The Heritage City of Vigan is perhaps the perfect place to look for houses in the traditional Filipino style. Yet many adhere to the "nice to visit, but not to live in" mentality when it comes to old houses. They balk at the idea of getting a historic home due to the expense, time, and sometimes even red tape that goes into restoration and maintenance.

Still, to those who refuse to be hindered by such complications, the effort is well worth it, as evidenced by the home featured in the photos below. This house had fallen into disrepair, but was stripped then restored with the approval of the Vigan Heritage Commission and the National Historical Institute.

But, the owner says, his challenge was not just to restore the house, but to do it in such a way that he would be able to embrace his heritage while still living in the present. “I didn’t restore the house in a strict sense like, ganyan dati, dapat ganyan din," he says. "I restored the house to look like that but I also wanted it to represent my personality.” And he has been successful in his venture--the house is now a perfect example of the blending of the old and the new.

(First published in Real Living, Real Homes section, April 2007. Photos by Ocs Alvarez, styling by Gwyn GS Guanzon; adapted for use in Female Network)

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