Our Spoils of War

We are a people scarred by colonialism. More so Negrenses, bemoaning the fact that we had to bother win our independence. After hundreds of years under Spain we secured our freedom, only to find out that we’ve been handed over to the Americans as war booty. Had our local brave hearts been less pliant, less innovative, less patient, the story of Negros would not have survived. We are proud of our scars, scars that have influenced our colonial homes. They are our spoils of war. And how Negrenses are able to turn upheavals into creative rumblings is at the heart of our heritage as a people.

In this National Heritage Month of May, we have a perfect specimen of a structure caught in the Spanish-American changeover. The Presbitero Ancestral House in San Enrique town is a quick highway drive south of Bacolod, capital of Negros Occidental. This is an hacienda house, a plantation house if you will, originally surrounded by hectares of sugarcane fields. Constructed during the American occupation, it is predominantly Spanish in taste and air, strapped with features necessarily in regal Spanish jargon, and pristinely preserved and lived in to this day. 

As if that is not enough, we deep-dive into colonial homes and be awed by their grand staircases, the welcome statement of every respectable house of the era. We picked six, of which two are actually found in public buildings. We go beyond the visible design intricacies and, tapping the wisdom and story-telling skills of seasoned tour guide, Betsy Gazo, unearth anecdotes about the buildings, obscure life events to which these grand staircases have been witness to. Come. Read. So you know.

Celebrate the National Heritage Month with us. Visit www.negrosseasonofculture.com and be caught in the wonder of our tales.

Text by: Alan S. Gensoli

Design and Architecture

Cultural Experience

Art and Craft