The Yap-Sandiego ancestral house is reputed to be the oldest Chinese house outside of China. According to the guide who handled our tour, the house was built in the late 17th century at the heart of Parian, then a wealthy community in Cebu.
I have seen a lot of ancestral homes in my travels around the country but this one is different in many ways. Most of these ancestral homes were built by the wealthy families with Europena/mestizo origins . Or they were houses of the biggest owners of farms and haciendas. They all looked like typical European homes.
Yap-Sandiego stands out because of the way it was constructed.In fact, it does look and feel like you are in a Chinese movie setting, especially with the brick “tisa” roof – – not the same as the tegula concrete roof cement in today’s modern and affluent homes.
The ground floor is unpaved and contains a lot of period furniture and “santos”. Walking around, my eyes were riveted to the wooden structure that is actually the underside of the stairs. I marvelled at the wood that made up the house – – – molave and other hardwood.
As I took a photo of the house from the street, an ambulant taho vendor walked by, and an old lady came into the scene. I thought these personalities created for me a scene straight out of the late 17th century when Parian was a bustling Cebu district.
Bonus: Cebu’s History in a Giant Sculpture
Just outside is a mjor tourist attraction. I am showing it from one side and not posting the other angle because a portion of the mural is damaged. I hope the city fixes that ruined part before you visit.
A short turn from the Yap-Sandiego House is the Museo Cebu, but the facility is closed every Sunday.
155-Lopez Jaena corner Mabini Street
What I like about this ancestral house is that you can touch anything, so in a way it’s like going into a museum except that you have more freedom to appreciate the antique items inside. 🙂