The Philippine Arena: 5 Things You May Not Know About this World Class Facility

1. The Philippine Arena is legally owned by New Era University.

The Philippine Arena: 5 Things You May Not Know About this World Class Facility 1

Almost everyone knows that the Philippine Arena is owned by the religious institution — Iglesia ni Cristo (INC). It is one of the centerpieces of the many centennial projects of the INC for their centennial celebration on July 27, 2014. However, the legal owner of the arena is the INC’s educational institution, New Era University.

2. It holds the record as the biggest indoor arena in the world (as of 2020).

The Philippine Arena is the world’s largest indoor arena.  It is a multipurpose indoor arena with a maximum seating capacity of 55,000. The Friends Arena in Sweden and Paris La Défense Arena in France comes second and third respectively.

On July 27, 2014, Guinness World Records recognized the arena as the largest mixed-use indoor theater.

This is as of writing (2020). It is said that the KJC (Kingdom of Jesus Christ) King Dome that is currently under construction in Davao City will have a seating capacity of 70,000. Once it is completed (targeted by 2022), it will take the crown from the Philippine Arena.

3. It was built by a Korean Firm — Hanwha Engineering and Construction.

Hanwha Engineering and Construction won the bid to construct the Philippine Arena. It outbid Philippine firm – EEI Construction for the mega-project. Hanwha completed the construction within 3 years, completing it fully in May 31, 2014. This was short of 3 years from it’s initial groundbreaking on August 17, 2011. The megaproject cost around P9.4B.

Built on 99,200 square meters (1,068,000 sq ft) square meters of land, the arena has a dome over 9,000 square meters (97,000 sq ft).[20] The oval roof has a dimension of 227 m × 179 m (745 ft × 587 ft) and contains 9,000 tons of steel work. The roof was made as a separate unit to reduce burden on the arena with extra load. The arena is 65 meters (213 ft) in height, or about fifteen stories high and founded on pile construction. About a third of the dead load of the building was designed for earthquake loads. The building was also divided into multiple structures to strengthen the arena’s earthquake resistance.

It was formally inaugurated in July 21, 2014 as part of the celebration of the INC centennial.

Philippine Arena Inauguration
Photo from Official: Philippine Arena

4. It sits in 2 towns in Bulacan — Bocaue and Sta. Maria.

The Philippine Arena is in Ciudad de Victoria. This is a 140-hectare tourism enterprise zone in Bocaue and Sta. Maria, Bulacan. It is about 30 kilometers north of Manila.

The fastest way to get there from Manila is to take the North Luzon Expressway, and take the Ciudad de Victoria exit.

Refer to this article for the NLEX toll table:

5. INC reserves the right to disallow activities in it that it sees violates its religious principles.

The Philippine Arena has been the venue for many notable events in recent history. Among these are:

The Philippine Arena: 5 Things You May Not Know About this World Class Facility 2
  • Concerts of international artists like Super Junior (April 2015), Katy Perry (May 2015), Guns N’ Roses (November 2018), and U2 (December 2019)
  • Special Entertainment events like
    • Eat Bulaga!: Sa Tamang Panahon, which is a special climax to their KalyeSerye segment. This is where the AlDub love team has shattered all sorts of records. (October 2015)
    • The movie premier of the movie Felix Manalo was also held here. This holds the Guinness World Records for “Largest Attendance For A Film Screening” and “Largest Attendance For A Film Premiere” (October 2015)
  • Sporting events like the infamous 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualification (July 2018) and the much-celebrated 2019 Southeast Asian Games opening ceremony (November 2019).

Though INC allows other religious gatherings to use the venue, it reserves the right to refuse / disallow activities which it sees violate its religious principles, which include gambling-related events and cockfighting.

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Photo from Business Mirror

Most recently, during this COVID-19 pandemic, the INC has been closely coordinating with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) for the use of the Philippine Arena, the Philippine Sports Stadium, the Garden Suites, and various facilities inside the Ciudad de Victoria as a “mega facility” for centralized medical operations and massive testing facility by the government.

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