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STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions, Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu

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Abstract and Figures

This study is a cumulative effort of two Architectural Design Classes in Master of Architecture of the University of the Philippines College of Architecture from school years 2011 to 2013. The study team composed of 11 graduate students and had a mix of various disciplines: 9 students from the Architectural Science track specializing in Architectural Heritage Conservation and 2 cross- enrollees from the Urban Design and Community Architecture. One of the students was also employed in a government conservation agency thus, providing the group with further insights on the local problems that beset the architectural conservation profession.
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7
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Env ironment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
STREET(E)SCAPE:
A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach
in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of
Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata 1
matareneluis@yahoo.com
Dani Josef C. Cuaresma
Edgar Nonato G. Cusi
Gerard Michael D. Dy
Mary Ann R. Feliciano
Frances Joy S. Francisco
Crisanto B. Lustre III
Claudia Isabelle V. Montero
Jayson B. Portem
Manuel Agustin Z. Singson
Ivy Sychelle B. Tablante
Marianne Claire V. Vitug 2
I. Introduction
This study is a cumulative effort of two Architectural
Design Classes in Master of Architecture of the University
of the Philippines College of Architecture from school
years 2011 to 2013. The study team composed of 11
graduate students and had a mix of various disciplines: 9
students from the Architectural Science track specializing
in Architectural Heritage Conservation and 2 cross-
enrollees from the Urban Design and Community
Architecture. One of the students was also employed in a
government conservation agency thus, providing the
group with further insights on the local problems that
beset the architectural conservation profession. Experience
1 Rene Luis Mata obtained his BS Architecture degree at University
of the Philippines Diliman and Masters in Architectural Restoration
and Rehabilitation of Patrimony at University of Alcala-Henares in
Madrid, Spain. He is the Head of History, Theory & Criticism
Studio Laboratory of UP College of Architecture. He is also a
member of the Guru Council of the Heritage Conservation Society
and Vice President of the Board of International Committee on
Monuments & Sites (ICOMOS) in the Philippines.
2 Dani Josef Cuaresma, Edgar Nonato Cusi, Gerard Michael Dy,
Mary Ann Feliciano, Frances Joy Francisco, Crisanto Lustre III,
Claudia Isabelle Montero, Jayson Portem, Manuel Agustin
Singson, Ivy Sychelle Tablante, and Marianne Claire Vitug are
graduate students of Architectural Heritage Conservation from UP
College of Architecture under the mentorship of Professor Mata.
in research and cultural studies made the contributions of
the Art Studies members invaluable in capturing the local
Spirit of the Place (Garnham, 1985). Architectural
conservation is, in truth, multidisciplinary as
successfully proven by this class exercise.
The study team, collectively named the PAMANA Group,
was tasked to produce architectural conservation
recommendations to an actual heritage site as exemplified
in one of its more significant street ensembles, long
declared as such, but with little resulting interventions
since its declaration. Although this is not necessarily
unique to the city, or the region, the site presented unique
problems distinct to its Visayan character and “Spirit of
Place”.
The project was undertaken in partnership with the local
barangay unit (the basic political unit in Philippine
governance) of Brgy. Poblacion II, City of Carcar, the
Carcar Heritage Conservation Society, individuals such as
Mr. Manny Castro, owner of Balay na Tisa, and Mr. Jerry
Martin Noel Alfafara of Ang Dakong Balay both ancestral
houses dating from the Spanish Colonial Period, as well as
the incidental population conducting social and economic
correspondence with the local community.
The first phase of the study covered a documentation plan
of a heritage house, Ang Dakong Balay (Don Florencio Noel
House), located at Sta. Catalina Street in Carcar, Cebu.
Carcar was declared through local ordinance as a Heritage
town. Much of the background for this paper was thus
gleaned from this, and included much of the town‟s earlier
history and morphology.
Figure 1. Class PAMANA logo
In the second phase of the study, the team concentrated on
a single street, whose undeniable heritage quality and
significance would be a good example that other
neighborhoods could emulate in the future. In addition to
what was started by the first study group, it was decided
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
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MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
to continue the documentation to cover the entire stretch
of Sta. Catalina Street for initial town character readings,
and in addition, focus on one of the oldest houses in the
neighborhood, the Balay na Tisa, to give an additional
example of architectural conservation documentation.
However, it was interesting to note that the street‟s
heritage resources included numerous fine examples of
American Colonial and vernacular residences that needed
to be contextualized and interpreted within the general
character of the site. A few examples of Modernist heritage
structures worthy of mention complemented the
challenge.
This study sought to address conservation at the
grassroots level, instead of relying on the dictates of local
governmental bureaucracy. The proposed
recommendations and interventions seek as aid for local
residents and barangay officials to formulate projects
that can be achieved and “repackaged” according to the
requirements of local government unit proposals for
funding, as recommended by the Local Government Code.
Funding proposals for conservation, being a new concept,
must necessarily fall under „development and
beautification‟ categories, which are almost
unrecognizable from tourism.
Figure 2. Balay na Tisa
The important factor in such strategy is to strengthen the
sense of ownership in the stakeholders who decide the
future of such heritage sites: the real stakeholders get to
value their own heritage resources. This creates self-
identity and pride. It is also important for the heritage
neighborhood to realize the intrinsic value of socio-
cultural practices as the reason behind the existence of
such heritage sites as stages for their practice, and the
main reason for any physical and/or architectural heritage
conservation.
It is the way of life that has engendered such heritage sites,
and not the other way around. The future use, and reuse
of such heritage resources must take into consideration the
revitalization of the local social and cultural life in this
case its street-life as well that will ensure its conservation
and preservation. By this academic, though practical,
exercise other architectural practitioners may be inspired
to replicate this in other regions as well.
Significance of this study rests on continuing initial
documentation and drawing up physical plans which can
be a basis for future heritage conservation plans in Carcar.
Although the project is adjunct to the previous study done
in 2011-2012, large-scale streetscape documentation is a
more comprehensive step towards site conservation as
against individual resources only. This initial report and
recommendations also greatly contribute to the future
plans of the city to include heritage zones in planning and
budgetary allocations.
The study is hinged on previous studies regarding
restoration and conservation works, as well as the concept
of the “Spirit of the Place”. Roberto Luciani in his book Il
Restauro: metodi e istrumenti di una "eccellenza" Italiana tra
arte, scienza y tecnologia, narrated the essence of restoration
by explaining its origin and place in history. This part may
help in pinpointing the beginnings of conservation
awareness in a Philippine community. He also proposed
the idea of “awareness” as equal to, and the absolute
platform of restoration. Consciousness is equal to initiative
and sustainability which is the sustaining force behind
every conservation project in a community. He also put
forward the major aspects of restoration, like enumerating
the scientific process and the main points/rules in
restoration including the roles, rules and basic foundations
on how to start a restoration project. James Fitch, together
with co-author Fielden, in his book Conservation of Historic
Buildings (2003) dealt largely with the concept of the role
of curation and organization of preserved historical
structures in a particular space in maintaining
comprehension and sustainability in a heritage site.
Similarly, Dana Arnold specialized in “reading”
structures/ building history in his book Reading
Architectural History. He partnered with Ballantyne in 2004
in another book entitled Architecture As Experience: Radical
Change in Spatial Practice. Arnold and Ballantyne took the
historic approach by looking at architecture in reference to
its significance, importance, timeline and influence. They
also suggested the idea of architecture as an experiential
phenomenon rather than an instrument of experience.
More than just signifier, it is signified.
In contrast, Bernard Fielden in his own book (Third
Edition ed.) tackled the basic idea of conservation in
relation to history and significance. Therefore, the great
consideration according to Fielden is conservation by
significance and contribution, not for anything else: The
context and nature of the specific site is not paramount in
its essential conservation in terms of sustainability and
ownership.
Arkitekturang Filipino: A History of Architecture and
Urbanism in the Philippines by Architect Gerard Lico
approaches the wide scope of Philippine architecture
using the historical method. He discussed the
development of Philippine architecture from the pre-
colonization period up until the recent developments in
architectural modernism. A very keen writer on the
influences of foreign colonization in Filipino space
configuration from the vernacular balay, fale of the Ifugaos,
the stilts of the Samal Badjaos to the evolution and
creation of the bahay na bato, the tsalet and the linear
patterns of the Philippine Modernist movement, Lico is
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
9
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
helpful in understanding „Filipino‟ spaces and
configuration.
Of the few books already written about Filipino Colonial
ancestral space and its antecedents, Fernando Zialcita and
Martin Tinio‟s Philippine Ancestral Houses, 1810-1930 has
proven to be one of the most comprehensive
documentations of Philippine ancestral houses. The book
does not have an extensive analysis and critique of
Philippine space, but records the basic ground rules of
“Filipino” colonial residential spaces. This reference was a
very rich guide to the initial documentation of the Spanish
Colonial era Balay na Tisa in Carcar, Cebu.
The basic framework of the study was patterned on the
processes suggested by Garnham‟s book, Maintaining the
Spirit of Place: A process for the preservation of town character.
Garnham exhausted the possibility of augmenting the so-
called “spirit of the place” as essential to the maintenance
of the character and life of a certain place or space.
Garnham discussed this process alongside conservation
and community development.
All the above studies were put together in relation to the
suggested site‟s unique character and context in order to
better “read” its problems and their relation to the
community‟s proposed reconfiguration as a sustainable
heritage resource.
Figures 3 and 4. Ang Dakong Balay
II. Process and Findings
Unique because of its distinct character as a heritage site in
the Province of Cebu, Carcar is located 40.3 kilometers
southeast of Cebu City and bounded by the Bohol Strait in
the east, by municipalities of Aloginsan and Barili in the
west, Sibonga in the south and San Francisco in the north
with a total population of over 100,000. The city is sub-
divided into 15 barangays, namely: Bolinawan,
Buenavista, Calidngan, Can-asujan, Guadalupe, Liburon,
Napo, Ocaña, Perrelos, Poblacion I, Poblacion II, Poblacion
III, Tuyom, Valencia and Valladolid. It is hailed as a
Heritage City of the province, with heritage structures
from the Spanish colonial period to the most recent
American colonial and contemporary periods. Carcar
cityhood was challenged when it was demoted by a ruling
in November 2008 because of the reason that it did not
reached the annual income qualification of being a city.
Rigorous appeals were made and finally in 2011 the
Supreme Court upheld the decision of making Carcar a
city along with other 15 municipalities of the country.
Carcar is considered one of the oldest settlements in the
province of Cebu. First of the settlements originated from
Sialo, a seaside community settlement at the Minag-a
River delta. It is where the first trading occurred with the
Chinese and other Asian visitors. Exchange goods like
Chinese wares were bartered for local farm and forest
products. The place was also called Daang-Lungsod, but
changed to Valladolid when Spaniards arrived in the mid-
16th century. Valladolid became a town in 1599 and St.
Catherine of Alexandra was declared the new patroness.
The community‟s economy grew steadily, attracting
pirates and raiders from the south that stole food and
other farm products and goods. Historians considered it as
the worst pirates‟ incursion in the entire history of Cebu.
Mowag, a new settlement was established with connected
roads that branched out to different directions. Kabkad
was the alternate name given by the people of Mowag to
the new place. The word came from Kabkaban, a fern
species which was abundant in the place.
In the main poblacion of Carcar, Sta. Catalina is the street
opposite the town‟s Roman Catholic Church. A prominent
house known as the Sato or Jaen house marks the street
from the intersection. Sta. Catalina is part of Brgy.
Poblacion II and has four blocks. The traditional street of
Sta. Catalina is now paved in concrete. Lush tropical
vegetation is evident along each side of the road. The
street has a very unique character because of the diverse
concentration of structures old and new of cultural
heritage value. Houses dating from the late 1800s to the
1980s profile the street. The street is highly residential in
nature with some commercial establishments such as local
banks and internet shops and small variety stores on the
ground floors of some of the larger heritage houses. Sta.
Catalina has three declared heritage structures, namely,
the Mercado Mansion, Ang Dakong Balay and Balay na Tisa.
Unnoticed, however, are the many vernacular structures
and the interesting residences of Modernist heritage value
of the 1950s that complete the ensemble. These modest
architectural gems more than represent the heritage of the
street they showcase indigenous solutions to urban
tropical situations dictated by neighborhood dynamics.
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
10
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
Figure 5. Key map of Sta. Catalina street. Source: Local Government of Carcar City
Balay na Tisa at present is owned and maintained by Mr.
Manuel Valencia Castro and Mr. Marc Valencia Vanzwoll,
fifth generation of the Sarmiento-Osmeña-Valencia clan.
Built in 1859 by the couple Don Roman Sarmiento and
Doña Ana Canarias, this ancestral house which is
popularly known as Balay na Tisa today, still has its
original tisa (teja - terra cotta) roof tiles and details. Balay
turned 150 in 2009, hailed as the oldest ancestral house in
Carcar. It is said that its high pitched roof belies Chinese
influence. During the time that the church was built, the
owners actively participated in the construction. Don
Roman acted as a foreman and Doña Ana and the women
took care of the food for the workers. The house was then
inherited by one of their daughters Manuela who married
Don Jose Osmeña and passed on ownership to their only
child Catalina who married Dr. Pio Valencia. The house is
well maintained and is still used as a place of family
reunions every time there is a celebration like holy week,
fiestas and Christmas.
Balay na Tisa is one massive ancestral house with
foundations made of coralline limestone, hardwood for
the entire second level and terra cotta tiles for the roofing
over hardwood trusses. Features like wide windows make
it more adaptable to the tropical weather. At present, the
main access to the house is through an old kitchen with
distinct masonry called tabique pampango, a walling
technique made of woven sawali plastered with lime
plaster said to be of crushed seashells mixed with
molasses and egg white. The changing street elevation has
rendered the main entrance impractical as ingress point.
The spacious living and dining areas are paved with tugas
and balayong wood planks flooring put together
alternately; this also extends into the bedrooms. Tin metal
pressed ceilings are found at the sala (living room),
fashionable in the late 19th Century. Calado pierced screens
and transom dividers decorated the second floor interiors.
The open terrace or azotea adjacent to the kitchen has
decorative concrete balustrades and flooring of baldosa clay
tiles. Furniture is now mostly recent additions in the style
of the period, except for some fixtures. At present, Balay na
Tisa is one of the prominent ancestral structures in Sta.
Catalina and perhaps the whole of Carcar, with a heritage
house marker by the National Historical Commission of
the Philippines (NHCP).
General objectives were drafted to guide the group before
digging in to the actual field work in Sta. Catalina Street.
The main goals of the project include the following:
(1) To develop a model plan for conservation and
restoration, to be used by LGUs in proposing a long
term development plan for a heritage zone (albeit
as beautification and/or tourism);
(2) To document and identify problems confronting
heritage zones;
(3) To create, if not elevate, the level of awareness of
the community with regards to heritage
conservation and restoration and to enable them to
understand their uniqueness and identity as a
heritage resource;
(4) To include and involve the immediate
neighborhood as direct beneficiaries (in
conservation projects); and
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
11
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
(5) To be able to introduce the idea of sustainability
which will become the basic platform for tourism
and promotion of the heritage zone in the future.
Specific objectives for streetscape documentation as
further feedback:
(1) Create an initial technical documentation of Sta.
Catalina streetscape;
(2) Evaluate the liveability of the Sta. Catalina street in
conjunction to its characteristic as a heritage zone;
(3) Survey the heritage structures within the street and
identify all street furniture existing in the area;
(4) Identify the problems confronting heritage zones
and structures with regards to geodetics - elevation,
flooding, and proposed government road widening
projects;
(5) Create initial recommendations which will be
presented to the local barangay unit of Sta.
Catalina, as the basis for a short-term conservation
plan, but towards an awareness of the possibility of
a bigger master conservation plan;
(6) Suggest immediate “first-aid” solutions for the
existing problems in conservation which can be
implemented by households and the proximate
neighbourhood; and
(7) Suggest an education guide focusing on awareness
and sustainability in neighbourhood conservation.
Figures 6 and 7. Old and new photos of Sta. Catalina street.
Source: from private collection of Jerry Martin Noel Alfafara
(old photo above)
For the Balay-na-Tisa physical documentation, which
should present another example for architectural
documentation towards eventual conservation, (the Dakong
Balay having already been presented in the previous
project) the objectives were as follows:
(1) Create a full blown documentation of the structure
which includes plans and details;
(2) Identify existing conditions and point out problems
contributing to the decay of the structure;
(3) Create a documentation plan and suggest
immediate solutions to apparent problems; and
(4) Recommend measures on how the structure will be
scientifically preserved and protected on a long
term basis.
Figures 8 and 9. Old and new photos of Balay na Tisa. The rise of
the street level from the old times is apparent.
Source: from private collection of Jerry Martin Noel Alfafara
(old photo above)
Issues were identified by the study team upon the initial
documentation of Balay na Tisa and Sta. Catalina street,
and augmented by interviews of the townspeople done by
the group with local barangay unit officials in support
throughout the duration of the fieldwork.
Technical Group I was tasked to document the physical
dimensions and present condition of the ancestral house
as prototype to complement the documentation plans
made by the earlier group on Dakong Balay. There proved
to be a different set of problems encountered in Balay na
Tisa. Mr. Manny Castro, the co-owner of Balay na Tisa
shared the problems encountered by this 150-year old
house. Through the years, the increased elevation of the
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
12
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
road has left the house foundation and ground floor level
already 0.70 meters below the street. Another serious issue
confronting Balay na Tisa was the deterioration of wooden
structural and finishing components, especially in the
kitchen area and inside the rooms; in contrast to the living
room, the dining room and the ante sala areas that
remained relatively stable. Pulverization was also
observed in the stone foundations, probably brought
about by natural ageing.
Technical Group II observed and documented the Sta.
Catalina street. On both sides of the said road, one could
see the progression of architectural styles in the
Philippines. From Spanish colonial houses or Bahay na Bato
to American period-style houses, and even old vernacular
houses, this characteristic eclecticism in terms of aesthetics
makes the place a novelty. Walking along Sta. Catalina is a
tour of Philippine colonial architectural history. The
journey starts from the main highway, where you are
greeted by an old aquamarine painted mansion. The
majesty of the structure connotes that in times past, this
place, was where the rich and the powerful resided.
Farther down the road, the street is dotted with other
Spanish colonial houses. One could already see the
distinction between architecture of the Visayan Islands
with that of Luzon‟s own version of the bahay na bato. In
the Visayas, they utilized limestone as the available
material.
Interestingly, American period houses co-mingled with
the bahay na bato. With houses that feature Art Deco and
Art Noveau motifs, this affirms the elevated status of the
town. People then or even now, had the resources, to
experiment with different styles that were fashionable
during certain periods. Old vernacular architecture
harking back to both the American period and Post World
War II period, were also found. The interest in vernacular
is in the indigenous perception and interpretation of
period styles and built with local knowledge and
technology.
The tactile experiences are also interesting. From the soles
of the feet to one‟s fingertips, Sta. Catalina also offers a lot.
The uneven pathways make for a memorable narrative. It
somehow tells one the evolution of the entire town.
Moreover, the townsfolk related that indeed the strip has
changed façade proportions over the years. In fact, in
some of the older houses, the doors now appear to be
“diminished” in relation to their original heights. Some of
the older structures remained in disrepair while some
have been demolished.
Technical Group III did a socio-cultural mapping of the
Sta. Catalina street. No history book could ever compare
with actual recollections of old townsfolk. Interacting with
the latter provide more insight than any exhaustive
guidebook produced. For they, without the biases or any
political agenda, could narrate their story with their
community their own special affairs with the town so to
speak. From their narratives, one could weave the entire
town‟s fabric.
Figures 10 to 14. Cultural Research and Actual Documentation
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
13
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
Street Block / Zone
General Photographs
Description and Observations
Center
Direction
Thematic
Continuity
Variety
Robustness (completeness of activities)
Convergence Points of People
Provision for Respite
Sense of Enclosure
Clarity of Route
Ease of Movement
Sensory Richness
Threshold (sudden change)
Corridor and Segment
Ephemeral (climatic effects)
TC in Pattern & Building Types
TC in Degrees of Privacy
TC in Degree of Maintenance
Block 1
Photo 1: Approach view from Rizal St.
1. Lucero House (Blue Green House)
serves as landmark gateway to the Sta.
Catalina Street
2. From this wide and busy intersection,
major nodes are also visible namely the
Carcar Rotunda and the Plaza Mayor
3. Sloping terrain is evident
4. Pedestrian and vehicular flows were
mixed and not clearly designated
5. Signages and wayfinding are small and
unmanaged
6. Polluted (air, noise, visual)
7. Utility lines are visible
8. Small trees are present
Weak
Average
Strong
Photo 2: Axial view of Sta. Catalina Street from
Rizal St.
1. Lucero House (Blue Green House)
serves as landmark gateway to the Sta.
Catalina Street
2. Has strong axial view of Sta. Catalina
Street
3. Sloping terrain is evident
4. Signages and wayfinding are small and
unmanaged
5. Tree line along the axis is evident
6. Trees as visual screen hide other
structures and give view of some of the
ancestral houses
Weak
Average
Strong
Photo 3: View from Sta. Catalina St. facing the
Plaza Mayor
1. Visual axis to the church and plaza
mayor is prominent
2. Sloping terrain is evident
3. Balai na Daku
4. Signages and wayfinding are small and
unmanaged
5. Mixed uses are encroaching the street
6. Absence of sidewalk
7. Spaces of interaction (storefront) are
distributed
8. Starting point of canal drainage
9. Water meters are projecting along
sidewalk line
Weak
Average
Strong
Remarks
- has strong
nodal quality
- should define
entryway
complementing
the Lucero
House
- well defined
linear direction
- should
improve design
of intersection
to ease traffic
- sloping terrain
make it easy to
enter the street
- weak
thematic
continuity
Figure 15a. Experiential Landscape Assessment Table for Block 1
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
14
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
Street Block / Zone
General Photographs
Description and Observations
Center
Direction
Transition
Thematic
Continuity
Variety
Robustness (completeness of activities)
Convergence Points of People
Provision for Respite
Sense of Enclosure
Clarity of Route
Ease of Movement
Sensory Richness
Threshold (sudden change)
Corridor and Segment
Ephemeral (climatic effects)
TC in Pattern & Building Types
TC in Degrees of Privacy
TC in Degree of Maintenance
Block 2
Photo 1: View of the first intersection facing
Rizal St.
Note: very nice vistas and views available in
this intersection due to preserved houses and
mix of textures and balance of trees and
structures.
1. Three notable ancestral houses marked
the intersection (highest concentration of
ancestral houses in the whole Sta.
Catalina Street)
2. Residential character but commercial
activities encroaching
3. Visual axis to the Plaza Mayor still evident
4. Architectural character is preserved
5. Utility poles are evident
6. Various trees soften the edges
7. Absence of sidewalk
8. Clean surrounding
9. Gates and fences are introduced
10. Pedicabs are available along the street
Weak
Average
Strong
Photo 2: Street view showing Dr. Cui House
approaching Zamora St.
1. Ancestral houses still present but in
deteriorating conditions
2. Mixed uses evident
3. Smaller houses begin to appear
4. Eclectic architectural character begins to
emerge
5. Smaller trees
6. Absence of sidewalk
7. Some residents extend their spaces on the
street
8. Commercial activities spill over the street
9. Commercial signages are not consistent
10. Utility poles are present
11. Some open canals were covered to
provide access to property
Weak
Average
Strong
Photo 3: View from Sta. Catalina St. showing
responses to flooding
1. Architectural elements (fences with stairs) in
response to flooding are evident
2. Dilapidated ancestral houses are present
3. Some vehicles were parked along the street
4. Utility lines are present
5. Absence of sidewalk
6. Some residents extend their spaces on the
street
7. Commercial activities spill over the street
8. Most of canals were covered
Weak
Average
Strong
Remarks
- has strong
sense of area
but waned at
the later part of
the block
- good sense of
direction due to
consistent
building height
but waned
towards the end
of the block
- strong
ephemeral
effect
- well
defined
street
carriageway
material
- theme
evident at
intersection
with
presence of
3 ancestral
houses, but
waned at the
other end of
block
Figure 15b. Experiential Landscape Assessment Table for Block 2
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
15
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
Street Block / Zone
General Photographs
Description and Observations
Center
Direction
Thematic
Continuity
Variety
Robustness (completeness of activities)
Convergence Points of People
Provision for Respite
Sense of Enclosure
Clarity of Route
Ease of Movement
Sensory Richness
Threshold (sudden change)
Corridor and Segment
Ephemeral (climatic effects)
TC in Pattern & Building Types
TC in Degrees of Privacy
TC in Degree of Maintenance
Block 3
Photo 1: View of the sari-sari store at the
Zamora St. intersection
1. Robust features on street, highest
concentration of extended personal spaces
on street
2. Places of convergence for neighbors are
present, i.e. sari-sari store.
3. Sense of enclosure for house units evident
4. Mixed architectural character
5. Utility poles are evident
6. Ancestral houses present in the corners
7. Absence of sidewalk, obstructed
8. Canals start to appear stagnant
Weak
Average
Strong
Photo 2: Street view showing extended
activities on street
1. Ancestral houses still present but
deteriorating conditions
2. Mixed uses evident
3. Smaller houses begin to appear
4. Mixed architectural character
5. Smaller trees
6. Absence of sidewalk
7. Some residents extend their spaces on the
street
8. Commercial activities spill over the street
9. Commercial signages are not consistent
10. Utility poles are present
11. Some open canals were covered to
provide access
12. Unmaintained grass growth along the
street
Weak
Average
Strong
Photo 3: View aproaching the Balai na Tisa
1. Balai na Tisa as landmark of Architectural
Heritage Street, in well maintained
condition (the last ancestral house along
Sta. Catalina)
2. Utility lines are present
3. Absence of sidewalk
4. Blank lot beside Balai na Tisa used as
basketball court
5. Big trees present
6. Residential character
7. Some open canals were covered to provide
access
Weak
Average
Strong
Remarks
- sense of area
established at
the 2
intersections of
the block
- clear sense of
direction on end
of street,
obstruction at
the center part
due to
residential/
commercial
extensions
- thematic
continuity
becoming
weak
Figure 15c. Experiential Landscape Assessment Table for Block 3
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
16
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
Street Block / Zone
General Photographs
Description and Observations
Center
Direction
Transition
Thematic
Continuity
Variety
Robustness (completeness of activities)
Convergence Points of People
Provision for Respite
Sense of Enclosure
Clarity of Route
Ease of Movement
Sensory Richness
Threshold (sudden change)
Corridor and Segment
Ephemeral (climatic effects)
TC in Pattern & Building Types
TC in Degrees of Privacy
TC in Degree of Maintenance
Block 4
Photo 1: Corner of the Sta. Catalina - Rosario
St. (Balai na Tisa at the left side)
1. Balai na Tisa marked the end of the line of
ancestral houses along the street
2. Residential character : vernacular
3. Utility poles are evident
4. Various trees soften the edges
5. Absence of sidewalk
6. Gates and fences are introduced
7. Pedicabs station at the corner
Note: linear vista
Weak
Average
Strong
Photo 2: General street view of Block 4
1. Vernacular houses are prominent
2. Mixed uses evident
3. Neighborhood chapel present in this block
4. Mixed architectural character
5. Trees preserved
6. Absence of sidewalk
7. Some residents extend their spaces on the
street
8. Commercial activities spill over the street
9. Canals appear stagnant
10. Utility poles are present
11. Some open canals were covered to
provide access
12. Some vehicles were parked along the
street
Weak
Average
Strong
Photo 3: Axial view of Sta. Catalina St. (from
end of street)
1. Typical residential streetscape
2. Utility lines are present
3. Absence of sidewalk
4. Robust features especially in front of sari-
sari stores
5. Some residents extend their spaces on the
street
6. Lot cuts are smaller
7. Fenced frontages
8. Curved street end creates momentum in
movement
Weak
Average
Strong
Remarks
- robust area of
the street due
to concentration
of denser
residential
developments
- sensory
richness in the
area due to
varied activities
along the street.
- sense of
direction
affected due to
denser
developments
- transition
evident with
the change
of the
environ-
mental
character
in the area
- residential
(vernacular)
theme is
evident
Figure 15d. Experiential Landscape Assessment Table for Block 4
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
17
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
But the research team was not only after the architecture of
the strip, but the unique feelings or experiences only
relatable to that place. Stories thankfully abound. With
very limited literature, narratives were extracted from old
time residents come up with descriptors on how Sta.
Catalina should be felt.
The “unique” smells described in an earlier paragraph
were also in Sta. Catalina. In the morning, one just needs
to stand on the road and he or she could get a whiff of
fresh breads coming out of the panaderia. The smell of
coffee also pervades the horizon at this point.
Complement it with smoke coming from burning wood
and newly cut grass. There are stories that Sta. Catalina
used to produce some of the best pastries in Carcar. One
particular family, Josefa „Epang‟ Noel Lakndazon had a
bakery where treats like brazo de Mercedes, broas, Sampaloc,
and other treats were produced. In fact, these people who
shared these recollections still remember how good they
were and how it brought an entire town to its knees when
stocks were running out of the Lakandazon house pastries.
So it must have been that the smell of freshly baked
pastries that still forms part of that collective memory.
Nowadays though, the smell of puffed sweetened rice or
ampao (a resident mentioned that this Carcar favourite
originated from Sta. Catalina) competes with pastry.
Another one of those smells not really limited to Sta.
Catalina, observed by us visitors, is the smell of burning
wood interspersed with hot cooking oil. In fact, on some
occasions, especially for the initiated nose the smell is
unmistakeably that of pork cracklings or chicharon.
Touching some parts of the old houses on its own is
already a separate category. The smooth texture of wood
pronounces antiquity or age of the house and its furniture.
The relatively smooth surface of lime stone implies skill in
the entire construction process. The cold touch and
brittleness of the capiz shells, make for, again an
interesting experience.
The soul of Sta. Catalina though remains to be its deeply
Catholic origins. Respondents from the strip say that up
until now, grand religious parades or processions still
bring back former residents from all over the world. It
becomes more of a reason for coming home. Apart from
religious practices, residents also mentioned times when
they still had town dances. Those town dances invariably
became the precursor of courtships which consequently
led to interesting love stories, etc. Why it ended is a bit of a
puzzle but definitely, it still lies imprinted in the minds of
those who knew it that they know so well the decade
when it ended.
There was also an interesting anecdote about how news
was delivered in Sta. Catalina. They said, in the absence of
periodicals, there was a boy (a town crier if you may), who
would go about town and shout the latest headlines. With
his drum in tow, people were just excited or anticipating
of news outside of town. It was only about four decades
ago, when this tradition, unfortunately was discontinued.
Figures 16 and 17. Class PAMANA meeting with local officials of
the barangay
To consider people from Carcar, specifically Sta. Catalina,
as proud of their heritage is a huge understatement.
Respondents are in unison when proclaiming this.
Reinforcing this notion is the fact that everyone was
willing to share their story of the place. Everyone seems to
know everybody else. Everyone appears to be familiar
with the complex genealogies of old families. Everyone
was uninhibited when saying they really knew their place.
There surfaced two different sets of problems that needed
to be tackled by Group II. The first was the physical and
climatic variables challenging the heritage resource. The
second set of problems was the socio-cultural acceptability
and sense of ownership of the community. This was to be
tackled after consultation with Groups I-III in terms of
Liveability and Quality of Life.
Studying Sta. Catalina Street teeming with history and rich
cultural heritage also required comprehensive
understanding of its present condition to be able to
urgently address the posed threats that may compromise
its authenticity and sustainability in the future. Sensitive
to the context, methodical assessment tools that aimed to
understand the street‟s present conditions were used. The
street was divided into four sections, thoroughly photo-
documented, measured and studied.
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
18
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
Figure 18a. Historical Streetscape Assessment Table for Block 1
Physical Qualities
Recommendations
Existing Physical
Elements
Vignette
Physical Description
Analysis
1. Street Wall
Façade
The ancestral houses are
concentrated on one side of the
street. The street wall facade is
not continuous due to different
building uses, building heights,
front setbacks, fence options,
colors & style of architecture.
There are lots that are also left
open creating rough texture of
street wall.
Different commercial
establishments are created on
the other side of street which
resulted to mixed uses,
incoherence of style and
activity patterns. The
inconsistencies in facade
treatment and appearance
may be caused by lack of
design guidelines; some
structures fail to follow
provisions of the building code.
1. To formulate design guidelines on
architectural and site development
to be followed by residents
2. Reinforce properly the codes.
2. Street
Carriageway
The street carriageway has good
surface quality, made of asphalt,
and without demarcation. Some
areas are obstructed by parked
vehicles. The road is wide
enough to accommodate 2-way
light vehicular traffic.
The new asphalt road was
maintained properly and only
light vehicles are allowed to
pass.
1. Ban heavy vehicles to use the
road.
2. Indicate road demarcation line.
3. Formulate design guidelines on
speed humps (traffic calming)
features.
3. Sidewalk
Sidewalks are occupied by
extension of living and/or
commercial activities of the
residents. There is no clear
delineation of sidewalk.
Sidewalks are generally
obstructed (in photo: signages,
other street furniture). Sidewalks
are in concrete finish, less
elevated than asphalt road finish.
The sidewalk is not clearly
delineated as "sidewalk",
resulting to residents using it
for their own purposes. There
are no clear design guidelines
on allowed street projections
and abutments.
1. Propose barangay guidelines or
community projects promoting
landscaping of the street.
2. Preserve existing trees, through
barangay ordinance.
4. Street
Landscaping
The street landscape comprises
of grass growth along the
sidewalk. Trees are usually inside
properties. Potted plants are also
evident along the street.
Plants are not maintained by
the barangay/community.
There are no design guidelines
for landscaping.
1. Clear the sidewalk of any private
obstructions.
2. Propose design for streetscape
redevelopment utilizing the sidewalk
for public purpose (inc. treatment
finish for sidewalk).
3. Formulate barangay ordinance
for maintenance of street frontage.
5. Street Furniture
The street lamp as the only
furniture is usually attached to the
utility post. Other street furniture
includes personal effects of the
residents along their frontage.
Not enough attention was
given to beautification projects
of this street. Street lamp
design may be improved to
also promote street safety
during night.
1. Propose design of lamp posts as
part of beautification project of the
barangay.
2. Introduce other street furniture
needed. Architectural design should
be consistent.
6. Street Utilities
Some street drainage canals are
left open, some are covered with
concrete slabs, and some are
completely covered with concrete
bridge for access to property.
Water at canal is stagnant slow
flow. Water meters are jutting and
obstructing the "sidewalks".
Utility electrical posts are present.
Canals were clogged due to
garbage, and poor capacity
due to its outdated size. Poor
maintenance of the utility post
may result to fire damage to
the houses in case of fire
caused by electrical mishaps.
1. Promote cleaning and declogging
of the canals. Cover the canal and
make its surface part of the
sidewalk development.
2. Increase the capacity of the street
canal to lessen threat of flooding.
3. Revive the fire hydrants along the
street.
4. Wirings and other cables must be
thoroughly checked and be properly
bundled to improve visual clutter.
7. Wayfinding &
Information
Wayfinding devices for the street
names are absent. Only the
declared ancestral houses have
plaque and information.
Lack of design guidelines on
street signage and wayfinding.
1. Propose design for street signs:
sign post or sign attached to the
building wall.
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
19
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
Figure 18b. Historical Streetscape Assessment Table for Block 2
Physical Qualities
Recommendations
Existing Physical
Elements
Vignette
Physical Description
Analysis
1. Street Wall
Façade
The street wall facade is not
continuous due to different
building heights, building use,
front setbacks, fence options,
colors & style of architecture.
There are lots that are also left
open creating rough texture of
street wall.
The inconsistencies in façade
treatment and appearance
may be caused by lack of
design guidelines; some
structures fail to follow
provisions of the building code.
1. To formulate architectural design
and construction guidelines to be
followed by the residents.
2. Strict adherence to, and
enforcement of, the codes.
3. Vernacular houses should have
proper setback clearances for safety
purposes against fire.
2. Street
Carriageway
The street carriageway has good
surface quality, made of asphalt,
and without demarcation. The
road is wide enough to
accommodate 2-way light
vehicular traffic.
The new asphalt road was
maintained properly and only
light vehicles are allowed to
pass. There is lack of pedicab
stations.
1. Ban heavy vehicles to use the
road.
2. Indicate road demarcation line.
3. Formulate design guidelines on
speed humps and other traffic
calming features.
4. Designate areas for pedicab
stations.
3. Sidewalk
Sidewalks are occupied by
extension of living and
commercial activities of the
residents. The sidewalks are not
clearly delineated. Sidewalks are
generally obstructed by water
meters, electrical posts, vehicles,
planters, and front benches of
sari-sari store.
The sidewalks are not clearly
defined -- this has resulted to
the use of such sidewalks as
extensions of the residents'
wide variety of activities. There
are no clear design guidelines
on allowed street projections
and abutments
1. Clear the sidewalk of any
encroachment by private properties.
2. Propose design for streetscape
redevelopment, repurposing the
sidewalk as a venue for
convergence.
3. Formulate barangay ordinances
for maintenance of cleanliness and
order.
4. Street
Landscaping
There is an abundance of
unmaintained wild grass along
the sidewalk. Trees are usually
inside property lines. Potted
plants are also evident along the
street.
Plants are not maintained by
the barangay/community.
There are no design guidelines
for landscaping.
1. Propose barangay guidelines and
community projects that will
enhance the landscape.
2. Preserve existing trees through
local ordinance.
5. Street Furniture
Lamp posts are the only
prominent street furniture; other
street furniture includes personal
effects of the residents fronting
their properties. Some stairs and
ledges project to the street, and
are used as seating spaces for
late afternoon congregation
among neighbors.
There is a noticeable
disconnection between the
prominent architectural style of
structures along the street and
the street furniture (lamp
posts). There is no uniformity
or design consistency.
1. Propose design of lamp posts as
part of beautification project of the
barangay.
2. Introduce other street furniture
needed. Architectural design should
be consistent.
3. Allow robustness/variety on the
street, but have clear operational
and maintenance guidelines.
6. Street Utilities
Some street drainage canals are
left open, some are covered with
concrete slabs, and some are
completely covered with concrete
or access to property. Water at
canal is stagnant (slow flow).
Water meters jut out of the
properties onto the "sidewalks".
Utility electrical posts are present.
Canals are clogged with
garbage; they are of poor
capacity due to outdated size.
Poorly maintained utility posts
are fire hazards.
1. Promote cleaning and declogging
of the canals. Cover the canal and
make its surface part of the
sidewalk development.
2. Increase the capacity of the street
canal to lessen threat of flooding.
3. Revive the fire hydrants along the
street.
4. Wirings and other cables must be
thoroughly checked and be properly
bundled to alleviate visual clutter.
7. Wayfinding &
Information
No provisions
Wayfinding devices are absent.
There is lack of government
initiative to provide street signs
and information markers.
1. Propose design for wayfinding
devices.
2. Propose guidelines to observe
clear sight lines, and signage
design.
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
20
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
Figure 18c. Historical Streetscape Assessment Table for Block 3
Physical Qualities
Recommendations
Existing Physical
Elements
Vignette
Physical Description
Analysis
1. Street Wall
Façade
The street wall facade is not
continuous due to different
building heights, front setbacks,
fence options, colors & style of
architecture. There are lots that
are also left open creating rough
texture of street wall.
The inconsistencies in façade
treatment may be caused by
lack of design guidelines,
neither the houses follow
provisions of the building code,
i.e. setbacks, bulding height,
etc.
1. To formulate design guidelines on
architectural and site development
to be followed by residents.
2. Reinforce properly the codes.
2. Street
Carriageway
The street carriageway has good
surface quality, made of asphalt,
and without demarcation. Some
areas are obstructed by parked
vehicles.
The new asphalt road was
maintained properly and only
light vehicles are allowed to
pass.
1. Ban heavy vehicles to use the
road.
2. Indicate road demarcation line.
3. Formulate design guidelines on
speed humps (traffic calming)
features.
3. Sidewalk
Sidewalks are occupied by
extension of living and
commercial activities of the
residents. There is no clear
delineation of sidewalk.
Sidewalks are generally
obstructed (in photo: repair shop).
The sidewalk is not clearly
delineated as "sidewalk",
resulting to residents using it
for their own purposes. There
are no clear design guidelines
on allowed street projections
and abutments.
1. Clear the sidewalk of any private
obstructions.
2. Propose design for streetscape
redevelopment utilizing the sidewalk
for public purpose.
3. Formulate barangay ordinance
for maintenance of street frontage.
4. Street
Landscaping
The street landscape comprises
of grass growth along the
sidewalk. Trees are usually inside
properties. Potted plants are also
evident along the street.
Plants are not maintained by
the barangay/community.
There are no design guidelines
for landscaping.
1. Propose barangay guidelines and
community project promoting
landscaping of the street.
2. Preserve existing trees, through
barangay ordinance.
5. Street Furniture
The street lamp as the only
furniture is usually attached to the
utility post. Other street furniture
includes personal effects of the
residents along their frontage.
Not enough attention was
given to beautification projects
of this street. Street lamp
design may be improved to
also promote street safety
during night.
1. Propose design of lamp posts as
part of beautification project of the
barangay.
2. Introduce other street furniture
needed. Architectural design should
be consistent.
6. Street Utilities
Some street drainage canals are
left open, some are covered with
concrete slabs, and some are
completely covered with concrete
bridge for access to property.
Water at canal is stagnant slow
flow. Water meters are jutting and
obstructing the "sidewalks".
Utility electrical posts are present.
Canals were clogged due to
garbage, and poor capacity
due to its outdated size.
Poor maintenance of the utility
post may result to dire damage
to the houses in case of fire
caused by electrical mishaps.
1. Promote cleaning and declogging
of the canals. Cover the canal and
make its surface part of the
sidewalk development.
2. Increase the capacity of the street
canal to lessen threat of flooding.
3. Revive the fire hydrants along the
street.
4. Wirings and other cables must be
thoroughly checked and be properly
bundled to improve visual clutter.
7. Wayfinding &
Information
Wayfinding devices for the street
names are absent. Only the
declared ancestral houses have
plaque and information.
Lack of design guidelines on
street signage and wayfinding.
1. Propose design for street signs:
sign post or sign attached to the
building wall.
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
21
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
Figure 18d. Historical Streetscape Assessment Table for Block 4
Physical Qualities
Recommendations
Existing Physical
Elements
Vignette
Physical Description
Analysis
1. Street Wall
Façade
The street wall facade is not
continuous due to different
building heights, front setbacks,
fence options, colors & style of
architecture. There are lots that
are also left open creating rough
texture of street wall.
The inconsistencies in façade
treatment may be caused by
lack of design guidelines,
neither the houses follow
provisions of the building code.
1. To formulate design guidelines on
architectural and site development
to be followed by residents.
2. Reinforce properly the codes.
3. Vernacular houses should have
enough setback clearances for
safety purposes against fire.
2. Street
Carriageway
The street carriageway has good
surface quality, made of asphalt,
and without demarcation.
The new asphalt road was
maintained properly and only
light vehicles are allowed to
pass. There is lack of pedicab
stations.
1. Ban heavy vehicles to use the
road.
2. Indicate road demarcation line.
3. Formulate design guidelines on
speed humps (traffic calming)
features.
4. Delineate areas where are
pedicab stations.
3. Sidewalk
Sidewalks are occupied by
extension of living and
commercial activities of the
residents. There is no clear
delineation of sidewalk.
Sidewalks are generally
obstructed by water meters,
electrical posts, vehicles,
planters, and front benches of
sari-sari store.
The sidewalk is not clearly
delineated as "sidewalk",
resulting to residents using it
for their own purposes. There
are no clear design guidelines
on allowed street projections
and abutments.
1. Clear the sidewalk of any private
obstructions.
2. Propose design for streetscape
redevelopment utilizing the sidewalk
for public purpose.
3. Formulate barangay ordinance
for maintenance of street frontage.
4. Street
Landscaping
The street landscape comprises
of unmaintained grass growth
along the sidewalk. Trees are
usually inside properties. Potted
plants are also evident along the
street.
Plants are not maintained by
the barangay/community.
There are no design guidelines
for landscaping.
1. Propose barangay guidelines and
community project promoting
landscaping of the street.
2. Preserve existing trees, through
barangay ordinance.
5. Street Furniture
The street lamp as the only
furniture is usually attached to the
utility post. Other street furniture
includes personal effects of the
residents along their frontage.
Some stairs and ledges are
projecting on the street and used
as seating spaces and
congregation during late
afternoon.
Not enough attention was
given to beautification projects
of this street. Street lamp
design may be improved to
also promote street safety
during night.
1. Propose design of lamp posts as
part of beautification project of the
barangay.
2. Introduce other street furniture
needed. Architectural design should
be consistent.
3. Allow robustness on the street,
but have clear operational
guidelines.
6. Street Utilities
Some street drainage canals are
left open, some are covered with
concrete slabs, and some are
completely covered with concrete
bridge for access to property.
Water at canal is stagnant slow
flow. Water meters are jutting and
obstructing the "sidewalks". Utility
electrical posts are present.
Canals were clogged due to
garbage, and poor capacity
due to its outdated size. Poor
maintenance of the utility post
may result to dire damage to
the houses in case of fire
caused by electrical mishaps.
1. Promote cleaning and declogging
of the canals. Cover the canal and
make its surface part of the
sidewalk development.
2. Increase the capacity of the street
canal to lessen threat of flooding.
3. Revive the fire hydrants along the
street.
4. Wirings and other cables must be
thoroughly checked and be properly
bundled to improve visual clutter.
7. Wayfinding &
Information
No provisions
Wayfinding devices are absent.
Does not have wayfinding and
signage guidelines to avoid
visual clutter.
1. Propose design for wayfinding
devices.
2. Propose guidelines to observe
clear sight lines, and signage
design.
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
22
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
Liveability Index
The Liveability Index (Douglass, M., 2002) measures the
conviviality of street life, quality of street serviceability
and the health of its street environment. With an ensemble
of characteristic ancestral houses, Sta. Catalina‟s street life
proved welcoming and abundant with opportunities for
social interaction. Small-scale enterprises dotted along the
stretch increased mixed activities, but Sta. Catalina‟s
serviceability was marred by an absence of proper
sidewalks for the welfare of the pedestrians. Some private
enterprises even extended to the public road which, if
unattended, may eventually cause bad effects in terms of
street abuse, traffic congestion and safety problems.
On the other hand, good air quality and proper waste
management scored high as the residents made their street
environment cleaner and healthier. The great threat
discovered due to the sloping street topography was
perennial flooding that is attributed to the silting and
overflowing of the nearby river (caused by ill-planned
developments upland) and the poor condition of storm
water canals (due to insufficient volume capacity and
clogging due to poor maintenance in some areas). The
street thus got a moderately livable index.
Physical reconnaissance of the street included verification
of land use that is generally residential. The Architecture
of the ancestral houses in Sta. Catalina are unique and
important though it was observed that the street profile
was already inconsistent due to demolished ancestral
houses, replaced by commercial and mixed-use buildings
and contemporary houses. Lack of design guidelines
became evident as physical street features like street
signage, lamp posts and landscaping elements were
inconsistent. Road carriageway quality was not good in
the sense that roads were used both by vehicles and
pedestrians: sidewalks were generally not yet delineated
or blocked by commercial signage or informal extensions
on the street. Utility lines also posed fire and safety threats
to the ancestral houses. The physical conditions of the four
blocks of Sta. Catalina were analyzed and sectional studies
were produced to further understand the physical and
socio-cultural relationships of the buildings with the
street.
Experiential Landscape evaluation tools (Twaites, K. and
Simkins, I., 2007) gave us idea on what can be
kinesthetically experienced as one walks along the street.
General findings for the street included good quality of
access and sense of direction attributed to its straight
configuration with five distinct intersections. The street‟s
alignment with the plaza mayor and the church up to
Balay na Tisa at the end of the street proved a very strong
visual and contextual axis that established its direct
importance to the historical development of Carcar. The
first block upon entering the Sta. Catalina Street displayed
a concentration of remaining ancestral houses which
creates a sense of nostalgia as one traverses this area. The
midsection along this stretch showed weakness of
thematic continuity due to issues and challenges stated
above.
The documentation of the street served as initial data
useful for further studies and basis for initial
recommendation to arrest detrimental patterns of
development and urgent natural issues that posed a dire
threat to the architectural heritage of Sta. Catalina. Less
evasive design proposals focused on three points:
delineating and clearing the sidewalk, improving the
volume capacity of the street canal and, improving street
signage and lamp posts to enhance security and
serviceability of the street. Flooding may be a big
challenge, as this required a macro site study of the river
network, and a needed proposal to manage upland
activities and river silt dredging.
Physical Sustainability
According to the local barangay officials, Sta. Catalina
street is subjected to the following problems:
Flooding. Problems of flooding are endemic during the
usual rainy seasons and also during typhoons. During
ordinary rainy days the street water level would reach an
approximately 0.50 meters and as high as 1.20 meters. The
local river system (the Poblacion/Carcar River) also
contributes to the problem. Another factor is blockage and
irregular clean-up of storm drainage. The proposed bypass
road project, will also contribute to the flooding problem
because the main outlet of the river will be blocked by the
planned construction.
The study team also confirmed the problem as mentioned
by Mr. Manny Castro. The street was raised as reported up
to 0.70 meters above the original ground level of the
heritage house. Drainage problems were thus exacerbated,
since the water coming into the house from external forces
would not run off naturally. The proposed peripheral road
may have dammed flood waters from seeking the natural
outlet provided by the river. However, all these may need
further verification.
Road widening. Carcar City is one of the main
thoroughfares of the province. All kinds of transport pass
through Carcar from Cebu City to down south and vice
versa. Recent developments to ease the problem of traffic
congestion in the main streets of Carcar, road widening
projects are in line. Because of this reason, old houses
along the main high way particularly in the Sta. Catalina
side will be much affected by the road widening project.
This has been a problem with some structures and
buildings identified as in danger of demolition, because
Carcar has defined its heritage zones, but not
implemented in full scale protection. The local
government of Carcar has not yet implemented the
recently approved Heritage Law and few are even aware
of its existence.
Socio-cultural
There was an apparent lack of awareness of the
community‟s heritage resource and potential. Awareness
is the key to sustainability, and the local barangay unit
should take action to inform the community that in order
to sustain its liveability and its potential as a repository of
local socio-cultural life, they must involve all the residents
in drafting future plans for Sta. Catalina‟s preservation of
both tangible and intangible resources. To augment this
lack of awareness, Educational guides should be in place
for the benefit of both residents and visitors. A
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
23
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
Tourist/Visitor Information Center would be appropriate
to include the education of visitors of the community‟s
heritage resources. A regular checking and inventory of
cultural resources of Sta. Catalina, both tangible and
intangible heritage Research is crucial to sustain the soul
of the community, for example, research in the food
culture of Sta. Catalina especially the local delicacies and
desserts should be highlighted, thus will start a new
business anchored in history and significance. A local
committee that will take care and focus on the
development of a future conservation plan for Sta.
Catalina has to be in place.
III. Recommendations and
Conclusions
After the presentation of the field work report and open
forum with the local barangay unit of Sta. Catalina and the
architecture students from the area, the PAMANA group
finally came up with some initial recommendations for
some questions and concerns of the local barangay
officials.
These recommendations were formulated through logical
discussions with the local barangay officials. Feasible
solutions can be implemented immediately by the local
barangay unit and the immediate neighborhood. These
solutions can be considered as initial plans, therefore it
would need close coordination with the LGU (Local
Government Unit) or the City Government, the DENR
(Department of Energy and Natural resources), the DPWH
(Department of Public Works and Highways) and other
concerned agencies and departments. Recommendations
were classified into immediate or short-term and long-
term solutions.
Short-Term Physical Plan
(1) Making/Enforcing an ordinance to ensure the safety
and security of the place (including pavers,
lampposts, and other street furniture);
(2) Proper installation procedure; aside from enforcing
the ordinance, the local barangay unit should channel
the responsibility to the household in ensuring that
the installed pavers within their respective frontage
should be their responsibility;
(3) Widening and increasing the depth of existing storm
drain;
(4) Dredging. Drainage Maintenance should be done
quarterly; and
(5) Minimum clearing of mangrove trees (excess growth)
to give way to perennial flooding, as facilitated
through an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Long-Term Physical Plan
(1) Embedded waste water sewer line to separate from
the usual storm drain;
(2) Provisions for a flood gate in order to prevent the
excess counter flow of flood water;
(3) Make initial study and survey to create a Water
detention pond/basin that can double as a multi-
purpose open-air activity area for the community; and
(4) Creation of a Physical buffer zone.
In the discussions with the community, the research group
was told of the desire to declare Sta. Catalina Street as a
heritage zone. There are limitations though. Before
declaring a place as historically significant, there are
parameters that have to be established, including
protective buffer zones to ensure its integrity. A buffer
zone is a well-defined zone outside the protected area
whose role is to shield the cultural values of the protected
zone from the impact of activities in its surroundings. This
impact can be physical, visual or social. (The Valetta
Principles for the Safeguarding and management of
Historic Cities, Towns and Urban Areas ICOMOS 2011)
Hence, there is a need for further studies to establish
physical buffer zones.
Given that there are areas surrounding Sta. Catalina that
have not been analyzed in terms of their historical
significance, the assessment of Sta. Catalina St. can be a
template for these places to follow. The physical buffer
zone is a potential offshoot of this research. Once we have
established the significance of the other areas apart from
Sta. Catalina, then it is assumed that they could also enjoy
the privileges and rights of such elevated status. The
delineation of a buffer zone would then be a more
complicated exercise. It is necessary therefore, to get the
participation, cooperation, and commitment of the other
communities i.e. the neighboring streets of Sta. Catalina, in
order for a proper buffer zone to be described.
Creating awareness towards the formulation of a fully
developed conservation plan has been the aim of the
fieldwork. But as discussed in the first part of this paper,
there is a need for extensive cultural mapping and
documentation. The PAMANA group has come up with
preliminary design interventions and recommendations
for the local government based on four (4) days of field
and documentation work. It was presented to the local
barangay unit and was accepted with feedbacks and
comments.
It is hoped that this report cooperation and the creation of
a long-term plan in conserving Sta. Catalina‟s streetscape
will become a benchmark for preserving heritage streets
and landscapes. Conservation is a very tedious and long
term process that needs attention, proper handling with
great patience, proper research and acceptance that should
start from the community level up to the local governing
bodies, without further outsiders‟ intervention.
In most cultures in Asia it is necessary to involve the
intangible aspect when dealing with the tangible object.
Spirituality is highly observed and holistic approaches in
studying heritage are practiced. When talking about the
character of a place it includes the aspect of the place‟s
culture. Aside from the heritage structures the people‟s
intangible components. Traditions, practices, religion and
cuisine in relation to these spaces make up the
community‟s „spirit of the place‟. This is the main reason
why proper cultural mapping has to be done prior to
actual documentation to understand the project properly.
STREET(E)SCAPE: A Site-Specific and Contextual Approach in Documentation, Design Interventions,
Cultural Mapping and Conservation of Sta. Catalina, Carcar, Cebu
Rene Luis S. Mata, et.al.
24
MUHON: A Journal of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and the Designed Environment
University of the Philippines College of Architecture Issue No. 4
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The author concentrates on fundamental texts in the study of architectural history with special reference to eighteenth and nineteenth century Britain. The texts under discussion address key themes or methods in the construction of architectural histories. Alongside this, philosophical or theoretical writings that address the abstract issues surrounding the main texts are presented as a kind of exegesis on the chosen texts. This, together with an introduction and discursive essays which preface each of the sections, present a trans-disciplinary discourse around the discipline of architectural history.
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Architecture as Experience investigates the perception and appropriation of places across intervals of time and culture. The particular concern of the volume is to bring together fresh empirical research and animate it through contact with theoretical sophistication, without overwhelming the material. The chapters establish the continuity of a particular physical object and show it in at least two alternative historical perspectives, in which recognisable features are shown in different lights. The results are often surprising, inverting the common idea of a historic place as having an enduring meaning. This book shows the insight that can be gained from learning about earlier constructions of meaning which have been derived from the same buildings that stand before us today. © 2004 Selection and editorial material, Dana Arnold and Andrew Ballantyne. All rights reserved.
Reading Architectural History
  • Petra Interviewees From Carcar-Valencia
  • Alfafara
Interviewees from Carcar August 10, 2012 -Castro, Manny August 11, 2012 -Valencia, Petra Alfafara; Paraz, Galileo August 12, 2012 -Alfafara, Jerry Martin Noel Arnold, D. (2002). Reading Architectural History. London: Routledge.
Economic Resilience, Livability and Urban Design: Towards Long Term Strategies for Port Cities
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Douglass, M. (2002). "Economic Resilience, Livability and Urban Design: Towards Long Term Strategies for Port Cities". [Presentation]. Presented at the Urban Cooperation and Development Forum, Tianjin, China, 11-13 October.
Maintaining the Spirit of Place: A Process for the Preservation of Town Character
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Garnham, H.L. (1985). Maintaining the Spirit of Place: A Process for the Preservation of Town Character. Mesa, Arizona: PDA Publishers Corp.
Arkitekturang Filipino: A History of Architecture and Urbanism in the Philippines
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Lico, G. R. (2008). Arkitekturang Filipino: A History of Architecture and Urbanism in the Philippines. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.