Camiña Balay Nga Bato is an Important Cultural Property

Avancena Camina Balay Nga Bato in Arevalo, Iloilo City

The historical Avanceña – Camiña Balay nga Bato in Osmeña Street, Arevalo, Iloilo City is now an Important Cultural Property. National Museum officially unveiled the ICP marker on Friday, February 22, 2019.

Avanceña-Camiña Balay nga Bato in Arevalo, Iloilo City
Avanceña-Camiña Balay nga Bato in Arevalo, Iloilo City was declared as Important Cultural Property by the National Museum.

Cielito ‘Honeylet’ Avanceña, President Rodrigo Duterte’s common law wife and grand daughter of Chief Justice Ramon Avanceña of Arevalo, was the guest of honor in unveiling of the ICP marker located at the second floor of the house.

Honeylet hailed the efforts of owners Gerard Camiña and wife Luth in preserving the house. “I’m happy that my daughter Kitty was able to see the Balay Nga Bato and experience its ambiance,” she said.

Honeylet Avancena at Camina Balay nga Bato
Guest of honor Cielito ‘Honeylet’ Avanceña.

The 154-year-old ancestral house originally owned by Fernando Avanceña and his wife Eulalia Abaja, was declared as Important Cultural Property by virtue of Resolution No. 23-2015 and Republic Act 10066 (National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009) issued on December 23, 2015 for its ‘exceptional cultural, artistic, and historical significance’ to the country.

Built in 1860, the ‘stone house’ named after Justice Avanceña was finished in 1965 through the architectural expertise of Fr. Anselmo Avanceña, the first parish priest of Molo.

According to the National Museum, the house is a combination of Japanese craftsmanship and Victorian era architecture which are expressly manifested in its massive pair of hardwood doors constructed without the use of nails, and its ingenious locking mechanism and the wall design of the sala mayor.

The Avanceña House not only preserved the typical architectural features of old Filipino houses in the 19th century such as the Capiz shell window panes, massive wooden foundations (the number of which mostly suggests the social standing of the owners of the house), and the few house patterns, it also relived as well how prosperous industry of textile and weaving in Iloilo through the continuous efforts of promoting the same.

Signing of documents on official declaration and turnover of ICP marker.

Turnover of ICP marker

Raquel Flores, the Supervising Administrative Officer/Deputy Chief of Cultural Properties Regulation Division (CPRD) of the National Museum, made the public declaration and turnover of the ICP marker.

The declaration highlights the house’s significance in Filipino heritage. It also provides measures for its protection, preservation and promotion.

Honeylet Avanceña and Luth Camiña led the official unveiling of the ICP marker.

The ceremony was also graced by Carmencita D.R. Mariano, Administrative Officer IV, of National Museum, Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III, Department of Tourism-6 Regional Director Helen Catalbas, former Antique Governor Sally Perez (who read the message of Senator Loren Legarda), City Councilor Candice Tupas, Police Regional Office-6 Director Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, among others.

“The marker strengthens the foundation of Balay Nga Bato. It gives us confidence to continue serving our guests,” said Gerard Camiña.

Avanceña-Camiña Balay nga Bato is open daily from 8AM to 6PM. Guests and tourists may tour the house and enjoy their native tablea tsokolate and Pancit Molo.

About Nonoy Taclino

Nonoy Taclino is a pioneer blogger and social media manager in Iloilo, with 15 years of experience under his belt.

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