The iconic green and white building along Galo Street, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental is the Belle Arte Residential Condominiums. It is the cap to the up-and-coming Bacolod Art Deco District that will soon become an architectural landmark in the Philippines.
Hidden in Plain Sight
Miss Lilia Villanueva, president of Marosville Development Corporation, was right. We tend to take for granted the beauty before our eyes or within our reach. Sometimes, it takes the lens of somebody else’s to be able to appreciate their beauty.
I have lived in Bacolod City for 45 years already. And since 4 years old until I turned 16, I have passed by the Daku Balay along Burgos Street almost every day. This is the route that we take on our way to Trinity Christian School and vice versa.
Honestly, I never truly noticed it back then. When I was older, Balay Daku just seemed like one of the structures to me. When some of my classmates from the University of San Carlos in Cebu came to tour the city, I did not even know what to show them. They asked me to go here and there and I was surprised because those were the places I would ordinarily pass by and see every day. Why would they want to see them? So I began to appreciate the hidden gems in our city that are just actually in plain sight.
A tour inside this Art Deco mansion made me appreciate this treasure more. I feel like wooshing and time traveling to when I was 4 and look at it from a different perspective.
Heritage Buildings Gone
I also live in an iconic row of buildings at the Capitol Shopping Center that I also neglected. Now many, including us, have torn down the original structures and have built concrete buildings over the lots they once stood. And lately, I feel a sense of regret. But there’s just no chance to preserve our old neighborhood.
I am just happy that going eastward, a new building rose up and was built to resemble the old structures of Capitol Shopping Center. They do not exactly look the same. But many of its design elements, like the awnings, remind me of our neighborhood back then.
This is also what I like about Belle Arte Residential Condominiums. It is inspired by the iconic Art Deco architecture of Daku Balay.
I am not really a fan of condo living because I feel cramped. But a tour of Belle Arte makes me want to consider otherwise.
Belle Art Residential Condominiums Completed
MarosVill Development Corporation, the premier Art Deco Developers in the country, has completed the construction of Belle Arte Residential Condominiums. And it has inspired the emergence of the Bacolod Art Deco District in the city.
Started in Paris in 1925, Art Deco is an architectural and design movement that fast gained worldwide popularity because of its exciting theme. Some of the world’s most iconic Art Deco buildings are the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings in Manhattan, New York, USA. Meanwhile, cities like Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, Paris, and London also boast of the most iconic Art Deco buildings in the world.
Pretty soon, Art Deco also flourished in Asia, such as in metropolitan cities like Hanoi (Vietnam), Shanghai (China), and Hong Kong.
Art Deco also made its way to the Philippines in the 1930s to the 40s, but most buildings were built in Manila. Personal estates, theaters, museums, and apartments with Art Deco style may be found on the streets of Malate and Escolta.
Torn by the War
However, World War II brought so much destruction to the old buildings of Manila. Many of the Art Deco masterpieces were destroyed. Meanwhile, the others have been neglected, sold, or demolished.
In Bacolod City, one surviving Art Deco masterpiece exists to this day, completely intact, and well-preserved. And that is Daku Balay, which literally translates to “Big House” and the ancestral mansion of the Villanueva Clan. This was built by Don Generoso Villanueva for his family back in the 1930s.
Fast forward to the present day, Belle Arte Residential Condominiums “is a continuation of Don Generoso Villanueva’s vision 80 years ago.” This was said by Lilia Villanueva, President, MarosVill Development Corporation. That is why they have built the condo just behind the Balay Daku. The descendants aim to continue their grandfather’s vision to create a modern Art Deco District for Bacolod.
The Bacolod Art Deco District
Aside from Balay Daku, Don Generoso also built another Art Deco residence for his sister just across the street. With two authentic pre-war Art Deco buildings and the Belle Arte Residential Condominiums, the Bacolod Art Deco District was just waiting to happen.
The Villanueva family is hoping to protect the heritage houses in the area and potentially developing more Art Deco-inspired buildings.
Similar to the success of the heritage houses in Silay City, the Bacolod Art Deco District will greatly influence heritage tourism. This will also put the city on the map as the first to have a district designated as Art Deco.
About Belle Arte Residential Condominiums
Belle Arte Residential Condominiums is a mid-rise, boutique vertical community for those who appreciate this classic design. Located in the heart of this heritage destination, the condominium boasts of superior construction, high ceilings, and spacious units. Plus, residents get stunning views of the city because of their balconies.
Currently, residents can enjoy Belle Arte’s sunset roof deck featuring the best 360-degree views of the city, mountains, and the ocean. It has a private gym and the Cafe Oscar — Bacolod’s premier farm-to-table restaurant and art gallery.
As they curate the residents, the building harbors a safe community. This is in addition to its 24-hour shifting security, concierge, and CCTV network.
Covid-19 Safety Protocols
In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the management was quick to implement strict health and safety protocols in the building. They want to ensure that residents are protected against the threats of the virus.
The plans for a Phase 2 expansion have been delayed due to the pandemic. However, planning and development will resume around 2023. The new building will feature additional units and more amenities. There will be a swimming pool, function hall, and more commercial spaces.
Belle Arte Residential Condominiums is located at Galo Street, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines.