Yesterday we did our Desirable Old Residences Tour of Metro Manila, conducted by Rene, who has lived in or wanted to live in these buildings. Rene has a bit of a Nora Aunor complex (constantly moving house), and Noel is into interior design. We are generally indifferent to interiors—for years we slept on our couch and had sheets taped to the windows in lieu of curtains—but we enjoy hanging out with our friends.
Our first stop was the large tree-lined compound on F.B. Harrison near Edsa in Pasay, the one with the red gate. We don’t know what it’s called—according to Eric Paras, whose furniture gallery Artelano 11 occupies two houses, it’s referred to as the Chinese compound. The houses are two-storey structures built in the middle of the last century, which is the romantic way of saying “50s, 60s”. When you’re in the compound you forget that you are smack in the middle of urban chaos.
These residences are so desirable that a hotel is reportedly leasing five houses to turn into tourist accommodations.
Look at those machuca tiles. Our Sunday snooping quickly turned into an Xmas shopping expedition. No more wading into the mall for last-minute presents at the peak of the holiday rush hahaha!
This birdcage should be eight feet tall. Then you could hire a naked male model to sit in it, and occasionally pelt him with birdseed.
A-11 has plenty of inexpensive china pieces (A set of 6 saucers for Php300), such as this plate with a spider design. This plate is perfect for that someone you hate but still have to give a present to (co-worker, in-law, etc), who happens to be arachnophobic. Imagine serving them a nice pudding on this plate, watching them enjoy it, and then seeing them freak out as the spider emerges from under the sauce…
“If you hate them, then don’t give them anything,” Juan pointed out later.
“You’re not cooperating!”
Bookends for book lovers and an off-kilter bookshelf for off-kilter book lovers.
These are black mirrors. On May Day Eve, says the story by Nick Joaquin, take a candle and go into a dark room that has a mirror in it. You will see either the man you will marry, or the devil.
Approach the mirror with your candle and say, “Mirror, mirror, show to me him whose woman I will be.” And our hand will shoot out of the mirror and slap you. “You really want to be someone’s property? Gaga!”
The black mirrors are gorgeous but cost more than the crazy bookshelf.
And here’s a great gift for Lino Brocka fans: an old-fashioned flatiron (plantsa). Not only an excellent conversation piece (We don’t know how to iron clothes), but a wonderful prop for reenactments of the climax of Insiang starring Hilda Koronel and Mona Lisa.
Artelano 11 is at 2680 F.B. Harrison St, Pasay City, telephone (02)832.9972, email email@example.com.
Next: North Syquia and the MacArthur Suite at Manila Hotel. By the way, if there is anyone living at Rosaria reading this, could you let us into the building? We hear it’s fabulous and we just want to have a look. One does not simply walk into Rosaria, one must be invited, but unlike vampires we promise to exsanguinate no one.