Oro, Plata, Mata: Stairs of Heritage

It is but appropriate that the legendary wealth of Negros would be overtly displayed through its mansions.  You know how Negrenses were – ostentatious, flamboyant, bon vivants.  There simply was no room for restraint during the golden years of the sugar industry.  Money was, after all, “guina-piko kag guina-pala”, pick-axed and shoveled, for it was as plentiful as the sweet crystals our haciendas produced and exported.

Our grand homes often have plain, un-grand front doors that look almost nondescript if not for their sizes.  Fling these doors open and one will see that plain doors make great foils for grand staircases many with elaborate wood carvings and some using a combination of wood types or marble designs.  

The Negros Season of Culture celebrates Heritage Month this May with a select set of staircases found in grand houses and public edifices.  In effect, it is necessary to highlight the superstitious belief of “oro, plata, mata” as an intrinsic part of any house or building construction plan.  Hail to the architects, engineers, and craftsmen who consider height, breadth, and width in order to accommodate that vital last step ending in “oro”, or gold, to ensure the house inhabitants that good fortune will always smile upon them.  

Watch for our staircase series on this website as we roll them out under the banner title, “Oro, Plata, Mata: Stairs of Heritage”.

Writer: Betsy Gazo

Photos: Bem Cortez

Balay Daku

Balay ni Tana Dicang

General Aniceto Lacson Ancestral Home

Manuel Severino Hofileña Ancestral House

Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol

The Negros Museum

Design and Architecture

Cultural Experience

Art and Craft