History on Wheels: Beyond the classroom

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


SILAY City Tourism Office has been coordinating (helping) Silay City Division Office on varied DepEd activities. We have very successful projects like Junior Tour Guides Program Enhancement, Mother Tongue, and Indigenous People Education.

On August 22, Silay City Tourism Office and the DepEd Social Studies Department will be launching another project, “History on Wheels”. Mrs. Florinda Artajo, the Social Studies supervisor, has identified teachers who will be in the frontline of the program. A bunch of teachers made intensive and extensive research on the existing landmarks of Silay with the assistance of Silay City Tourism Office.

The Office of the City Mayor provided a tourist bus that can accommodate 50 tourists. The first 50 tourists are the supervisors and principals of Silay City Division. A group of teacher will take turn in giving lecture on the places included in the itinerary. This is like tour guiding except that a lecturer takes time to give historical data.

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In important attractions like museums, potters’ village, and churches, the participants are requested to go down and follow the lecturers who become tour guides. Principals and supervisors will rate the tour guides and in return they will be rated also based on their participations and their attitude during the activities.

The next batches are composed of student leaders, teachers, and regular students. This kind of activity will give teachers and students the opportunity to have learning options other than black board and chalk session in the classrooms. The Silay City Tourism Office will provide training on “teaching is acting”, “use of human props in teaching”, and the “dramatic approach to lesson presentation”.

The “Wheel Team” will start from the “horno economic” chimney marker at the boundary of Silay and Talisay. The lecture will focus on the history of the sugar industry from “molino de sangre” up to the modern production of “blanco directo” (white sugar) of Hawaiian – Philippine Company. As the tourist bus wheels, the wheelers will pass by the potters’ village in Brgy. Guinhalaran where pottery, the ancient art of Silay, will be discussed.

The wheelers will also emphatically view the development of public and private education as they reach St. Therisita’s Academy, Silay Institute, Silay South Elementary School, Silay North Elementary School, Gov. Emilio Gaston Memorial Elementary School and the Doña Montserrat Lopez Memorial High School. Topics include: the Gabaldon Buildings, curriculum development, teaching-learning process, and the social welfare of the educators.

In this trip, Dr. Neri Ann Alibuyog, the schools division superintendent of Silay and her staff, will be there also as tourist. The IT for the day does not miss the Balay Negrense Museum, the Jalandoni House Museum, and the Ramon Hofileña Museum together with other heritage houses identified by the National Historical Commission. The houses will feature the architectural designs at the turn of the century, the lifestyle of the owner, and the secrets that made the houses famous.

San Diego Pro-Cathedral will also take center stage as the wheelers learn liturgical arts form the houses of God designed by an Italian architect Lucio Bernasconi. This church resembles the St. Peter Basilica in Rome and its sponsor Don Jose “Pepe” Ledesma. The ruins of the Old Church at the back of the pro-cathedral is also an attraction because of its history and myth.

Food in Silay bring the “banwa sang dulce.” The wheelers cannot afford to miss the kitchen of Emma Lacson (Lumpia ubod, pango-pango, pili square, angel cake, empanada); El Ideal bakery for its guapple pie, buko pie, dulce gatas, cassava cake, and other gustatory delights. They are not missing also the “lubid-lubid” and other cookies of Mariel’s; the pasta and other sweets of Nana, the coffee and cakes of Ann Co; the Silay “buena familia” food of 1925; the “lutong-bahay” of Sir and Golden Food Park, and the best sea foods of Balaring restaurants.

“History on Wheels” is not just a historical-cultural-educational endeavor. It is a siege of Silay wherein participants will go down memory lanes and surge the future. Silaynons are always proud of their “Paris of Negros” that now carries the line as “the seat of arts, culture and ecotourism in Western Visayas”. In Silay, the past is forever . . . life is sweet. Let us make it sweeter.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 12, 2014.

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