Roxas Boulevard, then called Dewey Boulevard before the War, was a stretch of road that fronted a pre-land-reclamation, pre-Dolomite-invasion Manila Bay. It was also the country’s own erstwhile Millionaire’s Row, with prominent families from the Aranetas to the Zobels living in Mediterranean-inspired mansions along that boulevard, from Malate to Paranaque.
Fast-forward several decades later to a greatly diminished Roxas Boulevard. Strip malls and casinos now line the street, and much of the actual Bay has moved several kilometers down past Macapagal Avenue. Almost all of the grand mansions are now gone, save for the towering, white beauty at the end of the Boulevard, with the noses of Fokker planes peeking out from the yard.
The seven-storey (plus observation deck) mansion was restored by the Lhulliers, and formally opened early last year as a prestigious auction house and luxurious venue. Its former owner was a particular Doctor Francisco Villaroman, and in archival post-war photos, you could see a bombed-out Dewey Boulevard, with only this particular house left standing.
There is no formal attribution as to who is the architect of the mansion, but the sweeping curves of the Art Deco staircase, the perfectly symmetrical main living areas, and the beautiful, original terrazzo floor with bahay kubo and tinikling motifs all hint that perhaps Juan Nakpil designed it.
The palace’s grand proportions and provenance now serve as the perfect showroom to Palacio de Memoria’s fine European antiques, most of which are showcased on the second floor. There are 18-arm Murano glass chandeliers, 17th-century chairs, Art Deco-era tea sets, Salvador Dali wallpaper, and Restoration de Louis Philippe furniture that could make all your Age of Innocence fantasies come true.
Casa de Memoria’s latest Tercero auction will be taking place this September 26, at 2pm, with part of the proceeds going to the Santa Ana Hospital for the construction of a quarantine facility for medical frontliners and COVID-19 patients. Among those to be auctioned of are extremely fine and dramatic pieces, such as the 17th Century Flemish Bargueno, a portable antique desk made with marquetry and gilded ornamentation.
To view Casa de Memoria’s catalogue or to view the auctions, visit their website. Palacio de Memoria is located at 95 Roxas Boulevard, Brgy. Tambo, Paranaque City.