History in Bacolod

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Bacolod City, situated in the northwestern part of the island of Negros. Is bounded by Talisay City in the North, Bago City in the South, Guimaras Strait in the West, and municipality of Murcia in the East.

In 1970 it had a population of 187,300. It has a cool invigorating climate with abundant rainfalls. Majority speak Ilonggo and English, the rest Cebuano.

Bacolod, "The Sugar City of the Philippines", is one of the progressive and elite city in the Philippines. Along its highway, sugarcane plantations are typical sceneries; coconuts and rice are also grown. The people engaged in livestock, fishing and pottery.

Bacolod was derived from an Ilonggo word "bakolod" meaning " stonehill", since the settlement was founded in 1770 on a stonehill area, now the district of Granada and the former site of Bacolod-Murcia Milling Company.

Due to muslim raids in 1787, Bacolod was transferred near the shoreline, th old site was called "Daan-Banwa" meaning old town.
   
In 1894, by order of Gov. Gen. Claveria, through the Governor of Negros Island, Manuel Valdeviseo Morquecho, Bacolod was made capital of the Province of Negros. Bernardino de los Santos became the first gobernadorcillo and Fray Julian Gonzaga was the first parish priest.

By virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 326, enacted by National Assembly, City of Bacolod was created on June 18, 1938.

Prior the coming of the Spaniards in Negros in 1565, there existed a small village near the mouth of the Magsungay river.  It was a small settlement inhabited by Malayans who belonged to the “Taga-Ilog” group.

The exact date of Spanish contact with this village is not certain: lost in the hazy twilight of history that was pre-Spanish era. Incidentally, historical accounts of the Church provide us with a glimpse of the early years of Bacolod as a small settlement by the river bank.

When the neigboring settlement of  Bogo (now Bago City) was elevated into the status of a small town in 1575, it had several religious dependencies, one of which was the village of Magsungay.  The early missionaries place the village of Magsungay under the care and protection of St. Sebastian sometime in the middle of the 1700s.  A “corrigidor” by the name of Luis Fernando de Luna (1777-1779), donated a relic of St. Sebastian for the growing mission, and since then, the village came to be known as “San Sebastian de Magsungay”.

The inhabitants of Magsungay had a perennial problem. In 1765, pirates from Mindanao attaced the villaged as they did several times in the past, hense rendering slow pace in progress. In 1770, the small village of Magsungay was firmly established under the leadership of the first “governadorcillo” or “Kapitan Municipal” by the name of Bernardo de los Santos.

In 1787, Moro pirates attacked the settlement and that invasion was considered to be the bloodiest in the history of Bacolod as a small community. The moros, in a dozen and half vintas, landed at the mouth of Magsungay and Lupit rivers at about 4:00 in the morning. A few hours later, hundred of people in the village were killed in the raid, the women raped, and all of the houses were either burned down or looted. The historical significance of the event could be guaged from a ballad which was written and sang for the next century and a half, and from thereon picked up by the historians.

With the cloud of insecurity hanging over them, the people of Magsungay decided to move a few kilometers inland where upon on a hilly terrain which they called “Buklod” the people established a new settlement.  There, on this hilly terrain, Magsungay became the settlement of BACOLOD.

In 1806, Fr. Leon Pedro, having appointed as “propitario” of Bacolod, became the first  parish priest.  It was not until September of 1818 when Fr. Juan Gonzaga, the parish priest of Bacolod at that time, encouraged the people to settle once again near the sea, but a little more inland for security reasons. By this time, the fear of pirate attacks have been reduced to mere memory of the past.

From there, Fr. Gonzaga, a young priest from Barcelona, envisioned the construction of the San Sebastian Cathedral.

From its present site, the church (which was to become the Cathedral as we see today) became the nuceus of the present-day BACOLOD. Gradually, the people left the hilly terrain where they had started to progress, and eventually the place became known as “Kamingawan” which means the "place of loneliness".

In 1846, upon the request of Msgr. Romualdo Jimeno, Bishop of Cebu and Negros at the time, Governor-General Narciso claveria sent to Negros a team of Recollect missionaries headed by Fr. Fernando Cuenca.  The following year, 1849, Gov. Valdevieso y Morquecho declared Bacolod as the capital of the whole island of Negros.

When the island was divided into two provinces, the seat of the government of Occidental Negros was already in Bacolod. during the Revolution of the 5th of November, 1898, Bacolod became the focal point of the conflict between the Spaniards and the Negrenses. The commanding officer of the Spanish forces, Col. Isidro de Castro, surrendered to the Filipino forces, and the signing of the Act of Capitulation was carried out at the house of Don Eusebio Luzuriaga which once stood in front of the City Hall.

At the turn of the century, under American rule, the first Elementary school-the Rizal Institute (which still stands tody) as established in 1903. In 1919, La Consolacion College was established to become the first private catholic school in Bacolod.

Bacolod was converted into a city by virtue of Commonwealth Act 328, as amended by C.A. 404, and was inaugurated October 19, 1938, with the late Alfredo Montelibano, Sr., as first City Mayor.

Originally, the inauguration of the City was set on September 30, 1938. Inclement weather, however, postponed the inauguration twice. It was finally on October 19, 1938 wehn Bacolod was inaugurated after the weather condition had improved.

Sponsors of the bill which created Bacolod City were Senator Pedro C. Hernaez and speaker of the House Gil Montilla. Other co-sponsors were Assemblymen Enrique Magalona and Jose C. Zulueta of Iloilo. The Provincial Governor when Bacolod became a city was Valeriano M. Gatuslao.

During the inaugural rites, national dignitaries led by President Manuel L. Quezon were present. Quezon delivered the charter presentation message after a colorful civic-military parade participated in by Volunteer Guards, Negros Occidental High School cadets, Philippine Army trainees of Fabrica, Mambucal, Binalbagan and Magallon cadets, policemen and Philippine Constabulary in khaki and felt hats.

At hte outbreak of the 2nd World War, the Japanese Forces cam to occupy the province in 1942 and Kono, who the then Provincial Commander of the Japanese Imperial Army in Negros, Gen. Tagaishi also supervised the island of Panay, had his wartime residence in Bacolod City, at the house of the late Don Mariano Ramos.

After nearly a couple of centuries from its founding the small settlement of 5,000 residents, is now a bustling modern metropolis with a population of 450,000. It has come to be known as one of R. Leonardia, the Outstanding Cities of the Philippines and, under the administration of former Mayor Evelio was also proclaimed as one of the two Cleanest and Greenest Highly Urbanized Cities in the Philippines .

With a government that is firmly entrenched in a strong leadership that knows what it wants and with an optimistic and resilient populace, Bacolod will certainly be ON THE RIGHT TRACK for the NEXT MILLENIUM.

Contributors
July 30, 2006 new by bacolodnon (2 points)
August 01, 2006 change by giorgio

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