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Yap-San Diego Ancestral House: The Oldest House in Cebu City


The Yap-San Diego Ancestral House in Parian, Cebu City is said to be the first Chinese house built outside of China. It was built during the country’s Spanish colonial era where the Chinese were required to live in the Parians of a city. Cebu’s Parian was founded in 1590 after the arrival of Chinese traders.

by Adrea Hernan on September 22, 2014
Yap-San Diego Ancestral House: The Oldest House in Cebu City

The Yap-San Diego Ancestral House in Parian, Cebu City is said to be the first Chinese house built outside of China. It was built during the country’s Spanish colonial era where the Chinese were required to live in the Parians of a city. Cebu’s Parian was founded in 1590 after the arrival of Chinese traders.

Often referred as “Balay nga Bato ug Kahoy” by the locals, the ancestral house is constructed out of coral stones and wood. It was built sometime between 1675 and 1700 and was originally owned by a Chinese merchant named Don Juan Yap together with his wife, Doña Maria Florido.



They had three children, namely: Maria, Eluterio and Consolacion. In 1880’s, Maria Florido Yap, their eldest daughter, married Don Mariano Avendano San Diego who was Parian’s cabeza de barangay  (district head) at that time. Since then, the structure had become a busy center of activity in Parian.


Presently, it is considered as one of the oldest existing residential structures in the country and a proof the Parian district in Cebu City was a bustling barangay where houses are often designed with a second storey. This abode was eventually handed down to Doña Maria’s great great grandson, Val Mancao San Diego in 2008.



Val Mancao Sandiego, an art collector, renowned choreographer and also a heritage icon turned the ancestral house into a museum which opens daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with an entrance fee of P50. Just a few steps away from it, tourists can also visit the Parian Monument and the Colon Street which is the oldest street in the country.



How to get there:

From Manila, take a flight going to Cebu City. Upon reaching the airport, hire a taxi or take an airport multicab going to Marina Mall. From Marina Mall, ride a multicab or jeepney that carries a ‘highway’ signage and tell the driver to drop you off at Maguikay. From there, ride any Mandaue jeepney with a ‘catedral’ or ‘colon’ signage that will take you to Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral or Colon St.

Upon reaching these landmarks, The Yap-San Diego Ancestral House is just a walk away.

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