There were many beautiful houses in Manila…
In the 1800s:
The Paterno residence, Calle San Sebastian, Quiapo [ now R. Hidalgo street ]. According to the privately-circulated Paterno monograph by Mickey and Jean Paterno, it was originally a Zamora y Paterno residence; it devolved to the Paterno family when a Zamora heiress married a Paterno scion. It is a magnificent example of mid-19th century aristocratic Filipino residential architecture. It is still extant although deteriorated with its innumerable tenants.
The Maximino “Memo” Molo Agustin Paterno residence, Calle Azcarraga [ now Claro M. Recto Avenue ], Santa Cruz. It was the residence of the famous “Capitan Memo” Molo Agustin Paterno of Santa Cruz, Manila, who married three times: the first to Valeria Pineda, the second to Valeria’s cousin Carmina de Vera Ygnacio, and the third to Carmina’s sister, Teodora de Vera Ygnacio. One of Capitan Memo’s sons was the famous “ilustrado” Pedro Alejandro Paterno. The opulent, late 1800s, European-style interiors of Capitan Memo’s magnificent Santa Cruz residence are immortalized in a series of photographs kept by the descendants.
The Pinedas, de Veras, and Ygnacios were active players in the burgeoning jewelry trade of Santa Cruz district: they were involved in the trade of precious stones and gold, design, goldsmithing, and production of jewelry, both for the local market and for export.
The Ramon Genato residence, Calle San Sebastian, Quiapo. The very elegant mansion of Ramon Genato was renowned in its time from the 1880s-90s as a gathering place of “alta sociedad de Manila.” The raconteur Felix Roxas y Fernandez waxed nostalgic: “December 31 of every year, or the New Year’s Eve Ball, was traditionally held in the commodious and luxurious house of the Ramon Genatos whose children, out of love for their father, fondly took care of the lavish preparations for the festivity. By entering the portals of this unusual mansion on R. Hidalgo Street, the guests were brought face to face and impressed with the fine taste and artistic traits of the Genato children; and this impression was augmented when one passed through the artistically decorated and elegant rooms and halls of the mansion. The dining room appeared very splendid, not only because of the profusion of decorative plants and flowers and of fountains prepared with blocks of luminous ice, but also because of the regal appearance of the dining table decked with the latest in the decorative art.”
The Gonzalo Tuason y Patino residence, Santa Ana.
The Pedro Sy-Quia and Asuncion Michels de Champourcin y Ventura residence, Tondo [ the facade is incorporated into the present Tutuban mall; it was the former Tutuban railroad station ].
Pedro Sy-Quia amassed a great fortune in trading. At the height of his success, it was said that he owned 10 % of the real estate of Manila and its surrounding “arrabales” districts.
When the Sy-Quia-Michels de Champourcin residential property in Tondo was expropriated by the government to establish the Tutuban railroad station, the family of Pedro Sy-Quia transferred to a house on Mabini Street in the newly fashionable Ermita district. The “Table of the Sphinxes” the big marble table was purchased by the Escuderos of San Pablo, Laguna, and the biggest French crystal chandelier in the sala was purchased by the Santa Ana cabaret and it later ended up at the Malacanang palace.
The Paterno-Planas residence, Calle General Solano, San Miguel district. Before and after the war, the house contained a concentration of Paterno heirlooms from the other great family houses: magnificent ancestral portraits by 19th century Filipino masters Severino Flavier Pablo and Justiniano Asuncion and splendid late 19th century furniture by Filipino and Chinese master cabinetmakers like the famous “Ah Tay.” Unfortunately, Adela Planas viuda de Paterno was childless and had no direct heirs; none of the younger Paterno descendants stayed with her. The house and the magnificent, ages-old Paterno heirlooms were inherited by wards who deaccessioned everything and the house was consequently demolished in the late 1980s. The house parts were purchased by ***** ***** [ granddaughter of Roman R. Santos, founder of Prudential Bank ] and used in the construction of two family houses in Ayala Alabang.
The Pedro Pablo “Perico” Roxas y de Castro and Carmen de Ayala y Roxas residence, Calle General Solano, San Miguel district. It was a masterpiece of the patrician architect Felix Roxas y Arroyo [ Sr. ], who was both Pedro’s and Carmen’s uncle. Felix Roxas y Arroyo [ Sr. ] was a first cousin of Pedro’s father, Jose Bonifacio Roxas y Ubaldo, and his sister, Margarita Roxas de Ayala, Carmen’s mother. Pedro and Carmen were first cousins.
The facade of the house featured a pair of inwardly curving stone stairs.
The American “Thomasite” teacher Maria Morilla Norton wrote a detailed description of the house [ "Studies in Philippine Architecture," 1911 ].
The very elegant 1890s wedding of Margarita Roxas y de Ayala to the Spanish engineer Eduardo Soriano y Sanz was held in the house.
Senior ladies remember it as the elegant house from which Ramona “Ramonita” Roxas y Gargollo [ daughter of Antonio Roxas de Ayala and Carmen Gargollo; granddaughter of Pedro Pablo Roxas and Carmen de Ayala ] emerged for her wedding to Mr. Fernandez in the 1930s.
The Jacobo Zobel y Zangroniz and Trinidad de Ayala y Roxas residence, Calle General Solano, San Miguel district.
The Rafael Enriquez residence, Calle San Sebastian, Quiapo. It was another masterpiece of the patrician architect Felix Roxas y Arroyo [ Sr. ]. However, by the 1980s, its splendid interior architectural details had already disappeared. The small, principal staircase was certainly not in consonance with the architect’s original vision and it seemed to be a postwar replacement. It was once used as the School of Fine Arts of the University of the Philippines. Transferred and faithfully reassembled in 2007, it now stands at the “Real de Acuzar” complex in Bagac, Bataan.
The American “Thomasite” teacher Maria Morilla Norton wrote a detailed description of the house [ "Studies in Philippine Architecture," 1911 ].
The Eugster residence, Calle General Solano, San Miguel District. It was later acquired by the prominent lawyer Jose Moreno Lacalle in the 1890s. Afterwards, it was acquired by the industrialist Michael Goldenberg in 1950. It was forcibly acquired by Madame Imelda Romualdez Marcos from the Goldenberg family in the early 1970s. It is the most elegant extant example of late 19th century Filipino residential architecture.
However, it must be noted that the famous and grand “escalera principal” of the Eugster/Moreno Lacalle/Goldenberg mansion was a postwar renovation/addition.
The Mariano Limjap residence, Calle General Solano, San Miguel district.
Mariano Limjap was an immensely rich and handsome man with aristocratic tastes. Born to wealth and accustomed to elegance, his house was furnished with European furniture as well as pieces by the redoubtable “Ah Tay” of Binondo, and was littered with expensive French and English decorations. It is said that he left +- Php 10 million to each of his 10 children upon his death in the early 1900s [ his estate must have been worth Php 100 million ].
The mansion stood at the foot of the Ayala bridge. It was destroyed by bombs during the war.
The Faustino Lichauco and Luisa Fernandez residence, Calle General Solano, San Miguel district.
A Lichauco daughter recalled that there was a hallway in the house that was luxuriously lined with a succession of large Venetian mirrors on both sides.
The Rafael and Joaquin Ynchausti residence, Calle Cortabitarte, Malate district.
In the early 1900s:
The Gregorio Araneta y Soriano and Carmen Zaragoza y Roxas residence, Calle San Sebastian [ later Calle R. Hidalgo ], Quiapo. It was designed by the architect Arcadio Arellano. It was the most beautiful, elegant, aristocratic residence along Calle R. Hidalgo during the fifty years of its existence.
It actually survived the war, but it did not survive a defective light bulb in a closet.
The Ariston Bautista y Lin and Petrona Nakpil residence, Calle Barbosa [ now Bautista Street ], Quiapo. It was designed by the architect Arcadio Arellano in 1914. Its architectural details were avant garde for its time. Ariston and his wife Petrona were childless. The house devolved to Petrona’s brother, Julio Nakpil, who had married the revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio’s widow, Gregoria de Jesus. Their son, Juan Nakpil, was a leading Filipino architect.
The residence is remarkably well-preserved. Its conservation is a testament to the high intellectual and artistic traditions of the prominent Nakpil family. The original Vienna Secession-style furniture still exists in the houses of various Nakpil descendants.
The Felipe Hidalgo y Kleimpell residence, Calle San Sebastian, Quiapo. The Neo-Gothic detailed house was famous for the eccentric, all-encompassing collection of Felipe Hidalgo, a descendant of the venerable Padilla family and a nephew of the great nationalist painter Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. The magnificent Hidalgo collection was dispersed in the early 1980s and the house consequently demolished in the late 1980s.
The Baldomero Roxas residence, Malate district.
The Jose Araneta y Zaragoza and Mercedes Lopez residence, Calle Cortabitarte, Malate district.
The Andres Soriano y Roxas and Carmen de Montemar residence, Calle General Solano, San Miguel district. It was designed by the talented and eccentric artist, Emilio Alvero. It is currently the Padilla residence.
The Rafael Fernandez y Santos and Josefa Escaler y Sioco residence, Calle Arlegui, San Miguel district. It was designed by a leading American architect in an eclectic European style. It was the wedding gift of the bride’s mother, Sabina Sioco viuda de Escaler, Pampanga’s richest “hacendera” landowner at the time, to a younger daughter. Unfortunately, vicissitudes befell the Fernandez couple and the house was sold. During the Marcos presidency, First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos enlarged the house by constructing a mirror-image of the original. It served as a presidential guest house for many years. It served as the official residence of President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino during her incumbency. It is currently the property of Tarcila Laperal-Mendoza.
In the prewar [ 1930s ]:
The Jacobo Zobel y Roxas and Angela Olgado residence, Malate district, Dewey boulevard.
The property had been owned by the Vicenta Reyes viuda de Juan Roxas family since the late 1800s. It was sold by the unfortunate Francisco L. Roxas family through their representative Gregorio Araneta y Soriano [ married to their niece Carmen Zaragoza y Roxas, daughter of Rosa Roxas de Zaragoza, a first cousin of Francisco ] to their relatives the Zobel-Roxas family. Francisco L. Roxas y Reyes was a second cousin of Trinidad Ayala de Zobel, Jacobo’s paternal grandmother.
The house was in the Spanish style, detailed with bricks and white plaster.
Senior ladies remember the house to have been among Manila’s most beautiful because of the elegant tastes of Angela Olgado de Zobel.
The house became the British embassy for some years.
The Alfonso Zobel y Roxas and Carmen Pfitz y Herrero residence, Ermita district, Dewey boulevard. It was a masterpiece of the Paris-trained architect Andres Luna San Pedro, the only son of nationalist painter Juan Luna y Novicio and his heiress wife Paz Pardo de Tavera y Gorricho.
The house was in the style of the French Mediterranean villas dotting the Riviera. It also evoked the Beaux-Arts mansions of fin-de-siecle Paris.
The Enrique Zobel de Ayala and Fermina Montojo y Torrontegui residence, Dewey boulevard.
“El Nido” the Perkins residence, Dewey boulevard.
The Vicente Fernandez and Petra Leyba y Martinez residence, Aviles street [ formerly Calle Aviles ], San Miguel district. The brothers Vicente and Ramon Fernandez established “Compania Maritima,” Maritime Company of the Philippines, and other companies; they were business titans of the time. Being prominent members of the business community, they were also co-founders of “Club Tiro al Blanco,” “Club Filipino,” “Philippine Columbian Association,” etc.. Petra Leyba y Martinez belonged to a rich Spanish-Filipino family with many commercial and residential real estate holdings in Manila.
The Pickett residence, Santa Mesa. The affluent Picketts were the forebears of the famously handsome actor Eddie Gutierrez. Eddie’s father Long Pickett was considered by Manila society as the handsomest man of his time.
The Bachrach residence, Santa Mesa.
The Ramon Fernandez and Feliza Hocson y Valenzuela residence, San Juan. The brothers Vicente and Ramon Fernandez established “Compania Maritima,” Maritime Company of the Philippines, and other companies; they were business titans of the time. Being prominent members of the business community, they were also co-founders of “Club Tiro al Blanco,” “Club Filipino,” “Philippine Columbian Association,” etc.. The house was set on top of the Pinaglabanan hill on 4 hectares directly across from the Pinaglabanan church; it had a racecourse for horses; sheep and deer were also raised on the property. The house was hung with large masterpieces by prewar Filipino masters like Fabian de la Rosa, Fernando Amorsolo, and Jorge Pineda.
The Juan Arellano residence, San Juan.
The Barcelona – de Santos residence, San Juan. The prewar Italianate villa and its garden was a masterpiece of the early 20th century Filipino artist Emilio Alvero. It was built for the Barcelona, an affluent and prominent Nueva Ecija “hacendero” family. According to the Barcelonas, Emilio Alvero was an eccentric, whimsical, and temperamental artist who was most productive at night. He painstakingly designed every architectural element in the house. He even personally mixed and made the green “terrazzo” flooring of the ground floor. The residence is well-maintained in its original state by the family.
The Manuel Elizalde residence, Pasay.
The Perez Rubio residence, Vito Cruz. It was a beautiful French-style house.
The entire Perez Rubio family — with the exception of young Miguel Perez Rubio who was not in the house at that time — and their household staff were murdered by the Japanese soldiers in late February 1945.
The Tomas Mapua residence, Taft Avenue, Pasay. It was a masterpiece in the Art Deco style by the Cornell University-trained architect Tomas Mapua. He was the first registered Filipino architect. The residence is well-maintained by the family.
The Teresa Tuason residence [ the Tuason-Prieto-Caro-Ag*stines ], San Miguel district.
It is one of Manila’s most elegant houses, owing to the exquisite tastes of the owners. It is very well-maintained by the family. The lovely portrait of the original chatelaine, Teresa Tuason, painted by a Filipino old master, is still installed in the living room.
According to the legendary arts and antiques collector Marie-Theresa “Bebe” Lammoglia-Virata: “At the time we were collecting, during that time when even the ugly was beautiful, they were only collecting the beautiful.” The collection is also known as the “black hole” to the big, new collectors because once a magnificent item enters its confines, it is never seen again, except by the family and its closest circles.
“Victoneta 1933″ The 1933 Salvador Araneta y Zaragoza and Victoria Lopez y Ledesma residence, San Juan / Mandaluyong. It was a splendid Hispano-Moresque / Mediterranean style residence that sprawled on 17,000 square meters [ 1.7 hectares ]. It was in the style of the grand residences designed by Addison Mizner in Palm Beach, Florida. Three prominent architects were employed in succession to complete the villa: Juan Arellano, Lerma, and Andres Luna San Pedro.
It was destroyed by a bomb planted in the chapel by the Japanese soldiers and accidentally detonated by a Filipino refugee during the final days of the war. Salvador and Victoria Araneta decided not to rebuild “Victoneta 1933″ on account of the many war casualties. They built a new, large residence in Malabon: “Victoneta II.”
The Narcisa Buencamino de de Leon residence, New Manila.
The Amparo Joven ( y de Keyser ) de Cortes residence, New Manila.
The Jose Severo Tuason y Zaragoza and Paz “Ning” Acuna y Jurado residence, Santa Mesa.
The Leopoldo “Pindong” Tuason residence, Santa Mesa. It was transferred / rebuilt by developer DMCI as the Acacia Suites clubhouse at the BGC Bonifacio Global City.
The Antonio Tuason residence, Santa Mesa.
“Ang Gubat” the Benito Legarda and Trinidad Fernandez residence, Sampaloc. The legendary estate of the Legarda family.
The Francisco Lopez and Angela Fajardo residence, Calle Sobriedad, Sampaloc.
The house was called “Why Worry?” and it took its inspiration from the Hollywood films of the era. Once inside, it is very easy to imagine the likes of Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and Bette Davies.
The Eduardo Cojuangco y Chichioco and Josephine Murphy y Beley residence, Santa Ana. The Cojuangco-Murphy siblings remember it as a large house, although it was still being completed when World War II came to the Philippines on 08 December 1941.
The Dy-Buncio residence, Santa Ana. It later became the residence of the businessman Mr. Arcache.
The Isauro Gabaldon residence, Pina avenue, Santa Mesa.
The Carlos Palanca residence, Taft avenue, Pasay.
The Eugenio Lopez Sr. and Pacita de Santos Moreno residence, Pasay.
The Vicente Madrigal residence, Balete drive, New Manila.
After Vicente’s passing, his many, many properties were raffled off to his seven children: Macaria “Nena” [ Mrs. Juan Lichauco de Leon ], Maria Paz “Pacita” [ Mrs. Herman Warns; later Mrs. Gonzalo W. Rafols Gonzalez ], Josefina “Pinang” [ Mrs. Francisco Ma. B. Bayot ], Antonio “Tony” [ married to Amanda Teopaco Abad Santos ], Jose “Belec” [ married to Victoria Teopaco Abad Santos ], Consuelo “Chito” [ Mrs. Luis "Chichos" Earnshaw Vazquez; later Mrs. Manuel Collantes ], and Maria Luisa “Ising” [ Mrs. Daniel Earnshaw Vazquez ]. It was Maria Luisa “Ising” who got the New Manila residence in the “bunutan” raffle. However, Consuelo “Chito” complained aloud and so the residence was raffled off again. The second time, it was Antonio “Tony” who got it; there were no objections from Chito. Antonio went into a joint venture with the Rufinos and developed the large property as a compound of luxury townhouses. It is known that the Madrigal-Paterno grandchildren rue the loss of their grandfather’s home: they spent many happy years there and the Eduardo Cojuangco Sr. grandchildren [ most often the Suntay-Cojuangco ] often came over to play by merely climbing ladders over their common fences. According to the Vazquez-Madrigal children, had their mother Maria Luisa “Ising” Madrigal-Vazquez inherited their grandfather’s house, she would have maintained it as it was during his lifetime.
The Jose Yulo residence, New Manila.
The Josephine Murphy de Cojuangco residence, Balete drive, New Manila. According to Mercedes Cojuangco-Teodoro, her parents Eduardo Cojuangco Sr. and his wife Josephine Murphy purchased the New Manila property from an American who had been interned during the war at the University of Santo Tomas; on it stood a traditional house of wood and stone constructed in prewar. In the years before his untimely 1952 demise, Eduardo Cojuangco Sr. had several architects, among them the famous Juan Nakpil, draw up plans for his upcoming residence.
After her husband’s passing in 1952, it was Josephine Murphy viuda de Cojuangco who constructed the house where she lived with her six children Eduardo Jr., Manuel, Henry, Mercedes, Aurora, and Isabel.
“Bahay na Puti” The J. Amado Araneta and Ester Araneta residence, Cubao. J. Amado “Amading” Araneta was known in affluent Manila-Bacolod-Iloilo circles for his “Think Big” mindset [ think Araneta Coliseum ], and his vast residence reflected that fact.
“White House” / “Victoneta II” The postwar Salvador Araneta y Zaragoza and Victoria Lopez y Ledesma residence, AIA Compound, Malabon.
The Luis Ma. Araneta y Zaragoza residence, # 52 McKinley Road, Forbes Park.
There were also interesting houses in Manila…
The “Pagoda” renovation of the 1800s Ocampo residence, Quiapo
The Ocampo family of Quiapo were directly descended from the prominent and affluent Paterno and Zamora families, also of the same district [ Calle San Sebastian / Calle R. Hidalgo ], as well as the famous and wealthy de los Reyes family originally of Cavite [ Crisanto de los Reyes y Mendoza ].
“Villa Caridad,” New Manila. The prewar, eclectic, Mediterranean-style residence was built by the Lerma family. It was later acquired by the Gallego-Ongsiako family with whom it was more closely associated.