When I was in Negros in April, I took an afternoon trip to Silay City to visit my great-grandfather's ancestral home. But that would be in another post.:p For now, let me share these snapshots I took while walking the streets of Silay City that rainy afternoon.
Dubbed as the "Paris of Negros", this is where the island's sugar industry started in the 18th century. The first sugar mill (Horno Economico) was built here in 1846 by a Frenchman who was married to a Filipina. Haciendas were later established in Silay, and families from the nearby island of Panay also settled here because of the promising sugar industry.
The hacienderos (land owners/sugar planters) grew rich in the sugar boom---the ancestral houses built during the golden age of the sugar industry speak eloquently of the lavish lifestyles. When the 1980's sugar crisis hit the sugar industry, planters were faced with economic hardships forcing many of the sugar barons to abandon their farms and curtail their spending. People who worked in the haciendas went through a more difficult life--the province became so impoverished that many people went hungry.
This is the Maria Ledesma Golez House---bought and restored by a bank (RCBC) in the 1990's. The house at the background (with red roof) is my great-grandfather's ancestral home.
There are about 31 well-preserved ancestral homes in Silay today--some of them have been turned into museums, most of them are still privately-owned.
Below is the main street in front of the plaza and cathedral. My aunt used to live behind the light blue building--and if my memory is correct, it's also where El Ideal Bakery was located. El Ideal is an institution in Silay, baking traditional cakes and pastries in a huge wood-fired oven. We used to buy snacks in the bakery almost every afternoon when I was about 6 or 7.
If not for the rain, I could have visited more ancestral houses. Well, maybe next time.
These days, Negros is slowly regaining the vitality it had during the sugar boom in the last century. But with the 2015 ASEAN Free Trade Agreement hanging over its head, the sugar industry is again facing new challenges on how to compete with cheap imported sugar in the market.
Silay City is where the new domestic airport is located. It is an hour flight from Manila, and about 15 kilometers north of Bacolod City, the provincial capital.
Posted for My World Tuesday
I love looking at old houses, I like how they call them ancestral or heritage houses/homes. I hope you show us some more.
Great post on this place, very new to me.
Sydney - City and Suburbs
interesting post with beautiful images!
Different landscape consisted of different architecture is fun to see. It’s nice to know ancestral homes are well preserved privately or remodeled into museums for practical use not just for display. Hope the city will get revitalized in spite of the marketing difficulty. Your photos are fabulous: the city looks nice enveloped in the soft wet air.
The architecture is splendid! So lovely.
The house looks magnificent!!
I always get a pasalubong from Ideal whenever my officemate goes home to Silay. She is vacationing right now and will be back end of the month.
Those old houses reminded me of the scene in Dumaguete's boulevard. Your photos made me so nostalgic.
Thank you for very interesting story! These splendid houses tell me how sugar business was thriving.It is good the historical houses have been preserved well.
Have a great week!
How fascinating! & the architecture is lovely.
I also love your banner shot too, so beautiful.
Such pretty old buildings. We have nothing like that here where I am.
Wonderful place and great structures.
Very interesting post and what a beautiful mansion !
This is really a great set of images. Beautiful!
The big house reminds me of mansions I saw in Hawaii. I guess the same architectural features work well across tropical environments.
Fun to go back to your roots, even if it's changed a lot. Perhaps the airport will help rebuild the local economy.
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