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Information about Yap-San Diego Ancestral House

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Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, Mabini Street, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
Distance from center
0.6 km
High season
Number of reviews

Yap-San Diego Ancestral House

The Yap-San Diego Ancestral House in Cebu is one of the oldest houses in the Philippines and is said to be the first-ever Chinese house built outside of China. Made during the Spanish colonial era, it is a 17th-century structure featuring a combination of Spanish and Chinese influences.

Built between 1675 and 1700, the house originally belonged to a wealthy Chinese merchant, Don Juan Yap, and his wife, Doña Maria Florido, together with their three children, Maria, Consolacion, and Eleuterio. In the 1880s, Maria, their eldest daughter, married the Parian Cabeza de barangay, Don Mariano San Diego. The house got its name from their marriage.

The family had become significant members of the society during that time, especially in the field of arts and culture. As a matter of fact, they took part in the creation of Cebu's Sinulog Festival.

The house was passed down to Dona Maria's great-great grandson, Val Mancao San Diego, and his wife, Ofelia, in 2008. Val San Diego is the choreographer of the San Diego dance company. He is also an art collector. He turned the house into a museum that features his ancestors’ history, making it one of the most visited attractions in Cebu.

How to get there

Upon arriving at the terminal of Cebu City, hire a taxi or ride a multi-cab to Marina Mall. From Marina Mall, ride a multi-cab or jeepney that bears a "highway" sign and tell the driver to drop you off at Maguikay. From there, ride any Mandaue jeepney with a "catedral" or "colon" sign that will take you to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral or Colon Street. The Yap-San Diego Ancestral House is within walking distance from there.


Best time to visit

It is best to visit this ancestral landmark during the off-peak season as it tends to get crowded during the holidays. The Yap-San Diego Ancestral House is open from 9 AM to 7 PM. 


Entrance fee

Visitors have to pay a minimal fee to enter the ancestral house.

Frequently asked questions

Why do locals refer to Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House as "Balay nga Bato ug Kahoy"?

The locals refer to it as "Balay nga Bato ug Kahoy," as the house is made from coral stones and molave wood. It was then restored using the same materials and was put together with the help of egg whites. According to the Department of Tourism, the house has maintained 90% of its original state despite the calamities and earthquakes that it has survived.

What are the features inside the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House?

As you enter the house, you will immediately see a huge Sto. Nino statue, apart from the other Sto. Nino images and religious figures spread out in the house. In one corner are the old photographs of the family together with paintings depicting the early years of the town. A rectangular table at the center displays a collection of several fine china (porcelain) that were collected since the 1600s and were used by the family in their daily life. While in the kitchen, there are a variety of traditional cookware and cooking utensils dating back to the early generations.

What are the features outside the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House?

Outside, you can see a freshwater well in the garden. It was once used for drinking but is now used only for watering the plants. There is also a boat from the 1800s that was used as a flower bed.

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