The hues of the sky during sunset, the calming, clear skies of the morning, and most of all the marvelous land-forms and greeneries of Mother Nature – all breath taking, all picture perfect.  But in this age of photography and Instagram society, the modern cities are also becoming a personal favorite among Filipinos. Metro Manila, the main metropolitan in the country is getting the spotlight in this category. People are taking all sorts of artistically photographed images of different landmarks and skyscrapers in the different cities making it much more attractive.

But in reality, even without the cameras and the filters, there are structural architectures that became iconic because of the ingenuity invested in building them. The brightest minds and architects behind these structures made them memorable to most metro Manila dwellers of today.

Below are the ten iconic structural architectures in Metro Manila from the past to present:

1. University of Santo Tomas – Main Building

One of the most distinguished university buildings in the country is the main building of the University of the Santo Tomas in España, Manila. Designed and erected in 1920 to 1923 by Rev. Fr. Roque Ruaño, this building isn’t just a beauty but also the first earthquake resistant building in the country. It’s Renaissance Revival style of architecture has made it not just a cut above the neighboring buildings but also made it survived the earthquakes of time.


Photo of RQUI Photography

2. Manila City Hall

Manila City Hall exudes a different charm despite the other fascinating old buildings around it. The city hall, built in the 1930s by Antonio Toledo, is a sibling of the Old Legislative Building (now the National Museum). Its unique and monotonous facade made it intriguing and a stunner at the same time. Its clock tower made it more distinguishable from afar with the red dome that caps the hexagon structure.


Photo of Joh Paul Legaspi

3. National Museum and Manila Central Post Office

Though both located in different areas in downtown Manila, these two are often mistaken for each other by tourists from afar. Both are examples of neoclassical architecture but are brainchildren of two different architects. The National Museum is a commissioned work of Manila City Hall’s Antonio Toledo, while the Central Post Office was designed by Juan Arellano. The National Museum sits across the City Hall while the Manila Central Post Office is a sprawling beauty along the Pasig River.


National Museum Photo c/o Matt Doran


Manila Central Post Office by Baba G.

4. University of the Philippines Diliman – Quezon Hall

The backdrop of the great Oblation Statue is also one of the most iconic architectures in Metro Manila – the Quezon Hall. This eclectic-style-cum-art-deco building, designed by Juan Nakpil during the 1950s, houses the administrative offices of the university. The combination of different historical styles and multiple theories in one single architecture proved that this building is deserving to be an icon of the university that molds the brightest minds of our nation.


UP Diliman Quezon Hall Photo by the.delro

5. National Theater – CCP

The National Theater, formerly Theater of Performing Arts, is the CCP’s flagship performance and event venue housing the principal office of the complex. Seated at the tip of the complex, this marvelous architectural structure designed by the brilliant Leandro Locsin greets all the visitors coming from the northwestern side of the Roxas Boulevard.

It is a living proof of the architectural mastery and signature style of Locsin called “floating volume,” combining the heavy use of concrete with elevated structures. With this principle, the result is a stunning contrast of a massive structure that appears like floating.


Photo of Iking Atillo

6. Far Eastern University – Nicanor Reyes Hall

This hidden marvel facing Quezon Boulevard in Manila is the largest structure building in Art Deco style. Constructed by Pablo S. Antonio Sr. in 1941, the building is a manifestation of a well-designed structure that played with geometric forms. And in 2005, the building together with the other 4 Art Deco-styled building of FEU earned a citation from the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) for the Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for Cultural Heritage.


Photo c/o eazytraveler


These old Manila structures are just part of the marvelous sights inside the Metropolitan Manila. The modern ones will follow the list on our second blog.

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