Art Object: The ancestral house turned museum (Part II)

The Balay ni Tana Dicang, an ancestral house located in Talisay, Negros Occidental, joins other houses in the province that memorialize their previous owners by being turned into museums and in the process, assuring their preservation as veritable historical landmarks. In 2002, I was able to visit the two most popular models of such houses: that of the Hofilenas and the Gascons.

What I still vividly remember is that of the Hofilenas, in part because of the energetic Ramon Hofilena who gave our group a very insightful tour in and around Silay City where the antique houses are located. The Hofilena house is remarkable because of its extensive art collection. If my memory serves me right, I saw works by the old masters (Hidalgo and Luna), National Artists (Arturo Luz and Joya) and even sketches by Rizal—not to mention a nude sketch of Ramon himself during his much younger days.

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