10 November 2007

Our Ancestral Home

Our ancestral home was built in the 1800s, as I recall from the year inscribed on an engraving just at the top of the main front door. Although I had not seen it in a long time, I do have fond memories of the place. That was the house my lola supposedly grew up in, and where my cousins and I would spend some summer days and every All Saint's Day at. It is now totally neglected. The last person to live in the house was my uncle, who has now passed on.

I remember how it used to be. It was cool even in the peak of summer because of its huge capiz windows augmented by beautiful wrought iron vents above and below them. There used to be much antique furniture and items around the house -- beds, tables, chairs, candleholders. One thing that amused me most was the old-style commode, 2 of them actually, one serving as a huge bidet. Another thing were the huge statues of saints that were hidden in one of the rooms, they literally used to freak me out for they actually had real hair on them! And yet another item of fancy was the sink by the dining room which had no drain spout. You wash and it just dropped to the ground two storeys below. It was one of those old houses who had nothing on the 'silong' or ground floor, everything was upstairs. It had a bridge going to the kitchen and had a huge living and dining room. I remember it having 5 bedrooms but just one toilet! It also almost has a forest for a lawn, with all the trees growing.

Now, here is the best part: We have always been told that the house is haunted. In fact, the Spirit Questors once did an episode in that house!
Since I was a kid, stories of ghastly encounters came to us quite often, from the help to my cousins and uncles. One of my favorites being the time a friend of my cousin came to pick him up and commented about the security up front. My cousin was puzzled as we didn't have any. Upon further prodding, his friend was actually describing men clad in period uniform for a "guardia civil"! This is when we found out that we weren't even the original owners of the house, it was bought from a Spanish Distillery company. And that it was even used in the war as a Japanese officer's residence.
The last time I stayed in that house was in 1994, as I recall. Even then, water did not flow into the 'banyo' anymore, and the entire dining area was starting to collapse already.
I just wish we could save that old house of ours. With all the memories created in it throughout the generations, it deserves to be loved.


Senor Enrique said...

Sayang naman! Neglected na.

This looks like a grand home once. Perhaps, you and some cousins could revitalize it.

Ang Kuwago said...

Dear Eric,

I am now researching on the steps required to register the house with the National Historical Commission. I was told that it is possible for them to shoulder the costs of restoration under the condition that the house be opened to the public as a museum or something.

Any other suggestions would be appreciated!

By the way, I really enjoy your blog! You both photograph and write so well!


Senor Enrique said...

I will be stopping by Heritage Conservation Society' office either tomorrow or Friday (have photo CD to drop off) and will ask for their thoughts on this. I will then email you what they say or connect you directly with someone who would know.

Really, sayang naman kung mapabayaaan.

Many thanks for your visits and kind words!