A Glimpse of Negros Culture in “Balay Negrense Museum”

The Balay Negrense (Hiligaynon for Negrense House) is a museum in Silay City, Negros Occidental in the Philippines, showcasing the lifestyle of a late 19th-century Negrense sugar baron. It is notable for being the first museum to be established in the province of Negros Occidental. – Wiki


Entrance of Balay Negrense

The Balay Negrense was originally the ancestral house of Victor F. Gaston, a son of Yves Leopold Germain Gaston and Prudencia Fernandez. The elder Gaston is credited as one of the pioneers of sugarcane cultivation in this portion of the Philippine archipelago. A native of Normandy in France, he married a Filipina from Batangas where he initially began experimenting with sugar production before relocating to Negros. -Wiki


We haven’t asked what tree that is but judging from how it looks it has been there for a very loooong time

Honestly I was so creeped out on visiting museums like this because everything looks like a set up for a Filipino horror movie. But I was curious and the last time I visited the place was 7 years ago during my Senior year School Tour.


Here’s what it looks like at the frontyard of the Museum


Allright let’s go inside

So the entrance fee is 50 pesos each and were not allowed to bring foods or drinks inside.

Here is a pic from the Museum’s Website

Photo credits to: Balay Negrense

The floors entrance intricate design was magnificent. But still, if you were there you will really get this eerie feeling of supernatural aura all throughout the place; kind of like the feeling you get when you’re about to get goosebumps.

I dont know if it’s just me scared to go inside, or I’m just simply excited but that “aura” is making me feel uncomfortable. Must be the heat, should I go take my jacket off?

-nahh (too stubborn to do it)


The Balcony as soon as you reached the top of the winding staircase

The house is of the type called bahay na bato, literally “house of stone”, however, reflecting American colonial influences, the lower storey is not constructed of stone but of concrete. The foundation posts are made out of trunks of the balayong tree, a local hardwood; the floorboards are of the same material. The house’s upper storey is constructed of wood topped with a roof of galvanized iron instead of tile.

The split windows has some cool story behind the design. Grilled split windows above is called Ventana and the Ventanillas are below and is actually a small floor level iron windows with sliding panels which open to allow wind to circulate around the house (Since Philippines is a Tropical Country and it gets too hot especially around noon)

I’m thankful for electric fans, air-condition, and mini battery powered fans in this century that I can still be comfy in my room if I don’t feel like going out of my “cave” for a week.

These are Vintage Mirrors we found at the ground floor of the house, yet no matter how amazing the designs are, mirrors like these honestly spooks me out.


The Grand Imperial Style Staircase

At the top of the staircase hangs a large portrait of the owner himself Victor Fernandez Gaston

We were told that there should only be two people to pass at a time. I suddenly have this urge to run and do silly things but the frame is like staring at me to not do anything stupid so I behaved my weird self.


Second Floor of Balay Negrense

Now, here is the Grand Sala at the Second Floor of the house and if you notice it is a replica of the first floor.


Dining Room shared by the whole family

Im sorry for the picture I’m actually walking through the creaking floors and I’m a very clumsy person so I have to watch every step (too many breakables). Anyhow I am a scaredy cat.. so yeah.

If you look closely the dining area has a staircase to the top roof but we are not allowed to climb since it isn’t safe anymore.  From the top Victor Fernandez Gaston can survey the town from the sea to the central square. Pretty cool.


The Second Floor Balcony Overlooking the Front view of the Mansion


Sungka- a traditional Filipino game

Sungka  is a popular game in the Philippines. It involves dropping shells or stones into large holes on a long canoe-shaped board.

This game is called mancala in the US. It is also known as “count and capture” or “sowing game” in English. The latter moniker is because seeds are sometimes used instead of shells or stones. Filipinos ordinarily use cowrie shells.

This is the basement of the Mansion

Here the wooden floor of the upper level is actually elevated above the ground, why? So that the wooden foundations will be aired creating underneath a meter high crawlspace. It prevents dampness from rotting the wooden floors.

From the backdoor we found a small ruins of a gazebo and we happily take turns on getting pictures.


The Mansions Backyard

No matter how amazing the experience is and how proud I am to share everyone the beauty of our culture I am not going back there at least for a couple of years. I don’t know maybe I just watched too much Filipino Horror Movies but nevertheless Balay Negrense Never lost it’s beauty. I can see the lifestyle and exquisite ideas of the people in the 1800’s and that is something worth sharing to anyone.

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