Parian District: Revising the Old Chinatown of Cebu City

The Parian district was once the center of society and culture in Old Cebu. This is where the wealthy Chinese merchants plied their trade. In fact, the name Pari-an was derived from pari-pari. The term means "to trade". I had a chance to relive Parian's glorious past. Thanks to the program rolled out by the Cebu City Tourism Commission. It was called the Bisita sa Parian. This program was done last 11 September 2015.

Activities at the Bisita sa Parian Program

The Bisita sa Parian treated visitors to several activities such. I was able to visit to the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House. I also went to the Jesuit House of 1730 which houses the Museo Parian sa Sugbu. They offered tartanilla rides. Local delicacies and dinner were made available at the Cafe Jardin de Rafael. Doce Pares demonstrations of arnis, kali, and eskrima were done at the Plaza Parian. Rrondalla music was played. There was a cosplay of historical figures. The Sandiego Dance Group also had dance performances.

Bisita sa Parian Cebu City
Bisita sa Parian

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House at the Parian District

The Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House is one of the oldest existing residential structures in the Philippines. This house was built in 1675. It displays old artifacts such as furniture, paintings, porcelain and chinaware among other antiques. It's coral stones are certified 95% authentic by heritage and history advocates. The recently opened Cafe Jardin de Rafael occupies the garden area.

Yap Sandiego Ancestral House at the Parian District
Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House at the Parian District

Museo Parian sa Sugbo 

The oldest "dated" house in the Philippines is the Jesuit House of 1730. It houses the Museo Parian sa Sugbo. The house was built by Chinese merchants. This was the residence of the Jesuits before they were expelled from Spanish-controlled territories. The house has 2 galleries. The Padre Chirino, S.J. Gallery is an exhibit of Jesuit history in the Far East. The other gallery houses displays of the ecclesiastical history of Cebu. The second floor displays antique items. One can find vintage telephones, typewriters, cash registers, piano, electric fans, and television sets at the second floor. They are currently studying the roof of the house.

Tartanilla Rides at the Parian District

For a minimal fee of PhP 25.00 per adult, visitors are treated to a blast from the past in a tartanilla ride. The tartanilla is a uniquely Visayan horse-drawn carriage. Each ride will have a minimum of 2 passengers. The maximum capacity is 4 passengers. Children below 12 years old ride for free.

Tartanillas at the Parian District
Tartanillas at the Parian District

Doce Pares Demonstrations at the Plaza Parian

World champions and masters of Doce Pares did some demonstrations of eskrima, kali, and arnis. These are traditional Cebuano martial arts. They did the demonstrations at the Plaza Parian. Supreme Grand Master Dionisio CaƱete was there to grace the event.

Combat arnis demonstration at the Parian District
Combat arnis demonstration at the Plaza Parian

Cosplay of Historical Figures at the Parian District

Members of the Sandiego Dance Group did some cosplay. They were dressed in costumes of historical figures relevant to the history of Cebu. Somebody dressed as Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. They had others play the role of Rajah Humabon and his wife Hara Humamay. Others were dressed as a fraile and the typical Maria Clara.

Cosplay of historical figures at the Parian District
Cosplay of historical figures at the Parian District

Have you visit the heritage sites at the Parian district in Cebu City? We'd like to know your thoughts about it. You may share in the comments below.