Every second week of December, the whole country raises its glass and offers a toast to the built environment with its annual celebration of the National Architecture Week (NAW).

Usually during this time, Filipino architects from all over the country and even those working abroad join in the festivities with a mix of activities geared toward professional development and casual fellowships.

This year’s theme, “Future Forward NAW,” reminds everyone of keeping a different kind of positivity. This positivity should reflect the willingness to adapt to the different changes introduced to us during this two-year-old pandemic and how to keep alive the value of architecture to the public.

Lately, developments in various communities have shown a silver lining in the continuous strides to a better future for Filipinos. Among such is the heightened consciousness to design buildings that have minimal adverse impacts to the natural environment. In Mandaue City, Cebu the quest for environmentally friendly buildings is reflected in the recent awarding of a “5-star” Building for Ecologically-Responsive Design (Berde) rating to the Mandani Bay Suites. Berde is a rating system that measures building performance in terms of its ability to address the negative impacts of climate change. This rating, which is the highest and the first in the Visayas-Mindanao region, came after an assessment by the Philippine Green Building Council.

The assessment on Mandani Bay Suites showed that the design and planning of this development is highly sensitive to important design elements such as waste management, environmentally friendly material choices and building technologies and indoor air quality. One has to remember that building construction is one of the activities undertaken by man that could make a serious impact on the environment. Oftentimes, these negative impacts are irreversible. Thus, attempts at “green design” in buildings are always welcome especially when climate change continues to be a serious threat to our existence.

Mandani Bay is a 20-hectare waterfront township development along the Mactan Channel in Mandaue City. It is a joint venture of Hongkong Land and Taft Properties. It is a promising development especially that it is along the coastline facing Mactan and the channel is a busy “highway” where boats would pass.

There are many similar waterfront developments in different countries that eventually established unique urban identities to the cities where these are located such as Hong Kong and Singapore. With our archipelagic set-up, we have more of these coastlines and waterfronts that could enhance our cities and towns while also keeping our responsibilities in protecting the environment.

Truly, Mandani Bay’s feat towards going “green” is welcome news not just to Mandaue City, which crafted a landmark “Green Building” Ordinance some years ago, but also to the rest of Cebu. As we celebrate National Architecture Week and ponder on this year’s theme, hopefully this will initiate more steps forward to a future that is more adaptive, dynamic and sensitive to the well-being of our planet.