Capturing the Raw Beauty of the PICC
Manila has long been a bedrock of Philippine modern history, of which the Philippine International Convention Center (or more colloquially known as the PICC) has been part of since its inauguration more than four decades ago.
Built at the height of Brutalist Architecture in the Philippines, the PICC’s façade is as iconic as the notable figures that have graced its halls. The place has borne witness to historical events, enhancing its cultural significance to Filipinos today.
Given the nature of PICC, many associate the place with the boisterous energy of live events and conventions. But due to the worldwide pandemic, the atmosphere has been a little quieter than usual.
Independent photographer and photojournalist Basilio Sepe took the opportunity to showcase PICC in this rare state—calm and quiet, and in its undisturbed raw beauty.
The sun peeks through the glass façade of PICC.
Constructed in a span of 23 months, the PICC already made history even before it opened its doors and was hailed as the first international convention center in Asia. Spearheading the project was the late Leandro Locsin, National Artist of the Philippines for Architecture.
The PICC has weathered major renovations throughout its four-decade existence, which helped cement its status as the perfect place to hold local and foreign events, and where momentous milestones can happen for each and every guest.
About his tour inside the iconic structure, Basilio shares: “You would be mesmerized by the architecture as soon as you enter. It’s amazing how they have maintained the buildings in such an excellent condition over the years.”
The famed Plenary Hall, where most university graduations happen.
Averaging at about 510 events annually, the PICC continuously offers an unparalleled experience for its guests thanks to its spacious floor area of more than 70,000 square meters and more than 30 meeting rooms where people can freely convene.
The iconic PICC Reception Hall chandelier.
Touring the whole of PICC, Basilio shares his favorite area inside, saying:
“My favorite photo comes from my favorite part of the tour, which was at the Reception Hall. The chandeliers got my full attention. Staring at them, the feeling was like walking underneath the stars.
I was told that the lights (in the Reception Hall) have come from a European country back in the 70s, but they’re still functioning today.”
Chandeliers lit up as PICC welcomes its guests for the day.
The Christmas spirit is alive and well at the PICC
The iconic Arturo Luz sculpture front and center at the Plenary and Reception Hall Lobby.
The upper bridgeway connecting the Delegation Building to the Reception and Plenary Halls.
As the country adapted into the ‘new normal’, the premier MICE venue continues to move with the times. Staff are equipped with PPE, disinfecting stations are set up in key points, and all events follow physical distancing protocols.
PICC staff carefully arranging chairs six-feet apart.
A socially distant setup in one of the rooms of PICC.
A female staff welcomes guests at the PICC.
“Our physical emotions have been blocked by what we wear on our faces,” shares Basilio.
“But we have to look at the brighter side. We need to remember that, judging someone’s eyes, there’s still hope left in everyone. We need to hold onto that hope, regardless if this would result in good or bad things.”
PICC staff dressed in their PPEs regularly disinfect the venue.
Security remains tight regardless of event schedule.
With the new normal comes a stricter and safer PICC. “PICC places health and safety as its top priority. We assure our clients and our guests that we are prepared to provide them with the necessary assistance as we ease into the “new normal” in conducting events,” says Atty. Renato B. Padilla, General Manager of the PICC.