Historical Architecture In Manila

Cultural Center Of The Philippines


The Cultural Center Of The Philippines (CCP) was built under President Ferdinand Marcos' 1966 Executive Order No. 30, and was opened to the public in 1969. It is among the architectural landmarks of the Marcos regime, and forms a part of the Marcos couple's attempt to promote Philippine culture and arts and to project an idealized image of a modernized, refined, and reborn isang bansa, isang diwa Filipino society.


Clean, sweeping lines form the massive exterior of the CCP, which generally resembles a large, rectangular, elevated block. Under the Marcos folk architecture formula, this design is supposed to allude to the vernacular bahay kubo, which is a cuboidal structure raised on stilts.

Upon entering the CCP, one is met by grand marble interiors and plush red carpet. The carpet is faded now, but the overall effect is still lavish. One imagines that when it was brand new, it must have made Imelda Marcos very proud to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony.


The main lobby has polished marble flooring, and is illuminated by a giant chandelier, made of something that looks like either capiz or mother-of-pearl. The large stairs have a solid, almost stony appearance, with flowing organic lines that match the CCP exterior's sweeping curves. The high ceiling is decorated with coffers, and covered with a burnished golden paper. The main doors of the theatre are carved in rich detail in wood. Even the comfort rooms have floors and walls of granite.

Artworks of various media by both famous established artists and up-and-coming young artists are used as decor on all four floors. A large, iconic piece on canvas is hung on one of the main walls, on the landing of the grand staircase, entitled Pitong Sining by Roberto Villanueva, 1990. On the second floor I spotted an Ang Kiukok work, a painting entitled Table, and an interesting painting called Mansanas Sa Almusal by Imelda Cajipe Endaya. On the fourth floor I saw some interesting abstract paintings, Metamorphosis by Jaime De Guzman in 1970, and Pagdili-dili by Alfredo Liongoren in 1971. I also found a piece called Oneness in glass and steel by Ramon Orlina, 1989. It turned out to be a miniature of a large sculpture found in front of another building nearby. The strangest pieces I found were from a current exhibit by Bryan Quesada, who only used staple wires to form abstract patterns on wood. What looked to me like a simple silver circle of staples, turned out to be an artwork entitled Kinasubsuban Ng Taya Sa Taguan. Another of his abstract pieces was entitled, Sa Puyo Nakasumpa Ang Kapalaran Ng Pag-aasawa. Other artworks I found on that same floor are the paintings Hilojan by Napoleon Abueva, 1981, and Painting 4 by Soler Santos, 1983.


I was not able to take photographs inside because it was not allowed without a student's permit. The admin office where I could have obtained a student's permit was unfortunately closed on that day.

Here are additional CCP photographs that were not taken by me. Please see the SOURCES section below and go to the linked webpages to see them in full view.


Author's Note:
I created this website back in 2007 for a school project when I was studying Interior Design in UP Diliman. It was supposed to be a temporary website, but I kinda just forgot about it and left it up. Anyway, checking my stats recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see that these pages are still getting visits regularly! Who are you visitors? Students of design? Lovers of pretty old buildings?
Just remember I'm no authority on historical architecture, but I do hope I've somehow helped you in your research, and I hope I've somehow enhanced your appreciation of these fine structures. If you are interested in a super awesome informative entertaining tour of old Manila, please check out Carlos Celdran!
-- Feanne, a Filipino artist.
March 2012