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Houses

A Castle-Like Beach House in Batangas

Discover the many secrets inside this fantasy of a weekend retreat

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Original Article: Marina A. Fernandez Photography: Ocs Alvarez Styling: Gwyn GS Guanzon

Who would have thought that in the middle of the beaches and coconut groves of Batangas stands a castle made of corals and stones worthy of a blockbuster fantasy movie? Castilla de Almejas was built by an old seafaring gentleman from San Juan in the 19th century. The Gualberto family took over the residence in 1995, transferring each and every piece into its present location, but retaining much of the castle’s bahay-na-bato flavor with its trusses and posts, balusters and staircases.

Billy Gualberto, businessman and president of Pueblo Nino Development Corporation and his family have always been obsessed with acquiring, collecting, and saving things of the past. “We have enjoyed an affinity to the relics of bygone years. We intend to open windows to the past,” he shares. It didn’t take long for the new owners to make their mark on this unique residence as they added more enchanting details to the Castle of Clams. Two stone towers rise up from the rear of the house, topped with turrets guarded by mermaids. The towers are balconies connected to the second-floor bedrooms with sliding capiz windows offering great views. 

There are other surprises in this one-of-a-kind abode. The ancient coral walls on the ground floor are studded with giant fossilized clams. The steps of the staircase leading to the living areas are stenciled with the Gualberto family's coat of arms. In the bedrooms, “secret” doors mysteriously lead into other rooms. Who knows what other secrets this castle holds?

Original article by Marina A. Fernandez. Styling by Gwyn GS Guanzon. Photographed by Ocs Alvarez.

Read the original article (“Kin of the Castle”) in the April 2006 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at https://summitnewsstand.com.ph/real-living.

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