Quiapo’s Old House, The Nakpil-Bautista House
Not all former residents and old families that used to live in this area of Quiapo have abandoned their ancestral houses. There is a family that chose to conserved their historic ancestral house and open it to the public.
One of the few remaining gems of Quiapo and for that matter, Metro Manila too, is the Nakpil-Bautista house. It is open to the public, it is a museum and a shrine to the Katipunan and the Revolution of 1896. It is located on A. Bautista Sreet formerly Barbosa Street. It was renamed in honor of Dr. Ariston Bautista who lived in this house. He had the house rebuilt and it was completed in 1914 with Arcadio Arellano as the architect. Quite interestingly, the design of the house was taken from the design of the furnitures that was given as a gift to Dr. Bautista. More information can be found about this well preserved house at http://bahaynakpil.org/.
The stairs leading to the second floor and one can get a glimpse of the photo of Gregoria de Jesus.
Gregoria de Jesus was the widow of Andres Bonifacio and later married Julio Nakpil who was also a high ranking member of the Katipunan. So both husband and wife were key figures in the Revolution against Spain’s colonial government.
Dr. Bautista’s wife was Petrona Nakpil and a sister of Julio and they were invited to live in the house and they occupied the entresuelo (seen in the photo above.)
As mentioned previously, the house is also a shrine to the Katipunan and the Revolution of 1896 and the photo above shows the shrine dedicated to Gregoria de Jesus.
Photos of the Nakpil-Bautista family. The larger framed photograph is Dr. Ariston Bautista who invented a medication that was used to fight cholera. He was not only a friend of Dr. Jose Rizal, he also helped distribute Rizal’s novel.
Julio Nakpil was not only a Revolutionary, he was also a composer and he composed what would have been an alternative National Anthem- Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan. I was able to listen to this Nakpil composition a few years ago through a cd that if I remember correctly was produced by an insurance company.
Their son, Juan Nakpil is a noted architect and was the first National Artist for Architecture. His cousin Angel Nakpil, is also a well known architect.
One of the descendants or family member of the Nakpil family is Prof. Fernando Nakpil Zialcita who was one of two authors (the other one is Martin Tinio) of the book Philippine Ancestral Houses, a seminal work on ancestral houses or the bahay-na-bato. This is one of two books that made me interested in the old structures of the Philippines as well as in history and Filipiniana. The book is highly informative and well illustrated. The 1st edition which is hardbound, is a very collectible Filipiniana item and is difficult to find nowadays. The price have also appreciated for the 1st edition of the book. Fortunately, I was able to have my copy signed by both authors.
And also, one of the authors or contributors to the book Filipino Style is Prof. Nakpil Zialcita.
Below are some more photos of the Nakpil-Bautista House and some of the information above, were taken from http://bahaynakpil.org/.
This must be the minimalist version of the bahay-na-bato. The calados and transom are simple, not at all intricate or ornate as compared to other bahay-na-bato or ancestral houses.
A recognizable bahay-na-bato with the capiz windows and ventanillas built in the Art Nouveau style.
These photos were taken back in 2007 and if I recall correctly, this furniture piece is original to the house and was used by the jewelers who worked at the house since the family back then was also involved in the jewelry business.
A very beautiful mix of the traditional bahay-na-bato and Art Nouveau design. The iron grills at the ventanilla are more streamlined and linear.
Notice how the chaotic and ugly overhead wires are marring the view whether from the outside or inside of this beautiful house. One can also see the view of the neighboring structure which is nondescript.
The view of the street below fronting the house from what seems to be a lively neighborhood.
The view from the back of the house is a further testament on how the neighborhood’s physical appearance has declined (again urban blight) as can be seen by the nondescript structures.
For me upon entering the Nakpil-Bautista house there is a certain calmness about it. The hustle and bustle of the neighborhood seems to be left outside and forgotten once inside and one would think that the house was located somewhere else. Sitting at the azotea can even be pleasant despite the view which is like (photo above) this and with a polluted and dead creek or estero below. This is certainly a decline in the quality of life for such neighborhoods.
The Nakpil-Bautista house has a mini-library which I think contains mostly Filipiniana related books (notice too the calado and transom, above photo.)
This is a reproduction of the painting by Juan Luna entitled Interior of a Parisian Café which used to hang here. In the painting are Dr. Jose Rizal, Juan Luna and Dr. Ariston Bautista. The identity of the woman in this painting is rather vague and some theories have been presented as to whom she maybe or what she represented. The painting is now in the GSIS (Government Service Insurance System) Museum. There were some protest when the GSIS, a Philippine-government owned and controlled corporation acquired the painting a few years back from an auction house. Nevertheless, I think it was a good decision since being in the museum it can be viewed by the public .
The zaguan or the ground floor is being used by a santero.
One of the places to see and visist in Quiapo, Manila is the Nakpil-Bautista house. It partly shows how this particular neighborhood used to be and what it can be, if only our heritage were appreciated and better understood.