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
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