Silay, Negros Occidental Heritage City
It is a rare experience to be able to walk back in time. Rare maybe, but definitely
possible. It does not even have to involve
a magic spell.
There are places to visit in the Philippines where it can happen. In the Ilocos region, there’s Vigan. In Negros Occidental, there’s Silay.
Silay is touted to be a heritage city. The place retains beautiful remnants of glory days past – beautifully preserved ancestral homes and buildings – all exuding classic artistry. The exquisite architecture of the structures conveys times of the good life.
Times may since have changed in Silay, particularly in terms of economy, but not the grandeur of the physical surroundings. The lavishness of Silay’s past is still very much around, at least hints of it. The good thing is that it may now be enjoyed by anyone, no longer exclusive to the original rich-and-famous residents and owners.
Being in the provincial city would quickly suck any traveler back in time. Its streets still echo footsteps from the past. And 29 surviving ancestral houses still breathe of opulence and elegance.
The National Historical Commission classified all of the extant structures in Silay as national treasures. And many of these structures are now open to the public. Several have been rehabilitated and turned into museums, like the Balay Negrense, Don Bernardino Jalandoni Ancestral House, and Manuel Hofileña Heritage House.
According to travel writer Mai Flores, at www. insights.looloo.com, it takes only a day to visit all of Silay’s old houses. But she suggests that one stays in Silay for at least two or three days in order to fully experience the city. Flores lists five of the places to see:
Municipal Hall Museum It is a small gallery – but packed with too much information, tracing Silay’s roots from way back until the present. A collection of dioramas, documents, and even pieces of clothing are displayed at the exhibition hall.
MUNICIPAL HALL MUSEUM (en.wikipedia.org)