The Manilay Ancestral House in GenSan Story

I'm starting off this post with a blast from the past, with a shot from a homemade telenovela scene. This is what you get when you put together a band of S3X Tour (Soccsksargen EXperience) participants - a dramatic scene, memories to last for a lifetime and a story worth sharing. Once upon a time in GenSan, Mr. Warren Manilay and his wife welcomed a small group of unsuspecting travelers in his home a few kilometers away from the General Santos City Plaza.

Photo Credit: Bernie of

The team was tired and the sleepyheads all woke up when the engine was turned off in the middle of nowhere. At first, they were oblivious to the surprise and looked out the window to a property filled with skinny trees. When the car doors were opened and they alighted one by one, old traditional Filipino/Spanish music began to fill their ears. They walked in the dark and were told to just follow the short walk to the warm lights.

The narrator stood there for a moment in disbelief. This never came up, even in her wildest GenSan dreams... And she couldn't snap a good photo of it in the dark (unsteady hands and no tripod) too... 

This was what dinner in the Manilay ancestral house meant to her - the evening would continue to be perfect and this was going to be super awe-ful. This New Age Maria Clara would graciously accept this invitation, fully aware of the host's generosity and kindness.

She did not refuse the lechon, plus the adobo, the fried chicken, the barbeque and everything else on the table, even at the risk of committing one of the seven deadly sins from the whole day of experiencing the Heights of Ecstasy in South Cotabato.

She freely roamed the second floor of the estate while waiting to be introduced to the host.

And peeked at the bedroom too.

She tried to play music but a virgin cannot play this humongous instrument.

She ended up admiring the butterflies overhead. The thought of rocking that chair like Lola Basyang occurred to her too.

No, she didn't dine where there is none of that lechon for her upstairs.

She preferred to dine with the an angel behind her and the antique candelabras downstairs.

So she returned downstairs while nobody was watching and while they were busy with the merrymaking.

Before dinner, she played around with the host's vintage camera.

After dinner, she went back and her eyes darted to the sparkly collection and the sungka that she used to play when she was young.

Then she sat down with the host to get to know him better.

He told her about the origins of this ancestral house, how it was transported all the way from Laguna to its final relocation here in GenSan. Oh, the old photo albums did not escape from her touching too.

Remodeled while still staying true to its original pillars, this home now houses his and his wife's overgrown collection of antiques and paraphernalia. Here's an old-fashioned, still working, fridge that doesn't need electricity for example...

Maria Clara would be lost in the time travel, 1800s and 1900s and maybe even earlier, in this place. There are just so many things in this house and somehow, it's reminiscent of the phases in Philippine history.

It may no longer have been the all-part original ancestral house, but it's the closest that this New Age Maria Clara can get to the fleeting past for now. Even the garage was filled with restored cars, motorcycles and trucks, customized to function and were road-tested already. According to the source himself, one would find Mr. Warren, the enthusiast, starting up his babies every morning. Tales of a P200 truck that was brought back to life and salvaged pieces of wood that were ready to be taken to the dump were told. Every corner of the Manilay ancestral house now has its own story or two. The evening just flowed with these kinds of conversations. Can you spot the difference between the balusters / newel posts (or tukod, the central post that supports the stairs) in this picture? Legend has it that there's one that's circular and has a different story (it's from the Sampaloc Lake in San Pablo).

Mr. Manilay was not born here but GenSan was where he chose to construct his own little homey paradise in Mindanao, and probably where he would choose to stay after he retires as the CEO of Golden State University, his other baby.

If you have all the time in the world, letting Mr. Manilay tell you what he went through to get each and every piece of his house (which came from different parts of the Philippines) together in GenSan would be a great place to start. I think he'll be more than happy to tell you all about it.

This is my Manilay Ancestral House in GenSan Story.