Inside Plaza San Luis, a cultural-commercial complex in Intramuros, is a remarkable house that takes us back in time to experience a principalia’s domestic life in the 1800s.
Casa Manila: A History
Welcome to Casa Manila. The Casa Manila (Manila W House) is a colonial lifestyle museum, which features the domestic life of the upper class in 19th Century Philippines. Built from 1981 to 1983, façade of the structure was inspired from a house that once stood at Jaboneros street in the Chinese district of Binondo in the 1850s. In that area, the ground floor of the house is rented out to shops; so it is here in Casa Manila. The walls of the ground floor are made of adobe or volcanic tuff which was used as the main building material in the colony during the late 16th to late 19th century. This is the same material used to build the walls of Intramuros. The upper floors that serves as the living quarters, are made of wood. They also overhang and extend outward. These features make the house resilient against earthquakes. They also help shade pedestrians during the day. Inside, the painted walls, carved traceries, crystal chandeliers, Chinese ceramics and gilded furniture show the luxury of that era.
Casa Manila is furnished with local and imported antique pieces from the Intramuros Administration Museum Collection. It is part of the Plaza San Luis Complex, a neighborhood of a total of nine period houses constructed in the 1980s, featuring the various architectural styles for homes in colonial Philippines.