Thursday, February 09, 2012

Balay Negrense - Bacolod Ancestral House

Aside from our trip to Mambukal Falls, Peter and I also visited the lovely ancestral houses in BacolodOn this blog post, I'll concentrate on Balay Negrense first. 

So going out of Saltimboca Inn where we stayedwe hailed a jeepney with a sign board Libertad-Bata going to Robinson's Mall (Php8/pax). Then we took another jeepney going to Silay (Php15/pax). When we saw this big church from afar (San Diego Pro-Cathedral), we went down at Rizal cor. Zulieta Sts. near Silay City Public Park and started asking people where Balay Negrense is located. 

Apparently, it's just walking distance from the park. The church is just also there at the next street (Rizal cor. Zamora Sts.) and all the other ancestral houses are also within the vicinity.

The walk was just for a few minutes. Right across the Balay Negrense property is this marker:

Heading inside the property, we went up and rang this old-fashioned bell. 

Entrance to the ancestral house is Php40 for adults, Php20 for students and kids, and Php35 for senior citizens. These payments serve as donations to help preserve and restore the museum's collections.  

Balay Negrense is a museum in Silay City, Nergros Occidental, originally owned by Victor F. Gaston who was one of the pioneers of sugarcane cultivation in this part of the Philippines. Gaston was a native of France who married a Filipina from Batangas and they later on relocated here in Bacolod. 

Balay Negrense was built in 1897 where Gaston, his wife and 12 children lived from 1901 until 1927, the year Gaston died. The family eventually abandoned this house which almost fell into ruins but fortunately the Negros Cultural Foundation was able to acquire the property as a form of donation from the Gaston family. Donations from illustrious individuals as well as the Philippine's Department of Tourism helped repair this ancestral house and in October 6, 1990, it was formally inaugurated as a museum. 

Balay Negrense is classified as a house of stone but because of the influence of American colonialism, we can see that the first floor is made of concrete instead of stone. It is interesting to note that the foundation posts of this house are made of Balayong tree trunks which is a type of hardwood native in Bacolod. The same goes for the flooring. 

The second floor of the ancestral house is made of wood and its roof is made of galvanized iron. We noticed too that the house has huge windows which has smaller windows or what they called then as ventinillas. These ventinillas have sliding panels for ventilation purposes. 

The lower storey or basement where they have a small store of trinkets and paintings is elevated from the ground to allow air inside. This prevents dampness and wood rot which is why until now, even after more than a century, Balay Negrense is still standing. 

Balay negrense is very picturesque and admirable. Visiting the said ancestral house in Bacolod made us have a glimpse of what it was like for people of Bacolod (the rich ones at least) to live under the American regime at that time. Peter and I were glad to have visited this museum and after this house, off we went to the other ancestral houses Bacolod has to offer... ^_^

feeling lola...

For more photos please click here:

Next stop: Bernardino Jalandoni Ancestral House

For other things to do in Bacolod, here's an awesome list of Bacolod Things to Do.

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