Philippine Arena: World's largest domed arena

All credit goes to the rightful owners of the photos

Ciudad de Victoria (City of Victory), a 140-hectare tourism enterprise zone in Bocaue, Bulacan, is home to the Philippine Arena, which is touted as the “world’s largest domed indoor arena.”

The $213-million (P9.4-billion) fully-air-conditioned indoor arena is touted as “the centerpiece” of the many centennial projects of INC.

It is also called the 'largest theater in the earth'

In an article published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a source from INC claimed that the Philippine Arena was built “not to make a profit.” In fact, “it is not even commercialized nor aimed at making money.”

The Philippine Arena was made entirely from the INC members’ voluntary offerings. This opposes the existing misconception that INC members are forced to give their tithes regularly.

For its members they consider giving offerings as a duty and devotion, not as donation

The master plan was to gather 50,000 people inside the building and another 50,000 at a “live site” outside to share in major events, according to the world-acclaimed architectural firm Populous, its concept designer.

Inside the Philippine Arena, there is a clear “line of sight” for every seat from each tier, even for various arena configurations such as church ceremonies, boxing, tennis, concerts or indoor gymnastics. The whole arena is completely air-conditioned.

It will not only hold major church gatherings but shall also operate as a multiuse sports and concert venue that is capable of holding range of events from boxing and basketball to live music performances.

The Philippine Football Federation has sent a bid to host the region’s top football competition, the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup, hoping that the construction of a sports complex housing the world’s largest arena in Bulacan could boost the country’s chances to stage the tournament in 2016.

The construction of the Philippine Arena in Bulacan could help the country secure the hosting rights, according to Gastanes.

This is part of the INC’s centennial project. The Philippine Arena has a bowl-shaped structure inspired by the narra, the Philippine national tree, Populous said . The firm also designed the huge 23,000-seat O2 Arena in London, as well as various huge sports arenas and stadiums in the world.

Other major structures expected to be completed in the area in the near future are the Philippine Stadium, New Era University, Eraño G. Manalo Medical Center, as well as shops, hotels, and leisure parks.

With a capacity of 55,000 seats, the Philippine Arena is operated by INC's educational institution, New Era University.

The Philippine Arena is more than twice the size of The O2 in London and even of the large indoor arenas in the United States, which was why it was a big challenge to design and build. The Philippine Arena “pushed the boundaries of arena design” and is now considered the world’s largest indoor arena, Populous said in its website.


Smart Araneta Coliseum- largest indoor facility in Southeast Asia. 25, 000 maximum seating capacity.
SM Arena- rival to Araneta Coliseum. capacity of 16, 000 people.
Philippine Arena- world's largest domed arena. 50, 000 seats.

The INC hired the best companies to design, structure and build the Philippine Arena. Aside from Populous, it contracted Buro Happold, a British professional services firm, for its structural engineering and the Korean firm Hanwha Engineering and Construction for the completion of the project.

Even the site development of Ciudad de Victoria, particularly the Philippine Arena landscape, the Philippine Stadium Gardens and the Water Gardens around the Sports Center, would be done by one of the world’s best landscape firms, the multiawarded PWP Landscape Architecture.

The landscape design for phase one includes: The Philippine Arena, the Stadium Gardens, and the Water Gardens. The Philippine Arena landscape design is defined by a curvilinear system of formal trees and covered walkways that echo the elliptical form of the Arena connecting two arrival areas, two plazas and a grand stair that leads to the arena. The Stadium Gardens are defined by vertical layers of palm trees, drifts of informal flowering gardens, and dense hedges that expose two clearings for accommodating large casual gatherings or organized events.

A series of outdoor plazas, gardens and performance venues form the setting for the development including: The North and South Arrival Plazas, The Promontory Plaza, The Great Stairs, and Ciudad de Victoria Plaza that are all related to each other with two cross axes (N-S and E-W) that intersect at the Promontory Plaza. These spaces are woven together both by a spine of formal trees and covered walkways that echo the elliptical form of the Arena.

Visitors arrive to the Arena by bus or by car at the vehicular drop-offs that lead to one of two Arrival Plazas. Covered walks lead to the Promontory Plaza that greets visitors with colorful flowering trees, stepped circular planters, planter walls, and garden displays. The space is intended for meeting, socializing, resting, and moving through to other destinations in the complex. From here, visitors have easy access to the Arena, Great Stairs, or Ciudad De Victoria Plaza through arced stairs, which also create a natural amphitheater for smaller events.

The Great Stairs will provide a graceful transition to the main entrance of the Philippine Arena, as well as casual seating for cooler days and evenings. Bougainvillea cascades down the steps providing a sculptural element to the experience.

The Covered Walkways provide a necessary relief and protection from incliment weather and intense sun and heat during the remainder of the year. The sweeping curves of the Covered Walks mirror the Arena geometry and serve to unify the landscape. 

Informal plantings of brilliant flowering trees and display gardens will create festive gradient of color that intensifies toward the Arena: Gold and white upon arrival, brilliant fuchsia at Promontory, and sweeping, vibrant reds at the Arena slopes and main entrance.

The Stadium Gardens are conceived as a vertical layered landscape of formal and informal planting that provide visitors with a variety of experiences when viewed from inside or afar. When approaching the gardens by vehicle, a grid of Palms is perceived as a singular canopy above the informal flowering gardens below. On the ground plane, a regular system of east-west cobble stone paths, planting beds, and lawn openings define pedestrian circulation and spatial organization. Two large clearings allow for gatherings during celebrations and sporting events. A dense hedgerow creates the backdrop to the gardens and pedestrian promenade.

PWP Landscape Architecture did the landscape of the National September 11 Memorial Museum (also known as the 9/11 Memorial and 9/11 Museum) in New York, which was built to commemorate the Sept. 11 attacks of 2001 in the United States, among other notable landscape projects worldwide. 

The Philippine Arena was also designed to withstand natural disasters like earthquake and typhoons.

It was featured on Discovery Channel’s “Man-Made Marvels” with the episode title “Quake Proof” in December last year. The show revealed how science was used to fortify the building to survive a magnitude-8 earthquake. PHIVOLCS (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology) Renato Solidum Jr. makes an appearance here.

Visit our 'Philippine Arena UPDATES' page HERE.

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Author: Paul Michael Camania Jaramillo

Student| Youth Advocate | Leader | Environmental Advocate | Writer | Blogger | RH Advocate

I am neither especially clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious. — Albert Einstein
I write about darkness because I want to show the light — Jose Rizal

Paul is an Accountancy graduate from the Northwestern University. He works for VoicePoints. He was the former College Editors Guild of the Philippines-Ilocos Chairperson. He likes discussing tax issues. He was one of the finalists of the PWC Cup (Taxation and Payroll Accounting)

He has been involved in different advocacy and defending human rights. As a blogger, writer, netizen and an advocate, he has found focus & interest on sexuality & reproductive health, deaf rights & legal access and youth development, leadership, environment advocacy, issues in the nation and in the world, religion, culture and human rights At the age of 14, he has fully embraced the call of leadership.

He was a Lussoc National High School 'The Sring' and 'Ang Batis' news editor. A radical visionary leader, he has led organizations of the Supreme Student Government, Science Club, Youth for Environment in Schools Organization, Interact Club, Math Club, Philippine National Red Cross and other organizations in their institution. He was also awarded as a distinguished student leader as a former officer of the Supreme Student Government and received President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Campus Journalism Award. He attended two National Leadership Training for the Student Government Officers, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Youth for Environment Summer Camp, Science Leaders Congress and Schools Press Conference. Joined and won in the several contests from their school to the national level.

He is an organist and an officer of the Church of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo).

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