travel

ILOILO TO BACOLOD & BALAY NEGRENSE | Negros Occidental Day 1

My best friends and I were to stay in Bacolod/Negros for 4 days. On our first day we planned to go to Campuestohan. Since their shuttle leaves at 9:00, we met up really early so we can catch the 7:30 ferry for Bacolod and hopefully still get on that shuttle. But to our dismay, there were so many people and the boats were full. We had no choice but to take the 10:30 trip. We changed our itinerary for the day: visit the heritage houses in Silay and the Ruins. The one-way ticket cost us Php 225 pesos each. The terminal fee is Php 30. After more than an hour of a slightly rough journey on the seas, we were finally in Bacolod! But it was already midday by then and we were hungry.

We decided not to check in our hotel yet since it was still too early and we don’t know where it was exactly. So our hungry stomachs led us to SM City Bacolod which was conveniently near the port. We left our backpacks in the baggage counter, bought a few essentials and walked to Manokan Country, which was just on the other side of the mall’s North wing. We chose a place called Nena’s Rose.

Image courtesy of Nena’s Rose Official Facebook Page

There isn’t much to say about the interiors but the food!!! Oh, it was good! The price seemed reasonable and the waitress was especially helpful. No picture because I’m not into food pics. Just kidding, I can’t take good food pictures.

Anyway, after lunch, we asked around how to get to Silay. We were told to take the jeepney “Mandalagan” and to tell the driver to drop us off at the Ceres Terminal. Following their instructions, we found ourselves in the terminal queuing for a bus bound for Silay. We paid Php 15 each for the bus ride. El ideal is our stop. (pronounciation: el. id-yal). Balay Negrense is just a one or two minute tricycle ride away from there (Php 8 each).

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The entrance fee is only Php 60 per person (for adults), inclusive of a guided tour around the house. I learned a great deal of the province’s history and customs back in the time of the Spanish colonization. It’s a very educational experience, and walking around the house seems to take us back in time.

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Balay Negrense or otherwise known as Victor Fernandez Gaston Ancestral House
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The first motorized bike in Western Visayas

The house is also filled with antiques donated by some private individuals.

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The beautiful garden
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Art works made by Negrense artists

Showcased are a number of artworks made by various Negrense artists. Some of which are for sale.

I won’t be writing a lot about this, since I don’t want to spoil the experience for you. But here is a glimpse of what the museum has to offer.

sungka
Sungka! I used to play this when I was in primary school.
filipino costumes
Filipino traditional costumes
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Some of Negros Occidental’s Historical Figures
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A four poster bed
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Other artifacts

We went to El Ideal bakeshop thereafter. We tried their very popular Guapple Pie. At first I thought it would be a mix of Guava + apple but it’s actually just made from a really big guava fruit locals call Apple Guava (just like apple mango in Guimaras). It’s 45 pesos a slice.

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El Ideal’s Guapple Pie

The cinnamon in this one can be overwhelming. My friend doesn’t like cinnamon so she passed on this. Personally, I think it’s worth a try. 

El ideal also sells pasalubong (souvenir) items/food. Prices are reasonable.

Up next: The Ruins