Casa Manila

With the opening of Manila to world trade in the late nineteenth century, with ships bringing in not only goods but new ideas as well, a rich and influential class of Filipinos called ilustrados emerged. These educated ilustrados took an active part in industry and commerce, went into the export business, amassed fortunes, and sent their sons to schools in Europe. 

Casa Manila 2

This affluence produced grand houses and created a gracious, cultivated lifestyle manifested in good books, good music, good food and lavish hospitality. This ambience of old is recreated in Casa Manila, one of three structures erected in what was then known as Barrio San Luis after one of the four barrios in Intramuros.

Barrio San Luis 

Casa Manila 3

Intramuros was divided into four barrios, namely San Antonio, San Gabriel, San Carlos and San Luis. Dense and populous, erected side by side in the four barrios were government offices, homes of religious orders and their churches, schools, military forts and arsenals as well as private residences.

Casa Manila 4

Unfortunately, no Intramuros residential building survived World War II. The facades of houses recreated in Barrio San Luis were based from photographs of period houses in Intramuros, Ermita and the San Nicholas District.

A Wealthy Burgher’s House in San Nicholas

Casa Manila 5

The three-storey Casa Manila is a combined imagination of architects and antiquarians. In style, Casa Manila bears a close resemblance to a house that was built along Calle Jaboneros in San Nicholas District during the 1850s.

Casa Manila 6

Its three-story height makes it unusual. Very few houses were constructed with more than two floors because of the frequent earthquakes that rocked Manila. House with shops and warehouses on the ground floor were characteristics of bahay-na-bato built in the districts of Binondo and San Nicholas. 

A Turn-of-the-Century Bahay-na-Bato

Casa Manila 7

Casa Manila is a turn-of-the-century bahay-na-bato. Its carpeted steps lead up an antique escalera into the different rooms, furnished in the style of a wealthy burgher and his family where each room showcases a collection of colonial furniture and accessories in an evocative setting salvaged from grand ancestral house of the Hidalgo’s and Paterno’s in Quiapo. 

Casa Manila 8

From living quarters, we wandered out through the azotea, the back terrace, and down to the courtyard. Surrounding the stone fountain in the courtyard are pasillos converted into antique shops and craft stores. 

Casa Manila is situated on General Luna Street, formerly known as Calle Real de Palacio, a main thoroughfare in this historic district. Across the street is the oldest building in the Philippines, a national monument, a cultural landmark and a World Heritage Site –the San Agustin Church.

Published in: on January 24, 2008 at 12:36 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I enjoyed reading your blog thoroughly. In fact, I have added a link to it on my Intramuros blog – Do have a look at it and let me know how you feel about it

    We did a walking tour of Carlos Celdran, then the electric chariot tour and finally a pedicab tour of the walled city, plus walked on our own too. We stayed at White knight hotel inside Intramuros so it was easy. I have used many details that you posted to understand these beautiful buildings and structures myself.

    Nice work!

  2. Do you have an old map of Intramoros–My fathers family an old spanish military man lived there-the house was builded by my great-grest-grandfather-Juan Antonio De Aenlle in the spanish area-everything was bombed in ww11- my aunts, and parents were living there-they excaped prior to the war maybe some decendants of the Aenlle’s remember something

  3. Your son is lucky.

    You are doing a great job in promoting interesting places in Manila. I have the feeling that more and more people are concerned with culture and they want to preserve their history.
    We can just hope for some more enlightened politicians. The DOT should understand that tourists are not only interested in beaches, 5 star hotels but also want to mix those pleasures with cultural things.
    I am happy to see that there are more and more people starting to blog about their surroundings and bring little know facts to the general public.
    There is a lot of work but I am less pessimistic than you are. Let’s hope your son will have more cultural opportunities than we have when he grows up.

  4. hey Sidney,

    The little boy on the photos is our two year son. We usually bring him along with us when me and wifie go on a walking tour.

    I think its a cool way of spending the weekends.

    He may be too young to appreciate the value of these places. However, I’m hoping that when he grows a little olders he will be proud of what we have in this country. Although, I’m not expecting big time appreciation from him because we do not know if these places and sites will remain accessible in the coming years.

    Senor Enrique mentioned in his blog that the Coconut Palace is now closed for public viewing and was said that the architectural treasure will be converted into a casion (what the!) I never been to that place yet!

    I van Dy during our walking tour in the San Miguel district has told us that Malacanang was closed to the public for a long time. No one knows if Malacanang will remain accessible to the public if there will be a changed of administration.

    Two antique houses in San Miguel, the Goldenberg Mansion and Teus House are not open for the public to see. Both are reserved for the official use of President (to think that our taxes are used for the upkeep of these buildings).

    Oh well…

  5. Are you that little boy? Self-portrait? 😉

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