Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Iturralde House (Old Embassy of Monaco)





By: Paolo M. Bustamante
Last month, my friends and I toured around Quiapo, Manila. It was a very fulfilling experience because I saw a different side of Manila that I have never seen before. I saw the beauty of what Manila used to be. It felt so nostalgic that I wish I could travel back in time just to relive those days. I feel like I am the only person who can see the potential of Quiapo to be a better tourist spot that it currently is today. However, I sure do hope that I am not alone in having that notion. I believe that Quiapo is a very underrated place, because despite of all the colorful chaos going on, it has a certain “feel” to it –like it has a “spirit”, a strong pulse that is not present in other places in Manila. It has a distinct kind of community, culture and history that will stick with every visitor or passerby. 




Quiapo is so much more than its Black Nazarene or the issue of unsafe travels –it holds a special place in the hearts of every Filipino. I got the honor of getting to know the families who presently live in the pre-war houses in Quiapo. Believe it or not, they are very warm and friendly –debunking the age-old idea that they’re the opposite.



 


 Yes, Quiapo may be grubby and scruffy, but if to get to know your city and its community with an open mind and heart, you will be hooked just like me. Who knows, right? After, dropping by Quiapo, my friend Stephen and I waited near San Sebastian Church. We ended up there because he insisted we make a left leading there, and so we did. 





Upon reaching that destination, I couldn’t believe my eyes with what I saw. The street was dotted with ancestral houses, and it was there that I admitted to myself that there is always so much more to discover. But one house in particular caught my eye, and that was the “Iturralde House”. 



According to Stephen Pamorada, the “Iturralde House” is located along San Sebastian St. just behind the San Sebastian Church. It used to be the old embassy of Monaco during Manila’s heyday. (Yes, it’s Grace Kelly’s Monaco!) The house looks like a typical old mansion in downtown Manila, while the grillwork of the gate is very Art Deco. 



Unfortunately, just like most of the old houses in Manila, it was unmaintained. It really fascinates me to visit old places in Manila because it is very fulfilling and exciting for me. Yes, it is truly tiring, but at the end of the day I feel exhilarated like I just did something worthwhile. The most amazing part of doing what I do is my chance to interact with the community and hear their stories. From that I say, explore and get to know Manila –give it a chance.


10 comments:

  1. Can I join you on your next exploration. ;)

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    1. sure sure! :) like my page on facebook! :)

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  2. Share your passion for a bygone Manila. How come you didn't even mention the street in Quiapo?

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  3. an old house is for sale near morayta/tolentino/delos reyes

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    1. What old house? message me the picture of the house. at...
      bustamante.paolom@yahoo.com

      -Paolo

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  4. Hello Mr. Bustamante. I daresay you have a passion for fine architecture, and Manila's gloried past. If you go a little further, say, Gov. Forbes street (now A.H. Lacson) you may still find some prewar houses, I have noted two or three very nice ones. Then go further along Oroquieta street. There you will find several grand old houses (grand during their heyday, anyway) that will fire your imagination. Rizal Avenue, after you cross Azcarraga street ( I can never get used to calling it C.M.Recto) still has its share of Prewar houses, neglected or rundown to be sure, but still, you can still see their former grandeur. If you are so inclined, visit Sta. Ana district. There are still fine old houses to be found there. Thanks and all the best.Ruben S. Hernando

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  5. Got used to pass by and think about the grandeur that end lost. That house stood for generations, but hoping that it should be revived so are the old houses near Baste and San Miguel. It acted as an embassy since it is near Malacanang, even the arlegui mansion was once an embassy of the German Reich.

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  6. Houses that old should be restored and valued as a piece of history. Hope more Filipinos will learn how to respect and value their heritage, not only landmarks but also our unique natural heritage before they are gone.

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  7. I will join your exploration once I finished my thesis :D

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