The Jesuit House of 1730 is for the adventuresome. Even in Cebu, few know of the existence of this house located between Zulueta and Binakayan Sts. Permission is needed to see the house presently owned by the Sy family, owners of HoTong hardware. Though not open to the public, with advanced notice the house can be visited. But visitors be warned that it is now a warehouse, and will require some walking over cables, reinforcing bars and other construction material. The house can be dusty and the air stale. The house was once the residence of the Jesuit superior in Cebu. To coordinate work in their Visayan missions, the first Jesuit mission superior, Antonio Sedeño opened a residence in Cebu in 1595. The site of the 16th century residence is uncertain. This residence which is still standing is believed to have been built in 1730. A relief plaque inside the residence bears this date. The Jesuits were in possession of this house until 1768 when they were expelled from the Philippines. Upon their expulsion, Jesuit properties were put on public auction. A Spanish family, the Alvarez, acquired the house. The house passed through various owners until the Sy family acquired the residence. At one time, the residence became an exclusive club for Cebu’s elite. Early in this century, the existence of the house was first documented by Fr. William Repetti, S.J., seismologist and archivist of the Jesuits. He noted its existence in a book he published in 1936. In the book, a reproduction of an old painting of the house indicated that a tower stood beside it, probably built as a watchtower for seafaring raiders.
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