Tips and Guides

4 Things You Need to Know About the Batasang Pambansa

Learn more about this famous building's rich history

Shares

Within an hour or so, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte will be issuing his first State of the Nation address (SONA). Much has been discussed about this annual presidential address, as well as what most attendees are wearing. But little has been said about the grand building that has stood as silent witness to our leaders’ words—the Batasang Pambansa, which is the House of Representatives in Batasan Hills, Quezon City. Here are a few facts about this historic building:

1. It was designed (and re-designed) by three architects.

When Quezon City was named capital of the country in 1948, the government planned to build the nation’s Capitol on the former Constitution Hill, now Batasan Hills. Architect Federico Ilustre first laid out the master plans in 1956, but due to public demand, Anselmo Alquinto designed a new master plan to replace it. Construction of the building began in the early 1960s, but funds ran out and it was torn down.

In 1973, under then-president Ferdinand Marcos, the constitution replaced the bicameral congress with a unicameral parliament called the Batasang Pambansa, thus needing a building to hold one legislative body. Marcos called upon architect Felipe Mendoza to design the current Batasang Pambansa and its entire complex. 

2. The Batasang Pambansa is not the same venue for some of our past presidents’ SONAs.

Early assemblies were held at the Ayuntamiento de Manila in Intramuros. But upon the formation of the Commonwealth government, president Manuel L. Quezon held the first-ever SONA at the grand, classical-revival session hall of the Legislative Building (now the National Museum). Save for a few incidences (such as Sergio Osmeña at holding it a schoolhouse in Lepanto by the end of WWII and Elpidio Quirino at his sickbed at Johns Hopkins Center), all former SONAs have been delivered at the same building until 1972. 

3. The Batasang Pambansa was designed in the classic Brutalist style with distinct Filipino elements.

Brutalism is a design movement from the 1950s-70s that spawned massive, linear structures with large expanses of raw concrete (beton brut actually means “raw concrete”). This was a popular type of style for institutional and government buildings (other local examples are the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Heart Center along Quezon Avenue).

Architect Mendoza, who designed other famous public buildings such as the library of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños and the Sandiganbayan, added a Filipiniana touch to the Batasan by way of a steeply-pitched Bahay Kubo-style roof

4. Its interiors imply power and grandiosity.

Brutalist buildings are almost always massive with sweeping, spacious interiors, and the Batasang Pambansa is no exception. The session hall where the SONA is held is a cavernous room with rows of the representatives’ seats facing the center podium, which has two veneered panels flanking a gigantic Philippine flag.

The hall has a high, and very dramatic soffit ceiling with multiple recessed lights in the center that mimic the effect of sun streaming through a skylight.

PHOTOS: Wikipedia Public Domain (Main and Exterior) | Rachelle Medina (National Museum) | GOV PH (Interiors).

More on Realliving.com.ph

Good to Know: 8 Facts About Malacañan Palace

8 Things You Need to Know About Bahay Pangarap

8 Things You Need to Know About 10 Downing Street in London

Shares

Latest Stories

5 Tips To Achieve Monochromatic Decor

Your home can look like a one-hue wonder with these design ideas

How To Work With Adhesive Hooks Without Ruining Your Walls

Get started on your DIY project ASAP with these helpful tips

A Lovely Resort-Like Home in the City

This family home in the South combines a bit of the old and the new, with tropical-inspired elements and a refreshing feel of the outdoors completing the timeless aesthetic

10 Ways To Use Patterned Tiles Without It Looking Too Crazy

Yes, you can mix and match patterned tiles! Plus, we give you important tips on how to install them.

Designer Tips for Choosing the Right Kitchen Countertop

Should you go for marble, granite or concrete?

These Smart Solutions Can Help You Maximize Small Spaces

Don’t let a limited floor space stop you from enjoying your home

10 Big and Small Garden Ideas With Unique Touches

Whether you have a condo balcony or a sprawling lot, you can get a lot of out-of-the-box gardening ideas from these Real Homes

6 Styling Tips That Will Make Your Tiny Living Room Look Huge

Make the most of your space with these ideas

Students Create a Bright and Dramatic Makeover For PWDs

These interior design students hosted brunches and sold t-shirts to raise funds, and rolled up their sleeves to renovate this hostel for the disabled

Liza Soberano’s Wellness Center Is Your New Sanctuary in the City

Take a break and forget about stress in this posh escape designed by interior designer Jen Sohu

How-To: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Bring out the natural tones in wood with this secret solution that's hiding in your kitchen

Team Kramer Is Building A New Home

The family of five is set to move in this year
Load More Stories

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