Early Architecture in the Philippines


The fact there is not, and never has been a characteristically Philippine Architecture is not necessarily a reflection upon the genius of the Filipinos. There are many critics who contend with some degree of justification, that America has no distinct architecture and who accuse American architects of plagiarizing the ancient Greek, Roman and renaissance architectural forms.

The Greeks and the Romans borrowed the principle of the column and the lintel from the Egyptians, who first utilized it on an extensive architectural scale, and the Gothic architects borrowed the principle of the arch from the Romans, so it is evident that progress in architecture has not been made by the repudiation of early architectural discoveries but rather by the development and amplification of them.

The Philippines may go through a long period in which the adaptation of European and American science and technology shall be accomplished before the field or original research is reached and so in architecture - they must proceed far with he adaptation of foreign architectural styles and methods of construction before a distinctly characteristic Philippine style will appear. To evolve a new style, it is necessary to consider our cultural heritage and legitimate utilization of exotic architectural motives practically modified to conform to the customs of commercial and private life and to the existence of tropical heat and torrential rains.

Geography, religion, and time were responsible for the admixture of our ancient culture. Originally a part of the great continent of Asia, the Philippines became an archipelago of 7,100 islands after the post glacial period. Strategically located, it lies along the borders of the West Pacific and the South China Sea. Before the 16th century, it was an archipelago of independent kingdoms, intermittently invaded by Negritos, Indonesians, Proto-Malays, Malays and swept by the tide of the Southeast Asian Empires - the Shri-Vishaya, the Madjapahit, the Mohammedan-Malay Empire of Malacca, and the Chinese of the Mings.

Architecture is determined by various factors - the climate, the contour of the land, the materials at hand, religion, social, political and economic conditions, scientific and technological advancement. Simplifying, architecture is determined by the needs of the people in their time, the materials at hand and their aesthetic tastes.

Environmental Influences

List of Local Edifices and Their Architects

Name of Local EdificeA r c h i t e c t
Quiapo ChurchJuan Nakpil
Sta. Cruz ChurchGregorio Gutierrez
San Sebastian ChurchGenaro O. Palacio
Sto. Domingo ChurchJose Zaragoza
Manila CathedralFernando Ocampo
Baclaran ChurchCesar H. Concio
Lourdes ChurchLuis Araneta
Christ The King ChurchFr. Frederick Linzenbach
San Agustin ChurchBro. Antonio Herrera
St. Jude ChurchFr. Lyn
San Miguel Pro-CathedralJuan Nakpil
Antipolo CathedralFernando Ocampo
Victoria’s ChurchAntonin Raymond
Antipolo Church (Circular)Leandro Locsin
U. P. Protestant ChapelCesar H. Concio
U. S. T. ChapelFernando Ocampo
St. Andrew’s Church (Circular)Leandro Locsin
San Beda ChapelAndres Luna de San Pedro
Iglesia Ni Kristo Church in San JuanJuan Nakpil
Sanctuario de San AntonioManalac Construction
Mount Carmel ChurchMax Vicente
Legislative BuildingAntonio Toledo
Manila City HallAntonio Toledo
Agrigulture and Finance BuildingAntonio Toledo
Manila Post OfficeArellano and Mapua
Malacanang PalaceWilliam Parsons
Old Manila HotelWillam Parsons
Rizal Memorial Sports ComplexJuan Arellano
Philippine General HospitalTomas Mapua
Old Metropolitan TheatreJuan Arellano
Quezon Institute HospitalJuan Nakpil
Old Veterans Memorial BuildingFederico Illustre
Quezon City HallRuperto Gaite
Development Bank of the PhilippinesCarlos Arguelles
Philippine National Bank (Escolta)Carlos Arguelles
Department of Foreign AffairsCrecenciano de Castro
Social Security System Building in Quezon CityJuan Nakpil
U. S. Embassy Building in ManilaA. L. Aydelott and Associates
Bonifacio MonumentJuan Nakpil and Tolentino
Rizal MonumentRichard Kissling
Quezon MemorialFederico Illustre
Fort SantiagoFr. Antonio Dendon
Cultural Centre of the PhilippinesLeandro Locsin

Links to Filipino Architecture

Armand Ajala's Pre-Hispanic Architecture

Roger Gerard Gaspar's Philippine Colonial Churches

Tribung Pinoy Sining Panitikan: The Filipino Arts and Literature Page

Arkitektura Link

Filipino Architecture page

Joel Chua's Homepage on Filipino Architecture

August Li's Page on Architecture

Back to Home Page

Copyright © 1997
Most recent revision Saturday, August 02, 1997