Friday, March 23, 2012

Yap-San Diego Heritage House and Museum of Cebu

One fine Sunday morning, I visited Yap-San Diego Heritage House and Museum--one of the few remaining structures in Parian District that has withstood the test of time.

the yap-san diego heritage house is filled with many different stuff. though relatively new, it adds charm to the place  

Built at the turn of 17th century, the features of the house showcases the affluence of the owners in that period. The house is made of hardwood and coral stones and its roof is made of terra cotta tiles. The earliest known occupants was a Chinese merchant named Don Juan Yap and his family. The house, handed down from many generations, still functions practically as home (the guide said the owners sleep here during weekends). At present, the owner (and frontrunner of the house's conservation efforts) is heritage advocate and performing artist Val Sandiego of the well-known SanDiego Dance Company.

the second floor formal dining area with big windows that empty to the street

gossip tour: fine houses, shops and controversy
The house stands in what was once a well-known district for Chinese merchants in the 1600s. In fact, the house was just right across the heart of the district--the church of San Juan Bautista (now occupied by Parian fire station). According to stories, the parish of San Juan Bautista was a fledgeling parish that caught the ire of a rival parish a few blocks away. The result? San Juan Bautista church was brought down to the ground.

what used to be the main entrance is now covered with concrete after a warehouse was built in the adjacent lot 

But the information I got from the admu website was kinder:

The church was built by a mestizo Chinese secular priest in the 1700s. Jurisdictional conflicts with the convento of Santo Niño forced the bishop to demote the church from parish to the level of visita dependent on Santo Niño. 
In time, the church was abandoned and deteriorated. Its appurtenances went to other churches and to the Colegio de San Ildefonso, which inherited some of its furniture and statuary. The site of the church's sanctuary was marked by a cross before World War II.

Was history rewritten? I have no idea.

image of Jesus Christ on a rocking chair sits quietly in the second floor living room

Inside the Yap-San Diego Museum are antiques and a few vintage pieces cramped in the whole two-storey affair. The first floor hosts to antique chairs, long dining tables with an assortment of fine china and other tablewares as well as images of the Virgin Mary, Sto. Nino and a few angels. The second floor which can be reached through a steep staircase made of iron wood, evokes a breezy feel with its big windows and high ceiling. The dining and living quarters are grander and more organized compared to the ground floor.  More Catholic images are found here including Jesus Christ on a rocking chair, a nativity scene and a life-size image of Virgin Mary peering through the second floor window.

the flooring in the ground level  (primarily used as storage area during the 17th century) remains like how it was centuries ago 

The Yap-San Diego Heritage house is considered as one of the oldest existing residential structures in the Philippines.

the garden located in the west side of the house

artsy restroom signage. i like!

Yap-SanDiego Heritage House is open daily from 9:00am to 6:00pm
Entrance fee: Php50.00

How to go to Yap San Diego Heritage House:
The heritage house is located at the tip of Colon Street--the oldest street in the Philippines. As soon as you see the Obelisk Marker, turn left and walk a few meters. It's beside a warehouse painted in peach.


  1. Interesting post and photographs! I am interested in visiting museums, I'll include this heritage house when I get the opportunity to visit Cebu City. Thank you for sharing this! May God bless you always.

    1. thanks Caloy! there are several museums in the area. i'm sure you will have a great time in parian, cebu. happy travels


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