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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House in Cebu City

Yap-Sandiego ancestral house is one of the most visited heritage houses in the queen city of the south, Cebu City, Philippines.  For those who are planning for a heritage tour in Cebu, Yap-Sandiego ancestral house is one of the oldest subsisting structural residential houses in the Philippines. It was built sometime between 1675 and 1700. This historical heritage house is located at the corner of Mabini and Lopez-Jaena streets in Cebu City. It is just a few steps from the Heritage of Cebu Monument and a few more ones to the Colon Obelisk Marker.



A Chinese merchant named Don Juan Yap and his wife, Doña Maria Florido, primitively owned this house. They had 3 children namely Maria, Eleuterio and Consolacion Yap. The oldest daughter, Maria Florido Yap, married a native from Obando Bulacan, Don Mariano San Diego during the 1880’s. Don Mariano San Diego was the “Cabeza de Barangay” (District head) of Parian at that time. It was constructed out of coral stones glued together and wooden parts made of “Balayong” and “Tugas” or Molave which were considered to be the hardest woods of all time. The roof is made of “Tisa” clay weighing 1 kilogram per piece. History tells that Parian was a busy barangay and the houses in this community were commonly a two storey designed house. 

A few years ago, year 2008, this old ancestral home was ceded to Doña Maria’s great great grandson, Val Sandiego. Val is much known in Cebu at present times as a renowned choreographer, art collector and a heritage icon. Val Sandiego restored the Yap-Sandiego ancestral house searching for ways to maintain what needs to be preserved at the old house. Val believes in the value of his ancestor’s home to the heritage and history of Cebu. There have been offers to buy the house from him but he continues to ignore it and promised never to sell the historical house. The house never had a major revamping. And in fact, the house’s roof and wall were 95% original. It was also believed that this particular old landmark was the oldest existing Chinese house outside China.

This ancestral house withstood the devastation and anarchy done by time like earthquakes that happened in part of Cebu. To date, this “Balay nga Bato ug Kahoy” (house of wood and stones) stands still despite wrecks and fate of time then eventually converted into a museum. The house is filled with contemporary and ancient artworks, antique pieces and Cebuano-made native furniture. Aside from its beauteous features, the house is a standing proof of a God-centric home, a house built with faith and devotion of a Cebuano’s family. The house and all what is inside are good treasures of Cebu. Fine dining sets can also be found and an overwhelming community of religious items. A Santo Nino image can also be found sitting on a rocking chair. 

To get there, you can ride a jeepney with a regular fare of Php 7. Even though there are no Jeepneys that will pass by this historical ancestral house, it is a few steps away from Shamrock (a cebu delicacy store) when riding a Jeepney from colon street. For taxicabs, regular flag down rate starts at Php 40 and Php 3.50 for every succeeding 500 meters or waiting time per 90 seconds. If you want to use Van rentals, we highly recommend JLC trading van rentals. This is the best Van rentals in Cebu with friendly and knowledgeable drivers and a free WIFI on board. This ancestral house is open every day from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm to the public with an entrance fee of Php 50. The entrance fee includes a tour guide by the name Lloyd Gonzaga who is a close friend of Val and a member of Sandiego Dance Troupe, a well known dance troupe in Cebu. 

It is okay to bring your cameras with you when taking a tour to this historical ancestral house but just be cautious. Be cautious not to damage any of the other items, since these items were as old as the house or just a few years younger than it. You are not going to regret visiting this historical ancestral house because it will make you understand more about the history of Cebu.  

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