Old Houses Galore: Sariaya

Old Houses Galore: Sariaya
After having a refreshing nap at Balai Sadyaya Resort, me and my relatives woke up at a lazy afternoon bound for the town proper.  Sariaya is a very Pinoy-sounding name.  For me, it can even be given as a name for a Pinay girl, nicknaming her Aya. 

From the resort, I requested our trike driver to drop us off at the Sariaya Municipal Hall (P 10 each).  From here, we started our photo-walk, briefly pausing at times to chat for a bit of history with my companions.  

Old Houses

Margarita Rodriquez Ancestral home

I have been to several provinces, but the grandeur of Sariaya’s architecture charmed me in a special way that had me very curious.  I had to see them with my own eyes in order to relish what really transpired in the old days.

Several houses here showcase the kind of life the local elite had then.  Fueled by the prosperous Coconut industry, they were able to display their wealth through the grand and exquisite 1930s Art Deco fashion which was in trend that time.  A chat with a local, kuya Gary, he said that the houses were designed by familiar names like Juan Arellano, Juan Nakpil and others.  History buffs would know who these lads were and what they represent.

As I have expected, numerous pre-war homes still dot the main and adjacent roads of the town proper.  I had a hard time concentrating on each as the sun was quickly setting and I wanted to take shots of all of them.  Being the host for this travel, I was amused and proud at the same time since I get to share Philippine history to my two travel buddies (my mom and cousin-in-law).  Ironically, they also have that rare, proud appreciation of old Philippine architecture.

Natalio Enriquez Ancestral House
Owned by one of Tayabas’ (now Quezon) Provincial Governor,
this old house looks like a miniature castle which is
located beside the church
Catalino and Luisa Rodriguez Ancestral House also known as Villa Sariaya
One of the houses declared in Sariaya 
as a national treasure by NHCP
Old Church

While roaming around the vicinity, the church’s imposing structure did not leave my peripheral vision.  We took a short break from our old-house tour and visited the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi.

St. Francis of Assisi Church | Church of Sariaya
Church grounds

Just like every old Filipino town, the building of a Catholic Church marks the foundation or the birth of the town itself. The first church was built in 1599.  However, due to human activities and natural calamities, the original structure was destroyed, transferred and rebuilt numerous times. The church that we see today was built in 1748.  

Municipio and Town Plaza

The town’s municipio is as unique as the old houses themselves.  Appearing like a huge stone mansion complete with an elevated central tower.  Quoting the Traveler on Foot: ‘ The focal point of Sariaya’s Municipio is the central towering projection topped by a receding lantern. Flanking all sides are busts of Grecian women. Decorative enhancements like the zigzag and wave like moldings plastered all throughout the building were the typical Art Deco motif seen worldwide while the banana leaf gives the structure a local flavor.’

Sariaya Town Hall

Fronting the municipio is the town plaza.  We rested for a few minutes here and observed the provincial life the young generation living in the cities are surely missing.  Bands and majorettes were practicing for what could be for an upcoming town performance. Curious children happily playing in the plaza grounds and church-goers marching on to attend the last mass of the day.

Sariaya town plaza

After feeding our eyes and minds, it was time to feed our growling stomachs.  While on the bus on our way to town, I caught a glimpse of a local pizzeria along the road which was called La Barrida Pizza Haus, complete with the neon signs and all.  I unconsciously told my two tag-alongs that we will have our snack there.  I was right in trying out local restaurants and vie away from the usual eateries. For only Php 290, we were served a family-sized pizza which was good for four persons.  This is the house special which they call La Barrida Pizza.

La Barrida Pizza Haus along national highway
La Barrida Pizza Haus Special at Php 290
Pizza house interior

The pizza tastes delicious.  A chat with the cashier confirmed my thoughts that they also have branches in nearby towns which are in Lucena City and Candelaria.  The pizzeria is located along the highway.  However, travelers would sure notice this more if the signs are larger and colorful, making them more eye-catching. The restaurant interior should be repainted and refurbished.  I actually find their seats yummy too since it was built in the shape of a pizza pie slice.

Tummy, eyes and minds now full, we found our way towards Balai Sadyaya again. The night was young and we trio enjoyed the pool all to ourselves before the night swimmers joined us. Surely, having that trip down town made me richer in experience. Sariaya, though unknown to many, is a town worth your visit. How I still wish that I have my own Lumang Bahay na Bato. Will my dream come true? I hope so but only the future knows.

More photos here

14 thoughts on “Old Houses Galore: Sariaya”

  • I feel nostalgic about going home since I always pass by these structures en route to Bicol. They really never fail to catch your attention. I certainly agree that the best time to visit such ancestral buildings is during late afternoon against the backdrop of the golden light of the setting provincial sun. Feels like you are a part of a beautiful painting of a historical landscape. It's a sort of serenity that only the laid-back rural life can offer.


    • Hello Ron and yes you are definitely right. Visiting places like these promote a sense of national pride in me. How I hope that these national treasures will be preserved for future Filipinos to appreciate. 🙂

  • What a nice place to visit! I also noticed that there aren't a lot of people milling about in your photos. Mas ma-appreciate mo talaga yung architecture. thumbs up!!

  • I hope they'll continue the effort to preserve, 'cause when I went here, modern structures with hideous designs are appearing like a toxic mushroom in between the beautiful old houses. Anyways, thanks for posting those old houses, they're beautiful Paola!

    • Yeah same here. Good thing that some are still well-preserved. That's why there are cameras and travel-tellers like us. When the time comes and history will claim these old houses, we will still have memories left of them. But I am praying that it will not come to that.

      Thanks Edmar!

  • I have never visited Sariaya Municipal Hall but it’s looking very pretty in your shared pictures. I love to visit these types of places. The all pre war’s home looking like amazing. I am a history lover and I love to visit old and ancient buildings and monuments. During my last volcano tours honolulu. I have visited many other ancient places around this region.

  • Hi Pondering Paodaolei! Thanks for this lovely and interesting featrue about my beloved hometown, the only Mount banahaw town in both Laguna and Quezon with a sea coast, and the Art Deco Center of Southern Luzon, with four such beautiful structures to its name . . . designed by the country's illustrious architects like Juan Nakpil (Gala – Rodriguez NHI heritage House 1935) , Juan Arellano (Sariaya Municipio 1931)and Andres Luna de San Pedro (the 1931 Gov. Natalio Enriquez NHI heritage House and the Rodriguez – Emralino Mansion 1929 , the son of Juan Luna. There are other houses worthy of mention, which were likewise designed by other great Filipino architects like the (Gala – Enriquez House by Arturo Mañalac and the Don catalino Rodriguez (1922 by the Spanish Architect Juan Hervas, designer of the Tutuban Station in Manila). Other erstwhile old houses, now either in ruins or have be demolished due to the town's four 20th century fires like the Don Emiliano gala house and the Gobernadorcillo Roman Reynoso House (once Sariaya's grandest) were accoprdingly designed by the Spanish architect Abelardo la Fuente, a conttemporary of Andres Luna de San Pedro), plus other notable ones whose architects are yet to be named like the Dr Simeon Rodriguez house, Don Manuel Gala House and the Petra Obispo House (the only Art Noveau style house in town). These houses attest to the unimagined wealth of Sariaya's Ilustrados during the heyday of the coconut industry. I have the good fortune of befriending the great restoration architect and erstwhile Philippine institute of Architects President Joel Vivero rico, who have helped me identify a few of the said building masters of yore by virtue of just looking at the style of the houses and even the ruins.

    Yet, there is still more to Sariaya than meets the eye, being one of the old social centers off the Southern Tagalog region, and being frequented by President Manuel Luis Quezon from the early to mid 20th century, simply because his wedding godparents Gov. Maximo Rodriguez and wife Doña Martinita Gala were from hereabouts. The book Tayabas Chronicles :The Early years by Doña Concepcion herrera Vda de Umali documents life hereabouts during the last decades of the Spanish era and on to the American Commonwealth period.

    Should you plan to return for another visit, please feel free to contact me so you will get to hear and see more of our lovely, scenic, folklore and heirloom story nurtured and history rich communtiy.

    Thanks once again and infinite power to your photography and blogging endeavors. ^_^

    Eric J. Dedace
    Secretary, sariaya heritage Council
    Secretary Quezon Province heritage Council , Inc
    Locel heritage Researcher/ Writer/ Story teller/ Tour Guide

    • Hi Sir Eric! Thank you for dropping by my blog and sharing these bountiful information! I would definitely take up on your offer to visit Sariaya again. My visit there was just spent wandering around the town center and admiring the old houses from the outside.

      I'm a sucker for heritage towns. Will contact you in the near future! I hope I can find you in Facebook! 😀

      God bless and thank you again!


      Paula aka Pondering Paodaolei

  • Hello po. Thank you for your blog, it's very interesting and useful. I'm going to Sariaya over the weekend and got curious about the ancestral houses. Are there entrance fees? Or are we even allowed to go inside?

    Thanks a lot.

  • Hello po. Thank you for your blog. It's very interesting and useful. I am going to Sariaya this weekend. Are there entrance fees to visit these ancestral houses? Or are we even allowed to go inside?

    Appreciate your reply. Thanks a lot.

    • To my knowledge Bona wala. However, I think most of the houses are still being lived in or private. I suggest visiting Sariaya municipal hall/tourism center (if they have one). My visit was 4 years ago na eh. 🙂

      Balitaan mo ako ah! Thanks for the compliments!

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