The house we stayed in at Barangay Poblacion, Abra de Ilog was as wonderful as the trips we had there.
Built during the early 1900’s, the
Abeleda Zoleta Ancestral House has been around since the Spanish period. Abra de Ilog being a settlement for the Spaniards during the 17th century, it stands as a testament of the olden village life this part of Occidental Mindoro.
The house reminds me of those found in Intramuros and Vigan. Constructed of jointed woods, no nails were used in joining up the lintels and beams of this dwelling. One can actually feel the house gently sway with the wind as the breeze buffets against it.
Typical with these kinds of homes, the first floor, which was usually reserved for horse carriages back in the day, was now converted into rooms. The second floor which is where the living, dining and bedrooms are located pretty much retained their functions. The rooms flow from each other with wooden doors interconnecting each one.
The second floor ceiling is about 10-foot high and the exterior walls are punched with really huge windows with capiz-laden sliding shutters. Clerestory slits also line up the upper and lower portion of each room, giving the wind freedom to generously move around the house. The architectural design is really quite perfect for humid-climate countries such as the Philippines.
Being the only one of its kind left standing in Abra de Ilog, the National Historical Commission has actually offered to have the house restored but was turned down by Mrs. Abelada as the house is constantly in use by the family and is often filled to bursting whenever relatives visit. Our host related to us that they at one time accommodated a fifty-person contingent. I can only imagine how jam-packed the old house must have been.
I really enjoyed staying there; early morning coffee by the huge windows as the roosters began to crow, sumptuous dinner and lunch at the antique hardwood table, and the refreshing breeze of Occidental Mindoro wafting in and out of the huge windows as we lay by the hardwood floors enjoying our afternoon siestas.
A big thank you for our friend K and her mom for introducing us to the wonders this side of Mindoro, for letting us stay in their turn of the century house and for pampering us like we were long lost relatives. We hope this would not be the last!
the House was originally owned by my friend’s grandfather from her mom’s side, the Zoleta family in Occidental Mindoro. My friend’s mom who now resides in it later took the surname Abeleda from his husband, thus the confusion regarding the title of the article. Apologies to K and her mom.