By Bea Santina Maranan

One of the brave women who entered the male-dominated field of architecture in the Philippines turns 100 years old. Aida Cruz-Del Rosario was born on August 11, 1922, during the American occupation period in the Philippines. 

Photo Courtesy of Ruffy Biazon (Facebook)

She turned exactly a hundred years old on August 11, 2022. To commemorate the event, Muntinlupa Mayor Ruffy Biazon personally visited Cruz-Del Rosario to give her a  P100,000 gift and a congratulatory letter from the president in celebration of her longevity, this is mandated by the Centenarians Act of 2016, given to people aged 100 and up to give recognition to their contribution to society.

Her fearless journey to architecture was influenced by a significant person in her life, Amado, her father, who was a sculptor who persuaded her to study architecture rather than her original dream of becoming a dentist. Cruz-Del Rosario then pursued the field at the University of Santo Tomas College of Architecture.

In a Facebook post, UST wrote that she was one of the first to enroll in the BS Architecture program. Aida would’ve never guessed that she would live a century-long life like the Arch of the Centuries she once walked through. 

“Ms. Aida C. del Rosario was one of the early female students who entered the then-male-dominated profession, which now has in its ranks more female architects who received their education in our University,” UST added.

She earned her degree in architecture from UST in 1947 at age 25, becoming the school's first female architecture graduate. The following year, she passed the test for architectural licensure placing 7th and registered as the ninth female architect in the Philippines.

She led a successful career with multiple successful projects under her belt. Creating a name for herself in the male-dominated field of architecture and became the blueprint for the recognition of Pinay architects.

In her long prosperous career, she and her engineer husband of more than 50 years, Jose del Rosario designed and built a number of national projects, including the original structure of the University of Baguio. Though her husband had passed two decades ago, their legacy lives on, like the foundation of over 120 homes, buildings, and hospitals from Luzon to Mindanao they built and designed together.