Inside ‘Manila House,’ a literary landmark in Washington D.C.

by Mary Estacion, ABS-CBN News.

WASHINGTON DC — “When you first walk in here, do you still see Manila House in your mind? I do.”

In 1937, a group of Filipinos called the Visayan Circle purchased a small building in Washington DC. They would call it the Manila House.

The impact that this Manila House had was to give the Filipinos who were from the islands a place to come and speak their own language — and behind all that camaraderie was Manang, also known as Nila’s grandmother.

Manang managed Manila House in the 1950s.

The warmth that she gave to these people that visited the Manila House — these were perfect strangers but she treated them like family. Her life was always about giving and giving back and helping Filipinos here in Washington.

Apart from being a place to eat and sleep, the Manila House was a refuge for Filipinos escaping the racism they faced in the mid-1900s.

While the world has changed since that time, so has the Manila House — which is now a Montessori school.

Children, who hopefully will also be educated about the rich history of their school.

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