National Artist for Architecture Francisco ‘Bobby’ Mañosa, 88

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NATIONAL ARTIST for Architecture Francisco “Bobby” T. Mañosa, passed away due to a lingering illness at the age 88 on Feb. 20.

“Even your death was as special as your life. Your legacy lives on,” wrote his daughter, interior designer Bambi Mañosa-Tanjutco, on Instagram on Feb. 20. According to his daughter’s post on Feb. 6, Mr. Mañosa was “fighting pneumonia.”

Known as the “Father of Philippine Neo-vernacular Architecture,” Mr. Mañosa championed Filipino architecture by mastering the DNA of the bahay kubo (nipa hut) and bahay na bato (literally “stone house,” the standard Spanish colonial structure locally). He believed that Filipino architecture must be “true to itself, its land, and its people.”

His landmark projects include the Tahanang Pilipino (popularly known as the Coconut Palace) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) which was made almost entirely of coconut; the Amanpulo Resort with its deconstructed bahay kubos; the Our Lady of Peace Shrine — celebrating the 1986 People Power Revolution — at the corner of EDSA and Ortigas Ave., Quezon City, and the nearly open-air Chapel of the Risen Lord in Las Piñas City

“Intuitively, he pioneered the sustainable architecture — way before this environmental design movement broke ground in the Philippines,” noted a statement from the Cultural Center of the Philippines announcing his passing. “He conceptualized the ‘edible garden’ — a design where plants surround the external walls of the structures. This is quite evident in the San Miguel Building — one of his major works — with its rice terrace–like green balconies and ‘tukod’ (inwardly slanting windows).”

He was the recipient of several awards including Most Outstanding Professional Award in the Field of Interior Design from Philippine Regulation Commission in 2013; the Lifetime Achievement Award from United Architects of the Philippines in 2009; and Outstanding Artist for Golden Years of Service Award in the field of Architecture from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in 2009.

In October 2018, he received the National Artist Award “for his valuable contribution to the development, preservation and promotion of the Philippine architecture.”

Tributes poured out on social media with the news of Mr. Mañosa’s passing.

The Palace expressed its condolences in a statement released by Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo, highlighting his recieving the Order of National Artist (Orden ng Gawad Pambansang Alagad ng Sining) by President Rodrigo R. Duterte last year, and his achievements in the field of architecture. “Architect Mañosa will be missed but his influence and legacy will continue to live on. May perpetual light shine upon him as we pray for the repose of his soul,” it said.

“It was an honor to have known someone so innovative and nationalistic. We are sure his spirit will live on in the people that he helped and the work that he left behind,” said a Facebook post from the Museo Pambata, where Mr. Mañosa’s daughter, Ms. Mañosa-Tanjutco, is president.

Another aspect of the architect’s life can be seen in the tribute paid to him by The Executives Band on its Facebook page.

“The Executives Band, founded by the late Arch. Bobby Mañosa, which was founded by Mr. Mañosa, Senator Raul Manglapus, Chito Feliciano, Lenny Hontiveros, Bert del Rosario, Dading Morato, Freddie von Kauffmann, Rudy Topacio, and Phil Delfino — also which at the time was called The Executives Combo, has lost its last original member today. Architect Bobby Mañosa was our first pianist, and as such, his prestige and artistry elevated our ‘Combo’ to great heights.

“Our wish is that his family, and those whose lives he has touched and inspired, find solace in the thought that our dear Bobby is now jamming in heaven with all the greats, as he once did. He was such an inspiration to all.

“We pray that our music helps keep his legacy alive, as much as his architecture emboldens the Filipino essence to stand out and proud.”

The wake is at the Heritage Memorial Park on Feb 22 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Mañosa Group of Companies has said that in lieu of flowers, a donation to Tukod Foundation Inc. be made.

On Feb. 24, the Cultural Center of the Philippines will pay tribute to Mr. Mañosa with a necrological service at 9 a.m. which will be open to public. It will be followed by his internment at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Mr. Mañosa, who celebrated his 88th birthday on Feb. 12, was survived by his wife Denise and children Bambi, Gelo, and Dino. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman