Echoes of the Past: Silay City’s Living History

Echoes of the Past: Silay City's Living History

Silay’s famous piaya, a sweet flatbread filled with muscovado sugar, is a must-try treat that perfectly encapsulates the city’s rich culinary heritage. To truly appreciate Silay’s splendor, one must take the time to explore its hidden gems. Nestled in the province of Negros Occidental in the Philippines, Silay City is a place where time seems to stand still. Known as the “”Paris of Negros”” due to its well-preserved ancestral houses and rich cultural heritage, this charming city offers visitors a glimpse into its vibrant past. Silay City was once a bustling sugar capital during the Spanish colonial era. The wealth generated from sugarcane plantations allowed affluent families to build grand mansions that still grace the streets today. These ancestral houses serve as living testaments to Silay’s glorious history.

One such house is Balay Negrense, an iconic landmark that showcases how wealthy sugar barons lived during their heyday. Built in 1897 by Victor Gaston, it stands as one of the oldest surviving wooden houses in Negros Occidental. Visitors can explore its rooms filled with antique furniture and artifacts while learning about life during that period. Another notable mansion is Bernardino Jalandoni Museum, which was built in 1908 by Don Bernardino Jalandoni for his wife Ysabel Ledesma Lacson-Jalandoni. This museum provides insights into Silay’s social history through various exhibits featuring vintage photographs, clothing, and personal belongings of prominent figures from yesteryears. Aside from these grand mansions, Silay also boasts several churches that reflect its deep religious roots.

San Diego Pro-Cathedral is one such example—a majestic church constructed using coral stones and bricks dating back to 192 Its intricate stained glass windows depict biblical scenes while exuding an aura of tranquility. To fully immerse oneself in Silay’s living history, a visit to Hofileña Ancestral House is highly recommended. Owned by Ramon Hofileña and his family since 1934, this house-turned-museum showcases an extensive collection of silay city art, antiques, and memorabilia. From vintage photographs to antique furniture, every corner of this house tells a story. Silay City’s commitment to preserving its heritage is evident in the annual Kansilay Festival. Held every January, this week-long celebration showcases Silay’s cultural diversity through various activities such as street dancing, food fairs, and art exhibits.

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