The Balay nga Bato experience

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AT LAST, after several months of postponement and conflicts in schedule, we finally made it to the steps of Balay nga Bato, or more properly called Camiña Balay nga Bato, in Villa de Arevalo, Iloilo City. After a fully-packed JCI (Junior Chamber International) Training, I was looking forward to this more than any night outs or out-of-town trips. Francis Gerona, our regional vice president for JCI Western Visayas, has been planning to bring us to this grand old house that spoke of colorful heritage and culture. Gerona has tickled our imagination over a mug of native coffee around early February and since then, three JCI groups have done the tour complete with what they were raving as the best hot chocolate and molo. And every time somebody posts a picture on Facebook, they tag or mention me. So to say that I was excited was undermining it a little. Balay nga Bato is located along the road of Villa de Arevalo Street. The pathway was narrow, Francis’s car barely fit the drive way. But it opened up to a wide open space where you could see a sprawling mansion. A display of mangoes greeted us as we passed through the entrance and into the main hall. We were then asked to sit down for a while as a video showing the different parts of the house was presented along with its history. Camiña Balay nga Bato was originally built in 1860 for Fernando Avanceña. The hardwood floors loudly welcomed our steps. Wood was intentionally preferred then because it served as an alarm system, warning the owners of the house should there be any unwelcome visitors coming in. The whole house consisting of two floors are full of antique pieces from a number of grand pianos in the halls to […]

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