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Welcoming The New Philippine Arena – The World’s Largest Indoor Stadium

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The largest indoor stadium in the world – The Philippine Arena in Ciudad de Victoria in Bocaue, Bulacan

“Working with a building of that size and with a unique kind of structure posed a challenge for us. We had to think how to go about its structural integrity, its safety… even planning about the air-conditioning was challenging,” Chris Sparrow, Director of Buro Happold, the company that created the Philippine Arena.


On July 21st, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was the guest of honour for the opening day of the Philippine Arena, which is now the largest indoor stadium in the world.


This construction of this area is a project of a religious sect called the “Iglesia Ni Cristo” (Church of Christ) who celebrated their centennial anniversary on July 27th. This arena was built especially for that occasion.


During his speech, President Aquino said to the members of the church, “You have proved that the Filipino can reach great heights, that we can have achievements as lofty as any in the world.”


First of all, the Philippine Arena has a 55,000 seat capacity which makes it the largest indoor  arena in the world, pushing Manila’s Araneta Coliseum, with 25,000 seats, into third place. Its capacity is almost three times that of the Staples Center in Los Angeles or Madison Square Gardens in New York City. The Philippine Arena has a floor area of 99,000 square metres with a height of 62 metres. This gigantic 15-storey structure is costing US$175 million.


The builders are British company Buro Happold, with Chris Sparrow as group director. Their other projects include London’s Olympic Park and O2 Arena, Dublin’s Aviva Stadium and Singapore’s National Stadium, which is of equal size to the Philippine Arena with a 55,000 seat capacity, but with a retractable roof.


The structure can withstand and resist earthquakes as the Philippines is part of the Pacific’s “Ring of Fire”.


Iglesia Ni Cristo chose Ciudad de Victoria in Bocaue, Bulacan, in a tourism enterprise zone, and approximately an hour road trip from Metro Manila.


Bulacan is a province with many old churches from the Spanish era and a long history. The  giant Philippine Arena is now part of the Philippine’s modern history.


Future Plans


The arena is not only intended as a venue for major church gatherings. In the future, this is also open for multi-use sports and concert venue. It has the capacity and features that can hold major boxing events, basketball, tennis and indoor gymnastics. It cannot however facilitate sports like soccer or field events.


Currently, the Philippine Basketball Association seeks the permission of “Iglesia Ni Cristo” officials for the rights to use the arena for the 2014 PBA Season. In the future, the arena will be the main venue of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup if the Philippines win the bid through business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan.




The Philippine Arena won World Finance’s Best Sports Project under the “medium cap project” category in their 2013 Construction Awards 2013, and the 2014 Guinness Book Of Records recognises it as the largest mixed-use indoor theatre.



Author: Marcelle Villegas



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