Casa de Segunda is a traditional bahay na bato (stone house) built circa 1880 in Lipa, Batangas, Philippines. The bahay na bato was considered the home of the Filipino elite during the late 19th century. It reflected the fusion of indigenous and colonial architecture.
Partly damaged by the Second World War in 1942, the house was remodeled in 1956 by Segunda Katigbak’s daughter, Paz Katigbak Luz Vda. de Dimayuga. The grandchildren of Paz, who were born and raised here, restored the house in 1996 to its original form and grandeur, its fountain, fishponds, and orchards.
Today, ancestral homes are not just merely symbols exclusive to the landed gentry. Filipinos now recognize their value as icons of history and cultural identity.
Parts of the Bahay na Bato
The zaguan (entrance) which during the olden days was a storage area for agricultural harvests, especially coffee, and the processional carriage or carrozas for the family’s revered santo. It was repurposed and now serves as a receiving area for visitors where they will be oriented about the house and where a portrait of Segunda, the Luz and Katigbak family trees, descendants’ photographs, and heirlooms are on display.
The zaguan’s black and white floor typical of the 19th century is still intact although the house was partially damaged during World War II. On the ground floor, one can also find the entresuelo which was meant as the servants’ quarters and was sometimes used as an office.
A hagdan (grand staircase) leads to the main floor or the piso principal. During those days, to ascend to the piso principal was a sign of acceptance by the household.
On the main floor is the living room or the sala mayor, which displays the family’s best wood furnishings, as well as valuable heirloom pieces, paintings, and antique portraits hanging on the wall. One can also notice the large Venetian mirror which is a chic centerpiece decoration typical of the bygone era. The flooring features mid-sized narra planks of deep warm color. The sliding windows are made of capiz which allows natural light to enter. The baluster-protected ventanillas below the pasemano are opened to let the breeze flow within the house.
The oratorio (prayer area) behind the staircase is also quite impressive. It features the locally made Batangas uno mesa altar. The statues of saints are displayed on top of this magnificent heirloom piece. Segunda’s novena and prayer pamphlets are encased in two antique frames.
The cuartos (bedrooms) are located on both sides of the staircase. The master bedroom is furnished with a four-poster narra bed with lace curtain accent and other pieces such as the aparador (wardrobe) and vanity table with a full-length mirror.
The dining area or comedor enjoys the pleasant views of the inner courtyard which features a quatrefoil-shaped fountain and an abundance of plants and trees surrounding the ancestral compound.
The entrance gate signage of Casa de Segunda was designed by Lucila “Luchi” Reyes-Resurreccion during the 1996 renovation of the house and surrounding compound. A combination of Friz Quadrata and Arnold Bocklin font, the same Art Deco lettering was used in the book Philippine Ancestral Houses (1810-1930) by Fernando N. Zialcita, Martin I. Tinio Jr., Neal Oshima, published in 1980.
Casa de Segunda honors the memory of Segunda Solis Katigbak, the first love of revolutionary novelist and Philippine national hero, José Rizal. Rizal described her charm and beauty in his journal entitled Memorias de un estudiante de Manila: “She was short, with expressive eyes, ardent at times, and drooping at other times, pinkish, a smile so bewitching and provocative that revealed some very beautiful teeth; with an air of sylph, I do not know what alluring something was all over her being…She was not the most beautiful woman I had seen but I had never seen one more bewitching and alluring...I have already heard about her and that she was going to get married to a relative of hers. Indeed, I noticed a tall man neatly dressed who seemed to be her fiancé.” Thus, ended his first love.
That tall man was Manuel Metra Luz who came from one of the most prominent families of Lipa. The Luz clan was a family of businessmen, poets, and scholars. Manuel married Segunda at the young age of 16 in 1879. They were blessed with nine equally bright and gifted children namely: Cristeta, Manuel Jr.,, Flora, Justa Inez, Arsenio Nicasio, Valeriano, Maria Paz, Julio, and Fernando. These nine children had passed on these gifts and talents to their children and grandchildren, some of whom prospered and became successful in their chosen fields. Among the descendants of the Luz-Katigbak couple are: Sculptor Edgardo Luz Katigbak (one of the sculptors of the Cry of Balintawak, son of Justa Luz), Architect Alfredo Luz and National Artist Arturo Luz, (a pair of brothers, sons of Valerio Luz) Fashion designer Gerry Katigbak (grandson of Cristeta), Painter Tensie Dimayuga-Bello (granddaughter of Paz), and Sports broadcaster Chino Trinidad (great-grandson of Flora Luz).
In cooperation with the National Historical Commission, Casa de Segunda, having been declared a heritage house, is proud to honor these outstanding men and women who had contributed to the remnants of the past- be it in the cultural, historical, and the arts – “All echo the timeless qualities of Lipa reminding both residents and visitors alike that those olden days of prosperity need not be a distant memory.”