And here I thought I know all the must see historical places and museums of Cebu City only to be proven wrong one Saturday afternoon. But it’s the kind of surprise that delighted me and something I gladly welcomed because it made me discover a ‘hidden’ place full of history that dates back to the Spanish time right in the center of Cebu’s Heritage Trail. This is also a good addition to my Cebu Travel Blog tales.
If you refer to the previously posted itinerary for Penfires Cebu Heritage Walking Tour Series - I listed the historical attractions in downtown Cebu City which are popular among tourists. You know those places that are nearby each other which can be explored on foot all on a single day.
I started that detailed directional guide from the Colon Marker and Obelisk to Cebu Heritage Monument to Yap San Diego House to Casa Gorordo Museum to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral – Magellan’s Cross – Basilica del Sto Nino – Fort San Pedro – Malakanyang sa Sugbo – Taboan Market. Little did I know I miss a very important one that is just a few steps from the Cebu Heritage Monument – I missed listing the Museo Parian sa Sugbo - a 1730 Old Jesuits House now converted into a Museum.
Welcome to Museo Parian sa Sugbo – Old Jesuit House
Just like Colon St being the oldest street in the Philippines, the Jesuit House in Parian District of Cebu could be the oldest ‘dated’ house in the Philippines. You can clearly see the date etched on top of a doorway on this house, it proudly says ‘Ano 1730′. The claimed that this is the ‘oldest dated’ house in the county may not be 100% accurate as it is also surrounded by controversies and differing opinions but I will believe this until I see hard evidence that proves otherwise. Sigurista hehehhe
Ano 1730 Jesuit House of Cebu
Originally owned by the wealthy Villa family of Cebu, this house was donated to the Jesuits with specific stipulations, one of which was that the Jesuits will pray for each member of the Villa family for the duration of their stay or occupation in the house. Oh di ba? Hehhehe
This place is presently owned by the ‘Sy’s. There is a trivia to this very important historical place at the end of this blog post.
The Museo Parian sa Sugbo houses artifacts and memorabilia of our Spanish colonial past together with clear influences of the Chinese culture as evident on some of decors of this Jesuit house turned Museum. If you are not aware, the Pari-an District of Cebu is where the wealthy Spanish mestizos and Chinese traders settled in during the colonial era. But more than anything else, it is the centuries old building itself that is very special.
If you enter this establishment from the main gate and not from the back door entrance you will be passing through the original wooden gate and you’ll probably be amazed by the huge ‘stones’ used in its construction.
Original Wooden Gate from the Spanish Colonial Period
Intricately Design Lamppost
The whole structure of the house has been changed very little since Ano 1730. You can just imagine all the history that the house is privy to! But note though before this Museum was open to the public, the previous owners did some major repair but the repair team made sure to preserve the house’s vital architecture and structural components. I am not a builder nor an architect so I believe it means that the facade has not been greatly altered nor the ‘essence’ of the house corrupted.
Stone Wall of the Jesuit House as seen from the Main Gate
A View of the Main Hallway – 2nd Floor of 1730 Jesuit House of Cebu
It was only in 2008 when the owners of the house open the place to the public. Could be part of the reason why the Jesuit House is still off the radar of most Cebu City Tour itineraries and children on field trips. But I wouldn’t be surprised if real soon the Museo Parian sa Sugbo will become another popular Cebu historical site.
When we visited this Cebu Museum it was serendipitous, there were university students practicing their historical play complete with Spanish era costumes so it made the visit to this old Jesuit House more interesting.
Prayle, Indio and Guardia Sibil?
There were lots of interesting old things that you’ll find while exploring the house. They have this very old looking baby’s crib – baka nga antique na. And mga antigong gamit na pambabae and the four poster bed which you can see below. Personally I’d probably be afraid to sleep in it – duwag kasi, ayun hehhehe
One of the Religious Wall Decors
Antique Baby Crib
Colonial era Four Poster Bed
Who wants to try out the lazy chair?
Syempre pa picture sa loob ng isa sa mga rooms sa Jesuit House Cebu
The Sugbu Gallery
There is now a special section of the Jesuit house that has been converted into a Museum and Gallery, aptly named ”The Sugbu Gallery”. “Sugbu” is ‘Cebu’ in our local dialect.
Sugbu Gallery at Museo de Parian
When you enter the gallery you’ll see old things and artifacts like the very old rustic sewing machine and the predecessors of your Digicams and DSLRs. Oh yah you can also see American era typewriter and telephone
You will also see and read more about the History of the Jesuit House of Parian on the mounted pictures with short descriptions that hangs inside the Sugbu Gallery.
And interestingly when the original owners of the house excavated the lower portion to strengthen the original wall beams and columns etc, they dugged up treasures of the past! Yes treasures! They found this old Chinese coin minted during the Emperor Wan Li’s Reign in China, further strengthening the fact that Chinese did settled in Parian during the 16th to 17th century!
The Museum sa Parian must have safekeep the coin somewhere else as it was very valuable to be left in an unsecured glass case, sayang we did not see it live but oks na din may picture naman hehehhe
Old Chinese Coin Excavated from the Jesuit House in Cebu
Sugbo Gallery also showcases maps of old Cebu, the Cebu of the 17th century. You will see how the zoning was then and you’ll see Calle Colon very prominently on the map. You can also take a peek at a map plan of Fort San Pedro below:
Plano de la Ciudad de Cebu
Map of Cebu 17th Century
Centuries Old Map for Fort San Pedro
Entrance Fee for the Museo Parian sa Sugbo and the Sugbo Gallery
There is a P30 per person entrance fee to visit and explore the old Jesuit House in Pari-an District. You will be paying at the cashier at the back entrance. I don’t know if students get discounts or what, probably.
Curiously the back portion of the house is Ho Tong Hardware and you will be passing through construction and building materials as you enter. The more dramatic entrance is of course the main entrance where you will pass by the heavy old original wooden door of this Jesuit House.
When we were there the main or front gate was closed and we entered the premises via back door.
I hope you’ll also try to visit this historical place when you do a Cebu City tour, it is really just a few walks away from the Cebu Heritage Monument. Just enter Zulueta street and you’ll see right away the Ho Tong Hardware.
Errr… this blog post on Museo Parian sa Sugbo contains lots of pics, might as well as call this Cebu photoblog on the 1730 Jesuit House hehhehe.
I will leave this last image, sayang perfect na talaga sana kaso si Prayle naka rubber shoes and on his cellphone hehhehe.
Back to the Future at Museo Parian sa Sugbu
Trivia on the Jesuit House – Got this info from Inquirer.Net – the place used to be infamous as a gogo bar or night club in the 1950s. But luckily, the current family that owns this house rescued it from its sad fate and restored it with the respect that the Jesuit House rightly deserves. Kudos! Thanks for preserving a piece of Cebu’s History!
Hey, I also have a blog post on Cebu’s Provincial Museum, in case you want to read the post please click this article: MUSEO SUGBO, The Largest Museum in Cebu.