Wednesday, September 14, 2011

casa manila at the heart of intramuros

casa manila, intramuros.

the last stop of our Intramuros tour last saturday was Casa Manila. from the Manila cathedral, we walked to San Agustin Church. Casa Manila is located just across this famous church.

this casa was converted into a "colonial lifestyle" museum. as seen from the external facade, the house followed the colonial designs of houses around Intramuros during the Spanish regime . the casa houses different antique, art and souvenir shops on the first floor, while the main house was located in its upper floors.

unfortunately, the museum was strict about the prohibition of taking pictures of the main house.

when we first stepped in, we were greeted with antique furnitures, fine artworks, and colonial architectures. the house has several notable sections which are characteristics of houses of novelties in the Spanish regime.

1. entresuelo- literally means" between floors"
this area houses several wooden furnitures and seats where clients or tenants wait to be entertained by the owner of the house at his office.
2. despacio or opisina
large wooden tables and chairs (locally made), and bookshelves  with stored old books and other reading  materials ornamented  the opisina.

3. cuartos 
cuartos in the entresuelo are allotted mostly for extended families (aunt, uncle, cousins)  who are living with the family or staying with them during vacations.

after the second floor, we walked to the next floor of the house. large open windows (made of capiz shells) greeted us with cool breeze.
4. caida or antesala - (anteroom)
the owner of the house entertains small set of visitors in this area. they play games (they have a chess table), they eat their merienda (small tables with chairs are available), and they entertain close friends here.

5. sala
after the antesala, a very wide room comes next. this room is well adorned with expensive furnitures and materials ( piano, harp, one or two settees, cabinets, etc). these furnitures show off the social status of the family.

6. oratorio - prayer room
next to the sala is a prayer room. big statues of santos (saints) and the holy family adorn this room. the family pray the Angelus together, followed by novenas to saints at 6 PM.

7. cuarto principal
this is the principal room where the owners of the house stay. it contains aparator de tres lunas (armoire with three sections), tremor (dresser with singing full-length mirror) and lavabo (washstand). the rooms have connecting doors from one room to another. privacy is not that imporatant then.

9. comedor
the comedor's wall were lined with old cabinets showing off expensive porcelain, silver and glassware and ceramic plates. a large wooded table with 10-12 seats is found at the center of the comedor.

10. cocina
this is the kitchen of the house. it has a stovetop made of ash and water. A paminggalan contains preserves and leftovers. dishes and cooking utensils are washed and dried in the banggera.

11. letrina -toilet room
the toilet room is made for two people. it is really cute. i didn't think that it is possible to do the act with someone at the same time. (it is designed like a sofa with armrest)

12. bano
it contains two large baneras (bathtubs). it was said that the master of the house just lie in the tub while servants (many in this case) pours water into the tub.

this photograph was taken from the azotea of the house. t comes after the cocina. all activities requiring water are done here.

this is the end of the tour.

it was a short tour but very meaningful. even without a guide, we learned a lot just by looking around and discussing things around.

have you seen casa manila? if not, i suggest you take a tour.


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