Conflicting claims haunt old Binondo house

A+
A
A-

THE MARKER installed by the government on the house on Urbiztondo Street in Binondo, Manila.

A house in Binondo, Manila, believed to be the birthplace of revolutionary hero General Antonio Luna, is in a sad state.

With its galvanized iron roof slowly being eaten away by rust and its capiz windows missing a few panels, the now-empty two-story structure used to serve as a storage area for sotanghon (bean thread noodles) and old furniture.

In the hopes of seeing the house preserved and restored, the Manila city government has urged the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to buy the historic landmark on Urbiztondo Street.

Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim made this appeal during a wreath-laying ceremony held last week in front of the old house to commemorate Luna’s 146th birth anniversary.

IS THIS house, which used to serve as a storage area for noodles and furniture, General Antonio Luna’s birthplace? The National Historical Commission of the Philippines says it is but its owner says otherwise. PHOTOS BY ERIKA SAULER

Born in Binondo, Manila, on Oct. 29, 1866, Luna was the brother of painter Juan Luna. He cofounded the periodical organ of the revolution, La Independencia.

According to NHCP, General Luna was the greatest Filipino strategist during the Filipino-American War. He was assassinated on June 5, 1899, in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija.

The Chinese businessman who owns the house has told the Inquirer that he was willing to sell it for P100 million although he was doubtful about its supposed background.

Lorenzo Tan, 66, said his family has been trying to negotiate the sale of the house to the government but they were told that there were no funds available.

He went on to say that the historical marker put up by the NHCP in 1967 was first installed at a nearby house—that of his mother-in-law—but she disapproved of it so the NHCP moved it to its current location.

“Do you think this is a house from 1866?” Tan said as he gestured toward the structure’s facade.

“We used to live in that house. As kids, we would play and run around inside. We didn’t know it was Luna’s house until the NHCP put up the marker,” Tan said. He now lives in the house next door.

He pointed to the information on the marker, which states that Luna’s home is at 843 Urbiztondo St. The house’s address, however, is 457 Urbiztondo St. According to Tan, 843 Urbiztondo St. is situated at what is now known as the City Plaza condominium.

The Inquirer called up NHCP Executive Director Ludovico Badoy for comment but was told that he was in a closed-door meeting.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Hey_Dudes

    Just like the dismal situation of Dr. Jose Rizal’s mother mansion in Binan Laguna, this too will be another shame  for failure of our government doing nothing to preserve it.

  • Mattino2011

    Whats the relevance anyway? Remember the persons and what they did for the country… Houses are not important, thats my opinion.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1033238456 Jeffrey Yap

      Physical remembrances at part of our history. Houses and ancestral houses in particular are important because it is a built heritage.

      The thing with history and Filipinos is that they do not give high regard to history and particularly built history and heritage. They do not know that every facet of history is important including the house where the hero once lived because it can tell so much about the past, the hero itself, its location (why it was there, etc.). The reason is total and proper understanding.

      It’s just sad that most Filipinos do not care about Philippine heritage and history. They do not know that heritage and history is part of who they are as individuals and Filipinos.

      • Mattino2011

        I stand by my opinion, remember what they did (if ever there are) not the house or whatever..Besides did you some hisorical writings are incorrect also..Like some accounts of who is Emilio Aguinaldo really.. etc..

  • jojo webmail

    today…  sotanghon is more important than  national  heroes. hndi ka mabubusog sa national heroes lang

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94