Cebu City’s historical affairs commission is asking the City Council to declare two century-old houses along M. J. Cuenco Avenue in barangay Mabolo as “historical landmarks.”
A resolution with the request was passed last July 8 and signed by Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young, chairman of the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (CHAC).
The ancestral houses owned by heirs of the late Dominga Querubin and Nersas Macasero were built in the 1890s.
Both stand to be affected by road widening plans which will precede the rise of a two-lane flyover endorsed by Rep. Rachel “Cutie” del Mar and her father Raul, the former congressman.
The Movement for a Livable Cebu (MLC) welcomed the commission’s move.
“MLC lauds the initiative shown by CHAC in having the old houses in M.J. Cuenco declared as heritage landmarks,” said media liason Louella Alix.
Recognizing the historical significance of structures is important because these “remind us of a certain period in our history and as such, should be treasured by the community.”
A formal declaration of the buildings as heritage structures would hold back any action that would destroy or damage it.
Engr. Nicomedes Leonor, of the DPWH Cebu City district engineering office earlier tried to allay the fears of occupants by saying engineers would use part of the ground floor of the houses as arcaded sidewalks.
This design would preserve the facade and upper floor of the old houses, he said.
The CHAC resolution said the Querubin ancestral house “has survived through the American and Japanese occupation“ and “the structure has intricate Chinese-influenced wood carvings.”
Meanwhile, Macasero’s house which is also known as a “Balay nga Bato” still displays coral stones and timber used in its interior.
These materials were commonly used in houses built in the 1800s.
“Intricately carved stone comices holding up the second level (of the house) which bears the telltate marks of the period such as wide bayong and tugas floor boards and corbelled ceilings,” said the CHAC resolution.
The Macasero house was used as a hospital during the Japanese occupation and as an extension of the Mabolo Elementary School after the liberation.
The CHAC conducted a site visit of the structures on May 15 and confirmed their cultural, architectural and and historical value. /Edison A. delos Angeles and Jessa J. Agua, Correspondents