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Showing posts from November, 2014

Casa Grande

Part 5 of Our Negros Occidental Tour
The grand mansion built by GeneralAniceto Lacson in 1880 is called Casa Grande by his fourth generation descendants and current owners, the Claparols family. Catalan Ricardo Claparols married Carmen, the fourth child of Lacson and Rosario Araneta. The couple purchased the house upon the request of the General Lacson and became home to them and their four children. The mansion is currently being restored by the General Aniceto Lacson Ancestral Home Foundation (GALAH).

Balay Ni Tana Dicang, The House of Enrica Alunan-Lizares

Part 4 of Our Negros Occidental Tour

If you're into heritage houses, the house of Tana (Kapitana) Dicang is a must see. Built in the 1883 as a second home to the family ofEfigenio Treyes Lizares and Enrica Labayen Alunan, it remains as one of the finest examples of Bahay na Bato, the quintessential Filipino-Spanish domestic architectural style literally meaning "house of stone". Located on Rizal St. in Talisay City, the Lizares family has opened the house to the public, not just as a museum but also as a loving tribute to a grand lady.

The Jose Gaston Mansion

Part 3 of Our Negros Occidental Tour

One of the highlights of our trip was lunch at the Jose Gaston Mansion. Think Gone With The Wind, the mansion stands in the middle of a huge sugar plantation, Hacienda Sta. Rosalia in Manapla, north of Victorias. Jose Gaston was one of the grandsons of Yves Leopold Germain Gaston, a Frenchman who settled in Negros Occidental with his wife, Prudencia Fernandez of Balayan, Batangas. Yves was instrumental in modernizing the sugar industry by bringing in the iron mill or horno economico. Built in the 1930s, the mansion served as refuge for the Gaston clan during the Japanese occupation, much like in the epic film Oro, Plata, Mata which was shot in the very same estate.
Visiting the Gaston mansion was such a thrill, like a time machine ride. For a few hours, you are brought back to the golden age of hacienda life. Our friend Maryann Galeno arranged the visit with the current master of the house, Monsignor GG Gaston. A hearty lunch of generations old recipes…

The Church of the Angry Christ

Part 2 of Our Negros Occidental Tour

North of Bacolod is Victorias City, where sits the Victorias Milling Company, a 7,000. hectare compound, the Philippines' largest sugar refinery. After World War II, then owner Don Miguel Ossorio decided to build a church on the site where the family's sugar processing factory used to stand. Don Miguel asked his son Alfonso Ossorio, an abstract expressionist artist, to do the altar mural of the church. The church was finished in 1949. It was featured in Life magazine, and became popularly known as the Church of the Angry Christ. Alfonso explained of his work, "The Angry Christ was a continual last judgement with the Sacrifice of the Mass that is a continual reincarnation of God coming into this world."
Seeing it for the first time, I felt Christ's huge outstretched hands welcoming us, His faithful.

Good Morning, Silay

Part 1 of Our Negros Occidental Tour
Wanderlust has struck again and this time, my college buddies and I flew to the southern island of Negros to visit their famed heritage houses and celebrate the birthday of our palanggaMaryann Galeno. Maryann, who lives in the province's capital city of Bacolod has arranged for us a strict itinerary that will cover all the must sees in Metro Bacolod and its nearby towns. We booked our flights early to get the best deal. I've learned from this trip that the first flight out of Manila and the last flight back are the cheapest, and we took just that. The four o'clock flight had us marvelling at the glorious sunrise just before touch down and it gave us a good head start for our grand tour. The new airport is located in Silay City, known for its lovely pre-war mansions built by the old families, most of whom owned vast sugar plantations in the island. Since it was still very early for breakfast, we drove around Silay to get a glimpse of its…