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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Casa de Don Emilio » A Step Back In Time

hover_share Antique wall lamp inside Casa de Don Emilio antique Spanish house
The moment I got in, I stepped back in time. The whole atmosphere took me back to a simpler time. Maybe because I’m a little bit dizzy from the summer heat, it’s all the more apparent to me that inside this restaurant, the world seems to have stopped during a gentler and slower, bygone Spanish era. 

Our destination is Casa de Don Emilio restaurant along Mercader St. in Boac, just across the Marinduque Museum. We arrived late in the afternoon just after our visit to the hot spring. Still feeling the unbearable heat and tired from lack of sleep, we immediately look for some caffeinated cold drinks.


hover_share Front structure of the Casa de Don Emilio old Spanish era house converted as restaurant
The Casa de Don Emilio old Spanish era house now converted as restaurant and cafe 

Casa de Don Emilio Restaurant was the ancestral home of Don Emilio Lardizabal and family in front of the Boac Plaza. It's a typical old Spanish colonial era house with two floors and wide windows. 

hover_share Streets of the town of Boac Marinduque lined up with old Spanish era antique houses
Kusina sa Plaza along Mercader Street

Restaurateur Aurora Pitero of Kusina sa Plaza, a popular eating place in Boac, has purchased the said property and has decided to preserve, restore and refurbish the Don Emilio house as a tribute to the glory days of that bygone era. 

Kusina sa Plaza is located at the first floor the Don Emilio Spanish era house so we first checked the menu there. On the menu are typical Filipino dishes and merienda but when the owner heard we are looking for something different, she directed us to the second floor where the Casa de Don Emilio is located. She said we can order food at Kusina sa Plaza which they can serve to us at the second floor.

hover_share Ancestral old Spanish Houses at the Plaza of Boac Marinduque

While driving around Boac, I also saw some beautiful Spanish era ancestral houses which instantly reminded me of my Lola's house. 
  
hover_share Wooden entrance of the Casa de Don Emilio Cafe and Restaurant

Entrance to the house is a small wooden door with carved wooden stairs leading up the restaurant.

hover_share Intricately carved wood as ornaments on Spanish era Philippine house

What makes an old Spanish ancestral house unique are large capiz windows and elaborate wooden stairs usually adorned with carved and polished hardwood.

hover_share Wines and Alcoholic drinks at the mini bar of Casa de Don Emilio Cafe and Restaurant

hover_share Waitress writing orders at the mini bar and counter of the Casa de Don Emilio

A mini bar counter and an intimate dining room welcomes us upon entrance at the Casa de Don Emilio. That is the "sala" of the restaurant, which used to be a spot to retire after dinner or to entertain guests during the old times. We go through some sections past the bar, and there unfolds large rooms, previously used as bedrooms, now transformed into elegant dining area with its original furniture pieces, chandeliers and antique objects.  


hover_share Old interior and architecture of the Casa de Don Emilio restaurant
Antique chandeliers, menu board and dining tables inside the Casa de Don Emilio Cafe and Restaurant  

Although the ambiance is old, their menu is not. They are serving cordon bleu, beef stroganoff, salpicao, nachos, tacos etc. probably to cater to upscale customers and tourists - but still you can order authentic Marinduque dishes such as ulang-ulang, fresh seafoods and other Filipino traditional dishes at Kusina sa Plaza.

Also on the menu are coffee blends such as Java Chip Frappe, Wild Tribe Mocha etc. (Yes, it is an antique-house resto serving Starbucks-type coffee blends). 

hover_share Old ambiance of the dining area of the Casa de Don Emilio restaurant in Boac Marinduque

hover_share Old photo of the owners of Casa de Don Emilio restaurant

The atmosphere seems straight out of a horror film set. Old photos and paintings of the previous owners and countryside recall the beauty of the old times. Although it has a fine-dining feel there’s also a kind of welcoming air to it. The service is unmistakably spiced up with Filipino hospitality.

hover_share Food served for the dead inside Casa de Don Emilio restaurant
Food served for the departed!
If you ever dine at this restaurant, you'll probably notice this table at the far end. While waiting for our food, we really got curious and asked the waiter why there is a served food on this table but nobody seems dining there. The waiter secretly informed us that it is for the dead owner of the house. 

That table instantly spooked us so we just avoid looking at it, afraid we might saw some apparitions there - but I still took some photo hoping I could capture a ghost he he.

hover_share Antique musical instruments used during Parada or marching bands

Hanging on the walls are antiquated band instruments, dented and unpolished now which serve as reminders of happiness and harmony of the Boac townfolks during the old era. 

hover_share Pasalubong items from Casa de Don Emilio

There's also a section where you can buy some local souvenir, pastries and pasalubong, usually wrapped on local native bags or bayong

hover_share Antique Spanish lamp hanging from the ceiling of Casa de Don Emilio house





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About the Blogger

Yodi Insigne
Yodi de Veas Insigne is one of those delusional sorts who imagines himself a useful contributor to the greater blogosphere (Well, that's what he's trying to accomplish).

He started blogging for three reasons:

1. He always felt he has something important to say,
2. Books can make him cry, and cliff jumping can make him high,
3. He want to sleep at night.

He is a self-certified bookworm, travel junkie, shutterbug, movie freak, Mangyan hiker who sleeps a lot and think a lot. He got a little vice, which is black coffee and cashew nuts. He got colorblindness on yellow and green - and he freaking loves it!

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