Thursday, December 25, 2014

Why I Want To Visit Negros Island in 2015

I have heard so much Negros Island throughout the years I have known Filipinos.  Some of my dearest friends come from there.  In fact, the only Filipina who ever worked in the Royal Household and attended Prince William and Duchess Kate's wedding comes from Bacolod City.

I have to say that all these stories about Negros Island lead me to say, "I am absolutely charmed!".

I am told of a unique mix of East meeting West in Negros Island.  The Western influence on the island comes not only from the domination of the Spaniards as early as the 16th century but also largely due to the onset of the sugar industry in the 19th century.  The production of sugar drew the attention of Europeans including a Frenchman, Yves Leopold Germaine Gaston.

Gaston arrived at the port city of Silay in 1840, where he found the soil conducive to planting sugarcane. Gaston was the first to bring in an iron mill, which at that time was virtually unheard of.  This iron mill allowed him to begin commercial production of export-quality sugar.  The business of sugar drew not only the Frenchman Gaston, but also attracted another notable figure in the person of Nicholas Loney.

Balay Negrense, the house of Yves Leopold Germaine Gaston


British gentleman Nicholas Loney was the son of an admiral in the Royal Navy who left home at an early age to travel.  His serendipitous journey to the Far East through a work engagement in Singapore led him to the Philippines and later became the British Vice Consul in the Philippines.  Loney was another Westerner who helped carve the sugar industry for which Negros Island is known for.  The ensuing lifestyle, culture, and cuisine which evolved in this island called Negros is a product of various influences from the west which makes me say, "What a fascinating melding of cultures!".

With this and all the wonderful sights to see, the world famous Masskara festival, dolphin watching in Bais, and the tasty Bacolod chicken barbecue called inasal, Negros Island is indeed the place I want to visit in 2015.



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