Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Once I asked my nephew how come I no longer see him wearing the authentic NBA jersey I got him in New York. Sheepishly, he replied, “Nasungkit, Tito.”

It wasn’t until I was walking along these streets of Intramuros last Saturday when I once again thought about that particular incident. Without a safer place to hang dry their newly-washed clothes, some folks hang them right outside their windows; making them easier for petty thieves to pinch with the aid of a long stick.

This row of houses, by the way, is on the same street — but about a couple of hundred meters away — from the colorful house pictured below, which happens to be my favorite building in Intramuros. This may be the last enclave where squatters are allowed to reside within Intramuros.

During the 17th-century, the parian neighborhood of Sta. Cruz commanded the highest in rental prices, compared to those in other districts of Manila. Businessmen, especially the foreigners, preferred the structures of Sta. Cruz, especially those warehouses along the Pasig River, which facilitated the swifter delivery of their merchandise through the cascos or boats that plied the city’s esteros.

Among the big time landlords of that era was Doroteo Jose who owned six residential homes located at Calle Obando. They were built of mamposteria and wood with galvanized iron roofing. His properties were valued at P9,000.00 at that time.

Another was Pedro Roxas, who lived in the tony neighborhood of San Miguel district. He owned buildings in Sta. Cruz — a residential house at 40 Calle Quiotan; a warehouse with bakery at 14 Curtidor; and another warehouse at 64 San Pedro. His properties were collectively assessed at a total price P18,300.00.

To date, Sta. Cruz and Binondo remain to be the priciest pieces of real estate in the entire City of Manila.

Santa Cruz Church
A Living Heritage
By Anna Maria L. Harper

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posted by Señor Enrique at 4:48 PM


Blogger Sidney said...

I am quite surprised that they didn't relocate those squatters yet from this prime tourist space.
Not that they disturb me at all. Those squatters don't spoil my pleasure when I walk in Intramuros.
On the contrary, there is always a reason to interact with them and have some fun. Alas, I am not your "typical" tourist and I fear many locals and foreigners might find it an appalling sight.

February 27, 2007 9:07 PM  

Blogger Photo Cache said...

The first photo takes me back to them years when we had caught some one in the act of "sungkit" our hanging laundry by the windows. I simply love the second photo.

February 27, 2007 11:15 PM  

Blogger Sebastiane said...

I managed to walk the streets of Intramuros and I was amazed.


The picture that you posted up strengthened my reflections of my days spent in Pinas.

February 27, 2007 11:34 PM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

That is authentic Pinoy! Much have been said about our lifestyle but not a lot of city bred Pinoys know the real meaning of living in colorful and diverse neighborhoods such as what you portrayed on your photo. Remember ELOYS? That's one place where you find most of the missing(sungkit) items from your backyard clothesline hanger back then.

Ps: Still in the process of gathering info about R. Ongpin et al.

February 28, 2007 12:30 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Sidney! I've a feeling that most people who provide the basic services in Intramuros reside in this area -- kucheors, street swepers, pedicab operators and etc.

Neither do they spoil my walking tours; in fact, they seem friendlier than the folks from other areas of Manila. I was even surprised that at a certai corner filled with street vendors and kids, there were some foreigners intermingling with them -- so, I guess, it is indeed a friendly and safe place.

BTW, guess who I ran into dressed in colorful Chinese costume but with a pair of pricey sunglasses? Our mutual friend, Ivan!

February 28, 2007 4:57 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I bet you, Photo Cache that almost everyone knows of a sungkit incident. I should do a compilation ... hehehe.

As I emntioned, that building on the second picture is my favorite structure in Intramuros. So very well maintained.

February 28, 2007 4:59 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You will be coming back soon to enjoy these neighborhoods that I feature, Kyels. I'm sure of that :)

February 28, 2007 5:00 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

What? There was a central drop off point for the sungkit items in Manila? That's hilarious! Where was Eloys located?

Incidentally, a friend who lives in a decent subdivision in Mandaluyong, to date, complains of sungkit incidences in his area.

I can't understand why there isn't much recorded history on Ongpin. I plan to visit Bahay Tsinoy this week. I might be able to dig up new information on this famous name.

February 28, 2007 5:04 AM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

There was one in Sampaloc and I believe they were all over the city. (franchise or family owned). Ask any one who was around in Manila during the 70's and early 80's and they will tell you about Eloy's.

There used to be a lot of historical records stored at the National Museum and the main building library at UST. I am hoping that those manuscrips and books are still around.

February 28, 2007 5:20 AM  

Blogger carlotta1924 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 28, 2007 5:23 AM  

Blogger carlotta1924 said...

"To date, Sta. Cruz and Binondo remain to be the priciest pieces of real estate in the entire City of Manila."

that's very interesting to know considering that most buildings there look so old and unkempt. and to think i've been fancying getting an apartment in binondo coz i thought the prices are affordable hehehe. =)

one night i urged my brother to drive me along the eskinitas of intramuros like where you walked and it was a little bit scary but exciting as well coz i saw a different side of intramuros. nasasayangan lang ako sa lugar and i was like, anong nangyari dito? but then again, i will go back there to walk when i find someone who has a sense of adventure. ^^

i also just learned recently that my lolo and older tito and titas lived in intramuros during peacetime, war and liberation. thank God they survived.

February 28, 2007 5:43 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The ukay-ukays might have replaced them, Noypetes! But that is an interesting piece of trivia.

I've only passed by the National Museum but have never went in; same with UST library. I should one of these days.

February 28, 2007 6:58 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I think those folks try to keep a peaceful and friendly impression of their neighborhood, Carla, since the Intramuros Administration does a good job of mantaining it as a place to visit. I don't think they would want to stir up any trouble only get thrown out in the process. Nonetheless, walk around in the daytime and always with someone.

I, too, am glad that your relatives survived the horror that residents of Intramuros went through before and during liberation.

I wouldn't mind living in Binondo myself :)

February 28, 2007 7:02 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like sidney, it is quite a surprise that shanties exist inside the famed tourist attraction. Maybe it could bring more color and some form of realism to the place but I guess by now, the city government have some plans of tidying up the place at least...

February 28, 2007 10:41 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Major Tom! Not sure of any government plans to relocate the people living in this shanties, but personally, I don't mind them at all, for I think most of them work within the complex and they do give life to the place. There's nothing like walking along a street crowded with children joyously playing, while adults engage in animated talks but without the alcohol. And I could take pictures and no one seems to mind :)

I guess, I just don't want the city to get too sanitized as what happened to NYC when it got all glitzy and Disneyfied.

February 28, 2007 10:54 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yan ang nakakalungkot sa pilipinas, lumalaki ang gap ng mayayaman sa mahihirap, halos magkatabi lang ang squatter at eliganteng bahay kaya kitang kita ang gap.

sa kawad ng kuryente kaya isabit ang damit para makuryente ang susungkit ng damit? hehe. joke.

February 28, 2007 3:51 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Naku! Baka naman pati yung magsasampay makuryente! Basa pa naman yung damit at hanger. Hehehe!

Buti pa ingat na lng kung saan magsampay at paunti-unti ang laba para di masungkit lahat.

February 28, 2007 4:41 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know kung bakit hindi nila matanggal ang mga squatters. Tinatago lang nila, hindi nila inaalis. Have you seen the railway site along South Superhighway at Makati? Natanggal nila ang mga squatters doon but paglampas na nang Makati, tinakpan lang nila ng wall. :(

March 01, 2007 5:30 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It proves to be one of the toughest issues to address, LAR. But from what I understand, the shanties along our national railroad will be demolished to make way for a modernized railway system. Hopefully, once resettled, the old residents wouldn't return to rebuild their shanties.

March 01, 2007 6:25 AM  

Blogger sheilamarie said...

my mother lived in bonondo with her parents in the 20's. it's been sold to a chinese and turned into a junk shop :P it's a shame because older cousins said that it was a nice place/property.

even in caloocan, there are people who steals drying clothes :D so easy for thieves to jump from roof to roof and steal stuffs from the line. sayang, walang electrical line near our backyard to hang the clothes on, hehehe

March 07, 2007 3:24 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Can you imagine how much it'll be worth now had your parents held on that property, Sheilamarie? I bet a whole lot! But I'm sure your parents did what they had to do then.

I think sungkitan is a citywide nuisance ... hehehe.

March 07, 2007 5:45 PM  

Blogger sheilamarie said...

the property was willed to the eldest brother of Mom and he sold it and transferred to Pasig.

sayang talaga, eric. listening to my mom tell stories of life there while growing up (and during the Japanese regime) was such a treasure. she still resided there when my dad was courting her! haha... they sat on the patio raw outside on a very long banko while tias played majhong on a table beside them (chaperones).

when i get back to the philippines (next year again, hehe) i will try to get the address and visit it with my camera.

March 07, 2007 6:08 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Although we no longer own the house I grew up in, would you believe, Sheilamarie, that I still pass by every now and then just to get a glimpse of it? It's still intact, though repainted. I had also taken pics of it and emailed to my brothers in NY.

March 07, 2007 6:20 PM  

Blogger eleanore said...

Senor Enrique,

Do you have any other information about Don Doroteo Jose, the landlord?

August 09, 2007 12:33 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Unfortunately, Eleanore, that is all I have on Doroteo Jose.

August 09, 2007 2:41 PM  

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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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