The Province of Negros: Culture and History
Bacolod Travel Blog› entry 4 of 31 › view all entries
"Not only is s/he Negrense, but also Filipino; not only Filipino but also Asian and a citizen of the world. Negrense culture melds traditions and legacies from our historical interaction with Greater Southest Asia, China, Spain, Mexico and the United States." So reads part of the text next to the JGM Gallery of Intl. Folk Art and Toys. This exhibit at Negros Museum in Bacolod City is probably the most varied collection of international toys and dolls that I had seen. Unfortunately, I couldn't take photos. Let's just say that if you can show the influence of the Galleon Trade and the Silk Road (apparently to Negros) through toys, dolls and fabric, then that's how dense the collection is.
The colors of the Toy exhibit was also chosen with care: red (for happiness), yellow (for hope), blue (for peace) and violet (for whimsy) -- all colors that would be attractive to children.
It was hot and slightly dusty at the museum, as the air-conditioning had been turned off. Only one other person was there with me when I viewed the exhibit, and when she left, just the caretaker.
The staff at the Negros Forests-Biodiversity Conservation Center was super-friendly and was responsible for getting me to consider both Patag and Danjungan Island as part of my itinerary. But first, I was shown around the zoo by Dennis -- a University of La Salle HM volunteer. Why hotel management? Seems like eco-tourism is taking a big leap in Negros. Especially terrestrial tourism in the north, where most of the animals at the farm were found in its forests. Seems like Northern Negros had retained most of its primary rainforests, and the conservationists intend to keep it that way, while helping to give sustainable livelihood to the communities to be found there.
I saw a Leopard Cat, several Visayan Spotted Deers, Warty Pigs, Owls, Visayan Taritic Hornbills -- all endangered animals. Some of the animals, like the deers, were harder to breed in captivity as they were monogamous. Plus some, like the owls, have the unfortunate habit of rejecting their young because they grow up very fast and the mother would view her own offspring as competition.
The little zoo can easily be viewed in under 20 minutes (even with commentary), but its value is enormous. It has several partner zoos from all over the world, and a representative from the Czech Zoo - Pavel - was there at the time. Most of the staff were young. When I asked Irish, the resident biologist, which area I should best go to see a rainforest, she mentions Patag foremost. She gave me a Forestry contact's number, who I could coordinate with if I decided to go. She also introduced me to Joy who was the island manager of Danjungan for the Tourism Department and was also at the Zoo office. Prior to meeting Joy, I never though that I could actually visit the island since it was mentioned in my guidebook that tourists weren't allowed. But it seemed that nowadays a few at a time could now take daytrips or even stay overnight. Both trips : Patag and Danjungan, however, have to be coordinated through official channels.