Rev. Fr. Rodrigo D. Perez III, OSB has written and co-authored several major publications that have contributed immensely to the development of Philippine Architecture. He played a vital role in the conservation of churches in the country, specifically when he was Technical Consultant of the Historical Conservation Society from 1960-1963.
A TRIBUTE TO A VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE EXPERT, CLERGYMAN, EDUCATOR AND WRITER-REV. FR. RODRIGO D. PEREZ III
September 10, 2008, the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining (Cultural Center of the Philippine For the Arts) awarded eight individuals and one group, a yearly award for their outstanding achievements and contributions to Philippine arts and culture.
The Gawad CCP Para sa Sining is given to artists or groups of artists who have consistently produced outstanding works, enriched the development of their art form. The award is also given to cultural workers, who through their works in research, curatorship and administration, have helped to develop and enrich Philippine art and culture. Rev. Fr. Bobby, as they call him is included.
Rev. Fr. Rodrigo D. Perez III, OSB has written and co-authored several major publications that have contributed immensely to the development of Philippine Architecture. He played a vital role in the conservation of churches in the country, specifically when he was Technical Consultant of the Historical Conservation Society from 1960-1963. As a Benedictine priest, he expanded his influence in education and culture by serving the boards of the St. Benedict College, Mirriam College, St. Scholastica’s College and the CCP. Fr. Bobby was Rector/President of San Beda College for 15 years.
Architect and Environmentalist
My obeisance to Mr. Augusto F. Villalon who is a writer of “Pride of Place” of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and co-architect and best friend of Father Bobby. In his own tribute, he mentioned that Rodrigo Perez researched, experienced and learned what it was that made Filipino architecture so different and unique in the world, architecture that is appropriate to Filipino culture, way of life and environment.
Both gentlemen got their first job as baby architects in the prestigious Leandro Locsin office. They both enjoyed their work jokingly being in the “eraser department.” They were assigned to erased drafting mistakes by others, very manual because those were the pre-computer days.
Rodrigo was doing designs on stairs, drawing every single nail, riser, tread and baluster that went into the stairs while his friend Augusto was doing the bathrooms drawing and counting every single tile on the walls, floor and every facility including soap dishes.
Fr. Bobby Perez defended the cause for Philippine architecture in those times that nobody believes it existed. He traveled from time to time looking at old churches, historic town and urban places and never stops writing about what he observed.
An environmentalist before its trend, he went to Cordillera – a mountainous range up South, looked up traditional houses and villages were positioned at the concourse where the rice terraces (one of the 8 wonders) met water, land slopes and mountains protecting dwellings from the rage of nature. He was so interested on how Filipino homes responded to the environment and how they reflected their lifestyles.
He observed the bahay-na-bato  and informal housing; comparing how they differ from the western houses where every room is sealed off from the other. In the local Filipino houses, spaces were separated in a lucid manner, making one space to run another.
In bahay-na-bato, literally “house-of-stone”, the wide double doors of the bedroom when opened became part of the living rooms during the day. The enclosed balcony ran across the outer perimeter of the house working as a crossover space between the interior and the exterior.
The interiors were guileless; spaces run free into each other so the airs circulate evenly. The walls were not enclosed all the way to the ceiling, a wide strip of curved wooden latticework allowing air to pass through within the house.
Father Bobby has done well on his work that examined informal-settler housing; the living patterns within each abode; the interrelated houses that made an informal neighborhood; and the transparency boundaries between families and neighbors.
Educator and Clergyman
The great thing was how he shared all his discoveries about the houses and life about Filipinos. He gave lectures, organized exhibitions, wrote and published books on arts and architecture. He did not really teach formal classroom lectures but educated generation of architects, accumulated national awards and a respected personality appreciating being a Filipino the way to look to the future.
A Benedictine monk, Dom Bernardo Maria Perez, OSB, become rector of San Beda College for 15 years. He was also a journalist and writer for major Manila newspapers and involved in cultural heritage societies including the Bayanihan Dance Company.
Graduated from University of Santo Tomas with an architecture degree, he signed vast volumes essays and articles on arts and architecture as “Rodrigo D. Perez III.”
Father Rodrigo D. Perez III, OSB (June 2, 1933 – November 19, 2011)
 The Bahay Na Bato, the Colonial Filipino House, is an eclectic mix of Native Filipino, Spanish and Chinese influences.
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Lifestyle-Arts and Books, “Pride of Place” by Augusto F. Villalon December 12, 2011, ppC1-C2
Arkitektura. : an essay on Philippine architecture.
by Perez III, Rodrigo D.
©1989 Published by Cultural Center of the Philippines , Manila, 1989
The Bahay na Bato
by Rodrigo D. Perez III Date: 8/3/2007
Folk Architecture Perez III, Rodrigo D., Encarnacion, Rosario S., Dacanay, Jr, Julian E., Quezon City, GFC Books, 1989.
Dwellings, Vernacular and Ethnic Architecture – Philippines
Primary Image Source - http://www.librarylink.org.ph/images/features/featarticle3aug2007.gif - Vigan house (Ayala Museum Research Team)
From Arkitektura, An Essay on Philippine Architecture, by Rodrigo D. Perez III (Bernardo Ma.OSB). CCP, 1989. (pages 18-28)