Silahis Center


Welcome to the Silahis Center

Souvenir shops in Manila are usually devoid of fanfare. These shops are boring, sedate and sell expensive items that rarely have any novelty value. Oftentimes we ultimately just skip the whole souvenir shop and just take whatever we can from the environment, not a very sustainable way for a very nature-loving country.

Last Valentines weekend, Tricia and I got to explore Intramuros. We did so to kill time while waiting for our walking tour to start. We were able to visit two interesting and I think the go-to shops in Intramuros. The second the “Silahis Center” also found along General Luna street (You may check my entry on the Papier Tole Shop here).


Your more-than-human-sized drums

After visiting “The Papier Tole Shop” Tricia and I walked further away from San Agustin and ventured deeper into the heart of General Luna street and found the Silahis Center. My first impression of the center was it’s vastness, not because of the building it occupies, but because of the large wooden drums fronting the center. As tall as maybe two average sized people, the enormity of these drums will surely catch your attention.

Ornaments for your home

Entering the Silahis center, we were greeted by a wide variety of ornaments and wood works. Though I never knew it, I was pleasantly surprised with the wood work so prominently displayed. In fact we took some time in the first floor just looking at the different tables and chairs on display. Most of the wood products came from our country’s forests, wood products such as: kamagong, acacia, molave, narra, palochino are among the others being displayed. Though pricey, the craftsmanship was well done and I wouldn’t mind buying some of the chairs and tables from the center.


In the second floor, you can find different ornaments and artifacts from different indigenous groups in the Philippines. All of these artifacts are authentic but very pricey. Tricia and I really didn’t look into this portion to much. The third floor was the more interesting part of the center, this is where the antique and Filipiniana section of the center can be found. A wide variety of topics about the Philippines, its history and culture; selected works, prose, poems and plays by Palanca award winners were for sale.

A WWII-era typewriter (P50,000)

As we made our way inside this part of the store, the history buff in me wanted to buy selected books on Philippine history. There was this one book that I wanted to buy, it was titled the Historiography of the Philippines and had some pretty interesting chapters that made me want to buy it. Unfortunately money does not grow on trees and my pockets aren’t lined with gold, so I had to leave the book back where I saw it. I’m pretty sure that if invest a little more time in this section, I would have found some interesting books on Philippine history and other.


Filipiniana books

All of the products inside the Silahis Center are interesting, a mix of a little bit of the old, the traditional, the conventional and the modern. These are the kind of stores that we really should have more of. Places where every nook and cranny has something to tell, a surprise to give and an interesting experience to share. I guess, these are really those places where Manila still keeps a tight hold of the past and reminds us of our heritage.


 The Silahis Center can be found along Gen. Luna street in Intramuros, Manila. 


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