Don Roman Santos Tahanan

Don Roman Santos Tahanan

When I was a kid, I would give my playmate friends a tour of my parent’s house as if it were a museum.  It was a house built in the 70s with dark wood varnished walls, crazy-cut marble and parquet flooring, heavy wall-to-wall curtain and customized upholstered furniture, and a main hallway that some of my friends call the ‘tunnel.’ The highlight of my ‘so-called tour’ is revealing a secret door that connects the servant quarter to the main hallway. The house was incredible for a kid.

I developed my fondness for old vintage and pre-loved objects when my parents sold the house. I became sentimental. Perhaps it is that same sentimentality why gentleman farmer and antique collector Vicente Roman ‘Mike’ Santos led an ambitious task of moving their 1917 ancestral house piece-by-piece from flood-stricken Navotas to a private subdivision high-up in the hills of Antipolo.

Don Roman Santos A House Reborn

Don Roman Santos House Antipolo

We first learned about the Don Roman Santos House from the book Tahanan, A House Reborn. The book tells stories about the house’s original dwellers, businessman Don Roman R. Santos and his family and the rich memories of the generations that lived in the house when it was still in Navotas.

And as the title suggest, the book documents the painstaking effort of uprooting and rebuilding the Santos ancestral house from Navotas to Antipolo.

Don Roman Santos sala

Don Roman Santos booksigned

The imposing Don Roman Santos House was built in 1917. It was the American Period. A time in our history when the fad in architecture was an eclectic mix of historic styles from tropical Baroque with stylized Art Nouveau elements to blending Neoclassical with Art Deco design. The Santos house has these elements.

The three-storied Santos ancestral house has parts of a traditional bahay-na-bato only made modern with the entrada principal that opens to the yard or solar instead to the main street.  The main staircase leads to the caida where Mike signed our copy of the book next to a smiling portrait of his great grandfather, Don Roman Santos.

Don Roman Santos Navotas House

Don Roman Santos Ancestral House

The furniture and furnishings in the sala mayor and comedor were a mix of recently acquired antiques and original heirloom pieces. There is a large bust of the patriarch commissioned by Guillermo Tolentino for the Don Roman Santos Building in Escolta, portraits by Fernando Amorsolo and a painting attributed to Juan Arceo, centuries-old Baliuag-style mesa altar and so many others that Mike fittingly displays to match the look and feel of living in the Santos house during the olden days.

Mike Santos Tahanan author

Don Roman Santos House tour

According to Mike, the house is much grander now compared to when it was in Navotas. The house was decaying in Navotas so instead of demolishing the house and salvaging its parts to refit into a totally new house, the family decided to rebuild it somewhere.

However, he laments that with the transfer of the house, it lost its sense of becoming part of its original community. ‘The Don Roman Santos Ancestral House belongs to a neighborhood in Navotas, ‘says a sentimental Mike Santos.

- Heritage Month 2014

Sta. Marta de Pateros Fiesta


Pateros is a small modern city in Metro Manila. It is traditionally known for its duck egg industry and for its folks who love their traditions.

The fiesta of Sta. Marta, held every second Sunday of February is a well-loved tradition in Pateros. It is a thanksgiving celebration to Sta. Marta for saving Pateros’ duck egg industry.


In the olden days, town fiestas are the most exciting time of the year. It was a time when the town plaza and the church patio are crowded with people playing games at the feria, watching roving bands of musicians and participating in church-led activities and religious processions.

There is no doubt that it was fiesta day in Pateros as we walked our way to the church from Pateros Bridge. The street leading to the church is crowded with people, peddlers and products.  Sold side by side with suman wrapped in leaves are folksy clay pots and red prayer candles, shaped in human form.

Sta. Marta Pateros Church

Sta. Marta Pateros

Under the sunny morning sky, devotees form a long line to have a chance to say their petitions and touch the image of Sta. Marta in the church patio.


Sta. Marta is patron of cooks, washerwoman and all motherly duties. In Pateros,  she is the patron of duck raising where her folksy image is shown as if crushing a crocodile with her dainty feet.

According to legend, Sta. Marta did away the crocodiles that were wreaking havoc in the town’s duck egg industry. Thanks to Sta. Marta, Pateros is known today as the balut capital.



After the high mass, a roving band of musicians began playing fandango music. The image of Sta. Marta is then carried outside the church by a group of fandango-dancing strong men. Everybody fell in a trance dancing the fandango while chanting the song for their patroness.

We almost got crushed while following the massive crowd into the street but the technique to survive the Sta. Marta procession is to sway the same direction the fandango dancers go.


Traditional festival have become modern and commercialized. It is very seldom to see today in urban Metro Manila an old-fashioned fiesta like the Sta. Marta de Pateros Fiesta.

-Feast of Sta. Marta 2014

Published in: on February 9, 2014 at 8:10 pm  Comments (3)  
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Pista ng Santo Niño at San Beda

Pista ng Sto. Nino San Beda

Current and former students of San Beda College know that red is our color and the last Sunday of January is the Pista ng Santo Niño.

It has been a tradition that only at this time of year that the image of the Santo Niño de Praga is taken down from its niche high in the main altar of the Abbey of Our Lady of Monserrat in Mendiola. Devotees form a long line to have the chance to touch and kiss the carved image of the Holy Child before it is mounted to its silver carroza for a solemn procession around the San Miguel district of Manila.


Not too many people know that during the first Pista ng Sto. Niño in 1904, a framed picture of the Holy Child was taken to the procession in lieu of a carved statue. The exquisitely carved statue of the Santo Niño de Praga that we see today was commissioned by famous santero Máximo Vicente for the Benedictines of Mendiola.

The cult of the Holy Child in the country began four centuries ago.  The image of the Sto. Niño that arrived in the Philippines with Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, that was recovered  and re-enthroned by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and enshirned today in the minor basilica in Cebu is the oldest Christian image in the country. The Sto. Niño de Cebu is believed to have been carved in Flanders in the 15th of century and was presented as a baptismal gift to the converted Queen Juana.


Pista ng Sto Nino San beda

The Benedictine monks began to spread the devotion to the Santo Niño de Praga in the Philippines only during the last turn-of- the-century. Its first devotees were the students from the Colegio de San Beda who establish the Confraternity of the Infant Jesus. The traditional procession of the Sto. Niño with the image made by Maximo Vicente as the focus of devotion was first held in January 20, 1905.

The solemn tradition lives on today with devotees forming a long line under the magnificent murals and paintings of the abbey. It is a moving scene to witness how the young and old have a quick moment to touch, kiss and say a prayer to the Santo Niño before it is taken to the procession.

Pista ng Sto. Nino San Beda Manila

Pista ng Sto. Nino

With the peeling of the church bells, the Santo Niño is brought to the silver carroza waiting by the church entrance. A huge crowd in red clothes cheers as the carroza bearing the Santo Niño is pulled and joins the procession.

Red is the color of San Beda College since its students are traditionally known as Red Lions. If this passionate and heroic color has any connection to the Santo Niño, it must be that red symbolizes the color of the General. Remember that when the Santo Niño was introduced in Cebu, he was given the title as El Capitan General.

Pista Santo Nino Procession San Beda

Pista ng Sto Nino procession

While most Sto. Niño festivals around the country are known for the mardi gras-type of parade, the Santo Niño procession led by the Benedictine community and San Beda College students and alumni is simple and sober. Joining the Santo Niño de Praga in the procession are images of Benedictine saints like St. Benedict of Nursia, St. Bede or popularly known as Venerable Bede and the patroness of the abbey, Our Lady of Monserrat.

As the procession inched its way around the San Miguel district, participants recite the rosary or exchange pleasantries as this event is also a reunion among the alumni of the college.  It is an important event that proud Bedans look forward to for us reconnect with our  brothers and reflect on the values that we’ve learned in school.

Published in: on January 27, 2014 at 12:49 am  Comments (1)  
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Traveler on Foot Year 6


TOF is six years old today. Thank you for traveling with us.

Published in: on January 14, 2014 at 5:27 pm  Comments (4)  

We Are Home this Christmas

♫ ♩ngunit kahit na anung mangyari ang pagibig ang maghari. Sapat na si Jesus ang kasama mo.
Tuloy na tuloy pa rin ang Pasko! ♬♪


Published in: on December 24, 2013 at 5:59 pm  Comments (3)  
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