Best Filipino Ancestral Houses

The recollection was like a sepia photograph set in a steep but wide staircase of an old yet well-kept house. We stepped on a gracious caida surrounded by capiz windows to be welcomed by an old man clutching his ebony cane –this is my childhood memory set in a grandfather’s house in Concepcion, Tarlac.

The old house, by any standards was in the same league with those found in Quiapo, Malabon, San Fernando, Vigan, Pila, Taal, Sariaya, Malolos, San Miguel, Silay, Jaro, or Carcar. Well, that was a long time ago but my fascination for these antique structures has kept me probing on what’s behind the translucent capiz windows and wooden upper floors of what authorities in Filipino architecture call Bahay-na-Bato.

There are a handful of ancestral houses around country that are open to the public but some of them are now secluded by high walls away from public viewing. Rarely, we’ve been given special access to these private vintage homes but most of the time we were contented by admiring their stately facades from the street.

*Here are the best ancestral houses we visited:
I will be updating this list from time to time. Adding to the current list.

Aguinaldo Shrine, Kawit

Although the historic Aguinaldo Mansion in Kawit, Cavite is far from its original wood and thatched-roof affair when the Declaration of Independence was held in one of its windows, the additions made such as the Declaration Window and the spired-tower in 1919 created a house that projects patriotism and authority.

Ilusorio Mansion, San Ildefonso

Infamously known as the Bahay na Pula, the Ilusorio Mansion stands grand and elegant along national highway in San Ildefonso, Bulacan. The house evokes the typical hacienda lifestyle of the 19th century sugar baron.

Victorian Cake House, San Miguel

Locally referred to as the “malaking bahay” or big house, the massive 1922 house of Don Catilino Sevilla in San Miguel de Mayumo Bulacan was built to impress a father-in-law. The third level housed has a spacious ballroom where the local elite would throw black tie parties during its heyday.

Luna House, Malabon

Built in the 1910s, the Luna House in flood-stricken Malabon maintains its beauty including the metal cutwork awnings and fancy grillwork in the ventanillas.

Natalio Enriquez House, Sariaya

This architectural gems in Sariaya, Quezon Province has an impressive twin-spired and brick roofing. Home to former Tayabas Governor Natalio Enriquez,  it was designed by Andres Luna de San Pedro, son of Filipino Master Juan Luna.

Santos-Hizon House, San Fernando

A distinctly Victorian-style house, the Santos-Hizon House in San Fernando, Pampanga was built by the couple Teodoro Santos and Africa Ventura at the turn-on-the-century. It was purchased by Maria Salome Hizon, a volunteer of the Red Cross during the Philippine Revolution.

Gala-Rodriguez Mansion, Sariaya

In the 1930s, the Art Deco and Art Nouveau movements has arrived in the Philippines. In that same period, architect Juan Nakpil built the Dr. Isidro Rodriguez and Doña Gregoria Gala mansion in Sariaya, Quezon. Consistent with its Art Deco design, furnishings were custom-made befitting the house by furniture-maker Don Gonzalo Puyat. 

Bahay Nakpil-Bautista, Quiapo

The Bahay Nakpil-Bautista is one of the well-preserved houses in Quiapo. Designed by Arcadio Arellano for Dr. Ariston Bautista in 1914, the house motifs were inspired by the Vienesse Secession furniture given to its owners.

Apacible House, Taal

This Spanish period house was built by Maria Diokno in hilly Taal, Batangas. It was inherited by her granddaughter who married revolutionary hero Leon Apacible whose name stayed with the house. In 1938 the house was remodeled incorporating to the traditional bahay-na-bato a design that became prevalent during period –Art Deco.

Bautista Caryatid House, Malolos

A distinct house in the Kamistisuhan District of Malolos has been called the Bautista Caryatid House for its French Art Nouveau details. Built in the 1850s, it was home to the Baustista patriarch who served as secretaria de fomento of General Emilio Aguinaldo during the revolution.

Paciano House, Los Baños

A modest American bungalow, the house of Don Paciano Rizal was built in 1927 by Don Andres Luna de San Pedro, son of master painter Juan Luna.

Dizon-Hizon House, San Fernando

Currently owned by Archdiocese of Pampanga, the Archdiocesan Chancery was the former residence of Luis Wenceslao Dizon and Felisa Hizon. It was designed by architect Fernando H. Ocampo and was completed in the mid-1930s.

Casa Gorordo, Cebu

Located in Cebu’s parian district, the 1863 house served as home to Cebu’s first bishop Juan Gorordo. The bishop’s villa was restored in 1985 as Casa Gorordo under the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation. Architect Augusto Villalon revived the traditions of the bahay-na-bato of having a stone-walled ground floor, second floor living quarters and the clay-tiles patio running the length of the house beside the family quarters. 

Agoncillo House, Taal

Built in 1896, it was in this all-white bahay-na-bato where first Filipino diplomat Felipe Agoncillo and sewer of the first Filipino flag Marcel Agoncillo resided. A restored relic of the revolutionary days in the heritage town of Taal, Batangas, the Agoncillo house has stunning furniture enclosed by wall to wall of first class narra and molave wood.

Bahay na Tisa, Carcar

Touted to be the first stone structure in Carcar, Cebu, this ancestral house dates back to the 1850s. The house went through restoration work in 1989 and was renamed as Bahay na Tisa –after the original brick-tile roofing –tisa.

 Fule-Malvar Mansion, San Pablo

In 1915, Eusebia Fule and Potenciano Malvar built this elaborate mansion in San Pablo Laguna in Romantic-Classicism style. The Fule-Malvar Mansion hosted distinguished guests like Presidents Manuel Quezon and Sergio Osmeña. It was acquired in 1988 by the Philippine American Life Insurance Company which undertook the restoration and refurbishment in 1990.

Pamintuan Mansion, Angeles

Located along the intersection of the old streets of Angeles, Pampanga is the historic Pamintuan Mansion. Constructed around 1890 by Mariano Pamintuan, the elaborate mansion became the official residence of General Emilio Aguinaldo during the waning years of the revolutionary government. It was in this house where General Antonio Luna drew up the plans for the defense of Pampanga against the Americans. In 1901, Arthur MacArthur and members of his company occupied the house. Today, the mansion houses Central Bank’s regional clearing office.

Syquia Mansion, Vigan

The Syquia Mansion in Vigan, Ilocos Sur was the ancestral house of Doña Alicia Syquia-Quirino wife of the 6th President of the Philippines, Elpidio Quirino. The house became official residence of President Quirino and it is claimed to be the first Malacanang of the North. Antique furniture and opulent display of European decor is all around the house. Replicas of Juan Luna’s Spolarium and  Pacto de Sangre as well as the extict Peuple et Rois (People and the Kings) hang on the walls painted by Luna’s assistant Respal 

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, Cebu

The two-story Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House was built sometime between 1675 and 1700 in Cebu’s parian district. It belonged to the family of Doña Maria Yap who married Don Mariano Sandiego, a cabeza de barangay, in the late 1880s.  

Legarda Mansion, Manila

The Legarda House in the San Miguel district of old Manila was one of the first Art Deco houses built in the city. Constructed in 1937 by Don Alejandro Legarda and Doña Filomena Roces vda de Legarda, the family matriarch has been famous for throwing lavish parties where sumptuous traditional family recipes were presented to their guess. Celebrating the tradition of great dining experience, the private abode of the Legardas was opened to the public as Cocina de Tita Moning.

Villavicencio Wedding Gift House

Don Eulalio Villavicencio was a ship captain who owned an imposing pre-1850 bahay-na-bato on the northern slope of Taal town. We know this today as Casa Villavicencio. As a lavish wedding present to his wife Gliceria, he built another house on the same street, a few meters away from his ancestral house –This is the 1871 Villavicencio Wedding Gift House.

Although the wedding gift house has the same architectural elements of houses built during that period, we find its look and feel to be more cheerful and feminine than the adjacent ancestral house.

Casa de Segunda

Still existing on Calle Rizal in Lipa is the Luz-Katigbak Ancestral House also known as Casa de Segunda.

This bahay-na-bato was built in the 1880’s. It was time when Lipa was envied by other towns in the country for its wealth. This unparalleled prosperity came to this Batangas town when coffee producing countries in Europe and the Americas were infested and Lipa became the world’s sole supplier of coffee bean.

Art Deco Luis Santos House

This art deco house in the Kamistisuhan District of Malolos belonged to Dr. Luis Santos. According to the book Filipino Style, this house traces the 1930s transition from the Art Nouveau to fanciful Art Deco. Interior features Amorsolo painting on the ceilings, sun-patterns on the floor, relief and paintings of nymphs on the transoms.

Eulogio Rodriguez Ancestral House

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 The Eulogio Rodriguez Ancestral House has been converted into a private museum showcasing mementoes and collections of the longest serving Senate President. Just like in most traditional bahay-na-bato, the sala occupy most part of the second floor. The sala is separated from the dining room and further beyond it is the kitchen.

The museum shares space with one of Amang’s grand children who held office as  an elected government official at the entresuelo. Caucuses and assemblies are still held in upper floor. There have been occassions when the museum artifacts are being rearranged or temporarily removed from the exhibit areas to avoid damage.

Published in: on December 1, 2009 at 5:24 am  Comments (54)  
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54 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very good list! I see that I have more to visit, other than the houses I’ve laid eyes on. Salamat.

  2. you have put together a very good list. i see that i have many more to see, apart from the houses i’ve visited.

  3. Why was the Acosta-Pastor house in Batangas City not included in this presentation? Governor General William Howard Taft was shot by a sniper on that house on one of his visits in Batangas in the early 1900’s. In fact, the bullet that nearly killed the Governor General hit the door and can still be seen up to the present time.

    • The Pastor-Acosta house in Batangas City is not open for public viewing Reynaldo Reyes that’s why it’s not in this presentation.

  4. is there any ancestral house in quezon city available for wedding reception??

  5. Sana ang Silay City Negros Occ . sana ma post din ang mga ancestral houses. more power!

  6. There is a very old but still fairly well kept house on Oroquieta corner Camarines (now S. Herrera, but I refuse to call it that) streets that I have been aching to go into for many years now. It belongs to a political family in Manila, but somehow, the owners refuse to let anyone in, even the caretakers (the house is unoccupied) but the furnishings and bric a brac are still there. Makes one wonder why is this so. If I pass by the house again I will try to photograph it and post it, at the risk getting the ire of the owners.

    • My sister was allowed entry to the house. She took photographs and published them in an article she wrote. The house owners live in Bel-Air Makati,

  7. the villavicencio house, where in taal batangas it is located

  8. i liked the agoncillo & paciano house, simpla old style house, a very homie feeling of old days, glad to know that there are people who also appreciates the beauty of the past :) good job TOF!!!

  9. hi TOF! so loved the pics of heritage houses, i’ve always been fascinated by these beautifu l old style houses, such an overwhelming feeling brings you back in the past time :) we’ve been vigan heritage site but did not saw the syquia mansion, it was not included in our iti, neither the tour coordinator dont know it :( I have a thing in mind, in time when me and my hubby will have our own house i want a modern contemporary a filipino-spanish design

  10. Oh my. The houses are splendid! I didn’t realize we had so many ancestral homes that go as far as the 17th century that are still well-preserved like those in Cebu province. Congratulations on a well put together documentary album.

  11. I enjoyed watching old Filipino houses… how I wish I had the opportunity to stay in one. If given a choice, to live in a modern and an ancestral house I definitely will choose the latter.

    Thank you for collecting all off these.

  12. I guess they should give some publicity to the Pamintuan Mansion, as this is the place where the celebrations for the first anniversary of our Republic were held.

  13. Hello there.
    I’m currently doing a marketing collateral/newsletter in the office and I’m wondering if I can use your list in one of the articles that I’m writing? I figured I wanted to write about the top heritage houses in the country and saw your entry while looking for some references online. It’s been the most helpful so far— just what I needed.

    I hope you’re okay with it. Good job, by the way.

    Kudos.

  14. Great ancestral home!

  15. Hi TOF (Traveller On Foot), we own an old spanish house in Tarlac City wc is around 81 years old whose 2nd floor made of wood materials is need of rehab – posts are slowly being eaten by termites, there were several instances too that thieves have ransacked and looted precious parts of the house – our steel grills, our electrical and water pipes, etc. The last time it underwent general repair work was in 2004 and budgetary wise it can be expensive. The past years we catered to repairs on a per need basis but that is how we can go. It has no income too.

    Being the person-in-charge, though I don’t leave there, and no one stays there presently. I hope this year we can undertake some repairs by phase. The main problem though is budgetary. Our house or property is neither for sale or for rent. You may have some ideas though. Thanks and best regards.

    • Hello Mariel, First I’d like to congratulate you for choosing to preserve your ancestral house. The house I referring above has been long demolished and its sad that I was only a 10 years old when I first and last saw it.

      In my travels, I like old houses that were transformed into lifestyle museums or art galleries. I also appreciate owners of ancestral house converted them into bed and breakfast that allows visitors to experience living in an well-kept bahay na bato. -Glenn

    • Hello Mariel. For accurate repairs that should remain faithful to the orginal design of your ancestral house, you might consider consulting with the Escuela Tallier in Intramuros

  16. Hi There,

    Good day..
    I had nice time browsing your blog & I enjoyed looking at the pictures. I was hoping if you can help/suggest if some of the above ancestral houses are open for photo shoot for a pre nup. I understand that most of them may charged per hour & we dont mind paying as long as it would fit on our budget.
    Appreciate if you can email me your suggestions & the contact details in you have. my email is cecil.recuenco@dnata.com

    Many Thanks & more power to your very informative blog..

    Cheers
    Khe

    • I forgot to mention..Preferably in Manila or somewhere close by like Bulacan or even Tagaytay..which ever is possible.. :)

  17. I don’t get the part in the Gala-Rodriguez Mansion, Sariaya where it says “In the 1930s, the Art Deco and Art Nouveau movements has arrived in the Philippines.” while the Bautista Caryatid House, Malolos part which says that it was built in 1850s there is already a french art nouveau. I can’t seem to distinguish which is art deco and nouveau xD

    • Thank you for clarifying jor. When the Bautista House was renovated sometime in the 1900s, it incorporated art nouveau elements to the 1850s house.

  18. Breath-taking manors. Truly a work of art.

  19. love the pics of old houses….even more if it has additional info about it…c;

  20. Thanks for sharing your list. Hopefully I get to visit the houses in your list. The ancestral house in Concepcion, Tarlac that you mentioned, does it still exist?

    • Thank you Bogs. We have not visited my grandfather’s house since he passed away. However, my mother told me that it’s no longer in the site. sad thing huh?

      • i was born in concepcion tarlac,move to mabalacat pampanga,during my primary schooling to this beautiful ancestral home own by my uncle Paulino Gueco,married to Marina Morales.i hope to see it on your site one day.thanks

  21. hi …can somebody help me to find a spooky look mansion house?..im a location manager on a tele-serye and one of my house requirement is a old mansion house..sana po QC or within metro manila only..kindly email me @ wildflawoooo23@yahoo.com..maraming salamat po.

  22. What is the name of the house in the second picture?
    I have seen the Natalio Enriquez house.It was realy beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

    • The second picture is a house in Carcar Cebu Nica. I think its the Silva ancestral house.

  23. Being a blog writer myself, I really appreciate the time you took in writing this article.

  24. if you want haunted houses try the white mansion in baguio city.. by just writing its name makes my hairs stand.. me and my friends had experienced something you would not believe.. we just passed by the mansion and….

  25. such an awesome collection of traditional architectural design.. you should see the old houses the churches in Majayjay Laguna and its nearby towns.. you’ll love it!

  26. Nice pictures, thanks for sharing

  27. i really liked the pictures….
    they were very helpful in my history class!!!!

    • Thank ogie. Glad we are able to help.

  28. good day po.. whre can i find the LEgarda mansion? thanks

    • Legarda Mansion is located along San Rafael St. in San Miguel Manila Minella. check out this site for the map.
      if you plan to go there it is recommended that you book first. phone number is available in their website.

      http://www.lacocinadetitamoning.com/map.html

  29. Nice collections..

  30. by the way, i’ve visited or seen 10 of the houses you’ve featured here. there are also some beautiful ones in Gapan and its making me wonder why the city government there would rather promote tsinelas.

    i really like the Sariaya house along the highway, it always make me gawk at it whenever i pass. re bahay na pula, is this the “haunted house” daw?

    • Gapan, Nueva Ecija? yes we’ll visit it as soon as we go back to Manila.

      • yep. nueva ecija. may mga antillan style housed din near the school. ung isa, owned by the family of eula valdez

  31. nice selection. by the way, have you been to the Jesuit House of 1730 in Cebu?

    • Yes Estan. We’ve been to the Jesuit House. Restoration of the house is in full swing though Jimmy Sy is doing it gradually.

      • oo. baka ilang years pa daw bago matapos

  32. It sure brings back memories of the past looking at your photos of these old houses. I just hope we’ll have the will to preserve them for the future generation to see, not just in pictures, but with their own eyes.

    • I agree lagalog. ancestral houses are links to our past. need to be preserve for future generations to see.

  33. great post. i enjoyed the photos. i hope the old houses in the country can be preserved for posterity.

    http://calrat.blogspot.com

    • Thank you ewok1993. I agree, ancestral houses are part of our heritage therefore has to be preserved.

  34. These are treasures of our heritage, we have to keep and protect them, they’re our tangible links to our past.

  35. great collection, felt like i saw them with my own eyes…btw, can you free up your sked on dec 9 around 5pm to witness a fluvial parade in malabon? no, we’re not riding the pagoda, only take pics of it hehe…do let me know and we’ll arrange things…

  36. […] December 3, 2009 For today, I feature my online comrade Traveler On Foot’s choice photo collections of all the bahay na bató that he has visited in Luzón. Please click here to view these awesome Filipino houses. […]

  37. good job.. MR. traveller on foot…nostalgic to see those ancestral houses… thanks


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