Memorable Manila Houses

There were many beautiful houses in Manila…

In the 1800s:

The Capitan Mariano Zamora and Capitana Martina Molo Agustin Paterno y Yamson residence, # 917 Calle San Sebastian, Quiapo [ now # 968 R. Hidalgo street ].  It devolved to their children Asuncion and Manuel.  It later became the Maximino Paterno y Devera Ignacio and Asuncion Zamora y Paterno residence.  It is a magnificent example of mid-19th century aristocratic Filipino residential architecture.  It was inherited by the descendants of Maximino Paterno y Devera Ignacio and Asuncion Zamora y Paterno.  It is still extant although deteriorated with its innumerable “tenants.”

Capitan Mariano Zamora and his first wife Manuela Josefa had a daughter:  Regina Zamora married her father’s second wife’s/stepmother’s brother Lucas Molo Agustin Paterno y Yamson.

Capitan Mariano Zamora and his second wife Capitana Martina M. A. Paterno y Yamson had 4 children:  Asuncion Zamora y Paterno married her maternal first cousin Maximino Paterno y Devera Ignacio;  Manuel Zamora y Paterno married his niece Maria Egypciaca Paterno y Zamora (daughter of his half-sister Regina Zamora and maternal uncle Lucas M. A. Paterno y Yamson), then married Baltazara Mangali;  Juana Zamora y Paterno married Pablo Ocampo y de Leon;  and Severino Zamora y Paterno married Ana Longos.

According to the memories of Maximino’s and Asuncion’s grandson Roberto “Bobby” Montilla Paterno in the privately-circulated Paterno monograph “The Paternos” by Miguel and Jean Marie Paterno (2005):  “I was told that that house used to belong to my Lola Asuncion Zamora and her brother Manuel Zamora.  I haven’t been able to find out when it was first built.  But when I was born (1936) it already belonged to the children of Asuncion, including my father.”

Apparently, it was originally a Zamora y Paterno residence.  It became more associated with the Paterno family when Asuncion Zamora y Paterno married her maternal first cousin Maximino Paterno y Devera Ignacio.  The couple had 10 children:  Florencio Zamora Paterno;  Isabel Zamora Paterno;  Maximino Zamora Paterno;  Carmen “Mameng” Zamora Paterno married Isaac Lacson;  Martina “Tinang” Zamora Paterno;  Maximino “Mino” Zamora Paterno married Lelia Toth (Argentinean);  Maria “Yang” Zamora Paterno;  Jose  “Pepe”/”Chenggoy” Zamora Paterno;  Dolores “Loling” Zamora Paterno married Angel Tuason;  Ramon “Monching” Zamora Paterno married Adelina Inez “Nelly” Montilla, then married Adela Planas.

The Capitan Maximino “Memo” Molo Agustin Paterno y Yamson residence, Santa Cruz, on the narrow, elongated block bordered by no 73 Calle San Roque [ no 453 Padre Gomez street ], corner Calle Noria [ Pedro Paterno street ], corner Calle Quiotan [ Sales street ], corner Calle Francisco Carriedo, midway between the Santa Cruz church and the Quiapo church.  The facade/main entrance [ and postal address ] of the house was on Calle San Roque;  the “azotea” and the “caballerizas” stables should have been on Calle Francisco Carriedo;  however, according to Miguel and Jean Marie Paterno, the (original) titles and plans of the house showed “accessorias”/apartments for rent since the acquisition of the properties;  Capitan Memo simply purchased the adjacent properties through the years.  The long sides of the house were along Calle San Roque and Calle Quiotan; the short sides of the house were along Calle Noria and Calle Francisco Carriedo.

It was the legendary residence of the famous “Capitan Memo” Maximino Molo Agustin Paterno of Santa Cruz, Manila, who married three times:  the first to Valeria Pineda, the second to Valeria’s cousin Carmen “Carmina” Devera Ignacio y Pineda, and the third to Carmina’s sister, Teodora Devera Ignacio y Pineda.  One of Capitan Memo’s sons was the famous “ilustrado” Pedro Alejandro Paterno y Molo [ actually “y Devera Ignacio,” but Pedro preferred to use “y Molo” according to top historian Dr Ambeth Ocampo ].  The opulent European “Belle Epoque” style interiors of Capitan Memo’s magnificent Santa Cruz residence are immortalized in a series of photographs kept by the descendants.

Capitan Maximino M. A. Paterno y Yamson and his first wife Valeria Pineda had one son: Narciso Paterno y Pineda married Lorenza Chuidian, then married Emilia Venegas.

Capitan Maximino M. A. Paterno y Yamson and his second wife Carmen “Carmina” Devera Ignacio y Pineda had 9 children:  Agueda “Guiday” Paterno y Devera Ignacio;  Maria Dolores “Doleng” Paterno y Devera Ignacio, Jose Timoteo “Pepe” Paterno y Devera Ignacio married his paternal first cousin Maria Patrocinio “Quita” Paterno y Zamora (daughter of his paternal uncle Lucas M. A. Paterno y Yamson and his aunt Capitana Martina’s stepdaughter Regina Zamora), Pedro Alejandro Paterno y Devera Ignacio married Luisa Pineiro y Merino;  Maria Jacoba “Cobang” Paterno y Devera Ignacio;  Antonio Paterno y Devera Ignacio married Andrea Angeles;  Maximino Paterno y Devera Ignacio married his paternal first cousin Asuncion Zamora y Paterno;  Maria de la Paz Santa “Paz” Paterno y Devera Ignacio;  Trinidad “Trining” Paterno y Devera Ignacio married Claudio Gabriel.

Capitan Maximino M. A. Paterno y Yamson and his third wife Teodora Devera Ignacio y Pineda had 5 children:  Mariano “Nano” Paterno y Devera Ignacio, “Concepcion “Concha” Paterno y Devera Ignacio married Narciso Padilla y Bibby, the twins Feliciano “Ciano” Paterno y Devera Ignacio and Rosenda Paterno y Devera Ignacio, and Adelaida “Adela”/”Adeling” Paterno y Devera Ignacio.

The Pinedas, Deveras, and Ignacios 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 “de 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.”

“La Casa Grande,” Calle San Sebastian [later # 964 Calle R Hidalgo], the residence of the (second) Conde de Aviles — Jose Vicente de Aviles — who built it in the 1850s.  It later became the Benito Cosme Legarda y Tuason and Teresa de la Paz [viuda de Jose Severo Tuason] residence in 187_ [after Teresa passed away in 1890, he married the beautiful and talented Spanish mestiza Francisca “Paquita” del Rosario of no 2 Calle Ezpeleta, Santa Cruz, Manila].  The Palacio de Malacanan was in an embarrassing state of constant disrepair in those days, so the Spanish Governors-General resorted to entertaining at the (second) Conde de Aviles’ “La Casa Grande” along fashionable Calle San Sebastian.  The palatial residence was where the Duke of Edinburgh was entertained in Manila during his visit in 1869;  it was also where King Norodom I of Cambodia was entertained in Manila during his visit in 1872.

“La Casa Grande,” the beautiful and elegant Legarda-de la Paz residence, was hung with several important oil paintings by Filipino and Spanish masters (among them “La Inocencia” by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo y Padilla, seascapes by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo y Padilla, paintings by Juan Luna y Novicio, “Portrait of Don Benito Cosme Legarda y Tuason” by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, and the “Portrait of Dona Teresa de la Paz de Tuason de Legarda” by Felix Martinez);  furnished with luxurious European furniture from Madrid and Barcelona and exquisite Filipino furniture by Ah Tay and Isabelo Tampinco;  Eastern rugs, French gilded mirrors, crystal chandeliers, and great Japanese Satsuma and Kutani vases.

Benito Cosme Legarda y Tuason and his first wife Teresa de la Paz viuda de Jose Severo Tuason had three children:  Benito III “Bitong” married Filomena “Nena” Roces y Gonzalez;  Consuelo “Titang” married Mauro Prieto y Gorricho;  Rita “Chata” married 1)  L James Donaldson-Sim  2)  Benito Valdes y Salvador.  “La Casa Grande” was inherited by Rita “Chata” Legarda y de la Paz de Valdes.

The Gonzalo Tuason y Patino residence, Santa Ana.

The Pedro Sy-Quia y Encarnacion and Asuncion Michels de Champourcin y Ventura residence, Tondo [the big house stood on the exact location of the main Tutuban mall which was the original Tutuban railroad station;  according to Sy-Quia oral tradition, the old Tutuban railroad station was the big old family house reconfigured by Architect Juan Jose Hervas to be a train station].

Pedro Sy-Quia y Encarnacion 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 Placido Escudero y de Leon and his wife Claudia Marasigan y Javier (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-Devera Ignacio residence, # 1331 Calle El Conde de Aviles [later Jose P Laurel street], San Miguel district.  It was the “casa nueva” new house built in the early 1900s by the children of Capitan Maximino “Memo” Molo Agustin Paterno y Yamson and his third wife Teodora Devera Ignacio y Pineda — Mariano “Nano,” Concepcion “Concha” [ Concepcion Paterno de Padilla;  Sra de Narciso Padilla y Bibby ], the twins Feliciano “Ciano” and Rosenda, and Adela “Adela” / “Adeling.”  It was a big, massive house painted light blue and white, set off from the street by a garden, that resembled the nearby Eugster residence [Eugster-Moreno Lacalle-Goldenberg house] but without the lacelike arches.  The house devolved to the spinster Adela [ o 1882 – + 1962 ], the last surviving daughter of Capitan Maximino Paterno.  Before and after the war, the house contained a concentration of Paterno heirlooms from the other great family houses (specially the magnificent residence of Capitan Maximino “Memo” Molo Agustin Paterno in nearby Santa Cruz with its several reception rooms and halls furnished in opulent European “Belle Epoque” style) because of the old Filipino tradition that the youngest daughter in the family becomes a spinster in order to take care of the aging parents and consequently inherits the family house and its contents:  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 Isabelo Tampinco and “Ah Tay.”  Adela Paterno y Devera Ignacio passed away in 1962.  Unfortunately, decades later the house and the magnificent, ages-old Paterno heirlooms were deaccessioned 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.

A prominent Paterno family member reminisced:  “Of course I remember Lola Adela…  Yes, old Lola Adela Paterno, not Adela Planas of Monching (the 2nd Mrs Ramon Z Paterno, after Adelina Inez “Nelly” Montilla Montilla).  Until her passing in 1962, we [ the Paterno clan ] used to assemble at her old house across Malacanang every Christmas.  She was old, frail, and quiet.  She would be seated on an armchair and we would all queue up for her “aguinaldo” — Php 2.00 in small white envelopes for everybody in those years wherein an “aguinaldo” of any value would have been at least Php 50.00 .  There we were lining up:  Ting, Baby, Manolo, Ninit, even Chito [ Consuelo Alejandra Paterno Madrigal-Vazquez-Collantes ] and Ising [ Maria Luisa Paterno Madrigal-Vazquez ].  Imagine giving superrich Chito and Ising Madrigal Php 2.00 “aguinaldo” each!  But they were very nice and charming about it.  After all, Lola Adela was a favorite aunt of their mother Tia Susana:  Lola Adela was very kind to her and Tia Susana regarded her with great affection;  they were only a few years apart in age.  Lola Adela was a first cousin of Jose Tereso Paterno, Susana’s father. Lola Adela’s father Maximino and Susana’s grandfather Lucas were brothers.”

A younger, prominent Paterno family member recalled:  “I remember when old Lola Adela Paterno died (in 1962), I wasn’t even 10 years old yet… no, not Lola Adela [Adela Planas, the 2nd Mrs Ramon Z Paterno] of Lolo Monching [Ramon Z Paterno].  Old Lola Adela, aunt of Lola Loling [youngest half-sister of her father Dr Maximino P]!  She lived in a house across Malacanang palace, down the street from Lola Loling [Dolores “Loling” Zamora Paterno, Mrs Angel Tuason].  Old Lola Adela was laid in state on her own old four poster bed in a long dress [terno].  She had cotton balls inside her nostrils and in her ears.  And so I asked Mommy [MLPT]:  “Why does old Lola Adela have cotton in her nose and ears?  Scary!”

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.  Their son Enrique Zobel de Ayala established his own residence on Plaza Ferguson in newly-fashionable Ermita in the 1890s.  By the 1920s, the Zobel family was no longer in residence.

During that time, the hacendero Arsenio Escudero y Marasigan of San Pablo, Laguna was driving by the house on Calle General Solano when he espied a beautiful late 1800s matrimonial bed, probably by the “Ah Tay” workshop, left to the elements in the garden; he promptly made arrangements to acquire it from the family.

The Rafael Enriquez y Villanueva residence, Calle San Sebastian, Quiapo.  It was another masterpiece of the patrician architect Felix Roxas y Arroyo [ Sr. ].  Its second floor featured a columned, expansive, and airy balcony overlooking the street;  it can be seen in several old photographs of Calle San Sebastian taken before 1900.  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 splendidly 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 late 1960s.  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 y Nolasco residence, Calle General Solano, San Miguel district.

Mariano Limjap y Nolasco was an immensely rich and handsome man with aristocratic tastes.  He was descended from Carlos Palanca Tan-Quien-Sen, the very first “Sangley” Chinese to attain the summit of wealth and influence in 1800s Spanish Manila;  Carlos Palanca Tan-Quien-Sen was the model for the extremely affluent Chinese businessman Quiroga in Dr Jose P Rizal’s incendiary novel “Noli Me Tangere.”  Born to wealth and accustomed to elegance, Mariano Limjap’s house was furnished with European and Chinese 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 1 million to each of his 10 children upon his death in the early 1900s [ his estate must have been worth in excess of Php 10 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. Photographs exist of the beautiful house of one of Manila’s extremely affluent families.

In the early 1900s:

The Gregorio Araneta y Soriano and Carmen Zaragoza y Roxas residence, Calle San Sebastian [ later # 1030 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 German Art Nouveau architectural details were avant-garde for its time, inspired by a suite of imported Viennese Wiener Werkstatte furniture given to the couple by affluent businessman Mauro Prieto y Gorricho and his wife Consuelo Legarda y de la Paz.  Ariston and his wife Petrona were childless.  The majority of the property, 15/16 parts, was willed to Ariston’s and Petrona’s favorite grandnephew Arch Angel Ernesto Sancho Nakpil, son of Ramon Nakpil [ youngest nephew of Petrona ] and the Spanish mestiza Enriqueta Sancho y Najera.  Postwar, Angel E Nakpil married Carmen “Chitang” Francisco Guerrero, the young widow of Ismael “Toto” Arguelles Cruz.  After Angel E Nakpil passed away in 1979, his adolescent children decided that they did not want to maintain the old house, so they asked to cede it to their Nakpil relatives in exchange for another family property.

The property eventually devolved to the heirs of Petrona’s brother, Julio Nakpil, who had married the revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio’s widow, Gregoria “Oriang” de Jesus y Alvarez.  Their son, Arch Juan de Jesus Nakpil, became a leading Filipino architect.

Ariston Bautista y Lin was the only child of an affluent, Chinese mestizo, Santa Cruz, Manila family.  The Nakpil family was from Quiapo.  Francisco Nakpil, the eldest brother of Petrona, was the one who established the “Joyeria Nakpil” and the first in the family to join the Katipunan movement;  his younger brother Julio followed after Francisco’s imprisonment and torture.  A little-known fact was that Petrona, Francisco, and Julio Nakpil were cousins of the famous brothers Juan and Antonio Luna y Novicio of Badoc, Ilocos Norte [ albeit not first ];  the mother of their father, Juan Nakpil Sr, was a Luna of their line.  Hence, some of the family connections of the 1896 Revolution explained.

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.

Barbara “Baritay” Padilla de Resurreccion Hidalgo later the Felipe Hidalgo y Kleimpell residence, Calle San Sebastian, Quiapo.  Barbara was the daughter of Narciso Padilla, who built a shipping and trading fortune that spanned Luzon and the southern islands.  Barbara Padilla de Resurreccion Hidalgo was known as “the Queen of the Pasig river,” for her boats and “cascos” plied the length of the river and beyond to trade various basic goods and her warehouses lined the length of the Pasig river from Tondo to Binondo.  In her old age, Barbara Padilla de Resurreccion Hidalgo sold her shipping business to Luis Yangco, considerably adding to the core of his increasing wealth, which survives to this day through his Yangco-Magsaysay descendants and the flourishing Magsaysay shipping business.  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 y Padilla.   The magnificent Hidalgo collection was dispersed in the early 1980s and the house consequently demolished in the late 1980s.

The Jose Escaler y Sioco and Aurea Ocampo y Hizon residence, Calle San Rafael, San Miguel district.  The house was an early work of the Cornell University-trained architect Tomas Mapua.  Jose “Pepe” Escaler y Sioco was the “unico hijo” of the maternal (Rodriguez) first cousins Manuel Escaler y Rodriguez of Balanga, Bataan and Sabina Sioco y Rodriguez of barrio Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga.  Sabina Sioco de Escaler became the richest “hacendera” in Pampanga during her lifetime (1858-1950), acquiring thousands of hectares of agricultural land in Pampanga, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan and many commercial and residential properties in Manila.  She was assisted by the family’s financial geniuses, her son Jose “Pepe” Escaler y Sioco and nephew Augusto “Bosto” Gonzalez y Sioco.  The family of Sabina Sioco de Escaler, by virtue of its great wealth, was the first Pampanga family to be assimilated into Manila’s “de alta sociedad” in the early 1900s (joining the ranks of the Tuasons, Legardas, Prietos, Valdeses, Roxases, de Ayalas, Zobels, Sorianos, Paternos, Zamoras, Palancas, Sunicos, Chuidians, Limjaps, et al) long before other grand Pampanga families.  Among many other Manila properties in Binondo, Santa Cruz, and Quiapo, Sabina Sioco de Escaler owned one whole side of Calle Cristobal Arlegui as well as other choice residential properties in Calle General Solano, Calle El Conde de Aviles, and Calle San Rafael in the posh San Miguel district.  Aurea “Auring” Ocampo y Hizon was the daughter of Dr Basilio Ocampo and Leoncia Hizon y Singian both of rich “hacendero” families in San Fernando, Pampanga.  Their 2 sons who achieved distinction were businessman Ernesto Ocampo Escaler, married to Maria Luisa Lichauco de Leon, and Bishop Federico Ocampo Escaler SJ.

The Nicanor Padilla y Escobar and Ysabel Bibby y Pena residence, Calle Rodriguez Arias [a U-shaped street], off Calle General Solano, San Miguel district.  Nicanor Padilla was a younger relative/nephew of the affluent Barbara “Baritay” Padilla de Resurreccion Hidalgo, whose Narciso Padilla branch of the family was the first to settle in Manila from Lingayen, Pangasinan in the 1850s and establish its flourishing shipping, trading, and real estate businesses.  Narciso Padilla had a younger brother, Tomas, whom he called to study in Manila.  Tomas Padilla was the father of Nicanor Padilla y Escobar.  Nicanor followed suit in the early 1900s, bringing with him the “materiales fuertes” of his substantial house in Lingayen and reassembling it on Calle Rodriguez Arias at the San Miguel district.  The old house was rebuilt on the right side of the property and a second house was later built on the left as a halfway house for their newly-married children.  The old house was furnished entirely with massive, ornate, solid “narra” wood furniture from the Bilibid Prison workshops.

In the prewar [ 1920s-30s ]:

“Mira-Nila,” the 1929 Conrado Benitez y Francia and Francisca Tirona y Paredes residence, No 26 Mariposa street, Cubao, Quezon city [originally No 1 Mariposa until the 1950s].  During the prewar, Senate President Manuel Quezon y Molina urged his friends to build their houses in the “new city” [which would become Quezon city formed by areas of Caloocan, San Juan, Marikina, Pasig, Montalban, and San Mateo;  the original settlements were in San Francisco del Monte, Novaliches, and Balintawak].  Educator Conrado Benitez y Francia and his good friend Secretary of Justice Jose Abad-Santos y Basco purchased 3-hectare parcels across each other on a hill in a corner of San Juan and built their residences surrounded by sprawling gardens.  The Benitez-Tirona villa was called  “Mira-Nila” because one had a great view of Manila and environs from the fourth level tower.  It was built by Engineer ____ who took his instructions from Mr and Mrs Benitez who were inspired by a catalog of houses in Florence, Italy brought home from a European tour by Mrs Benitez’s sisters Joaquina, Ramona, and Felicidad “Felicing” Tirona.  It escaped destruction during World War II because it was occupied by the Japanese Army, who then left 16 land mines outside and inside the house in their wake;  the land mines were removed by the US Army who occupied the house after Liberation.  The Spanish-style villa has a high-ceilinged ground floor with a spacious living area, library, dining area, guest powder room, kitchen, and an elegant winding staircase leading to the next level.  The second floor has a commodious family room [also used as a breakfast room] from which radiate the 3 bedrooms and bathrooms.  There is a service area and an elevator at the back.  Befitting the home of prominent educators, the villa has a collection of 10,000 books.

The Dr Baldomero Roxas and Pilar Asuncion residence, Malate district.  It was designed as a French provincial chalet by Andres Luna de San Pedro.  According to the senior ladies, it was one of the most frequented houses in prewar Manila as the very social Dr and Mrs Roxas liked to give parties often.

The Jose Araneta y Zaragoza and Mercedes Lopez y Alba residence, Calle Cortabitarte, Malate district.    The Japanese Army occupied the house during the war.  It was destroyed during the Liberation of 1945.

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 Alberto Padilla y Bibby residence.

The Rafael Fernandez y Santos and Josefa Escaler y Sioco residence, Calle San Geronimo [ Cristobal Arlegui street ], San Miguel district.  It was designed by a leading American architect in an eclectic European style (not by Arch Andres Luna de San Pedro).  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 “Tanching” Laperal-Mendoza.

In the prewar [ 1930s ]:

The Jacobo Zobel y Roxas and Angela Olgado y Calvo 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 [ Atty ] Eugene Perkins and Idona Slade residence, Dewey boulevard.

The Vicente Fernandez and Petra Leyba y Martinez residence, Calle El Conde de Aviles [later Jose P Laurel street], 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 Eriberta “Tata” Tuason y de la Paz residence [ the Tuason-Prieto-Caro-Ag*stines ], Calle San Rafael, San Miguel district.

Teresa Eriberta “Tata” Tuason y de la Paz was the eldest daughter of Jose Severo Tuason, the fourth lord of the Tuason “mayorazgo” (noble estate), and Teresa de la Paz.  Although not the principal heir of the vast Tuason fortune, she had great influence over family matters.  After her father’s early demise, her mother Teresa de la Paz viuda de Jose Severo Tuason married a relative, Benito Cosme Legarda y Tuason and had three more children Benito III “Bitong,” Consuelo “Titang,” and Rita “Chata.”  When her mother Teresa de la Paz de Legarda was dying in 1890, Teresa Eriberta “Tata” Tuason y de la Paz promised to take care of her three Legarda y de la Paz half-siblings and their children as they were well-to-do but simply not as affluent as their Tuason y de la Paz half-siblings.  “Tata” made good on that promise and went on to supervise the rigorous early education of her Legarda y Roces and Valdes y Legarda nephews and nieces assisted by the Madrid “ilustrado” Dr Ariston Bautista y Lin.

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 Eriberta “Tata” Tuason y de la Paz, 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 Jose de Leon and Narcisa Buencamino 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 Jose Maria “Pindong” Tuason y Zaragoza residence, Calle Sociego [later Sociego street], Santa Mesa.  It was transferred / rebuilt by developer DMCI as the Acacia Suites clubhouse at the BGC Bonifacio Global City.

The Antonio “Tony” Tuason residence, Santa Mesa.

“Ang Gubat” the Benito IV Legarda y Roces and Trinidad Fernandez y Rodriguez residence, Sampaloc.  The legendary estate of the Legarda family.

The Francisco Lopez y Tongoy and Angela Fajardo y Jacinto 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 Guillermo 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 Tan-Guin-Lay 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 y Sitchon and Ester Araneta y Bustamante 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 is 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 Domingo Lerma family. It was later acquired by the Gallego-Ongsiako family with whom it is more closely associated.


Acknowledgments:  the estate of Adela “Adeling” Paterno y Devera Ignacio, the estate of Maximino Molo Agustin Paterno y Yamson, Miguel “Mickey” and Jean Marie Paterno, Mia Cruz Syquia-Faustmann, Cristina Chanco Syquia-Daland, Stella Goldenberg-Brimo, Maria “Mary” Limjap-Santos Fernandez, Jorge J L “George” Lichauco de Leon, Jose “Joe” Lichauco de Leon III, Francis Montemayor de Leon, Enriqueta Antonia Filomena Lisa “Lizza” Guerrero Nakpil, Dr Fernando “Butch” Nakpil Zialcita, Antonio “Tony” Guerrero Padilla, Felix “Nonon” Guerrero Padilla, the estate of Ramona “Monay” Gonzalez y Morales de Favis, Beatriz “Betty” Gonzalez Favis-Gonzalez, Teresa Gonzalez Favis-Olbes, Cecilia Gonzalez Favis-Gomez, Purissima Helena “Petty” Liboro Benitez-Johannot, Richard Barnes Lopez, Renato “Rene” Palanca Gonzalez, “Maripaz” Godinez, Leo Hocson Lazatin, Lito Hocson, Marie-Theresa “Bebe” Gallardo Lammoglia-Virata, Regina “Regi” Lopez Araneta-Teodoro, Carmen “Carminia” Lopez Araneta-Segovia, Mercedes “Ditas” Murphy Cojuangco-Teodoro, Aurora “Rory” Murphy Cojuangco-Lagdameo, Isabel Murphy Cojuangco-Suntay, Asuncion “Sony” Fajardo Lopez-Gonzalez, Teresita “Titchy” Fajardo Lopez Marquez-Lim, Macaria “Nena” Paterno Madrigal-de Leon, Antonio “Tony” Paterno Madrigal, Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Abad Santos Madrigal, Maria Paz “Pacita” Paterno Madrigal-Warns-Gonzalez, Vicente “Bu” Madrigal Warns, Atty Ana Maria Gizela “Ging” Madrigal Gonzalez-Montinola, Consuelo Alejandra “Chito” Paterno Madrigal-Vazquez-Collantes, Maria Luisa “Ising” Paterno Madrigal-Vazquez, Maria Victoria “Marivic” Madrigal Vazquez, Margarita “Gaita” Araneta Fores, Pablo “Paul” Pineda Campos III, Avelina “Ave” Reynoso Gala-Blanco, Martin “Sonny” Imperial Tinio, Jr.



  1. Mary Ann Brown said,

    January 1, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    No Gonzalez house?

  2. March 25, 2016 at 3:05 am

    Good day Maam Angela Elizalde Martin!
    Is your father’s house in Roberts St., Barrio San Jose?
    I might help you if it is… regards family, God blez! O:)

  3. Leslie de Leon said,

    April 8, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I am also fascinated by that mansion along Roxas boulevard. Would you know who is the caretaker of that structur?.ReBtw, my lolo is a Reyes-de Leon, originating from Bulacan. So nice to read this blog,

  4. DJ San Jose said,

    March 9, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Hello! I noticed that the beautiful white mansion beside Chateau de Baie (along Roxas Blvd, near Coastal Mall) is now being renovated. I’ve always been curious about this house but I can hardly find details about it. I hope you can share something about this old house. Thanks and God bless!

  5. March 5, 2015 at 5:22 am

    Fascinating site and very informative blog, respectful, stimulating and well placed comments.
    I belong to the “poor” of the Cerdena-Gonzalez-deLeon-Reyes family on my father side from San Miguel Mayumo, Bulacan and Tugaff-Decena of Victorias/Bacolod on my mother side.
    I am a retired architect living in Orange County, California/ Durham, NC.
    Was very much involved in historical architecture during my career as an Architect. I thank you very much Toto for all this golden nuggets in residential architecture in Manila and environs. More power to you and carry on.

  6. October 21, 2014 at 5:17 am

    To Wendy Earnshaw and Ronaldo Samson Adoptante:

    Thank you for your contributions about the Earnshaw and Boustead families. When you have reached a consensus, kindly upload them again.

    Warm regards.

    Toto Gonzalez

  7. Martin Imperial Tinio, Jr. said,

    December 26, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Villa Caridad was the residence of Dr. Lerma, the society dentist of pre-War Manila. He was a bachelor and was one of the earliest antique collectors of the pre-War era. He was a classmate and very good friend of my granduncle, Gregorio Imperial, and was also my dentist when I was a boy in the 1950s. His clinic was in the Perez-Samanillo Bldg. on Escolta. In the late 1960s, when he was already very old, he sold his house and built a smaller one in San Beda Subd. where he lived with his nieces. One of them opened a pastry shop, Pasteleria Espanola, in front of the house that was famous for its Palillos de Milan. He died sometime in the 70s and his collection was dispersed among Luis Araneta, Bobby Borja, Manoling Morato and other collectors.

  8. Wendy Garcia said,

    November 29, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Interesting! I plan to go & visit Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar in the near future.

  9. April 29, 2013 at 2:48 am

    […] So now that i know the name of the house. I search “Villa Caridad” on the internet and this is what I found from a wordpress blogger also: (click me) […]

  10. Enrique Bustos said,

    August 26, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Another Memorable Manila house is the Ancestral house of the Basa Family in Lepanto St. Sampaloc Manila it is designed by famed architect Andres Luna San Pedro one of the heirs is Cristina Basa Roco-Corona their inheritance feud is well know to all because of the Impeachment Trial by her husband the former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

  11. Enrique Bustos said,

    July 16, 2012 at 8:20 am

    A friend told me the man who designed the former Lerma House now Villa Caridad in Broadway New Manila is the late Alejandro Caudal he is married to Trinidad Lerma Alejandro Caudal designed and created the furniture of the Luis Santos House in Malolos Bulacan, Jacinto House in Bustos Bulacan,Lopa House in Pasay and the Bernardo Tiongco house in Pandacan.and until the early 1950’s he installed the decorations of the State Receptions in Malacanang Palace.


    September 1, 2011 at 11:25 am

    i have read your post.. and i know the people who r u looking.. i am the grandaughter of MARCELINO & ROSALINA father is a youngest son of them, his name is Ernesto Malixi Enriquez..
    your sisters milagros & pacita are still alive and lives near at our home.. hope to make a communication with u coz they are looking for u a long long time ago since u’ve lost your communication with lola pasing…

    i am not good in english but i will try my best u to understand me…hope so…
    plz keep in touch… here’s my email add;

    its me…, CHERRY ENRIQUEZ

  13. Wendy Earnshaw said,

    August 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I have a photo of my late husband’s great grandmother, in her 2 horse carriage with driver, outside 103 Nozaleda Street. I think this would have been in either Manila or Cavite. Anyone know it? Does it still exist?

  14. Enrique Bustos said,

    June 29, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Helena Benitez turns 97, home now heritage site
    By DJ Yap
    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    MIRA-NILA Former Sen. Helena Benitez poses by the ancient piano of the ancestral Benitez home, declared a heritage site by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

    Helena Z. Benitez was in her teens when her parents built a house on a hill, a stately white structure in a rural corner of San Juan now known as Cubao.

    The 40-foot-tall house with the terra cotta roof stood solitary on a field of green where carabaos grazed. With her siblings, the young Helena often clambered up the tower to lie on the canopy, where, she said, they gazed at the sky “trying to find the Big Dipper.”

    Over the decades, generations of Benitez children would continue the tradition of climbing the tower to survey the landscape, for which the house was named “Mira-Nila” (for “mira,” Spanish for “behold,” and Manila).

    Mira-Nila is now 82 years old. Tomorrow (Monday), Benitez, a former senator and daughter of the late constitutionalist Conrado Benitez and educator Francisca Tirona, will turn 97.

    Benitez can no longer climb the steep stairs to the tower and instead carefully works her way up or down the floors in a tiny elevator. But her memories of her home and its past occupants remain ever strong.

    On June 22, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) unveiled a marker declaring Mira-Nila a “heritage house.” Benitez and members of her immediate family from the third and fourth generations witnessed the occasion.

    In accepting the heritage declaration, Benitez dedicated the honor to her kin, whom she described as people who treasured relationships and honored traditions.

    “The [younger generations] don’t have the same intimacy that my parents, siblings and I had in Mira-Nila, but I think they have attended enough gatherings to have an appreciation for the tremendous honor and recognition of this ceremony,” she said.

    Almost original

    A lot has changed in the surroundings of the house since it was built in 1929, family members said.

    The meadow has given way to a slick road that leads to other gated houses with manicured lawns and immaculate gardens. The panorama of Manila as viewed from the tower—a cozy square room with sliding windows on each of the four sides—is now obscured by the high-rises of Makati and Mandaluyong Cities.

    But like an old painting, Mira-Nila has not faded.

    The four-tiered residence at 26 Mariposa Street, which was inspired by a catalogue of homes in the Italian city of Florence, has been preserved almost in its original state, from the spiral pillars, porch lights and cast-iron windows to the antique cabinets, burnished wooden staircase and white arches dividing the space between the library and the living room.

    In an interview, Benitez said she hoped the declaration of Mira-Nila as a heritage house would entice more Filipinos to visit and appreciate its greatness. She now lives alone in the house with a staff of 15, and spends most of her waking hours in her study in the master bedroom, reading books and periodicals.

    (In the bedroom, next to a cushioned chair where Benitez does her reading, is a side table. Atop it lay a copy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, neatly folded, along with a magnifying glass, pens and framed black-and-white photos.)

    Her favorite part of the house is the library, where the family keeps part of its immense collection of Filipiniana, reference and law books and manuscripts, some dating back to the 1800s.

    “I am almost afraid to touch them,” said librarian Delia Pineda, whose task is to organize the 5,000 or so books and manuscripts in the collection. The oldest of these will be encased in glass, she said.

    Treasure trove

    Strolling into the main living room, one is immediately drawn to treasures of a time long past: portraits on the walls, a tall grandfather clock in a corner, wooden couches with elegant curved backs, and antique jars with intricate designs on the floor or tabletops.

    It seems that one may find something old or quaint in every nook and cranny, like the Botong Francisco mural in the main dining room, or the ancient piano that the Benitez children played under a neighbor’s tutelage.

    The neighbor was Rosario Licad, mother of the renowned Filipino pianist Cecile Licad, according to Benitez’s niece, Purissima Helena Benitez-Johannot.

    “Mrs. Licad used to live down the street on P. Tuazon. She used to come here and perform 9 o’clock piano lessons. She told us she had many success stories, but we’re one of the few that did not hit the mark … I think she was more frustrated than we were,” Johannot said, laughing.

    She pointed out another irreplaceable piece in the living room— the “lovers’ seat,” a pair of antique wooden chairs facing each other and connected by the left leg, and a favorite seat for picture-taking among her relatives.

    “We associate it with the continuity of the family. The [people who sit there] are bound by love,” Johannot said.

    Benitez herself told a funny story about the lovers’ seat and her matchmaking attempts for a former Philippine leader whose name she initially could not recall (“Who was that widower President again?”).

    “I put him there in the lovers’ chair, and I had all the widows and all the eligible and single ladies sit down and be photographed, then I sent him a collection [of the photos],” she said of the late Elpidio Quirino, her face lighting up at the memory.


    In a letter to NHCP Executive Director Ludovico Badoy dated February 17, in which she first presented her proposals on Mira-Nila, Benitez detailed its dramatic beginnings and heyday.

    “A tour of Europe by my aunts Ramona, Joaquina and Felicing Tirona and their impressions of homes on the outskirts of Florence, Italy, inspired my parents to build this house, paint the exterior in light terra cotta, and build a tower high enough to see Manila,” she said.

    A catalogue or magazine brought home by her aunts gave her mother some ideas, Benitez told the Inquirer. She said people found it hard to believe that her parents never hired an architect and designed the home themselves.

    She said her mother commissioned the furniture-maker Irure to craft couches, tables and chairs, as well as a large frame to showcase a life-size portrait of her grandfather, Judge Higinio Benitez, by painter Simon Flores.

    “Our neighborhood grew slowly,” Benitez said in the letter to Badoy, noting how neighbors moved in one by one, starting with her father’s best friend, Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos, who built his house across from Mira-Nila.

    The Marquezes, who, along with others in the neighborhood, were related to the Benitez clan, maintained a garden of African daisies and other blooms, eventually earning for the street its name, Mariposa.

    “Until the 1950s, surrounded by rice fields and grazing land for carabaos, our house on top of the hill was No. 1 Mariposa,” Benitez said.

    Civic works

    Mira-Nila also bore witness to the family’s civic works and professional interests.

    Benitez’s father was founder and first dean of the University of the Philippines’ College of Business Administration, and cofounder of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement.

    Her mother was cofounder of the Philippine Women’s University (PWU), the first university for women in Asia founded by Asians, where she was president for 45 years.

    To date, the family has retained management of the nonstock, nonprofit and nonsectarian school.

    Benitez herself, who served as a senator from 1968 to 1973, founded the acclaimed PWU-led Bayanihan folk dance troupe on the request of President Carlos P. Garcia, who needed a group to represent the Philippines in the 1958 Brussels World Fair.

    “The house should be considered a historical place because a lot of advocacies and ideas were born [here],” said Amelou Benitez-Reyes, another of Benitez’s nieces and the eldest of the third generation.


    In her letter to Badoy, Benitez recalled how the 1930s “saw Mira-Nila welcome Commonwealth officials, and the Second World War saw us evacuate its premises and the Japanese Imperial officers occupy it.”

    The family reclaimed Mira-Nila in the 1950s, and was relieved to find that the 16 bombs the Japanese had planted in the property had not exploded, Benitez said.

    Fely Clemente, 77, one of the housekeepers, said she could still remember when the members of the household hid in the bomb shelter, an expansive basement space that could hold three families or more in the event of an air raid.

    She was about 7 years old at the time, Clemente said. “The Japanese were here for maybe a year. Then they were gone,” she said.

    Now the bomb shelter, which is lined with tiles, has become a storage room for stuff too valuable to throw away.

    “Mira-Nila stands with few additions through the years,” Benitez said in her letter. “The oldest structure is the pump house that today serves as a garden house; the porch dining room, once screened, is now air-conditioned,” she said.


    Francisco B. Benitez, a grandnephew of Benitez and the PWU president, said the house evoked in him a certain sense of propriety.

    “It’s the place where [we felt we would have to behave] … For example, when we were very young, we would have to show off our table manners,” he said. “There’s a certain formality to it, but it’s not rigid. There’s a certain gentility, an expectation.”

    His favorite place is the living room, where the family gathers every Christmas.

    “The requirement is you have to [give] any kind of public performance. You have to have a representative of each generation. [I did it] a long time ago, but that’s the advantage of having children, [I don’t have to perform again],” he said with a laugh.

    According to Pineda, the librarian who helps in the upkeep of the house, the monthly expense in preserving Mira-Nila and the things in it sometimes reaches P300,000.

    Benitez’s goal is to see Mira-Nila become a museum and library, Pineda said, adding that that should help defray the costs of maintaining the house.

    Sharing Mira-Nila

    Johannot said that while she cherished spaces in Mira-Nila that remained private to the family, she found nothing wrong in opening it to the public.

    “You cannot stop progress … You have to change with the times. Some things do not change with the times, which is why we have heritage houses. This is a marker of those bygone days,” she said.

    Johannot said she did not foresee Mira-Nila being taken away from the family: “No, not at all. Our family has grown to be a clan … In fact, we are a nation among a larger nation. We are just sharing Mira-Nila with the larger nation.”

  15. March 13, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Hello again. My maiden name is Rosario Butardo. I’m the eldest daughter of Dionisia Wagas (Dioning) and Onofre Butardo (Opring). They were both employees of Dona Carmen Earnshaw de Vazquez and her son Dr. Luis Vazquez. According to our parents, they were very nice although very affluent and rich.

    During my childhood days, our Ninong Urong and Ninang Tibay (chief cook and mayordoma of Vazquez family). I knew they were both deceased. It just come to my mind to trace what had happened to that memorable and distinctive house of Dona Carmen Vazquez. A nice house to remember when I was a kid.

    It would be better to know Dona Carmen’s present siblings because one day I might be seeing them here in England without knowing them. Those pleasant memories in the past was part of my inspiration to grew as I am now.

  16. March 13, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Hello… I would like to know about what had happened on the mansion house located somewhere in Malate, Manila owned by Dona Carmen Earnshaw de Vazquez and/or her son Senorito Luis Vazquez or their whereabouts. They are related to the Madrigal family.

    I’m missing the mansion and its folks as it was the first classical and ultrarich house that I’ve seen during my childhood days – way back 1967-1970.
    We used to go there during Christmas as there were plentiful gifts from our godparents (chief cook of Vazquez family). Also my parents have met and worked there before. Now they were both resting in peace. So it’s a kind of sentimental place to remember.

    I’d like to hear from you soon. Thanks.

  17. Enrique Bustos said,

    February 23, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Pre War

    Perez-Samanillo Mansion in Gen Luna St Paco Manila it later became the Madrigal Mansion after Don Vicente Madrigal bought his dream house from The Perez-Samanillo Family

  18. Enrique Bustos said,

    February 22, 2011 at 3:01 am

    Post War Houses

    Vera Perez House in 36 Valencia St Q.C.
    Jose Maria Zaragoza House Dapitan St Q.C.
    Gilberto Picache House Dapitan St Q.C.

  19. Patrick John B. Tabar said,

    December 24, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Hello! This is a nice blog you got!

    I just want to know if there are still people residing in the Perez Rubio residence in Vito Cruz?

  20. November 26, 2010 at 6:08 pm


    Please be reminded:

    From now on, comments with no real names, no email addresses that can be confirmed, and no reliable identity checks will no longer be allowed.

    Please upload your comment again with the pertinent information.

    Thank you.

    Toto Gonzalez

  21. Enrique Bustos said,

    November 22, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Palace’s Teus House: Christina Ford slept here

    By Joseph Cortes
    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    MANILA, Philippines—Gonzalo Camacho was busy shuffling printouts of vintage photos from his family’s collection. He was trying to match the photos with the existing architectural details of what is known as the Teus Mansion in San Miguel district in Manila.

    The Teus Mansion, now one of Malacañang’s many guesthouses, was the home of Camacho’s forebears. His grandmother, Concepción Teus, grew up in the house. Concepción, or Concha in her youth, is now 87 and living in Spain. It is her dying wish to see the house where she grew up; however, she is not strong enough to endure the trip to Manila.

    Her grandson Gonzalo and granddaughters Maria Jose Camacho and Lourdes Cabral made the trip early this month in her stead. It is the first time Concha’s granddaughters are seeing the house for themselves. Gonzalo first saw it in 1985 when he went to Manila on his honeymoon.

    Gonzalo recalls his first visit to the Teus Mansion, located at the corner of Gen. Solano and J. Nepomuceno (formerly Tanduay) streets.

    “I knocked on the gate and pleaded to be allowed to see the house,” he says. The guards on duty relented after much argument with the Spaniard, who could speak only in halting English.

    The trip resulted in a photo of Gonzalo sitting by the fountain that stands right outside the Teus Mansion.

    That encounter only piqued his interest in the house and in his family’s history. He vowed to return to Manila and visit the house again.

    Last Tuesday, Nov. 16, he got his wish.

    Once a convent

    Gonzalo’s great-grandfather Valentin Teus Yrisarry bought the Teus House in the 1865. The Teus family used to live in the Ermita district, but after a particularly strong typhoon that destroyed a number of properties in the area, Valentin decided to move his family elsewhere. He told his wife Teresa he would buy the house for her.

    The Teus house was originally a convent, says Gonzalo. When it was put up on sale, his great-grandfather did not hesitate to buy it. It is located just a few meters away from San Miguel Church, where Valentin would wed his second wife Dolores, who was Teresa’s niece.

    Valentin was 15 when he arrived in Manila from Spain by sea. He and his cousin Jaime Venutia Yrisarry, then 13, were given permission to migrate to the Philippines upon the recommendation of their cousin Joaquin Marcelino Elizalde Yrisarry. It was common then to send children abroad to Spain’s colonies to evade military service when they were eventually of age and would need to pay for exemption.

    Elizalde, with his uncle Juan Bautista Yrisarry and Joaquin Ynchausti, established a trading partnership, that acquired the Manila Steamship Company. The firm, known as Ynchausti y Cia, supplied equipment needed by steamships, before eventually venturing into abaca-making. When Valentin joined the firm, he was able to acquire a distillery in Hagonoy, Bulacan. This business became the seed for the modern-day Tanduay Distillery, which for a time was considered the largest in the Philippines.

    Valentin’s first wife

    Valentin’s first wife Teresa Ferrater Ponte was the daughter of the captain-general of Manila. She was a woman of strength and courage. When Teresa had to travel from Spain to the Philippines, she always took the route that went around the tip of the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa rather than the shorter route by the Suez Canal. Going around South Africa meant a three-month voyage to Manila compared to the shorter one-month sea voyage via the Suez Canal.
    She died in 1892.

    Two years later, Valentin married Teresa’s niece, Ma. Dolores Menendez Valdes de Cornellana Ferrater, at San Miguel Church. The church still stands where it was first erected during the Spanish colonial period. In fact, the Camacho cousins visited the church after their visit to the Teus Mansion.

    Valentin had three children with Dolores: Concepcion, or Concha, Gonzalo’s grandmother; Valentin or Tito; and Dolores or Lolin. Dolores had another son previous to Tito who was also named Valentin. He died during a sea voyage to Manila, and his remains were cast off to sea. In remorse, she commissioned a life-size portrait of the young boy, which she kept on a stand at her bedside throughout her life.

    The Teus family was well-off and they had 17 servants for the house’s daily upkeep. Gonzalo recalls that in some of her grandmother’s stories, she would tell of life in Manila during that time.

    On one of Dolores’ trips to Spain, she bought a cow, which she took with her back to Manila. She was afraid her children would not have quality milk to drink while they were growing up.

    When it was time for the cacao harvest, she would hire Chinese workers to grind the cacao beans to a paste and make into tablea. She also had at her disposal a retinue of Chinese women to do the laundry. Gonzalo says her grandmother recalls their clothes would be smoked with a fragrant plant to give them a nice, clean smell.

    Tinola every night

    They needed all those clean clothes because dinner was a formal event. Even if only the family were having dinner, they all had to dress up for the occasion. It was tinola every night, a dish Concha taught all her grandchildren to cook.

    “Up to now, I still have tinola often,” says Gonzalo. “I would cook it with lettuce, carrots and pumpkin. Sometimes, we would have it with bananas and chayote, as they do in the Canary Islands.”

    He also knows how to cook pancit, another of her grandmother’s culinary legacies.

    Her grandmother also told them how big the house was. Concha and her siblings would ride bicycles in the sala on the second floor until they got tired.

    A cleaner Pasig River ran behind the house. Gonzalo says his grandmother recalls fishing from the river on most days.

    Return to Spain

    When Valentin Teus died during a trip to Spain in 1909—he would go back to Spain every five years to visit his family—Dolores was left to run the house and the family. It was unclear when Dolores died, but eventually Valentin’s daughters returned to Spain to study, while Tito stayed on in Manila.

    It was Concha and Lolin who decided to sell off the family’s stocks at Tanduay. With the money they made from the sale, they bought real estate in Madrid, apartment buildings which up to this day stand in the Spanish capital.

    Tito lost his part of the fortune in poker games. He lived at the Teus Mansion until shortly after World War II. From then on, the house stayed empty. Only a caretaker was left to watch over it.

    Concha would return to Manila every so often to look into some of the family’s remaining businesses. However, Gonzalo says she opted to stay with the Elizaldes on those visits. As the sisters grew older, their visits to Manila became even more infrequent.

    Sold to Imelda Marcos

    In the ’70s, the Teus family decided to sell the house to then-First Lady Imelda Marcos. She commissioned interior designer Ronnie Laing and antique dealer Viring de Asis to restore the house to its old glory. She also had the ground floor bodega fitted with 17 rooms.

    With the Goldenberg Mansion next door, it became one of Malacañang’s guesthouses. The jetsetter friend of the Marcoses and former wife of the car industrialist, Cristina Ford, was among the celebrity guests who stayed at the Teus Mansion.

    The Teus Mansion is now part of the Malacañang Museum, although it is not open to the public. It holds Mrs. Marcos’ collection of European silver, chinoiserie and Buddha statues, ivory pieces and a variety of porcelain and ceramics.

    The Camachos were forbidden to take photos of the restored Teus Mansion, but they had a chance to compare their photographs of the old house with the new one. In the old house, there were five rooms on the second floor, mostly decked out with elaborate period furniture. The ground floor had a porte-cochère where horse-drawn carriages would drive guests to the foot of the house’s grand staircase.

    Gonzalo says Dolores took almost all of the furniture back with her to Spain. He points out Dolores’ bed that has a high wooden canopy over it. The bed is now in the family home in San Sebastian, Spain. To fit the bed into a bedroom, they had to shorten the canopy posts.

    Gonzalo’s cousins point out that the basic layout of the old house has been retained. A hallway leads to the mansion’s sunroom, which overlooks the Pasig River. The sunroom was used as a salon where the family often entertained guests on balmy nights. The pillars around the house are still where they used to be, although the interior no longer sports the friezes that wrapped around the walls of the house.

    Gonzalo says his grandmother would have been happy to see the house now. It would have been more memorable if they were able to take photographs of the restored house to show her.

    In the end, the Camacho cousins contented themselves with taking photographs of the house’s exterior. They also took snapshots of themselves outside the house. These would be the only photographs they could show their grandmother Concha in Spain. Everything else about the house, they had to commit to memory

  22. Enrique Bustos said,

    October 26, 2010 at 4:11 am

    After turning his house in Lancaster St Pasay into Sheraton Hotel and the Lopez Museum Don Eugenio Lopez transferred to another huge house in Quirino Ave Paranaque

    In an Interview in the Philippine Star with his granddaughter Rina Lopez Bautista she remembers her visits in her grandfather house

    Your late grandfather Eugenio “Eñing” Lopez was the well-known founder of the Lopez Group, what are your memories of him?

    What I remember is that he was a very warm person. When I was a kid in the 1960s, whenever we’d go to visit him at his residence on Quirino Avenue in Parañaque, he’d hug me and the other grandkids. He died when I was 15 years old. He was always telling stories to the older ones.

    I’ve read that your lolo’s house was a huge mansion?

    It was awesome, that house on Quirino Avenue. At the back was already Manila Bay. That area is now reclaimed land. It’s near the airport road. That part of Manila Bay is now the Coastal Road.

    Did any of the Lopezes do sailing or anything behind your lolo’s mansion?

    The beach of Manila Bay there used to be beautiful and clean, but the sand was black. Yes, we used to swim there and other relatives water-skied.

    Who did the waterskiing, your lolo?

    Our lolo swam there. It was more my late Tito Geny and his family who water-skied in Manila Bay. Tito Geny was the dad of Gabby and Gina.

  23. Enrique Bustos said,

    October 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    The house of the Marcoses in Pasay Road in Dasmarinas Village Makati was bought by Businessman Rolly Rojas from PCGG he recently sold the lot to two person the first is tycoon Enrique Razon and the other half to an heir of Erano Manalo

    Manuel Elizalde and his wife Mary Caldwalladers Elizalde’s house on Donada St Pasay City it is the site of the original home built in the 1920s by the Caldwalladers, the American family from whom Mary C. Elizalde is a descendant.

  24. Cristina Manzano-Florentino said,

    October 7, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    myles g.

    That house you are talking about in Capt Manzano. I asked my lolo, Ramon Manzano about it and he says it was his uncle. I don’t know how true but thats what he told me before he passed away last year. My lolo is the one who married Pilar Lim Tuason. What is ironic, is Tita Natie who commented earlier and who currently owns the house. Well her daughter married my cousin, a Manzano!

  25. Adelaida Lim said,

    August 19, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Interesting! and fun.

  26. Enrique Bustos said,

    August 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Angela Elizalde-Martin, are you the sister of Marie Elizalde-Peck? How about the house on Donada Street, Pasay now owned by Fred Elizalde? It was the house of Don Manolo Elizalde. Is Fred the uncle you are referring to? Fred Elizalde bought the share of his brother Manda in the property and he now owns it.

  27. August 2, 2010 at 6:43 pm


    That’s from “Marquesa de Buenas Costumbres”!!!

    BTW, for the curious, Toto Gonzalez is NOT “Marquesa de Buenas Costumbres.” “Marquesa de Buenas Costumbres” is a pool of writers, all “Manila society,” assembled by “Spybiz” magazine. Their identities are kept secret and they don’t even know their fellow writers.


    Toto Gonzalez

  28. Enrique Bustos said,

    August 2, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Famous houses of the Old Rich according to Spybiz Magazine



    New Manila


  29. Enrique Bustos said,

    June 11, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    The Villaroman residence is owned by Purisima Ver & husband Nestor Villaroman. Purisima Ver-Villaroman is a grandniece of our National Hero Jose Rizal.

  30. Alicia Perez said,

    June 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm


    Paranaque oldtimers know it as the Villaroman residence. But nobody seems to be living there anymore.

    Alicia Perez

  31. Hester Lucero said,

    June 5, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    I am so interested in knowing who owns and what happened to that Mansion beside Chateau de Baei along Roxas Boulevard close to Uniwide Coastal Mall.I really like seeing old beautiful mansion even it was already abandoned,converted into offices or establishments..Thanks,if you have any info.M excited to your reply

  32. June 4, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    I am a direct descendant of José Moreno Lacalle, once Oidor de la Real Audiencia in Manila, through his son, Julian (my grandfather) and thence his son (my father) José Manuel Moreno-Lacalle (the Manuel for Manuel Quézon, who was my father’s godfather. There are other José Moreno-Lacalles in the Philippines and even one (possibly related) in Spain. I believe that my great-grandfather, the 1st with the name, hyphenated his surname (patronymic + matronymic) in order to make the surname unique. After all, to be known as José Moreno is like being called Joe Brown. He clearly had an elevated sense of himself.

  33. Ursula Langley said,

    April 30, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    I would love to be able to locate the Vazquez-Madrigal family whom I have lost
    contact with since I have seen them in the 80s in the Washington, D.C.
    area. Daniel Earnshaw Vazquez and Maria Luisa (Ising) Madrigal-Vazquez and
    especially their daughter, Beatrice, whom I knew the best in her college
    days in Washington. If anyone can direct me to them or forward my
    information to them, that would be greatly appreciated.

    Ursula Langley

  34. Rachel Aguado-Frauendorff-Frankenberger Donlon Soyka said,

    April 27, 2010 at 2:52 am

    I grew up in the Philippines and left for the States in the 1980s. However, my mother’s family, the Aguados, have been in the Philippines since the Spanish rule. Our family had an ancestral house at # 363 P. Casal Street ,Quiapo and I believe that when “Mutti” (my grandmother) died, the rest of the family sold the family home to a university. They tore the big house down and built a school (I believe). I remember it being a beautifully built and huge house with solid “narra” wood floors. Each plank was about 12 – 14 inches wide and went the length of the whole house without stopping in between. I remember there were sooo many paintings in gold leaf frames, huge rooms, an amazing staircase. The house belonged to my family, the Aguados, who married a Frauendorff, then a Frankenberger. The property was called “Balmes.” I wish I could find some pictures of the ancestral house. I miss the Philippines and I miss that house that belonged to my family for over 100 years. They don’t make houses like that anymore and if they did, I believe it would cost a fortune.

  35. Enrique Bustos said,

    April 26, 2010 at 5:38 am

    “”The Spanish mestizo Garcia clan was one of the richest in the Philippines.
    He also belonged to the Spanish mestizo Llamas clan of Intramuros.
    Many members of the Llamas clan were among the civilians killed during
    the Battle of Manila of the Second World War.”

    “The Garcias were one of the leading families in the islands at the time — the family residence on the beach in Parañaque was said to be second only to Malacañang Palace in opulence. Extant pictures show a large, European-inspired residence, the back of which had expansive space for large receptions, and a swimming pool. Afraid that their home might be appropriated by the Japanese military forces, patriarch Adolfo Garcia sold the property towards the end of WWII for the princely sum of P300,000 paid for in the soon worthless “Mickey Mouse” money. Nevertheless, the family retained enough assets, including real estate, in the postwar years.”

    “Antonio Garcia Llamas was one of the best-known portrait artists of postwar Philippine high society. Born in the Philippines to Spanish parents, he studied in Spain and Italy, returning to the Philippines in the peacetime years before WWII He taught painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Santo Tomas, receiving commissions for portraits, as well as ecclesiastical murals. Some of his best works are the murals on the ground floor of the Main Building of UST depicting the history of the Dominican Order in the Philippines, the images of the four evangelists atop the four columns of the altar of the Santo Domingo Church, and the image of San Antonio behind the choir loft on the left side of the main altar of the Sanctuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park. (Traditionally, the image of San Antonio shows him carrying the infant Jesus on his left arm — the face of the infant Jesus was that of Antonio’s baby daughter Tani, whose baptismal name is Antonia). Viviano Meer was one of Garcia Llamas’ most enthusiastic collectors, together with other members of the elite.”

    “One of Garcia Llamas’ students was Juvenal Sanso, who attended evening classes at UST after graduating from the University of the Philippines. He recalls how Garcia Llamas was “courtesy personified”, a true gentleman of the old school. Ramon Locsin accompanied his mother, Toto, for her portrait sessions some time later, and remembers the “old-world elegance” in his manner and demeanor. The artist lived on Escolastica, along Roxas Boulevard, not far from where the Department of Foreign Affairs building stands today, in an old house with wide capiz windows opening to a view of palm trees and Manila Bay. Ramon also remembers the endless banter, the cigarette smoke, and the friendly atmosphere of the painting sessions. A natural joker, Garcia Llamas was ever popular and the constant life of every party.”

    “It was in this studio that Garcia Llamas immortalized the beauties of his day — the aforementioned Rosario “Toto” Lopez Locsin, Bebe Lammoglia Virata, Pacita Madrigal Gonzalez, Vicky Abad-Santos Madrigal, former First Lady Luz Banzon Magsaysay, Vicky Quirino Delgado, Virginia Romulo, Tessie Jugo Yulo, Pil Tuason Manzano, Nati Tuason Salcedo as well as his relatives, first cousin Cristina Castañer Ponce Enrile, Amparito Llamas Lhuiller, Maritina Llamas Araneta, among many others.”

    “The Bank of the Philippine Islands commissioned him for portraits of the bank’s presidents through the years. UST also commissioned portraits of its Father Rectors. Presidential daughter Vicky Quirino also commissioned the artist to paint a portrait of the popular secretary of National Defense, Ramon Magsaysay, in the early ’50s. Seeing the finished product, Magsaysay thought it “too presidential” and in deference to President Quirino, decided to keep it in storage. The portrait was brought out only when Magsaysay won the presidential elections of 1953 (defeating Quirino) — and is probably one of the most recognizable presidential portraits today — a tribute to the enduring popularity of the people’s president, and the consummate artistry of Antonio Garcia Llamas.”

    “Cristina Ponce Enrile recounts how Garcia Llamas was invited by Indonesian President Sukarno in the ’60s to Jakarta for six months to work on several projects. According to family lore, Garcia Llamas felt slighted when, his name was not among the artists honored in the newly developed San Lorenzo village (whose streets pay tribute to artists like Luna, Amorsolo, Edades, Garcia Villa, among others). He left the country in 1967, and settled in Madrid, where he continued to paint, while participating in the activities of a theater group.”

    “One of his last paintings was a portrait of Cristina Ponce-Enrile with her grandchildren — set in the Makati residence of the Ponce Enriles. The portrait is uncanny in its accuracy, considering that the artist left the country long before the residence was built. Aside from these portraits, Ponce Enrile is proud owner of several other works, including her portrait, plus a large-scale depiction of oriental women titled Oriental Abundance (1960), and a small painting of a flamenco dancer, and a rare collage made in 1962. She considers her first cousin a genius, and is proud of his contributions to Philippine art.”

    “The Commission for Overseas Filipinos honored the memory of the artist with the Pamana ng Pilipino Award given posthumously in 2000 — an award that he shares with art luminaries like Anita Magsaysay-Ho, David Medalla, Pacita Abad, Jessica Hagedorn, among others.””

  36. Enrique Bustos said,

    February 14, 2010 at 10:15 am

    by Jaime C. Laya:

    “Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar,” a mirage between rice fields and the China Sea with cobblestone streets, a stretch of 1890s Escolta and a clutch of 80-170 years old homes—dismantled, trucked to Bagac, and lovingly reassembled back to life.

    The oldest is the vast Reyes-Pelayo house of Candaba, Pampanga (built in 1839) and the most recent are the Art Deco 1930s Arrastia and Esquivel homes respectively from Lubao, Pampanga and Jaén, Nueva Ecija. The former was the family home of Ambassador to the Vatican Mercy Tuason and Madrid socialite Isabel Preysler. The latter belonged to political kingpins and still bears bullet holes, souvenirs of a botched assassination attempt.

    Most people collect things like stamps and bottles. A few collect old maps and santos. But old houses? Bataan-born Jerry Acuzar of New San Jose Builders has been collecting them. It started with an antique-style beach house using recycled materiales fuertes. One thing led to another and now Jerry has 23 genuinely old houses — about half a dozen from Manila, more from the central plain, and the rest from all over Luzon.

    We’re talking here of mansions, not nipa huts.

    The 1880s Enriquez house from Quiapo was one of the grandest in 19th century Manila’s aristocratic district—the first home, BTW, of the UP College of Fine Arts. By 2000, it was a wreck with dozens of small businesses and families. Large rooms had been partitioned into dark and airless cubicles, narra flooring and staircase gone, windows broken. It’s now in Bagac, restored to its old splendor.

    Casa Vizantina (built 1890) has the same story. A magnificent three-storey house at the corner of Madrid and Peñarubia in Binondo often featured in heritage books, it had become a tenement with 80 resident families. Everything was collapsing and decorative parts were disappearing. Now, the place stands proudly with its arched windows, elaborate grilles, wide staircase, hardwood floors, gilded capitals.

    Each house has a tale.

    The Escoto-Urrutia house, was built in Pampanga in 1913 but was moved to Meycauayan, Bulacan. Its journey to Bagac, therefore, is its second.

    The Maxino house from Unisan, Quezon has a charming pink exterior, a curvy tile roof and spectacular three-foot wide and 30-foot long floor planks. In its tragic past, the owner’s entire family was massacred by tulisans who didn’t notice a little girl trembling inside a used clothes hamper.

    The Novicios, maternal ancestors of General Antonio and painter Juan Luna, owned the house in Namacpacan (now Luna), La Union. Built by true Ilocanos, the staircase is steep, ceilings low, rooms small, but with beautifully carved doors and a volada all around.

    GMA 7 telebabads will recognize Las Casas Filipinas as Zorro country, in real life a most remarkable resort that has the atmosphere of our gracious past, beautiful beach, spa (within a pair of Cagayan Valley homes), fresh water pool, conference rooms, carruaje rides, and unexpectedly, sculptures like boys at palo sebo.

  37. Art Galang said,

    November 13, 2009 at 6:12 am


    You are such a great historian. I can’t stop reading all your blogs! Looks like your last blog was in Sept of 2009?

    So, how are you?

    Art G.

  38. heidi perez said,

    October 10, 2009 at 2:44 pm


    During Ondoy, although flood water and mud entered the ground floor of the Teus mansion, the damage was structural and minimal. Luckily, the Goldenberg was spared. Less than a week after, the Department of Foreign Affairs hosted a diplomatic function here. A function like this is usually reciprocal and necessary.

  39. September 27, 2009 at 5:12 pm


    “Why do I know?”

    Because you are the excellent curator of the Goldenberg and the Teus residences of the Malacanang Palace Complex!!!


    Toto Gonzalez

  40. heidi perez said,

    September 26, 2009 at 3:02 am

    the Goldenberg Mansion is now owned by the Office of the President,excellently maintained and therefore the frequent venue of ministerial receptions hosted by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Why do I know?

  41. anonymous said,

    August 22, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    For those inquiring, the “Villa Caridad” house was named after Caridad Ongsiako-Gallego. She was an aunt of Pacita Ongsiako de los Reyes-Phillips and Imelda de la Paz Ongsiako-Cojuangco.

    Her children were/are +Violeta Ongsiako Gallego ( Mrs. Oscar de la Paz Ongsiako ), +Thelma Ongsiako Gallego ( Mrs. Romy Genuino Villonco ), Manuel Ongsiako Gallego ( married to Rosa de los Reyes Padilla ), and +Julius Caesar “Atating” Ongsiako Gallego ( married to Grace Litton ).

    The house passed jointly to +Perry Ongsiako and to the Gallego-Littons. Perry passed away and the property now belongs singly to the Gallego-Littons.

  42. Gary said,

    July 9, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Hello Everyone,

    I was searching the internet for pictures and articles on the Barcelona house in San Juan and saw this blog. Would anyone of you by any chance have or be able to direct me (to a site) which contains pictures of the house along with the garden?


  43. Paolo said,

    May 9, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Do you know what happened to the mansion of the Arcaches in Santa Ana, Manila? I remember seeing it during our Pasig River Tour during the 1990s.

  44. Linda Jernigan USA said,

    May 5, 2009 at 6:15 am


    I don’t think any of the people are related to Don Rafael Enriquez or anyone else mentioned in the article. I am trying to find my mothers relatives in the philippines. Please take a look at the following names and infomation below if anyone sounds familiar please e-mail me at

    I’m Searching for the Family of Esteban Enriquez and Maxima Navarro last location Manila philippines.?
    There last know address was 829 Loan Loan Sampaloc Caloocan Rizal Manila Luzon Philippine Island
    My Mother has been trying to find them since losing touch around the late 60′ early 70’s . She has not seen them since. 1947 after Marrying my Father Paul Jernigan jr now deseased. They left the philippines in 1947 with there only child at the time virginia mae and came to live in the united states. My mother tried to keep in touch with her family writing letters but in the latter part of the 60’s early 70’s the letters came back. We no her mother Maxima Enriquez pasted away in the 60’s and that her Father Esteban was an invalid but that is all. I found other information as to who her sisters and brothers married through geneology sites. Other than that nothing, I don’t know if they’re all deseased or if any are alive or if they had any children. I need any information anyone may have, I would like to find them for my mother before she passes away. My mother( Virginia Jernigan )maiden name Enriquez is now 81 years old. Even if theyre no longer alive she needs to no what happened to them. See the following people below

    Salvador Enriquez married to Gloria Eustaquio Lived in Rizal Philippines in 1951.
    Milagros Enriquez married to Mariano Sanchez Lived in Metropolitan Manila Philappines in 1955
    Pacita Enriquez married to Juanito Rubio Lived in Rizal Philippines in 1951
    Marcelino Enriquez married to Rosalina Malixi Lived in Metropolitan Manila Philippines in 1938
    and Generoso Enriquez

    Again if any of this sounds familiar
    Please contact me at any information will help.

    Linda Jernigan

  45. April 23, 2009 at 1:57 pm


    Jose Moreno Lacalle was a prominent, “de campanilla” lawyer in 1880s Manila. He purchased the elegant Eugster mansion [ now known as the Goldenberg mansion ] along Calle General Solano and made it his residence. His daughter Carmen Moreno married Felix Roxas y Fernandez, who became a Mayor of Manila in the early 1900s.

    Just a conjecture: the name Jose Moreno Lacalle was PROBABLY written in the Spanish style, with the paternal surname followed by the maternal one [ without the tedious Filipino “y” ]. Lots of examples from that period: Jacobo Zobel Zangroniz, Jacobo’s son Enrique Zobel de Ayala, Enrique’s maternal first cousin Antonio Roxas de Ayala, et. al..


    Toto Gonzalez 🙂

  46. bidang said,

    April 23, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Somewhere, I read about Don Jose Moreno Lacalle… why Lacalle? And a lawyer? I’m confused: was Don Jose’s mother a Moreno who married a Lacalle? Which one please?
    Thank you.

  47. anonymous said,

    April 19, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    what happened to that marcos house in dasmarinas village?

  48. Federico said,

    March 20, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    “Villa Caridad” in New Manila, according to my friend who lives beside the house, was a castle before. It has this ”gothic theme” which makes it look scary.
    Accounts also had it that after it was sold to another family, that family tried to demolish the house, however, several accounts of people who were demolishing it heard crying sounds and a worker even fell from the 2nd floor terrace while he was on the process of demolishing it (when you pass there, you can actually see the terrace on the left side of the house, the portion where there’s a bell tower above the terrace). After that incident, no one tried to tear that house down again, it’s also the reason why the house looks “half demolished”, the windows are gone, and as you can see, some parts of the house had been teared down already.

  49. Merle Earnshaw said,

    March 5, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Hi anton. Just to add to what gene (hi!) has said to Manuel “Buly” Aldeguer Earnshaw who happens to be my late father-in-law. Buly married Angelita del Rosario daughter of Mariano V. del Rosario and Pilar Quiogue Trinidad.
    They had four children George, Raymond, Lindy and Michael. My late husband George told me that Dad was engrossed in basketball during his Beda days then into swimming. Later he got involved in trap shooting as influenced by his shooting buddies Tito Butch Tuason and Tito Enrique Beech they were the first trap team in Phils. They really had exciting hunting days with his team mates and friends. Dad Buly trained my husband George in trap shooting at an early age until the father and son tandem were sent to Atlanta Olympics in 1996. Dad Buly was a great trainer and coach. He passed away in 2002 a year after his son Raymond died.

    Hope this helps in knowing more about Dad Buly.


  50. Merle Earnshaw said,

    March 4, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    Hi anton. Wendy directed me to this site. Just to add some info on Buly Earnshaw, my late father-in-law. Buly was Manuel Aldeguer Earnshaw son of Manuel Earnshaw II and Dolores Lolita Aldeguer. He married Angelita del Rosatio daughter of Mariano V. del Rosario and Pilar Quiogue Trinidad. I learned from my late husband George son of Buly that Dad was really engrossed in baskeball during his younger days in San Beda then also was a great swimmer. For so many years though, he was involved in trap shooting together with Tito Butch Tuason and Tito Enrique Beech they were the first (I guess) Trap Team in the country. Buly Earnshaw became a great coach for the Philippine Trap Team in the 80s. He trained my late husband George in trap shooting who earned so many SEA Asian and World Cup medals. My husband owed so much to Buly the training the he got until the father and son tandem were sent to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Buly passed away in 2001 a year after son Raymond died.

    Hope this info helps in knowing more of Buly on top of what gene (hi!) has said..

    best regards

  51. Maria said,

    February 11, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Hi! Very good account of all the historical homes of Manila. I’ve always been intrigued by the Villa Caridad lot in New Manila (which I think has a few well preserved homes that look really old) which I always pass on my way to work. Would you know anything else about this one? Just to satisfy my curiosity. Thanks!

  52. Enrique Bustos said,

    February 10, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Angela Elizalde-Martin, are you the sister of Marie Elizalde-Peck? How about the house on Donada Street, Pasay now owned by Fred Elizalde? It was the house of Don Manolo Elizalde. Is Fred the uncle you are referring to? Fred Elizalde bought the share of his brother Manda in the property and he now owns it.

  53. Angela Elizalde Martin said,

    February 9, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Does anyone know what happened the the Elizalde residence on 1925 Roberts Street in Pasay City. It was my father (Angel M Elizalde of the Elizalde Co. & YCO)’s house and we lived there until his death at 51 in 1954. Our uncle then informed us that he now owned it and we had to leave – sent off the Spain in 1956.
    The house was beautiful – (originally with large nepa blinds over the window but with a through current of air so that we had no trouble with typhones. Later spanish style iron railings & glass windows replaced them.

    Beside it were the ruins of the Quezon’s house destroyed by bombing at the end of the war… Our house was built up on brick piers to protect against termites and had an enormous porch which looked across Manila Bay. I should imagine that it disappeared long ago.

  54. joelvrico said,

    February 4, 2009 at 5:59 am

    hi im architect joel rico, im looking for any relative of felix roxas, mayor of manila. thanks

  55. Manuel Azaola Jr. said,

    February 3, 2009 at 5:32 am

    One of those who sought information about your wonderful work is Manolet Garcia on September 6, 2008 and a reply from Pacquito dated September 6, 2008. I am Manuel Azaola Jr. who resides in Sydney Australia. Manolet is a cousin of mine and would very much like to get from you his e-mail address so that we can make contact. (His mother Concepcion Moya de Azaola is my father’s sister). It’s been years since we last saw each other and it would be great to re-establish contact being a surviving AZAOLA myself. I was very excited to read about your familiarity with the Gonzalez-Azaola family in the Philippines and would love to obtain more information or specific links to learn more about my ancestry. My parents have long passed away and the history of my family is something I took for granted when they were still alive and the information I can gather from you will be very invaluable not only to my generation but the future one as well. If you are an AZAOLA and you happen to read this – please make the effort to contact me.
    Thank you in advance Pacquito and God bless!!

  56. Wendy Earnshaw said,

    February 2, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Just a quick note. Manuel was the son (not the husband) of Gavina Noguera and Daniel Earnshaw and their other son was Mayor Tomas.

  57. J.Antonio Mendoza y González said,

    February 1, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    @gene earnshaw-soler

    Dr Rafael de San Agustin y Noguera (married to Maria Elena Lacson y Montinola) is related to the Earnshaws, Manuel Earnshaw’s wife is Gavina Noguera, mother of Mayor Tomas Earnshaw, Mayor of Manila. Rafael and Tomas are first cousins.

  58. gene earnshaw-soler said,

    January 24, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Hi Anton,

    if you have further interest on the earnshaws, we are in facebook. add me:

    have a good year and good luck on your research….. gene

  59. gene earnshaw-soler said,

    January 24, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Hi Toto,

    I am the nephew of Buly Earnshaw. I regret to inform you that he passed away about 4 years ago. Yes we are related to the Aldeguers who are originally from Iloilo but thats all I know. Buly studied in San Beda college and was a basketball player. San Beda would have some info for you (i hope). He would also be related to you on your mother’s side. Buli was married Angaline Quigue of the Quiogue Funeral Services. He had 4 children: George, Raymund, Micheal and Lindy. Only Angaline, Nichael and Lindy are still alive. COntact with them has been nearly none existent since george passed away. George is survived by his wife and 3 kids (i think).

    I had posted to you a few months back regarding a posting made by you. I noted you had corresponded with Wendy Earnshaw already. Thanks for taking the time and effort to link it all up.

    A good family friend and family doctor was Rafael San Agustin. I assume you are related? I remember how i enjoyd going to see Dr. San Agustin beause he ws a gentle and caring doctor.

    Anyway, your blog makes for very interesting reading because fo the subject and your style of writing.

    cheers, gene

  60. anton said,

    January 20, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    I am actually writing a magazine article on the early years of Philippine basketball, and one of my dad’s teammates was a Buly Earnshaw who according to the old lady i interviewed was the cousin of a Tommy or Toby Aldeguer. The basketball teammates and friends would have parties at the house of Tommy Aldeguer in Malate.

    Other names mentioned by the dear old lady were Jaime Altonaga, Chon Barrios, Molo Onori, Eddie “Bawaw” Martin, Luis Yrure, Nando Alvarez, Jose Mari “Baby” Garcia, Sabu Ayerdi , Freddie Young, Cirilo Matilla, Antonio “Joker” Faustino, Otto Burgos, Licerio “Nene” Casten, Rutilio “Tito” Larrarte and Eddie Afzelius, Antonio “Pocholo” Martinez, “Buly” Earnshaw, Raffy Alberto and Mike Soques and the Ventosa brothers.

    Can anyone shed light on any of the men above ? their ancestry, any claim to fame, their fate? anything ? by the way, the names might be mispelled so just correct me.

  61. anton said,

    January 18, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    anybody knows who is the father of a “Buly” Earnshaw ? he was a teenager in the 1940s and played basketball with my dad. unfortunately, i dont know his first name.

  62. ma.theresa limjap said,

    December 29, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    i want to know and meet all my relatives….

  63. joy said,

    November 24, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    My grandfather’s Lidio Somoza eldest son of Mauricio. I’d like to know more about this Don Mauricio Somoza house in Binondo.

    I guess Paula’s my 2nd cousin.

    Thanks in advance.

  64. November 21, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    I miss Doña Carmen Earnshaw de Vazquez… I was one of the nurses who took care of her son Dr. Luis Vazquez in 1994. Since then, I have not heard anything about Doña Carmen… Now I am sorry to hear that she has passed away…

  65. J.Antonio Mendoza y González said,

    October 22, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Re : 36. Wendy Earnshaw said, : You are right. It is a mystery, but now solved. The names were mismatched when I was deciphering my scribbling of the names on paper while chatting with my grand-aunt. It is Gavina Noguera y de San Agustin Señora de Daniel Earnshaw. and “Olympia” is Olympia Noguera y de San Agustin Señora de Joaquin de San Agustin.

  66. paz zaragoza said,

    October 14, 2008 at 4:36 am

    hello! you must see the villa acuzar located in bagac, bataan.i myself have seen the place and felt i was at the time of old spanish era. the old magnificent ancestral houses and antique furnitures. truly a splendid one.

  67. Wendy Earnshaw said,

    October 11, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    The first wife of Mayor Tomas was Carmen Fernandez Diez Collantes who died soon after giving birth to daughter Carmen born17 June 1896 and died 6 July 2002!! Carmen Earnshaw married Dr Antonio Vazquez and had 3 children- Mario, Luis and Daniel.I have produced a family tree of all those descended from Daniel Earnshaw snr and have in fact traced his parents and 9 siblings(London UK) , his grandparents (Suffolk UK) and possibly greatgrandparents (1750ish Norfolk UK).The mystery still to be solved is Olympia Noguera y Earnshaw!!

  68. October 11, 2008 at 3:02 pm


    According to Maria Victoria “Marivic” Madrigal Vazquez, the Vazquez are of Earnshaw descent. Her paternal grandmother Carmen Earnshaw de Vazquez died at 106 years old in the 1990s [ ? ].


    Toto Gonzalez

  69. Wendy Earnshaw said,

    October 10, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Thanks for responding. Daniel Earnshaw was an Englishman who arrived in Philippines in 1861 as an Arsenal engineer employed by the Spanish government. He married Gavina Noguera and they had 4 known children- Manuel(resident commissioner to USA) Tomas(Mayor) Josefa and Dolores.I wonder if Olympia is perhaps a 5th child?
    I presume Gavina died because Daniel remarried to Adelayda Ambrocia Rodriguez and had 4 more children – Daniel jr, Victoria, Adelaide and Beatrice.
    Daniel jr married Helen Boustead and they are my late husband’s great grandparents.

  70. J.Antonio Mendoza y González said,

    October 1, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    I don’t know a great deal about it but, The Mayor of Manila, Tomas Earnshaw married Gavina Noguera, an ancestor. They are buried together in a crypt located at San Agustin Church in Intramuros. From what I heard from my grand-uncle years ago, is that the Earnshaws are also related to the Sarthou family through Noguera. the Noguera’s are spanish mestizos that hail from Cavite. That’s about all I know.

  71. Wendy Earnshaw said,

    September 4, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    I am researching Earnshaw and Boustead families for our family tree. I would like to be able to make private contact with the submitter below.

    J.Antonio Mendoza y González said,
    February 9, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Hello Toto,

    I read an earlier entry in this blog regarding the houses on General Solano.

    My maternal grandmother’s parents Don Joaquin de San Agustin*(see footnote) and Olympia Noguera y Earnshaw used to live right beside the Romualdez Residence on General Solano. Our old house was originally located right across the San Miguel Pro Cathedral but was torn down along with the houses of Ricafort and Romualdez “to widen the road”.

  72. AA said,

    August 29, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Emelyn said,
    April 24, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    Toto, I recall looking at a beautiful home (Spanish style) in a good sized lot across the 10 Years After bar in Quezon City, a stone’s throw away from ABS-CBN. I think it was owned by the Garcias (President?). I recall seeing a plaque unless I imagined it, naduling na ako from alcohol that I consumed. Do you know if it’s still there? That was in the early 90’s. I’m curious to know if the government preserved the property or sold it off to a developer.


    No one has responded to your question so I figured I’d throw in my two cents.

    Since I haven’t been to Manila since the 80’s, I had to Google the 10 Years After Bar. Assuming the results are accurate (supposedly the bar is on Sgt. Esguerra), I can tell you for certain that the house to which you refer was not the residence of former president Carlos P. Garcia. The Garcia residence was on Bohol Avenue and was not particularly Spanish in style. It is no longer there and has been replaced by condos. For a while (70’s – 80’s), there was a restaurant across from it called The Country Chef.

  73. ahn said,

    June 28, 2008 at 10:53 am

    does anybody here knows something about tomas mapua………………. any info. about him or even his last projects………… plzzzzzzzzzzzz… i just nid itr badly………

  74. Paula said,

    June 24, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Hi Toto,

    Yes, it was quite a shock to read about it here in this site, as the family has always been very low-key. I would love to get in touch with Jose Lim.

    The Somozas and the Limjaps were friends and neighbors, so it is interesting to see them mentioned here. They were founding members of the first Philippine Chamber of Commerce, and signed the first Philippine Constitution (Malolos Republic).

    This is obviously a Manila that no longer exists, and so thank you, Toto, for putting up a site for nostalgic Manilenos like myself!

  75. June 11, 2008 at 4:04 am


    OMG. A property along Ongpin Street, Binondo facing three streets!!!


    Toto Gonzalez

  76. Paula said,

    June 10, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Hello to Jose Lim, who mentioned the Don Mauricio Somoza house in Binondo.

    My grandmother is Marina Somoza, Don Mauricio’s daughter. She grew up in that house.

    That property is with our family to this day. I’ve heard many stories about that huge house, but of course, it no longer exists.

    I was just wondering how you knew about the house. I’d love to know more about it.


  77. May 15, 2008 at 10:08 pm


    As I said: “’Villa Caridad,’ New Manila. The PreWar, eclectic, Mediterranean-style residence was built by the Lerma Family. It was later acquired by the Gallego Family with whom it was more closely associated.”

    I will have to ask members of the Gallego-Ongsiako Family if they still know anything about the “Villa Caridad” in New Manila.

    Keep in touch.

    Toto Gonzalez

  78. Kariel said,

    May 15, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Please, email me infos regarding “Villa Caridad”.. My email is

    Thank you so much.


  79. Kariel said,

    May 15, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Hi Toto.

    I would like to know more about “Villa Caridad” but it seems that no one can ever tell me its history.

    I would deeply appreciate it if you can help me, because everytime I pass by this villa, since I was a little girl and until now there’s sense of yearning in me, to know more about this “Villa Caridad”

    Thanks in advance for the help.


  80. jose lim said,

    April 29, 2008 at 10:16 am

    might i add…

    The sprawling house of Don Mauricio Somoza along Ongpin St. Binondo covering three streets.

  81. Victor Gavino said,

    March 15, 2008 at 4:33 am

    A short addendum to post #20: Stella Goldenberg Brimo, of the Goldenberg family who used to own the Goldenberg Mansion, passed away in Montreal, Canada February 2008 at the age of 96. Her piano student here in Montreal since 1987, Mrs. Goldenberg-Brimo would regale our family with tales of her life at the mansion and how she and her brother dealt with the mandatory transfer of the property to the Malacanang Complex.

  82. J.Antonio Mendoza y González said,

    February 10, 2008 at 10:23 am

    It is unfortunate that the original house is now gone. Though modest in size compared to the Goldenberg Mansion, it was a well-appointed “mansion” of family treasures, memories, animated discussions with the academe about the Spanish theater, poetry, arts and literature which my family loved to have over weekend lunches. My grandmother ( the country’s most famous declaimer en la lengua de Cervantes ) would mesmerize anyone who watched her as she declaimed under the stars during cool summer nights.

    The wonderful Christmas celebrations and the 500-piece antique spanish “belen” (replete with “Herod’s army”) have left indelible memories in all of us who were around to see it.

    If only the original house still existed, it would be a lovely museum dedicated to the preservation of Spanish arts and literature.

  83. February 9, 2008 at 6:49 pm


    Something also happened to the Goldenberg Family at their residence [ originally the Eugster, then the Moreno Lacalle-Roxas, and finally the Goldenberg mansion ], also along Calle General Solano in the San Miguel District.

    In their case, even the furniture and decorations were “nationalized.”

    Toto Gonzalez

  84. J.Antonio Mendoza y González said,

    February 9, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Hello Toto,

    I read an earlier entry in this blog regarding the houses on General Solano.

    My maternal grandmother’s parents Don Joaquin de San Agustin*(see footnote) and Olympia Noguera y Earnshaw used to live right beside the Romualdez Residence on General Solano. Our old house was originally located right across the San Miguel Pro Cathedral but was torn down along with the houses of Ricafort and Romualdez “to widen the road”.

    It was unbelievable how one fine morning a representative from Palacio de Malacañan knocked on my great-grandparents’ ancestral home and gave them “one week to vacate upon orders of Malacañan..” to which my grand-aunt Carmen de San Agustin retorted ” We have been living here since the last century and you have the audacity to expect us to leave in a week ‘upon orders’?” She slammed the door at his face but the family had to leave anyway. A year later, we were given a new house on a new property in the same area. The house was designed by old family friend Francisco Mañosa and was relocated across the Padilla Mansion several meters away from our house’s original location.

    Apart from the furniture, the family was not allowed to take even one piece of wood or iron from the house “upon orders from Malacañan”. All that was left was the antique door knocker from Spain which my grand-uncle Raul de San Agustin found amidst the rubble.


    * My great-grandfather Joaquín de San Agustín along with uncle Julio González Anguita both were original founders of the Sociedad Talia in the early 1900’s – the premier exponent of Spanish theater in The Philippines that devoted their efforts to the creation of Philippine literary works in Spanish.

  85. Mervyn Penny said,

    August 31, 2007 at 4:47 am

    Hello Toto,

    I have a great interest in Manila’s old homes and especially old spanish villas.
    While being treated at St. Luke’s Hospital I discovered what I consider one of the finest examples of this type, it is uninhabited and appears to be crumbling. It is behind a high fence and the house is shielded by a lot of trees so I cannot get good fotos. I would love to gain access to the property and photograph the building from all angles and get measurements but cannot find anyone who can help.

    The property is called “Villa Caridad” and is located at 043 Broadway Ave., Barangay Mariana, Quezon City. Any help would be much appreciated.

    Mervyn Penny

  86. edna said,

    August 7, 2007 at 4:52 am


    Thank you for your reply…God bless you always.

  87. July 25, 2007 at 3:38 pm


    I’m sorry, i don’t know what the first name of the [ PreWar ] Architect Lerma was.

    Even the Araneta-Lopez daughters do not know his first name.

    Toto Gonzalez

  88. edna said,

    July 25, 2007 at 8:17 am

    does anyone know the first name of architect lerma? as in…

    “…Three prominent architects were employed in succession to complete the villa: Juan Arellano, Lerma, and Andres Luna San Pedro.”

    i’m doing a quick research, please help…

    thank you very much…

  89. cathy said,

    June 23, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    thanks for this site… i am an architecture student from Adamson University and i am searching a perfect house for our project then i found this site… thank you very much for sharing this site with the public… i’ve been to “villa caridad” but the owner is so “sungit.” i like the site pa naman… thanks! =)

  90. Emelyn said,

    April 24, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    Toto, I recall looking at a beautiful home (Spanish style) in a good sized lot across the 10 Years After bar in Quezon City, a stone’s throw away from ABS-CBN. I think it was owned by the Garcias (President?). I recall seeing a plaque unless I imagined it, naduling na ako from alcohol that I consumed. Do you know if it’s still there? That was in the early 90’s. I’m curious to know if the government preserved the property or sold it off to a developer.

  91. allison lopez said,

    April 24, 2007 at 1:37 am

    Hi Toto. I’m a reporter from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and my beat is Manila. I chanced upon your blog when I was searching about ancestral homes in the city. I’ve been looking for topics to feature in our Metro section, and my editor favors mostly heritage or environmental ones. I hope you might be able to help me out. :p Please let me know, we can help you also in calling attention to places that deserve preservation/restoration. Pls email me at or text me at 0915-8533338. Thanks so much!

  92. myles g. said,

    March 14, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Hi Natalie,

    OMG, the wonders of the internet!!

    So you obviously know the house I am/was referring to. And I was right — my memory hasn’t all deserted me — it had a connection to a Manzano. Didn’t he marry Pilar Tuason (who had a long-running feud and a lot of one-ups(wo)manship with Chito Madrigal in their heyday). Well, I heard there were a lot of seances and orgies and nights of Black Magic conducted in that house ….just kidding!! 🙂

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) The only reason I remember the house was because it was unique; plus my very best friend in my grade school days, lived up the block. And many a time when we walked home from St. John’s Academy, we would take that shortcut in that back-street, then cut over to Ridout to his house a few doors away. Carmelo R. (God-bless his soul) lived between N. Domingo and the next street over.

    So, Natalie, what is your family name? And do you still live there; and/or you live abroad now but still keep that as home? Am just curious (since you owned up to that house). My email is But as I said, unfortunately, I can add no more than I just recall the house from the exterior. What a pity the previous owners stripped off all the original furnishings; perhaps you can replace them with faux antique stuff? But again, if that’s the same Capt. Manzano, then he became a Tuason by marriage. Could be the father or grandfather of that Edu Manzano.

    Allow me to do a little riff here: and here’s another story of how small the world really is. I mentioned my good friend Carmelo. So, we were classmates in St. John’s. Come high school, he went off to La Salle; I went off to Ateneo — although we reconnected briefly in college at UP. Anyway, we drifted apart; and then something tragic happened to him (not connected to your house this time, Natalie). They had since moved to Paterno St. (Toto, not far from the Abello, Valdes, Gutierrez lots.) One time, while fixing their car, apparently, the fan blade flew off and struck Carmelo in the chest; and killed him.

    A few years later, I was seeing a dermatologist in Makati for some acne treatment. She was a sort of distant relative of ours; and she had the surname ‘Reyes.’ I never connected the 2; but it was many, many years later that I found out that the doctor’s husband turned out to be an older brother of my childhood friend Carmelo!! I had never met the older brother the times I went to my friend’s house. But, I digress…

    Anyway, this little interlude into the past also brings back a lot of memories for me, Natalie. Stay well.


  93. Natalie said,

    March 11, 2007 at 6:40 am

    Myles, were you talking about our house in Capt. Manzano, Pinaglabanan, SJ? I bought that property in ’88 from a young fil/chinese couple who was migrating to Canada; they stripped off all the antique glass door knobs, chandeliers, doors, etc.. the house once had. The house ( not a mansion at all… but looks European in architecture) once belonged to a certain Capt.Manzano in the 1930’s. Myles… is there any historical value that house have that you would know of? By all means please let me know? Thanks…
    Mr. Gonzalez, my father was a true blue Kapampangan too from the Tioseco-Lansangan-Pamintuan family of Angeles City. I stumbled upon this blog just last night and it really brought back lots of family memories!

  94. Garganta Inflamada said,

    January 31, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    TG wrote: 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

    * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    I didn’t know they had a son. The son is not normally mentioned in the painter’s bios (or the few I have casually glanced at). I wonder how Juan Luna lived with his deeds. I was going to say he had the OJ Syndrome — but then he came first.

    So OJ obviously manifested the Juan Luna Syndrome. Did the son have any more progeny?


  95. January 27, 2007 at 10:37 pm


    Oh, That One. I am not aware of the architectural / design and decoration / social distinction of that particular house so I didn’t include it in the list.

    Perhaps its sole distinction was that the future First Lady was entirely miserable during her stay there…

    Wasn’t Juanita Acereda the first wife of Vicente Orestes Romualdez?

    There’s a beautiful Romualdez ancestral house in Pandacan though… Wasn’t that Miguel Romualdez’s?

    It’s great to hear from you again!!!

    Toto Gonzalez


    Our Capampangan family friend who owns a few houses near Banawe Avenue said that the old Danieling Romualdez house on Dapitan is simple but gargantuan and would have been very much a family home.

    That and the old Bejo Romualdez house on Artiaga.

    I am not privy to the Romualdez houses as much as I’d like.

    But I know the Romualdez place in Boston, in Connecticut, Hawaii and in Italy are very beautiful. Rich appointments. All with dark hardwood floors. Perhaps a fetish also evident in the Santo Nino Shrine back in Tolosa.

  96. myles g. said,

    December 28, 2006 at 11:28 pm


    Ridout (if I remember right) is the street — if you were coming from the SJ Municipio — just before that monument of Bonifacio on the corner of Santolan and N. Domingo.

    Ridout dipped farther on and then went up — and by there was this very strange, almost like a junior French chateau, home. (So in effect, it would be somewhere back of the Pinaglabanan church.


  97. December 28, 2006 at 8:54 pm


    The previous Club Filipino occupied the PreWar Bachrach residence…

    Uhm, I haven’t seen that residence on Ridout Street. I don’t even know where that street is!!! 😛

    There are still many intelligent and affluent people who stay in San Juan…!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  98. myles g. said,

    December 28, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    The old Club Filipino, pre-Greenhills, in Santa Mesa…whose mansion was that? I remember that as being a very elegant one. Was that an Elizalde manse?

    Also, To, there were 2 unique mansions in San Juan. There was the old Manuel Fernandez manse on Santolan Road (in front of the Pinaglaban Church); and there was this French castle-like structure of either the Tuasons or Manzanos at the end of, if I remember right, Ridout Street. See if it’s still there.

    And speaking of San Juan, my old hometown, funny that it never adopted the slogan: San Juan, the Hometown of Philippine Presidents. Four of the Republic’s last 6 Presidents (including the incumbent) maintained their metropolitan Manila residences just before moving into Malacanang. Diosdado Macapagal, Ferdinand Marcos, Joseph Ejercito Estrada and Gloria Mac-Arroyo lived one time or another in San Juan. (I met GMA at their old place there when a birthday party was thrown for Boboy, who was my brother’s classmate at St. John’s Academy.) Also, Elpidio Quirino retired to San Juan after leaving Malacanang; and Raul Manglapus had just moved from San Juan to Urdaneta Village when he ran for the Presidency against Macapagal and Macoy in 1965.

    BTW, I did enter this incredible fact about San Juan in wikipedia.

    myles g.

  99. December 2, 2006 at 6:31 pm


    Oh, That One. I am not aware of the architectural / design and decoration / social distinction of that particular house so I didn’t include it in the list.

    Perhaps its sole distinction was that the future First Lady was entirely miserable during her stay there…

    Wasn’t Juanita Acereda the first wife of Vicente Orestes Romualdez?

    There’s a beautiful Romualdez ancestral house in Pandacan though… Wasn’t that Miguel Romualdez’s?

    It’s great to hear from you again!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  100. fvfv said,

    December 2, 2006 at 3:34 pm

    Our favorite first lady used to live on General Solano too. Just a few yards from San Miguel Pro Cathedral.
    But I think she had it torn down way back when.
    But when you go to that church and if you look close enough you will still see her stepmother’s name etched inside. That of Juanita Acereda.

  101. November 22, 2006 at 2:01 pm


    Thank you. It’s a pity that nearly all of them have already disappeared. My little post is a small memorial to them.

    I learned from the historian Ivan Henares that the Rafael Enriquez residence — a masterpiece of the patrician architect Felix Roxas y Arroyo — has been purchased and is being transferred and reassembled in the Bagac, Bataan compound of the affluent Acuzar family.

    What will be interesting is how the Acuzar family will reassemble it [ and hopefully restore ], as all of its splendid architectural details, so vividly described by early 20th century articles, have disappeared, with no photographic documentation!!! Even its disappointing staircase was obviously a replacement for its original, grander one.

    Toto Gonzalez

  102. arte said,

    November 22, 2006 at 1:45 pm

    Hi great account of old houses!

    Update: Rafael Enriquez residence is already gone, they started tearing it down last July, and as of my last Quiapo visit (three weeks ago) it’s a void lot. (i have photos of it in my blog.)

    Very interesting facts ! 🙂

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