Philippine Heritage Homes- guidebook launching

Casa Manila, Intramuros , Manila-Philippines

Dr. Jaime Laya and Senator Loren Legarda

It was a sunny afternoon when members of the Advocates for Heritage Preservation , Heritage Conservation Society , Ancestral Houses of the Philippines , National Commission for the Culture and the Arts , Intramuros Administration , Turalba Foundaton and Anvil Publishing Company launched the book entitled ” Philippine Heritage Homes ” a guidebook.

invited guests and members of the AHP facebook wearing yellow t-shirts

The event started early in the morning when some of the members decided to have a photo-walk in some of the restored houses within Intramuros .

A short talk about the importance of the ancestral house and the need to preserve them .

Architect Maria Christina Turralba and Dr. Jaime C. Laya

Facebook page members who signed several weeks before ( thread ) of Ancestral House of the Philippines were given a 20% discount by Anvil Publishing House and the authors. The book is co-authored by Dr. Jaime C. Laya , Architect Maria Cristina Turalba and Architect Martin I. Tinio Jr.

Ancestral House of the Philippines book

 There are already plans to  to have a copy of Philippine Heritage Homes Volume 2., which according to the authors  will feature some heritage houses of Visayas and even in Mindanao .


I do not have an idea on the number of books ( quantity) that  were printed by the publishing company,  since it affects the pricing of the book.  I wish they printed more and make it hardbound so  it can be read by more people ( softbound books tend get easily worn-out due to usage) and distributed it to libraries and even useful handbook for history, architecture, heritage , fine arts . The price range of the book is Php495 which is a bit on the middle- range  ( some  guidebooks  / coffee table book /  books ) cost cheaper with almost same number of pages, quality of the paper , book binding, celebrity book author involved. The entire book is about 135 pages which only represent homes located in Luzon area.

Despite the 20% discount at Php 400 , The guidebook is a little but pricey but is cheaper compared to any paper back book.  The good side of having this pocket size book is the ability of any architecture lover to comfortably bring them anywhere as to compared to the large coffee table size books which cost several thousands of pesos!

Typo Error

The book can be easily read in just one sitting . We have notice some typo errors in the scientific name,  one such error spotted –  ” The interiors of the house was sourced from the Bicol Region . The architectural detail of the interior is a celebration of the gem of Philippine hardwood , narra ( Ptecarpus indicus).” page 59 Sabino -Santos House of Region III.

The scientific name of narra, our national tree is Pterocarpus indicus .

Website link:

Kew Botanic Garden:

National Tropical Garden :

 Some blurred photos on pages 41 and 53. While there were 22 heritage homes that were featured in the book, There are some houses that was featured in the book which had no actual historical value but was reconstructed based on old plans created by the Intramuros Administration from period houses in San Nicolas and old-Intramuros like Casa Manila page 28 to 33, Museo De La Salle page 42 to 45 .

Transplanted Houses like Casa Luna, Casa Candaba, Casa Jaen I, Casa Bizantina , Casa Hidalgo, Casa Alberto , Casa Unisan which is now at the Las Casas de Alcuzar in Bagac, Bataan province.

Handful of Information

The book is loaded with a lot of handful of information about the history , culture, architectural details of the homes . The authors are all expert .

Additional Information

The authors must allot at least 1 or 2 pages for the feature of Las Casas de Alcuzar since ( 7) seven of the heritage homes featured in the guidebook is now currently located in the resort.  I hope that they must also include if the homes that they feature are OPEN to the public or they are just for private functions. I lend the book to one of my friend who wanted to visit one of the heritage homes that was featured in the book but there was no contact information provided.

Overall , I would give a 7.90 Rating out of 10 Points to this guidebook , It is well-written and there are a lot of good photos.

The book is available at Anvil Publishing Incorporated and leading Bookstores nationwide !

Anvil Publishing Inc.


Salumpuwit,Bangko , Silya atbp… Exhibit

THE Block- SM North EDSA, Quezon City -Philippines

poster of the exhibit

National Commission for Culture and the Arts ( NCCA),  Metro Bank Foundation , Inc. , and SM Super malls invites everyone to attend the exhibit .

Different kind of chairs

The exhibit entitled Salumpuwit, Bangko , Silya atbp. from the book of Dr. Gerald Lico . There were about 38 different chairs representing different eras.

Rocking chair and a Butaka chair

 Rocking Chair / Rocker or Tumba-tumba / Lumba-lumba was the in- chair fashion during the Spanish regime . This is a type of chiar with two curved bands (also known as rockers) attached to the bottom of the legs, connecting the legs on each side to each other. The rockers contact the floor at only two points, giving the occupant the ability to rock back and forth by shifting his/her weight or pushing lightly with his/her feet . Old heirloom family pieces would include a rocking chair made from Philippine finest hardwood species  .

Butaka or Butaca ( chair with  with long arm rests )  is sometimes called The quintessential impolite chair . The butaka is a native lounge chair with a lengthy back that is reclined down and extended arms for resting legs. It is made up of wood and intertwined rattan strips. It is also common in households in Northern Luzon.

 When the Spaniards came to the northern part of Luzon , a reclined chair was discovered in the midst of native aristocrat’s houses and called it “butaca”, a Spanish word for arm chair. Finding it very relaxing, the Spaniards adopted and even brought it to their mission houses and mansions. They also used it during special occasions. A lot of the old heirloom pieces were  made from finest Philippine hardwood species .

Batibot chairs

 Batibot means ‘small but strong and sturdy.’ The wooden seats and tabletop are wrapped in sheet iron, and the legs and seat backs are made of bent iron rods; even the studs and rivets are made of solid iron. The chairs were popular in the Philippines in the late 1950’s to the early 1960’s .  Recent trends in chair fashion enable batibot chairs make a come back . Instead of black or brown paint – Some chairs were painted with pastel colors.

Art Nouveu inspired living room chairs made from wood

There will also be a FREE lecture on Architecture and Interior Design on August 31, 2013 from 1:00PM to 4:00PM

Contact: Mr. Henri Palma or Ms. Lalaine Calicdan of the Metrobank Foundation , Inc. 898-88-56 or (0922-8464559)

Link: Metrobank Foundation Facebook page:

Mr. Ramon Valera y Oswalds – Stamp Unveiling

Architect Leandro V. Locsin  Auditorium , NCCA Building ,  Intramuros , Manila – Philippines

poster of Mr. Ramon Valera posted in front of NCCA building

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), through its Chairman, Prof. Felipe Mendoza de Leon, Jr., Philippine Postal Corporation , National Historical Commission of the Philippines  launched the commemorative stamps in honor of Don Ramon Valera y Oswalds ( August 31, 1912 to 1972 ) , National Artist for Architecture, Design and Allied Arts in celebration of his  100th Birth Centennial   on August 31, 2012, through Proclamation No. 291, which was signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III declaring the period from August 31, 2012 to August 30, 2013 as the Centennial Year of National Artist for Architecture, Design, and Allied Arts (Fashion Design).

3rd and 4th generation  nieces of Mr. Ramon Valera  from his brothers and sisters pose for a souvenir shot at the lobby of NCCA building

Likewise, the House of Representatives has issued House Joint Resolution No. 22, introduced by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., Congressman Neptali M. Gonzalez II, Congressman Edcel C. Lagman, Congressman Salvador H. Escudero III, and Congresswoman Ma. Jocelyn V. Bernos.

Mr. Francisco Valera-Zulueta descendant of Mr. Ramon Valera   , Mr. Carlos Luis OMPG – Philpost  and Professor Felipe M. De Leon- NCCA chairperson

The commemorative stamps in his honor was launched on Monday, September 3, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. at the NCCA Leandro Locsin Auditorium, with NCCA chairperson  Felipe M. De Leon, Jr., Exec. Director Emelita V. Almosara, Philpost executives and National Artist’s Valera’s nephews and nieces.

Mr. Ramon Valera was celebrated for his ingenuity and craftsmanship, for revolutionizing the national costume, for his masterly embroidery and bead work and for translating Philippine motifs into contemporary terms. His  signature creative cut, silhouette, colorization, and opulent but tasteful bead-work with embroidery.

 ceremonial autograph signing of the first day cover

 According to Mr. Francisco Valera -Zulueta , Mr. Ramon Valera is considered a genius ,  which knew how to speak 5  languages , and way ahead of his contemporaries, He never enriched himself and whenever his house helpers and tailors had their birthdays , he would cook for them and their families. Mr. Ramon Valera was the only male couturier among his contemporaries – Pacita Longos, Marina Antonio, Purita Escurdia and Mina Roa – who could design, cut, paste and sew all by himself.    He finished high school in De La Salle University , but dropped out of the Far Eastern University where he had been studying commerce, but Valera never really had any formal training in dress making or design.

presentation of the signed autograph to the parties

In late 1939,  He revolutionized  the old- Philippine national costume much to the shock of Manila’s high society, He introduced the one-piece terno fastened at the back with a zipper. In his later collections, Valera transformed the colonial- style  Maria Clara into a bridal gown with bell sleeves, which was then considered by many as a disgrace to the Filipina  dress . None of  the criticism have deterred Valera  and he continued to challenge traditions with his creativity and trailblazing design concepts.

Mr. Ramon Valera designing dress (  photo from NCCA archives)

His early innovation was modernizing the terno at the start of the forties. He revived the traje de boda (what we know as the Maria Clara), traditionally a four-piece ensembles consisting of a blouse, skirt, over-skirt and scarf. He exaggerated the bell sleeves . Then the terno became a one-piece silhouette, fastened with a zipper instead of hoods. He shocked the public when he removed the pañuelo or scarf which covered the woman’s bosom.

Some of the important clientele of  includes  Mrs. Imelda Romualdez-  Marcos  almost all the Philippine  first ladies ,  Mrs.   Elvira Manahan, Mrs.  Margarita Romualdez,  Mrs. Susie Bayot Ortigas,  Mrs. Adelaida Mendoza,  Mrs. Maritess Pineda,  Mrs. Evelyn Teehankee, Mrs.  Fe Leyson Qua Mrs.  Caridad Velez Leyson , Chito Madrigal, Mrs. Imelda Cojuangco, Mrs.  Vicky Quirino, Ms. Chona Kasten, Ms.  Susan Magalona,  Ms. Priscilla Sison,  Ms.Rome Osmena,  Ms. Baby Araneta-Fores, Mrs.  Rosemarie “Baby” Arenas. actress Ms. Gloria -Romero ,   European royalties and Queen Sirikit of Thailand.

Even today, Filipino fashion designers study Valera’s ternos:  Its construction, bead works, applique, etc. Valera helped mold generations of artists, and helped fashion to become no less than a nation’s sense of aesthetics. But more important than these, he helped form a sense of the Filipino nation by his pursuit of excellence.

First Day Cover issued by the Philippine Postal Corporation
 Stamps and first day cover is available for sale at the Manila Central Post Office in Liwasang Bonifacio , Ermita, Manila  and major postal offices nationwide .  This is a limited commemorative issue.
For inquiry about the event  : Ms. Frances S. Alincastre, Tel. No. 527-21-92, loc. 503 or 527-2214 (DL), and e-mail address:

National Commission for Culture and the Arts:

Philippine Postal Corporation:

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