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Camiña Balay Nga Bato is a beautiful ancestral house that has become one of the most famous tourist attractions in Iloilo. This grand structure serves as living museum where you can also dine on Ilonggo delicacies.
The house is a visual delight for those who like anything vintage. There's antique furniture, relics, altars, pottery, and old photographs. The ground floor has looms where weavers work on textiles, which are for sale at the house. You can also buy handicrafts - shawls, patadyongs, and slippers.
Camiña Balay Nga Bato means "house by the river" and was built between 1860 to 1865. It was once a humble home of Fernando Avancena and his wife Eulalia Abaja. The structure of the house was patterned after the bahay kubo or "cube house." Improvements and renovations have been made through the years, but the house itself has stood the test of time. It was made of strong and natural materials - the roof was made of bamboo and nipa, the floors are made of narra and ivory. The foundation was supported by 24 tree trunks. Back then, the more trunks that a house has, the wealthier the family that owns it.
At the second floor of Camiña Balay Nga Bato serves as the dining area where you can feast on local delicacies, such as the Pancit Molo (a soup dish with clear broth and dumplings) and hot chocolate. The hot chocolate is made of cacao beans that came from the family's own farm. The drink is served the old-fashioned way - hot, thick, and incredibly rich. This is best paired with biscocho or local biscuits.
Camiña Balay Nga Bato is very accessible and can be reached by riding a jeepney or cab. Just ask to be dropped off before Panaderia de Iloilo. Guests are welcome from 9 am to 6 pm.