It’s the time of the year once again when Negros Occidental is abuzz for the Cinco de Noviembre celebration. But this weekend, kitchens in Silay City are also abuzz for the Kaon Ta Silay Food Festival.
Cinco De Noviembre Celebrations
November 5 is a very important day in the history of Negros Occidental.
The Negros Revolution, popularly known as the Cinco de Noviembre or Negros Day, was a political movement in 1898. The event paved the way for a new government to be created in Negros Island in the Philippines, albeit informally. Moreover, this day is celebrated to commemorate the Negrenses’ revolt against the Spanish colonizers.
While November 5 is a province-wide holiday, the tradition of remembering it is most colorful in Silay City. The whole day is spent commemorating the wonderful victory that Negrenses achieved through sheer creativity, ingenuity, and resourcefulness.
A Trip to Silay
Meanwhile, the kitchens of the ancestral houses and their modern counterparts are bustling with activity. The different Silaynon heritage recipes get transformed into the delicacies that we love. And the aromas are just dizzying and too compelling not to eat.
Today, November 2, our family headed out to Silay City to join in the fun and of course, feast on local delicacies offered at the Kaon Ta Silay Food Festival.
- Related: Silay City Heritage Tour
Actually, I felt kind of tired today after all the recent events leading to the MassKara Festival in Bacolod City. But since all helpers are on leave and I am too bushed to cook, the next best option is to head north to the Paris of Negros. And we did not regret taking this little road trip.
Kaon Ta Silay Food Festival
The Kaon Ta Silay Food Festival is a special event held at the Balay Negrense grounds in Silay City. The expansive garden is peppered with tents for the food booths. There are dining areas in open spaces and also under covered areas.
“Kaon Ta” is organized by Balay Negrense Development Corporation under Mr. Joey Gaston. This is also in cooperation with the Silay City Mayor’s Office and Silay Tourism Center.
The “kinaon” features the heritage dishes from Emma Lacson, El Ideal Bakery, Tita Isa’s, Sinda Belleza, and Mariel’s Bakery. Silay restaurant Sir and Ma’am, SONFAPA, Luguay Gamboa Family, Julian’s Ice Cream, Monsignor Gaston’s signature dishes, German Unson can also be tried here.
A lot of the dishes have Spanish influence, thanks to the long history of Spanish rule in the country. Below are some turo-turo dishes especially when you are already hungry. Found some callos and beef stew there. Yum!
Late Lunch in Silay
It was around 12:30pm when we drove out of Bacolod City. Since it was a late lunch for us, we were naturally starving. We feasted on grilled tuna panga by Owa’s Pangahan, chicken inasal and grilled pork belly from Crem Shawarma, and some nacho fries for the kids.
For dessert, we had the famous dulce gatas by Tita Isa and the ube smoothie halo-halo by Fresh Start.
Local favorites like Sinda Belleza fresh lumpia as well as treats from El Ideal Bakery are all there.
The locally produced premium Don Papa Rum has a booth there, too. They are selling the rum in bottles as well as per glass. They have some interesting cocktails using local ingredients. Happy hour happens early around here.
- Related: Exquisite Pleasure With Don Papa Rum
Of course, we bought some snacks for take out, like some empanada and fresh lumpia by Emma Lacson. We also got some mango tapioca from the Rooster Cafe booth. Our tummies are sooo full!
- Related: The Best Desserts in Bacolod
So I bought a new pack of the Ginger-Turmeric tea developed by the Estrella family of Silay. I super love this as a hot drink. On regular days, it’s available at major Merzci Pasalubong branches.
The Siomai of Silay
If there’s one thing that’s missing and I was craving for, it’s the authentic and very famous siomai of Silay. It’s not the Chinese version but a whole lot of different kind.
We used to order it almost everyday in the office more than 20 years ago. Eventually, I kept buying it from a Silay vendor who goes to Bacolod and visits offices or stores on foot.
The siomai is made mostly of ubod (coconut core) and some pork. But it’s so tasty and has a distinct texture. For the last two years that we have visited Kaon Ta Silay Food Festival, I haven’t noticed it. Too bad.
The Kaon Ta Silay Food Festival is not just about food. There are games with prizes and cultural presentations, too.
A worthy thing to note is that, there are people assigned to keep the place clean. As soon as people are done, somebody cleans up the tables after. They also pick up trash that fall on the ground. Kudos to the organizers! 🙂 Additionally, they are very friendly and helpful.
About Balay Negrense
The Balay Negrense is the Victor Fernandez Gaston Ancestral House. It is now a museum in Silay, and is just a few meters away from the marker. It stands proudly along Cinco de Noviembre Street. Moreover, it’s the first museum established in Negros Occidental.
Balay Negrense is open from Tuesday to Sunday, except major holidays. Entrance fees are very reasonable and includes a guided tour by young ladies wearing native Filipino costumes. They can also speak English for the benefit of foreign guests.
End note: A new amusement park in Silay City is Magikland Silay Theme Park is already open. It’s located in Brgy. Guinhalaran and I highly suggest that you schedule a visit there, especially if you have kids.