Sunday, February 15, 2009

the oldest stone house of Batanes

By local lore, the oldest stone house in Batanes is in the town of Ivana. Already a popular tourist stop, the traditional stone house called “sinandumparan” in Ivatan language is currently the home of octogenarian Florestida Estrella. Quite spritely for her age and accommodating to visitors, she is a mainstay in magazine articles, internet features, postcards and even calendars.

Florestida Estrella
Florestida Estrella

The house dates back to 1887 and is built by her grandfather Jose Dacay. Squat and solid, the house could not be anymore than 8 feet tall at its highest point. The door is only about 5 feet tall. The walls are three feet thick and are made of corals and boulders hauled from the nearby beach. For mortar, lime paste was used.

my mom posing inside the Dacay house

If I remembered right, the house has only one window, which like the door at the front, is covered by a traditional panel of capiz. The interior floor is made of thick hardwood, some as wide as 20 inches.


The roof is the customary thatch of cogon. The grass is bound tightly to provide waterproof protection during rain but cool comfort in the hot streak of summer.

grass ceiling

How the house would fare in the coming years would depend on the heirs but having been identified by the government as a historical marker, it may remain the survivor that it is.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

beautiful place. hope one day i can visit batanes!