Sunday, January 24, 2016

General Aniceto Lacson Ancestral Home in Negros - The First Presidential Residence of the Philippines

While the famous Malacañang Palace is easily referred to as the Presidential Residence in the Philippines, many do not know that the title as Residence of the President of the Philippines came upon Malacañang only upon the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines on November 15, 1935.

Also not known to many is that before the first Philippine Republic was established in January 23, 1899, there already existed the
República Cantonal de Negros or the Cantonal Republic of Negros
which came about in November 5, 1898.

This makes the
Ancestral House built by General Aniceto Lacson in Talisay City, the first Presidential house in the Philippines.

Last September 23, 2014, the descendants of
General Aniceto Lacson, who are now the co-owners of the ancestral house, released this statement for the public to know (via the local Negros daily, the Visayan Daily Star):

The Ancestral House built by General Aniceto Lacson in the 1880’s is a fine example of a 19th century Philippine Architecture known as “Bahay na Bato” or House of Stone. Uniquely, it has a balcony that surrounds the entire 2nd floor giving a panoramic view of its surroundings has its own chapel at ground level.

As most Negrenses would know, General Aniceto Lacson was among those who successfully led a province-wide Katipunero revolt against the Spanish garrison in Bacolod City on November 5, 1898. When the Spanish forces surrendered, he was chosen as President of the short-lived Cantonal Republic of Negros. Today, Negros Island celibrates as an official holiday, “Cinco de Novembre” on November 5 to commemorate the surrender.

During his tenure as President of the Cantonal Republic of Negros, General Aniceto held office in this ancestral house. During those years, he was visited by General Emilio Aguinaldo, Andres Bonifacio, Antonio Luna, Emilio Jacinto, Claro M. Recto, President Manuel Quezon, President Sergio Osmeña, among other dignitaries. It is no wonder that in March 13, 2002, the National Historical Institute (NHI), thru Board Resolution No. 2, 5. 2002 declared the General Aniceto Lacson Ancestral House as a NATIONAL HISTORICAL LANDMARK, as provided for by a Presidential Decree. 



 

The Ancestral House has been occupied by the succession of General Aniceto’s children and grandchildren. It is at present, owned-in-common by its co-owners, the Claparols, Rossello, and Balcells families, descendants of his daughter Carmen Lacson
married to Ricardo Claparols.

In the early 1970’s, a strong typhoon damaged the entire roof and since then has been left unoccupied up to this day. The descendant co-owners have tried to maintain it but could not cope with the scale and magnitude of the repairs. Sadly, the
ancestral house went through an accelerated process of deterioration, as portions of the ceiling crumbled down and worse, a part of the second floor, including the staircase began to sag.

It was for this reason that we, the undersigned, aware of our responsibilities as co-owners, looked into how we could restore and preserve the ancestral house.

Therefore, in 2002, we decided to form a foundation so that it would serve as an avenue to formally solicit and generate the much-needed funds for its restoration. Due to limited funds, the restoration is being done in phase prioritizing on the more critical areas, primarily in restoring structural stability. Donations received from individuals, corporate and government institutions are properly documented and accounted for.  

All descendant co-owners were invited to participate in the foundation, however only seventy percent (70%) responded favorably. We then pooled in our personal financial contributions to establish the General Aniceto L. Lacson Ancestral House
Foundation,Inc. ( GALAH). Registered on May 7, 2002 as a non-stock non-profit corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission with Company Registration No. E200200273, the foundation was established with the sole purpose to fully restore,
repair, maintain and preserve the ancestral house.



 



When GALAH Foundation hired the services of both local and national level architects to inspect the ancestral house, they discovered that the main cause as to why the house was deteriorating rapidly was due to termite infestation. After further ocular inspection of the premises, from inside the ceiling and around the flooring area, it revealed the extent of the damage caused by the termite infestation, which was not limited to the wooden columns that support the structure of the ancestral house but has damaged as well the ceiling girts and the joists and the flooring girts and joists.
Photo by Dennis John Reyes
They advised us to immediately install (coconut lumber) scaffoldings on the affected area of the 2nd floor, including the staircase, in as much as its elevation has already sagged at about 8 inches. The architects warned us that if we did not support a part of the 2nd floor with scaffoldings that it was a matter of time that it would collapse and cause greater damage to the ancestral house.

Restoration architects such as Architect Augusto “Toti” Villalon ( Architect and Cultural Heritage Planner) together with Architect Melvin Patawaran (Principal Architect of Tropiks Design Studio) in coordination of Architect Jude Tipon ( Past
President, United Architects of the Philippines (UAP)) have been working together to supervise the restoration.  

Ocular inspections were conducted by Architect Augusto P. Rustia, the Cultural Properties and Conservation Division Chief of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Executive Director Ludovico D. Badoy, Mr. Reynaldo A. Inovero, and Engineer Candido H. Castro from NHI Historic Preservation Division and Architect Norman H. Campos. NCCA and NHI prepared their own respective project studies and program of works and have been submitted to GALAH foundation.

The restoration started in February 2013 and as of December 2013, the following have been accomplished;

Note: Only Mahogany (hardwood) lumber has been used. All undamaged ceiling and flooring panels have been catalogued to ensure that they well be placed back in its original position.

- the 10 inch x 10 inch x 40 feet wooden column that was the main cause for the flooring to sag has already been replaced. About 3 more damaged wooden columns need to be replaced while those columns that are undamaged have not been touched. 

- the entire ceiling girts and ceiling joists have been repaired, replacing only the damaged sections of the wood frames, either by cross-sectional repair if the remaining portion of the wood frames are still in good condition or if not, replace the entire wood frame. The undamaged ceiling panels will be placed back once the flooring alignment is completed including the neo gothic arch traceries.

- the replacement of the entire roof of the main area of the ancestral house with new 0.24 mm gauge Galvanized Iron (GI) sheets were very corroded. In time, the roof will be painted with anti-corrosion metal primer and roofing paint.

This year 2014, the restoration continues, focusing on the re alignment of the 2nd floor. It is a slow tedious process of removing the flooring panels and the floor joists so as to expose and to replace the damaged floor girts and joists. As of today, three sections of the 2nd floor have already been aligned and its flooring panels have been placed back to its original position.

We, the members of GALAH foundation and as a co-owner descendant are fully committed to restore and preserve the General Aniceto Lacson Ancestral House. We are inviting all patriotic Filipino to support our cause in restoring the General Aniceto Lacson Ancestral House to its historical grandeur as a fitting symbol of our country and its people. We are also inviting you to visit the ancestral house and see for your self.

The goal is to restore and preserve the ancestral house and unselfishly shares the historical glory not only to the people of Negros but to the whole country as well. As such, the concerned co-owner descendants and members of the GALAH foundation are doing everything possible to achieve this purpose.

           The 70% descendant co-owners and members of GALAH Foundation

                      Rosario Claparols      

                      Patricia Claparols
                      Victoria Claparols  

                      Alxandra Claparols
                      Michael Claparols  

                      Francisco Rosello
                      Carmen Rosello    
                      Miguel Rosello
                      Teresa Rosello       
                      Eduardo Balcells 
                      Anna Balcells        
                      Alfonso Balcells 
                      Carlos Balcells







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The 5th of November is a special day in Negros Island.  The Negros Revolution, now commemorated and popularly known as Al Cinco de Noviembre or Negros Day, was a political movement that in 1898 created a government in Negros Island in the Philippines, informally ending Spanish control of the island and resulting in a government run by the Negrense natives......Read More








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