Ancestral Houses and Santos

On my last visit to Cebu mid-November, I finally found the time to head downtown and visit two ancestral houses.  Unfortunately, the old Jesuit House was closed as it was a Sunday (shouldn’t it be open on a weekend?).  The light rain didn’t dampen my plans even if I had no umbrella to keep my shaved head from getting drizzled on.  It was now or never.

What I discovered was Cebu’s rich colonial heritage beyond Magellan’s Cross and the Basilica of the Sto. Nino.

These museum-houses were in the typical bahay na bato style of having concrete foundations and wooden upper storeys where the living quarters were.

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Beautiful houses deserve beautiful trappings of wealth, power, and prestige such as  European glassware and lamps.

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I’ve always liked long wooden tables  especially antique ones whose surface has been polished smooth by countless hands and elbows leaning on it..  I wonder what stories this table would tell?

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An antique harp whose strings must have been caressed by a young lady whose many obligations  including having a music education.

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And of course, what is a bahay na bato without a collection of santos to show religious fervor and devotion (and perhaps to get to the good side of the prayle)?

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Unlike those I’ve seen in Paete, Bulacan and Vigan, these antique statues were all small and seemingly crudely-made which actually made them more interesting to look at.  They were wel…errrmm…. cute.. if you can describe santos that.

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In the dimly-lit corner, as I held these dusty miniatures in my hands, my thoughts turned back to a century ago as I looked over their features, running my fingers over the uneven woodwork and faded colors.  It may be even the chinky eyes, the pointed noses, the half-smile, but each of these lovely santos bore the personal marks of the unknown craftsmen who made them.

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A few tourists were arriving as I snapped out of my romantic reverie.  They were of the “ooh! aaahh! take my picture here variety.  I hastily wound-up my visit and thanked the caretaker. Steeping out on to the pavement, I emerged from the shadows of the past to the  fumes of the present.

Notes

I visited two houses but it was the Yap-San Diego House that I fully remembered.  It’s just a few steps away from the Parian Monment at the parian district of Cebu City.

Categories: Cebu | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Ancestral Houses and Santos

  1. jankurdt

    i love museums! may i know where this is, exactly, and what its name is?

    • This is the Yap=San Diego House. This is just a few steps away from the Parian Monument in the Parian district of Cebu City

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