Capping our tour was a visit to the houses of Vigan’s prominent families: the family of Father Jose Burgos, of the Gomburza fame; and the family of Elpidio Quirino, former Philippine President. I felt so patriotic exploring the rooms of these houses which showcased artifacts from my countrymen’s struggles with foreign invaders. War memorabilia were not the only ones on display. The Burgos Museum, particularly its ground floor, exhibits instruments once used, and still used, by indigenous Filipinos. Having come from the province myself, I was familiar with most of the ancient ornaments on display.
The Burgos Museum was the ancestral house and birthplace of Father Jose Apolonio Burgos, one of the three priests who were implicated in the 1872 Cavite Mutiny. Presently under the administration of the National Museum, admission to the Burgos Museum is free, and I think that explains the somewhat poor maintenance of the place. It is a shame, really, because I believe in the importance of saving our beautiful heritage, and preserving the museum is a vital start.
Images from the Burgos Museum:
The Elpidio Quirino Museum, or Syquia Mansion, I was surprised to learn is still used by some members of the Quirino family. When we paid a visit to the place, the kitchen was being remodeled to fit some modern implements without, however, destroying its antique feel. In contrast to the Burgos Museum, the Syquia Mansion is well-preserved, and it is open to the public for Php20.00/person. The caretaker doubles as a tour guide, and we were given a detailed account of the life of Elpidio Quirino. Most of the objects on display are the former president’s memorabilia.
Images from the Syquia Mansion:
Admittedly, after touring these museums, my appreciation for my ancestors’ way of life deepened. We finished the tour in about four hours. Derik then brought us to the bus terminal for a ride to Sinait, Ilocos Sur, where our quarters waited for us,and where we were to wait for my cousin who was to arrive from Manila the following day, 13th of June. My cousin priest did some apostolate work in Sinait when he was still a seminarian, and the Saludes family was his foster family when he was there. The family so gladly offered their house as our quarters for our first night when they learned that we were touring Vigan. We were instructed to wait for Ate Ely in front of Sinait Church. Minutes after we arrived at Sinait Church, Ate Ely, on board a tricycle, whisked us to her place at Barangay Marnay, a long distance from the Centro. Their house is surrounded by rice fields and mountains. I was told that Arat Cave was just a walking distance from the house. The place was quiet, much too quiet. The only sounds I heard were of those of crickets.