Hugyaw Kansilay Festival: Silay City's Cultural Treasure

15 June 2023
Hugyaw Kansilay Festival Silay Citys Cultural Treasure

Silay is one of the prosperous cities in the province of Negros Occidental of the Western Visayas region. This June, the entire city's confines are painted with colorful decorations as locals observe the weeklong Hugyaw Kansilay Festival — Silay's very own festive thanksgiving celebration since it became a Chartered City in June 1957 by virtue of Republic Act 1621.


In this feature, let's get to know Silay City better and its rich, colorful history. And what much better way to learn more about its past and present if not through its equally rich, colorful festival?



Silay City, "The Paris of Negros"

But first, it's great to know Silay, officially the City of Silay, behind the enduring cultural tradition.


Silay City is not only known as the "Paris of Negros," but also as the "cultural and intellectual hub of Negros" for its collective passion for the arts and relentless pursuit for knowledge. It also came to be extolled for its heritage mansi0ns constructed during the peak of the Philippine sugar industry's success, which Negros is considered the center. More than 30 of these preserved houses have been proclaimed parts of the Silay National Historical Landmark.


It was under the administration of Mayor Romulo Golez that Silay officially achieved its cityhood. In 2003, Silay City also became the first local government unit to conduct a plebiscite, which paved the way for the momentous approval of the annual executive budget that year. What is more, Silay City is recognized by the Department of Tourism (DOT) as one of its leading tourists-drawing destinations in the Philippines. There's no denying this, as it is vastly considered where culture, arts, and ecotourism reign supreme in Western Visayas.


Going back to 1896, Silay was the leading sugar-producing area in Negros for being home to the Horno Economico or the sugar mill that was built in 1846 by Yves Leopold Germaine Gaston, a man of French descent who also became a permanent resident of Silay.



Other Monumental Facts You Should Know More About Silay City

The City of Silay is brimming with history and culture. Know more about this part of Negros through the Legend of Princess Kansilay, some historical facts, and the Negros Revolution of which Silay was a significant part.



The Legend of Princess Kansilay

Just like a multitude of places in the country, a local legend tells the origin of how Silay was called Silay. The tale of Princess Kansilay is how the city was strongly believed to have gotten its name during ancient times. According to the stories, the princess bravely led the village people against an attack on the settlement by a group of pirates. In murals, the city's public buildings depict the princess as a dauntless female fighter wielding an enormous talibong, which is a native single-edged sword.


The said pirates were defeated, but the brave princess died saving the village. A lover arrived but only just in time to witness the princess dying. The locals then buried the fierce female fighter. Then, much to their delighted surprise, a tree has grown along her grave, which the village folks call the Kansilay tree to honor their heroic woman warrior.



The Negros Revolution and World War II

During the Negros revolt in 1896, there came a political division between the clergy and the sugarcane planters. There were those from each side who supported the radicals while some opposed the revolt.


On November 5, 1898, Silay residents under the command of much-admired local military chief Vicente Gamboa alongside First Lieutenant Juan Olaybar assembled in the street corner, which is now called the Cinco de Noviembre Street. From there, the locals advanced to the Spanish garrison beside the Catholic church. The encounter that ensued was said to have been nonviolent. Lt. Maximiano Correa, the Spanish civil guard commander, refused to admit defeat.


But after some negotiations held with the revolutionaries, however, the Spanish troops finally surrendered. That afternoon, they raised a Philippine flag at the Silay plaza for the first time.


Fast forward to 1945 during World War II, American military forces alighted in Negros Island. The Imperial Japanese Army then retreated to Mt. Silay in Patag where they headquartered and set up a defensive position. The joint military forces of the Philippine Commonwealth and US soldiers then trekked up the slopes of Mt. Silay and vanquished the Japanese enemies. At present, the Imperial Japanese Army's last stand during the Second World War is commemorated with a monument to pay tribute to the valor of the country's military forces that led to the emancipation of the Negros Island.


Source: The Silay City Government website



Hugyaw Kansilay Festival, An Exhibit of Silay City's Cultural Gem

Bacolod City has the ever-popular MassKara Festival, but Silay City has its own vastly celebrated cultural tradition under Hugyaw Kansilay Festival. Every June, Silay holds a weeklong celebration with a street dance parade featuring Silay's youthful dancers clad in colorful costumes and creative props. The city's festival dance depicts the characters, plots, and settings of Princess Kansilay's legendary tale.


After dancing their way in the streets to entertain cheerful Silay residents, they will then proceed to Silay Plaza to compete among different participating barangays. This festive cultural event contributes to the booming tourism industry not only in Silay City but in the entire Negros Occidental province at large. Tourists flock to the city to witness these spectacular gatherings and events and stop in admiration of the rich Filipino culture in full display.


This month, Silay homeowners got to experience the grandness of their very own festival through Hugyaw Kansilay. Such a massive celebration is an opportunity to strip down memory lane and remember their past in all its beauties and tragedies. As a result, the new generation will not forget their history and grow to become proud citizens of their city, province, and nation as a whole.


At Silay City, you can achieve being close to its cultural treasures through Lumina Homes' affordable house and lot for sale provisions. We have a conveniently located community in this part of the province, where we assure every aspiring homeowner of convenience and comfort.


For instance, Lumina Silay is proximate to the Bacolod-Silay International Airport. This means you can practically travel in and out of the country without commuting too far. Lumina Silay is also near essential and commercial establishments such as schools, hospitals, supermarkets, restaurants and food hubs, local tourist spots, and more.


Experience the convenience and comfort that existing homeowners are currently enjoying in their affordable house and lot at Lumina Silay. Seal your real estate investment with us and reserve your house and lot Philippines very soon!

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