CANDON CITY, May 27 (PIA) - - A renowned ancestral house of the family of the first Filipino woman revolutionist Dona Maria Josefa Gabriela Carino Silang - the well-known Gabriela Silang, in Barangay San Antonio was restored and converted as Candon City Museum.
The ancestral house, dubbed as Carino family house, was one of the 20 old houses in Candon City that survived during World War II. These houses were earlier documented as city's heritage houses and treasures through the initiative of Ilocos Sur 2nd District Congressman Eric D. Singson.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Congressman Singson, and Executive Director Ludovico Badoy of the National Historical Commission (NHC) led the formal opening of the Carino house as the newest "Candon City Museum" on Thursday.
The museum's inauguration was held before the launching of the first-ever Candon Music Festival held in Barangay Bagani Campo, this city.
"Given this historical background, this edifice stands as a reminder of Ilocano patriotism and reflects as Spanish influence on every facet of Filipino life-from our national identity, culture, traditions, religion, and, of course, cuisine," said Secretary Romulo-Puyat in a press interview.
Considering its historical significance, Singson partnered with the NHC for the immediate restoration of the Carino house. The descendants of the Carino family donated the house to the city government of Candon to make it as city museum.
For the full restoration of the ancestral house, the NHC had spent at least P20 million.
Singson said that the museum is a repository of antique artifacts, old paintings and designs that would remind the rich centuries-old heritage and cultures of the residents not only in Candon City but also in the entire Ilocos provinces.
"This museum will draw attraction not only to tourists but also to historians and students," Singson said.
According to Larry Carino, a historian and one of the descendants of the Carino family, the ancestral house has history that every Filipino citizen should know. He theorized that the house was built 400 years ago.
"My belief is that the house was built at the same time when the Candon's San Juan de Sahagun Church was built in 1591," said Carino.
"There were evidences to have shown that our ancestral house was built at the same time with our centuries-old San Juan de Sahagun Church," said Carino.
Some of these evidences he mentioned were the same markings on both the roofings of the church and the house; the similar kind of large wooden timber trusses used in both buildings; and the characteristic design of the house reflects a fortification rather than purely residential. However, he admitted that these proofs would only be validated through a laboratory test.
Carino said the house has a rich cultural history as the house was used to be owned by the father of first woman revolutionist Gabriela Silang, who was also known as the "Joan of Arc in Ilokandia."
"I heared from our ancestors that this house was also said to be the place where Gabriela Silang and husband Diego Silang plotted their revolt against the Spaniards," Carino added.
Gabriela's husband Diego began the uprising against the Spaniards in Ilocos in 1762, spurred by the brief British occupation of the Philippines.
Gabriela succeeded Diego and was executed in Vigan City on September 20, 1763. (JNPD/FGL,PIA1)