As a child growing up in Silay, I would listen to stories of the past told by my dad and later on as a young adult, by my grandmother who would be my off and on roommate when she was in Silay. One of these stories was about the old port in Silay. I have never been near the ruins but then there was no need to go near it because it was very visible from the distance at a time when the surrounding area was just tall grass and weeds. In the 60's and even up to mid-70's all we had to do was drive down to the Boulevard...the name we called the south road to Mambulac, a coastal barrio of the city....and there it was....awesome! Now-a-days, you won't see it unless you go near the area. I remember the first time I saw it, I think I was 6 or 7 yrs old and I felt this great sense of fascination...perhaps an early sign of my interest in history. I wonder now if up close I would get that same feeling as when I saw it from afar back then? Probably not, because then nobody really paid much attention to it except that it was said to be the longest port in the country in the Spanish era with a distance of 2 kms or, you were a history buff like my dad. Even today, there is not much information about the port said to have been built in the early 1800's, which seems logical because that was the time when Silay began to be called "Paris of Negros"...where arts, culture, music and good food were all part of the inhabitants' daily life. I can imagine the ships that brought to the shores of Silay artists, singers, commercial goods and luxury items coming from Manila and abroad. I can just picture the hustle and bustle of the port and how exciting life must have been. When and why did the Silay port fall out of use...the most logical reason I believe is due to natural causes...as the years went by the coastline moved further so that the changed sea level no longer allowed the ships to dock, or...coastal erosion may also have happened.
I don't know if the city has any plans to develop the area of the old port, but I hope they will do something to preserve what is left of it. After all these ruins have withstood the test of time on its own.
|Photo courtesy of Mr. Bob Lacson|
DIY via Barrio Mambulac. Your friendly tricycle driver can bring you there. Please be warned to wear boots or rain boots because it is quite muddy.
or visit the Tourism office in the Silay Civic Center to get a guide or directions
For those who just wants to see it from a short distance (not up close) the best place for viewing is Sunburst Bay Resort, where you can take a hike through their fishponds and see the old port in all it's glory. There is a small entrance fee to the resort (P30 to 40).