Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Atega Ancestral House - Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte

WHERE: Cabiltest Street, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte

DATE OF TRAVEL: September 11, 2010

1. It is the biggest and most preserved ancestral house in Cabadbaran City.

FEES: No entrance fee but you have to call in advance someone can accommodate you.

NOTE: Special thanks to Ms. Marilou Atega for touring us around your family's home. Thank you for giving us a warm welcome.

Built in 1904, the Atega House was the home of the Atega family that originated from the Spanish Friar Father Pedro Garcia. It was built by a revolutionary leader named Don Andres Atega. Since the family does not divide properties, the house grew from one wing to many more. Today, it has grown to 36 rooms and a garden.

The house's garden was once a swampy area were deer were found. Lucky for the Ategas however, a flood covered the swampy area and eventually became suitable for a garden.

The interior is a mixture of Filipino, Chinese and European style. The doors of the rooms are well blended with the walls so an outsider will not notice it immediately (perfect during the war). Once the doors are opened, you will be amazed at how big the rooms really are. Although this house doesn't look that big on the outside, it is definitely huge once you get inside.

Although a lot of "old" and "antique" stuff are found here, modern furniture and decorations are also present because there are Ategas still living in this house. It is also used to accommodate friends and family members who visit Cabadbaran City every now and then.

During World War 2, the Japanese used this house as their headquarters. Many people were killed here specifically in the house's basement.

When asked if there are ghosts, though, the owner would point you to the already locked guest rooms. These are the rooms on the right side of the main stairs where two pictures are hanging. Owners share that guests have had paranormal experiences in the room. Supposedly, ghosts haunt and bug the guests they don't like or are not fond of. Stories of beds rising and furniture moved around have been shared to the owners. To solve this, the owners decided to lock the rooms.

Another interesting area is their "study" room where all the pictures hanging are pictures of their dead ancestors and family members (including Father Pedro Garcia). As one of the owners mentioned, "If you're not dead, you're not in this room." The small rocking chair by the window supposedly moves around on its own. An old photograph of the house is also hanging on the wall. Owners point the kapre-like figure on the photograph which supposedly was responsible for hitting the "guards" whenever they would hang out under the Mango tree.

Are all these stories true? We don't know for sure, but the house was eerie enough to make us believe so.

Atega House is one of the best ancestral houses in Agusan and if ever you decide to visit, please make sure to contact them first because this house is not open to the public unless an appointment is made.

1. The star symbol inlaid on the wooden floor (Sala)
2. The "ghost" rooms
3. The old picture of the Atega House (where an image of "kapre" appears)
4. The small rocking chair in the study room.
5. Father Pedro Garcia's picture
6. The basement

Fly to Butuan City from Manila.

From the airport, ride a tricycle going to the bus or van terminal at Langihan. The fare costs P15.00/ head/ one way.

From Langihan terminal, ride a bus (P40/ person/ one way) or van (P35/ person/ one way) to Cabadbaran City (about 40 minutes).

Once in Cabadbaran, ride a pedicab (P7/ head/ way) or tricycle (P7/ head/ way) to the Atega Ancestral House in Cabiltest Street.

Jean Chee (Tourism Officer of Cabadbaran) - +63919 5620932

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