April 21, 2024
LEY - Balay San Nicolas

Balay San Nicolas: Stepping Back in Time

Nestled in the heart of the town of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, stands a testament to the Ilocos Region‘s rich history and heritage – Balay San Nicolas. This 19th-century “bahay na bato” (stone and wood house) is not just a structure, it’s a gateway to the past, offering a glimpse into the lives and culture of Ilocanos of yesteryears.






Balay San Nicolas

Declared an “Important Cultural Property” by the National Museum, Balay San Nicolas, formerly known as the Valdes-Lardizabal house, features a unique architectural style. Built in the early 1800s by the then-gobernadorcillo, Antonio Valdes, the house has thick brick walls, gorgeous capiz windows, and intricate carvings.

Through the years, the house has witnessed the town’s evolution. It is said that it once served as the headquarters of the Japanese army during World War II. Later, it housed local vendors on its ground floor.

In 2015, the local government, recognizing the historical and cultural significance of the structure, began its extensive restoration efforts. Today, the renovated two-story house now stands proudly, ready to welcome visitors.

Balay San Nicolas: A Cultural Treasure

LEY - Balay San Nicolas

Touring the Bahay na Bato

As soon as we entered the house, we were greeted by this lovely tour guide. She talked about the history of the house and its significance to the history of the region.

LEY - Balay San Nicolas

Stepping inside the house is like stepping back in time. The spacious rooms, adorned with antique furniture and traditional décor, transport visitors to the past.

LEY - Balay San Nicolas

The prayer room is located on the second level of the house.

LEY - Balay San Nicolas

The bedroom, located right next to the prayer room, features antique beds, tables, and furniture.

LEY - Balay San Nicolas

The dining area features a massive dining table, a chandelier, and a window to let cool air.

LEY - Balay San Nicolas

This passageway, similar to the ones we only read in books, was intended to keep servants from the private parts of the house.

LEY - Balay San Nicolas

These talents performed a nice local dance during our visit.

The second floor of the house features several high windows which help keep the house cool even during the summer months.

LEY - Balay San Nicolas

Capiz windows. This allows more light to enter the house even when the windows are closed.

LEY - Balay San Nicolas

Today, the house isn’t just a museum; it’s a cultural hub. The house hosts cultural events, art exhibits, and workshops. It even houses a restaurant.

LEY - Balay San Nicolas

Here is a view of the house from the garden and yard below.

A concrete retablo can be seen in the yard behind the house.






If you find yourself in Ilocos Norte, don’t miss the chance to visit Balay San Nicolas. It’s more than just a historical landmark; it’s a window into the soul of the region. It offers a unique blend of history, culture, and art.

LEY

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