Quiapo’s eye-catcher! A magnificent mix of European & Oriental architecture
A man’s home is his castle
Hidden in Quipao’s backstreets is a huge mansion that resembles a pagoda. Famous local lawyer and real estate tycoon Jose Mariano Ocampo dreamed of having his own Japanese pagoda. He was fascinated by Eastern and medieval western architecture, he created his own private ‘palace’ as the grand centrepiece of his one-hectare garden.
Ocampo’s mansion was completed at the eve of the Japanese invasion and ironically the strong concrete walls made it a popular neighbourhood air-raid shelter. Surviving the war damage unscathed, the tower was later greatly damaged in the 1990s Luzon earthquake. The mansion no longer sits on a garden since Ocampo’s heirs sold most of the land. The many intricate details are still visible, but sadly what was once a grand mansion is now a run-down boarding house for sailors.
Hidden lady of Carmel
A baseball court now serves as the entrance to the mansion. You can’t access the site, a but if you walk into the small alley at the back, you find grand statue of a Chinese-looking Our Lady of Carmel sitting on a globe. You may even stumble upon an old sculpture or Ocampo family portrait in the Quipao backstreets.