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Arts & Culture

These 4 Places Show The Best of Filipino Design

In photos: An orphanage, a hotel in a home, and a river esplanade win the Haligi ng Dangal awards for Filipino design

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Photography: courtesy of NCCA

Mention “Filipino Design” and what immediately comes to mind is the bahay na bato or the bahay kubo and various iterations of it. You can say that Filipino architecture and design are mainly inspired by those two traditional structures, but what about contemporary or modern Pinoy design?

Modern Filipino design was celebrated at the recent Haligi ng Dangal awards, which were conferred to its honorees last November 24, 2018 at Intramuros, Manila. From an open call that garnered dozens of nominated entries, the judges (which included architects Rogelio Caringal and Joel Rico, IDr Lilia de Jesus, and Larch. Jose Antonio Bimbao) chose existing projects to represent the best of contemporary and modern Philippine design in three categories.

“We envisioned the Haligi ng Dangal to recognize and motivate recent works of our built environment that express the Filipino spirit, which is why one of the requirements was for these designs to have been built within a recent time period of the past five years,” explains architect Gerard Lico, project director of Haligi ng Dangal. In choosing the projects, the impact of the built structure or environment on the community was also considered.

Want to see fine examples of new Filipino design? Here are the honorees:

Pasay City: The Henry Hotel Manila



The gated compound at 2680 FB Harrison has, for more than a decade, become a design enclave and creative hub in the area with Avellana Art Gallery, Jojie Lloren’s fashion atelier, and the furniture showrooms of a11. In 2014, the owners of The Henry Hotel Cebu took over four of the 1950-built houses in the compound and converted them into their 34-room boutique hotel in Manila.


Artelano 11’s Eric Paras was conferred the Haligi ng Dangal award for Interior design for his work on The Henry Hotel Manila. Instead of changing the character of the place, Paras maintained the old-world charm of the postwar houses by keeping the structure intact, along with the original sliding glass sampaguita windows and patterned encaustic (Baldoza) floor tiles, while adding contemporary touches by way of midcentury-modern-style furniture and lighting fixtures.

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READ:  Heritage Tour – The Henry Hotel Manila

Tacloban City: Streetlight Tagpuro


In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan destroyed the orphanage and rehab center of Tacloban-based NGO Streetlight. Leandro V. Locsin Partners, Eriksson Furunes, and Boase designed Streetlight Tagpuro (also in main photo, above), the new study center and orphanage. The structures feature windows made out of timber slats for natural ventilation, and a simple but sturdy wood-and-concrete frame with doors that open fully to welcome people in.


It is apt that Streetlight Tagpuro won in the Architecture category, as it is a fine example of community-based design. The entire community collaborated with the architects in building the structures, with local workers and even the parents of the children participating in the construction of the center.

READ: Typhoon Haiyan – One Year Later

Mandurriao, Iloilo: The Iloilo Esplanade


This 1.2-kilometer park, which runs alongside the Iloilo River, used to be a road that was open to vehicular traffic. In 2012, the local government decided to make it into a pedestrian- and bike-friendly public space, clearing out informal settlers in the area and cleaning up the river.


Haligi ng Dangal honoree landscape architect Paulo Alcazaren and his team at PGAA Creative Design worked on the project. Taking inspiration from Clarke Quay and the Esplanade in Singapore (Alcazaren also worked on those projects), PGAA created a paved path with lush landscaping, proper outdoor lighting, and seating areas that can be enjoyed by the entire community.

READ: There’s a Beautiful New Park in San Juan City

Valenzuela City: Valenzuela City’s People’s Park


There are public parks and there is the Valenzuela City People’s Park (VCPP), a sprawling development that was opened in 2015. Landscape architect Renato Heray designed the People’s Park, and the goal was to bring the whole Valenzuela community together in one place (it is but fitting that this park won Haligi ng Dangal’s People’s Choice Award).

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The 1.5-hectare area has a central Aerocircle for fitness activities, various children’s playgrounds, a gazebo, a “senior citizen’s garden,” an interactive fountain, fishponds, and even an amphitheater.

READ: These Busy Metro Manila Neighborhoods Have Public Parks

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