Since we can't really stay at the house ALL the time, we also checked out some local places in the city.
One of the places we went to is the J & L Maranon House. A post on the internet said it's near the Metrodome and one of the side streets along Araneta Avenue. I hope the screen grab here from Google Maps helps. I seem to remember a hotel before we turned right. The street, where the house is, is just an ordinary residential one, with a small sari-sari store and small houses with children playing outside. I don't even remember the road (street) to be paved in cement. Unfortunately it is not by the road so you can't easily see it going to the airport.
Unless your car is a convertible with the top down and you're looking up. Then you'd see a beast with wings on top of a tall house.
Yep, that's how it is in the Maranon house. The imagination of the owner or owners, or whoever comes up with the idea for the sculptures and murals, obviously ran wild or still running wild in this house. You'd see a naked guy holding some sort of torch, a centaur with a crossbow and a small cherubin riding on him and some sort of a gargoyle.
We knocked at the gate, yes, that kind of gate, where you have a small lion head biting on the steel knocker (?). I was waiting for a gong to sound from inside the house. Or a low, growling voice, demanding for a "password" or an "answer to a riddle".
A girl answered the door and we asked if we can walk around inside and take pictures. There's an entrance fee of 30 per person and she will accompany you around the house.
When we walked in, immediately, I was doing "aaahs", "eh?", "yaiks!", "whoa!", "ano yan? (what's that?)". Hehe, I know I sounded tourist-y (?) and gullible, but I didn't care. The stuff in there was worthy of every reaction I made.
Upon entering the gate there's a small garden or space before the door to the house. Now, I feel like calling that area a "space" is not correct. It was full of art. It was packed!
Murals, statues, a big stone feet, two big guys at two corners of the wall that seem like they are holding up the ceiling with all their might, a spider-man like sculpture that to me, is holding up a painting of a naked lady. There was also a big priest, which stands from floor to ceiling, near a marble interpretation of the Pieta.
There was a wooden divan with canopy and purple curtains around it and a Buddha on top that seems to be something out of Thailand or Cambodia. Like its made for royalty.
An egg-shaped cushioned seat was hanging from the ceiling. It was made of curled iron and colored glass, fit for a princess in some exotic land like Morocco or Turkey. And it's still solid and strong because S and I sat in it and took pictures.
Time to enter the house. But before
we went in, there was a Terracotta warrior near the door and an interpretation of Venus De Milo, holding a garment in front of her, err, jewel. Okay, this is so worldwide, it's crazy.
We saw a big chandelier made of iron, glass and carabao horns, surrounded by small light bulbs and glass beads. The archway towards the sitting area was also decorated with etchings and sculptures. It seems to depict Adam and Even reaching out to each other but they can't.
Pass the archway, was another chandelier, this time it was made of glass grapes and green-colored metal for leaves. It didn't look like a normal chandelier but more of a grapevines sprouting from the ceiling. It was pretty.
We came into a room where there was another girl watching TV. This room is like a sun room because the sunlight was coming in to where she was sitting. There were glass lamps hanging from wooden beams sticking out of the stone walls. It was like being in a section of a castle. Only thing that ruined the mood was the wall-mounted flat screen TV. Hehe.
Turning right from the "sun room", there was a small dining room. The red walls were etched with gold leaves, flowers and vines. Beside the table is a tall stack of square glass tiles. It was scary to move past it because you might bump into it and everything will just fall on you. Like a scene from Final Destination 2.
The girl showing us around took us upstairs. I had to take a shot of the stairs because it was a little creepy. it was solid marble (I think) but the railings seem to have brown snakes draped all over it. Or were they supposed to be old tree branches? It also looked like a flight of stairs with me, screaming for dear life, and the Babae sa Banga (Woman in the Jar - a classic Filipino horror movie) slowly climbing up after me. Aaahhhhh!!!
Anyways, so upstairs we found like a family room, with shelves of books and other reading materials. Like if it's a normal house, this would be where everyone in the family would be hanging out on a weekend watching a DVD movie or having a snack and catching up. Except in the Maranon House, there is a stone lady sphinx in the corner. Just sitting there, with her eyes closed, listening in to the latest news about the family.
Outside the gate, we took more pictures. We were amazed by the sculptures on the roof. The Maranon House is the kind of house that, no matter how un-snoopy you are or how straight you are in respecting other people's privacy and property, you will stop and gawk at. Even for a few seconds, you just really have to take a look.