It is a vibrant celebration that highlights the city’s architectural ensemble as a living testament to its past. Similarly, the Adobo Festival celebrates one of the Philippines’ most beloved dishes – adobo. Nestled in the heart of Negros Occidental, Philippines, lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered – Silay City. Known as the “”Paris of Negros”” due to its well-preserved ancestral houses and rich cultural heritage, this city offers a unique experience for travelers seeking an authentic cultural adventure. Silay City is home to more than 30 ancestral houses that have been declared as national treasures by the Philippine government. These beautifully preserved Spanish-era mansions showcase intricate architectural designs and are a testament to the city’s affluent past.
Walking through these grand structures feels like stepping back in time, with each house telling its own story of wealth and opulence. One must-visit destination in Silay City is Balay Negrense Museum. This iconic yellow mansion was built in 1897 by Victor Gaston, one of the wealthiest sugar barons during that time. Today, it serves as a museum that showcases the lifestyle and history of Negrense families during the early 20th century. Visitors can explore various rooms filled with antique furniture, photographs, and memorabilia from that era. Another notable attraction is Hofileña Ancestral House which features an impressive collection of art pieces including paintings by renowned Filipino artists such as silay city Fernando Amorsolo and Juan Luna. The house itself is a work of art with its ornate wooden carvings and stained glass windows.
Aside from exploring ancestral houses, Silay City also offers other cultural experiences such as traditional dance performances at El Ideal Bakery or joining workshops on mask-making at Adobo Festival Center for Arts & Culture. These activities provide visitors with an opportunity to immerse themselves in local traditions while learning about their significance within Silayan culture. Food enthusiasts will also find delight in Silay City’s culinary scene. The city boasts several restaurants serving authentic Negrense cuisine which combines Spanish influences with local flavors. Must-try dishes include chicken inasal, a grilled chicken marinated in local spices, and piaya, a sweet flatbread filled with muscovado sugar. For those seeking outdoor adventures, Silay City is surrounded by natural wonders waiting to be explored.