The province of Quezon is a couple of hours’ drive away from home. Back when I was in the university, I commuted a couple of times to some municipalities in Quezon to conduct research for my thesis, where I interviewed farmers for my data. I’ve always been keen on going back to have a proper visit, explore and get to know more about Quezon, and it’s only been recently that I was able to do so, bringing D along with me. I followed a Facebook page called “Ancestral Houses in the Philippines”, and my attention was quickly captured when a photo of a heritage house from Sariaya, Quezon displayed on my feed. I tried to look for a daytour contact, and my friend referred me to Eric, who coincidentally was the one who posted the photo. We chatted in Facebook and I scheduled us a daytour on a Sunday morning.
D and I drove off to Sariaya, Quezon – the farthest in the south of Luzon we’ve driven far. We met Eric at the Sariaya Church, under the Acacia tree where he waited for us.
Eric, D and I walked across the Sariaya Park onto the Don Catalino Rodriguez Heritage House on Daliz Street corner Rizal Street.
This ancenstral house is one of the grand heritage houses in Sariaya, Quezon. Eric explained that Sariaya was a rich town during the Spanish colonisation period. This house was built in the early 1920s, designed by the Spanish architect Juan Hervas. The owner, who was well-travelled, had some of the things he’d seen in Europe included in his house, like sinks and faucets in all its rooms, and wall paintings.
During the tour of the house, Eric explained that Sariaya used to located near the sea, but had to move up inland to avoid pirates. Later on, there were attacks from the “tulisan” (outlaws, in English). So this house, being near the Sariaya Church, had a secret tunnel connecting to it. The tunnel was used in case the tulisan would attack the town.
The flooring of the house is made of wood, and Eric showed us the “bunot”, a coconut husk used to polish the wooden floor. It reminded me of my childhood when we would use the bunot to scrub the floors of our rooms. It was a good workout for my legs. This was before my folks bought an electric floor polisher.
It’s surreal seeing preserved items from the past – from old soda bottles, to a vintage turntable, typewriter, photos, and furniture. Clothing from the olden days were stored in one of the rooms, and some tourists opt to wear the gowns for a fee for their photoshoots. The tour of this heritage house gave us a glimpse of the lifestyle of the affluent Filipinos of the olden days.
Afterwards, we headed to the street to have a look of the other ancestral houses. Along Rizal Street, a few houses away, was the Gala-Rodriguez Heritage House, designed by Juan Nakpil in 1935. Unfortunately we were unable to tour the interior of this house as the entrance fee was a bit steep for just D and me. It’s recommended for a bigger group tour who can divide the fee amongst more participants. So for this visit, we just admired the house from the outside.
Next, we walked up Rizal Street onto Dr. Simeon Rodriguez heritage house. Eric shared that the owners of this house sent their children to pursue music studies in Vienna, Austria.
Lastly, before we ended the daytour, we walked past the Gov. Natalio Enriquez heritage house. This is an eye-catching landmark located along the main road of Sariaya, next to Sariaya Church. This art deco house -styled house was built in 1931 by Andres Luna de San Pedro.
That wraps up our visit to Sariaya, Quezon. Though it was only a couple of hours’ tour, we left with deeper appreciation and knowledge of the past. I am thankful we get to have a sneak peak of cultural places like this through social media, and it’s opened doors for us to connect to the local tour guides.
wow! Amazing places – I LOVE the wooden floors and interiors! They are just splendid and SO full of character!
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Absolutely. Today’s generation is lucky to hear about the history these houses tell.
What a gorgeous interior AND exterior of the Don Catalino Rodriguez Heritage House! It’s incredible you managed to contact the tour operator (also doubling as photographer!) for this little gem. It’s definitely the smaller, more word-of-mouth sites which really leave an impression you. 😊
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It was an eye opener for us as we have not heard much at all about Sariaya. Thankful for the opportunity and that our guide accomodated us when we reached out. I hope we can ‘discover’ more of these non mainstream treasures
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