Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Save the Genato House


By: Paolo M. Bustamante

A week ago, a student majoring in Architecture from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, asked me for help on her thesis.  She asked me for suggested areas in Manila that features an array of ancestral houses and pre-war structures.  I advised her to visit the R. Hidalgo, Bautista and Bilibid Viejo Streets, in Manila.  In my experience in documenting, advocating for the preservation of heritage houses, and studying these structures in my own pace, I am certain that my suggestions will surely help her in accomplishing her thesis.



Not long after I suggested her these places, I received a message from her about an ancestral house in R. Hidalgo that was about to be demolished.  I thought, this is really a bad month for heritage houses!  This month, a lot of heritage places were torn down - the thought of which, by the way, reminds me of that scene in "Fight Club" where the buildings comprising the cityscape slowly crumble down, as Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter passionately kiss.



Anyway, I immediately messaged my good friend Stephen Pamorada who is currently the president of The Heritage Conservation Society-Youth, about the said house.  He was very upset about the news because his group called, "Kapitbahayan sa Kalye Bautista" will be hosting a tour around Quiapo on September 28, 2014, which planned to include the Genato House in their tour itinerary.  Sadly, plans must change.




According to "Memorable Manila Houses", the very elegant mansion of Ramon Genato was renowned during the 1880's to the 1890's as a gathering place of the "alta sociedad de Manila" or "Manila's high society".  During special occasions (which were often, I assume), it served as a party place and ballroom area for the rich and the famous, during it's heyday.




Along with the message, the student told me that while they were walking around Quiapo, the vendors around them recommended the old house because of its antiquity and old charm.  According to her,when they asked if about the house to the guards, they halted them and said that they are not entertaining anyone regarding the house because it is in the process of demolition. It has been in the process of demolition last September 11, 12, 13, 2014.  Afterwards, the engineer stated that no one should be allowed inside the house, for it will be demolished and turned into the school's new annex.



Stephen told me that he was able to talk to the owners about the house.  The superior said that "The durability of the house is poor" and that, "They were fortunate enough to be able to see the interiors of the house", as well. 




Thinking about it just makes me a bit sad, especially as a heritage conservationist.  Manila is 400 years old.  However, it does not look like it is 400 years old!  We keep blaming other people and parties for the city's lost charm, but we never even tried to take steps and measures to save what was left for us from the past.

18 comments:

  1. Diba pasok dapat yan sa heritage criteria? Its at least 50 years old, and kahit walang declartion by a heritage commission at di gawa ng national architect, part parin yan ng history ng Maynila. Ang kitid naman nung isip nung engineer/architect-in-charge pwede naman adaptive reuse yan e... Mag ga-graffiti ako sa pader nung bagong annex kung itatayo lang ay some modern wanna-be building na walang respeto sa local identity nung area.

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  2. The house was pass generation to generation. My grandfather Florentino Genato use to owned this house.

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    1. My father is the youngest Brother of Florentino. Kanino kang anak?

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    2. Walang karapatan si Florentino na ipasa yan kung kani kanino. He should ask his brothers and sister. di Pwede yung ganun. now Sino ang nag benta nyan?

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    3. It was sold by florentinos greedy wife after he died.

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  3. lol we must have the same grandparents sino ka LOL

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    Replies
    1. I know the Blanco's is related to Genato. So We must know each other

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  4. Marami ako mga picture ni Lolo Florentino kabataan nya. Na kay Daddy Ramon. Sana buhay pa ung Royal?

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    Replies
    1. Correction! Greedily owned! When Dona Simona passed away!

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    2. Kung buhay ang Genato Commercial for sure lalong mag kakagulo dahil maraming mga anak sa labas ahhh. Actually mas kawawa ang mga tunay na Genato.

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    3. Hahaha meron palang ganyan ninuno namin.. proud to be Genato!! Wag nyo gibain yan!!

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    4. My grand father is Manuel Genato Jr. His Father is Ramon Genato.
      My mother is a Genato. They used to live at Genato commercial.

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  5. Has it been really demolished?

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  6. Has it been really demolished?

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  7. I feel sad that most of the old structures in R.Hidalgo are now gone.I have so many happy childhood memories in that street.I used to go to the Genato house to get my Lola Pacita's supply of eggs because we lived just across the street (at # 1135).i hope that old structures such as this will be preserved so that the next generations will be able to appreciate them as part of our history.

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  8. Hi, I'm a student of Far Eastern University. I'm currently having my thesis, I would like to ask you something about the ancestral houses at F.R Hidalgo Street, specifically the Zamora, Genato, Patern and Santiago Mansion. It will be a great help for me and for my thesis mates. Also are you able visit and see the interior of each houses? Can you share some information about it? If it's okay po :) Our thesis po kasi is about restoring the ancestral houses specifically those four po and the street itself. We're planning to develop the street inspired by one of the calle in heritage village at vigan. If there's anything that you can share to us please kindly do, it will really mean a lot to us sir. Thank you for your time reading this. :)

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  9. I am a decendant of the Genato Family. My Great Grandmother is Felisa Genato de Lorenzo. She had 5 siblings. Her mother was Simona Genato. I was wondering if you have any other pictures of the house wethere exterior or interior to share. Would you also know the owners that requested the demolition? would be great to get in touch with lost family. Thank you so much in advance for your help. joeylorenzo@msn.com

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