beldia old house Tagbilaran

Heritage Haven: Exploring Tagbilaran's Timeless Ancestral Houses

Tagbilaran, the capital city of Bohol, Philippines, is not only known for its natural beauty but also for its rich history and heritage. One fascinating aspect of the city's cultural heritage is its collection of old ancestral houses. These houses, built during different periods, showcase the architectural styles and lifestyles of the prominent families who once resided in Tagbilaran. Embark on a journey through time as you discover the stories and unique features of these remarkable ancestral houses.

Ready to explore the beautiful islands of Cebu and Bohol? Secure your ferry tickets today through 12go and start your unforgettable journey!

De la Serna House:

Located on Torralba Street, the De la Serna House is a captivating sight with its lively facade. Constructed with rectangular wall panels and adorned with intricate capiz windows, the house presents a harmonious blend of architectural elements. The interplay of capiz windows, glass windows, carved calados, and barandillas creates a visually appealing texture that reflects the mastery of the builders from bygone eras.

Caseñas Mansion:

Situated along Carlos P. Garcia Avenue, the Caseñas Mansion stands as one of the most beautiful vintage houses in Bohol. Built in 1937, it provides a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of the Boholano elite during the Commonwealth period. With its ornate facade, including floral calados, carved roof brackets, ventanilla grills, and colored glass windows, the mansion exudes elegance and grandeur. Though partially hidden by a store, the Caseñas Mansion remains an exceptional architectural gem.

Camacho House:

Just a few steps away from the Caseñas Mansion, the Camacho House on the same street showcases remarkable wooden ventanilla grills. Although its exact construction date is unknown, it likely dates back to the 1930s. The facade features extraordinarily detailed and fanciful wooden ventanilla grills, exemplifying Art Nouveau style with intertwined flowers, leaves, and ribbons. The house's elegant design, characterized by large pilasters, capiz windows, and wooden canopies, makes it a standout among Bohol's ancestral houses.

Beldia House:

Directly facing the Hontanosas House, the Beldia House holds a significant place in history. Built in 1858 for Don Esteban Butalid, a gobernadorcillo and businessman, it has witnessed many notable events. The house served as a provisional municipio during the Spanish regime and possibly hosted Manuel Hidalgo, brother-in-law of Jose Rizal, during his exile in Bohol. The Beldia House features a unique curving gambrel roof, coral stone walls, and an elaborate Neo-classic entrance, reflecting its historical and cultural value.

Balili House:

Nestled within the vast estate of Eladio Balili, the Balili House is a hidden gem. Built before 1934 as a bachelor's retreat, it boasts an incredibly beautiful design. Accessible through a sweeping grand staircase, the house features a porch with rounded corners, artistic round arches, and delicately carved calados. The fusion of Art Nouveau carvings, capiz windows, and wooden canopies adds grace and charm. While the house awaits reawakening, it remains a testament to an era of elegance.

Armachuelo House:

Situated along Marapao Street, just behind the Capitol, stands a captivating trio of houses that piques the interest of passersby. Among them is the remarkable Armachuelo House, nestled at the corner of Marapao and Rocha Street. This architectural gem boasts a distinctive two-tiered roof, reminiscent of the renowned Camacho House in Clarin. Constructed in 1916 by Juan Armachuelo, a respected treasurer from Jetafe, and his wife, Aurea Villas, this hospitable abode welcomed numerous colleagues of Juan during their visits to Tagbilaran.

While the ground floor, originally utilized for storage, has been transformed into a concrete-walled eatery, the upper storey has retained its original purpose as a residential area. Adorned with intricately carved transom air vents and floral designs on the roof eaves, the wooden walls exude an air of timeless elegance. Preserving its vintage charm, the Armachuelo House proudly showcases its well-preserved capiz windows, adorned with decorative barandillas and ventanillas below. Delicate white carvings gracefully embellish the facade, positioned beneath the fixed persianas.

Stepping inside, one immediately notices the unusually wide floor planks in the sala, hinting at the wealth and elevated social standing of the house's original owner. The interior further impresses with its exquisite calados and the grandeur of the sala's high, elegant ceiling. Remarkably, the Armachuelo House still boasts its original roof, a testament to its exceptional preservation and meticulous upkeep, serving as a living witness to a refined and genteel era.

Clarin House

Nestled below the church, in the heart of the "downtown" area, the Clarin House stands as one of Bohol's oldest structures. It holds the distinction of being the sole ancestral home on the island recognized as a National Heritage House by the National Historical Institute in 1998. Once the residence of Don Aniceto Clarin, the first civil governor of Bohol, and his wife Margarita Butalid, this historic abode carries tales of resilience and significance.

During the Filipino-American War in 1901, the American troops, in an attempt to win over the influential Don Aniceto, spared the Clarin House when they razed Loay to the ground. However, the house's history predates its esteemed inhabitant. The renowned Clarin family settled in the town when their patriarch married into a prominent landed Loay family. It is believed that the house itself was erected as early as 1841, featuring wooden walls, floors, and a formidable thatch roof supported by sturdy hardwood trunks. Much of its mid-nineteenth-century character and historical furniture have been wonderfully preserved.

A dedicated private initiative spearheaded the meticulous restoration of the house in 2006, led by restoration architect German Torrero. Today, the upper floor has been transformed into an impressive museum, showcasing period furniture and memorabilia belonging to Don Aniceto and two of his descendants, Senators Jose A. Clarin and Olegario Clarin, who achieved national renown during the Commonwealth and postwar eras. The main staircase ceiling boasts a painting of the Statue of Liberty, and the main entrance door retains its ingenious closing mechanism. Meanwhile, the ground floor bodega has been converted into a picturesque café with lush garden surroundings. Delicate carved round window openings in the wooden wallboards bathe the interior in soft natural light, while the house's vibrant color scheme captures the essence of the mid-nineteenth century. The charming U-shaped floor plan encloses a quaint courtyard, adding to the house's allure.

The Clarin House stands as one of Bohol's most significant cultural heritage sites, drawing frequent visits from both local and international tourists. Adjacent to this distinguished abode is the Fernandez House, a "cousin" of sorts. Occupying a prominent position facing the plaza, it serves as a testament to the esteemed social status of its original owners, municipal Judge Jose Fernandez and his wife Eustacia Clarin. Erected around 1920, this grand T-shaped structure, with its four bays, commands attention in the town center. Enclosed within a meticulously maintained fenced garden, the house exudes an air of elegance.

Despite its considerable size, the Fernandez House exhibits a simplicity in both layout and design. The only decorative elements adorning its façade are the plain X-shaped calados above the distinctive swing-out glass windows. It remains uncertain if these windows are original, as prewar houses typically featured sliding panels. The ground floor, once an open space, has been reconstructed with concrete for residential purposes. However, it harmoniously complements the wooden upper floor, following the same four-bay layout separated by protruding concrete columns. The new ground floor maintains a plain and unadorned aesthetic, with recessed sections that evoke the volada style characteristic of vintage Filipino houses, albeit uncommon in Bohol. The current metal roof is a modern addition, replacing a previous thatched or steep galvanized iron sheet roof dating back to the late 1960s.

Preserving the cherished legacy of the late Senator Clarin, the Fernandez House lovingly serves as the ancestral home for the family. Its antique ambiance is carefully upheld, and it houses a vast collection of memorabilia. The Fernandez House stands as a testament to the family's commitment to heritage preservation and the maintenance of their ancestral home. Every detail of the house, from its architectural features to its collection of memorabilia, is nurtured with great care.

Together, the Clarin House and the Fernandez House showcase the rich history and architectural splendor of Bohol. As they stand side by side, these two remarkable ancestral houses invite visitors to step back in time and immerse themselves in the stories of the prominent families who once called them home. The allure of these houses lies not only in their historical significance but also in their ability to transport visitors to a bygone era, where the grandeur of the past is meticulously preserved.

Both locals and international tourists are drawn to these cultural treasures, captivated by their timeless beauty and the glimpse they offer into Bohol's vibrant heritage. The Clarin House and the Fernandez House serve as reminders of the importance of safeguarding our cultural legacy for future generations. Their presence adds depth and charm to Tagbilaran City, making them essential stops on any heritage tour of the region.

In their unwavering dedication to conservation and their role as captivating tourism attractions, the Clarin House and the Fernandez House stand as beacons of historical significance and architectural splendor. As visitors explore these hallowed halls, they are transported back in time, connecting with the lives and legacies of the families who once inhabited these illustrious homes. With each passing year, the allure of these ancestral houses continues to grow, solidifying their status as invaluable treasures of Tagbilaran City and Bohol as a whole.

Adjacent to the Fernandez House is the LOAY MUNICIPAL HALL, a historic building that stands as a testament to the town's rich heritage. Built in 1899 during the Spanish colonial period, the municipal hall served as a government center and meeting place for local officials. It features a distinct architectural style with its wooden walls, large windows, and a bell tower. The hall has witnessed significant events in Loay's history and continues to serve as a symbol of the town's identity and pride.

Another notable ancestral house in Tagbilaran is the RACHO HOUSE, located along Carlos P. Garcia Avenue. Constructed in the early 20th century, the Racho House is known for its unique curving gambrel roof made of clay tiles. The roof design, reminiscent of Chinese architecture, sets it apart from other houses in the area. The ground floor walls, made of coral stone, add to its charm and historical significance. The house features carved transom air vents and roof eaves adorned with floral designs, while the capiz windows and wooden barandillas retain their original beauty. The interior of the Racho House showcases the wealth and social status of its original owner, with elaborately carved calados and a high, elegant ceiling in the sala.

These old ancestral houses in Tagbilaran provide a glimpse into the rich history and architectural heritage of the city. Each house has its unique characteristics and stories, reflecting the lives of the prominent families who once lived there. Visiting these houses offers an opportunity to appreciate the craftsmanship of the past and learn about the cultural significance of these heritage structures. It is a journey back in time that allows visitors to connect with the city's roots and gain a deeper understanding of its cultural identity.”

Conserving old ancestral houses for posterity and promoting them as tourism attractions is of great importance for several reasons.

1. Preserving Cultural Heritage: Ancestral houses are tangible representations of a community's cultural heritage and historical identity. They hold stories, traditions, and architectural styles that have been passed down through generations. By conserving these houses, we ensure that future generations can connect with their roots and appreciate the rich cultural legacy of their ancestors.

2. Architectural and Artistic Value: Many ancestral houses exhibit unique architectural designs, craftsmanship, and artistic elements that are valuable from an architectural and historical perspective. These structures showcase the skills, techniques, and materials used during a specific era. By preserving them, we preserve valuable examples of architectural styles that may no longer be prevalent today.

3. Tourism and Economic Benefits: Ancestral houses have the potential to become significant tourist attractions. Visitors are often drawn to historical sites and cultural experiences, and ancestral houses offer both. When properly conserved and promoted, these houses can attract tourists, generate revenue, and contribute to the local economy. Tourism-related activities such as guided tours, cultural events, and souvenir sales can create employment opportunities and stimulate economic growth in the community.

4. Educational Opportunities: Ancestral houses provide unique educational opportunities for both locals and tourists. They can serve as living museums, offering insights into the history, lifestyle, and traditions of past generations. By visiting these houses, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of the local culture, customs, and societal norms of the time. Educational programs and workshops can be developed to further enhance the learning experiences tied to these heritage structures.

5. Community Pride and Identity: Ancestral houses often hold sentimental value for local communities. They represent a shared history and serve as a reminder of the community's roots. Preserving these houses instills a sense of pride and identity among community members, fostering a stronger bond and a greater appreciation for their heritage.

To effectively conserve ancestral houses for posterity and promote them as tourism attractions, it is essential to implement conservation and restoration efforts. This involves conducting regular maintenance, addressing structural issues, and preserving the original architectural elements. Collaboration between government agencies, heritage organizations, and local communities is crucial in developing sustainable conservation plans and tourism strategies. By doing so, we can ensure that these ancestral houses continue to stand as living testaments to the past while offering enriching experiences for future generations.

Check out for Bohol Hotel Deals

Back to Top
Back to Bohol

Ready to explore the beautiful islands of Cebu and Bohol? Secure your ferry tickets today through 12go and start your unforgettable journey!

recommended hotel booking

Book your stay in Bohol's breathtaking surroundings through Agoda and experience the ultimate relaxation

All Rights Reserved ©2024. Bohol Philippines Travel Guide 
Address: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines