I just got the shock of my life today.
Mr. Gerardo “Gerry” Alberto, descendant of Jose Alberto and current owner of the Alberto house (Alberto mansion) said he is bringing it down. Citing maintenance cost and its continued deterioration.
If its any consolation, he’s currently negotiating a deal with Acuzar of San Jose Builders to rebuild the house in Bataan. He was introduced to Acuzar by Laya (and an NHI officer). Laya is considered by many as the country’s “culture champ” for his efforts in heritage conservation, from paintings to “bahay na bato”. When he was head of Intramuros Administration, he rehabilitated the plazas, build the replica houses and restored much of Intramuros fortification. He’s now a private citizen and is still active in heritage conservation, I find this truly admirable and inspiring.
But if you’ll ask heritage conservationist, it would be a unanimous vote that restoration should be made in the place where the house was built because their historical significance belongs to the area.
Mr. Alberto was a gracious host, he even toured us around and shared very interesting stories about his family. The question whether to keep the house or demolish it boils down to economics, and he was very honest about his present financial situation and its challenges, being the only person now that runs the place. He made clear that deterioration has made it unsafe and useless, in his word “wala na din akong choice”. He told us that he would want to keep it, but “there’s is no money” and the government according to him, “wala naman maasahan”. the local government I felt should step up to the plate and put a viable program to restore the house that it largely ignored even after the town prospered after WWII (These cabrones even covered the house with their massive campaign tarpaulins!) Binan’s government has wholly deserted its heritage houses and sites, from Rizal’s first school to the old casa’s like the Yapchinchay, now the Albertos, what a damn shame to live in a town run by such ignorant officials!
I’m not expecting heritage programs like the one in Taal for Binan, being realistic – these official’s can’t even manage traffic and crime, how much more conserving its heritage but for them not to push forward a restoration scheme for the Alberto house that sits right in front of their municipio blows my mind.
This is a sad development, imagine the house was built in 1611, and very few Binan folks knows about its history – its pending destruction breaks my heart. but I guess you have to accept that some things are beyond our control. Bidding our host adios (and our last ‘adios’ to Binan’s grandest house) we witnessed a very beautiful rainbow. “Esperanza!” exclaimed by my pal, but is there hope?
We now leave its fate to faith.
Below is English Gov. Bowring’s description of the house and the town during the historic visit in Binan (Chap. IV “La Laguna & Tayabas, pages 41-43):
I’ll be posting the picture I took after I’m done editing them.
Oh man.. this is very sad.. and very unfortunate. I’m very surprised how none of the Konsehales or any local Government body of the town would want to step up and come up with something to protect and preserve one of Binan’s legacy.
Local tourism would’ve boomed if the local Government have come up with some organized tour of some sort, at the same time tattooing the importance of these structures.
I asked Sr. Alberto if he’s willing to receive funds from the government just to save his almost four-century-old mansion. His answer: “waláng pera ang gobierno.” =(
The email he showed us only goes to show that he is really working on at lease getting the house moved by Mr. Laya. If the local government of Binan took interest in restoring it I’m certain that Mr. Alberto would’ve cooperated. This man is very civil minded, he even helped raise fund to rebuild the Sn. Isidro church back in the 1990’s. The problem is that we have leaders that lacks vision. Puro na lang pulitika at reklamo na walang pera ang kaban ng gobyerno but you wonder why they’ll kill each other just to control the politics of… Read more »
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Sad to see binan crumble down because of its politics precisely on curruption. i hoped the alberto’s just took over its politics around 1900’s like what they have doing for the past centuries making the town progressive
Magkakaroon po ng isang pagtatanghal ang mga kabataan ng Biñan para sa Albertos house sa darating na June 09,2010 sa Biñan Plaza ang pag tatanghal na ito ay upang maisalba ang Albertos House….
For inquiries of that said “pagtatanghal”….Contact UACCD at telephone numbers: 511-60-52 or 0917-8472-476
If the young people just put together an Internet campaign to ask Filipinos all over the Philippines and the world to give one peso or one dollar each to save that house, then millions of dollars would be collected, more than enough to save hundreds of historic buildings. In Chile the Hogar de Cristo and many other charities have a deal with the owners of supermarket chains. When you pay for your groceries and you are supposed to get back, say, $592.50 and you give the cashier $953 pesos, she’ll say, “Do you want to donate 50 centavos to Hogar… Read more »
@ Isabel – That’s a good idea. So far we have many organized heritage conservation groups but I have not seen such a campaign. This should be centralized and national.
Also, I’ve corrected this post as I mention Arch. Laya as the person negotiating with Gerry, it was Acuzar of San Jose Builder that is working the deal to transfer the house.
Appalling! Disheartening! Sad: mere words that cannot quite describe how we feel about this news. Thanks again from sharing it pronto, Arnaldo. But this spectre of loss is but the latest in a string of disappearing, deteriorating (made to rut) and mangled cultural heritage sites, buildings, objects, isn’t it? As Jimmy Laya (architect, he isn’t as far as I recall) and a host of others impassioned with conservation, preservation and restoration (as my husband was, dying disheartened but accepting none of these mattered in the master scheme of things anyway) would agree, culture and history register nowhere in the minds… Read more »
I wish to thank all of you for sharing your thoughts and concern on the Alberto House issue. The fund raising is a bright idea and we (UACCD) have even discussed this in one of our board meetings. The problem is whether Mr. Gerry Alberto would agree. He is just so bent on selling the house to Mr. Acuzar. I do not know why but i hope he could see the what Mr. Zialcita had to say on Bagac.: ON BAGAC Fernando N. Zialcita Cultural Heritage Studies Program Ateneo de Manila University June 5, 2010 I got to meet Jerry… Read more »
@ Dr. Rosario – we would have to consider a wider range of perspectives and ideas. Unfortunately, we’re running out of time. If the local and national had come up with solutions for many of the major issues facing the house and its owner, we won’t be dealing with this mess.We should learn from this and ensure that what remains of the heritage structures of Binan is cared for and protected. Looking at what’s left of Binan’s heritage, there’s little left to save 🙁
[…] my other articles about the Alberto’s and their endangered casa [ here, here, here & here] Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Update on the Alberto House of […]
binan government doesn’t have the money to preserve or acquire the alberto house because all of binan’s money go to corruption. binan is second to santa rosa in terms of income but in spite of that our local government owes money amounting to billions of pesos. where did all our money go? ask our local officials. instead of building a new munispyo amounting to 100s of millions of pesos, our municipal government should have bought the house and turned it into a museum.
Your politicians are the great misfortune of your town…
it is very sad… he’s just making money out of these great ancestral houses.. i’ve met him for sometime, i worked for him & i know how greedy is he.. w/o thinking the safety of consumers.. just to earn money he’s using this houses.. so sad about what is happening, yes he has great ideas but intentions? i doubt.. hope the goverment will see what happening..
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