i have been postponing writing this for couple of days now because, well, the truth is, although i am not queasy about taking pictures inside old houses, i have this irrational fear of editing them at night. it’s weird, i know. but some of the pictures i took are even weirder. we’ll get to that later. i’d love to creep people out too as much as i creep myself out for no reason at all.
but first, a little introduction:
balay negrense, also known as victor gaston ancestral house (related to the owner of that house we trespassed in manapla), is a 112-year old house located in silay. on the front yard you’d see a hundred-year old acacia tree, which, rumor has it, is inhabited by a white lady who roams the garden at night.
It’s a cool house. but it doesn’t really look ancient if you look at it from the outside. i’ve seen houses which looked so much more older around silay. yeah, like the one i was about to enter, and having a trisikad driver tell us it was a rural health center. or that house whose doorbell we rang, asking a confused-looking twenty-something lady, “museum ni?” of which she replied, “dili.” right before giving us that smirk which could very well have translated into an are-you-guys-dumb? look. we’ve had our share of those blonde moments. we sure did. still for the sake of adventure. hehe.
one of the things i loved about our museum visits was that we were the only visitors there, thus, we had the tour guides all to our selfish cam-whore selves. we were also able to ask a lot of questions. stupid and otherwise.
although what is stupid is that i cannot, for the life of me, retain the good details. but the stupid ones i do. maybe because the stories told off-the-record are so much more interesting. like the fact that the owner’s wife who was half-french, half-filipino (if memory serves me right) had a really (and i mean really) high soprano voice it was capable of shattering glass and mirrors. i thought manong joey was kidding. he wasn’t. now that’s what i call “power vocals!” lol. but it later turned out she had cancer, though. cancer of the larynx? i’m not sure. when i asked manong joey what kind of cancer she had, he merely touched his throat to point out the answer. (or maybe he didn’t hear my question and was just unconsciously touching his throat. i don’t know anymore. lol.) point is, she got cancer. maybe her soprano voice was an abnormality in itself already. either that, or she got cancer from singing too much. who knows?
the second floor of the house was huge. it even had a photo of francis magalona’s ancestor or whatever you wanna call her — a very pretty lady indeed. and this was when photoshop didn’t exist. really gorgeous. i’d kill to be reincarnated into her. or not. lol. i don’t know what she was doing there in that house, though. she wasn’t exactly a member of the family.
what was weird in one of the rooms there was this wheelchair which had a pair of brown leather shoes in its footrest. it belonged to a member of the family who met an accident and had to be amputated. those shoes were really his. creepy.
but more creepy was the doll sitting on a high chair. and those on the rocking chair. i don’t know why. dolls really get to me. maybe because they have eyes that stare and don’t blink.
the rooms were cordoned off but manong joey was so kind as to let us enter the rooms and have our pictures taken there. manong joey is a really cool tour guide. i liked him. =)
oh, the six rooms in the second floor served as rooms for the female children, as well as the parents’ room. the males’ rooms were relegated to the first floor. they were that strict when it came to gender classification. hehe.
just as visitors were not allowed to dine with the family members in the long table. instead, they were asked to sit on an adjacent table that were for guests only. yep, even if there were only two members eating there on the long table. of course i don’t get it. but that was the house rule then.
and this is their kitchen, with the old clay jars my mother would’ve loved to own. and a couple of ceramic 1880 san miguel beer bottles which ram would’ve loved to own. if it’s about drinking, he’d be all ears. lol.
hmmm… what else was there? the creepy basement which served (and still does) as a ventilation system for the house to “breathe;” an uber cool wire art with an uber cool price pegged at 30,000 pesos; an ancient fan; and a 1920 motor bike, which looked like a regular bicycle but with a couple of contraptions designed for it to run on gas. and if you run out of it, voila! back to the good old pedaling. i doubt such thing could run at long distances on gas, though, as the gas container was rather too small.