What attracted us to see the town of Sariaya in Quezon Province are the proud existence of grand ancestral houses and an Art Deco-inspired public edifice. Two of these ancestral homes and the public building were designed by our national artists.
Most of these turn-of-the-century buildings are clustered around the Church of Saint Francis de Assisi and the town plaza. As the town prospered from the coconut industry during the pre-War years (from 1919 to 1930), a local elite called the pricinpalia emerged and dominated social and economic life of the town. The money earned by the landed gentry afforded them to remodel their once already imposing bahay-na-bato into ornate American and European-inspired mansions.
The town was set on fire by the Japanese in 1945 which destroyed most of the stately Spanish and American style houses and the Great Fire during the 1960s burned the remaining ones to the ground. Those that survived particularly around the town plaza are being preserved for posterity.
The following surviving structures we can label as the Architectural Gems of Sariaya:
Natalio Marquez Mansion
Beside the Church of Saint Francis de Assisi is the impressive twin-spired, brick-roofed house of former Tayabas Governor Natalio Enriquez. This house was designed by Andres Luna de San Pedro, son of Filipino Master Juan Luna.
Behind the Marquez Mansion is the Alvarez Residence. Built in 1703, it was the oldest in the town. It once served as the town’s municipal hall. Recently, it was converted as the Sariaya Museum. Today, the Sariaya Museum was moved to a different building.
Doña Margarita Rodriguez Mansion
Another old and equally stately ancestral home is the Doña Margarita Rodriguez Mansion located along Rizal Street.
Built in the 1930’s for Dr. Isidro Rodriguez and Doña Gregoria Gala. The house was designed by Juan Nakpil and its furniture was custom-made by Don Gonzalo Puyat.
The old municipal hall was replaced by Sariaya Presidente Hilarion Valderas in 1931 with an art deco-inspired edifice designed by Juan Arellano.