One thing that makes Silay City unique from any other city in the country is the number of heritage houses located in its vicinity. The city has 31 National Historical Commission-verified houses as of last count, outgunning its more famous heritage town counterpart in the northern part of the country, Vigan.
We did an impromptu walking tour of the city right after checking the San Diego Cathedral in search of the Balay Negrense Museum. Every tricycle and pedicabs that passed offered us a ride but we declined with a smile. It would have wasted the morning that greeted us that day for it was such a grand one.
The streets were deserted and the sun still low on the horizon, only peeking now and then through the gaps between houses. With trees still abundant in the area, the air felt fresh and cool. It was a perfect morning for a stroll down Silay’s quiet streets.
With no maps to guide us, we went where our feet led us. Along the way, we passed old houses from bygone days; some looked as good as the day it was made but not a few were already in a state of disrepair or worst, already torn down; towering architectural columns and tiled floors the sole indication that a magnificent mansion once stood in the area.
The houses vary in style and materials but each one exudes an air of an era our grandmas might have lived on as children.
Most of these mansions are still being used today as residence by their original owners so we were a bit iffy in photographing their interiors and in some cases even their facades.
After half an hour of walking, we finally found the Balay Negrense Museum. It was still closed however and would not open 'til nine, so we walked some more.
Unlike the stone houses found in Vigan’s Calle Crisologo where most were concentrated in just one area, those found in Silay were scattered about. We really have no idea where these houses were located and was just playing it by feel. After some minutes of passing mostly modern homes, it looked like we finally hit the end of our walk.
I knew we really haven't seen all the heritage houses in Silay and it made me wish that we had a map for all these old-world structures. I heard later that there are maps available at the tourism office (although one of the museum guides told us nothing of the sort existed) but we visited Silay too early and I bet it was still closed then.
Back to the real world, all that walking really made us hungy, and well, we really haven't had any breakfast yet. So we finally succumbed to the tricycles and boarded the first one that passed our way. Let’s go to the best breakfast house in the city, we told him.