When we traveled to Bacolod to experience the city’s famed MassKara festival, we did not miss our chance to see the most visited heritage house in Silay City, Balay Negrense.
Taking a slice of a local’s history through checking out heritage sites, museums and landmarks had become a habit in our travels. It’s an interesting way of getting a glimpse of individuals, families and events that mattered in a specific period of time and place. Learning history through visuals is way more fun than hearing your Social Studies teacher verball retell events and I’m pretry sure you’d agree with me on this!
Balay Negrense is at Cinco de Nobyembre Street in Silay City, parallel to Rizal Street.
From Bacolod City, ride a jeepney with the Bacolod – Silay route. Travel time is around 30-45 minutes. You can ride Ceres or mini buses that will go to Victorias, Manapla and farther. There are also vans for hire which will take you there which will cost you around Php35 per person.
The ancestral property which is now considered as the most notable house-museum in the province of Negros Occidental was formerly owned by Victor Fernandez Gaston, the eldest son of a prominent sugar baron, Yves Leopold Germain Gaston.
Yves Gaston was a French businessman who married a Filipina from Batangas. He ventured to Negros after he found the soil in the province suitable for sugarcane farming.
Balay Negrense was built in 1897 and it was in October 6, 1990 that the building was officially inaugurated as a museum through the concerted efforts of concerned citizens who had taken the inititaives to restore and refurnish the house. It was the first ancestral house to be declared as a museum in Negros.
Balay Negrense: A cultural Landmark
Situated in the quieter part of the Silay heritage district, Balay Negrense is a two-storey mansion which boasts twelve spacious bedrooms and a wide lawn and water fountian at the entrance. It is primarily built of wood and stone. However, with the passing of American colonization and rehabilitaion of the house, the lower storey has been restored to concrete.
The first floor has the receiving area flanked by three bedrooms on each side. The area was spacious and well ventilated.
A two-way staircase leads to the second floor which was similarly flanked by three bedrooms on each side just like the first floor. A display of heirloom collections, antique furniture and other memorabilia in every corner of the house added to the opulent atmosphere of the ancestral house.
Cinco de Noviembre St., Silay City
Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
(034) 522 63