It is rather unusual for a young, modern Filipina to be interested, at this rate fascinated by the ornate Mindanao design, as part of the Philippine Neo-Vernacular architecture and push for the same concept in the creation of buildings and establishments.

If at any rate most of the design and architecture we have takes its inspiration from Spanish and American colonial era. It is perhaps high time to take another route and try on the distinct style dominated by Filipino architectural features.

Architect Gloryrose Dy-Metilla, a University of the Philippines Mindanao architecture graduate, has the passion for locally designed structures. Studying in Mindanao gave her the opportunity to get in touch with indigenous groups and their rich art and culture. Arch. Gloryrose also took up a Masters Degree in Urban and Cultural Heritage from the University of Melbourne.

Her designs are characterized by Mindanao and muslim elements such as the Maranao Okir, Bagobo Tagabawa and T’boli fabric.

In one interview, Arch. Gloryrose said that her interest for Mindanao-inspired architecture was geared towards globalization, without sacrificing the unique FIlipino culture. Hence, in her projects, she takes on and researches the cultural sensitivity of the community, maximizing what is available locally.

While the country is struggling to get into the international scene, it should not be a sad narrative for our nation. She advocates for the preservation of the dynamic culture of the Philippines by infusing original, indigenous Filipino design in her projects. “The best way to give character to a place is to interpret and then express its cultural layers and identity.” Her design perspective takes into account the elements that take play in the everyday lives of ethnic Mindanao tribes – water, earth, wind, sunlight and general living room spaces. Arch. Gloryrose dreams of Filipino cities having unique characters and identity.

Arch. Gloryrose is also a toy designer and the founder of Balay Balay 3d Architecture Puzzles. One of her structural designs depicting a cultural dance won her the Red Point National Thesis competition and was displayed in the Ayala Museum in Makati. She is a founding partner of Swito Design Architects, a Davao-based firm that centers the culture and designs of Indigenous peoples.