City of Manila

A Walk Around Quiapo

As part of an effort to revitalize Quiapo through the rehabilitation of one of the heritage houses in the area, the Kasa Boix, the Kapitbahayan sa Kalye Bautista recently organized an event called the Lakbay Lakaran, which aims to give visitors a unique experience in exploring what is known as the heart and soul of Manila, the district of Quiapo.

The Lakbay Lakaran was a good opportunity to see some of the district’s hidden and overlooked gems and give a new perspective of what it has to offer, beyond the stereotypical imagery that has been adversely attached to it in recent years, like being a place of chaos and disorder.

The Urban Roamer was fortunate to take part in one of the two tours the group has made this year. The Lakbay Lakaran I joined took us to some spots that were already documented here like the Ocampo Pagoda and the Padilla House as well as others that will be documented here today.

One of the houses we passed by had an interesting history. Called the Iturralde House, this house actually once served as the consular office of the Principality of Monaco in the Philippines.

The tour took the group along Bilibid Viejo Street where two notable houses were visited there. One of them is the De Jesus House, purported to be the oldest house in that stretch of road as it was built in the 1860s. In addition, the owners of that aforementioned house are related to the Lakambini of the Katipunan movement herself, Gregoria de Jesus who also happened to have lived in Quiapo in the latter part of her life at what is now known as the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista.

interior of the De Jesus House has remnants of the staircase of the old courtyard

The other house visited there is the Estrella House, which was built in 1916. One thing about this house is that it is being used by some film and TV studios to shoot their films or TV shows.

Along Hidalgo Street, there are a number of heritage houses that still survive albeit in poor condition. We were able to enter one of those houses, the Paterno House which was built in the 1850s. It is notable for being one of the earlier houses built with a central courtyard which one can still see in the midst of its present congested state.

There are a couple of noteworthy houses which we never got to enter unfortunately. One of them is the 1900s house across the Paterno House known as the Zamora House. What makes it notable is that it served as the home of an eminent Filipino pharmacist Manuel Zamora who is best known for having formulated the supplement formula against beri-beri called tiki-tiki.

A few meters away towards San Sebastian is another house that was also built around the same time. It is a notable structure that it served before as the first home of the University of the Philippines College of Music.

As has often been stressed on this site, Quiapo is a hidden gem in the rough. While the Urban Roamer has talked so much about Quiapo in the past, those entries (including this one) does not even give a full picture of what this storied district has to offer. I suppose another entry in the future is sure to be forthcoming.

For now, congratulations and a big thank you to the Kapitbahayan sa Kalye Bautista for holding such events and we shall be looking forward for more events like this in the future!


To keep updated on what’s going on in Quiapo, including future Lakbay Lakaran events, do visit the Kapitbahayan sa Kalye Bautista Facebook page

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