The Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, located at downtown Cebu City in Parian, which was then the place where wealthy and influential Filipino-Chinese lived during the Spanish times, dates back to 1675 to 1700, as its current owner Val Sandiego, famous choreographer and antique collector, estimates. It is across the Heritage of Cebu Monument.
“In 1614, the church of Parian was built. Then after, around 60 years later, the house was put up,” says Sandiego, who is a descendant of the original owners of the house Don Juan Yap and his wife Doña Maria Florido. The couple’s eldest daugther married Don Mariano Sandiego of Obando, Bulacan - who was then the cabeza de barangay of Parian (chief of the baranggay) during the Spanish colonial period.
The Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House holds the distinction of being one of the oldest houses in the Philippines and possible one of oldest Chinese house outside of China. You can still see its coral stone walls, hardwood posts and beams, and roof of red clay tiles, which tell you of a Cebu much, much younger and vastly different from what it is today.
You can also see intricately carved old furniture, images of saints with their ivory heads and hands, and also a second floor banggera or an extended windowsill with Capiz windows.
The structure, roof and walls, are 95% original, according to Sandiego. The interiors and the things inside are not as old as more than 300 years ago, but they have things more than 100 years old inside. Sandiego, who acquired ownership of the house early 2000 did a lot of restoration work on the structure, and opened it up for public viewing in 2003. His antique collection is also housed in the Ancestral home.
The Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House is open to the public from Monday to Sunday, from 9 am to 7pm for Php 50 per person, and for Php 25 for students or children, which goes to the house’s maintenance.