The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) sect, a religious organization which brandishes strong political clout in the country, opened on Monday what is being touted as the world’s largest indoor stadium. No less than Philippine President Benigno Aquino presided over the opening ceremony of the $175-million Philippine Arena.
The arena – which has a seating capacity of 55,000 people, a floor area of approximately 99,000 square metres and a height of 62 metres – will function as a major venue for concerts, sports events, and the like; as well as a gathering place for INC activities, such as their grand centennial celebration on July 27, 2014, which is expected to have a massive turnout. The INC has around 3 million members across the nation.
In his speech to members of the INC, Aquinos said: “You have proved that the Filipino can reach great heights; that we can have achievements as lofty as any in the world.”
Aquino praised the 15-storey structure, referring to as “the largest domed arena in the whole world”, with a capacity “even double that of the Staples Center in Los Angeles.”
Construction of the arena, which is located in the town of Bocaue, Bulacan, started shortly after its groundbreaking in July 2011, and was competed in July 2014.
One of the arena’s most prominent features is its earthquake-resistant construction; a welcome highlight, as tremblors pose a frequent and real threat due to the the country’s location on the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Although it is being billed as the world’s largest indoor arena, the Singapore National Stadium, which was finished in June 2014, also has a capacity of 55,000 people and has likewise been lauded by the media as the world’s largest domed structure.