When asked about one’s nationality by a foreigner, a Filipino would typically answer upfront that he or she is Filipino it would then be followed by a slight surprise and inquiry from the latter due to the undeniable mixed features that one carries. From there you’ll hear answers such as oh its because we’re of Filipino, Malay, Chinese, and of Spanish heritage. You could probably say that the Philippines was way ahead of its time when it comes to interracial marriages hence the endless cocktail and infusions of cultures. Even up to this day it has been evident in the areas of architecture, art, and design. Nestled in the charming town of Silay are a series of well preserved houses that tell stories of the time before ours that have somehow influenced where and what we know today.
Appropriately known as the “little Paris” of the Visayas it boasts well curated art, items, and houses that transport you back in time. I was privileged enough to visit 2 houses during my half day visit and learned so much about the lifestyle and ways of affluent families back then.
Balay Negrense has always been infamous if you are in the Negros region, true to its form it houses antiques donated by families and has preserved its structure as one of the oldest institutions in the Silay area.
We were fortunate enough to have such a lively and engaging guide for such a tiny fee that it didn’t even feel like you were actually listening in a history lesson. Within the house’s walls were the ancestry of the Gascon clan who originally owned the house.
One can also find their family’s badge attesting to their heritage and the values in which they were found and guided on. The influence of french culture was also evident as their roots were traced back in Normandy France.
The house boasts of two floors and a basement which shall give you an insight on how was life was lived back then.
The stairs take an “Oro, Plata, Mata” sequence that contains tell tale signs of superstition even back in the day. Women take he left side while men take on the right.
The living area with its grand windows overlooking the town and the church dome back in the day.
A curation of furniture and memoirs that tell the rich history of Silay and the generations it has housed.