Wine makes the world go round– well, to me anyway– and I was honored to have been invited by my friend Dr. Marti Magsanoc to their wine club last week. It was his turn to host and I was told that whenever it’s any of the Magsanocs’ turn, they always have a little element of surprise, with venues of choice outside of your typical restaurant. This time it was at La Casita Mercedes in Poblacion, Makati. It is a 1930s pre-war building (the oldest and last remaining one in the area, according to Marti) that’s been converted by owner Juan Ramos into a quaint bed and breakfast. (He’s also the man behind The Clipper Hotel, and the former Cava restaurant– we met about 8 years ago there!) It’s currently on soft-opening and open only to family and friends.. until after Ghost Month. (**Since this blog post, Jon has left for overseas and will not be receiving reservations during his absence because he says they will be unable to provide the standard of service they are trying to set. He will be back on September 25 so bookings after that date are encouraged.)
When Juan, or Jon as he is more commonly known, first saw the house, it was in a dilapidated condition with five families living in it. He “Disney”-ed the place, and in an interview with Coconuts Manila, shared that he went as far as buying an old house in Caloocan so he could use its material to rescue and restore the place. The project which took over two years and cost Jon millions of pesos, champions the preservation of Philippine heritage. Spanish and American architectural influences are evident in the clapboard walls, capiz windows and intricate wooden carvings. “I’m trying to make people remember what Manila was like,” he said in that same interview. “This is my contribution in showcasing our past, our heritage,” he adds in the Philippine Canadian Inquirer. (He chose the name Mercedes because it represented the 1930s Filipina).
There are eight rooms, dressed with wooden beds and antique furniture, that go for PHP1,500 to PHP2,400++/ night, which includes an aircon and ceiling fan, wifi, water and breakfast. The dinner that we had was quite “special” as Jon is good friends with the Magsanocs hence opened up his kitchen for this wine club (it’s not really a restaurant) and personally cooked the Spanish dishes we had, along with his staff. Jon is really passionate about saving Manila, its history and buildings, and is currently looking for someone to “save” one of the last remaining structures of the golden age of Manila,El Hogar. So if you know of anyone, do shoot him an email below. In the meantime, hope you enjoy these photos of our precious evening at La Casita de Mercedes– sorry I used my Iphone for some and it was quite dark, so not the best quality! xx
La Casita Mercedes is located at 5892 Enriquez corner Fermina Sts. Poblacion, Makati, Philippines. For inquiries and bookings email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (632) 890 8577, 895 7534 or (63927) 7644795