P. Torres St., Lipa City
The patriarch of the Luz clan, Don Jose de San Miguel Luz (Capitan Municipal, 1844, 1854), fondly called Capitan Ute, built the grandiose stone mansion for his daughter Maria Luz married to Leon Librea.
The house took ten years to build due to the length of time spent in drying the lumber, sawing the wood, and transporting it from Mindoro to Lipa. The posts and frames were of molave, narra for the flooring, and santol wood for the ceiling and partitions. As cement was not available then, the walls and columns were made from adobe, lime, and sand. The roof was of galvanized iron. Red tile roofing became unpopular as they tend to fall off. The ceiling was covered by a cloth painted with designs copied from famous European paintings.
By November of 1881, the majestic structure, inspired by Babylonian architecture with the curved and extensive columns, was completed.
With the house’s completion, Don Jose ordered several furnishings from Europe: the lace curtains from Paris, two Austrian high length mirrors, pieces of Viennese furniture, local furniture from Atay, a well known Filipino wood carver, fine Chinese porcelains, and all glassware, silverwares, plates, crystals, and chandeliers from Germany. It had undergone refurbishment in 1917 with the addition of bedrooms and a bathroom.
During the Japanese occupation, 1941-1944 the house served as a Japanese Headquarter. With the coming of the Americans in 1945, it became a hospital.
Today, the rear part of the house, which used to be the azotea, lies in ruins. Vines and graves took turns in giving life to the otherwise forgotten past – yet the house, although old and ravaged by time- still stands imposing.
Being the youngest child of Maria Luz and Leon Librea, Josefa married to Jose Luz Bautista, inherited the house. The house is now a legacy to all Lipeños, a reminder of the glory and grandeur that was Lipa – a mute witness to the ostentatious living.