Cebu City, Philippines: 3 Historical Don’t Miss Houses

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, one of Cebu's oldest
Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, one of Cebu’s oldest

Cebu City,  on the island of Cebu in the Philippines was not on my bucket list until my dad started traveling there and mentioned how much he thought I’d like it. So I went. And I did.

Cebu City is the oldest city in the Philippines and the first Spanish settlement which means there are several places to poke around that evoke musings of what life was like way back when.

Here are three don’t miss historical attraction museums,  all within a short walk from each other.  Located near Colon St., the shortest street in the Philippines, and the Plaza Parian with its impressive sculptural monument that pays tribute to the Philippines’ history,  these three  sites make for a doable half-day.

Casa Gorordo, a feng shui inspired gem
Casa Gorordo, a feng shui inspired gem

Casa Gorordo Museum– This once private home, now museum, is a blend of 19th century Spanish and Philippine sensibilities. As I walked through the rooms filled with furniture and items similar to those that would have been used by the Gorordo family who once lived here, I enjoyed the aesthetics of the rich-toned wood interior and the openness of the architectural features. The placement of windows, doors and movement from one room to the next incorporates feng shui principles.  Four generations of the Gorordo family lived in the house beginning in 1863.

Family treasures inside the Yap Sandiego Ancestral House
Family treasures inside the Yap Sandiego Ancestral House

Yap Sandiego Ancestral House – A short walk from Casa Gorordo Museum, the Yap Sandiego Ancestral House takes keeping family treasures to a whole other level. The house, still owned by the Yap Sandiego family, is filled with belongings that include family photographs, religious relics and household items. The motto here seems to be, you can’t be too ornate when it comes to a knick knacks. I loved it.

Our visit was enhanced by one of the tour guides who filled us in on the house’s history– and the family who still stays here in one of the rooms on the weekends. The house is one of the oldest in Cebu so the fact that the family still stays here is phenomenal.

Entrance to the Jesuit House-- in the middle of scrap metal and more
Entrance to the Jesuit House– in the middle of scrap metal and more

The 1730 Jesuit House – Located in the middle of a scrap metal/hardware business, literally–it’s surrounded by junk, the Jesuit House has a fascinating come-back tale.

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Once the home of Jesuit priests in 1730, the house’s significance was dormant and some of the rooms used for storage. When the Sy family that owns the property discovered the old buildings significance and that they were  stewards of a historic gem, they began preserving the house’s beauty.

Although the hardware business surrounds the museum on the outside, inside the museum you can find out about the building’s various incarnations, as well as, learn about Cebu’s cultural history.

Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein, member of Midwest Travel Writing Association

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  1. Pingback: Boracay, Philippines--Adventure and R&R | Nancy D Brown

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