BACOLOD CITY lies in the northwestern part of Negros Occidental. It is a major seaport and has daily ferry trips to Iloilo City, bounded by the City of Talisay in the northwest side, City of Silay and Victorias in the northeast, Murcia Town in the east and southwest side, City of Bago in the northwest, and Guimaras Strait in the west side.
In 1770, a settlement was established in a stonehill area, thus the city name was derived from a Hiligaynon word “Bakolod” which refers to a stonehill. However in 1787, the settlement was transferred in the shoreline due to Muslim raids, and the original settlement was then renamed to “Da-an Banwa” which means old town.
Bacolod was made the capital of the Province of Negros in 1894 by order of Governor General Claveria. The first Gobernadorcillo was Bernardino de los Santos, and the first appointed priest is Fray Julian Gonzaga. The townsfolk also took part in the revolutionary movement against the Spaniards. In 1897, Negrense revolutionaries fought with the Spaniards at Matab-ang River. And a year later, they captured the convent where well-armed platoons of Spanish civil guards stayed, using only knives, bolos, spears, and rifle-like "nipa" stems, and pieces of "sawali" or "amakan" mounted on carts. Two days later the Negrense revolutionaries formed a Provisional Junta and elected their own officials.
In 1899, American forces occupied Bacolod and on October 19, 1938 by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 326, Bacolod was made a chartered city. However, on May 21, 1942 the city was also colonized by the Japanese Forces, the independence was gained on May 29, 1945.
Bacolod City has a total land area of 16,269,8305 hectares including straits and bodies of water and the 124 hectare reclamation area in the ports of Banago and Pulupundan. The city’s altitude is 32.8 feet or 10.0 meters above sea level.
The current city population is 458,036. Most of the residents speak Hiligaynon (Ilongo). The rest generally speak Tagalog and Cebuano. English is also widely spoken and understood, and some.
Hiligaynon (Ilongo) is the major dialect spoken in Bacolod City. English and Tagalog are also widely spoken and understood especially in the urban areas. Some residents of Chinese ancestry also converse in the Amoy dialect.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
The city is now a center of growth, commerce and trade in the region. A lot of business opportunities are currently established in the city. These are all due to the concerted effort of the local city government in providing good ports and access roads, stable peace and order condition and an investor friendly Investment Incentive Program .
Bacolod has two pronounced seasons, rainy season starts from May to January with heavy rains occurring during the months of August and September; and the dry season starting from the months of February up to the last week of April. December and January are the coldest months while April is the hottest. Average temperature is 26 °C.
ARTS & CULTURE
In 1950, Bacolod City gained economic boom due to the development of the sugar industry, thus, prominent families were able to acquire fine antique collections. Some are on sale in the city's antique shops, other are displayed in ancestral homes or private collections. The city is rich with various local crafts and artwares that truly magnify how the people of Bacolod relish the city’s beginnings. They also celebrate the well-known MASSKARA FESTIVAL which is similar to the Mardi Grass celebration in other countries. The festival highlights a street dance parade and merrymaking, sports competitions, cultural programs, carnivals, trade fair, concerts, the MassKara Queen Beauty pageant. Bacolodnons wear smiling masks and clad in colorful costumes, dancing to the rhythms of samba, disco, and Latin-American music while parading down the main thoroughfares of the city. This festival is celebrated on the third weekend of October.
Antiques, handwoven cloth like hablon (a native developed shimmer fabric), shellcraft, ceramic ware, woodcraft, leather goods, pottery, baskets and children's garments are among the best buys. Others are shellcraft, ceramic ware and woodcraft.
Tourists may visit the ANP Negros Showroom and the Central Market which features best Negrese handicrafts and products such as houseware, decorative objects, garments, gift items and even food delicacies, , textiles, native delicacies and fresh fruits such as rambutan, mangosteen, guapple (hybrid guava and apple), durian, atis and golden mangoes.
And for antique furniture, heirloom pieces, and wooden images of saints and curio items, one may visit Casa Grande Antiques shop.
Bacolod City now offers various specialty restaurants that serve Negrense, Filipino continental and Oriental cuisines; as well as fastfood outlets.
Tourists can also buy the all time favorite take home gifts such as piaya, barquillos, squid flakes, guapple pie and bañadas cookies.
Roman Catholic is the predominant religion in the City.
LIST OF “BARANGAYS” (or communities)
Bacolod City has 61 barangays:
Bacolod City is a major gateway for various sights and attractions. And all year round, most tourists visit the following sites:
BACOLOD CITY PLAZA BANDSTAND
This is situated at the center of the Bacolod City Public Plaza and was built in 1927 to serve the cultural activities of the early Bacolenos during the weekends.
CAPITOL PARK AND LAGOON
This is located in front of the Capitol building; it features sculptural work of a woman and a female water buffalo done by a French artist, as well as a man and male water buffalo which was later on done by a Negrense artist.
FORT SAN JUAN
The Fort was originally built by the Recollect friar, Fray Mauricio Ferrero. During the Spanish era, the fort served as the jail for prisoners and was also used as venue for Spanish friars that was incarcerated after the 1898 revolution. Currently, the fort served as the Provincial Jail.
NEGROS MUSEUM PROVINCIAL CAPITOL BUILDING
This Museum opened on March 18, 1996 and is under the Negros Cultural Foundation, an NGO organization committed to preserving the cultural and historical heritage of Negros.
"Ang Paghimud-os", also means "The Struggle" and is a fine sculptural work of art beside the lagoon. This was done by one of the country's noted sculptures, Eduardo Castrillo.
The Palacio Episcopal was built in 1830 by Fr. Julian Gonzaga and the construction was only finished on 1890. This is older than the San Sebastian Cathedral and also served as the refuge for Spanish military and civil officials during and after the revolution of 1898.
This is the ancestral home of the late Don Mariano Ramos along Burgos Street. It has a European influence in architectural design and when the Second World War broke, the house became the wartime residence of the Provincial Commander of the Japanese Imperial Army.
RIZAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
The school is the first school established by the Americans in Bacolod City in 1901. Originally known as the Rizal Institute, it boasts of a Rizal Mini-Park.
SAN SEBASTIAN CATHEDRAL
The Cathedral was built in 1876 near Bacolod Public Plaza upon the initiative of Fr. Mauricio Ferrero, and became a cathedral in 1933. This is one of the century-old churches found in Negros Occidental.
SPORTS AND LEISURE
The City has three 18-holes golf courses and a number of tennis courts. Tourists can also climb Mt. Kanlaon and enjoy Watersports activities along the Negros Occidental coast, in Lakawon Island or Inampulugan Island.
STA. CLARA CHAPEL
This Chapel features a unique mural mosaic of the Lady of the Barangay or the Barangay sang Virgen done in a collage of 95,000 pieces of shells of various sizes, shades and colors.
THE PROVINCE CAPITOL BUILDING
This was built in 1927 and finished in 1933. It used to be the current seat of the Provincial Government of Occidental Negros. The building boasts of its architectural design of Neo-Roman classic style that was really quite impressive. During the Japanese occupation it was used as the General Headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Army. Today, the seat of the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental was transferred to the now Negros Occidental High School building. The Capitol Building now houses the Provincial Historical Commission and the offices of the Provincial Financial Cluster.
Other sites to visit:
Bells of San Sebastian
Goldenfields Commercial Complex
Bacolod is only a 55-minute flight by plane from Manila through Domestic flight carriers such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines. From Cebu City, Bacolod is a mere 20-minute flight.
Bacolod City Domestic Airport is 4 kilometers away from the city's downtown area. Numerous jeepneys ply within the city and outlaying rural barangays, air-conditioned metered taxis are also available, and modern buses have regular routes to all northern and southern parts of the province. Car rental services are also available.
By boat, Bacolod is 20 hours from Manila and 7 hours from Cebu City. A 20-hour leisurely cruise on board any of the luxury vessels of the Negros Navigation Company is also available. Using a first-class fast craft to and from Iloilo City, travel time is 55 minutes.