Sunday morning on our last day in Macau was easy and relaxed. Though we expect a few more stops in line, we started rather late than our usual 9am run-to-the-coach routine from the past couple of days. I welcome the ease of course as we made our way to a couple more UNESCO World Heritage Spots under the Historic Center of Macau. The first is the Lilau Square, the first Portuguese settlement in Macau. Then the Mandarin House which was recently opened to the public and we’re honored to be one of the first few visitors of the house since it’s recent opening. Both sites are close to each other making it a convenient stop.
The Lilau Square Plaza is surrounded by a lot of colorful Portuguese buildings with amusing design and architecture. I liked the irregular architecture style of the residential houses on the up-hill slopes. They were beautifully tangled up that I can imagine shooting a dream scene music video on this spot.
As mentioned earlier, this was the first Portuguese Settlement. Being close to the Inner Harbor, it became the main source of water for Macau. Naturally if there’s water, a community would grow there. That’s also where the name “Lilau” came from which means ‘Mountain Spring’. Lilau Square is also the center of Christianity in Macau.
Just a hop along the opposite side of Rua da Barra Street we reached the entrance of the Mandarin House. The house was the ancestral residence of famous Chinese Writer and Thinker Zheng Guanying. Built around 1869, the house may look like a typical Chinese Residence but closer inspection would reveal mixtures of western influences in the design.
The huge 4000sqm area and 60 rooms in a residential house is one of a kind in Macau. Very few families could afford such luxury. In 2001, the Cultural Institute of Macau bought the property and started restoring the house to its original form.
We were given only half an hour to explore the house on our own. I grab a brochure/guide with a map and went through the noted sections of the house. From the Shrine of the Earth God at the entrance with its unique bolted gates then entering through the Moon Gate passageway.
Walking through the Sedan Way, I was amused with black windows and white wall motif. Then I entered this corridor to my right leading to the Wenchang Hall, this hall were the Zheng family usually studies.. I inspected the amazing textures, painted walls and patterns at another round gate leading to a garden.
Going further through the Ronglu Hallway I found the front courtyard of the two story mansion. I entered one passage leading to the Inner Courtyard where I saw a lot of windows in varying shapes. Nice for framing this litlle scene in this little corner of the mansion.
I entered the Main Hall of the Yu-qing-Tang Mansion. There are impressive details here on the doors and furnishings. I went up to the second floor Ji-Shan-Tang Main Hall. There are cordoned sections of the house which will also lead visitors towards the exit.
I looked at my watch and it’s already past the allotted time. I got too amused with the house. I made my way back to where we started to find the guys already outside enjoying some drinks. Now on to our next stop.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.