This lavishly appointed mansion offers an intriguing glimpse of 19th-century domestic life in Manila.
Casa Manila Museum chronicles the social history of Manila during the Spanish Colonial era. This reproduction of a grand 19th-century mansion, decorated and furnished in authentic period style, is typical of the homes of affluent Filipino families, offering a fascinating glimpse of a bygone era.
The museum is arranged over three floors, with the principal living area occupying the topmost floor, reached via a grand staircase. Here you can admire antique furniture from China and Europe, as well as items made by local artisans. Don’t miss the impressive grandfather clock, as well as artworks, sculptures and other fine decorative objects which a wealthy family would have enjoyed accumulating.
The middle floor contains the bedrooms and the office-library, where you can see the family treasure chest that safely housed gold and silver coins and other valuables, as well as a special double latrine designed for use by two people at the same time. One interesting feature of this period of architecture is the lack of hinges on any of the doors.
Take a step back in time in the kitchen, imagining hard-working domestic staff carrying the heavy pots and pans back and forth in the intense heat from the charcoal oven as the family waited in anticipation of a delicious feast around the 18-seater dining room table, cooled by the punkah, a ceiling fan operated manually for the comfort of themselves and their guests. In the kitchen you will also notice a rainwater cistern which provided running water to the household.
After you’ve thoroughly explored the house, wander downstairs to the courtyard to admire the decorative fountain which forms its centrepiece.
Casa Manila Museum is located in historic Intramuros, an easy taxi or jeepney ride from the city centre and a short hop from Central Terminal Station. The museum is open every day except Monday and there is a modest admission fee. Visitors should be aware that no photography is allowed inside the building.