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5 Of The Most Enduring Designs Of Pioneering Filipino Architect Francisco "Bobby" Mañosa

Ask any Filipino architect today about Francisco "Bobby" Mañosa and they'll have a lot to say.

Perhaps their stories will come from personal encounters, from admiration of the structures he designed that they've visited, from listening to his recorded speeches, or reading quoted statements of his in articles published over the years. 

Regardless of the source of their memories of this great Filipino visionary, one theme will reign supreme: the one-of-a-kind Bobby Mañosa was a man of great artistic and patriotic depth, a true national treasure, and one whose legacy will continue to live on for decades to come. 

The Filipino pioneer was 88 years old when he passed away on February 20. With three children—Bambi, Dino, and Gelo—to keep the Mañosa heritage robust and thriving, he can rest well knowing that all that he had worked for will remain intact.

 

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One need not be a practicing architect or a serious art buff to appreciate what Bobby did for Philippine architecture, and it certainly won't hurt to be reminded of his contributions to the field, or rather, the foundations he laid out to allow authentic Philippine architecture to flourish. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fairy dust & Flowers for my Peter Pan ♥????? . #bobbymañosa #nationalartistforarchitecture

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It's virtually impossible to succintly summarize a career as illustrious as Bobby's, the first and foremost points to learn and never forget about his professional mission are these: he designed buildings not only for the country's elite but for all Filipinos, and that he aimed to show his countrymen—and the world—that local designs, materials, and Philippine culture itself could shine through in the majesty of the structures built for both noble and humble purposes. 

 

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In an era when Western architecture dominated the Manila skyline and cityscape, he insisted on creating designs based on the bahay kubo and bahay na bato—distinguishably Filipino structures that he drew great inspiration from and not once thought were inferior to their foreign counterparts.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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With this passion of loving local guiding his hands, this architect proved the mettle of Philippine architectural design, one that burned so bright that in 2018, he was officially named a National Artist of the Philippines for Architecture. 

 

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Today, as we continue to celebrate Bobby, we take a look at some of his most enduring designs that are a true testament to what he stood for as an architect and overall, as a Filipino whose love for country was eclipsed by none. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace, better known as the EDSA Shrine

Here's a structure that will forever be associated with the peaceful rebirth of a nation—and one that could have never risen.

As the story goes, Bobby initially refused to work on the project as he was requested to style the church according to Spanish Colonial design; being the proud Pinoy he always was, he refused, only coming back aboard when he was allowed to design it in his distinct strictly Philippine-influenced style. 

 

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The Coconut Palace, a.k.a. Tahanang Pilipino?

Imelda Marcos herself asked Bobby to design the iconic Coconut  Palace, and without a doubt, many architects and historians alike will agree that it's the foremost structure that speaks clearest about his mission of transforming the bahay kubo's designs into workable architecture suitable for large-scale and urban use. 

 

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Francisco Mañosa’s Tahanang Pilipino, or the Coconut Palace (1978), meets Leandro Locsin’s Philippine International Convention Center (1976) in this aerial image taken at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, 15 Aug 2015. The iconic buildings are of contrasting styles mastered by its respective architects. One being defined by the use of indigenous forms and materials while the other is marked by his distinct and brutalist “floating volumes.” Both are landmarks created by national artists. #pasaycity #architecture #visualsofPH #kalyePH #archiporn #franciscomañosa #leandrolocsin #coconutpalace #brutalism #brutalist_manila #piccmanila @culturalctrph

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San Miguel Corporation 

Bobby took inspiration from the Banaue Rice Terraces when he was asked to think of a recognizable, totally unique design for the headquarters of one the Philippines' largest companies. He didn't hold back; the building is now a Mandaluyong landmark and continues to spark curiosity in those who see it. 

 

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Amanpulo Resort

The beautiful island's luxurious transformation to an exclusive resort can certainly be credited to Bobby who was tasked with helping develop the tropical escape into a retreat for the affluent. Opening its doors in the early nineties, the resort has retained much of its elegant Filipino design, a testament to just how ahead of his time this architect truly was. 

 

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Las Piñas' St. Joseph Parish Church 

As the historical site that houses the centuries-old and highly prized Bamboo Organ, this church now has added value as Bobby was one of the architects who successfully spearheaded its renovation and restoration four decades ago. Knowing the value of artifacts that speak leagues of his country's culture and shared heritage, he unhesitatingly took on the responsibility of making sure that this structure and its treasures would be preserved. 

 

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Photos from @bambi_manosa