Monday, September 20, 2010


I have traveled along the Vito Cruz Area for a while now, and have become acquainted with many of its old houses. I have a particular affinity for structures that have been ignored by the passage of time, and with these houses, even more so. They carry a connection to the past that, for me, is too important to be forgotten. They offer a powerful sense of history which gives hope.

When a friend of mine asked me to write an article about these old houses, I wasn’t enamored of the idea. Though I think of them as small historical treasures, I find I have too little knowledge of history to give an accurate account and perspective; one I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have other people read. But I realized that knowledge can be overrated, and that a sincere and honest rendering of the quality these structures can stir on a person can sometimes be more important than an accurate retelling of history, so I decided to at least give it a shot.

What is it about these old houses that make them so extraordinary? At first glance, you merely see the dirt, the crumbling walls and their insect-infested pillars. Their age is clearly evident. Aside from the obvious historical value these houses provide, why give them a second thought? In fact, why even write about them? There has to be something more; these structures must have something essential to give us, something we could learn or need.

Quite frankly, it is difficult to get past the dirt and decay, but I realize when I look closer, there is a beauty that can only come with age, and these houses have it in spades. Age offers for a common person the opportunity for nostalgic musings; and in this case, a more than hopeful rendering of a severely wished-for past. The Vito Cruz area is, for some people, a window to a past that is more beautiful, polite and cultured than the present. An age where adults take time to look and dress better; where Filipinos, at the very least, offer a semblance of graciousness when in the company of other people. The Vito Cruz area then becomes less of a historical site, and more of a door to a positivism that, at this moment, Filipinos severely need.

Change can be a dangerous thing, and the passage of time has been particularly difficult on these old houses. They have been largely forgotten, and people would rather escape to the more modern establishments than reminisce about a past too difficult to imagine. But, though I acknowledge that progress would eventually push on these houses their eventual death, we need not forget them. In them lie a connection we should not let go of; to remember them is to have light.

I do not know if this idealization is the real past; it is probably merely a dream brought about by a hyperactive mind. Still, for me, the Vito Cruz area offers a connection to a place that gives hope a permanent residence; and living in a country seemingly ruled by chaos, that is more than we can wish for.

*An old article published in a now defunct travel magazine.

Photo taken here.


  1. It is awesome to wonder what happened in those old houses. What memories they hold, what spirits still reside. To some they may look like they are old and dilapidated, to others it takes them back to once was.

    Awesome post.

  2. Progress always has the aim of doing something good, but it makes you wonder. And you're right, the historical knowledge doesn't have to be there to see their true beauty.


  3. lovely picture... yeah you're right there's something that comes with age and that's the beauty of it...
    which is why i think Vintage things are special and unique, it stands the test of time :))

  4. I love your article! Love the photo. I recently took a trip to a city that had 18 century mansions and beautiful cathedrals. for the most part they are restoring them. Some are waiting to be restored. But when I first see these buildings I don't really see it in it's deterioration stage. I'm aware that the structure is crumbling but I see beauty, life, love, celebrations. I guess I feel it more than anything. A whole new world comes alive for me and i am awestruck!

    thank you so much for sharing. Love your blog

  5. i love seeing old houses too,sa bayan namin sa laguna,many still standing there, i hope they could find a way to restore them...

  6. Shoot, you got really serious really fast. Kudos, better than I can generally pull off. I live in New Orleans, so I more than know what you're talking about :>

  7. Great read!

    My hubby and I went to northern Italy and spent a lot of time in Rome. I loved the architecture there. The beauty that we no longer build is hidden away in valleys of history. I didn't so much care to know the history of each building, I'd still be there learning (not that I wouldn't mind living in Italy). True beauty is forgotten this day in age.

  8. I love the stories that the old buildings carry within them. So many would have loved there: giving birth, making love, hurling abuses, cooking delicacies, thinking of lust, etc.

    I loved this post!

    Thanks for this delightful treat!

    Joy always,



    While construction cranes continuously threaten these houses in Vito Cruz, your words have already immortalized what they mean to a lot of people.

  10. Hi. Nice entry. I didn't know buildings like these still exist in Vito Cruz. All I remember is that it's one of the stops in the LRT, if I'm not mistaken (I'm not from Manila). Nice if they could be rebuilt.

  11. I love old houses. To me, they're like gateways to the past. I like imagining the way things were... though those houses are probably haunted.
    Nice picture, by the way.

  12. That is such a beautiful picture!!! I have a fascination for old things, especially houses, I often even dream of them...sigh. Great post!
    Thank you for visiting my blog!

  13. Beautifully written article! I love looking around old houses--it's so fun to imagine who lived in them and what life was like there back in the day.

  14. Saw your comment on my page. So that's your style - visiting others so we get to visit you! Smart.

    I'm glad you led me here. Cheers! :-)

  15. the photo is absolutely stunning! you should pursue a professional photography career :)

  16. haha, you read JZ's blog! i saw your comment on her entry. after the bar, enter the litwit challenges din. goodluck on the last sunday! after that you're gonna get lots of beer poured on you :) -shockresist

  17. I really like this post. Very effective and thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing the article.

  18. Okay, so you visited my blog about 2 weeks ago...sadly I am getting back to you now.
    Your comment SO had a point!!!!

    SO you entered law school and then what happened? Can't leave me hanging here! What did you major in, in the Arts? What uni did you go to?

    Also, regarding your article here, I love it. You write very articulately. Also love the post!

  19. Just a clarification guys, that isn't my photo. :-)

    @Be: Thanks! That's what I do all the time. :-)

    @Bleah: Thanks!

    @Red: Nope. I'm not even familiar with Roam.

    @SD: I'm all for progress. But yes, sometimes it can suck.

    @Justin: Thanks! :-)

    @Kim: I completely agree. Vintage rocks.

    @Hope: Thanks! I like going to trips like that as well. I'm not super into history, but I think it's not always necessary to appreciate architectural beauty.

    @Mac: That's true. Sayang naman kung hindi.

    @Emily: Hahaha. Sorry. I do that. :-)

    @Canadian: I really want to visit Rome. Ijust need to be save up first. The architecture there is lovely.

    @Susan: Thanks! I agree with stories buildings carry. They can be really interesting.

  20. @v and Hi: Thanks! :-)

    @Ela: Completely agree.

    @Ella: Old things rock. Sometimes. :-)

    @Koci: Thanks!

    @ Tadao: Hahaha. I can't claim complete credit. It's a fairly common trick new bloggers use.

    @Vinci: Not my photo. :-) I'm sure the photographer would appreciate the compliment.

    @anonymous: Haha. Yup. One of my daily reads. And thanks! Can't wait for it to end. :-)

    @Bipolar: Thanks! :-)

    @Under: Hahaha. Too many questions. I'll probably answer them in a future post. And thanks!

  21. Nice post! Lived in an old house myself with my grandparents before... But it had to be renovated because roads are as high now as lamp posts... Only a handful of old houses still stand here. Sad... Old houses have a certain mystery and beauty in them...



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