Liberation Style

Originally authored on March 12, 2015

At least we were allowed a furlough from the stoking fear of seeing our heritage structures ultimately ending up in the dustbin of history. By a stroke of luck, Hanky Lee, owner of the holding company who acquired the once-ailing The Henry Cebu, one day, escorted his wife to a famous interior designer’s accessories and furniture store at #2680 F.B. Harrison. She was completely fascinated by its location.

The store is within the tropical oasis with old houses where creative people reside. Taking his own place in history, Lee offered a feasible proposal, settled the negotiation, and acquired the five old houses that would be turned in Henry Manila, “Liberation style” boutique hotel from preserved “post-war houses”. The target is a leisure and corporate market that wish to spend weekends in a hotel that has character.

Details convey a homey ambiance, a sense of nostalgia, and a feeling of individuality. The rooms boast the luxury of big windows, high-ceilings without the fancy of detailed moldings, the retained narra stairwell, the Baldosa tiles of graphic element, wrought iron chairs which adorn the veranda, and the pleasure of walking through the garden lined with indigenous plants popular in the mid-20th century await the guests. In view of the global trend in history adaptive reuse, this is an example of efficient re-purposing of old houses, sure to spur tourism in the country by giving back, if not, retaining the grandeur of old Manila.

* – credits to the owner/s for the pictures


Heritage in Resurrection: Lost Towns of Ilocos Norte

Originally authored on November 30, 2015

The hardest to find is not what’s far; it is what’s near.

After declared lost for centuries, the towns of Bangbang (now part of Bangui), Adang (now Adams), and Vera (still unknown) are expected to regain its existence. The yearning to locate them stemmed from Fr. Ericson Josue’s discovery of 1860’s document petitioning for the re-establishment of the town of Bangbang. For fear of tirong or pirate attacks, it was reported abandoned by the community and they transferred to parts of Bangui.

His initial research led him to clues where Bangbang may have been located – a valley near the Banban River in Bangui town. There is a cove where windmills are located and its terrain may speak of a good civilization because there is a river which faces the sea. The document revealed that Bangbang existed from the time of Spanish conquest in 1591, that even the ruins of the old church can be seen in the area. He also found traces of other visitas or peripheral missionary areas including Adang and Vintar.