Thursday, May 22, 2008


One of the things I enjoy while walking around Quiapo is looking at old houses especially those maintained in good condition. This one on Progreso Street near San Sebastian Church (above photo) is a prime example.

Other than in Binondo, a neighborhood in Quiapo as this one is where I'd like to live. That would allow me to just walk to any of my usual haunts -- from the photography shops on Hidalgo Street to favorite eateries in Chinatown. As it is, the hustle and bustle of this tri-district downtown area of Binondo, Quiapo and Santa Cruz make me feel right at home, for they remind me of Manhattan's.

As an aside, a resident in the area approached me while I was taking a photograph of this house. When she asked what it was for, I said for personal admiration for its upkeep. I added that many grand houses in the area are simply left to decay.

She encouraged me to knock on the door and talk to the owner. She said that they're very friendly and I might even be invited to see its interiors. A couple of TV soap operas, she added, were shot in that house.

I was tempted, but told her that I was just too embarrassed to just knock on the door unexpected. I thought it'd be rude.

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Related links:

Remembrance of Things Awry

Quiapo and the Filipino: Not exotic enough?

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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:59 AM


Anonymous Traveler on Foot said...

This reminds me of the what Tess Obusan, curator of Bahay Nakpil-Bautista shared to us about her experience when students come in to the old house along Nakpil Street.

She observed that "students visiting the Nakpil house for an assignment were initially boisterous then after moving around the house they become quiet and just sit for the whole day... Then they ask me "pwedeng bumalik?"."

Obusan attested that old houses in Quiapo commands respect and appreciation to our culture of which I agree.

May 22, 2008 11:31 AM  

Blogger Tina said...

thanks for the glimpse of quiapo. i wonder if my old boarding house at 916 r hidalgo st still exist as a boarding house,also is the smelly estero close to mlqu annex still there? remember i used to be a batang quiapo hehe.r

May 22, 2008 12:35 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

The only time I went inside Bahay Nakpil-Bautista was when there was an event being held there. I've wanted to go back when quieter.

Am pasting the URL of your entry on it in case other folks may want to read it:

By the way, I like how you photograph your son in the places that you visit. I bet he will appreciate it greatly when he gets older.

May 22, 2008 4:22 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I haven't gone back to Hidalgo East of Quezon Boulevard, Tina. I will look for that house where you once lived when I go back there :)

The stinky estero is still there and has gotten worse :(

May 22, 2008 4:25 PM  

Blogger nutart said...

When I was in highschool, I had a schoolmate who lived in one of those "old" but quiant houses along Rizal St. in Makati. We would visit her and her mother. They have a small botica at the ground level and the second level was their living quarters.I would linger just because of how the wooden floor would softly squeak and how the windows would nicely frame the scene outside. Guess they have torn down the house for a more efficient box-form building.

I also guess you have been quite Westernized, Eric :-). I don't think they would have consider you rude to view the insides of their house but relish the thought that they can share their pride-and-joy with someone else!

May 22, 2008 6:29 PM  

Blogger Lawstude said...

I really laud and appreciate those owners who preserve their ancestral homes for the next generation to see. I recently had a trip to Vigan and had my eyes and mind full of these spectacular ancient houses.

I am just glad that there are still old houses elsewhere that is in good condition. Thank you for sharing this senor.

May 22, 2008 7:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been to Bahay Nakpil and it's one of the most memorable thing that I've done on my bakasyon.Quiapo is indeed the heart of Manila,you can be your true self in there.A place w/ no pretensions.If only,they bring some order to it.Clean the streets,take out the jeepneys.I'm sure more people can come to it for business,or who knows become a tourist haven.


May 23, 2008 3:26 AM  

Blogger mirage2g said...

It is sometimes odd to see well maintained houses in Quiapo but I'm sure there are lots of em a kid I always thought Manila is dirty and very violent as depicted in the older movies and there'd always be car chasing scenes in Quiapo! I learned its not true when I get to live in Sampaloc (first in Eloisa St, then V.Concepcion then Antonio St).

But fear came to me when an acquaintance was killed and thrown at the Pasig river =( And thats one thing too, sayang talaga ang ilog pasig...

May 23, 2008 5:16 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I was driving along in Manila one afternoon with an aunt when she suddenly asked me to stop, Bernadette. Turned out, we passed by the house of an old schoolmate of hers. She wanted me to go and knock on the door. I said, "No way!"

You're right. It's just a New York thing. You don't just knock on other folks' residences unannounced and expect for them to drop everything they're doing to entertain you ... hehehe.

I'm sure the owners would have enjoyed showing me around their house. However, had it been pre-arranged, then I'd be comfortable :)

By the way, as much as we ought to preserve our old houses, those left to decay appear to be fire hazards.

May 23, 2008 6:24 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Many people who've been to Vigan really appreciate it, Lawstude. Some claim of being transported back in time. I would love to go and visit it someday.

Fortunately, here in Manila, there are still some folks who take pride in their old hoomes :)

May 23, 2008 6:27 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Regardless of the sheer volume of people from various classes that walk the streets of Quiapo, I think that barangay initiatives can encourage everyone to observe cleanliness and some sense of orderliness, IndioBravo.

I know that in Palanca Street, the barangay is working closely with city hall to imposing guidelines for street vendors. Check out my previous post:

I do agree with what some claim: If Quiapo were in America, many rich folks would be clamoring to live in it -- as what happened in Manhattan's SoHo, Lower East Side, TriBeCa, and meat packing districts. Same as in Brooklyn's Williamsburg area as of late.

I'm hoping that they'd transform those old commercial buldings in Escolta as living lofts.

May 23, 2008 6:37 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Sampaloc is another Manila district that I like, Mirage2G :)

Although I lived more of my life in New York, it is in Manila that I find more life which makes it a wonderful photography subject. It has a sense of history and authenticity that is absent in other local cities.

May 23, 2008 6:53 AM  

Anonymous caryn said...

i miss quiapo. a couple of us used to hang out a lot at bahay nakpil and we consulted on a few of their temporary and permanent exhibits. i love the houses in quiapo, the details are so fabulous! we used to just go around snapping pictures, accompanied by tessie of course who knows everybody in quiapo. and she's the ultimate pass into all of those old homes. hehehe.

i also love the old houses in the sampaloc and tayuman areas.

May 24, 2008 10:34 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

That's right, Caryn! Sampaloc and Tondo boast a number of old grand houses. I'd definitely enjoy taking pictures of some of them one of these days.

Thanks for reminding :)

May 24, 2008 10:58 AM  

OpenID equilibrium2008 said...

I used to live in Calamba-Craig in Sampaloc and and go to Quiapo church every Sunday and Friday. Maybe you'd want to visit this area as well, they have some houses well kept just like our old house there. :)

I really like your blog. :)

You're from NY? Mostly of my mom's cousins lived there. :)

May 30, 2008 3:36 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I pass by Calamba/Craig now and then, Equilibrium, but mostly Dapitan. Yes, they have some stately old houses in the Sampaloc area. I plan to shoot some sights there, including the Trinity Church area in Balic-Balic.

Yes, I lived more of my life in NYC than in Manila :) Plenty of Pinoys in Queens.

May 31, 2008 6:27 AM  

OpenID equilibrium2008 said...

I see. Maybe you'd want to take a shot of the house built in Craig cor. Calamba St. The one with Red brick. That is our old house. It was built way back in 1950s and was maintained well. Unfortunately, we have to move out of that house. :)

June 01, 2008 3:19 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Will most certainly keep that in mind. BTW, our old house in Santa Cruz, Manila stands to this day, but it is now owned by other people.

June 01, 2008 1:43 PM  

OpenID equilibrium2008 said...

Just like ours. :( Sigh I miss my childhood memories there...

June 04, 2008 10:20 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I sometimes pass by our old house. Perhaps, one of these days, I'd muster the nerve to introduce myself to the new owner to tell them I grew up there :)

June 05, 2008 5:48 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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