Jesuit House Museum
(Cebu City, Philippines) – Aside from the famous Yap-Sandiego Ancestral house and Casa Gorordo, Cebu City has one other equally popular and prominent heritage house in Cebu, famous by the name Museo De Parian or Jesuit House of 1730.
Year 1730 Marker
The Museo De Parian is possibly one of the oldest houses in the country and was built centuries ago, supposedly during the same century when Yap-Sandiego was constructed.
Inside Museo de Parian
Considering many artifacts in the Museo De Parian, it was assumed that the house was built in the 1730s. But recently, historians and architects collected some evidence which supports the fact that Museo De Parian was built way before 1730s; although the exact year it was built is still not clear.
Old Map of Cebu
About Museo De Parian
The Museo De Parian, as in the name, is located in Parian district of Cebu city. The fact that the Jesuit house was transformed several times over many centuries was evident after discovering a coin buried in the house, which was supposedly used during the age of the Ming dynasty. Hence it was also quite clear that a Chinese family owned the house then.
Vandalism Circa 1964
The roof of the house was built with tisa or red clay tiles while the trusses sported a lot of marvelous carvings, sure to be the handiwork of Chinese artisans. The visitors of the Museo De Parian sometimes will be experts in the field and most of them vouched the fact there is significant Chinese influence in the house’s architecture.
Ceramics supposedly used during the reign of Ming dynasty was also dug out from the premises of Museo De Parian, but most of them were broken although still priceless. The Museo De Parian shares a similarity with the Yap Sandiego ancestral house, as both houses’ first floor was built with coral stones. Nothing is known about the original owners of the house and the Spanish man who bought the house a long time ago. The current owner Jaime Sy, however, is keen on finding it out.
Chinese Ancestral House in Parian
Although the house is old, it doesn’t have the old glory in my opinion as the house was subjected to many changes like using putty made up of newspapers to cover the cracks in the walls and joints. The putty and the cracks are now hidden using mint green paint. The land where the house was made was once a pond and the house started sinking a while back. So maintenance works are being done at present to stop it from sinking any further.
The house was even used by the United States Armed Forces during the World War and it’s quite surprising that the house still remains intact even after bombings at that time.
The first floor of the house was previously used as a warehouse by the previous owners and the present owner has shown interest in transforming the first floor into a beautiful garden. However, the structure will not undergo any change and will be retained.
Old Entrance Jesuits House in Cebu
The ground floor was now transformed into a mini Museum called Sugbo Gallery. The gallery showcases maps of old Cebu and some photos of Cebu in the past. It’s interesting to see photos of Calle Colon and other photos of old churches in Southern Cebu. The gallery has also a mini-museum that showcases some artifacts that are believed to be brought by Chinese traders during the Ming Dynasty.
What do the Luneta Hotel and Jesuit House of 1730 have in common? Both buildings were turned into a nightclub in the past. Luneta Hotel was turned into a nightclub during the Japanese occupation (remember Marcova?) while the Jesuit House of 1730 was also turned into a nightclub in the 1950s.
The Museo De Parian or 1730 Jesuit House will possibly get back its former glory soon and I really recommend that you visit this beautiful piece of history.
Visiting this old house has an entrance fee of P30 per person and you need to pay for it at the Ho Tong Hardware cashier which also serves as the entrance to the Museum. Getting there is easy, just tell your tartanilla or your Cab driver to bring you to Parian. The Jesuit House is just a few walks away from the Cebu Heritage Monument and the Yap-San Diego Ancestral House.