Move Forward and Never Be Still

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.

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

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

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.

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.

8 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!!

    • Hello IndieEscape! Yeah you are right, the place isn't as crowded like the streets here in Manila so I guess that adds to the charm of the structures! Thank you! 🙂

  • 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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *