the moss-covered white stone walls along zulueta street should be a dead giveaway. but then again, it’s one of those almost-deserted streets in pari-an. and even if the whitewashed walls fascinate you to take a curious look inside, most likely this is what will greet you a “hi, you seem lost. how may i help you?” introductory line:
the staff are probably used to the visitors’ confused facial expressions. i couldn’t help but wonder myself if i followed my mom’s directions right. even with the blatant sign screaming MUSEO PARIAN hanging by the entrance, it’s still kind of hard to believe your eyes when all they see are a jungle of wires and steel plates. hardware stuff. stuff you don’t expect to see within the premises of a museum.
apparently, museo parian is reputed to be the oldest dated house in the country. and when they say “dated,” they mean “stamped.” you know, with a date. or in this case, with a year. 1730. an 18th-century treasure in the midst of a hardware storage area. what do you know?
i actually read about museo parian in the national paper many many years ago. when i decided to check it out with ram, we wound up in yap-sandiego ancestral house thinking we came to the right place. it took a while for me to realize that we must have knocked on the wrong door. but then again, it’s one of those places you’d be happy to accidentally stumble upon. yap-sandiego ancestral house will always be my favorite museum in the city. for real.
but every museum is different. each one is as unique as the individuals who have lived there. the ghosts of the past have different stories to tell and i respect that. which is why i never fail to feel awed by these old houses. i could close my eyes and feel its history permeate into my skin. (just please don’t let me hear wailing sounds or anything that resembles a person walking with chains on their feet.)
i wish i could provide you with ample information about the house and believe me, the guide was more than generous in handing out critical information for me and girly to digest but the whole time, i couldn’t help but look at her chipped black nails and think, “i should paint my nails black next time.” retarded, i know.
to compensate for my, uh, lapses, allow me to quote from this blogger who probably couldn’t care less what color of nail polish the curator wore:
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.
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.
for all my distractions, i did learn a thing or two about the house: that the roof was made of red clay tiles (just like yap-sandiego’s) and that the tiles and the wooden trusses are the original ones way back 282 years ago! (i did the math. you’re welcome.) in short, everything you see up there on the roof are older than your great-grandmother! pretty amazing, if you think about it. although it shouldn’t exactly come as a shock-inducing surprise considering that they used nothing but durable hardwood that’s made to last practically forever.
but still, right?
while the structure of the entire house has been preserved, the decors and the furniture have just been added in to, of course, make the house look like one. the current owners, the sy family of cebu, installed various antiques and/or recreated the different areas of the house to make them look the way they were presumed to look years and years ago.
i’ll show you photos of the bedroom and the other areas of the house which creeped me out while editing them late last night. it didn’t help that one of the staff told girly and me that many guests saw something mysterious come up in their pics in those areas. but this post is getting quite long and boring already so…
the truth? it’s night time right now and i’d much rather post those photos tomorrow when the sun is out and i wouldn’t feel so paranoid and haunted.