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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Silay's Heritage District & the Balay Negrense

During the Masskara Festival in Bacolod, I also went an a sidetrip to Mambukal, nearby Silay and the Ruins as well.

While on the way to Silay-Bacolod airport, my friend Dee accompanied me to Silay City, which is known for its well preserved heritage district that boasts of numerous ancestral houses which the National Historical Institute has declared as national landmarks. Among these houses was the "Balay Negrense" a sprawling house built in 1897 by sugar baron Don Victor Fernandez Gaston.

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Through the years the home was abandoned and was left to age in time until a group of Silay history advocates decided to restore the house and make it a museum that showcases old furniture owned by the Gaston family and other donated artifacts from the period the house was built.

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The house has a number of spacious rooms on the second floor, an office and piano room on the ground floor, a basement, the kitchen and a lavish dining room at the back of the ground floor not to mention a grand staircase. I was imagining the house back in the old days when the Gaston family would host lovely parties or the debut of one of their beautiful daughters whose picture hangs on the wall on the second floor.

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I remember my grandparents home, though theirs was built in the early 60's not as ancestral as the houses in Silay or that of the Gaston's but I could imagine the simple yet grandeur kind of life they have back then. The party at the plaza, fiestas and that small but close knit barrio feel or what we call "bayanihan" culture - something the current generation has ceased to experience.

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Other pictures of the Balay Negrense:

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Near the Balay Negrense is the town plaza and the San Diego Cathedral which was designed by Italian architect Lucio Bernasconi in 1920. We took a walk around town on its clean town plaza and later settled at this nice "Kapihan" which also serves native Bacolod coffee. I wish I could have done more exploration around the place.

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7 comments:

Dee said...

It was great meeting you and it was a pleasure showing you around (although I'm such a lousy guide). :)

Markyramone said...

Hi Dee, same here. See you next time I visit Bacolod. Let's go to Dumaguete :)

Chris said...

What a stunning house. Yet more things to add to my 'list of things to see before I die'.

Markyramone said...

@Chris, I bet you've seen a lot of things previously written in that list of yours. Good luck on your journeys.

Pinoy Weekend Warrior said...

Galing ng mga kuha! Na-miss ko bigla ang Pilipinas.

Oliver Balais said...

the images are awesome..Hope I can purchase soon a camera coz aside from writing, I do love photography. Good job dude!

Markyramone said...

Oliver, I started with a simple point and shoot camera...try to start soon as you can.

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