Built in 1939 and lovingly restored and reopened just last year by Juan Ramos, full-time resident and owner of another storied Poblacion institution, The Clipper Hotel, La Casita Mercedes is less your typical bed and breakfast and more like an unexplored portal into the Philippines’ pre-colonial past.
Albeit one that has a solid wi-fi connection.
Perfectly situated on a peaceful street that is tucked away enough to ensure a full night’s rest, yet still close enough to Poblacion’s entertainment district so that it doesn’t feel isolated, there isn’t a location quite like it.
Its distinct character lies in its proximity to the vast range of scenes and places that immediately border this once ancestral home. An increasingly gentrified mix of independent food establishments, upscale subdivisions, mainstream malls, Korean immigrant businesses, and the working class grit of the locals that live and work in and around Poblacion daily.All throughout the converted structure—from its pristine, white, wooden exterior to each of its 8 guest bedrooms—Ramos’ painstaking attention to design is apparent. The quiet luxury of each room’s details (carved wood bedframes, capiz windowsills, antique lampshades, and weathered floor tiles) carry with them the familiar feeling that they were lifted straight from the provincial homes of our childhood. Inside each of these curated windows into the past, guests are given the chance to appreciate the simple pleasures of an authentic, pre-war, Filipino home.
La Casita’s beautiful open kitchen in particular is one of its more distinct features. Attached to a cozy breakfast nook, guests are welcome to observe the preparation of traditional Filipino breakfasts while spending slow mornings with the property’s resident dog, Sam (if you’re lucky enough to catch him, that is).
The kitchen also opens up on one side into a tiny, almost hidden, al-fresco dining area that is located in a pocket of open air at the center of the house. The ideal spot to quietly lose yourself in a novel for a few hours or dig into some homemade ice cream after a long day of sight-seeing around Makati’s central business district.
Despite the bed and breakfast’s modern-day balancing act of the old world and the new, stepping into La Casita Mercedes never fails to feel strangely welcoming and familiar. Like coming home after a long trip away.
Photography by Renzo Navarro
LA CASITA MERCEDES IS LOCATED AT 5956 ENRIQUEZ CORNER FERMINA STREET, POBLACION IN MAKATI CITY.