The ancestral house itself was built by Don Modesto Ledesma, a haciendero who served as a mayor of Jaro, Iloilo, from 1920 to 1931. The ancestral home served as an iconic landmark in the area, near the plaza and the municipal hall. The ancestral house used to be called the “Balay ni Papa Kú, which was the term of endearment of Don Modesto’s family to him.
Until the year 1990, after the death of Don Modesto’s daughter, the ancestral house remained untouched and unoccupied, not until former Iloilo
City Mayor Jose Espinosa III bought and owned the property in the year 2018.
Now with new owners, the Espinosa family renamed the ancestral house
to Balay Sueño and preserved the memory to be once the dream home of Papa Kú. Sueño is the Spanish word for a dream that perfectly fits the story behind the ancestral house, now turned into a beautiful cafe and cookie shop.
The Espinosa family loved history and artifacts that inspired them to recreate the glory of Papa Kú’s ancestral abode, preserving the ancestral house’s stunning and unique interiors, its ventanillas
, wooden floors, ancestral design, and classically vintage colors of white and gray. The humble family started to restore the house in 2019. Now, at present, Regine Espinosa, a designer of fine jewelry by profession and a baker by heart, turned a portion of the ancestral house’s first floor into a cafe shop
and cookie shop, selling her tasty cookies and pastries. Regine thought about other countries turning ancestral houses into cafes, hotels, or food and beverage
spots and thought of doing it in Iloilo.
Balay Sueño, a name that drew inspiration for dreamers like Regine, became a venue for people like her, who also love to dream. She said she wants to inspire and build a community of creative people, celebrate the history, and have a venue for artisans. For her restoring the ancestral house is a way to keep its memories alive and to share a slice of Iloilo’s heritage for the modern and future generations to come.