Built in the 17th century by Chinese-Filipino merchant Don Juan Yap and his wife Doña Maria Florida, They had 3 children, namely, Maria, Eleuterio, and Consolacion Yap. Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House is one of the oldest preserved homes in the Philippines.
During the 1880’s, the oldest daughter, Maria Florido Yap, married a native from Obando, Bulacan, Don Mariano San Diego, who was Parian’s “Cabeza de Barangay ” (District Head) at that time.
Just a few years ago (2008), the old ancestral home was turned over to Doña Maria’s great great grandson, Val Sandiego. Val himself is known in Cebu at present times as an art collector, renowned choreographer and heritage icon.
Under his care, he started to search for ways in restoring the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral Housefor he believes in the value of his ancestor’s home to the history and heritage of Cebu. And though there have been offers to buy the house from him, he still continues to ignore such proposals and vows never to sell this historical house in his lifetime.
The materials used for the construction of the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House
were coral stones that were glued together with egg whites just like Baclayon Church
. The roof is made of “Tisa” clay which weighs 1 kilogram in each piece. The wooden parts were made of “balayong” and “tugas” (molave) which were considered to be the hardest woods of all time.
In Cebu City’s Parian district, as you wander the two-storey home you can get a glimpse of life as it would have been during colonial times. One of the best things about this little museum? You’re allowed to pick up and get a feel for all the centuries-old artifacts dotted around the house — chinaware, cutlery, figurines, ornaments, and glassware — everything. Be careful not to drop anything though, as truly, all these ornaments are priceless.
Clearly the Yaps were a devoted Roman Catholic family you’ll see life-sized religious figures all over the house. Check out the wishing well in the back garden, too, and ask the caretaker/guide/resident photographer to snap your picture in front of it. He’s famous for being happy to take your photo wherever you’d like. He’ll also regale the history of the home, but of course, you’re free to explore by yourself too.
Converted into a museum by Yap’s great great grandson, Val Mancao Sandiego, in 2008, at the weekends Sandiego and his family still sleep here so that the house will continue to feel like a home.
The house for its priceless antiquities and century-old treasures of Philippine history hold secrets that will make us understand more of our past. With the knowledge this house offers, we will begin to truly understand how we became what we are today. For more reservation and more information.