Photos by Sonny Espiritu
“Weddings have evolved now,” begins events coordinator Monique Galang. She continues, “Before it’s just the usual thing, the usual program with flowers and all. Now they have themes: rustic, shabby chic, and more. It’s much better.”
With various additions and little touches that suit and represent the couple, a wedding could now have distinct character and style. This transformation pushed wedding ceremonies and other special events out from the usual church, garden or empty multi-purpose hall and into non-conventional venues that nonetheless maintain the importance of the affair.
This also gives birth to more ideas. “Our creativity really comes out. Even souvenirs are no longer the usual ceramics or figurines. They’re (clients) now thinking of something their guests can use,” shares Galang.
Concepts and choices are becoming endless as demands from clients increase, and rising up to the occasion is the heritage house-turned-restaurant Casa Roces.
Four years ago, Casa Roces was an abandoned ancestral house of the illustrious Roces clan located in Manila’s genteel San Miguel district and a few steps away from the country’s seat of power, Malacañang Palace. When the opportunity came for Antonia Roces’ daughter Peachy Prieto to restore the Commonwealth-era heirloom house to its glorious state, the family decided to transform it into a restaurant with a vintage and homey appeal.
“They cleaned it, covered it in paint, renovated it, decorated it, and brought in furniture from different houses of the Roces family,” recounts Casa Roces’ Food and Beverage manager Luis Mingues.
The main dining area is located on the ground floor, which is spacious enough to accommodate 100 diners – 150 including the patio. The ancestral home vibe is apparent through the old photos hanging on walls and artifacts in its every nook and cranny.
Meanwhile, on the second floor are five private dining rooms, with varying sizes, named after the publications the Roceses managed in the past: The Manila Times, Liwayway, The Tribune, Daily Mirror and La Vanguardia. The private rooms can host any intimate event, from power meetings to birthday parties, that could use a timeless ambiance courtesy of several artwork of Philippine masters, contemporary artists and members of the Roces family, as well as special artifacts and memorabilia of the clan adorning every room.
History and good food come together at Casa Roces, which serves Filipino-Spanish dishes whose recipes came from the Roces’ kitchen. It has established itself as a promising restaurant – in fact, President Benigno Aquino III himself frequents the place for breakfast – that not only serves comfort food but also shares bits and pieces of history. But apart from that, Casa Roces claims that it can also be a regal location for many occasions, from birthdays to proposals to weddings. Yes, even an ancestral house can host a children’s party.
For its latest promotion, Casa Roces gathers a powerhouse of artistic geniuses popular for their contributions in many successful events to transform it into a classy, one-stop venue for all event planning needs.
Debutantes, brides and grooms who will book at the restaurant can ask fashion designers Albert Andrada or Arnold Galang to create their garb for the ceremony that will be styled by Robert Blancaflor. Layered cakes are courtesy of Top Cakes and Cravings, and the food, of course, will be served by Casa Roces.
Casa Roces offers seven menu options whose prices range from P1,000 to P1,300 per head.
“We want to show to everybody the potential of Casa Roces and to showcase how beautiful it can be on special days. We want to show what we can do, what we can offer and we expect everybody can see that this is a beautiful and special place with historical memories of the whole Manila,” enthuses Mingues.
To maximize the venue, especially for those planning a big event with more than 100 guests and booking the whole restaurant, Monique recommends setting up different activities in different areas.
“The place is small so what they can do is they can have the cocktail area upstairs, dinner downstairs since it’s more spacious, then we can set up the after-party outside,” suggests Monique.
To complete the experience, Casa Roces also provides entertainment needs such as a string ensemble, flamenco dancers, DJs and live bands, performing within the allowed decibel levels of its neighbor Malacañang.
Casa Roces s located at 1153 J.P. Laurel corner Aguado Street, San Miguel, Manila (in front of Malacañang Palace). It is open daily, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations and bookings, call (02) 735-5896 or (02) 488-1929 or 0917-5509743 or [email protected]