Wednesday, April 13, 2016


       THE PADRE BURGOS HOUSE MUSEUM IN THE UNESCO World Heritage City of Vigan is located at the rear of the Capitol of Ilocos Sur and rather close to St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral.  Interestingly, it is adjacent to the ancient 1657 provincial jail.  The house was constructed in 1788 by peninsulares Don Juan de Gonzales from the city of Asturias, Spain, and wife Dona Florentina Gascon of Sta. Cataluna de Baja.  The medium size (422 sq. m. floor area) balay a bato was later left to granddaughter Doña Florencia Garcia who marred in July 28, 1834, Don Jose Tiburcio Burgos, Tiniente de Batalion de Lilicias de Ylocos 5 Linea.  Their son, Josep Apolonio Burgos y Garcia (Padre Jose Apolonio Burgos), born February 9, 1837, is one of the early Filipinos who entered priesthood that manifested outstanding academic excellence.
A Cozy Garden
       Padre Jose Burgos studied at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran and the Universidad de Santo Tomas, received three college degrees and two master’s degrees, a doctorate, Doctor en Teologia and Licenciado en Canones on October 29, 1868.  He taught Latin in the Universidad de Santo Tomas.  With his extensive education, Padre Burgos became the parish priest of the Sagrario de Intramuros, and the second parish priest of the Cathedral.  He held various positions in the Roman Catholic Church as Ecclesiastical Fiscal at Sagrario de Intramuros, Canonical Magistrate at the Manila Cathedral and as an Ecclesiastical Court Fiscal.
       Despite his high position, his awareness of the unfair treatment of Filipino priest moved him to work for reforms for Filipino priests.  He inspired the second novel of Dr. Jose Rizal, El Filibusterismo.  Eventually, his liberal ideas led him to be framed along with two other priests, Fr. Mariano Gomez and Fr. Jacinto Zamora as mastermind of the Cavite mutiny of January 20, 1872.  The three priests collectively known as “GOMBURZA,” were executed using a winch-type garrote at the Bagumbayan (Luneta Park) field on February 17, 1872.
Inside The Burgos House
       The type of the structure of the Padre Jose Burgos house is the earliest form of the balay a bato in the city of Vigan.  This balay a bato is symmetrical with fine proportions but much smaller and lower in height than those built at a later time. 
       The lower floor, sirok, is presently used as an exhibition area of cultural artifacts of the early Ilocano and Tingguian communities in the Ilocos region. This was used for weaving the famous abel, as storage for crops such as rice, corn and tobacco, jars of fermenting vinegars, and storage of assorted tools and gears. The thick walls are constructed of bricks plastered with lime mortar and punctuated at regular intervals with windows, protected with awnings and grill works.  
       The main floor leads to a wide wooden staircase that leads to a caida that segregates the living   quarters from the service area.  The upper floor of the main house is occupied by social areas and sleeping quarters.  The floor is of a variety of Philippines hard wood of assorted width.  The airy, generous social space is flanked on both sides by bedrooms.  A collection of 19th century paintings by the famous local painter Don Esteban Villanueva depicting the Basi Revolution of 1807 hangs on the walls of the living room furnished with Ilocos period furniture.  A bedroom contains furniture and interesting memorabilia of the Fr. Jose Burgos.  The other bedroom is furnished with furniture of the 19the century.
       The main   house, rectangular on plan, is roofed with the distinctive cuatro aguas with braced demi-awnings that serve as secondary protection of the windows from rain and sun.  Sliding windows of capiz and wood protect the generous windows, evenly distributed around the house.  The openings above the window transom are secured   with diamond-shaped wood slats.  The ventanillas below the windows are protected with wood barandillas of straightforward design.

The Kitchen
       Aside from the main house there is a smaller structure used for cooking, pantry and other household chores.  These two structures are connected by a lovely azotea protected by railings with the original clay barandillas.  Stairs from the azotea lead down to the backyard garden with the ubiquitous balon.  The service house has a steeper dos aguas roof that still has the original clay roof tiles.  The contrived roof designs create a seldom-appreciated interesting ensemble of rooflines.

One Creepy Corner
       In the later years, the house was sold to Doña Mena Crisologo and was used as the Post Office until 1932 and as a branch of the Philippine National Bank from 1946 to 1965.  The Crisologo heirs eventually sold the house to Insular Life Assurance Company, Ltd., through Don Enrique Zobel de Ayala.  It was renovated by the Filipinas Foundation, Inc. and inaugurated on May 3, 1975.  Established as the Ilocos Sur Museum, it was turned over in 1986 to the Ilocos Historical and Cultural Foundation, Inc.  Eventually, in 1989 the foundation turned over the administration to the National Museum.     ∞ MARIA CHRISTINA V. TURALBA, FUAP, PIEF

* All photos downloaded in the internet. Credits to owners. Thanks