Renovation of Rizal Memorial Coliseum nears completion for SEA Games

MANILA, Philippines – The Rizal Memorial Coliseum nears completion of its first major renovation in 66 years – a month before serving as one of the venues for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games. 

Gerard Lico, the architect leading the project, said the overhaul of the 85-year-old arena is already at 85% and will be ready for turnover before November 12 for the pep rally of Filipino athletes. 

After that, it will then host the gymnastics events of the biennial meet that will kick off on November 30. 

It is the first time since 1953 that the Rizal Memorial Coliseum is undergoing a major reconstruction and the Philippine Sports Commission is going all out with a budget of approximately P250 million. 

The arena will feature new plumbing, flooring, air-conditioning, fireproofing, electrical system, among other several changes. 

Also, the locker rooms have been improved with better lighting and flooring as athletes can now shower with hot water, a part of "elevating the experience." 

"We want to have a simulated ambience of a hotel in the dugouts. We want to have a level of sophistication," Lico said in a mix Filipino and English after giving the media a tour of the rehabilitation on Monday, October 28. 

Lico, though, still patterned the renovation after the streamline art deco style of Juan Arellano, who designed the Rizal Memorial Coliseum when it was built in 1934. 

"It actually looks like a new building," Lico said. "It's only the shell of the building and the historical significance that we're trying to safeguard." 

To fast-track the reconstruction, 285 workers are working around-the-clock in 3 shifts. 

"We're committed to complete it by the deadline," Lico said. 

Aside from the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, other venues inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex are also being renovated, including the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, and Rizal Memorial Tennis Center. 

The Rizal Memorial Sports Complex will also host the taekwondo, weightlifting, volleyball, tennis, and football competitions. –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.