About Casa Gorordo Museum
Casa Gorordo is a house museum located in a historic area of Cebu, the oldest city in the Philippines. It is owned and managed by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) through its Culture Heritage Unit. The house was acquired by RAFI from the Gorordo family in 1979, renovated and enhanced, and opened to the public as a museum in 1983.
In recognition of its historical and social significance, the National Historical Institute (now National Historical Commission of the Philippines) conferred on Casa Gorordo Museum the title “National Historical Landmark” in 1991.
It recently underwent a two-year enhancement project to elevate the visitor experience it offers to patrons by incorporating interactivity and digital age technology in its presentation.
History of the House
The Gorordo House was built in the 1850s and originally owned by Alejandro Reynes y Rosales. It was bought by Isidro Gorordo, a merchant from the Basque province of Vizcaya in Spain. Four generations of his family lived in this house including Juan Gorordo, the first Filipino bishop of Cebu. Thus, its present name.
Casa Gorordo is a fine example of a Spanish colonial era house known locally as balay nga tisa, or house with tiled roof. Its architecture, which combines native, Spanish, and Chinese influences, is unique to the Philippines. This cultural blending of east and west is referred to as mestizo and is a defining character of Filipino identity.
It is located in the Parian, a historic district whose origins are traceable to a parish created by Spanish authorities in 1614 for immigrants from the Fujian province of China. The settlement evolved into a bustling commercial hub in the next two centuries. The Gorordos started residence in the area in 1863, the same year Cebu was re-opened to world trade. By this time the Parian had become a neighborhood of wealthy mestizos.
The house survived two revolutions in the late 1800s and early 1900s and the Second World War. Changes in the family’s lifestyle as well as Cebuano society and culture are visible in the architecture, spaces and collections of present-day Casa Gorordo. Yet, it has largely retained its distinctive balay nga tisa form, making it an iconic piece of Cebuano cultural identity.