Thursday, December 3, 2015


THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY HOUSE, NOW IN Bagac, Bataan, was originally in Jaen, Nueva Ecija.  It was the Sunday Tribune's House Beautiful Award in 1917, placing it in the same category as larger and more elaborate homes such as El Nido, the Dewey Boulevard home designed by Andres Luna de San Pedro for the de campanilla lawyer Eugene Perkins. 
     The home harks back to the 19th century with its stone ground floor and azotea at rear.  However its windows are no longer capiz but large glass panes.  It also has a large protruding front room similar to homes built in the same period, below which is a porte cochere and the main entrance.
     The Esquivel family had an older house, built in 1890 also in Jaen, but the patriarch decided to build a second home, the present Casa Jaen I, to host the homecoming party of a son returning from studies in the United States.
     The Esquivels have been active in politics, numbering among them the first American Regime Mayor of Jaen.  In the process, they accumulated enemies who occasionally took potshots at the house.  Still visible bullet holes on outside and inside walls testify to the riskiness of Nueva Ecija politics.

     The elaborate stairs lead up to the caida and a central corridor that links the sala at the front of the house and the comedor at rear.  Bedrooms are the the sides.  Th upper walls of interior partitions have decorative and functional ventilation panels for improved air circulation, a feature that became popular in the early 20th century. JAIME C. LAYA, Ph.D.

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