Bisita sa Pari-an

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 which 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 last September 11, 2015, the Bisita sa Parian.

Bisita sa Parian in Cebu City Philippines
Bisita sa Parian

Activities of the Bisita sa Pari-an

The Bisita sa Parian treated visitors to several activities such as visits to the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House and the Jesuit House of 1730 that also houses the Museo Parian sa Sugbu, tartanilla rides, local delicacies and foods at the Cafe Jardin de Rafael, Doce Pares demonstrations of arnis, kali, and eskrima, rondalla music, cosplay of historical figures, and dance performances by the Sandiego Dance Group.

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House 

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

Related Reading: Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House

Museo Sugbu sa Parian at the Jesuit House of 1730 

The oldest "dated" house in the Philippines, the Jesuit House of 1730 houses the Museo Parian sa Sugbu. 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 and a gallery that houses displays of the ecclesiastical history of Cebu. The second floor displays antique items such as vintage telephones, typewriters, cash registers, piano, electric fans, and television sets. They are currently studying the roof of the house.

Related Reading: Museo Parian sa Sugbu at the Jesuit House of 1730

Tartanilla Rides 

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

Doce Pares Demonstrations 

World champions and masters of Doce Pares did some demonstrations of eskrima, kali, and arnis traditional Cebuano martial arts at the space beside the Heritage of Cebu Monument. Even Supreme Grand Master Dionisio Canete was there to grace the event.

Bisita sa Parian in Cebu City Philippines
Combat arnis demonstration at the Bisita sa Parian in Cebu City, Philippines

Cosplay of Historical Figures 

Members of the Sandiego Dance Group were dressed in costumes of historical figures relevant to the history of Cebu. The more prominent ones were Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, then king of Cebu Rajah Humabon and his wife Queen Hara Humamay. Others were dressed as a fraile and the typical Maria Clara.

Bisita sa Parian in Cebu City Philippines
Cosplay of historical figures at Parian Cebu City, Philippines