Sunday, September 7, 2008

A glimpse of Silay

The city of Silay is often referred to as the city with the richest culture in all of Negros Occidental. This quiet and clean city is the location of the new airport which opened just last January to accommodate the visitors expected to flock to this city as well as nearby Bacolod.

We ventured here during the recent three-day weekend break and we would've loved to get a glimpse of the much-spoken about water wonders of Patag or even just the sugar plantations lying just outside the city proper. But as fate would've had it, I had a bout of food poisoning which already cut into our limited vacation time. Staying in Silay isn't a bad idea either as the city has a number of ancestral homes designated as heritage homes.
We had the fortune of passing by the most well-known one, the Balay Negrense, on the way to the airport for our return trip to Manila. The skies may be overcast and we were in a hurry for our flight in the early evening but seeing Balay Negrense even for just a little more than a passing glance was a great experience. Maybe next time we would be able to take in more than a 10-minute visit as well as document the other homes in the vicinity.

one common lament we heard all throughout our short stay was the increasing disappearance of sugarcane plantations in favor of real estate development. either that or the younger generation would rather sell their share of their inherited land than continue sugarcane farming, a venture that used to make hacienderos rich with their sugary harvests but since the '80s have produced less than sweet profits. is this sugarlandia suffering the same fate as the cordilleras where the new generation would rather migrate to the cities or overseas to make a living instead of continuing a way of life? if so, do visit this place before practicality overtakes tradition and the sugarcane farming tradition fades to oblivion. 

contact info: balay negrense museum, silay, negros occidental, (034) 7147676; open on weekdays; opens on weekends on special request; for more details, visit www.balaynegrense.com

10 comments:

estan said...

I really haven't toured around much of Silay. Problema pa, yung mga photos ko of the place got deleted :(

lagal[og] said...

naku bai, what happened to your photos? that's why i'm a bit paranoid when it comes to archiving my images, i lost some of my own kaya hard lesson to learn talaga.

Ferdz said...

I think it's lucky that our driver allowed us to pass by this place for a while. Magaganda rin yung mga old houses dun.

Medyo na disappoint din ako when I heard about the dying sugarcane harvest industry here, which the place is known for.

lagal[og] said...

wulfriend, onga e, it was nice for our driver to insist on passing by balay negrense. when we were talking, he allayed my fears of being late in checking in and told me point-blank that it was almost a sin to miss out on this opportunity. maybe next time we'll have more chances of documenting the old houses. regarding the vanishing sugarcane plantations, i'm also mixed up about it. can't blame the younger generation for exploring new opportunities but at the same time, it's sad to see old ways of life disappearing during our lifetime. i wonder what can be done to address this.

arlene said...

I forwarded this post to a friend who is from Silay and she suddenly missed her town by looking at your photos.

lagal[og] said...

naku thanks arlene. i think that's a big accomplishment already. sayang nga, i had a bout of food poisoning, otherwise mas marami pa sana akong pictures to share.

the donG said...

when i saw these ancestral houses years back im also amazed at the architecture. i hope that some of the houses will still be built in this form to at least preserve some of our ancestral treasures.

ifoundme said...

wow! you came here in negros?

the pictures are very nice and a lot of people mention you to me whenever i ask tips about photography.

i'm a beginner and my pictures are really boring. would it be okay to ask tips from you?

anyway, sugarcane plantations are still okay in some other parts of negros but like you said, the ones near the highways are being transformed into posh subdivisions.

Christian | Lakad Pilipinas said...

Nasubukan ko last year mag daytour sa Silay, medyo DIY lang, lakad lakad lang.

What I wished though is a map of where all the ancestral houses are located, meron daw sa tourism office but was unable to obtain one. =)

lagalog said...

Christian, I think the best thing to do if you're doing a DIY trip is to ask the locals in lieu of a map because I don't think there's one. Magastos at matrabaho din kasi mag-produce ng map.

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