In the heart of Pasay City lies a secret oasis.
Enter the brown gates of 2650 Zamora, framed with pink and white bougainvillea, and a cobblestoned driveway takes through yet another gate where the road wraps around an island of palms and flowering shrubs. To your right is the Antonio home, but all around you is a peaceful scene of old native trees in a lush green garden that surrounds it.
In the early morning, squirrels leap from mango tree to santol, from date palms to breadfruit. Pied fantails playfully flit around the outdoor pond that edges a path on one side of the house. The piedra china (Chinese granite cobblestone) used for the paths make the ground uneven and more natural, as if you were walking in a woods.
The garden was Marina R. Antonio’s joy and delight, and she filled it with native fruit trees from which she plucked tamarind, calamansi, atis and balimbing, among others, to use on her kitchen. Rosal, or native gardenia, plus ylang ylang, dama de noche and other flowers scented her paths. Seventy years later these still bloom and cast their sweet spell.