Inside The Most Beautiful Art Deco House In The Philippines

Whenever Bacolod or Negros Island is mentioned, images of the famous "Ruins", ancestral home of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson are easily conjured.

While indeed the Ruins attest to classical European influence on the Negrense way of life and outlook on design, another important house best represents a more modern yet equally sublime pull on Negrenses.  We're talking of Art Deco.

Art Deco, or Deco, is an influential visual arts design style that first appeared in France after World War I and began flourishing internationally in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s before its popularity waned after World War II.   In what is known as Bacolod's "Millionaire's Row", a grand art deco house known as Balay Daku serves as a testament to the sophistication of Negrenses in that the influence of Deco easily crossed the oceans to make its way not only to Manila, but down south in Negros.

It was back in the 1930s when Generoso M. Villanueva, a prominent sugar planter, and his wife Paz, built the first art deco  structure in Bacolod City. Designed solely by the owner, the three-story, poured-concrete steel reinforced building with graceful curved balconies, parapets, and porthole steel-cased windows looks like the Titanic on land. It was known among the locals as the Boat House. Among family, though, it was simply called Balay Daku (the big house).

We now show you some of the pics of Balay Daku as taken by architect-photographer Voltaire Siacor, whose lens helps us appreciate the grandeur of this treasure.

Art Deco Staircase of Balay Daku
Museum Curator John Silva recently made a public post on Facebook entitling his posting, "The Most Beautiful Art Deco House in the Philippines".

With this house still intact and in very good condition, Filipino heritage advocates can find solace in the fact that structures like these are treated with respect, unlike in Manila where the  number of Deco buildings which are laid to waste only seem to be increasing.

In response to John Silva's post on Facebook, Ms. Bambi Harper had this to comment, "Negrenses appear to have better taste than Manileños.  Think of all those Art Deco houses in New Manila that were replaced by condos of no particular artistic value."


Negros Trade Fair at 30

"Truly Negros"
30th Negros Trade Fair, 

September 16-20, 2015, 
Glorietta Mall, Makati