Back in my University days, I passed by this house almost every day on my way home and believe me I rarely look at it. I felt like, I might see a couple standing on the window wearing the filipiñana and barong — hahaha! That was just the teenager me being so imaginative and paranoid.
Today, I can see a lot of tourists visiting this ancestral house. I’m happy I had the chance to visit too (for the first time) and obviously I’m no longer scared (because it’s daytime hehe!). I didn’t visit just one but I did an ancestral houses and museum hopping for a day. I want to know Cebu more than I used too.
Yap-Sandiego ancestral house is also known as one of the nice venues for prenuptial photoshoots if you like bygone era theme. It holds the distinction of being one of the oldest houses in the Philippines and probably the oldest Chinese home in Cebu. It has remained its original state and never had a major renovation. The walls and roofs are 95% original.
It was built sometime in 1675 to 1700. Originally owned by a family of Chinese merchant Don Juan Yap and Doña Maria Florido with their three children — Maria, Eleuterio, and Consolacion. During the 1880’s, Maria Florida Yap, the eldest daughter, married Don Mariano Sandiego who was at that time the Cabeza de Barangay of Parian.
In today’s generation, the house is under the care of Val Sandiego and his wife, Ofelia. Val Sandiego is one of Cebu’s famous choreographers, heritage icon and art collector, his the great great grandson of Doña Maria Yap-Sandiego. I remembered back in college, I’ve been dreaming to be part of Sandiego Dance troupe but too scared to audition so I never did.
I was so comfortable wandering (certainly no goosebumps) and amazed to hear the cracking of the wooden floors while walking around the house. It’s incredibly impressive that everything was preserved beautifully. Although, not all is as old as the house but there are still a few pieces that are over 100 years old like the big mirrors in the living area. You can also find some contemporary and ancient artworks, antique pieces, and native furniture made of balayon, molave, and narra. There are also life-sized statue of religious images and there’s more than one Sr. Sto. Niño images you can find.
FRONT VIEW OF THE HOUSE
Those are the windows I’m talking about (hehe!). My jeepney ride home would pass by exactly on this road.
STAIRS TO THE SECOND LEVEL
These are only a few of the major areas, there are more to catch inside this ancestral house and make your eyes drool over, like the kitchen, bedrooms, and garden.
If you walk around the Parian area, there are more than one ancestral houses that you can also explore.
Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House
155-Lopez Jaena corner Mabini St., 6000 Parian,
Cebu City, Philippines
Operating time: 9:00am to 6:00pm (daily)
Contact Nos.: (032) 514-3002, 514-3003 or 253-5568
Entrance fee: Php 50 / person