One of the most curious experiences that we had when moving around Cebu city was the time that we spent in the Yap Sandiego Ancestral house. It was interesting that we were able to dig our heels into the Filipino history only on the last day of our trip and the Yap Sandiego house played a very large role in showing us how the Filipinos lived in the times gone by. Interestingly we drew a lot of similarities to the old houses in Goa. We attributed it to the similarities between the Spanish and Portuguese culture and the effects that they had on the places that they colonized.
LOCATION AND ENTRANCE FEES
The Yap Sandiego Ancestral house is located in Cebu city and is a short walk away from the famous Parian monument. If you are in the area, I would highly recommend paying the house a visit. It doesn’t take long to walk through the house and take in its beautiful décor but it will certainly enrich your view of the Filipino past.
You need to pay an entrance fee to visit the ancestral house. It isn’t much. We paid 50 PHP/person. There is supposed to be a tour guide to take you around but we missed the tour and we were in a bit of a rush so we went through the house on our own.
A BIT ABOUT THE HISTORY
The Yap Sandiego Anestral house has survived a number of centuries. It was built in 1675 and was handed down from its original owners (Don Juan Yap and Dona Maria Florido) to their great great grandson Val Sandiego. That is how the house got its famous name. From the outside, the Yap Sandiego Ancestral house may not look like much. The wooden structure can easily passed by if it wasn’t for the number of people gathered outside. As soon as you enter the house, you will find someone sitting at a desk to your left. It is here that you pay your entrance fees.
THE YAP SANDIEGO ANCESTRAL HOUSE
Inside the Yap Ancestral House in Cebu City.
The ancestral house can be broadly divided into three parts: The lower floor, the upper floor and the garden. It is interesting to note that the entire building is made of wood and it made me wonder how it stood the test of time and weather. The inside of the house however gives the place a very warm feeling. There is a lot of furniture which while may look cluttered, is rather unique.
The floor of the lower level is made of gravel and not wood. There are two main rooms. A hall and a room at the back. A wooden staircase takes you upward. In order to protect the wooden floors one needs to done shoe covers which are provided at the base of the staircase. The upper floor has a couple more rooms, some sitting space and a gorgeous glimpse into the garden below. Crochet pieces are strategically placed and they reminded me of the Goan houses so much. Even the old cupboards were structured similarly. We spotted one of the old chairs with the long arms and were delighted because we hadn’t seen one in so long.
Our tour of the Yap Sandiego Ancestral house ended in the garden. It is a pretty garden with a well in one corner and a bench where you can sit and take photographs. It may not have taken us long to go through the different rooms of the house but we were definitely impressed. It was almost as if we travelled back into time.