By: Paolo M. Bustamante
Yesterday, I was in Old Manila and when I say Old Manila, I mean Quiapo! My itinerary for that day was to shoot the Times theater and the Life theater but the management was not that kind enough to allow me to shoot inside the Times, so I told my driver to go straight to San Beda to pick-up my sister.
We were along Quezon Boulevard the my driver suddenly made a right to avoid the traffic and the police. Then there it was, the Ocampo Pagoda Mansion in Bilibid Viejo St.
It was built during the 1930's by Don Jose Mariano Ocampo a lawyer and realtor. The construction of the Mansion was finished during 1939. The construction of the Pagoda is to beautify his garden but that dream was cut short because of WWII. During WWII, the mansion was converted as a refuge center.
When I went there, the first thing that i saw was of course, a basketball court. There was a game that's why I had a hard time taking photos of the Mansion. I sat for a while to also watch the game then this guy talked to me and said that there are foreigners who come to Viejo St. just to visit the Mansion. When he was a kid the mansion was still beautiful, now it is a boarding house for seafarers.