The Ancestral Houses of Camiguin

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Wooden sliding windows of a 1924 ancestral home

Squarish, surrounded by wide sliding windows and equally wide doors, and constructed mostly from wood; the ancestral homes of Camiguin are strong attention grabbers when driving around the island.  They stand out because they belong to a different period in Philippine history.   The Spaniards have landed in Camiguin Island as early as 1521 and the first major Spanish settlement was established in 1679  on what is now known as the town of Catarman but the settlement was destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vulcan in 1871.   After the Spanish era (some 300 years), Americans took over the Philippines and, according to history books, the first American soldiers assumed political control over the Camiguin Island in 1901.

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

This ancestral home is complete with the exact date of its completion and a translation in Chinese

The owners of these houses were the rich illustrados during these periods.  The architectural design was a big departure from the traditional thatch huts of the natives and thus the buildings themselves commanded respect, even awe among the commoners.

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

To me, they command respect until now.  The fact that they have survived for many decades, some remaining as neat and functional as the first time the owners set foot inside their premises, is admirable.   I just wish I had more time to capture more images on this subject and was not pressured to cover much ground within the short time we were on the island.  These are just the few I caught along our route.

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

I really wanted to inspect the interior of the last ancestral home to get a deeper sense of history and, yes,also check out the “live music bar” it advertises.  Oh well, I’ll just plan for a longer stay on the island next time. 🙂

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