Foundation University

To be a dynamic, progressive school that cultivates effective learning, generates creative ideas, responds to societal needs and offers equal opportunity for all. In its quest for excellence in mind, body and character and the pursuit of truth and freedom, Foundation University commits itself to: develop students of sound character and broad culture; prepare students for a definite career; imbue students with the spirit of universal brotherhood; and advocate truth, promote justice and advance knowledge.
Jul 22, 2014

Estudio Damgo III - Letting the Dream Continue

Life in Dumaguete will always be associated with the sea. Rizal Boulevard, a pedestrian scaped promenade is one of its landmarks located near the water. The city has seven (7) coastal barangays plus inland fish ponds; no one would imagine that the region is not producing enough fish to support its growing population.

The shortage of the fish supply has forced the inhabitants to choose meat and poultry over fish. For several years now, the city has been importing to meet the demand and dependent on the fisheries from its neighboring cities, municipalities and islands. Due to this shortage, the City Government of Dumaguete established marine sanctuaries in its territorial seas as part of the city’s food security program and environmental preservation campaign.

The government working with the Coastal Resource Management reorganized the Deputized Fish Wardens to now function as protectors of the marine santuary. Prior to this addition the wardens’ was to safeguard the sea from fishermen doing illegal fishing like dynamite fishing and putting obnoxious chemicals into the sea, making sure that all coastal and marine laws are implemented and capturing violators. But by the time of the adaptation of the resolution about the protected areas, with that they now function as protectors of the sanctuary along with the functions they have previously. These fish wardens were doing this critical and vital work as volunteers; without a salary. However in 2002, the City Government gave them a monthly honorarium of 1000 php. provided that they submit monthly reports and updates. Considering the amount of money they are receiving, their job can still be considered voluntary.

 In an interview, one of the fish wardens said that currently they are staying in the house of one of the members during their shifts of the marine sanctuary. Since they don’t another choice currently, sometimes they’d rather stay on the shorelines rather than disturb the member’s family.

In our effort to support the food security program, preserve the marine environment and help the fish wardens to be more efficient and effective during their shifts, Estudio Damgo III team has chosen to design and build a Marine Sanctuary Center. It may sound simple, but to the group, it’s extremely meaningful. To us, the project will serve as a representation of our commitment to protecting the sanctuary in order to increase the fish population in the area but also to help feed the future generations of Dumaguete.

Jun 11, 2014

A tale of two buildings

Building turnover
Building turnover
A tale of 2 buildings


SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- It was the best of times. It was the worst of times…

I recently had the great fortune of getting to revisit Dumaguete with my husband. The occasion of our return was to celebrate the inauguration of Estudio Damgo’s second community building: A Multi-purpose building for the resettled community in Bajumpandan.

Estudio Damgo is a design-build studio for senior architect students at Foundation University. As one of the original founders of Estudio Damgo, my husband Ray Villanueva was eager to greet his former students and evaluate their work as seniors under the excellent tutelage of Anna Koosmann.

We were not disappointed. The building soared above its neighbors, providing a picturesque landmark for the humble settlement. The students had chosen to work with local materials (largely donated) – bamboo, brick and tile – beautifully finished. We arrived just as the sun was bearing down, but the interior was cool and well-lit with diffuse, natural light.

It was the best of times.

And then I learned that this, in fact, was not the original site that was planned for the building. As it turns out, the students had initiated their work with the neighboring settlement. Student architects were required to make decisions based on a series of meetings with community leaders and designated representatives.

The final design was not only an elegant solution that carefully balanced all the variables; it was the result of a collaborative process in which the entire community had a voice and could take ownership in.

Unfortunately, just as they were ready to begin construction, there was a change of heart. The landowner did not offer support for the student’s design. They had decided what the building should look like, and would not entertain any new ideas.

And as it turns out – they had funding – so they went ahead and built their predetermined design.

It could have been the worst of times.

Thank goodness, the project was saved by the quick action of Dumaguete city leaders who supported Estudio Damgo and the student’s original design. These leaders made it possible for the project to move to the neighboring settlement (so that residents will still get access to the building they had helped design) without too much delay, so that the students could still meet their construction deadline (graduation!).
Of course, our friends and supporters at Global Giving have also been faithful with their love gifts, enabling the project to move at a faster pace, before the onset of the rainy season.

And now there stand TWO multi-purpose buildings in Bajumpandan.

And if you’ve ever wondered about the true value of architecture – these two buildings built nearly side-by-side for the same purpose – are a radical example of what happens when you chose to build by design, rather than by carbon copy.

I invite you to make a visit for yourself! We came all the way from Seattle, and it was worth every penny.

Hats off to the graduating students of Estudio Damgo II and their instructors – you are already making a positive difference in your community – and I am confident that it is only the beginning.

P.S. Keep an eye out for Estudio Damgo III next school year. Community discussions underway.

Amy Villanueva
children at play
children at play
Mar 26, 2014

The Final Weeks of Estudio Damgo

Estudio Damgo Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Estudio Damgo Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

With only six weeks left until graduation, the Estudio Damgo team was able to shape up and make a lot of progress shrinking the gap in the construction schedule; from four weeks behind, to two weeks. The biggest tasks on site were finalizing the bamboo truss and roof framing and securing all the joints. The bamboo purlins were also fully installed. The structure was getting fastened with bamboo pegs, nylon, and non-slip epoxy at all the joints. After completing all the work, the team tied all the joints with rattan for additional strength and for aesthetics. Other works included filling in grout at the brick wall and welding and painting steel doorframes for the folding doors.

The students and FU workers were doing their best to get the building complete in time. They worked over time 7 days a week. The multipurpose has 100% of the bamboo roof structure and the GI Sheet roof is about halfway installed, two weeks before graduation. There are nearly 300 bamboo joints that needed to be tied with rattan or "uway" to cover the epoxy. And though it takes a lot of time to tie just one joint, the team doubled their work force and many tasks had been worked on simultaneously.

Wrapping it all up, the final week marked the week before graduation, March 22, 2014. Finishes were major priority: Bamboo structure is getting its final clear coat, black enamel paint finish at metal frames, and finish paint at the concrete walls. Electrical is being installed. Plumbing fixtures are finally in and CR tiles are grouted. It's getting there. Students are happy to see the light at the end of this tunnel. 

It has been amazing to see the progress at the multipurpose hall for the past few weeks. Thanks to the number of volunteers from Entheos IT and the Office of Administration, the long wait is finally over.

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