On your way from and to Bacolod-Silay airport, you’ll see tall sugarcane lining the roads. These fields in Silay and Talisay, both north of Bacolod, are a small sample of the agricultural land of Negros Occidental.
During the Spanish and American colonial periods, Silay and Talisay played host to sugar plantations and elegant mansions. Fortunately for history and architecture buffs, many of the homes built by the province’s most eminent families still stand. Some of these heritage houses have even been adapted into museums and retail space.
Spend the day navigating the streets and exploring the heritage homes in Silay and Talisay. Here are a few of the historical buildings you shouldn’t miss, from an ancestral house’s skeletal frame to excellent examples of modern-day reuse.
The Ruins are the remains of the mansion that Mariano Ledesma Lacson built in memory of his deceased wife, Maria Braga. The two-story structure features Italianate architecture with neo-Romanesque columns. The shell-inspired décor on the top edges of the mansion alludes to the career of Lacson’s father-in-law. If you look closely at the exterior posts, you will find two M’s, the monogram of the couple. The Ruins is now a popular tourist attraction and venue for parties, weddings, and other events.
The Ruins is in Talisay City. The tourist landmark is open from Tuesday to Thursday from 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and from Friday to Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Balay ni Tana Dicang
Balay ni Tana Dicang (Home of Kapitana Dicang) is the second home of Efigenio Treyes Lizares and Enrica Labayen Alunan. Built in 1883, this house was made when the family was already engaged in producing sugar. Tana Dicang’s furniture remains where they were when she was the mistress of the house. In 2008, the Lizares family transformed the house into a lifestyle museum with an art gallery.
Balay ni Tana Dicang is at 36 Rizal Street, Talisay City. It is usually open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For details, call +63 34 495 2104 or 712 6800.
Balay Negrense (Negrense House) was the home of Victor Fernandez Gaston. Built in 1897, the two-story structure housed the widower and his 12 children until Gaston’s death 30 years later. For decades, the ancestral house was abandoned and left into disrepair. The balay was donated to the government and turned into one of the city’s first lifestyle museums in the early 1990s.
Balay Negrense is on Cinco de Noviembre Street in Silay City. It is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. For details, call +63 34 714 7676 or +63 919 828 9450.
El Ideal Bakery
The Cesar Lacson Locsin Ancestral House is home to El Ideal Bakery, a local institution since 1920. El Ideal serves meals and desserts, but people flock to this culinary landmark to taste guapple (guava and apple) pie and buy traditional biscuits. In 1993, the National Historical Institute (now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines) declared the ancestral home a heritage house.
El Ideal Bakery is at 118 Rizal Street, Silay City. It is open seven days a week, from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. For details, call +63 34 495 4430.
Maria Ledesma Golez Heritage House
The Maria Ledesma Golez Heritage House is a leading example of what heritage conservation experts call “architectural reuse.” The large townhouse originally consisted of shops on the lower floor and living quarters on the upper floor. According to the Heritage Conservation Society, lion heads and Art Deco elements decorate the house.
In 1992, the structure was purchased and restored by Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC). Since then, this structure is home to the RCBC Silay branch. The heritage house’s interior is new, but in a style consistent with the façade.
Bernardino Jalandoni Museum
The Bernardino Jalandoni Museum, or the “Pink House,” was once the home of Bernardino and Ysabel Jalandoni. The couple was from Jaro, Iloilo, but had migrated to Silay, where they settled and raised their children. The rosy pink residence was built in 1908.
The two-story house is made of balayong, a hardwood that had to be shipped from Mindoro. The well-designed interiors show intricate calado or wooden panels placed between the walls and ceiling to let air circulate. The embossed steel ceiling was molded in Hamburg, Germany.
The Bernardino Jalandoni Museum is on Rizal Street in Silay City. It is usually open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For details, call +63 34 495 5093.
Hofileña Heritage House
The Hofileña Heritage House is currently the residence of the heirs of Manuel Severino Hofileña. The structure was built in 1934. In 1962, it was the very first ancestral house to open its doors to the public.
Unlike many of the structures on our list, the stately Hofileña house remains occupied by its descendants. Ramon Hofileña lives here and personally tours guests. The place is a repository of fine art by Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. Works by National Artists for Visual Arts, such as Fernando Amorsolo, H.R. Ocampo, Vicente Manansala, and Ang Kiukok, can also be seen.
The Hofileña Heritage House is on Cinco de Noviembre Street in Silay City. It is usually open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For bookings and details, call +63 34 495 4561.
Step inside these heritage structures when you book a private day tour of Silay and Talisay through KKday. Tour package fees start at 1,800 PHP per person. Additionally, go on a private half-day tour of Bacolod, which starts at 1,000 PHP per person.
*Featured image via Matyas Rehak & Joseph Oropel on Shutterstock