Syquia Mansion Museum: Spanish Era Filipino Mansion

Syquia Mansion Museum is one of the most elegant existing Ilocano mansions since Spanish era. When I went for an Ilocos tour, I listed Syquia Mansion in my itinerary because it is quite a popular destination in the region. Initially in my mind, it will just be another Crisologo Museum-like house or even less grandeur. Well, until I stepped inside its portals.

Contents

Disclaimer: The content of this article is based on personal experience as well as references to the date of publication. Changes may occur on contact details, transportation, fees, etc. With this, please do comment at the end of the article any updates as well as corrections on the content, anything amiss, or any information that you think is crucial to the readers. Thank you!


Location

Address: Quirino Boulevard, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Philippines

Coordinates: 17°34’15.5″N 120°23’23.3″E

Map:

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Business Hours
  • 0900AM-0500PM (break in lunch time)

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Fees
  • Entrance Fee: Php50.00

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Contact Details

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Syquia Mansion: Spanish Era Ilocano Mansion in its Elegance

Syquia Mansion is one of the most elegant existing Ilocano mansions since Spanish era. When I went for an Ilocos tour, I listed Syquia Mansion in my itinerary because it is quite a popular destination in the region. Initially in my mind, it will just be another Crisologo Museum-like house or even less grandeur. Well, until I stepped inside its portals.

The History of Syquia Mansion Museum

Otherwise known as bahay na bato, Syquia Mansion was originally built by the Justo Angco, a wealthy businessman of Chinese descent, in 1830. He later gave it to her daughter as a dowry when she married Gregorio Syquia in 1875 [1]. Wings and rooms were added as their fortune and family grew. Their fortune was from his active part in Acapulco-Manila Galleon Trade.

When Gregorio’s oldest granddaughter Alicia (firstborn of Gregorio’s son Thomas and Spanish Conchita Jimenez of Binondo [2]) married Elpidio Quirino, who later become the president of the Philippines, more rooms and fixtures were added. At that time, there were two wings existing, initially one for Gregorio and the other for Thomas. The addition of Elpidio in the household as well as his nature of work in the government made them add more areas to cater to bigger audiences.

President Elpidio would sometimes held his Cabinet meeting in this house. Thus, it was dubbed the “Malacañang of the North” [2].

Restoration and Preservation of the Syquia Mansion Museum

In 1992, the younger sister of Elpidio’s wife passed away making the mansion without an occupant and exposing it to decay [1]. Restoration fee is exorbitant so relatives living near can’t afford it.

Fortunately, it was later funded under the auspices of the National Historical Institute (NHI) now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) [1].

Restoration and preservation funds were granted but on the condition that it would be open to the public.

Syquia Mansion as a Museum

The museum basically showcases a wealthy Ilocano family’s abode during the Spanish time and onward.

The entrance is simple and plain – a stark contrast to what’s inside.
This is one of the parlors in the mansion. Notice how elegant the chairs, paintings, and busts.
A dining set in one of the rooms.
A table probably been used by Elpidio Quirino during one of his Cabinet meetings.
Two lavish statues watching over a massive wall mirror. A reflection of a painting on the other side of the wall is also seen in the mirror.

The house has a collection of beds with different designs. Previously, these were used by the Angco and Syquia offspring and further generations.

In conclusion, the Syquia Museum is a grand mansion which dates back from the Spanish era. Its interior gives you an idea how wealthy Ilocano family lives during this time. It has been the residence of one of the Philippine presidents and has been a mute witness to the changing of times.

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How to Get There

By land. Take any bus heading to Vigan City or Laoag City.

  • Manila buses bound to Vigan City are Partas, Dominion Bus, Aniceto Bus, Viron Transit, Florida Bus Line, Fariñas Trans, Maria De Leon Bus Lines, RCJ Bus Lines and F. Franco Transit. Anywhere from Vigan City, hail a tricycle or kalesa [two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage] and tell the driver to drop you at the Syquia Mansion.
  • From Baguio City, you can take a Partas bus near SM City Baguio or the ordinary mini-buses in Bayanihan. Anywhere from Vigan City, hail a tricycle or kalesa [two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage] and tell the driver to drop you at the Syquia Mansion.
  • GMW Liner and Florida Liner have buses plying a vice versa Abra and Tuguegarao with a stop in Vigan City route. Anywhere from Vigan City, hail a tricycle or kalesa [two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage] and tell the driver to drop you at the Syquia Mansion.

By air. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines flies from Manila to Laoag International Airport. Take any bus bound to Vigan City. Anywhere from Vigan City, hail a tricycle or kalesa [two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage] and tell the driver to drop you at the Syquia Mansion.

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Helpful Local Phrases
  • Good morning: Naimbag a bigat; Good afternoon: Naimbag a malem; Good day: Naimbag nga aldaw; Good evening: Naimbag a rabii
  • How are you?: Kumusta
  • Thank you: Agyamanak
  • What is your name?: Ania ti nagan mo?
  • I don’t understand: Diak maawatan
  • How do I get to…?: Kasantnu ak a makapan sadiay…?
  • One: maysa, two: duwa, three: tallo, four: uppat, five: lima, six: ennem, seven: pito, eight: walo, nine: siyam, ten: sangapulo
  • How much is this?: Sagmamano daytoy?
  • Help!: Arayat!
  • Sorry: Pakawanennak

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Other Notable Nearby Places

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References

[1] Pacis, C., 2017. The Syquia Mansion As A Living Museum: A Personal Account Of The Transition From Family Home To Museum. [online] Undergraduate Thesis. De La Salle University. Available at: <https://www.dlsu.edu.ph/wp-content/uploads/pdf/conferences/arts-congress-proceedings/2017/paper-31.pdf/&gt; [Accessed 9 April 2020].

[2] Tejero, C., 2015. Quirino House, Aka Syquia Mansion–The Original Malacañang Of The North. [online] Inquirer Lifestyle. Available at: <https://lifestyle.inquirer.net/213337/quirino-house-aka-syquia-mansion-the-original-malacanang-of-the-north/&gt; [Accessed 9 April 2020].

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