Friday, October 31, 2014

Negros Occidental Trip #1 (Arrival at Silay & Heritage Houses)

This is another one for the culture travelers out there. Negros Occidental, specifically Silay City will make you feel you are back to the old days. For some readers who cannot relate, Negros Occidental is a province in The Philippines located on Western Visayas, its capital is Bacolod City. Our guide said Negros was originally known as Buglas but during the Spanish regime, the Spaniards named it Negros because the natives were dark-skinned. 

Trip Highlights

Arriving at New Bacolod-Silay Airport

It took us 45 minutes from Manila to Silay City via Philippine Airlines. I enjoyed the flight because we made an advance seat reservation and I chose a window seat so that I can take some snapshots of the view. 
Arriving at Silay City was pretty nice the weather was great, it was neither hot nor too cold. A family friend, a local from Silay City, picked us up at the airport. 
Another thing I've noticed, there's a lot of sugar cane plantations, then  I remembered, Negros Occidental is the " Sugarbowl of the Philippines", it explains the numerous fields of sugar cane. 


People in Negros are called Negrense. Majority of the people in Negros Occidental speaks Hiligaynon, a dialect in Western Visayas, It is said that it is an Austronesian language. However most people I've been with in Negros Occidental are well conversant in English language. 
We visited Negros Occidental to visit a dear friend of my father, all throughout the trip, they have been hospitable and they smile and laugh a lot. I think Negrenses are way too happy people. Being with them feels light,no worries. They are the ones who gave us a tour to some well-known places in Negros Occidental.

Some of the Ancestral Houses

Balay Negrense, Silay City

Negros Occidental is the home of more than 50 heritage houses. One of those is Balay Negrense , balay is the hiligaynon word for house, it is also called as the Victor Fernandez Gaston Ancestral House. Victor Gaston is the son of Yves  Leopold Gaston, a french pioneer of the sugarcane industry in Philippines. 
My favorite part of the Balay Negrense tour is the mini gallery which has plentiful dose of art. You can also buy souvenirs from the gallery. I liked the art made from wires, I never thought it can be admirable.
Here's their website:

Admission fees for Balay Negrense:

Adults ____________Php 40.00
Senior Citizen ______Php 35.00
Children & Students _Php 20.00

5 de Noviembre St., Silay City, 6116 
Contact no: (034) 714-7676

Bernardino Jalandoni Heritage House, Silay City

Some Negrense called it the Pink House because it is painted pale pink. It used to be the residence of Don Bernardino and Doña Ysabel Jalandoni. On November of year 1993, the National Historical Institute declared the Bernardino-Jalandoni House as National Historical Landmark. It is said that the Silay Heritage Foundation Inc., maintains the heritage house.

There's also a doll museum, it's like the mini version of some famed people we've known. Some are Cory Aquino, Lapu- lapu, there's also a Maria Clara doll, etc. 

Admission fees: 
Php 50.00 per head
Rizal St., Silay City, 6116
Contact no: 
(034) 495-5093
Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays 9am to 5pm

We would like to visit some other heritage sites but some are only open by appointment. I truly admire the streets of Silay City, it somehow reminds me of Vigan although both are incomparable.I loved that it is so clean and away from earsplitting noises and pollution. 

I've decided to post the other half of my trip on the next blog.. Check it out too! It'll be my trip to The Ruins in Talisay City and the Mangrove Trail in Balaring, Silay City.