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Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Visit to Silay City - The "Paris" of Negros

Name of Trip: The Negros Island Navigation 2009
Date: October 18-21, 2009
Destination: Bacolod/Talisay/Silay cities & Murcia, Negros Occidental and Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
Travel via: Air (Philippine Airlines), Land (van, tricycle and Ceres Liner bus)

Balay Negrense

We left Manbukal Resort at 3PM and went back to our pension house in Bacolod. On our way back to the city, heavy rain approached us. It was supposed to be a cancelled trip but I decided to continue since we headed north of Bacolod to travel back in time. Actually, I told them that we will visit two of the iconic landmarks in Silay City which what they called The Paris of Negros.

Trivia: Silay City had been known in the past as the "Paris of Negros" and the "cultural and intellectual hub of Negros" due to the residents' love for knowledge and works of art, and its collection of heritage mansions built during the height of the Philippine sugar industry's success, of which Negros was the center. It was located 15 kilometers north of Bacolod City.

Most notable among these houses is Balay Negrense, the mansion of the son of the first Negrense sugar baron, Yves Leopold Germain Gaston. Silay is the second Philippine city to have been declared a museum city, next to Vigan in Ilocos Sur. (Source: Silay City)

First Landmark: Balay Negrense

We headed to this place since it was a talk of the city because of rich cultures and preserved things. It is now a museum in the year 1990. If you were a fan of history and old houses, it is a worth visit. More photographers loved this place since it was great place to take photos in and outside this ancestral house.

one of the oldest structures in Silay City

picture on the other side

confirmed ancestral house

located at the back of Balay Negrense

Full of masskara!


museum souvenir shop

made of steel

nice work!


Balay Negrense located at this street

We entered at the back of the house and we were greeted by a staff. We paid PHP40 each and we went inside to the main house. Once we entered, we were amazed the preserved things of the Gaston family. More on memorabilia. Unlike other museum, pictures were allowed but not with flash. All we have to do were to take photos and photos and photos:


their living room

another shot at the living room

stairs to second floor

view to the top

some old items

old telephone

old fan

view of Silay City at the second floor

headed downstairs


me and cousin Evy at downstairs

some articles and paintings

picture outside

at the balcony

Aside from Balay Negrense, there were several ancestral houses along this city particularly in Cinco de Nobiembre street where we felt that we were during Spanish era. It was great to visit this place and I learned a lot onthis tour.

Second Landmark: Silay Pro-Cathedral

This church was seen at the Balay Negrense was their parish church where it looked like the Basilica in Rome. It was because of its dome, which was the only church in the province that has like that. The San Diego Pro-cathedral, formerly known as the San Diego Parish Church or the St. Didacus Parish Church before its declaration as a pro-cathedral in 1994, is an early 20th century church in Silay City, Negros Occidental in the Philippines. It is the only pro-cathedral outside of Manila.

We entered the church and mass was celebrated so we had a time to heard mass. Right after the mass, we took some photos inside and outside the church. 

The pro-cathedral

on the left side

on the right side

the only dome shape church in Negros Occidental


inside the church

heard mass

darker resolution

near the altar

after hearing mass

the altar

where the priest says their homily before

the dome

dome again

These are the two iconic landmarks of Silay City. Actually, this city has many old buildings and structures and we felt that we were on old Spanish days. Good thing, they preserved this and it's a worth visit. So after having a Masskara Festival this October, it is one of the best option to take a tour and explore this city and its preservation of culture and history.

How to get there:
There were several Ceres buses that pass Silay City. Just hail a bus and pay PHP30 fare. Ceres is located at the North Terminal. You will drop off to the poblacion where you will easily find the Silay Pro-Cathedral. After that, take a tricycle and proceed to Balay Negrense and other different old structures and ancestral houses along the city. From Balay Negrense, take a tour by walking around the streets like Cinco de Noviembre. :)

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