MANILA, Philippines — The construction work on the Philippine Arena, touted as the world’s largest domed arena with its 55,000 seating capacity, is already complete, said the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s General Auditor Glicerio B. Santos Jr.
Santos said only a few landscaping work and other finishing touches are now being done for the “largest theater in the planet” that would be the center of the INC’s Centennial celebrations this July 27.
He said everything is now being prepared for its upcoming inauguration next month.
Last week, the Korean firm, Hanwha Engineering and Construction, announced the completion of the Philippine Arena in Bulacan. Construction work was officially finished on May 30, it said.
Korea Bizwire quoted Hanwha as saying that the completion of the construction work on the indoor arena took 30 months to complete, and cost a total of $175 million.
The Philippine Arena was built on a total area of 74,000 square meters. Its roof area is scaled to 35,000 square meters, reported the Korea Bizwire.
Santos said that the funds spent for the construction of the landmark Philippine Arena, and for the various houses and buildings of worship of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in the Philippines and in other countries, all came from the offerings of Church members.
Iglesia Ni Cristo members do not have tithes, rather they give voluntary offerings based on what their hearts decide as stated in the Bible (2 Corinthians 9:7)
All of the Church’s activities, including the huge evangelical relief missions being done all over the country and abroad, purely came from the Church members’ offerings, since the INC does not accept any monetary donations or contributions from non-INC members, Santos said.
He said the Church is strict on this policy.
“This is one phenomenon that cannot be explained by other people, amazed at what they see as the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s successive victories,” Santos said.
“All these are happening because God is fulfilling His promise to His Church,” Santos said. “This is proof that it is God Who is guiding and strengthening the Iglesia Ni Cristo.”
In 2011, the Korean firm Hanwha won the construction contract for the construction of the Philippine Arena, said Korea Bizwire, which mostly reports on business and culture in Korea.
Lee Keun-po, president and CEO of Hanwha E&C, was quoted by the Korean Bizwire as saying: “By completion of the largest indoor area in the world, we became highly recognized with our building ability and technical skills in the overseas construction market. We expect more contracts on civil engineering and construction projects in the Southeast Asian region.”
The Korea Bizwire report also said that the highlight of the Philippine Arena construction was the structural design and construction capability of the roof.
Hanwha took full responsibility for the whole design and construction of the arena, it said.
Inside the Philippine Arena, there is a clear “line of sight” for every seat from each tier, even for various arena configurations such as church ceremonies, boxing,tennis, concerts or indoor gymnastics. The whole arena will also be completely air-conditioned.
INC Executive Minister Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo led the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Philippine Arena in August 2011.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Manalo said the Philippine Arena was already envisioned even during the time of his father, the late INC Executive Minister Eraño G. Manalo, because of the rapidly increasing membership of the Church.
The Philippine Arena will not only be used for various activities and gatherings of the INC, but will also be open for use to all Filipinos and even to international groups or communities for international gatherings and events.
“Ang lahat ng mga gusaling ito ay itatayo una para sa kaluwalhatian ng Panginoong Diyos, sa karangalan ng bansang Pilipinas at sa kapakanan ng ating mga kapwa tao. (All these structures will be built for the glory of God, for the honor of the Philippines, and for the sake of our fellowmen),” Brother Eduardo said during the groundbreaking ceremonies in August 2011.
The Philippine Arena will be the centerpiece of a community called Ciudad de Victoria in Bocaue, Bulacan where a hospital that has a 330-bed capacity, a sports complex and a stadium are being constructed. The Bocaue campus of New Era University is also being built in the area.
This year, considered as the Centennial Year of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, more magnificent buildings and other structures of the INC are expected to be completed, including a huge and modern museum, a convention center, and a new building that will house the College of Evangelical Ministry for the thousands of INC’s ministerial students. All these can be found along Central Avenue in Diliman, Quezon City, near the Church’s Central Temple and its Central Office.
The Philippine Arena was featured in a documentary called Man Made Marvels: Quake Proof., which was aired on December 25, 2013 in the Discovery Channel. That documentary focused on making structures in the Philippines more safe from natural disasters such as earthquake and typhoons. (Eagle News Service)