Legarda Restores the only Remaining Balay Nga Bato in AntiqueJune 21, 2020
Through the initiative of Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda, the only remaining “balay nga bato” in Antique is now being restored.
As the former Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Legarda, who has always advocated the importance of preservation of culture, allocated in 2018 a Php 5 million budget under the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) as well as Php 15 million in 2019, for the restoration of the Balay nga Bato, located along Gobierno Street, in the capital town of San Jose de Buenavista, Antique. She has also supported the restoration of other historical sites, such as the Bahay Prudencia Fule in San Pablo City, Laguna.
Estimated to be around 194 to 211 years old, the Balay nga Bato was built of hardwood, coral stones, and heavy tiles. Its roofing was originally made of tiles, but had been changed to galvanized iron. Its main wooden structure was made of first-class hardwood, such as molave and narra, while its walls and flooring on the ground floor were made mostly of coral stones.
“The Balay nga Bato is an architectural masterpiece that has stood the test of time. Having silently witnessed the history of our province by serving as quarters for the Japanese when they took over Antique and the rest of Panay, and by serving as a hospital for the wounded during the Second World War, it continues to play a significant role in our historical and cultural landscape. It is only fitting therefore to restore it back to its former stately glory,” Legarda said.
Once fully restored, the house shall also serve as a venue to exhibit the province’s living traditions.
“I am looking forward to the completion of the renovation. The Balay nga Bato will truly be a symbol of how rich Antique is, culturally and historically. The preservation of our culture, tangible or intangible, is an inherent responsibility bestowed upon us. As protectors, we have to make sure that they are conserved and preserved, for the benefit of our present and future generations,” Legarda concluded.***