The Aduana, a Reminder of Past Glory

This old building looked intriguing but was off a busy main road. So one Sunday I paid a visit when the roads were quiet and there was no one around.

It’s the Customs House, or Aduana, built by the Spanish colonial government in 1829. It was damaged by earthquake and rebuilt in 1876. At one time, it housed the Custom Offices, the Civil Administration Office, the Treasury, and the Mint House.

It suffered damages during the second World War, but was repaired and served as offices of the Central Bank and the National Treasury. Suffice it to say that a lot of money changed hands in these premises for more than a hundred years.

It was abandoned after it was hit by fire in 1979. Nature has taken over this side of the building, along with graffiti and empty beer bottles.

Its Neo-Classical architecture can still be seen from the intact facade, which wouldn’t be out of place in Southern Europe.

A statue of King Philip II, after whom these islands were named, stands in a small plaza in front of the building.

It must have been a busy site and a destination for many in its heyday. Today it’s just a reminder of past glory long gone, occasionally getting a curious look from passers by.

It was worth the visit. Curiosity satisfied.

Check out Travels and Trifles for this week’s Lens-artists challenge “Seen Better Days.”


    • It has potential. I believe the plan was to convert it into the National Archives, but so far no development. It’s actually inside the old walled city and near other touristy sites. I can imagine it with nice coffee shops and restaurants but the whole place needs a facelift definitely.


    • True. The facade can probably survive. I peeked inside and I’m not sure about the rest of the building. If properly done, I can imagine it more like a backdrop for alfresco dining or row of coffee shops.


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