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.
When we were in Bacolod last February during the Bacolaodiat Festival, we explored Silay City in a few hours. Thanks to Project7107’s Do It Your Self Map of Silay, we were able to navigate easily. The Locsin y Lacson house is not open for public viewing because there are commercial establishments there. You can just take a photo of it from the outside.
Since we came from Victorias City, our house-hopping tour started at the Bernardino Jalandoni Museum. Roaming the house would take you around 30 – 40 minutes, depending on you of course. There is a tour guide that will be with you while you go around the house. Photography is allowed in this museum.
Next stop is the Hofileña Ancestral House located in Cinco de Nobyembre Street. Please make sure that you book before going there. Don’t be like us who came there without an appointment. 🙂 The reason for the appointment is that Mon Hofileña, one of the descendants of the Hofileñas gives a personalized tour of the house. For me, he’s one of the best guides because he really knows Silay right through its core. He’s a bit of a chatter so if you are in a hurry, please let him know.
In between the ancestral house hopping, we decided to eat at El Ideal. This restaurant is an “institution” in Silay and is famous for its Guapple Pie. They also sell delicacies for pasalubong for your loved ones. 😀 I suggest that you buy your delicacies here because it’s cheaper than buying at the airport. Silay is famous for the Angel Cookies. These are made of unused ostias or Communion Hosts.
Balay Negrense is just a few blocks away from the Hofileña Ancestral House. One can go around Balay Negrense without a tour guide but if you need one, just let the caretakers know. This is probably the biggest house among all the other ancestral houses we’ve been in Silay. It has a great view of Silay and the church.
All entrance fees to the ancestral houses / museums are PHP40 per person. Student rates are much lower and of course, IDs should be presented if one wants to avail of the student rates. You can take photos inside the house, except do not use flash photography in some of the locations in each house. I suggest that you get to know the settings of your camera before going to these places :D. House-hopping in Silay can take you around 3 – 4 hours.