Archi Tourism in Silay Second of Three Parts

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Saturday, January 25, 2014


ARCHITECTURE is an art. It is a science or profession of designing buildings with reference to their style. In 1992, the National Historical Institute (now Commission), through the efforts of the Silay Heritage Foundation, declared 31 ancestral houses and institutional buildings of Silay as National Treasure.

This could be the reason why the United Architects of the Philippines- Visayas Region has chosen Silay City for their walking tour on February 1. The three architects – Jude Patrick Tipon, head of the organizing committee; Ariel Tatoy, district director of Area C2; and Alfonso Gamboa, vice president of Area C – have decided to showcase Silay to their fellow architects because of its social, historical, cultural and architectural significance. As far as we are concerned, we are always proud of our Archi Tourism Program.

The oldest house in Silay is the Antonia de la Rama Locsin Heritage House. It dates back to the Spanish Colonial Period to the early American Period, as it follows the typical Visayan “bahay na bato” construction, with ventanillas and sliding capiz windows on the outside. The door knocker attracts the attention of passers-by (that it was kept for good).

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The Alejandro Amechazura Residence, a concrete-wood structure, was built between the 1920’s and the 1930’s. The repetitive pointed arches on the lower floor including the entrance porch with its double columns on a huge concrete base give the house a semi Neo Gothic design.

“Pink House” is the Don Bernardino Lopez Jalandoni Heritage House. This museum boasts of a collection of rare and priceless pieces from Silay’s rich past. It is a treasure chest of well-designed interiors and intricate artworks, including its beautiful embossed steel tray ceiling molded in Hamburgh, Germany. This is being managed by the Silay Heritage Foundation Inc. “Balay Verde” or the Green house is the Angel Araneta Ledesma Heritage House. It is a combination of the American clapboard style and Colonial Plantation popular during the Revivalist Period of the American Period.

The transitional Art-Deco structure, Lino Lope Severino Building, used to be a department store (first floor only). According to Silay senior folks, it has the very the same look of the famed Escolta District of Manila. The gallery below allowed the public to shop. The second floor was used for gaiety living. The Ramon Jardeleza Locsin Ancestral House points to proto-Modernist influence from Bauhaus to Frank Lloyd Wright’s play of forms and spaces. The inclusion of the checkerboard tiles in the front area points to the lingering desire to express Neo-classicism and the lost elegance of the past period.

The Maria Ledesma Golez Ancestral House is an example of a townhouse that had living spaces on the upper floor and commercial spaces on the lower floor. Art deco details are seen in the archways and corner entrance. Classical motifs, like masques and lion heads, also decorate the house. This is an example of architectural (adoptive) reuse. It was purchased in 1992 by RCBC to house its Silay Branch. The bank restored the house and its interiors in accordance to the general design of the house. (There is a plan that the second floor will be made into a money museum.)

Another example of a heritage townhouse with a commercial space is the Manuel de la Rama Locsin Heritage House. All the windows have the beginnings of Art Deco on its ground floor columns. People from all walks of life converge at “Kapihan sa Silay.” They talked about politics, social intrigues, cockfights, latest elopement, and future investments. This is under the Kapitan Marciano Montelibano Lacson Heritage House. This exemplifies the urbanization of “bahay na bato.”

The first ancestral home to open its door to tourists is the Manuel Severino Hofileña Heritage House (now a lifestyle museum) under the management of Ramon Hofileña (son). It has a collection of paintings (and many other items) from the 19th century to the present. The house is a classic take on the American introduced “tsalet” as interpreted by the Negrosanon sensibilities.

“Oro, Plata, Mata.” The opening and closing scenes of Peque Gallaga’s movie about the horror of Second World War took place in Jose Benedicto Gamboa Heritage House. This elegant house spots Art Deco arches, brackets, and dormer windows on the roof. It has Art Deco railing as an American style sun porch on the side. The Leandro de la Rama Locsin Ancestral House was built in 1925. National Artist Leandro V. Locsin grew up here. This is made of concrete and wood and is in Neo Classical style by Italian architect Vernasconi. (To be continued)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 25, 2014.

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