Wednesday, November 7, 2012

phallic symbols and a woman ahead of her time in Talisay City, Negros

I enjoy stories about women who are ahead of their time. Fiesty. Independent. Strong. Joan of Arc, Coco Chanel and St. Hildegard of Bingen to name a few. 

In Talisay, her name is Tana Dicang. I first read about her in the book The Nation Beyond Manila (Ateneo Press) by Maam Chari Lucero--a professor of Philippine literature at UP Diliman. 

the idea of a peephole sounds seductive, no? :)

I enjoyed the backstories narrated by the caretaker slash tour guide (who has lived in the Tana Dicang compound since she was 3). really awesome!

Balay ni Tana Dicang, built in 1872, is a classic example of Filipino Ancestral Architecture. The best part? Everything in the house genuinely reflects the way of life in the 19th century and has been a silent witness to the countries economic prosperity, ravages of war and the unfolding of history.

The ground floor has art exhibition rooms and a cafe that serves traditional Filipino snack (need to call ahead for availability).

The house has 18 rooms.  More interesting facts below: 

fast facts:
1. became a widow at age 47
2. had 17 children
3. took over her deceased husband's position as Capitan which she held until her death in 1942. She held the "Tana" designation for 40 years!
4. as stated in her will, 10 per cent of the hacienda's income go to the upkeep of the house

5. the 18th century china and silver, still in pristine condition, were buried during the war (to be saved from fire or air raid). 

6. there are two peepholes in the 2nd floor of the house. one to check on arriving guests and the other to check on the workers.
7. there's a secret passage under her bed that leads to her workshop (to get away from unwanted guests :)

8. she prepared two kinds of hot chocolate for guests. tsokolate "a" for close friends and people she like. otherwise, it was the watery tsokalate "e" :)
9. the furniture are arranged in the same manner when she was still alive.
10. phallic symbols and yonic symbols are evident in the latticework between the receiving area.

look closely

11. a bedroom with a bathtub was especially built for Pres. ML Quezon during his stay.
12. Philippine Presidents ML Quezon, S. Osmena and CP Garcia visited the house.

13. she managed the household like clockwork especially at the start and end of each day.

14. Does Remedios Circle ring a bell? To me, it does because I lived in J. Nakpil corner Adriatico Street sometime in c.2000. It's actually named after one of Tana Dicang's daughter who married Leon Guinto. 

entrance fee: Php100 (adult)

contact information:
Balay ni Tana Dicang
36 Rizal Street, Talisay City, Negros Occidental
6115 Philippines

email: balaynitanadicang(at)yahoo(dot)com
telephone #: (034) 712.680 or (034) 495.2104

museum hours:10:00am-5:00pm
guided tours: 10:30am-3:00pm only


  1. Wow this is interesting. I love old houses. My lola's ancestral house is still up and we have several preserved old houses in Cebu. What makes this house doubly interesting is Tana Dicang who, based on your post, is easily lovable. Thanks for sharing.

    Nancy/Simple Clockwork

  2. Been to Tana Dicang a few years ago and it is indeed one of my favorite heritage house in Negros. Well-kept and yes the caretaker is so knowledgeable, got so much information.

    Love your blog and this post... great information and stunning photos. Will definitely be back.

  3. Interesting facts there! I love how the house has a lot of secrets, even with the two types of tsokolate that she prepares for guests. :D

    Love the phallic symbols as well! Hahaha.


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