Parenting and home schooling,  Travels & Education on-the-road

Casa Manila in Intramuros

We dropped by Plaza San Luis in Intramuros after visiting the Bible Museum two weeks ago. The plan was to take new solo photos of the kids to update their artist set cards and portfolios.

But when we got there, we realized that Casa Manila was open and it was an opportunity for us to see the place and learn something new.

And we did! Thanks to the mighty Katipunero guarding the kitchen area of the beautiful Spanish house replica.



The house was fashioned after the houses of the Illustrados during the Spanish Era.

The Illustrados were the wealthy Filipinos that were granted more favor by the Spaniards than the common Filipinos a.k.a. Indios.

They lived more comfortable lives and enjoyed privileges denied most Filipinos, such as wealth, properties, and a good education.

I overheard the tourist guide telling a group of local tourists that although the Illustrados enjoyed such privileges, once they come home from studies abroad, the reality was that even though they were just as or more intelligent and skillful than the Spaniards, they were still slaves under Spanish rule.

Spanish period

Casa Manila is a big and beautiful house. I could imagine Kapitan Tiago, Padre Damaso, Crisostomo Ibarra and Maria Clara, lingering in the rooms, their laughter ringing in the halls, and whispers bouncing off the walls.

The little square table by the stairs was my favorite.  It must be the table young people in those times would play chess at.



In one of our kids’ history books, we saw a photo of a room with a sink. I was surprised because I’ve always assumed sinks belong in the bathrooms, because, you know….water.

While the rooms in Casa Manila didn’t have sinks, they had heavy basins and pitchers for the water you’ll need to wash up. Maids would bring them in to help their rich masters clean up before their nightcaps. I think I’ve seen this in a scene in Game of Thrones, hehe.



Aparador in the Master’s Bedroom

There were many rooms, but the biggest room of all was, of course, the Master’s bedroom.

Family Prayer Room

The Parlour

The parlour used for entertaining guests was probably one of the largest ones there.

There was a harp and a piano in it.

The parlour was a place where guests would gather after dinner for coffee or tea, and usually, a child of the host would play music as the guests marvel as such exquisite playing.

During the old times, being able to play music is an integral part of a good, well-rounded education. I read about it in a Sidney Sheldon book a long time ago, haha!


I’m not sure if the Illustrados did the same thing as the rich in Gone with the Wind, but in my head, hosts would invite guests to stay for days, especially those that traveled far to honor the invitation, hence, the number of rooms in that place.


Kitchen stories

The kitchen was my favorite room in all!

It had a huge stone oven and all over were displays of cooking tools and spices.

The irons used to smoothen creases in clothes during the Spanish era



Cookie Cutters

The above wooden slabs with carvings are their cookie cutters.

Nuns who baked cookies during the Spanish times would recite the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary  while they baked.

This served as their timer.

The cookies will be ready to be taken out of the oven once their prayer ends.

Popular spices
This water jug was imported from Germany.


The Ice Box which served as their refrigerator.

Exclusive Ice

They also had a refrigerator back then, or an Ice box that served as the refrigerator.

According to our Katipunero friend, if you could afford to buy ice during those times, you must be rich!

Ice were exported from Boston, Massachusettes and would take 4 months for it to make it to the shores of Manila. This means that the cost of shipping and delivery was expensive.


Dirty Kitchen (that’s an oven)

Toilet & Bath

I don’t know how to feel about the bath area. The tubs were beside the window overlooking the street. I’m not sure I want my neighbors to see me all dripping and naked after my bath, haha!

We’re so used to the white, porcelain bath tubs that we have now. But here’s how the bath tubs used to look:

Bath tubs

They’re not like the bath tubs now but they are beautiful, don’t you think so?

You may be wondering how it works. Well, I think the maids filled them up with water and help in sponging their master.

Banyo (toilet)

The toilets were much like what Tywin Lannister was sitting on when Tyrion killed him with a crossbow, haha!

If you ask me, I think they’re much more comfortable than the ones we have now. But I bet, so much harder to clean!

(READ: History Homeschooling at Intramuros)

Reconstruction of Spanish colonization

According to our Katipunero friend again, the houses in Intramuros were completely destroyed in World War 2. Casa Manila is only a replica model of the homes during the Spanish regime.

It was constructed in the 80’s by then first lady, Imelda Marcos. (Source: Wikipedia)

It’s beautiful to see if you understand its significance in our history.


  • juvy ann

    My husband and I are planning a trip to Intramuros then Binondo from there. We would like to take our boys with us to make them appreciate the Filipino culture and history. Thanks for sharing, will definitely include this in our itinerary.

  • Gilian

    Love it. So full of history. My mom used to say that her lola had this type of spanish house.
    I keep imagining how they moved around while looking at the photos. I love to visit it with my kids! ??

  • Angel Enerp

    I love visiting historical places like museums. Believe it or not, one of my unforgettable and memorable dates with my ex-boyfriend-now-husband was when we went to Intramuros. I really enjoyed it.

  • berlin | Momi berlin

    I love Spanish inspired homes. When we were just students, we often visit the place because husband was studying within Intramuros lang. We would spend hours recalling El FIli and Noli Me Tangere stories. I cant even remember why such topic but it was what i could remember from those visits.

  • Aaliziyah

    One of the places I actually decided to visit for my 18th birthday was Intramuros but because of the pandemic, I was not able to. Although that is the case, through the pictures you shared, I got a glimpse of what I can see in Intramuros. Thank you for sharing this one!

  • Misskhae

    I have love and hate relationship with the Philippine history pero I am way too curious about the truth. Yung tipong bata pa ako, the show Hiraya Manawari made me want to go back to the time again and see it firsthand. Isa tong Intramuros sa mga babalikan ko talaga when it’s safe to travel again 🙂 I have to say yung banyo napaka comfortable tignan ha like you can stay siguro sa banyo na yan ng matagal kung ganyan kaganda 😀 hahaha

  • Vee

    This brought back sooo many memories! I’ve only visited the place once many years back but I can still picture the place vividly in my head. Historical trips are always so fun and exciting, too. 🙂

  • blair villanueva

    I haven’t been there and it seems one of the must-visit places. It is like traveling back decades years ago. Hope many museums like this in the Philippines will evolve soon.

  • Hazel

    I’ve visited Intramuros again last Feb 2020 but I didn’t know this Casa Manila! I would have explored it myself too! Huhu kinda hate myself how I missed this ☹️☹️☹️ Anyway, i’m glad you included so many interesting trivia in your post. Like how nuns bake and use as timer yung mga prayers. ? And iniimport dati ang ice? My goodness! We really need to appreciate everything in the modern days talaga! ❤️

  • WanderWoMom

    love it inside. very makaluma literal. sayang di ko pa nadadala si coco sa mga gantong places kung kailan naman ngakaron sya ng interest sa mga Philippine super heroes as he say. sana matapos na to para maipasyal ko na sya

  • Nicole P.

    Wah! I’ve been here before, years ago due to my husband’s class art exhibit. I loved the furniture cause it has history written all over it, and right now cause of your post I really miss going out to Intra, eating beside mapua or the walls and just checking out the museums…

  • Wendy

    This is beautiful. This reminds me of the houses in Taal, the heritage town. I would love to bring my sons here, too. You are giving your sons a rich experience in history. By the way, y first favorite movie is Gone With the Wind:-)


    I loved all of the game of thrones references here!! Wish I could visit this place myself cause I would appreciate the details in person. I like how two people can take a dump at the same time on that toilet. Hahaha

  • Nyxie

    That old kitchen really brings back memories of my visit to our local ‘haunted’ house back at home. It’s a national trust location and everything is just left as is. That scullery kitchen is exactly the same!

  • Bryan

    Historical places such as this are great for educatonal purposes. It’s a shame these structures were all destroyed during World War II, but it’s good that someone thought to create a replica, for education.

  • Monidipa

    Your blog post took me on a delightful journey through Casa Manila in Intramuros! Your vivid descriptions and beautiful photos made me feel like I was there. You did an excellent job of bringing history and culture to life. Keep up the fantastic work!

  • Gervin Khan

    Wow! The place is so mesmerizing! Every area of the house and the furniture is well preserved! Just imagining life before is so cool! Love to try them all, especially the kitchen area!

  • Lisa

    More than worrying about my neighbours seeing me, I’d be uncomfortable having another adult sponge me down haha. What an interesting slice of preserved history you found and thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Eileen M Loya

    I would love to take my grandson there, but maybe when he is a little older so he can appreciate it more. My great grandparents have an old Spanish house in Batangas province. I don’t know if it is still standing. The last time I was there was more than 20 years ago. If I only have the means, I’d bring that old house back to its original beauty.

  • Blair villanueva

    I haven’t been to this part of Intramuros (I’ve been to San Agustin Church and its museum). It feels like you are in the different world when you are at Intramuros, full of stories both the good and the bad. This museum is a place I will visit soon when I’m in the country. The furnitures are superb!

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