Bahay Tsinoy: Impressive Life-Sized Exhibits

Bahay Tsinoy - Galleon Trade

My daughter and I were pleasantly surprised with our visit to Bahay Tsinoy (House of the Filipino-Chinese) in Intramuros, Manila.  It is a museum documenting the rich history of Filipino-Chinese here in the Philippines.  As a Filipino married to a Chinese,  I developed a greater appreciation of my husbands' roots.  And my daughter beamed proudly as she saw one side of her great ancestry.

The museum, a good stop for history-lovers even without Chinese lineage, is filled with well crafted, life sized exhibits documenting the history of the Tsinoys.  The exhibits were so realistic and well presented, everyone in our group (it was the field trip of my daughter) were clearly impressed.  The museum is very organized taking you through the early contacts in pre-history, to the Spanish period and to the current-day involvement of the Filipino-Chinese in the country they now call home.

Here is a photo essay of our Bahay Tsinoy experience.

A huge Galleon ship welcomes you as you enter the museum proper.  The Galleon ship is the means of transportation used by the Early Chinese while conducting trade with the early Filipinos even prior to Spanish occupation.

Bahay Tsinoy - Galleon Trade1

Sangley, the term used by the Spaniards for the Chinese, comes from the word siong lai, meaning "frequent visitor" in Hokien.  They were separated by the Spaniards from the rest of the community and dwell in separate quarters called the Parian.  Shown below are the main occupations of the Early Chinese - merchants, laborers and artisans.

Bahay Tsinoy - Sangley

The exhibits come with descriptions that are easy to read and are very well written.  I enjoyed reading them.

Bahay Tsinoy Life Sized Exhibit of Early Chinese Occupations

Since time immemorial and up till now,  the Tsinoy's can be relied on for business.  Shown here with a sari-sari store.

Bahay Tsinoy life sized exhibit of a storeShown here is a typical mestizo house.

Bahay Tsinoy Life Sized Exhibit of Early Chinese in their Household

The early Chinese were also knows as artisans.  Some early Chinese helped in constructing parts of the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila.  Shown here is the facade of the San Agustin Church.

Bahay Tsinoy - Facade San Agustin

Part of the museum includes the Ching Ban Lee Porcelain Gallery with artifacts dating 10 to 17 centuries ago.  Depicted on the upper right is a wealthy Chinese trader.  And on the lower right are Chinese peddlers selling their wares before the San Agustin Church.

Ching Ban Lee Porcelain Gallery and Life Size Exhibit of the Early Chinese at Bahay Tsinoy

Emerging from the rich Filipino-Chinese ancestry are well known figures from the past till present.  According to Wikipedia, Jose Rizal was a 5th-generation patrilineal descendant of Domingo Lam-co, a Chinese immigrant entrepreneur who sailed to the Philippines and married Inez de la Rosa, a Sangley of Luzon.  Lorenzo Ruiz,  the first Filipino saint is from Binondo Manila,  and born to a Chinese father and Filipina mother.

Bahay Tsinoy Life Sized Exhibit of Filipino Chinese Mestizo Hero Jose Rizal

Not pictured here,  but also featured in Bahay Tsinoy is a cool hologram of a Tsinoy telling the story of the transformation of the early Filipino-Chinese to modern day Tsinoys.

Today,  Tsinoys are very well integrated into the Filipino society serving as leaders and catalysts in their respective businesses and professions.  A hallway honoring Filipino-Chinese who defended Philippine freedom in the past to public service advocates of the present are also featured.

Bahay Tsinoy - Contemporary Filipino Chinese

To sum it up,  I would like to quote choice excerpts from one of the write-ups I read in the museum:

Throughout Philippine history, the destiny of the Chinese-Filipinos has been closely intertwined with Filipinos. In every significant event that shaped the Philippines as a nation, the Chinese-Filipinos have marked their presence... there emerges the Tsinoy, the Chinese who is Filipino or the Filipino who is Chinese, molded through the centuries by Philippine life, enriching this land with the legacies of his Chinese heritage.

Bahay Tsinoy Information:

Address:  Kaisa Heritage Center, Anda cor. Cabildo Street, Intramuros, Manila

Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 1:00pm to 5:00pm

Rate:  P100 for adults  and P60 for students (bring ID)

Contact Numbers:  527-6083 / 526-6796

Directions:  3 minute walk from Manila Cathedral or San Agustin Church in Intramuros (Old Walled City), Manila


Washroom:  ascetic clean

Density of People:  Check first if there is a field trip and try not to go at that time,  unless you want a group of kids around:-)

Approximate Time to Spend Inside:  One hour if you just want to look and 2-3 hours if you want to read the descriptions.

Date of Travel: February 2013

Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post.  My daughter and I went to Bahay Tsinoy on her field trip day and we paid for our entrance fees.

Travel Happy!

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Fun Farm at Sta. Elena: Balik Bukid Experience

Fun Farm - Carabao Resting

Say "bukid" (farm) and images of a field with carabaos and a myriad of farm animals come to mind.  Say "bukid" again and smile for simple, carefree fun.

That is what my mind conjured of Fun Farm and that is exactly what my family and I got.

Developed by Hindy Tantoco of Holy Carabao for her kids,  Fun Farm at Sta. Elena is a sprawling provincial farm that is just a 10 minute drive away from South Superhighway's Cabuyao exit.

My family had a whole afternoon of good, easy, fun riding a carabao cart, feeding rabbits and guinea pigs, horseback riding, fishing, boating and simply basking in the quiet and peace of this charming farm.

Sharing with you some pics (and info) of our wonderful Fun Farm experience. [Read more...]