An Ancestral Home in Talisay, Negros Occidental

A house-turned-museum shows how a bahay na bato can exist in the modern world.

Original Article: Rachelle F. Medina Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Pictorial Direction: Gwyn GS Guanzon

Restoring an ancestral home to its former glory can be daunting. Such was the case for this house-turned-museum called Balay ni Tana Dicang in Talisay, a town located north of Bacolod City.

With no blueprints as guide, it was only through careful research and unearthing of period photos that a meticulous vision was pieced together by Adrian Lizares, a descendant of the owner. Original design features and period antiques have been maintained or restored. More notably, the commercial ground floor of the house was turned into an art gallery and a future café, following a tradition that separates the upper domestic area from the lower space.

Original article by Rachelle F. Medina. Pictorial direction by Gwyn GS Guanzon. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

Read the original article ("Capitana of my Heart") in the May 2010 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at

Grand staircase

Neo-gothic carvings decorate the grand staircase. The machuka floor tiles are original, while the overhead lights are recent additions.


The journey starts in the caida or receiving area which serves as an anteroom where guests are received. The arches seem to welcome the visitors into the space.

Formal dining room

In the dining room, chandeliers which were turned upside down so that light bulbs can be changed easily. Cut-outs in the upper walls allow air to pass through the rooms. Long balayong planks cover the floor.


Located upstairs, next to the dining room, the kitchen is an austere room with primitive cooking implements and an ancient ice chest.

Sala major

A formal arrangement of colonial furnishings can be found in the sala major or main living area. The space served as a ballroom, a chapel, and a place where wakes were held.

The matriarch

A portrait of Capitana Dicang hangs in the sala major. A photo of her with President Manuel L. Quezon and Vice President Sergio Osmena is also on display.

Children's room

The Lizares daughters' rooms retain their original aparadors and art nouveau-style beds that bear the initials of each daughter.

Master bedroom

To the left of Capitana Dicang's bed is a secret trapdoor that led to her office on the ground floor. Communion stands were placed at the center of the room because the homeowner often opted to hear private mass in her own room.


Typical of balustrades in other ancestral houses, the trumpet-shaped examples in the azotea were retained.

Future cafe

A commercial space at the ground floor was transformed into a future cafe furnished with modern furniture. It is filled with Baleña-style ambassador chairs and contemporary art by Mac Valdezco and Eugene Jarque.


The Capitana Art gallery is filed with artworks by local artists.


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