Historical Markers in Manila’s San Nicholas District

Houses in the San Nicholas District of Manila had their share in Philippine history. Like most houses in the area, most of them were rebuilt, razed by fire, left to decay or gave way to modernization. Today, silent historical markers were placed on or near the original site to inform those who take the time and effort of dropping by the area to fulfill ones curiosity. 



The Leyba House along San Fernando Street was the site where Jose Rizal’s  mother, Dona Teodora Alonzo spent her last days until her death in 1911. Like most houses in the area, this house was razed by fire. Along Estraude Street is the house which the Rizal family rented after the remains of Jose Rizal were exhumed from Paco Cemetery. The house was razed by fire. Today, a modern building stands on the site.   



The house of Dr. Pio Valenzuela, a member of the Supreme Council of the Katipunan once stood along Calle Lavezares, held his medical practice here offered free to the poor. A historic maker was placed near the site that indicates the Valenzuela house to be once the secret printing office the revolutionary paper “Ang Kalayaan.”  




The Katipunan mislead the Spanish authorities by indicating the the Kalayaan is edited by Marcelo H. del Pilar and that Yokohama, Japan as the place of publication. But in truth, it was Emilio Jacinto who served as its editor. The maiden issue was relased in March of 1896 with detialed incidences of abuse by friars and civil employees. Copies were distributed in Manila and the provinces. However, due to lack of supplies, printing types were stolen by Katipuneros working for Diario de Manila. This incident led to the discovery by the Spanish authorities of the Kalayaan. 


The house also provided temporary protection to Andres Bonifacio’s widow Gregoria de Jesus and their son. It was also in this house where Bonifacio’s infant son passed away to an illness.  


Another interesting location along Calle Madrid was at ahouse numbered as 28-D. It was in this house were Gregoria de Jesus was kept by her parents from marrying his novio Andres Bonifacio in December of 1893 for the reason that she was a minor. Eventually, the Supremo and her Lakambini were married in nearby Binondo Church.    


The house where Antonio Luna was born still stands along Calle Urbiztondo.   




The house of Mason Faustino Villaruel at No. 8 Calle Asuncion served as meeting place for the members of the Walana Lodge. It was in this house where an auxiliary lodge for women mason was founded. Rosario Villaruel (Don Faustino’s daughter) became the first woman mason in the country. Masonic activities and secret meetings held at the Faustino house were made to appear banquets and ladies’ party.     



Information source: Three Centuries of Binondo Architecture by Lorelie De Viana 



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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Pa’no po pumunta dyan sa San Nicholas, Calle Lavezares, Urbiztondo at Calle Madrid kung magko-commute lang at walang sariling sasakyan? Manggagaling po ako sa Pasig…

  2. THis was really helpful for my PROJECT ♥ THANK YOU :*

  3. Huh! this is nice!!! I didn’t know there are still many people who appreciate our precious yet neglected historical place, It made my heart to ache when me and PEPE saw the decayed antique Filipino houses, sana mas marami pang tao maging mapagmahal sa sarili nating bansa at kasaysayan…nice website bro!

  4. First time I heard about these houses was when I watched a documentary made by GMA last summer ’07.

    Funny thing is, we have a bakeshop in Asuncion/Lavezares area and I spent most of my childhood days there and never knew there were a lot of historical houses in our area!

  5. I’ve linked your website to mine.

    Hope me and Arnold would be able to join you in one of your travels.

    God bless!

  6. My purpose of going to San Nicholas district at that time was to view those period houses Pepe. I felt disappointed though since most of the houses are neglected and are allowed to decay.

    Fortunately, the cochero-turned tour guide I hired is knowledgeable in the area.

    Call it serendipity. It’s something I enjoy as a traveler. Who knows, one day we’ll probably bump into each other.

  7. ¡Sayang! Me and my friends Arnold Arnáiz and William Tolosa went to San Nicolás this morning, but we missed these historical markers. We were focused mainly on other obscure yet antique Filipino houses concentrated along Calle Madrid. We have to go there yet again.

    Let us pray for San Nicolás resurrection.

    Sincerely yours.

    By the way, your website is awesome! Keep up with your noble advocacy!

    ¡Hasta luego!

    • Pa’no po pumunta dyan sa San Nicholas, Calle Lavezares, Urbiztondo at Calle Madrid kung magko-commute lang at walang sariling sasakyan? Manggagaling po ako sa Pasig…

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