2009 Jun 15
Juan Ramos Rodríguez-Consolación Florido Yap House
232 Jose Rizal St.
Erected: 1905 Builders: Salustiano (Gonzalo?) Abellana, architect; Andres Cui, chief carpenter Renovated 1936: Mariano Mercado, designer; Ceferino Bargamento, chief carpenter (present owners: Heirs of Porfirio C. Yap, son of Consolacion)
A much-storied house. A scaled-down version, and minus the azotea, represented the Visayan house in the old Nayong Pilipino in Parañaque.
Visayan House Nayong Pilipino (Photo 1975 by Alfredo Yap)
The mestizo Juan Rodriguez married Consolación Florido Yap, a mestiza Sangley from Cebu City in Carcar in 1892. Prior to their marriage, Nyora Asyon already had three children by other men, the second having died in Carcar in 1889 and the third, born and baptized in Carcar in 1890. Nyor Jantoy’s grandparents were residents of Sibonga, and his father had wedded a Ramos woman from Carcar. The Rodriguez grandfather was a pure Spaniard from Madrid.
The house was built during their marriage, presumably coinciding with the Upland School (1905), but while the house has lived to this day, the marriage was already beginning to crumble. Per writeups in a Cebu newspaper about the court case, Consolacion reportedly left for Manila where her eldest child Porfirio was studying pharmacy, but came back. The couple still failed to work out their marriage and Consolacion reportedly left again. Juan also left for Manila, whether to follow Consolacion or not cannot be determined anymore. Anyway, Consolacion came back to Carcar and when Juan died in Manila on March 24, 1915 (per his church crypt), she was the one living in the house. The couple had no children.
Since Consolacion had possession, a legal battle ensued as a brother of Juan laid claim to the house and the lot, its camarin, an Australian horse, its carriage, and Thirteen Thousand Pesos. It must have been bitter as family cases go, but the court of first instance ruled in favor of the widow. It was also her contention that she had financed the construction of the house. But Juan’s collateral descendants presumably would dispute this also to this day, even as the Rodriguez family had been allowed to take out items of furniture from the house by Consolacion’s son during his possession of the property. Consolacion died at fiesta time, on November 24, 1928.
Consolacion Florido Yap (8-Dec-1865 Cebu City - 24-Nov-1928 Carcar) ___
crypt of Juan Ramos Rodriguez (Carcar church, photo by Vip Aleonar)
Meanwhile, Porfirio, having decided to stop his pharmacy studies, with two of his Sandiego cousins had sat for the 1911 examinations for judge-ship and the three passed. He was assigned as juez de paz of next town San Fernando, at the latest by 1914. His cousin Antonio Sandiego was assigned to Barili.
He married an only child of another juez from San Fernando assigned in Carrascal, Surigao (now del Sur) and they had 13 children, 11 of whom reached adulthood and married. After Porfirio and his wife Mercedes Gerasta Tapia died in 1971 and 1980 respectively, administrators were eldest Jose Yap, daughter-in-law Visitacion Alfafara-Yap, daughter Trinidad Yap-Aleonar until her death in 2008 when youngest son Claro was tasked to take over.
An adjoining lot was bought by Porfirio in 1918 from a prominent Carcaranon and the latter, then living on the parcel, even vacated it. As new owner, Porfirio tried to have the lot titled, but was surprised to find it was actually registered only half to the seller and the other half to two minors related to and then living with the person. By 1918, the two minors had been taken to Mindanao by their parents and nothing came of titling it anymore. Porfirio had the lot rented to a number of tenants for some time before he then fenced the entire property. There was a second surprise when 40 years later, in 1958, a daughter of the seller claimed the lot, not by right of inheritance to her father but allegedly after buying the half of the lot from one of the two children, by this time well into her adult years living in Mindanao. The lower court decided in favor of the new claimant but the appellate ruled it back to Porfirio. The decision included Porfirio’s right to have the property now titled to him.
Prior to that, the house had felt the effects of World War II more than other houses still standing in Carcar. With the spacious azotea having a commanding view of the South highway, the location proved inviting to Japanese officers and they made it a command house. Ever Japanese, the officers felt no need, nor affection, for the furniture, especially the chairs and tables in the sala and threw them over the window and in fact were using the discarded pieces for firewood. Save for the long dining table which probably served them as the map table. A six-foot mirror in the sala has a bullet hole, its scar and the same time Purple Heart from the war.
Per Records: The earliest record indicating the year the house was built is found in document “Part III. Buildings, Supplement to the Claim of Porfirio C. Yap” (of damages sustained during WWII—Total Damages: P800). The supplementary document attested that 1) house was built in 1905 (original cost P11,000) and 2) improved in 1936 (P1,500).
In the same claim, the original contractors in 1905 were identified as Salustiano Abellana (architect, deceased, from Carcar, Cebu. [Gonzalo Abellana?-ed.]) and Andres Cui (chief carpenter, deceased, from Carcar, Cebu).
For the 1936 improvements, the claim named Mr. Mariano Mercado (designed improvements, deceased) and Ceferino Bargamento (chief carpenter, still living in Carcar, Cebu) with the latter’s affidavit attached.
In his affidavit (16 February 1948), Mr. Bargamento attested that there were four other carpenters and five laborers working with him in said repair. The improvements were: construction of a concrete azotea (3.5m. x 8.5 m.), repair of gutter on west side of house, extension of roof on the east side, construction of kitchen and toilet, flush system, and the repainting of the entire house. He also declared that he worked under the supervision of Mr. Mariano Mercado.
Incidentally, it appears that at the time of the improvements, Mariano Mercado, who was living across the street, and to whose house Porfirio was often called for dinner, was the mayor of Carcar.
The azotea had eroded by the 50’s and what’s standing now is just a fourth of the said 8.5 meters once stretching alongside of the highway. Some pictures of family members taken on it suggest that the roof over it now was not there before, and so was technically an azotea, uncovered. It had slowly crumbled until Porfirio Yap decided the bigger portion was unsafe and had the azotea truncated and reworked. Bad 1936 work? Nobody can say now, yet this 50’s edition was only some years ago considering, and already, the masons and craftsmen who worked on it, replicating the 1936 balustrade and balusters (if they did not just transfer the old), are now forgotten. It was also roofed and thus, technically, is not an azotea anymore.
(photo taken and retouched 2002 by Guy Aleonar)
Porfirio C. Yap-Mercedes G. Tapia Family (girl sitting center bottom is Bienvenida Villariasa, a cousin)
(Photo taken 1941 by Eutiquio Tapia for Tapia Studio, San Fernando)