The Ironic Project of Rommel Cesar Diño

   Rommel Cesar Diño describes his collaborative project with St. Michael the Archangel Parish as an irony. Whenever he passed by in Ginto Street during his vacation time from his previous work, he always saw the church and thought about the architect. “You know my family and I are not parishioners in that church. We pray in Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Parish or in Sts. Peter and Paul Parish. I always thought about the architect and how he designed the church. In the end, I did not expect that I would have a project with St. Michael Parish,” Rommel says. 

   Rommel is an architect who graduated from the University of Santo Tomas. When he was in Dubai working as a Senior Designer for a British company, one of his contractors in the Philippines had a project in GenSan. He was contacted and asked if he was interested to do a project with St. Michael Parish. The church requested a ceiling refurbishment and the contractor asked his rendering model service. “I accepted the project for free since it is in GenSan, my hometown, and took the opportunity to enhance it,” he recalls. “Initially, it was only the ceiling. But when I presented my design of the parish they liked it. That’s the time I decided to go back to the Philippines for good.” 

   Rommel chose to go back to the country and left the great opportunity offered in Dubai. This project leads him to realize many things including self-happiness and fulfillment. “It’s my first project in the Philippines,” Rommel says. “I have been working in Dubai for 7 years. I seek greater opportunity. I see this project as self-fulfillment than a monetary gain.” 

   Rommel’s design is based on the functionality and operation of the church and not for aesthetics purposes only. “Not all of my designs have been approved. It entails cost and the church has a limited budget,” Rommel says. In his design, he retains church items that still usable like the flooring and the grills. But changed or developed some part of the church that needs to be enhanced like the ceiling, the lighting, and most especially the Acoustic. 

   “The Acoustic is very challenging since it is considered the highlight of the church. The parishioners need to hear the homily of the priest clearly. The acoustic is the main highlight of the church since it’s the way to communicate God’s words.” Rommel says. 

   The Lighting Corbel (or the Flying Buttresses Lighting Feature) has a dual-purpose. It becomes indirect lighting so that the worshippers do not get distracted by the light. It also acts as a speaker corbel to absorb reverberation and echoes. The color scheme of the church is changed from warmer color to grayscale. The altar has white warm color to make it the center of attention for the parishioners. It has outdoor benches that serve as an extension of the church. It has a slanted design in order for the worshipers to put their attention to the priest who gives the homily. 

   The St. Michael the Archangel Parish is still work-in-progress. They are so many aspects of it that need to be developed. Rommel also needs to remedy the design of the other parts of the church like the bell tower to be more functional and safe for the public. “You cannot just instantly change the design of the church. There are lots of considerations,” Rommel says. 

   “My design is simple yet very functional and operational. I think they’re happy about it. Many people said that this is the best version of St. Michael Parish they’ve seen. It looks stunning especially at night.” Rommel says.

[All photos from Rommel Cesar Diño]