Arts & Culture

Heritage House Tour: Kapitan Moy Residence

The well-preserved property in Marikina celebrates old world grandeur


With different establishments and skyscrapers taking over in the city, we seldom see old houses and buildings kept in good condition. More often than not, these parts of our rich history are often left as is—with broken windows, peeling paint, and a dark vibe that seem to warn anyone who wants to come closer. Fortunately, there are still a few that we can visit—historical spots that were restored and maintained with the help of the owners and some institutions. If you’re looking for a new place to visit, you may want to travel to Marikina, where the Kapitan Moy Residence is located.

Just looking at the façade will take you back in time, with the ancestral house still sporting majestic columns, capiz windows, and an exterior that we only get to see in textbooks. Now serving as a prime reception venue, it has enthralled locals and tourists alike.

The property served as the home Don Laureano Guevarra, known as the founder of the Marikina shoe industry. “Ang paggawa ng sapatos, dito nag-start. Sila ang nag-initiate na matutong gumawa ng sapatos ang mga taga-Marikina para maging main industry nila. Ang mga sinimulan dito, mga bakya, mga tsinelas. And then, pumunta sila sa Maynila. Bumili sila ng isang sapatos ng lalaki. Binaklas niya, tapos binuo niya uli. That’s the start of the shoe industry in Marikina. Tapos tinuruan niya ang mga taga Marikina. Mayroon silang grupo ng manggagawa at mga namuhunan para sa kanilang tinayong shoe industry,” shares Maria Salome Aquino, a cultural officer of the city.

It was former mayor, and now congressman, Bayani Fernando who thought of transforming the centuries-old house across the church into a premier events place due to the lack of reception venues in the city.

Here are more interesting facts about the famous residence that you need to know:

1. It used to be an elementary school during the American Colonial Period and after the Second World War.

Maria Salome shares that the house was divided into six rooms, with the principal’s office located by the piano bar downstairs.

2. The front of the house serves as a stage.

Many milestones were marked in the venue and it’s safe to say that it witnessed memorable events. “Yan ang stage. Kapag nagpro-program dito, yan ang stage. Marami nang nag-graduate dyan sa stage na 'yan,” says Maria Salome.

3. The original features were maintained.

The bricks, the trusses, the big wooden doors on the ground floor, and the planks that make up the upper floor of the house are original to the house. 

It may be hard to believe, but the wooden steps of the staircase have been there for as long as everyone can remember. “Na-uka na sya sa dami nang dumaan na bata. Binaliktad na lang namin,” explains Maria Salome. 

4. There were three wells that served the entire house before. Only one remains to this day, the well found inside the Café Kapitan restaurant.

The wells became an integral part of the house as it provided water needed for washing clothes and even preparing meals. The one found in the restaurant had to be covered, though. “May bukal ng tubig, e. Ang ginawa, nilagyan lang ng mesh para walang mahulog,” the officer explains.

5. Senior citizens—including those who aren’t residents of Marikina City—enjoy a 50% discount when renting the venue.

Some of those who rent the venue used to attend school here and they find joy reminiscing about the old days.

6. The upper floor, where the living quarters used to be, has been opened up to create a spacious, air, and air-conditioned hall.

Windows are dressed up in chic curtains—adding to the airy and inviting feel.

7. In keeping up with the old world feel, the main hall is illuminated by several chandeliers.

8. An elevator was added at the back of the house to aid guests who have a hard time climbing stairs.

This addition is also a big relief for the senior citizens who need to use the bathroom that's located at the ground floor.

9. The ground floor features photos of the residence in its many forms and functions over the years.

A few snapshots also showcase scenes of everyday life in old Marikina. These photographs give guests a peek into the property’s history and the role it has played in shaping the story of the city and its citizens.

The Kapitan Moy Residence is located at 323 J. P. Rizal St, Sta Elena, Marikina City. For Cafe Kapitan Restaurant inquiries, you may call (02) 646-4303.

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