There’s an old house nestled in the San Nicolas district of Manila that looks like an ordinary old house at first glance. This house has capiz windows, wooden walls at the top floor, and a large front door typical of the “bahay na bato” of the Spanish era.
The old house is actually the birthplace of General Antonio Luna. Unfortunately, just like other historical houses in our country, General Antonio Luna’s birthplace is in great disrepair. The roof is about to fall off and the windows have missing capiz shells.
General Luna’s house looked bad on the outside and I shudder to think how worse it is in the inside.
Another sad fact is that the front of General Luna’s birthplace became a tambakan, parking lot, and even a sleeping place of Binondo’s homeless.
General Antonio Luna is considered as the best Filipino general during the Filipino – American War. Heneral Luna was an excellent strategist that even the Americans respected him. He brought discipline and professionalism in the fledgling Philippine Army. His reforming works hurt many in the army, especialy those whom Luna considered as cowards ad insubordinates. Well, these cowards and subordinates murdered him in 1899 as allegedly ordered by President Emilio Aguinaldo.1
Keeping the old house in its sorry state is not the good way to honor the general. The government cannot do anything, however, since the house is a private property. Lorenzo Tan, the Filipino-Chinese who owned the house, said that he is willing to sell it to the government for 100 million pesos but he received this answer: “no funds available”.2
Mr. Tan also questioned the claim that the old house was the birthplace of Heneral Luna because the historical marker was originally placed on his mother-in-law’s house located near the old house. The mother-in-law didn’t want the marker so the National Historical Commission transferred it to Mr. Tan’s house. The alleged true “birth house” of Heneral Luna is now a condominium.
It is sad to know that there were issues about the Heneral Antonio Luna’s house in Binondo. Is this the reason why the government is adamant in purchasing the house?
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Many information in this post were obtained from the following online articles:
1. “Today in Philippine History, October 29, 1866, Antonio Luna was born in Binondo, Manila” from Kahimyang
2. “Conflicting claims haunt old Binondo house” in Inquirer.net