TEXT & PHOTO: Kaycie Gayle
What I Liked
One of my favorite activities whenever on tour is going to ancestral houses to see old-style interior design and imagine how life must have been before. A visit to Crisologo Museum has made me appreciate an authentic historic house which despite that some areas were renovated, much of it has still been preserved. Moreover, a collection of heirloom furnishings is exhibited in the museum that allows you to see the same furniture that the family once used. Through the antiques and the structure of the house, you would be able to visualize the everyday scene of how the Crisologo family, Vigan’s most prominent political dynasty, has lived before. Here, you would imagine that during their time they may have been living the good life.
The Back Story
Learning about a slice of history of the family who inhabited this heritage house made me appreciate each part of the museum. The ancestral home was actually turned into a museum as a remembrance of an ambushed politician named Floro Crisologo. It was believed that what happened to him and to his family was politically motivated which gives you a hint of how the previous politics in the province might have been.
Sections of Crisologo Museum
The well-maintained two-floor house is managed by the Crisologo family. It is divided into different sections where you can see all sorts of memorabilia of the family.
On the parking space of the house, you would see different kinds of carriages from carruaje, caritela, calesin, and calesa. There is also an old Chevy which Carmeling, Floro Crisologo’s wife used when her life was almost taken when she was unsuccessfully ambushed by gunmen when she was pregnant in 1961. Meanwhile, located on the museum’s souvenir shop, you will see an old wooden wagon parked inside.
On the ground floor of the house, you would see the blood-stained pair of trousers from Floro Crisologo’s assassination in 1972. You would also find antique furniture, important documents such as certificates, framed news clippings regarding the prominent political family and articles related to the murder of Floro. There are also some books, suitcases and other prized possessions of the Crisologo.
While going to the second floor of the house, you would have to ascend through the sturdy wooden stairs. Along the walls of the staircase, you would see a collection of indigenous headgears.
On the second floor of the house, you would be able to envision how the family has lived since they have almost kept everything in place. In its living room, you would see old photographs and portraits of each family member displayed on the wall. It is also furnished with a piano, different kinds of antique chairs and tables. As you walk through its polished floors pay attention to the sides as well as you may see other items used for hobbies like loom weaving equipment and other interesting finds.
If you decide to take a look at the bedrooms you will notice that the details are still well-kept and the personal effects and private possessions of the members of the family are exhibited. You will also see that each room has different styles of four-poster beds and furniture.
Kitchen and Dining Areas
One of the interesting parts of this museum is its kitchen. It displays antique cooking utensils, that makes you realize how they prepare food from the yesteryear. It features a wooden refrigerator, old-style wide fridge, ‘dalican’ which is a clay stove, different kinds of ‘palayok’ which is a clay pot and ‘dulang’ which is a low dining table. If you go to other parts of the house, you would also notice that it has two dining areas. The first is located near the kitchen and displays an old cupboard and a table with white crocheted tablecloth with tassels. The other dining area has an open-air setting and furnished with a long table with sixteen antique chairs, clay jars, and chandeliers.
In order to properly preserve the memorabilia, guests are restricted from touching the exhibited antique items. If you would like to take photos, you can snap some pictures while the museum guide tour you around the heritage house. Moreover, the museum does not charge you an entrance fee, and there’s only a donation box unimposingly placed at the entrance. Though monetary donation is not required, any amount will still be appreciated as this can be used in the maintenance expenses of the museum.
The advocacy of the Crisologo family is evident in the way they manage their ancestral house. They have been sharing their life story by re-purposing their home to become a museum and opened it for locals and tourists who want to know a slice of the province’s history. They also allow their guests to have a souvenir of visiting their place by allowing them to take photos. Above all, they let people with curious minds to learn about the yesteryear lifestyle at no cost by generously sharing their historic home without any required fee.
Where to Find It
Crisologo museum is located at Liberation Boulevard, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Philippines.
If you have been to this museum or have any museum-related stories, share your comments and questions below. Happy Travels 💛