People gather to witness reenactments of key events, reminding everyone of their ancestors’ bravery and resilience. Silay’s palette extends beyond its architecture and festivals; it also includes its culinary traditions. Nestled in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines, lies a city that is often referred to as the “”Paris of Negros”” – Silay City. This charming city is known for its well-preserved heritage houses and architectural ensemble that showcase a harmonious blend of various influences from different eras. Silay City boasts an impressive collection of ancestral homes that date back to the Spanish colonial period. These grand houses were built by wealthy sugar barons who made their fortunes during the heyday of the sugar industry in Negros.
The architecture reflects a fusion of European and Filipino styles, resulting in unique structures that are truly captivating. One notable example is Balay Negrense, also known as Victor silay city F. Gaston Ancestral House. Built in 1897, this two-story wooden house showcases neoclassical design with intricate woodwork and elegant furnishings. It serves as a museum today, offering visitors a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle enjoyed by affluent families during that era. Another must-visit heritage house is Bernardino Jalandoni Museum, formerly known as Hofileña Ancestral House. This Italianate-style mansion was constructed in 1934 and features beautiful stained glass windows imported from France. Inside, visitors can admire an extensive collection of antique furniture and art pieces collected over generations.
The architectural ensemble extends beyond individual houses; it encompasses entire streets lined with these magnificent structures. One such street is Cinco de Noviembre Street (formerly Rizal Street), where several ancestral homes stand side by side like silent witnesses to history. Walking along this street feels like stepping back in time as one marvels at the well-preserved facades adorned with ornate details. Silay City’s commitment to preserving its architectural heritage goes beyond mere restoration efforts; it actively promotes cultural tourism through events such as Kansilay Festival and Adobo Festival. These festivals celebrate the city’s rich history and cultural heritage, attracting both locals and tourists alike. The Kansilay Festival, held every January, showcases Silay City’s unique blend of Spanish and Filipino traditions through street dancing, parades, and various cultural activities.