ILOCOS SUR -- The 157 year-old Querubin ancestral house situated in the town of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur was declared an important cultural property (ICP) by the National Museum.
The ancestral house, which served as residence for Ilocano patriots and iconic public servants, was built in 1860 by Don Tomas Querubin, a philanthropist and an elected gobernadorcillo (mayor) for two terms in the town. The house was later inherited by Don Dimas Querubin.
Found inside the ancestral house are centuries-old furniture, relics and photographs of the Querubin family through generations.
Descendants like Carl Vincent Quitoriano continue to preserve its cultural heritage.
"After five generations, and on its sixth generation, the ancestral house stands today as the symbol of the Querubin aristocracy and nobility and likewise it is a living testimony and monument of the tradition, history of Caoayan and its folks," he said.
When asked about the preservation of the ancestral house and about its declaration as an ICP, he added: "We are happy. We wanted that the younger generation will be more conscious and aware that cultural heritage is very important as part and parcel of our personality."
The grandeur and antiquity of the ancestral house has been preserved by generations. It was added to the country's ICP because of the efforts of Virginia Reyes Querubin Quitoriano, granddaughter of Don Dimas and grandmother of Carl Vincent.
Along with the Querubin ancestral house, the National Museum also declared on Monday a total of 10 other important cultural properties in Luzon, three in Visayas and one in Mindanao.
As a historian, Dr. Eleanor Belizar, who is the director of the Center of Ilokano Studies at the University of Northern Philippines, appreciates the move of National Museum to declare some of the landmarks in Ilocos Sur as significant cultural properties and treasures.
On Monday, it also declared the Ayusan–Paoa Bridge in Vigan City as a natural cultural treasure.
“Very important ang pagkilala. Nakakatulong ito sa mga esdudyante pati na rin sa mga turista para puntahan ang Ilocos Sur bilang isang heritage province. Malaking bagay din ito kasi we integrate in Philippine History class in the context of local history kaya lagi naming pinag-uusapan at itinuturo kung ano ang mayroon sa Vigan sa Ilocos Sur at kung ano ang kontribusyon sa pambansang kasaysayan," Belizar said.
Belizar proposes to intensify the conduct of cultural mapping in the entire province to document the undiscovered landmarks that is significant in the history and culture of the Ilokanos.
“Ang nangyayari kasi undocumented so siguro pag-igihan pa 'yung cultural mapping hindi lang sa Vigan kung hindi sa buong Ilocos Sur para ma-identify natin kung ano ang mga historical landmarks natin. Maganda din na kung gaano man kaganda ang programa ng Vigan sa heritage conservation ay i-replicate din ng ibang mga bayan sa Ilocos Sur para mabuo natin ang mga bagay na maaring makapagbigay ng inpormasyon ng ating kasaysayan," Belizar added.