural light which makes them look more expansive.

Roof Detail

Following a theme found in the rest of the house, even the ceiling in the lanai is covered in grass reeds similar to bamboo.


Stairs lead up to the study, the guest bedroom, and the master bedroom. Three sketches by National Artist Jose Joya are highlighted on a wall at the landing.

Staircase Detail

The pendant lamp is from Jakarta, Indonesia.

Master Bedroom

The idea in the master bedroom was to have a floating bed with a tapered base, giving the illusion of a suspended bed. Though it looks built-in, it can actually be separated from the shelves behind it. A glass etching of another Philippine shell, similar to the one on the first floor, serves as a focal point.

Master Bedroom Detail

Like the den, the master bedroom also has a high ceiling, this time lined with rattan. The high roof is needed to be able to drain heavy rainfall.

Master Bedroom Detail

Well-designed shelves are used as storage spaces and as receptacles for accents and knickknacks.

Walk-In Closet

To keep up with the theme of using indigenous materials, fine abaca covers the cabinet doors in the master bedroom's walk-in closet.


The bathroom features an open bathroom encased only by glass.


An elliptical relationship between indoors and outdoors is reinforced by the pond that cuts the house into two pavilions and breaks the den from the living room. This pond also extends to the garden, creating a major design feature that makes the structure envelop into itself.

More on

Reader Question: Where Can I Have Antique Furniture Restored?


Latest Stories

6 Fantastic Small Space Makeovers

How can you deal with cramped cooking corners and tiny bedrooms? Let these transformations teach you a trick or two.

A Filipino Designed This Space-Savvy Modern House in Singapore

It even has its own lap pool!

Would You Try "Death Cleaning?"

We've got everything you need to know about this new Swedish decluttering trend

5 Secrets Of A Functional Kitchen

Are you dreaming of having the most efficient scullery? These tips might just do the trick.

11 Peg-Worthy Celebrity Christmas Trees

From showcasing dainty blooms to using quirky ornaments, these personalities have taken the decorating game to the next level

This Quiapo Day Tour Will Make You Love Old Manila Again

Go on a DIY Quiapo adventure and look beyond the vendors. Say a prayer, have your fortune told, take a peek at a mysterious pagoda, and visit beautiful ancestral houses from a more genteel past.

10 Ways To Make Your Shoes Last Forever

Show your favorite pairs some tender loving care with these tips

A One-Bedroom Unit Transformed into a Two-Bedroom Home

The designers of this 45sqm condo in Manila created a functional space with an urban contemporary appeal that’s perfect for its young occupants

Here's Why You Should Skip Bringing Your Phone To The Bathroom

Trust us, liking that photo on Instagram can wait for a few minutes

7 Planners For An Inspired 2018

Stay organized and keep your goals in sight with these picks

These Christmas Ornaments Will Make You Feel Like Dancing

Celebrate a yearly Christmas ballet tradition with The Nutcracker collection

15 Calming Photos of Modern Minimalist Homes

Because less is more
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!