National Artists


The Order of National Artists (Orden ng Pambansang Alagad ng Sining) is the highest national recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts; namely, Music, Dance, Theater, Visual Arts, Literature, Film, Broadcast Arts, and Architecture and Allied Arts. The order is jointly administered by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and conferred by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation by both institutions.




May 26, 1899 – May 7, 1986

Juan F. Nakpil, architect, teacher and civic leader, is a pioneer and innovator in Philippine architecture. In essence, Nakpil’s greatest contribution is his belief that there is such a thing as Philippine Architecture, espousing architecture reflective of Philippine traditions and culture. It is also largely due to his zealous representation and efforts that private Filipino architects and engineers, by law, are now able to participate in the design and execution of government projects. He has integrated strength, function, and beauty in the buildings that are the country’s heritage today. He designed the 1937 International Eucharistic Congress altar and rebuilt and enlarged the Quiapo Church in 1930 adding a dome and a second belfry to the original design.

Among others, Nakpil’s major works are the Geronimo de los Reyes Building,Magsaysay Building, Rizal Theater, Capitol Theater, Captain Pepe Building, Manila Jockey Club, Rufino Building, Philippine Village Hotel, University of the Philippines Administration and University Library, and the reconstructed Rizal house in Calamba, Laguna.




Born at the turn of the century, National Artist for Architecture Pablo Sebero Antonio pioneered modern Philippine architecture. His basic design is grounded on simplicity, no clutter. The lines are clean and smooth, and where there are curves, these are made integral to the structure. Pablo Jr. points out, “For our father, every line must have a meaning, a purpose. For him, function comes first before elegance or form“. The other thing that characterizes an Antonio structure is the maximum use of natural light and cross ventilation. Antonio believes that buildings “should be planned with austerity in mind and its stability forever as the aim of true architecture, that buildings must be progressive, simple in design but dignified, true to a purpose without resorting to an applied set of aesthetics and should eternally recreate truth”.

Antonio’s major works include the following: Far Eastern University Administration and Science buildings; Manila Polo Club; Ideal Theater;Lyric Theater; Galaxy Theater; Capitan Luis Gonzaga Building; Boulevard-Alhambra (now Bel-Air) apartments; Ramon Roces Publications Building (now Guzman Institute of Electronics).




August 15, 1928 – November 15, 1994

Leandro V. Locsin reshaped the urban landscape with a distinctive architecture reflective of Philippine Art and Culture. He believes that the true Philippine Architecture is “the product of two great streams of culture, the oriental and the occidental… to produce a new object of profound harmony.” It is this synthesis that underlies all his works, with his achievements in concrete reflecting his mastery of space and scale. Every Locsin Building is an original, and identifiable as a Locsin with themes of floating volume, the duality of light and heavy, buoyant and massive running in his major works. From 1955 to 1994, Locsin has produced 75 residences and 88 buildings, including 11 churches and chapels, 23 public buildings, 48 commercial buildings, six major hotels, and an airport terminal building.

Locsin’s largest single work is the Istana Nurul Iman, the palace of the Sultan of Brunei, which has a floor area of 2.2 million square feet. The CCP Complex itself is a virtual Locsin Complex with all five buildings designed by him — the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Folk Arts Theater, Philippine International Convention Center, Philcite and The Westin Hotel (now Sofitel Philippine Plaza).




September 5, 1929 – January 29, 2014

Ildefonso Paez Santos, Jr., distinguished himself by pioneering the practice of landscape architecture–an allied field of architecture–in the Philippines and then producing four decades of exemplary and engaging work that has included hundreds of parks, plazas, gardens, and a wide range of outdoor settings that have enhanced contemporary Filipino life.

Santos, Jr., who grew up in Malabon, made his first mark with the Makati Commercial Center where he introduced a new concept of outdoor shopping with landscaped walks, fountains and sculptures as accents. Santos, Jr.’s contribution to modern Filipino landscape architecture was the seminal public landscape in Paco Park.

Santos, Jr.’s most recent projects were the Tagaytay Highland Resort, the Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Clubin Lipa, Batangas, and the Orchard Golf and Country Club in Imus, Cavite.





José María V. Zaragoza’s place in Philippine architecture history is defined by a significant body of modern edifices that address spiritual and secular requirements. Zaragoza’s name is synonymous to modern ecclesiastical architecture. Notwithstanding his affinity to liturgical structures, he greatly excelled in secular works: 36 office buildings, 4 hotels, 2, hospitals, 5 low-cost and middle-income housing projects; and more than 270 residences – all demonstrating his typological versatility and his mastery of modernist architectural vocabulary.

Zaragoza puretime graduated from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila in 1936, passing the licensure examinations in 1938 to become the 82nd architect of the Philippines. With growing interest in specializing in religious architecture, Zaragoza also studied at International Institute of Liturgical Art (IILA) in Rome in the late 1950s, where he obtained a diploma in liturgical art and architecture. His training in Rome resulted in innovative approaches, setting new standards for the design of mid-century Catholic churches in the Philippines. His prolificacy in designing religious edifices was reflected in his body of work that was predominated by about 45 churches and religious centers, including the Santo Domingo Church, Our Lady of Rosary in Tala, Don Bosco Church, the Convent of the Pink Sisters, the San Beda Convent, Villa San Miguel, Pius XII Center, the Union Church, and the controversial restoration of the Quiapo Church, among others.

Zaragoza is a pillar of modern architecture in Philippines buttressed by a half-century career that produced ecclesiastical edifices and structures of modernity in the service of God and humanity.