Known as the “Paris of Negros”, Silay city is famous for its ancestral houses built on a wide range of architectural designs. The city boasts to have the most ancestral houses declared by the National Historical Institute as National Treasures, a total of 29 well-preserved houses. It is the second Philippine city to have been declared a museum city, next to Vigan in Ilocos Sur. This makes the city one of the top 25 tourist destinations in the country.
The houses are very easy to locate as they are standing proud very near the town hall, the plaza and the church. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to enter one house - the Manuel Severino Hofilena Ancestral House. I was welcomed by one of the descendants of the owner of the house and then assisted for a tour by their tour guide Gilbert Nemecio. Please note that you can only enter this house "strictly by appointment", I was just lucky enough that I was allowed for a tour even without any appointment.
This is the first ancestral house in Silay to be opened to tourists. It houses Ramon Hofileña's art collections and historical memorabilia. Some interesting finds here include a sketch by Dr. Jose Rizal, several artworks of Filipino masters like Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo and Vicente Manansala and sculptures by Napoleon Abueva. Also included in his collection are toys from different parts of the world and some religious items.
Here are the other ancestral houses that I saw while walking around the city.
Victor Fernandez Gaston Ancestral House (Balay Negrense)
Soledad and Maria Montelibano Lacson Ancestral House
Locsin Ancestral House (House of Judge Reynaldo Alan)
Lino Lopez Severino and Maria Golez Ancestral House
Leandro Dela Rama Locsin Ancestral House
Jose Ledesma Ancestral House
House of Rene and Jessica Velez Dimacali
Generoso Gamboa Ancestral Twin House
Dr.Jose Corteza Locsin Ancestral House
Bernardino Ysabel Jalandoni Ancestral House
Antonia Dela Rama Locsin Ancestral House
...and the other houses that I didn't get the name but equally beautiful.
The houses are located close to each other making it a great venue for walking tours.
This tour started my fascination on heritage houses. In the coming days, I'll be featuring another must-see heritage town that I visited recently - Taal Batangas.
This Negros Occidental solo trip happened last December 11-12, 2010. Here is a series of posts on my 2-day experience in one of the most progressive provinces in the country. Discover the places I've been to, the people I met, the food I tasted and the experience I gained in this memorable adventure.
Bacolod, Murcia, Talisay and Silay | Mambukal Resort in Murcia | The Town of Murcia | The Ruins in Talisay City | Silay City, "The Paris of Negros" | The Capitol Park and Lagoon Complex | The San Sebastian Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace | Pope John Paul II Tower in Bacolod City | Heritage Houses in Silay City
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