The Arevalo Sinamay House is a late 19th century structure that serves as a testament to Iloilo's weaving industry. When other weavers shifted to work for the more profitable sugar industry, this business is still alive and well at the Sinamay House. It produces formal clothing for special occasions such as weddings and christenings, all with superior quality.
During its heyday in the 90s, Sinamay House's woven textiles caught the eye of foreigners, most especially the Late Princess Diana of Wales, who actually sent the house a thank-you note for a shawl produced here.
A visit here will get you acquainted not only with beauty of Iloilo's prized textile, but also the grandness of old-time architecture. Currently, it also houses Mama's Kitchen, a popular store for cookies and other snacks.
The Sinamay House is owned by Cecilia Gison Villlanueva, who inherited it from two or three generations of her family. When she took over the house, the weaving industry was still big then and she had weavers staying in the house to work full-time.
In the 1990s, Cecilia decided to let her weavers work in their respective homes. She provides the threads and fibers for her weavers to work on. In this way, Cecilia managed to provide steady jobs for her weavers; the granddaughters of the original weavers also get to work for Sinamay House.Cecilia buys the finished products from her stable of weavers and then distributes them to outlets in Iloilo and Manila.
The 1000-square meter house has stood the test of time, with some part of the house having undergone renovation through the years. Most of the house's wooden parts are still intact. A lot of the furniture, as well as the house's post and beams, are made of hardwood. Some of the attractions for visitors include an old weaving machine (still functional) and a vintage car used by the family until the early 90s.