Silay Ancestral House Hopping and Guapple Pie Food Tripping

Rizal Street in Silay

Rizal Street in Silay City (main street going to and from Bacolod City)

Silay City is popularly known as the “Paris of Negros Occidental” because this was where the rich hacienderos and pillars of the sugarcane industry in Negros Occidental lived during the late 1800’s. Silay is also the bastion of arts and culture – thanks to Jose Pitong Ledesma, a pianist and conductor, the first one to bring the European operattas and zarzuelas in Silay. High Culture prevails in this area (if we are to look at this in the Western Marxist perspective). If you are into historical architectures, local arts and culture, this is the place you must visit. Silay City is just around 30 – 45 minutes away from Bacolod City. This is also where the new Bacolod Airport is located.

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Balay Negrense (Victor Fernandez Gaston Ancestral House)

 

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The Gaston family is one of the prominent families in Negros Occidental. The French patriarch and sugar baron Yves Leopold Germain Gaston and his Batanguena wife Prudencia Fernandez are the pioneers in the sugarcane industry in Negros Occidental. Their eldest son, Victor Fernandez Gaston had a house built in 1897 which is now popularly called “Balay Negrense”. He lived here with his family only in 1901 until 1927 however his family stayed until around the 1960’s.  Balay Negrense is not where the classic film of Peque Gallaga “Oro Plata Mata” was shot, only a few scenes were shot here according to the caretaker (the Oro Plata Mata house was also owned by the Gastons, in Hacienda Rosalia, Manapla).

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Hofileña Ancestral House

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The Hofileña residence is truly a house filled with rare Silay artifacts. Built in 1934 however it was only opened to the public in 1993. One of the living direct descendants of Manuel Severino Hofileña, Ramon Hofileña, is an art enthusiast and the one who also conducts the tour of the house. Actually, their family is composed of artists in different genres. If you are familiar with the Abellanas such as Ray “PJ” Abellana and Jojo Abellana (from a youth-oriented pop culture show “That’s Entertainment”, they’re blood related. Anyway, Ramon Hofileña, is also the expert in Negrense History. He conducts the Silay Cultural-Heritage Tour every Saturdays of December for free, as his contribution to Philippine art and history. If you are a Philippine art enthusiast, you will definitely enjoy this house. I suddenly remembered the things that were taught to me during my Art Studies classes in UP 😀 There are paintings and sketches of Juan Luna, Jose Rizal and Fernando Amorsolo. Aside from art during the Spanish invasion, there are also paintings and sculptures by Silay artists. Truly, this is a place where you will appreciate Philippine art.

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Bernardino -Jalandoni Ancestral House and Museum

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The Jalandoni Ancestral House is owned by Don Bernardino Jalandoni and his wife Ysabel Ledesma-Jalandoni. The house was completed in 1908. It’s very easy to see the Jalandoni Ancestral House because it’s just located in Rizal Street, the main street that you will pass by going to and from Bacolod City. It was only in 1993 when public viewing was allowed and was the first heritage house to be opened in Silay City.

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Love in The Ruins

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The Don Mariano Lacson Ancestral House (or commonly called “The Ruins”) is one of the places that you shouldn’t miss when you’re in Bacolod. The Ruins is also called the Taj Mahal of Negros Occidental because this house was built by a sugar baron, Don Mariano Lacson for his first wife, Maria Baron dring the 1900’s. The house survived the Japanese occupation; guerillas at that time utilized this place as one of their hideouts.

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Visita Iglesia in Southern Iloilo

San Joaquin Church in Iloilo 12

Parish of San Joaquin

During Holy Week, many Filipinos do the “Visita Iglesia” ( or Church Visits in English), a tradition done every Holy Thursday during Lent. This is to commemorate the 14 stations of the cross. Traditionally, 7 churches are supposed to be visited, praying 2 stations of the cross per church. In the modern times, the person who does Visita Iglesia visits 14 churches instead of the 14.

Iloilo is one of the provinces in Western Visayas that was infiltrated by Roman Catholicism and is frequented by those who still practice Visita Iglesia. Whether you are a believer of Roman Catholicism or not, it is still worthwhile to see these churches — for the sake of historical and art appreciation purposes. Here are some suggestions and must visits when doing Visita Iglesia in Southern Iloilo:

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Feeling Like a Kid Again in Universal Studios Singapore

Outside Universal Studios - 2

I was feeling like a child again when we went to Universal Studios last September 2010 in Singapore. I’ve been to Universal Studios Japan in 2001 but Singapore’s is much smaller. Universal Studios in Singapore is located at the Resorts World Sentosa.

Once you enter Universal Studios, you can already get a map of the entire place which will help you locate all the rides and attractions in the area. Here’s one tip, buy your tickets online and make sure it’s a weekday because it’s much cheaper and for convenience. We went there on a Thursday and only paid SGD66 per adult. There’s what they call the Universal Express (costs SGD30 on top of your entrance fee), which is their priority lane on rides and attractions. I suggest that you get this only if you will be going there on weekend. It’s a waste of money if there’s no long queue! You can buy the tickets here.

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