Bahay Nakpil-Bautista

Asking people to name words associated with  Quiapo would give answers ranging from chaotic Friday devotion to the Black Nazarene, over-crowded street and bumper to bumper traffic, seedy movie houses, stinky sidewalks, and dilapidated structures to vendors aggressively peddling folk remedies, amulets, and pirated merchandises.

Quiapo may be suffering from irreversible decline these days and may be an intimidating place to visit but her glorious past continues to fascinate us. We realized this when we visited Bahay Nakpil-Bautista.

Being in Quiapo on a Friday afternoon, we immediately realized that we are at the right place at the right time to rub elbows with the devotees of the Señor Nazareno. We finally made through the sea of humanity as we emerged from the Quezon Boulevard underpass then turning left to Barbosa Street where we caught sight of the Katipunan and Philippine flags in front of a landmark two-storey bahay-na-bato.

The house’s construction was inspired by a gift that was given to Dr. Ariston Bautista from a family friend. The gift was a set of furniture in the Viennese Secession style, an Austrian variation of Art Nouveau made known by Gustav Klimt and Otto Wagner.

The furniture’s obvious difference made it a clear mismatch with the old Nakpil-Bautista home that the owners decided to commission architect Arcadio Arellano to build them a new house to match the Viennese Secession style furniture. In 1914, a new Bahay Nakpil-Bautista was completed.

As we entered the house through a small pedestrian gate or postigo of its wooden doors, we immediately felt a distinguished stillness in cavernous zaguan, a noticeable contrast with the bustling city outside.

The zaguan is paved in piedra china. There are rooms located in the raised areas or entresuelo. A delicate grand staircase led us to the caida where museum curator Tess Obusan greeted us.

Bahay Nakpil-Bautista has been transformed by its heir into a museum. It is dedicated to the Revolution of 1896 and to its famous resident, Gregoria Oriang de Jesus, the Lakambini of the Katipunan and widow of Andres Bonifacio.

After Bonifacio’s death, Oriang was married to the commander of all the northern troops, Julio Nakpil. The couple was taken in by house owners Dr. Ariston Bautista and his wife Petrona Nakpil, sister of Julio.

From the airy caida, Tess led us to the living room where contemporary artworks by Ral Arogante, Egai Roxas, Fidel Sarmiento, and Manny Garibay compliment the few turn of the century furniture and replica of the original Viennese Secession furniture.  In place of the famed Parisian Life of Juan Luna, a replica is hang at a nook in the sala.

The grillwork below the wide windows has design consisting of tapered frames and three vertical lines encased in a square, and the calado on the upper part of the walls that are pierced with stylized lotus design are repeated through out the house allowing air to circulate freely around the second floor living quarters. All are both  functional and consistent with the Viennese Secession style.

We were led to the azotea overlooking the Quiapo neighborhood and estero below. Tess revealed that in the olden days, residents of Quiapo would row their way to different places on this estero. Those were the days when children can bath in the pristine estero.

Our visit at Bahay Nakpil-Bautista was inspiring because it made us see Quiapo away from the loud noise and over-crowded streets. Quiapo is just one of the many places in our country that should be seen in a different perspective.


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23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hello, there I already visited the Nakpil-Bautista Ancestral House and I find it a worth to visit from zaguan to upper floor up to roof deck. I already check the condition of the kitchen and it needs to preserve it very badly. Actually I do the shot because I am started to document these beautiful glamor house. Try to go to Aguinaldo shrine and you will amazed the grandeur of this historical house that has a long history during the Spanish and American era.

  2. Hi,
    For Bahay Nakpil details you can contact Ms Ma. Paz Nakpil Santos-Viola
    (0917) 851 7455
    02 7319305

  3. good day. thank you for this wonderful blog i was reminded the days when i was still studying at the MLQU back late ’80s. I passed by Bahay Nakpil-Bautista daily but i did not mind to try a visit its interiors. Am a history graduate.

  4. Hello, i found this blog worth of sources for my research about ancestral houses, however i need some photos done by individual photographer with their permission. If there is some fee to be settle please let me know and advise me how to purchase those photos.


  5. This blog pretty much saved my life. Thanks! 🙂 Just a question though, I am writing a novel set in a house from the Colonial era and I’d like to know what are the basic rooms in a typical Colonial house, what’s basically inside it. Thank you so much! This blog is amazing!

    • Hello Sabina. Based from the ancestral houses we visited around the country, most of them have the entire living quarters in the second floor. The second floor has an ante-sala or receiving room, the sala major (grand living room), the comedor (dining room), cocina (kitchen), letrina (toilet), oratorio (mini-chapel that sometimes part of the two-bedroom house). The ground floor or zaguan is for storage and parking space for carriages and carrozas. Some houses have mezzanine called the entresuelo (rooms in between floors). It usually houses the despacho or home office, biblioteca (library), and a couple of rooms for transients (sort of a guest room but Filipinos usually offer up the best room of their house for important guests, so that means the master bedroom become the guest room). Hope this helps. I plan to post something about rooms in ancestral houses soon.

      • Thank you thank you! 🙂 this really helps a lot! 😀 Your pictures are amazing!

  6. Good day,
    I am the great grand son of Julio Nakpil and Gregoria de Jesus from their youngest duaghter, Cardiad Nakpil Santos-Viola. I enjoy reading your blog and I am happy that you had open a different horrizon towards Quiapo and our Ancestral house was a part of that realization. You will always be welcome in our house next time your in town.

    • Hi, may I know how we can go about arranging a visit to your ancestral house, Bahay Nakpil? Been trying the number in your website but it’s no longer in service.


  7. nice post.since hindi ako makakapagtravel muna abroad in the next few months i-explore ko ang manila,now i know 2 reasons to go to quiapo,the mosque and this old house.

  8. Well narrated 🙂 I’ll be visiting Bahay Nakpil-Bautista really soon and learn more about the historical background of the Nakpils. Excited to trace down our family tree.

    • Thank you Onella.

  9. is it open at saturdays? at what time? thank you.

  10. is there entrance fee in this bautista’s house? how much and who is the contact person there?

  11. Is this the house near MLQU and Precinct 3 of

    • Yes ricky. Bahay Nakpil-Bautista is along BarbosA Street -parallel to Quezon Blvd.

  12. i am a nakpil. would love to go there sometime and see the house of my “ninuno”. thanks for sharing this!

  13. I don’t have the contact information for Bahay Nakpil Carmille. However, you can contact Carlos Celdran of Walk this Way or Ivan Dy of Old Manila Walks if you wish to have a guided tour of Quiapo.

    Have fun walking and discovering.

  14. hi, planning to do the walking tour. is there a number i can call to ask about tour details?


    • hi, try this number 734-9341..been there.its interesting,informative and you would really appreciate the house literally and figuratively speaking..

      enjoy the tour!

  15. Just feel free to drop by anytime at Bahay Nakpil-Bautista John. If I remember it right, I think there is an entrance of 40 pesos.

  16. were planning to have a visit in the nakpil-bautista house.. are there any requirements before doing so?

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