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This heritage center used to be the home of the Rochas, a prominent family in Bohol who engaged in trading during the Spanish period.
Casa Rocha-Suarez Heritage Center is one of the oldest structures in Sitio Ubos, a historic district that emerges from the Butalid Causeway. Built around the 1800s to the 1830s, the house belonged to Julian Rocha, a wealthy merchant from whom other illustrious personalities descended. These include Tagbilaran’s former mayor, Antonio Rocha, and Bohol’s first elected governor, Fernando Rocha.
In 2002, the city government of Tagbilaran declared Sitio Ubos a cultural heritage area to encourage the private and public sectors to revive the district’s cultural and tourism activities.
Restoration architect German Torrero, architecture dean of the University of Bohol, worked on bringing back the 19th century glory of the ancestral house in 2005. This gave way to the establishment of the Rocha-Suarez Heritage Center, a museum that houses the family’s furniture, heirlooms, and personal effects or mementos spanning generations.
The ground floor, which used to be a storage room or warehouse, showcases architectural and structural features that are common in vintage houses, including foundations made from coral stone, corbel-supported beams, and a wooden skirting covering the floor beams of the volada—a walkway that runs along the window side around typical ancestral houses.
The second floor features a rare collection of furniture and houseware items from the 18th century to the 19th century.
An original tray ceiling hangs around the living room, which is accentuated by an English chandelier. The main double door of the house cum museum has jambs that are uniquely carved in rosettes.
The only thing where the restored structure deviates from the original is that the steep thatch roof has been replaced with a more modern galvanized iron sheet.