Pacete: Hda. Adela Tour: Socio-cultural-political awareness

As I See It

YOU have to visit Hacienda Adela Folklore Village in Silay before you die. This may not be necessary but many local and foreign tourists visited this place to understand better the “Negros Sugar Story” as one of the best surprises in the tourism program of the province.

Hacienda Adela in Silay is owned by the Unson-Lacson family. The original owners were German Unson and Fe Ledesma. Sugar production was good when it resumed operation after World War II. It was one of the best haciendas under the milling district of Hawaiian-Philippine Company.

The owners were constructing duplex concrete houses for the workers. Most of the workers were “sacadas” (transient workers) from Antique who later on became “dumaans” (permanent workers). Life was good for the owners and better for the workers. The expiration of Laurel-Langley Agreement and the havoc brought about by martial law devastated the sugar industry in Negros.

The Unson-Ledesma family has a social conscience. Their children became social workers and teachers for the parents and children of the farm. The salary scale was within the minimum wage law. There were Christmas bonuses, gifts, and even a fiesta for the hacienda workers sponsored by the “hacendero” family.

To date, the farm is not very productive considering so many factors affecting the sugar industry. The villagers decided to make Hda. Adela a part of the “Negros Sugar Story Tour” which was given endorsement by the LGSP-LED (Local Government Support Program for Local Economic Development).

Many are interested if not curious to know the “inside hacienda story” where the characters are the laborers. Frequent visitors are the students from Assumption High School from Iloilo, nursing students from Madonna University-USA, Japanese students and professors facilitated by Japan-Philippines Partnership for Environmental Protection, and tourists brought in by our local tour operators.

What is folkloric in the tour? The visitors are exposed to the ways of the ancestors ... religious chanting, hymn for San Roque, songs for Silay, the influence of foreign culture, hacienda food, heritage games, open-house program, exposure in the cane fields or work demo (indoor). The trip could be climaxed by a caro-carabao ride around the community.

The visitors are free to interact with the hacienda folks ... social condition, kind of work, day’s income, education of children, housing condition, community rules, active non-partisan role in politics, religious practices, folk medicine, tales and legends, music and dance, best Filipino practices, child-safe tourism, and other concerns.

This program has the support of Silay Tourism Office, Negros Occidental Provincial Tourism Office, and The Association of Tour Guides-Negros. For more surprises and information, ask the resource person (0928 508 1178).


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