When visiting Vigan, it is already expected for tourists and locals alike to at least visit one of the museums that showcases bits and pieces of our interesting past. I didn’t miss the opportunity to visit the Syquia Mansion, the home of former Philippine President Elpidio Quirino.
I know several Ilocanos who made an important mark in Philippine history – There’s the brave tandem of Diego and Gabriela Silang, talented brothers Juan and Antonio Luna and Former President Ferdinand Marcos. Pardon me if I almost forgot that Vigan, Ilocos Sur is the birthplace of Pres. Elpidio Quirino – the 6th President of the Philippines.
Edmar and I dropped by on my first day in Vigan. Upon entering the lobby, I saw a giant painting of the late president. When we realized that the tour guide is not around (or maybe he’s somewhere in the big house entertaining other guests), we decided to just leave and go back the next day on my own.
So I did. The entrance fee is Php20, but what I learned from the short tour is enough to make me feel nostalgic. When I arrived, I saw one of the great grand children of the Former President. I asked him where the tour guide is then viola! He appeared 😛
Kuya Ferdie smiled at me and he began sharing some interesting facts about the Syquia Mansion:
There’s this big but now dark replica of Juan Luna’s Spoliarium. The life of Juan Luna is another interesting story to tackle. Too bad I wasn’t able to visit his hometown and museum.
Discrimination is practiced during the Spanish era. Can you see the small antique table above? Â Under it is a small hole that the homeowners use to check the guests. If the visitor is an ‘indio’, he will not be permitted to go upstairs. There’s another hole to check if the guest is worthy.
The lady in the painting is the daughter of Pres. Elpidio Quirino named Vicky. She is the youngest first lady in the Philippines. Why was she promoted to First Lady status? Dona Alicia, the wife of Elpidio Quirino died during the World War II together with three children. Â Elder brother Tomas and Vicky survived. At age 19, Vicky married Luis Gonzales from Pangasinan. Luis and Vicky had four children and one of which married Kuh Ledesma. When Luis Gonzales passed away, Vicky married Don Paco Delgado. Just Google if they sound familiar since I remember reading their names in broadsheets way back.
Servants’ Passage – Kuya Ferdie told me that servants used to pass in this hallway as most of them are not permitted to enter the main house, not unless they were told to do so. Just like how they portrayed it in historical books and movies.
Take a look at the photo of the Dining Room above. Notice the nicely-woven cloth at the ceiling? These are manually operated by servants and used as ceiling fan.
I will update this post later on with a bulleted list of trivias and information. I have to admit that I got more interested with the life of the Quirino Clan specifically of Vicky, who was tagged as the ‘Teenage First Lady’ of the press. At a young age, she accompanied her father in most of his political affairs. I left the museum and said my final goodbye and thanks to Kuya Ferdie. I’m glad that the Syquia Mansion or Syquia Museum stands on where it is up to this day. Mabuhay ka!
I also waved goodbye to Kuya Rusty, who I believe is the resident caretaker of the ancestral house. The Syquia Mansion is a must-visit destination in Vigan. I entered the museum with almost no knowledge about Quirino and left with too much information… and wanting more!
Have you been to the SYQUIA MANSION? Get to see a luxurious ancestral house from the old times and at the same time hear more interesting facts.