|Location: Silay City,Negros Occidental, Western Visayas (Region VI), Philippines|
Postal Address: Cinco de Noviembre Street, Barangay III, Silay City 6115, Philippines
Coordinates: 10.799539°N 122.973291°E
Descriptive Summary: The Balay Negrense was originally the ancestral house of Victor Fernandez Gaston, a son of Yves Leopold Germain Gaston and Prudencia Fernandez. The elder Gaston is a native of Normandy in France where he married a Filipina from Batangas where he initially began experimenting with sugar production before relocating to Negros. Balay Negrense is a museum in Silay City which showcases the lifestyle of a late 19th-century Negrense sugar baron. This museum was the first to be established in Negros Occidental in October 6, 1990.
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This is a part of my April 11 – 15, 2014 Mount Kanlaon – Negros Occidental Trips which includes: Mount Kanlaon Climb; Mambukal Mountain Resort; Bacolod City Tour; and The Ruins of Talisay.
The Balay Negrense (Hiligaynon for Negrense), an ancestral house of a wealthy Victor F. Gaston, is a museum in Silay City, Negros Occidental which showcases the lifestyle of a late 19th-century Negrense sugar baron. Victor is the son of Yves Leopold Germain Gaston who is a native of Normandy in France and Batangueňa Prudencia Fernandez. The elder Gaston where he first experimented sugar production in Batangas before he relocated to Negros.
By looking at the following pictures, it's worth like touring inside it. Read on . . .
This house which was built in 1897 served to be the residence of Victor Gaston and his twelve children from 1901 until his death in 1927 and was vacated by his bereaved family. It was abandoned in the mid-1970s and fell into deterioration until it was managed by the Negros Cultural Foundation.
The year 1975 was a significant date when the house was donated by Msgr. Guillermo Ma. Gaston to the Philippine Tourism Authority which is now known as the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority. Its repairs and restorations were taken from both the funds provided by prominent individuals and a counterpart of P5,000,000 from the Philippine Tourism Authority.
After completing all the repairs and restorations which include the provision of period furniture and fixtures, the old house was officially inaugurated as a museum on October 6, 1990. Further, it was listed as a heritage house on March 8, 1994 pursuant to Board Resolution No. 1 of the National Historical Institute of the Philippines (National Historical Commission of the Philippines).
As described from its website, www.balaynegrense.com the mansion-turned museum is of house called bahay na bato, literally “house of stone”, however, it reflects American colonial influences where the lower storey is not constructed of stone but of concrete. The foundation posts are made out of trunks of the balayong tree, a local hardwood; the floorboards are of the same material. The house’s upper storey is constructed of wood topped with a roof of galvanized iron instead of tile.
The aforementioned website further describes the house to have a four-meter high ceiling and large windows with ventanillas, smaller windows beneath the large windows with sliding panels that can be opened to admit the wind. The lower storey itself is elevated from ground level by a meter-high crawlspace, allowing the wooden foundations to be aired, preventing dampness from rotting the wood.
Balay Negrense which is located in Silay City is just 4.7 kilometers from the airport in the name of Silay International Airport. It is 6.2 Kilometers from Talisay City where the famous The Ruins is located and 14.3 kilometers from Bacolod City. Silay, Talisay and Bacolod comprises the cities of Metro Bacolod.
When you visit the mansion, see to it that you are able to tour inside it. In-house guides are available where they will explain to you in detail the parts and the contents of the house. For an entrance fee of P50, you will learn a lot of what it is to live as a wealthy person in the late 19th century in Negros.
While in Silay, try to visit also El Ideal, Silay’s Original Bakery since 1920. Try their wide array of delicious cakes and pastries and some other delicacies. They can be good as “pasalubong”.
Of course, don’t miss also to visit the complete paradise of Mambukal Mountain Resort where you can enjoy their natural hotsprings, lagoon, water falls and other attractions. Of course, for a mountaineer, Silay is just two hours away from Guintubdan, the jump-off point of Mount Kanlaon.
HOW TO GET THERE:
From Bacolod, you can take a jeepney for 20 minutes travel at P18 fare one way. But if you want to relax and travel in convenience, you can take a taxi cab where Negrense drivers are honest in the truest sense of the word. Being in Bacolod, you can take the three cities for a day trip by hiring a taxi cab. For twice we have been to Bacolod, we only hired a certain Mr. Dante Nono for touring services where you can contact him through his mobile number at 09394494041.