In 2005, we noticed the massive bahay-na-bato near the Montalban town plaza in Rizal. Although it looked uninhabited, the stately ancestral house was in excellent condition but at that time we have no one to ask about the house and so we missed the chance to see “what’s inside.”
We found a historical marker stating that the house belonged to Montalban’s most illustrious resident. In fact, proud as they are of their town’s homegrown political figure, the people of Montalban renamed their town after the house’s original resident –Eulogio Rodriguez Sr.
Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Sr.
Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez has a life-long career as a public servant. He was elected Senate President from 1952 to 1963.
Prior to being senator, Amang has held different appointed and elected positions in government as Mayor of Manila (1940), Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce (1934), Congressman of 2nd district of Rizal (1925, 1931, and 1935), representative of Nueva Viscaya (1924), Governor of Rizal (1916), and President of Montalban (1909).
Although looked upon as an important political figure in the local government and in both Houses of Congress, Amang has humble beginnings as a farmer. Being a farmer, he preferred building the house for his family near his farm.
While the huge track of land behind the old house is now part of a cemetery, the Rodriguez Ancestral House has been converted into a private museum showcasing mementoes and collections of the longest serving Senate President.
The Ancestral House
During our unplanned visit to the Rodriguez Ancestral House, we met Jojo at silong who cordially led to what was then the second floor living quarters. Just as we expected based from the imposing exterior, the upper floor has an airy interior.
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 which we were told is still being used on certain occasions. There were two bedrooms but it was off limits during our visit.
Jojo told us that the interior is maaliwalas not only because of translucent capiz windows around the house but also due to the selected pieces furniture displayed in the spacious rooms. Jojo explained that most of the heirloom furniture has been distributed among Amang’s children and grandchildren.
Those items selected for the exhibit however were mostly artifacts and memorabilia that inform visitors about Amang’s career as a public servant.
The Rodriguez Musuem shares space with one of Amang’s grand children who held office as an elected government official at the entresuelo. According to Jojo, The upper floor is still used for caucuses and assemblies. There have been occassions when the museum artifacts are being rearranged or temporarily removed from the exhibit areas to avoid damage.
On our visit, we viewed interesting museum pieces quartered in the house like the commissioned paintings and furniture sets, rare vintage photographs, and other personal effects including a collection of baston displayed in an antique bastonera and another set of canes encased in a glass drawer.
The chairs and desk commissioned with official seal is the focal point of the sala. The senate president’s desk is recreated complete with tobacco boxes, inkwell, and a gavel.
Car Plate No. 3
On our way out of the museum we passed by again the cavernous silong which served as a massive storeroom for the season’s harvest. Amang’s official vehicle while serving as Senate President, still bearing the plate number 3 is displayed in the silong near the zaguan.