Touring the Past: Yap Sandiego Ancestral House

To immerse yourself in the history of Cebu, consider touring the Yap Sandiego Ancestral House. As one of the oldest domestic homes in the Philippines, the Yap Sandiego House lets you see a piece of the country’s cultural past. Today, the home is one of the area’s renowned museums, and its unique architecture and décor create a memorable experience for those who visit it. The Yap Sandiego residence is easy to get to from many Cebu hotels.


According to historical accounts, Don Juan Yap and his wife, Dona Maria Florido, constructed the home between 1675 and 1700. Mr. Yap was a Chinese merchant and over the years the couple were blessed with three children. Don and Dona named their children Maria, Eleuterio and Consolacion. The couple constructed the ancient home from coral stones and wood. For an adhesive, the handy twosome used egg whites, and to keep the home’s inhabitants safe from the elements, they formed the roof from clay. The couple’s oldest daughter wed Mariano Avendano Sandiego, and since he was the Parian district leader at the time, the home became a popular meeting centre. In 2008, one of the Yap’s great-great-grandsons took ownership of the home and turned it into a museum. He has vowed to maintain the property and stated that he will not sell it during his lifetime.

Yap Sandiego Ancestoral House 2

Maintaining the Past

When you see the Yap Sandiego Ancestral House, you’ll be viewing the residence as it was when Don and Dona Yap lived in it, as the home’s roof and walls still feature an estimated 95 percent of the original materials. Historians believe that the house is the oldest surviving Chinese residence located outside of China. While there, be sure to tour the garden as it features local vegetation along with bonsai trees and a fresh water well that’s 14 feet deep. Upon stepping inside, you’ll have the opportunity to see furnishings that are more than 300 years old, including dining sets, religious artefacts and furniture items like rocking chairs and beds. While in the house, you’ll also come across an ancient birthing chair, an iron and even old eggbeaters.

Location Information

The house is located at the corner of Lopez-Jaena and Mabini Street in Cebu City. It is open from 9:00am to 6:00pm and there is a small entrance fee. When planning to tour the Yap Sandiego Ancestral House, consider reserving a little extra time to see the Heritage of Cebu Monument along with the Colon Obelisk Marker since these two structures are nearby. In fact, for more historical experiences, you can walk down Colon Street – the oldest known road in the Philippines – to reach the Yap Sandiego Ancestral House.

Well-located hotels in Cebu let you stay near the city’s attractions, making sightseeing easy. As a guest of Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu, you’ll have the opportunity to stop by the Yap Sandiego Ancestral Home as well as other intriguing sites.

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