Olorga: The glory and grandeur of a house-A A +A
By Mimi Olarga
Saturday, February 5, 2011
IT'S February once again. And thinking out of the traditional and the ordinary, February should not be relegated to the stereotype cast of love-month but should be elevated to the noble National Arts Month. And just like the thematic concept given by the Philippine International Arts Festival last year, February carries the National Arts Month tag line "Ating Anihin, Ani Ng Sining, Ng Taumbayan!"
So what better way to reap the beauty, complexity, grandeur, glory and uniqueness of our local artists' crafts than paying a visit to the repositories of the fine, beautiful and the historical--the museums?
Quaintly nestled on 14 Cinco de Noviembre Street in Silay City is the Manuel Severino Hofileña Ancestral House. And take note: don't allow the simple façade bring down your tastes, because within is a magnificent showcase of fabulous collection and first-rate masterpieces. Sorry, I don't want to pre-empt your tour inside--I just want to enliven your senses.
Congenial and intelligent, Ramon Hofileña graciously welcomed us guests to his humble home. Asking for our language preferences for his lecture, we ventured for the second language, English, which is much to his liking. And true to his form of a well-bred man of culture and the arts, and the acclaimed "father of heritage conservation in Silay", our charismatic host started his narrative of the glory and grandeur of the house, his forebears' and now, his siblings' and his own.
The incomparable house, built to claim the grand lineage of the rich and famous, stands on hard wood which has withstood the test of time. The ornate carvings of the balusters, the spacious living room, the cozy "caida" or receiving room are amplified into imposing greatness by the antique wooden furniture adorning them. The Rachall piano from Germany, which is around 150-200 years old from Mr. Hofileña's great grandmother, the friars' chairs, the big vases which date back from the Ming Dynasty, the wooden icons of the saints, the hard wood "platera" and other glass display cabinets containing porcelain and other ceramic archaeological findings from different places of the country and the world are just concrete supports why the Hofileña House is incomparable.
And mind you, these are all just on the first landing. Add to this the rarest and unique smallest dolls in the world, the size of which is that of the grain of rice, seen only through a magnifying glass. Indeed, this find is truly amazing! And the dining room, donned with the finest crystals, also boasts of having a chopping board by National Artist Napoleon Abueva and a wine barrel from a Spanish galleon. The dining room is also that part of the house where we were seated and had a lecture on the processes of printmaking.
And if we almost had our fill of awe and delight at what we discovered and learned in the first floor, we were really brimming with enchantment as we basked in the works of the masters in the second floor. Framed and hung on the walls are the works of Juan Luna, Jose Rizal, Felix Hidalgo, Fernando Amorsolo, Vicente Manansala, Ben Cabrera, and Ang kiukok. Noteworthy too is the work of the late Condrado Judith, a native of Silay, who died in the prime of his life, yet had left outstanding visual works which have proven to be at par with the masters.
The "ventanilla" and the callado engravings on the windows provided cool and comfort to all the visitors, much as the house owner's comfortable four-poster bed with crocheted coverlet looks so inviting for a nap. Also admirable are the framed posters from other parts of the world and the rich collection of the classic 'DVD's of Mr.Hofileña.
Our descent back to the house's first landing was also colored with a look and an invite to buy the popular meteorite and tektite stones, postcards, and other souvenir items located in a nook of the formal receiving room. Said to be bringing good luck and healing, the meteorite stones are bought from the local natives and are also sold to interested buyers at a very reasonable price.
After a sincere show of gratitude of tour guide-par excellence Mr. Ramon Hofileña, we made our way to our waiting bus. But this did not come first before a short stop to read the National Historical Institute marker on the wall of the house. As per Board Resolution Number 3, dated April 6, 1993, the Hofileña House has achieved its distinction and recognition--that of being one of the ancestral houses of Silay, in particular, and the country in general.
"Ating Anihin, Ani Ng Sining, ng Taumbayan." Yes, the beauty and the grandeur of our people and our nation are reflected in the wonderful works of our artists and varied collection of our art connoisseurs and museum owners. And this magnificence is all for us for the taking. In turn, we are very proud of our artists, and the fact that we have people who believe and who take care of their works. The Hofileña House and Mr. Ramon Hofileña have proven that. And after our visit in such fine place of a house with all its interesting curios and artifacts, this fact remains--the glory and grandeur of our people are just within our midst. Silay City is just within our metropolis, and if you haven't been there, why not pay it a visit? Thanks. Happy weekend everyone. God bless.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 05, 2011.