Latest Stories

‘Cheap’ Mañosa home a showcase of Filipino architecture


MAÑOSA, in his favorite barong Tagalog, touring visitors in his home.

Architects face great pressure when designing their own home. Their houses give their potential clients a heads-up on their style; they’re a physical testimony of their skills as artists, which will either be permanently praised or scorned.

So how did champion of Philippine architecture Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa design his own home? Is the house an epitome of the Mañosa architectural trademark?

The Mañosa residence is a great take on what Filipino architecture truly is, at least according to the Mañosa book.

He said he was able to fully exercise his creative license: “The client was me and myself.”

Adorning the porch is a sarimanok, which acts as house “guardian” as well.

The abode, completed in 1983, exhibits the beauty and uniqueness of Filipino architecture from every angle. But Mañosa pointed out that the house did not initially appeal to the public, as it would often be criticized for its “cheap construction.”

“People would say that materials such as bamboo and rattan were cheap building materials,” said Mañosa.

He added that the colonial mentality of the Filipinos would always favor the architecture from the West, ignoring its incompatibility with the Philippines’ tropical climate.

However, all these misconceptions were proven wrong, as some years later his home was featured in various publications here and abroad, and cited for its sustainable design, proving that “Filipino architecture” is not just a made-up style.

His home was even opened to tourists, students and design professionals for viewing, which gave them inspiration and insight on what vernacular architecture really was.

Filipino sophistication

FRANCISCO Mañosa’s bed is oriented toward a pond, which exudes a sense of tranquillity, easing him and his wife, Denise, to sleep. They occasionally go fishing on the pond. DANIEL HIRRO

The lower level of the house, called the zaguan, or multipurpose area, has a dominant rough adobe finish. Its upper level makes use of timber construction.

This stone-and-wood-based type of design is reminiscent of the bahay na bato (Filipino ancestral house), a traditional home during the era of Spanish colonization.

Two rooster sculptures adorn the staircase toward the entrance. The design is inspired by the Maranao people’s sarimanok (mythical bird).

“In India, they have elephants at their entrance; in China they have dragons; we have the sarimanok,” Mañosa said.

All the stairways in his home adhere to the tradition of oro, plata, mata (gold, silver, death)—a sort of Filipino geomancy.

In addition, Mañosa was able to hide all the columns, which  enhances the openness of the house to the environment and to people.

From cheap to elegant

The champion of Filipino architecture has found a way to diminish the erratic perception on the style. He explained the perception was an affliction. But he said what had been viewed as cheap before was now considered elegant.

Ceilings crafted from woven bamboo, hardwood flooring, and walls accentuated with capiz shells and mother-of-pearl overlays are just some of the dominant features.

MAÑOSA’S utilization of locally found building materials, considered cheap, has given his living space a sense of sophistication. The design of his home successfully blurs the borders of nature and built environment. PHOTOS BY DANIEL HIRRO

The banggerahan (dish-washing area) is made of stainless steel, with cupboards  of laminated wood. It contains portraits of different crops arranged according to the song “Bahay Kubo.”

The kitchen also provides a good view of the front yard to allow helpers to anticipate incoming guests.

The playroom, which Mañosa calls the “jeepney room,” displays some of his grandchildren’s finger paintings and a giant jeepney-like furniture where all the toys are stored in its hood, while its passenger area doubles as a seating and sleeping area.

Environmentally responsive design

Even before green architecture became today’s vogue, Mañosa said he had always been incorporating environmentally responsive designs in the structures he made. The nature-abundant design of Mañosa’s home successfully blurs the line between outdoors and indoors.

Giving consideration to the country’s tropical climate, the living room’s double high-pitched roof has openings that allow warm air to exit the building. The open area of the house allows air to freely circulate.

MANOSA’S grandchildren develop creativity and cultural sense through their playroom. The Pinoy jeepney furniture serves as their bed, while various educational toys and finger-painted drawings serve as canvas.

Hanging in the middle of the living area is a large chandelier, designed to look like a hand of bananas.

Lush landscapes and water features also surround the Mañosa residence, which contributes to the passive cooling of the house, making electric fans and air-conditioning units virtually unnecessary.

The master’s bedroom contains a view of a fishpond, which not only gives the room a cooling effect but also a romantic view, as it is positioned in front of their bed.

“We actually catch some milkfish at the pond and cook it for dinner,” Mañosa said.

Mañosa has always been an advocate of Filipino architecture. Though materials are indigenous, current construction technology allows these to withstand the wear and tear of the elements and the years, he said.

But he lamented the current status of Philippine architecture. He said most Filipinos would rather reference Spanish villas, French chateaus and Mediterranean houses as inspirations for their dream homes. He said this lingering colonial mentality could erase our own architecture and national identity.

“If none of us [architects] will do Filipino architecture, then who else will?” he said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Architecture , Franciso “Bobby” Mañosa , home design , Mañosa house , Philippines

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J2IGAFNU5CQEF47APFTQUJVFA4 Paul Vicente, V.

    I love what he is doing… But I hope he would put more light in his design. ang dilim ng approach. I want a minimalist comfortable but pleasingly functional architectural design for my home. Regardless if it is Western or Eastern Inspired. Although, I really hope, we can have that kind of Filipino Approach and style.
    Kudos to Mañosa!

  • Platypus09

    Make a design or house out of Filipino architecture that would last at least 30 to 50 years.

    It should worth the money spent, and make it sturdy to stand against weather and envionmental calamities that abound our country.

    That is how houses should be like anyways.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  3. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  4. No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  5. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  6. The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  7. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  8. Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  9. What has happened to Barrio Fiesta and Singing Cooks & Waiters?
  10. Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. How to enjoy Buntod
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  7. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  8. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • Security in place for Obama as police hope for ‘peaceful’ visit
  • Retired SC justice Lorenzo Relova; 98
  • Ligots fight 2nd forfeiture case
  • PH will be partly cloudy in afternoon, evening—Pagasa
  • Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 US doctors, including Fil-Am pediatrician