Monday, April 07, 2008


First I lost the Coconut Palace, now this. Sigh.

But I knew this day had to happen. After having the rough but hauntingly beautiful "House on Madrid Street" as the second stop of my Chinatown tour for the last five years, I am finally losing it on April 30. During my Chinatown tour last Sunday, the residents of this Dickensian abode informed me that by the next time I do the tour, their house will be leveled to an empty lot by the owners of the property due to it's being structurally unsound.

Such a shame. The house has stood there for more almost a hundred years. The mansion survived earthquakes, typhoons, the Philippine Revolution and World War II, only to tragically meet it's fate as scrap wood on Laon Laan Street.

But what can you do? It's a property rights kind of town. If the government and owners of these properties don't see the value of this authentic structure, then nobody will.

And just like the residents of the house who are fatalistically nonchalant about having nowhere to move to, I too am not going to cry for the house. There are bigger problems I have to think of now. Like where can I find an authentic 19th century structure to visit as the second stop of my Chinatown tour? And where can I find other resident families to adopt and provide birth control for? Ugh.


nina said...

OMG, sad to hear that. I feel bad I won't have the chance to see that house in my lifetime!

Anonymous said...

It has all the turn of the Century Grandeur. A treasure of the past, yet devalued for its age, antiquity and architectural importance.

Anonymous said...

hi carlos!
ria trillo here.
such sad news!
that house was one of the stops that struck me most in your chinatown tour. i couldn't stop thinking about the contrast between its present state and what it must have been like a century ago. if those walls could talk, right? sigh... it's just tragic.

beektur said...

hi carlos -- i've been reading your blog for a while now and i admire so much your passion for what you do. (un)fortunately for historians, cities are dynamically organic and have a lives of their own. by the way, do you know any shop in manila that stores and resells architectural details of demolished structures? thanks.

len said...

Hey Carlos

It's me Len... aww too bad -- that was one moment that really stuck in my mind.

I remember all the people in there just hanging off every nook and cranny.

where are they gonna go?

I have some orb pictures from that house.

Anonymous said...

Hi Carlos,

very sad to read that the house will be demolished soon. Sad for the people. I assume they have no new place to go to.

I was there with you in 2005. It was a unique and very authentic experience. Hope you will find a new place.

Anonymous said...

This is too bad, i wish an organization would step in and maybe buy sometime to stop demolition. Oh well, another one bites the dust.

carlosceldran said...

Yes. There is a place to buy the old architectural details.

Click on link above.

Merlinda said...

i live in malabon and there are lots of old houses here. but they are deterirating due to the flood.... =(

(the girl who werent able to go to corregidor =P)

Primavera said...

Uy! I like those round bakal things na may design-design! Carlos, maybe you can have those as souvenir before they sell it por kilo.

Sidney said...

You can start a tour in Fort Bonifacio... enough concrete to make everybody happy ! ;-)

ana said...

The owners should sell the house to the developer of Ciudad Real. He buys old Spanish houses, has them transported and rebuilt in his compound. I have no idea where it is, but I saw the photos of it here:

chinachix said...

hi carlos,

first time to comment here. i grew up in Binondo, and never really appreciated these houses until much, much later. i remember passing by many such houses often, either on my way to school, or when i visited friends, and even vaguely remember taking piano lessons at an old bahay na bato in Elcano St., but that, too, is now gone. have you seen the boarded up houses in near the squatter-populated del pan st.? parang ganito, and just as sad and dilapidated. sayang talaga.