The Clarin Ancestral House
The Clarin Ancestral House dates back to 1840. Traditional Filipino-Spanish in design with long slanting roofs covered with nipa leaves, it is a typical one big square house with a coral stone foundation, rough-hewn wooden posts, wooden walls and floors of wide hardwood planks and a receiving hall with a high vaulted ceiling. Although the ceiling beams are in urgent need of repair being damaged by termites, the whole house is relatively in good condition.
Declared as a heritage site by the National Historical Institute, and the most visited of all ancestral houses of Bohol, the 167 year old Clarin Ancestral House is now a museum housing family collections that date back to the American period.
Wooden furniture are intricately carved beds with posts for the mosquito nets, dressers, antique rocking chairs, and a kneeler with corresponding chair complete with an old bible and draped with a large veil.
Other items observed are elegant Maria Clara's (Filipina gowns) and barongs, and a huge earthen pot filled with American era centavo coins, antique jars and lamps, and some kitchen wares. Gracing a wall is a long sword taken from a sword fish. A good collection of books, including a very large dictionary of the English language, can be found in a small library.
The house, as is typical of Filipino-Spanish houses at that time, is made up of two floors: the ground floor and an upper floor. The living quarters are located at the upper floor.
The upper floor has large and wide windows with shutters decorated with capiz shells that let the sunshine in if closed. The shutters are slid to slots at the side of the windows leaving the wide window openings devoid of any obstruction. Fresh air freely circulates inside the house keeping it cool even during hot days.
Opening of the Cafe Olegario was graced by no other than Ms. Bea Zobel de Ayala Jr., daughter of industrialist Jaime Zobel de Ayala and Ino Manalo. The cafe occupies the ground floor and extends into a quiet and private garden.
The cafe serves native Boholano delicacies which are family favorites such as torta Loayan (omelet), puto (rice cake) with hot chocolate, and putomaya (malagkit rice boiled in coconut milk, flavored with ginger juice and sweetened with sugar). It accepts bookings for fine dining in groups as well as walk-in guests.
The Clarin Ancestral House is located in the town of Loay, about 18 kilometers from Tagbilaran City. From Tagbilaran, the house lies on the left-hand side and only a few steps away from the corner of Bohol's circumferential road.
Situated at the foot of the stairway leading to the Loay Church which is on the top of a hill, it is right along the lane that leads to the stairway. You will notice that most of Bohol's heritage homes lie right along roads with gardens at the back.
The Clarin Ancestral House is the residence of Don Aniceto Velez Clarin, a former governor of Bohol. His son, Jose Aniceto Butalid Clarin became the first senator of the 11th district.
The 11th Senatorial District was composed of the provinces of Bohol, Misamis, and Surigao under the Jones Law passed by the U.S. Congress. Since Bohol was the most populated at that time, Jose Aniceto B. Clarin won the seat.
A family of politicians, many followed in the footsteps of their predecessors and became Mayors and congressmen in Bohol. Descendants now own and maintain the ancestral house.
The island of Bohol is replete of heritage churches and ancestral homes leading the provincial tourism office to offer a packaged heritage tour for visitors interested in seeing them.
The Clarin Ancestral House is one of them, reminding us of Bohol's Spanish colonial past. This is a typical rich Boholano home of Bohol's most prominent political clan, the Clarins. Nobody lives there anymore and the place has been put up as a museum.
With a cafe at the ground floor, the house is now open to the public at a minimal fee of P20.00 for maintenance of the building.
Top of The Clarin Ancestral HousePhotos courtesy of Ral_M