Silay City is located in the Visayas region of the Philippines, specifically in the province of Negros Occidental. It served as a Spanish settlement during the Spanish colonization in the Philippines, so it’s a guarantee that you will feel and see the rich history the city has to offer to its visitors, especially through the number of historical landmarks the city has maintained. If you’re a history buff, or you love learning about the past in general, this city definitely has a lot of history lessons to give to its visitors.
One of the sites that people visit whenever they’re in Silay City are the heritage houses. The city is famous for having more than 25 heritage houses, mostly built during the 19th century, and having them preserved in good condition. If it’s your first time in Silay City, here are some heritage houses in the city to start you off:
1. Balay Negrense
Balay Negrense is one of the most visited heritage houses in the city of Silay. It was built in 1897 and became the house of Victor Gaston, one of the pioneers of sugar cultivation in the Philippines. Today, it now serves as a museum that showcases the lifestyle of well-off individuals in the 19th century. The house was abandoned during the 1970s but was fortunately restored by the locals and was introduced as a museum in 1990.
Address: Cinco De Noviembre Street, Silay City, Negros Occidental
Price: 60 PHP (1.20 USD)
Contact: +63 347147676
Website: Balay Negrense
2. Hofileña Heritage House
The Manuel Severino Hofileña Heritage House, or Hofileña Heritage House is located on the same street as Balay Negrense. It was built in 1934 and contains heirlooms of the Hofileña and precious art collections, including works of important individuals in the Filipino history such as Juan Luna and Jose Rizal. There are other interesting collections inside the house, such as the world’s smallest dolls, the first pocketbooks, and a working manually-operated printmaking machine. The house is currently owned by Ramon Hofileña who is also recognized as the Father of Heritage Conservation in Silay. If you’re planning on visiting, make sure to give the owner a call since tours are only by appointment.
Hofileña Heritage House
Address: Cinco de Noviembre St., Silay City, Negros Occidental
Price: 50 PHP (1 USD)
Access: By van or tricycle. 100 meters (328 feet) away from Sen Jose C. Locsin Cultural and Civic Center, Silay’s Tourist Information Office
Contact: +63 344954561
3. Bernardino Jalandoni Museum
The Bernardino Jalandoni Museum is a two storey structure that was built with influences from Filipino, European, and Chinese architecture. It is owned by one of the known citizens in Silay, Don Bernardino Jalandoni. Just like Balay Negrense, the Bernardino Jalandoni Museum shows the culture and lifestyle of the wealthy citizens of Silay in the past. The museum is now a venue for various cultural and educational activities, and houses a number of antiques such as a 100-year old Steinway Piano, photos of Old Manila and Silay, and also family portraits of the family that once lived there. Visitors are welcome to drop by the museum any time.
Bernardino Jalandoni Museum
Address: Rizal St, Silay City, Negros Occidental
Price: 50 PHP (1 USD)
Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm. Sundays to Tuesdays. Closed on Mondays.
Access: A few blocks away from the Church of San Diego
Contact: +63 344955093
4. El Ideal Bakery
Trying out the local food is always a must-do everywhere you go! In Silay City, it is recommended for visitors to visit the El Ideal Bakery, the oldest restaurant in the city. The restaurant is also located in another ancestral house, the Cesar Lacson Locsin Ancestral House. This bakery has been doing business since 1920 and has grown from serving homemade biscuits and cookies, to other food choices such as Fresh Lumpia and the traditional Filipino silog breakfast. If you plan to eat here, you must try their famous Guapple Pie, Lumpiang Ubod (Filipino version of Spring Rolls), and Piaya (a type of flat bread).
El Ideal Bakery
Address: 118 Rizal St., Silay City, Negros Occidental
Opening Hours: 6:30am - 6pm
Access: A block away from south of Silay’s Public Plaza; a 5 minute walk from the Bernardino Jalandoni Museum
Contact: +63 344954430
Facebook: El Ideal Bakery
5. San Diego Pro-Cathedral
If you’re looking for some down time, or interested in churches, especially with its architecture, then the San Diego Pro-Cathedral is a must-visit in Silay. San Diego de Alcala Pro-Cathedral Church, or San Diego Pro-Cathedral, is the church in Silay City known for its magnificent architecture. Built in 1925 by the Italian architect, Lucio Bernasconi, the church takes on a Romanesque style design. Its design is quite unique from other churches found in the Philippines. Especially with its dome that is built on top of the altar, the structure is much more similar with the churches found in Rome. As the church has an older design, and was restored and renovated over the years, it sports a unique exterior and interior design which cannot be found in just any other Filipino church, and it definitely shows us the history and Western influences the Philippines experienced in the past.
San Diego Pro-Cathedral
Address: Rizal St., Silay City, Negros Occidental
Access: From the Bacolod-Silay Airport, you can rent a van or ride a tricycle going to the area.
Contact: +63 344950840
The Philippines is known for having a lot of foreign influences found in their language, traditions, lifestyle, and culture. However, rather than being swallowed with these foreign influences, the Filipinos have been able to adopt them and create something new, something uniquely Filipino. Silay City is one of the places in the Philippines that can serve as an introduction to the Filipino culture. Visiting the place would not automatically define what the Philippines and its people are like; but it can give you an idea, an introduction of how these foreign influences came to fit in so well with the culture and lifestyle of Filipinos. Silay City is rich in providing its visitors a taste of the Philippines’ past.
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