The Ramon Magsaysay Center: Modernizing an icon of the Manila skyline

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The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) in preparation for the 65th Anniversary of the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2023 has started its multi-year efforts in revitalizing its homebase, the historic and iconic Ramon Magsaysay Center (RM Center) in Manila, Philippines.

Named after the seventh president of the Philippines, the Foundation aims to make the RM Center into Asia’s center for inspiration and hope — a top destination in the region.

The Ramon Magsaysay Center, designed by one of the country’s reputable architects, Alfredo J. Luz, is being transformed into a smart and sustainable building with world class facilities such as a revamped Magsaysay Laureate Library and Museum, Ramon Magsaysay Hall and Plaza, function rooms, an innovation hub, and an idyllic coffee shop with breathtaking views of the Manila Bay.


In line with its continuing focus of bridging intergenerational leaders, RMAF partnered with De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) on a student competition in creating designs for some of RM Center’s public spaces.

“The collaboration with De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s Interior Design Department aims to tap into their students’ youthful creativity in designing a contemporary Library and hub that will feel at home in a heritage building. Benilde is an ideal partner because it has this inclusive and innovative educational activity that provides experiential opportunities for students and apply classroom-based knowledge to actual practice thereby finding solutions to challenges.” said Emily Abrera, RMAF Trustee.

RMAF and DLS-CSB invited an esteemed panel of judges consisting of award-winning Landscape Architect/Environmental Planner Paolo Alcazarenan, up-and-coming Architect Gaston Lorenzo Pastrano, sought-after Interior Designer Ivy Almario, MET President Tina Colayco, Metro.Style Home and Living Editor Anna Magsaysay-Rosete, and UAPSA’s 2021 National President Maxine Lumbera.

57 Benilde students joined the competition under the mentorship of DLS-CSB faculty members Prof. Ley Gatpandan, Prof. Greggy Saliba, Prof. Karol Antonio, Prof. Lheng Vito Cruz; with the guidance of DLS-CSB administrators Bro. President Edmundo Fernandez, Chancellor Benhur Ong, Vice Chancellor for Academics Mr. Angelo Lacson, School of Design and Arts Dean Asela Domingo, Associate Dean Christine Benet, and Interior Design Program Chairperson Kat Correa.

RMAF President Susan Afan said, “We at the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation choose to focus on inspiring one another and believing in a future full of hope for our young people. We promise to continue to invest in opportunities that incite dialogue, imagination, and action for a better and kinder Asia for all”.

The winning teams will have elements of their design incorporated in the final rendition of the Ramon Magsaysay Center’s renovation plans.

Visit RMAF YT Video:  to view the winning entries.

Access the awarding group photos of the participants via this link:


Assimilated in the design of the library is the new Library Café by Gourmet Farms which will serve food and beverage favorites reminiscent of the glory days of old Manila in the 1960’s.

The Library Café will open in June 2022 as stated by Arch. Gaston Lorenzo Pastrano, who was one of the jurors in the RMAF x CSB IND Design Challenge.

With the conclusion of the Design Challenge, the Ramon Magsaysay Center is well on its way to fulfilling its potential as Asia’s center for inspiration and hope.

Be part of the 65th anniversary celebration of the Ramon Magsaysay Award. Contact for more information.



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