A view of the Mañosa house from the garden. Photograph from mañosa.com
Culture Spotlight

The esteemed caliber and homegrown style of a Francisco Mañosa structure

Bobby Mañosa’s architectural style always had the Filipino in mind—whether it was in his use of indigenous materials or his promotion of Filipino values. Being given the National Artist honor feels not only right but inevitable. 
Isidra Reyes | Oct 26 2018

The long-overdue conferment of the National Artist for Architecture award to Francisco Tronqued Mañosa has finally come. After the Unified Nomination was jointly signed July last year by the country’s leading architects and architectural institutions—among them the United Architects of the Philippines, the Philippine Institute of Architects, the Professional Regulatory Board of Architecture, the Council of Deans and Heads of Architecture Schools in the Philippines, and the U.S.T. College of Architecture Alumni Association, the move to have the architect proclaimed as National Artist proved unstoppable and  a fitting manifestation of the high esteem and regard his colleagues hold for him and his long and illustrious career.

Mañosa Brothers in the 60s. Mañosa Group of Companies of Facebook

Born in Manila on 12 February 1931 to Manuel Mañosa, Sr., a Harvard-educated Sanitary Engineer who was instrumental in designing Manila’s waterworks system, and Maria Tronqued, film and stage actress, “Bobby” was the seventh in a brood of eight. He spent his  childhood in Calle Azcarraga (now C.M. Recto Ave,), where the family first resided before moving to suburban San Juan. After finishing his high school studies at San Beda College, Mañosa enrolled at the U.S.T. College of Architecture, graduating with a B.S. Architecture degree in 1953. With two of his brothers, Jose and Manuel, both B.S. Architecture graduates from the same school, they founded the architectural firm, Mañosa Brothers in 1954. Some of the group’s significant works were the Sulô Restaurant at the Makati Commercial Center (1962), the Hidden Valley Springs Resort, the Makiling Conference Center, the restoration of the Guadalupe Ruins, Colegio San Agustin in Makati, the Murray & Herminia Lopez Otstott Residence in Forbes Park, Makati, and the San Miguel Corporation Corporate Headquarters in Ortigas Center, Pasig City (1979).  

Aerial view of the San Miguel Corporation Building. mañosa.com

In 1976, Francisco established his own firm, Francisco Mañosa & Partners. Here, he had more freedom to put into realization his vision of  Philippine Architecture inspired by the bahay kubo and the bahay na bato, When asked what makes architecture truly Filipino, he once answered: “Filipino values, Philippine climate, and the use of indigenous materials.”  As discussed in Eric Caruncho’s monograph, Designing Filipino, The Architecture of Francisco Mañosa, foremost of Filipino values which influenced his work were love for family, the extended family, and its place in the wider social network, not to mention the Filipino’s baroque sensibility and love for ornamentation. He believed Philippine climate calls for tropical architecture whose features include  accommodations to the wet and dry seasons. These features include high ceilings, large windows, low eaves and overhangs to provide both shade and protection from the sun and rain. Filipino structures need to breathe, with free interchange between interior and exterior spaces. And lastly, it’s about the use of indigenous materials such as bamboo, rattan, coconut shells and trunks, dried anahaw leaves, capiz shells, and volcanic rock. 

All or most of these features can be seen in his architectural works, from his masterwork the Tahanang Pilipino (1980), better known as the Coconut Palace; the Mañosa House (1983) in Ayala Alabang; the Lu Ym House (2000)  in Banilad, Cebu City; the Amanpulo (1994) at Pamalican Island, Palawan; the Pearl Farm Resort (1994) in Samal Island, Davao; the Mactan Shangri-la Resort & Spa (1993) in Mactan Island, Cebu; and the Eskaya Beach Resort & Spa in Panglao, Bohol.  

Pearl Farm Resort, Samal Island, Davao.

A devout Catholic and a deeply religious man, Mañosa is also known for his ecclesiastical works such as the St. Joseph Parish Church (1976), better known as the Las Piñas Bamboo Organ Church, the Mary Immaculate Parish (1988) in Moonwalk Village, Las Pinas City, and the Shrine of Mary Queen of Peace (1989), better known as the EDSA Shrine in Ortigas Center.  

Among his institutional works which stand out are the Ateneo Professional Schools (2000) in Rockwell Center, the JMT Corporate Center (1992) in ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, and The Aquino Center (2001) in Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac. He was also involved in the restoration and transformation of Corregidor Island (1992) into a war memorial and tourism zone and the masterplan for the redevelopment of the Quezon Memorial Circle (1980s). 

Among his other works were the LRT Train Stations and the Elsie Gaches Village (1998) in Alabang-Zapote Road, Muntinlupa City. 

Click on the image below for slideshow

The Courtyard of Tahanang Pilipino (Coconut Palace) mañosa.com

Amanpulo Poolside. mañosa.com

Main Facade of Ateneo Professional School David Montasco

The lanai opening into the vast central garden with a commanding view of Cebu City. mañosa.com

A view of the Mañosa house from the garden. mañosa.com

Sulo Restaurant, Makati Commercial Center.Lito Ligon from the Mañosa Exhibit, National Museum, 2017

Exterior View of a Casita overlooking the pool area. Designing Filipino, The Architecture of Francisco Mañosa

Fourth Floor Lobby of Ateneo Professional School Designing Filipino, The Architecture of Francisco Mañosa

On closer inspection, what looks like a conventional brick building at first glance reveals features of the bahay na bato in its gabled roof and finials. Sunshades and tilted windows minimize heat gain and conserve energy. Designing Filipino, The Architecture of Francisco Mañosa

Interior wood details, including hexagon patterned window frames and swing-out windows derived from the bahay kubo,Tahanang Pilipino. David Montasco

Grand Staircase, Tahanang Pilipino. tripadvisor.com

The Lanai of LuYm House. Designing Filipino, The Architecture of Francisco Mañosa

Balcony of LuYum House. Designing Filipino, The Architecture of Francisco Mañosa

Church Interior of Mary Immaculate Parish showing the thatched ceiling, capiz shell lighting fixtures in the form of stylized doves, and the church pews made from stumps of trees felled by typhoons. Designing Filipino, The Architecture of Francisco Mañosa

Pearl Farm Resort, Samal Island, Davao. mañosa.com

Pearl Farm Resort, Samal Island, Davao.mañosa.com

Main Clubhouse of Pearl Farm Resort. mañosa.com

The Altar of Mary Immaculate Parish. Designing Filipino, The Architecture of Francisco Mañosa

His legacy lives on in Mañosa & Company, a multi-disciplinary design firm,  and Mañosa Properties, Inc., a real estate development firm founded by his children, Dino, Bambi, and Angelo, which offers artisanal real estate inspired by the bahay kubo.

Now at the autumn of his life, it was indeed a fitting tribute to the man and his works that the National Artist Award for Architecture was given to him in his lifetime, with his family present to witness its conferment.  


Images from Designing Filipino: The Architecture of Francisco Mañosa, published with permission from Gelo Mañosa


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