Historic Bahay-Na-Bato Restored to Spanish Colonial Era Glory

This 658sqm picturesque home in Vigan looks and feels like a classic home from 1872

Original Article: Charmaine S. Baylon Photography: Bahaghari MFI Styling: Gwyn GS Guanzon

History buff or not, at one point or another, all of us have felt a desire to walk through history—whether if it’s for higher learning, to ogle at the fashion, or to experience how people lived years ago. This is the case for Bonito Singson, who lives in Casa Caridad, a 658sqm bahay-na-bato in a UNESCO World Heritage Site—Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

Casa Caridad was built in 1872 by groom-to-be Placido Reyes, a distant relative, to follow the tradition of providing a home for his future family. The owner acquired the house in 1996 and began restoration in 1999 after ample research, in order not to damage the infrastructure. A year later, the house was finally restored using old-school methods like using wood and bricks for sectional repairs and combined powdered lime and egg whites as plaster to cover the eroded walls—and even completed, as they realized that parts of the house were originally left unfinished! A wall with two windows revealed that its jamb was actually a door jamb, showing that it was originally supposed to be a veranda, so they completed the abandoned project. Inside, narra walls were hidden under drab old paint—instead of repainting, the walls were stained, resulting in a classic Spanish look for the home. Antique pieces set amidst the colonial design complete the look of the home, truly making it a home of history.

Original article by Charmaine S. Baylon. Styling by Gwyn GS Guanzon. Photographed by Bahaghari MFI.

Read the original article ("Living in the Past") in the September 2005 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App ( now! Log on to for more details. 


Get a feel of history from the front with the antique shutters and heavy duty doors amidst the white infrastructure.


A smaller door is cut into the two big doors that serve as gates into Casa Caridad.


An archway welcomes you from the garden to the house. A red padded table and colorful windows add a pop of color to the somber furniture and flooring in the foyer. The daybed set against the window is one of the few non-antique pieces, bought in Bohol.

First Floor Detail

Diamond shaped blue, red, green, and yellow window panel lets light in the first floor. A hat stand is at the bottom of the staircase, used like days of old.

Grand Staircase

To preserve the vintage feel, the staircase retained its original balusters. 

Ante Sala

A small living room with chairs sits atop the grand staircase. In the 1800s, this is where homeowners entertained ordinary folk.

Main Living Room

A door from the ante sala leads to the grandiose main living room, the size of two large rooms combined. This is where VIPs are entertained and where the family relaxes. 

Main Living Room Detail

The main living room holds butaka chairs and round table, while light shines through the two-doored windows. A small rug enlarges the space even more.

Lighting Detail

A chandelier with candle-light shaped lights looms over the living area. The ceiling’s are made of intricately designed tiles, diving a touch of delicacy to the room. 

Dining Area

Underneath paint, narra walls were revealed. They were stained to achieve this classic, wooden-home look. Complemented by straight back dining chairs and yellow lamps, the dining area will make you feel like having a meal in the past.

Dining Area Detail

A wooden Last Supper, a staple in all Filipino homes, with celadon plates decorate the narra walls.


Logs are stacked under the stove. Hanging shelves made of wood hold kitchenware, all chosen in the same color scheme to give a cohesive look to the place.

Kitchen Detail

A classic fire stove under painted white brick is seen in the kitchen area.

Kids' Bedroom

The kids’ bedroom has antique four-poster beds with intricately carved designs. These were made by a famous furniture maker named Atay, who signed his work with an inverted kalabasa design on each post.


A white fountain amidst a pebbled garden gives off a picturesque vibe.


A new addition to the home, the veranda has a table for enjoying meals and a hammock for afternoon siestas. 


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