Hofileña Heritage House belongs to one of the principal families of Silay City, which was once called the “Paris of Negros.” It is located few steps from the corner of Cinco de Noviembre and Zamora Streets.
The ancestral residence has since become a repository of fine and rare art collections of its owner and curator, Ramon Hofileña. Ramon resides in the house and personally tours visitors in his abode.
The Hofileña Heritage House, formally known as the Manuel Severino Hofileña Heritage House, was built in 1934. The home was built by Manuel for his wife Gilda Hojilla, a former Miss Silay, and their nine children.
When the Hofileñas fled to the mountains during World War II, the house was used by Japanese forces who held meetings there. It was later occupied by the Americans. In 1962, the Hofileña Heritage House was opened to the public, making it the first ancestral residence to be opened in Silay City. It became an ancestral house on April 6, 1993.
The Hofileña Heritage House is a stone house or “bahay na bato” just like most of the houses built in Silay City during the late 19th century to the early 20th century.
The house’s grand staircase and walls are made of iron wood or locally known as “balayong”—a tough wood said to be impermeable by nails and termites—while the floor is made of narra. The doors are wide and have tracery cutwork for air and light to pass through.
Its roof is of classic steep and wide eaves and the steps that lead to the portico resemble American influence.
The residence of the Hofileñas boasts a private art collection that includes the works of Juan Luna, Felix Resurrecion Hidalgo, Fernando Amorsolo, Ang Kiukok, Vicente Manansala and BenCab. Alongside these works of master artists is a sketch of Jose Rizal done while he was still a young student.
It is also home to some of the world’s first pocketbooks for World War II soldiers and what is claimed to be the world’s smallest pair of dolls—little smaller than a rice grain.
The Hofileñas also collects tektites—black, glassy rocks of rounded but indefinite shape. The ancestral house also has religious artifacts and toy collections.