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