I just did my Intramuros tour last year and had the chance to visit Casa Manila. However, it was only the courtyard part that I got to visit and not the museum itself. Lucky me that I needed to go to Intramuros yesterday to accompany a friend in an event. While waiting for the event to start, we wandered the streets of Intramuros and found myself facing the entrance door leading to the courtyard and to the museum of Casa Manila.
Casa Manila is a Spanish colonial home. It resembles our version of "compound" or "apartment". It serves as dwellings to the landlords and several tenants.
The landlord's home has two floors. And anyone can tell that is the landlord's home by the intricate architectural designs and very classic sophisticated choice of furniture. The first floor has the landlord's office and 2 guests rooms. The second floor serves as the receiving room with a spacious hallway and lotsaaaa chairs. (Kung ako ang bisita, maloloka ako sa dami ng upuan, di ko alam saan uupo o magpapalipat-lipat ako ng upuan para ma-experince lahat!) It houses the prayer room, another guest room and the (another spacious) master's bed room. I fancy all the narra-made cabinets and dressers! The four-poster beds on all rooms (less the mattress.. di pa uso non ang mattress!) On the other side is the dining area filled with the finest of china wares. There's this stuff called pun ka (I forgot the correct spelling) It's like a large piece of cloth hanged at the ceiling with ropes being pulled by maids (or parang electric fan!) use to drive away flies/mosquitoes while the landlord, his family and some guests are eating. Bongga talaga!
I got to see the kitchen too. Very classic! There's a dome structure where they bake breads (wala pang oven nun!) Wooden laddles and spatulas, large iron cauldrons and kettle. Biscuit molds made of wood with different shapes and sizes. Banga (ceramic jar) to store water. And you wont believe this, they've got a refrigerator back then! It's not the electric type but it's somewhat made of iron or aluminum (I really can't tell..) where they used to keep the ice (well, obviously, not for long..) The rest rooms.. so old school! The toilet are not the ceramic type but made of wood (with arm chairs pa!) and there are bath tubs and dippers too.
The tour inside the landlord's house won't take much of your time, 30 mins to an hour is enough na! Di ka maliligaw coz you just to follow and step on the red carpet. It'll lead you to the different parts of the house. At the last stop (the kitchen area), they will let you sign on their guest book and leave a comment.
It's amazing that Intramuros administration really had the chance to preserve and restore Casa Manila and it's beauty from what it was before. We'll the tenants' houses were converted to souvenir shops, cafe, restaurants and offices. The courtyard is a very relaxing place. With the fountain as the main attraction and the cobbled stones and walls, it feels like you wanna try living the life back then.
If you wanna visit and see what's inside Casa Manila, you can go there anytime of the week. No fee. But if you wanna visit the museum itself, you may visit anytime except on Mondays and there's a fee of php 75. Yun nga lang, no pictures allowed inside. For your eyes only! It's a few blocks away from Manila Cathedral and San Agustin church. It's worth-paying the visit!
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