How the Ninoy Aquino Stadium Was Converted Into a Quarantine Facility

Arch. Dan Lichauco takes us on a quick virtual tour of the center.

Photography: Jerome Ascano

The Ninoy Aquino Stadium located in the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex has been transformed into the "We Heal As One" quarantine center, and is now accepting COVID-19 patients.

Manned by the AFP Medical Corps, the facility houses 112 hospital beds and was built only in five days.

Architect and hospital design expert Dan Lichauco, one of the project leads, shared in an exclusive online interview with Real Living that the facility was being built even as the “design was coming out of his office.”


“We start with an initial release of the cubicle layout then send out the details of the other sections as they are sourcing materials,” he said.

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Prior to this, Arch. Dan, was working on converting the Philippine General Hospital’s wards for COVID-19 patients. “Two groups called me to say this may happen, BCDA [Bases Conversion and Development Authority] and the Razon Group,” adding that his team usually designed hospitals that the Razon group donates. “It came together when Vince Dizon of BCDA confirmed that this would be a concerted effort with different groups, both private and public.” Vince Dizon is the CEO of the BCDA.

The facility has been set up for “mild cases and asymptomatic COVID-positive patients.” According to the BCDA’s Facbook post, the goal of converting major facilities such as stadiums and convention centers is to minimize the spread the novel coronavirus while decongesting hospitals. The quarantine facility in the Ninoy Aquino Stadium is well-monitored, well-ventilated, and comfortable enough for patients to recuperate.


“The different key areas are the beds/cubicles, nurses’ stations, toilets, donning and doffing facilities, lounge areas for the staff that is away from the danger zones, materials handling, garbage handling, food handling,” explains Arch. Dan, noting that the center also has a morgue for patients who do not make it. “There is a specific flow and arrangement to that, there is infection control and ease of movement. Clarity of path is also important.”


The PICC and the World Trade Center in Pasay City are also being converted into quarantine centers. The New Clark City Athletes’ Village is another major facility that’s being looked into. According to the BCDA, there are plans of converting the following locations into instant hospitals: “Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Quezon City Circle, Amoranto Stadium, Quezon Institute, PhilSports Complex, Duty Free, FTI station in Taguig City and the Filinvest Tent in Alabang. Construction of facilities in Central Luzon are also underway at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, the ASEAN Convention Center in Clark, Pampanga, and the New Clark City Government Center in Capas, Tarlac.”

On April 13, the Manila Health Department started transferring several patients to the Ninoy Aquino Stadium quarantine facility.

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