Cong. Kiko Benitez recently met with key stakeholders in the forefront of a Conservative Rehabilitation Program for Balay Negrense, the province’s first museum located in Silay City.
The meeting was attended by, among others, Negros Cultural Foundation, Inc. president Lyn Gamboa, Executive Director of Negros Museum Tanya Lopez, and Architect Rai Busmante.
The Negros Occidental Provincial Government will be tapped for support and financial assistance for the repair and rehabilitation of Balay Negrense. A comprehensive study of the rehabilitation plan of the museum that will include identification of experts to manage the conservation and preservation of one of Negros important heritage houses is being considered.
Located in the historic Cinco de Noviembre Street in Silay City, Balay Negrense is also known as the Victor Fernandez Gaston Ancestral House. Built in 1897, it ws converted into a museum in 1990 and was named by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines as a heritage house in 1994.
Balay Negrense showcases the lifestyle of sugar barons during the 19th century, the time when Silay City was renowned as the “Paris of Negros”. Today, Silay City has the most number of declare3d heritage houses by the NHCP in the country.
Cong. Kiko, a strong advocate and supporter of promoting, conserving and developing culture and heritage, has filed in the 18th Congress House Bill 10057 pushing for cultural mapping and an enhanced cultural heritage education program to strengthen the conservation and protection of Philippine cultural heritage.
“Heritage is what we inherit from those who came before us, it is the legacy of our community that binds us, roots us, and give us a sense of who we are, where we come from and what makes us unique. Preservation requires us to remember and celebrate our heritage, ensure that we treasure it and ensure that the future generations enjoy the wealth of our community’s heritage and pass on who we are.” Cong. Kiko said during the celebration of National Heritage Month in May 2022.*