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Father of heritage conservation in Silay dies, DOT lauds work

Ramon Hofileña explaining art pieces in his ancestral home to guests.*Ronnie Baldonado photo

Ramon Hofileña, the “father of heritage conservation” in Silay City, Negros Occidental, passed away Thursday, July 29.

He was 87.

Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said the Department of Tourism “acknowledges his great contribution to heritage preservation and cultural tourism, especially in his beloved hometown in Silay.”

“A trip to this heritage city would not be complete without a visit to the Hofileña ancestral house where visitors used to be toured by sir Mon himself. The Annual Cultural Tour of Negros that he organized for 40 years instilled pride of place for Negrenses”, she told DIGICAST NEGROS.

“We salute him for sharing his time and talent for the promotion of Filipino art, culture and heritage”, she said, adding that the DOT conveys its sincerest condolences to his family.

Silay City Mayor Mark Golez said “today, we mourn the passing of an icon, the father of heritage conservation in Silay.”

Golez said Hofileña had been awarded the “Tourism Lifetime Achievement Plaque” by the DOT–Region VI for his excellent contribution to the tourism industry.

“A collector of more than 1,000 pieces of art, from paintings to antiques, sculptures, and engravings, he was a man with a passion for the arts, culture, and history. An expert in his domain,” Golez said.

Hofileña first opened his family’s ancestral house to visitors in 1962, the 1st Heritage House in Silay City to be opened to both foreign and local tourists, the mayor said.

Since his return from the United States in the 1970s, he has been into a life-long campaign to restore and protect Negrense cultural heritage. He also spearheaded the Annual Cultural Tour of Negros Occidental (ACTNO), the longest-running cultural tour in the world, Golez added.

“We truly lost a legend here in Silay City… He is an inspiration to many and his legacy will surely remain forever,” Golez said.

Negros Occidental Board Member Ryan Gamboa said Hofileña was one of the pioneer founders of the Silay Heritage Foundation that advocated the preservation and cultivation of arts and culture in the City, but more importantly he saved the houses of the Silay Heritage Zone from destruction due to road widening in the 70’s and then again in the 80’s.*

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