The Home of Juan Anacleto Araneta, Bago City


Juan Anacleto Araneta led the uprising of locals against the Spaniards at the turn of the 20th century, among other admirable exploits that make him a hero in Negros. On the way to Valladolid, we passed by his Bago home during his later years, which has now turned into a museum. Owned originally by his relatives, the home was “given up” for him and his family to use in the early 1900’s… Now it houses a collection of furnishings, family memorabilia, and the family trees for all the branches of the large Araneta family. On the ground floor there are also special exhibits, and when we dropped by it was related to sugar, cooking implements, storage items, measurement of goods, etc.


The home itself is beautiful, and a wonderful example of at least a century old house with high ceilings, great ventilation, wooden floors, etc. It harks back to a different era and you can almost imagine the grand gatherings in the huge sala, followed by an inebriated stagger to the nearest four poster bed, only to feel the call of nature and feeling too lazy to head out to the loo, making use of the arinola (piss pot) conveniently kept near the bed… :)


The house was incredibly cool, literally, with vents at the upper portion of all walls, allowing air to circulate easily. I did wonder how anyone could have any “personal time” in their own rooms if the whole floor could hear what was going in, if you know what I mean. But with so many descendants, it obviously wasn’t a big deal…


What really caught my eye was the exhibit of cooking utensils and other kitchen related implements… a very old palayok and burner with such elegant curves…


Pots for hot chocolate and molds for cookies…


An old kawali or pan…


A large water storage jug… and why does water in ceramic containers seem cooler than if you left it out in a plastic container?


My mom always referred to rice and other food items by ganta (or gantang), so I was thrilled to see these measuring boxes, realizing a ganta was based on volume, not weight… and on further digging, it is a measure used throughout the east indies…


And finally, a very interesting, relatively fancy, scale. Overall, the visit to the Araneta home was a fascinating glimpse into a previous way of life.


44 Responses

  1. If you could have visited the museum of Bacolod, you will find that Juan Araneta together with his Brother -in-law overthrew the Spaniards in an uprising. Gen. Aniceto L. Lacson then made himself the president of the Republic of Negros for a certain period of time. Lacson succeeded by fooling the Spaniards by carving out of wood shaped like guns that were painted together with sawali rolled up and mounted on wooden carts that were all made to look like real guns and canons making them think that they were well armed. From a distance, all of these looked real and scared off the Spaniards.Kindly check Negros Revolution or Cinco de Noviembre for interesting facts about this event. There were other notable Negrenses who deserve recognition for this very important event. Juan Araneta was not the only hero of the day. You may want to check it out in these following links:

    This is why the most important street in Bacolod is Lacson Street to honor Gen. Aniceto L. Lacson. Nest time, check out his house in Talisay. It says a lot about the man.

  2. Marketman, that fancy scale is an analytical beam balance, a high precision weighing instrument that would have been extremely expensive in the 19th century. I remember seeing similar instruments on display at The Institute of Chemistry at UP Diliman. Of course, they’re no longer in use there, having been replaced by digital instruments.

  3. Though I missed my history class on this subject matter in my high school days, your posting and the comment of Lex kept me abreast on our revolutionary heroes. He was one of our heroes! Tapayan, terracotta water jug or whatever name you call it was very common household water container before the advent of refrigerator or ice plant for the mere purpose of keeping drinking water cool with our humid hot summer. I believe the material is made out earthen clay. Must be cleaned with isis leaves and water though at least once a month to keep the water palatable otherwise water tasted like fishpond water algae growth visibility. The house was built on heavy duty materials for withstanding our tropical hurricanes and termites and it is a grandeur well-kept and maintained house.

  4. For all of 40-hours [16 hours of sleep included] spent in Bacolod and its neighboring towns, you sure covered a lot of ground! I’m just thinking what if you had more than 40 hours?

    You may want to schedule another visit, longer this time, so you can go to other places like the fabulous old houses in Silay, the trains used to haul sugarcane in Talisay and Victorias, the mountain resort in Mambucal with its pools of boiling mud…

    Having been born and raised in Bacolod, it makes me appreciate more the things you write about my province. Thanks MM!

  5. Uprising in The Visayas and Mindanao is well recorded.

    Questions is the only recognition they’ve gotten is one of the 4 stars in the Philippines flag (yes, any grade schooler would tell you that the sun is a star hence 4 stars- heheheh we’re the only one with sun and stars because we’re very smart- are we?)

    Original Filipinos = Spanish born in Las Islas Filipinas

    We were either Indios or Moros. Indios were then later converted to Catholics (forced or not) much like in the Latin Americas.

    So if you’re last name is a Spanish one, it doesn’t mean you’re part Spanish hehehehe believe me, go to Spain far from it.
    Be more proud if your last name is a native one, it could mean your ancestors are one of the ones who ripped their “cedula” in pieces in defiance of the corrupt Spanish regime (they’re actually more Mexican)then change their names or last names ( no Indios nver had lastnames before)

    The Indios who kept their last name Spanish, either had it good or too scared to rise up against the invaders, Filipino Uncle Tom’s????

  6. To quote Lava Bien “The Indios who kept their last name Spanish, either had it good or too scared to rise up against the invaders, Filipino Uncle Tom’s”.

    I resent this statement since I come from a family who had to adopt a Spanish surname to survive. My mother’s family was almost eradicated since of the Perez’ come from one of the thirteen martyrs of Cavite (Hugo Perez). The Spanish authorities were hell-bent in decimating my clan with regards to having relations to Hugo Perez. They had to relocate and hide to which was known as the slums of Cavite city. They also had to change their surname.

    Not all Filipinos who had Spanish names had it good. And not all of them were too scared. Some just wanted to survive the horror of it.

  7. A Spanish family name is selected from the Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos introduced by Governor General Narciso Claveria for the census and other purposes.

    Flashback to 1849…

    Spanish officer: “Hey Indio what’s your apellido?
    Indio: “Lakingbuhawisagintonghimpapawid”
    Spanish officer: Change that! your progeny will have problems with the NSO in the future! Here’s a catalogo, go to page 47, column 3 and select the 24th apellido.
    Indio: hmmm… Santiago! cool!

    Now that’s the story of my family name.

  8. Without denying the fact that, at the end of the day, the Spaniards were invaders and interlopers in the Philippines, I still believe that the image of the evil Spanish overlord exploiting the poor, noble native for sheer sport is an exaggeration. I have to hand it to the next wave of invaders, the Americans. They sure did a good job of convincing everyone just how absolutely horrible Spanish rule was.

    A very clever variation of bait-and-switch, if one thinks about it. Inflame everyone’s passions about the previous colonizers’ misdeeds in order to draw attention away from the later colonizers’ own.

    Anyway, the Araneta house reminds me of the house I grew up in, in Metro Manila. Old, rambling, airy, Spanish colonial style, and utterly lacking in privacy. But not nearly as grand or well-maintained as the Araneta house, I’m sure. :)

  9. Love the kawali with the “stand-up” handle. Always appreciate and find your articles with historical flavour quite interesting.

    lee: you’re too funny… had to read the Indio’s apellido thrice to catch the phrase :)))

    Lava Bien: the flag of the Philippines has 3 stars (not 4) representing Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

  10. wow! we have to visit that place…..i like the chocolatera and that old kawali…..really antique…tanx for pics MM!!!!

  11. Hey MM! Im Pao, i recently got into cooking and now at 19 i handle the family’s menu and groceries :P. I stumbled across your site while i was in search of ingredients i normally wouldnt find on the grocery shelves, i think i was searching for dashi or rhubarb (i like to watch lifestyle and afc hehe).

    Anyway, MM i was wondering if you would know where to get a pugon? or at least know anyone who can make them? i love playing with flour and a pugon would give my bread or pizza or maybe even pasta? an edge hehe. Plus i feel having a pugon in the garden would be romantic.

  12. Have to agree with Fried-neurons. In an all too classic example of the victor writing history, that seems to be what exactly they have done though not before they razed an infamous town in Leyte into a howling wilderness and radically reduced the population of Batangas through a version of concentration camping later called strategic hamlets. All this modern day debates about water boarding has been done before on Filipinos. The only difference is they actually convicted an officer the first time around. A modern day historian from Yale (no less) later attributed the Batangas cleasing to old stand-by, malaria and the bottom falling out of the world coffee market. There is a wonderful fictional account of this in William Boyd´s Blue Afternoon if you do not have a taste for documented accounts such as Sitting in Darkness.

    Picky-picky, is arinola the Filipino equivalent of orinola?

  13. MM,

    The home you visited reminds me of those early years growing up in Binan, Laguna. Some of the homes of my great-great grandparents in the town center or plaza were constructed during the same time era. It brings back memories of spending special occasions in the big sala and a dining area that sits more than 40 people. Those were the good old days as my Nanay would always say.

    Thank you for those lovely photographs!

  14. MM,

    The home you visited reminds me of those early years growing up in Binan, Laguna. Some of the homes of my great-great grandparents in the town center or plaza were constructed during the same time era. It brings back memories of spending special occasions in the big sala and a dining area that sits more than 40 people. Those were the good old days as my Nanay would always say.

    Thank you for those lovely photographs!
    Should add good post. Can’t wait to seeing your next one!

  15. Being a history buff, I enjoyed this article very much. Hope to read more on our rich past in your blog. Thanks!

  16. history appears to be written or altered/tailored to fit agenda, always by those in power.

    anyhow, MM, thank you for your trip to Negros, you have such a good eye for what is interesting and genuine, none of that alsa-bangko mentality.

    still looking forward to your postings on your 40 hour trip to negros, i know there is more pa to come!

  17. Lava Bien, the 3 stars in the flag represent the 3 major islands of the Philippines, the Sun which you consider a star with its 8 rays i believe represents the provinces that rebelled against the spaniards,,,that’s why the Sun even though it’s a star with it’s 8 rays was the put in the center. Each one of those stars have meanings so you cannot just say the sun is another star. Just my 2 cents.

  18. Great article of Bacolod and part of it’s history, MM.

    Lex, actually there’s two important streets in my opinion, Lacson Street that goes through the Norte and Araneta Street that goes through the Sur.

  19. Hi MM,

    The ceramic allows the water to evaporate through the pores on the sides which keeps it cool vs plastic, which evaporates within the bottle and recondenses. Not 100% sure how the science behind it works, but seemed to have worked for wine as well.

  20. Thanks for the history review. Now if only more of us especially our young ones have better national pride and look to our heroes for what they stood for.

  21. The picture of the ganta boxes brings back so many good memories for me. We once lived in front of a large sari-sari store, the kind that was also a rice dealer. I was so fascinated by the way they would bag the rice, that I would ask my yaya permission if we could hang around the store. I loved to just sit there and watch them sell rice. The owners knew me from birth I guess, so they let me hang around. Sometimes they let me “help” bag, but I was just playing, I could never do it as well as they did. They had different sized boxes just like in the picture. I don’t know the names anymore for the various sizes. They also had corresponding brown bags for each box. The brown bag was large enough so that the rice would fit, and enough to fold over and tuck in to seal the bag. They even folded over in a certain way so that it would not open and allow the grains to spill. They had fashioned scoops of various sizes. The scoops were made of half Baguio oil cans, and they fitted a wooden handle at one end as a holder. Then they had these flat pieces of wood, my guess is bamboo, that had been smoothed down by use that it almost looked varnished. After they scooped the rice (from big bins, each bin a different grade)they take the flat piece of wood to level the top of the ganta containers, (like you were using a measuring cup for baking). Then they would pour the grains from the wooden box into the brown bag, put in a mini scoop of grain as “dagdag”, seal it, et voila, next customer. I asked my yaya why they had different sizes, and she explained to me that not everyone could affort to buy a cavan (can’t remember now if that meant an entire sack)and so I learned the concept of “tingi” and the phenomenon of sari-sari stores in the Philippines. I live so far now, I don’t even know if they sell rice this way anymore. But am still fascinated by sari-sari stores. I can’t resist going into a nice looking one when I am home. Sorry this is so long. I figure some of your readers never saw ganta boxes before!

  22. NYCMama, i think the small box is call a chupa and 8 chupa’s to a ganta? From there i don’t know how many ganta’s to a cavan. What i’m fascinated about is how they make a perfect pyramid on the rice, hard to do if you’re not used to it.

  23. thanks for this post on the juan araneta museum. it looks like a very well kept place and the exhibit well mounted.considering the maintenace of provincial museums in general, this museum is amazing.
    i wish they would make palayok as well shaped as those in your photo — such graceful lines!
    looking forward to your other posts on your bacolod visit. in graciousness, hospitality and over all quality of food ( and life) the negresenses are equal to none.

  24. “… and why does water in ceramic containers seem cooler than if you left it out in a plastic container?”

    Clay containers like the one in the picture are porous and allow some water to seep through and evaporate. For water to evaporate, it has to absorb some thermal energy (or heat) from the surroundings. This process lowers the temperature of the water that remains.

    Plastic containers on the other hand seal in the water inside the container and do not permit any evaporation.

  25. Hi

    I would be very thankful if you or anybody else could post a recipe for nitrite-free corned beef. If the recipe includes some exotic ingredients, may I also request you to point out your sources in Metro Manila


  26. Hi Apicio,
    During the Filipino-American War, General “Jake Smith” turned Samar, and specifically the town of Balangiga, into a “howling wilderness.” I believe this is what you are referring to? The book, Little Brown Brother gives a gut wrenching, historically accurate account of this and other incidents.

  27. some members of the local nobility were allowed to retain their old family/clan names. they were also exempted from the poll tax. so those bearing non-Spanish surnames are actually descendants of the old nobility.

  28. In response to Lava Bien..not everyone that is Filipino necessarily took a Spanish last name, The Aranetas (Im one on my mother’s side Juan A. Araneta is my great-grandfather) got the last name from a Basque(Don Jose Araneta) Arrived in the 1700’s via Mexico. So that surname (unless your not a direct descendant) was not assigned by the Spanish Authority. Thanks and Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!!

  29. In quite a few cases, Spanish surnames were assigned to the “natives” or locals. However, there are also lots of cases where there is some ancestor that arrived either from Mexico, Spain, Macau, etc. and hence the Spanish/Portuguese surnames as well. Then there are the offspring of a myriad of frisky friars and priests many of whom, I once heard, were named Santos, de los Santos or Reyes (not sure if that is an apocryphal story)… so I wouldn’t be too hung up on the last names. In many cases, in provincial birth registries, the names were poorly recorded or if parents were unsure, the registrars sometimes made up awful first and last names, and hence some of the bizarre sounding names you find today… And what’s in a name, anyway?…considering the countless numbers of legitimate and illegitimate children running about in any given town, the biggest and oddest risk must be marrying a close relative without knowing it. :)

  30. Glad to see the grand old house still standing. Was there in 1995, the caretaker was plenty hesitant to let us in….it was haunted he claimed. But at the time, the floor was in disrepair with large gaps between the large wooden planks, I thought I might fall through. It was also sparsely furnished, the heirlooms supposedly spirited away by an acquisitive family that married into one of the branches. Now who do you suppose that might be!

  31. Apicio, hahaha. Have I misspelled it? I spelled it as I would say it… it could very well be an orinola… I have never used one myself, actually :)

  32. Dee Bee & Ted,

    Thanks, so the the 8 rays from the Sun.. Do they represent any provinces from the Visayas or Mindanao? If not, then why not?

    Alain Matti Savillo,
    I was referring to the native Brown Filipino’s Last Name only not the real Filipino (Island born Spanish blood).

    I’m also puzzled as how did Manila become the center of all the islands when the Spaniards came to the Visayas first?

  33. Lava Bien,

    Are you Filipino? Most Filipinos know that the eight primary rays of the sun represent the first eight provinces (Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Manila, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Tarlac) that sought independence from Spain and were placed under martial law by the Spaniards at the start of the Philippine Revolution in 1896.The three stars represent the three major geographical divisions of the country: Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao (note 3 stars, ONE SUN, not 4 stars as you would like to point out).

    And a little research would tell you that the Spanish government moved the capital city from Panay to Manila after relentless seiges from Portuguese pirates. The capital has remained there ever since.

  34. I like old houses, we did’nt have any sort of ancestral house when we grew up. Bahay na bato style houses are designed for tropical climates, with their high ceilings. We visited one in Bohol last year, the Clarin Ancestral house.

    It is sad to see how truly effective the followers of manifest destiny were on estranging us from the other latin cultures.

  35. Dodie,

    Sun = Star , purong Tagalog

    So technically (or scientifically) 4 stars.

    Yup, my dilemna excatly. There is the 8 so called provinces (from Luzon), what about any provinces from Mindanao? They were never technically conquered by the Spaniards so the first to reject the Conquistadores, so why are they not the representative of one of the 8 rays? Are they not part of the Philippines?

    A little research also would tell us that Manila, under the rule of Rajah Sulayman (his family, before and after him) worked under the Sultanate of Brunei (not even Sultanate of Sulu – although related). So was not orginally part of the Las Islas Filipinas.

    We could actually learn so much more history of the Philippines, outside the Philippines – check european sources, chinese sources, middle eastern source and not just Google or internet. (Kung di mo alam ang iyong pinanggalingan [lasing ka] di mo rin alam ang yong paroroonan)

  36. I actually love this kind of houses and would want to build one in the very near future.
    The adobe bricks from the churches in Bohol are awesome, the best I’ve seen so far. I asked around to know if they still make it (the adobe bricks) there, most of them said no or not sure.

    I embrace the good the Spanish brought us and put them to good use (spanish language and old world architecture) though I forgive them though for the atrocities committed back then. makes for a very interesting history.

  37. Kakusina, yes that´s it. Thanks, Leyte is close but no cigar I know.

    I spy with my little eyes a co-fan of the shining Genji.

  38. i agree with FJD. there are 2 important streets in bacolod: araneta, along which the city hall is located, and lacson, where the provincial capitol can be found.



Subscribe To Updates

No spam, only notifications about new blog posts.