PROMINENT local figure Ramon Hofileña, a known father of Silay City's heritage conservation and an advocate of cultural tourism, died at 87.
He became a notable figure in Silay City, Negros Occidental when he pushed hard the conservation of ancestral homes during the time of the former strongman President Ferdinand E. Marcos where he opposed the widening of Silay's highway that could have been the factor in the possible demolition of those ancestral houses and buildings which are still utilized as museums and sites for cultural activities.
Those ancestral homes depicted the illustrious lifestyle of Negrenses that handily linked the past and the present lifestyle.
Hofileña was a byword in the tourism industry and likewise in keeping the heritage and culture of Negrenses that helped chiseled his life and passion in the field of cultural tourism.
The admired Hofileña ancestral house was utilized as a museum in 1962 and was fully declared by the National Commission for Culture and Arts. A historical marker was installed in 1996 by the National Historical Commission.
The endeared Hofileña museum helped advanced the successful post-war art promotions and the first successful drive for vintage architecture preservation which both began in the said home in 1962.
The Hofileña museum became his source of inspiration in connecting his life and his passion for the arts, history, and culture.
The museum was among those which were frequented by people who were touring Bacolod City and other parts of Negros Occidental.
Usually, it was part of the itinerary of visitors because Mr. Hofileña can surely make their visit unforgettable and educational.
He was fluent in speaking several foreign languages aside from the native tongue, a characteristic that is always stimulating.
The Department of Tourism Western Visayas (Region VI) under the tutelage of Negrense Acting Director Cristine Mansinares, conveyed their condolences on his passing.
“The Department of Tourism (DOT) conveys its sincerest condolences to the family of Mr. Ramon Hofileña on his passing.
“The DOT acknowledges his great contribution to heritage preservation and cultural tourism, especially in his beloved hometown in Silay, Negros Occidental.
“A trip to this heritage city would not be complete without a visit to the Hofileña Ancestral House where visitors used to be toured by Sir Mon himself. The Annual Cultural Tour of Negros that he organized for 40 years instilled pride of place for Negrenses.
“We salute him for sharing his time and talent for the promotion of Filipino art, culture, and heritage,” it said.
Silay City Mayor Mark Andrew Golez also expressed his deepest condolence to the Hofileña family for the loss of Mr. Ramon Hofileña, who earned a Tourism Lifetime award from the DOT for his contribution to the tourism industry.
Jennylind Cordero, Negros Occidental Provincial Tourism officer, recalled that: "Sir Ramon Hofileña was one of my mentors in tour guiding in Silay City and Negros Occidental. He was named as a Most Outstanding Negrense in the field of Culture and Arts. He was a good friend and a very passionate person. During his abled years, he did the longest-running Cultural Tour in Negros. Salamat gid Sir Mon. We love you too!"
Silay City Tourism Officer Gerle Sulmaca said, "His death is a big loss to Silay, specifically in heritage and culture. We owe him a lot and are thankful to him as he has done so much for the city. We could not have saved our ancestral houses if he and his friends have not intervened before."