Monday, August 25, 2014

Stopping Time at The Syquia Mansion

Down the road along historic Calle Crisologo is a beautifully preserved ancestral home, lovingly maintained and a picture perfect example of elegance from a bygone era. Complete your unique Vigan experience with a visit to the Syquia Mansion, just further down Calle Crisologo (for more on historic Calle Crisologo and its famed cobblestone street, check out my previous post with more photos here at http://soloexpeditions.blogspot.com/2014/08/a-walk-back-in-time-at-calle-crisologo.html).


The ancestral home of Dona Alicia Quirino, wife of the Philippines' sixth president, Elpidio Quirino, the Syquia Mansion is one of Vigan's historical attractions along the heritage district. The Spanish colonial style of sturdy stone walls with large arched wooden gates and the wide wooden framed windows with native capiz shells freezes that moment, and you're suddenly transported back in time. 


The formal dining room, with the distinct hand-pulled punkah cloth fans to provide a gentle breeze, its polished native hardwood floors, the ornate wooden chairs with the distinct rattan weave, and elegant long wooden table are preserved just the way it was when the late president Elpidio Quirino would meet with his cabinet in this very room. Some say this may be the first true Malacanan of the North.


Though you are not allowed to sit or touch the furniture, one can still appreciate the fine furniture throughout the mansion. Filled with early European furniture and art, each piece has survived and witnessed the height and end of Spanish colonial rule, the coming of the Americans, the invasion of the Japanese in World War II, and the political turbulence of a young democratic republic in the fifties and sixties.


The Master Bedroom, with it's elegant four poster wooden frame with intricate carvings, still retain a warmth and rustic simplicity.


The narrow passageways around the stately home provide a unique glimpse at 18th century life, when class lines were clearly delineated. The servants followed a structured hierarchy, with only a select few allowed inside the main areas of the house, and the rest of the servants forbidden to enter, with access only through the narrow, hidden passages.


The early morning light filters through the many wide wood and capiz windows shedding more detail on the stately mansion. the Syquia mansion is only a short five minute walk from Hotel Luna, definitely the place to stay while in Vigan (for more on Hotel Luna, check out my previous post here at http://soloexpeditions.blogspot.com/2014/08/history-and-art-vigans-elegant-hotel.html).


The solid stone surface on the ground floor, built from excess ballast used extensively by ships plying the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade route, is another link with the past. The Syquia Mansion is another experience to add to your Vigan visit, like one more snapshot of the past, frozen in time.

The Syquia Mansion is located down Calle Crisologo toward the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses at the corner of Quirino Boulevard, a short walk from the main historic district. There is a minimal entrance fee of P 30 per adult as a donation for the maintenance and upkeep of the mansion. The Syquia Mansion opens at 9:30am for visitors. 

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