Manila has turned into an urban jungle filled with mall after mall that many people think there’s not much to find in the metro, especially when it comes to culture and history. That’s where people are mistaken. Hidden they may be by tall, modern buildings, there are still places you can go to within Metro Manila to learn more about heritage and culture.
Heritage houses, in particular, can still be found here in Metro Manila! They may be few and far in between but they still serve as great places to go to for that walk down our country’s memory lane.
1. Bahay Nakpil-Bautista
Located in Quiapo, Manila, Bahay Nakpil-Bautista was built in 1914 by architect Arcadio Arellano for Dr. Ariston Bautista (who was a good friend of Jose Rizal and is credited for developing a cure for cholera) and his wife, Petrona Nakpil.
It’s also known as the Tahanan ng mga Katipunero due to the family’s strong links with the Katipunan. Dr. Bautista and his wife shared their residence with Petrona’s brother, composer and Vice Supremo of the Katipunan Julio Nakpil, his wife Gregoria de Jesus, and their eight children. If the name Gregoria de Jesus rings a bell, it’s because she’s the famous Lakambini ng Katipunan who was also the widow of Andres Bonifacio.
It was only in 2014 when Bahay Nakpil-Bautista was opened to the public as a museum and heritage site. It currently houses a small Filipiniana library as well as the Museo ng Katipunan, which includes the Dambana ni Oriang and Bulwagan ng Katipunan. Certain rooms can also be rented for workshops and seminars.
There is an entrance fee of ₱80 for adults and college students, and ₱50 for senior citizens, and grade school and high school students. If you’re planning to visit as a group of ten or more people, the entrance fee is at ₱50 per person.
Bahay Nakpil-Bautista is located 432 A. Bautista Street, Quiapo, Manila.
2. La Casita Mercedes
Ever wondered what it’s like to live in those houses you see in history books and old photos and films? Well, now you can! Located in the Poblacion area in Makati, La Casita Mercedes was built in 1939 and was opened as a bed-and-breakfast in 2015 following a two-year renovation. It has also since been open for catering, private events, and even photoshoots and film productions!
It may seem surprising to find something like La Casita Mercedes in one of the busiest areas in Makati but think of it as a respite from the hustle and bustle of the metro without being too far removed from it!
Guests have seven rooms to choose from at La Casita Mercedes with each room containing original and vintage furniture to preserve the authenticity of the house. If you prefer some privacy during your stay, book Room 7, which is the only room on the third and last floor of the house.
For reservations and inquiries, you may call La Casita Mercedes at +63 2 887 4385 or at +63 977 726 0440. You can also send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Quezon Heritage House
Ever wandered inside the Quezon Memorial Circle and stumbled upon a bright, cheery yellow house? It’s no ordinary house so don’t be too quick to dismiss it! As a matter of fact, it’s a reconstruction of the house President Manuel Quezon and his family lived in. The original house was located on Gilmore Street in New Manila and 60% of the interiors and structure of the reconstructed house came from it.
A ₱10 fee is required upon entrance and a tour guide armed with stories and trivia about the family and their personal belongings will lead you through the house. “I am absolutely amazed how the Quezon City government was able to retrieve some stuff like Doña Aurora’s journal, an antique mirror cabinet, Manuel L. Quezon’s clothes, guns, and luggages,” says Diana V. in her looloo review.
“Lots of things to appreciate aside from the colorful history of Manuel L. Quezon,” Chieo O. says in his looloo review. “The periodic architecture, the interiors, furniture and spot details… even the machuka flooring is <3.”
The Quezon Heritage House is located in the Quezon Memorial Circle, Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City
4. Lichauco Heritage House
Santa Ana remains to be one the City of Manila’s most culturally and historically significant areas. Once home to Manila’s wealthiest families as well as a shelter for those seeking safety during World War II, this is where you can find the Lichauco Heritage House. It was initially owned by the O’Brien family, who fled Manila during the Second World War. It was then bought by diplomat Marcial Lichauco.
But did you know that the house is not the only declared cultural heritage in the compound of the Lichaucos? The balete tree standing in front of the house has also been declared a heritage tree and is the second tree to be named as one by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Lichauco Heritage House is located at Pedro Gil Street, Sta. Ana, Manila.
5-6. Jose P. Laurel’s Houses
Aside from the Laurel’s family residence in Tanauan, Batangas, President Jose P. Laurel owned two more houses in Manila. First is a house in Paco, Manila known as Villa Peñafrancia. Built in the 1860s, it was purchased by President Laurel in 1926 and he lived in it from 29 years.
Second is a house he bought years after serving as president of a puppet government under the Japanese occupation. Named after his wife, Pacencia Hidalgo, Villa Pacencia was recognized by the National Historical Commision as the official residence of the former president.