This Heritage Month, instead of staying at home looking up ancestral properties online, take the time to visit them yourself
Thanks to the Heritage Conservation Bill or Senate Bill 1234, there are now more incentives – such as tax exemptions and lower tax rates for business operations – for owners of heritage houses to preserve, rehabilitate, and maintain these structures. These homes bore witness to our country’s rich and colorful history; future generations can learn more about the Philippines and get a glimpse of how it things were during a more genteel era.
Don’t let Heritage Month pass without paying a visit to some of the most prominent heritage houses across the country. Take a moment to appreciate the architecture and look back at our glorious past.
Juan Luna Shrine
Location: Badoc, Ilocos Norte
Badoc is the birthplace of renowned painter and nationalist Juan Luna. The two-story ancestral home of the Lunas now contains reproductions of some of his famous paintings, and is a repository of the artist’s personal effects. The antiques are a glimpse to how they lived during that time.
Location: San Fernando, Pampanga
Built by Don Anacleto Hizon and Victoria Singian de Miranda y De Ocampo in 1870, the house served as headquarters to Spanish General Antonio Ruiz Serralde during the 1896 Revolution. It was then appropriated by the Japanese Imperial Army to serve as a military hospital and barracks from 1943 to 1944, and later became the headquarters of American General Walter Krueger during the liberation period up until the end of 1945.
Ramon Magsaysay Ancestral House
Location: Castillejos, Zambales
As the seventh President of the Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay was simple, honest, and empathetic towards the ordinary Juan.
His ancestral home in Zambales plays a significant role in preserving his memory and the ideals that he stood for. It hosts the Ramon Magsaysay Museum, which has three galleries that cover his life, family, and legacy.
Bahay na Tisa
Location: Bacoor, Cavite
Referred to as the first Malacañang of the Philippines, Bahay na Tisa is the home of Juan Cuenca and Candida Chaves. The then general Emilio Aguinaldo stayed there for three months, and during this time the house became the headquarters of the revolutionary government. All the events that took place in Bahay na Tisa eventually led to the historic Malolos convention.
Location: Taal, Batangas
This Spanish-era house was converted into a museum to honor Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo’s key role in the creation of the country’s national flag. The house also pays tribute to Marcela’s husband, Felipe Agoncillo y Encarnacion, said to be the country’s first Filipino diplomat.
Villavicencio Wedding Gift House
Location: Taal, Batangas
Built in 1872, this house—also known as Casa Regalo De Boda—was a gift from Eulalio Villavicencio to his bride, Gliceria Marella.
The Villavicencios were staunch supporters of the Philippine revolution. They helped finance the publication of Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. In fact, visitors of the house can find early edition copies of these novels here. Famous revolutionaries such as Andres Bonifacio attended secret meetings held there.
The Villavicencio Gift House also has priceless antiques and paintings, including a portrait of the couple painted by Juan Luna.
Jose P. Laurel Residence
Location: Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
Built in 1957, the three-story residence is one of the three houses owned by Jose P. Laurel, president of the Second Philippine Republic.
The mansion hosted several historic functions throughout the elder Laurel’s political career. It later became the de facto headquarters of the Nacionalist Party when José Laurel, Jr. bought the property after the 1959 demise of his father.
While the surrounding lot was purchased by real estate developer Vista Land for the construction of Vista Shaw, effort has been put in place to preserve the original state of the mansion.
Location: Sta. Mesa, Manila
Known as the Brains of The Revolution, Apolinario Mabini lived in this house owned by Cecilio Del Rosario and Maxima Castaneda from 1888 to 1896.
Spaniards then caught and exiled him to Guam for his suspected involvement in the revolution. He then returned to this house in 1903, where he died of cholera.
The house, which is located inside the Polytechnic University of the Philippines campus in Sta. Mesa, is now a shrine dedicated to the hero.
Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House
Location: Cebu City
Considered as one of the oldest homes in the country, the Yap-Sandiego house was built sometime between 1675 and 1700. It was owned by Chinese merchant Don Juan Yap and his wife, Doña Maria Florido. The house’s structure is made up of coral stones held together by egg whites.
Location: Silay City, Negros Occidental
Built in 1897, the Victor Fernandez Gaston Ancestral House showcases the life and times of one of the pioneers of the province’s sugar industry. It is also Negros Occidental’s first museum. Aficionados of priceless antiques are in for a visual feast.