A Travel Guide to Vigan, Ilocos Sur: Why You Should Visit Syquia Mansion
Probably one of my favorite attractions in Vigan was The Syquia Mansion, the house of the sixth President of the Philippines, Elpidio Quirino. I thoroughly enjoyed the history of this mansion that I thought it deserved a separate post. To be honest, I wouldn't have enjoyed this mansion if it wasn't for the knowledgeable caretaker guide who toured us around. I don't know about you, but I tend to appreciate period houses even more whenever someone tells the story and significance of the memorabilia displayed. If you're like me, ask for a someone to guide you around.
Why should you visit Vigan's
You will learn a lot — not just about the house or the life of the former President's family, but the lives of the rich and powerful during the 1920's. I don't want to give everything away because that's the whole point of going: to learn. So I'll just share five things, which I found interesting and worth to see.
1. The house wasn't originally owned by President Quirino. Ever wonder why it wasn't called the Quirino Mansion? This is because the house originally owned by the Chinese-in-laws of the former President. I'm not sure if this is only a Chinese tradition, but back then, it's customary to give the house as a wedding present.
2. The couple's bed wasn't just an ordinary bed. The bed of the master bedroom was also specifically designed for the married couple, Elpidio and Alicia Syquia. The bedposts and headboards were embellished with Chinese symbolism for the male and female.
3. Juan Luna's Spolarium is also here. You don't have to go to Manila to see the real thing. The house has a huge replica of Juan Luna's Spolarium, which was painted by one of his assistants. The tour guide told us that should the original one (in the National Museum) be stolen or destroyed, this piece of painting in the mansion will then become the official version.
4. They have weird yet interesting versions of fans and peeping holes. You see those curtains on top of the dining table? (photo above) Those are ceiling fans that are manually operated in another room. Why in the another room? Because back in those days, the rich doesn't want the helpers do be seen.
5. I can't imagine how they poop... Another thing to note about this house is their hygiene. The bathroom was... incredibly simple, for the lack of a better term. It was a simple room, with a bench-like platform with holes. Straight to the ground floor.
Bonus: The house is still used by the members of the Quirino Family. Don't be surprised to see a television, a modern sink and air-conditioner in some parts of the house. But the rest, such as the receiving area and living room, are still retained as is.
Need To Know: The museum is open everyday except Tuesday (by appointment), from 9AM to 5PM (with lunchbreak). Entrance fee is PHP30 for adults and PHP20 for students/teens. Kids six years and below are free.