13 heritage houses to visit this summer
You know summer is here when your social feeds start flooding with beach and road trip articles. (Some of it may even come from us.) But unless you have an endless supply of sunblock and vacation leaves, not every weekend will be #wanderlust. For those days when getting away isn’t an option, why not rediscover some of Manila’s finest historical homes? Manila might be a little too crowded for your style during the weekdays, but the city transforms into positively charming neighborhoods during the weekend.
For a starter guide on where to go, here is a list of 13 heritage homes you should try visiting this summer, courtesy of Stephen Pamorada of the Heritage Conservation Society-Youth.
While some of the Metro’s finest historical sites may be under constant threat of destruction, there are still some bright spots to see and visit.
“There are lots of heritage houses being sold, some because the sentimental attachment is no longer there,” said Pamorada.
“But while some are really ignored, it’s good that there are those that are converted into hotels and restaurants. It’s a great way to share the heritage to the public.”
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Boix House and Bahay Nakpil
The Boix House is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor to the left, the Bahay Nakpil. Boix was once the boarding house of President Manuel Quezon when he was a student at UST. Built in 1895, the Boix House does not receive the same kind of atttention that Bahay Nakpil does, but that doesn’t mean the house isn’t worth a visit. With exquisite details, the house shows tremendous potential for restoration. It is currently owned by the Jesuit priests and serves as the office for Kapitbahayan sa Kalye Bautista, a non-profit that advocates for the preservation of heritage homes.
Access to the Boix House is by appointment, but there is no entrance fee. Those interested can get in touch with Boix House Redux. Tours for the Quiapo area are also provided by Lakbay Lakaran.
Padilla Art Gallery
The Padilla Art Gallery currently hosts art pieces from artist/real estate broker Manny Padilla. Located along Hidalgo St. in Quiapo, the house was originally built in 1880 and has undergone numerous renovations. Padilla inherited the ancestral home from his father, and set out the slow and painstaking work of rehabilitating the structure.
Access to the Art Gallery is by appointment and a small fee is required.
The Henry Hotel was originally a series of similar-looking apartment-type houses. Located in Pasay along FB Harrison, the houses were converted into a hotel while preserving the distinct character of each house. A notable feature is the unique tile patterns located in each house. Access to the hotel is open to the public. There is a small cafe, although it is better to call ahead to verify operating hours during your visit. Henry Hotel (02) 807-8888.
La Cocina de Tita Moning
Located in the San Miguel district of Manila, near Malacañang, La Cocina de Tita Moning is a restaurant within a beautiful ancestral home. What started out as a kitchen for food orders during the holidays quickly gained popularity, until the house was eventually converted into a restaurant. La Cocina de Tita Moning provides a great template for adapative reuse of ancestral homes. The servers in the restaurant are even dressed in period attire. For reservations and hours, visitors can call (02) 734-2141 or visit La Cocina de Tita Moning.
Also located in the San Miguel district of Manila, Casa Roces is owned by the same family that owns the Manila Times. The house-turned-restaurant was originally built in 1941. The second floor houses an art gallery. President Aquino is known to host some of his informal meetings at this restaurant. Casa Roces (02) 708 4020.
Concepcion Mansion (now Pasig City Museum)
The Concepcion Mansion was formerly owned by a notable businessman and the first registered pharmacist of Pasig, Don Fortunato Concepcion. The mansion was completed in 1937 is located at the heart of Pasig City, just meters away from another historical landmark, the Bahay na Tisa, which is the oldest standing house in the city. Pasig City Museum (02) 641-0211.
Located in Sta. Ana Manila, the Lichauco House is one of the few remaining houses that are still facing Pasig River. Also on the property is a 200-year-old banyan tree, the second-oldest tree in Manila. It was declared a heritage house by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) in 2010. Access to the house is by appointment.
Apolinario Mabini House
The Mabini House is located inside the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) campus. Originally located in Nagtahan, the house was transferred to PUP because of the flooding in the area. The house has been declared a heritage house by NHCP. The Mabini House is open to the public. Apolinario Mabini Shrine (02) 522-1509.
The Uitangcoy-Santos House is located in Malolos, Bulacan. The house is along FT Reyes Street, only a few blocks away from other landmarks like the Malolos Cathedral. One of the original owners of the house, Alberta Uitangcoy, was a strong advocate for women’s rights and one of the leaders of the Women of Malolos. Jose Rizal famously wrote a letter addressed to the women of Malolos titled “Sulat sa mga kadalaghang taga-Malolos.” The house is now a museum that is open to the public. Uitangcoy-Santos House (0915) 433 9438.
Baldomero Aguinaldo Shrine (Cavite)
Built in 1906, the shrine is home of the first cousin of Emilio Aguinaldo. As the NHCP describes it, it “is the typical country home of a gentleman farmer. A profusion of 19th century furniture, such as the aparadores, roundtables, and the piano, enhances the turn-of-the-century ambiance of the house.” The house is open to the public. Baldomero Aguinaldo Shrine (046) 434-5983.
Quezon Heritage House
The home of President Manuel L. Quezon was originally located in New Manila. Built in 1927, the house was located along Gilmore Street, but efforts to preserve the structure and also make it more accessible to the public led to the restoration and transfer of the house to the Quezon Memorial Circle. It is estimated that at least 60 percent of the house is still original. Access to the house costs PHP 20.
This 1920s house is located along San Lazaro St. in Sta. Cruz, Manila. Owned by one of President Marcos’ attorneys during the 1970s, the house has been converted into a cute cafe that is open during weekdays. Cafe Mana on Facebook.
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