Land Area: 15, 610.00 hectares
Classification: Highly Urbanized City
No. of Barangays: 61 Barangays – (41 Urban, 20 Rural)
Population: 429,076 (May 1, 2000) – 453,873 (2005 Projection)
Language: Hiligaynon/Ilonggo – English is spoken & understood
Prior to the coming of the Spaniards in Negros in 1565, there existed a small village near the mouth of the Magsungay river inhabited by Malayans who belong to the “Taga-ilog” group. The early missionaries placed the village of Magsungay under the protection of St. Sebastian in 1700s and was later known as “San Sebastian de Magsungay”. In 1770, Bernardo de los Santos became its first Governadorcillo or Capitan municipal. Its first parish priest was Fr. Leon Pedro, having been appointed as Propitario of Bacolod in 1806.
Due to the rampant attack of Moro pirates, the villagers moved inland and established a new settlement on a hilly terrain they called Buklod, the forerunner of its present name, “Bacolod”. Gradually, the people left the hilly terrain which later became known as Camingawan (loneliness).
In 1849. then Gov. Valdevieso y Morquecho declared Bacolod as the capital of the whole island of Negros. Subsequently, with the splitting of Negros into two provinces, Bacolod was named capital of the province of Negros Occidental in 1884.
On October 19, 1938, Bacolod became the fifth chartered city during the Commonwealth period under President Manuel L. Quezon, with Alfredo Montelibano, Sr. as its appointed chief executive.
From a mere settlement in the hills with only about 5,000 people in 1770, Bacolod has developed into a highly urbanized city in 1984. In 1996, Bacolod was named one of the “Outstanding Cities of the Philippines”. It was also adjudged the “Cleanest and Greenest Highly Urbanized City” in the country in 1997, 1998 and 2000, 2001, respectively.
How to get there
The gateway to Negros Occidental, Bacolod City is 55 minutes from Manila by air, with Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific Air providing daily flights. Bacolod is 30 minutes from Cebu City by air, with daily flights provided by Philippine Airlines on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday and Cebu Pacific Air on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
It is an 18-hour cruise from Manila aboard world class vessels of Negros Navigation Company and SuperFerry. Aboard fast sea crafts, Bacolod is one-hour from Iloilo City. By land-and-sea travel, it is 7-hour from Cebu City. Terminals for buses plying northern and southern Negros Occidental are located within Bacolod City.
Bacolod City is located on the northwestern coast of the Province of Negros Occidental. It is bounded on the northwest by the City of Talisay, on the east and southwest by the City of Bago and on the West by Guimaras Strait.
International Direct Dialing (IDD), Telex, Facsimile, Cellular Phones, Radio, E-mail, Worldwide Express Delivery, Postal Service and Telegraph Services are available. Telephone Area Code is 034.
Bacolod’s famous landmarks include beautiful 19th century mansions of sugar barons, historical monuments and churches during the Spanish era.
- The San Sebastian Cathedral is located in downtown Bacolod. It was originally a small chapel which became a cathedral in 1933. The structure, made of coral stones from Guimaras Island was completed in 1882. Beside the cathedral is the Palacio Episcopal or Bishop’s Palace constructed in 1830.
- The Sta. Clara Chapel in Sta. Clara Subdivision features a large mural mosaic of Barangay Sang Birhen, a local version of the Virgin Mary made of 95,000 pieces of polished shells. The stations of the cross, the images of the saints and altar pieces are a collage 30,000 Philippine shells.
- The San Antonio Abad Church showcases national artist Solomon Saprid’s masterwork “The Risen Christ.”
- The Provincial Capitol Building was built in 1927 using the Neo-Roman architectural design of American Daniel Burnham executed by Filipino Architect Juan Arellano. In July 2001, Gov. Joseph G. Marañon initiated the rehabilitation of the Capitol. It was inaugurated on June 23, 2004.
Arts, Crafts and Shopping
With the development of the sugar industry in 1950’s, Bacolod’s prominent families have acquired fine antique collections. Some are on sale in the city’s antique shops, others can be viewed in ancestral homes or private collections. Good buys include shell craft, ceramic wares and woodcrafts. Weaving centers produce “hablon”, a locally developed fabric which was the rave in the 1960’s.
The ANP Negros Showroom is a one-stop shop selling export-quality products such as garments, gift items, decorative objects, handicrafts, shell craft and pastries.
Central Market at the downtown area displays native products, textiles, native delicacies and fresh fruits.
Bacolod Shellcraft and Artwares has a collection of Philippine and Negrense shells which are made into exquisite mosaics, house accessories and gift items.
Casa Grande Antiques, Recuerdos de Bacolod and Sarlee’s sell fine furniture, heirloom pieces, antique “Santos” or wooden images of saints and curio items.
Sports and Leisure Activities
Bacolod offers the sportsman various outdoor activities like water sports, tennis, mountain climbing and its biggest attraction-golf.
Bacolod is the golf center of Visayas. Its world-class courses have produced some of the country’s best swingers.
Bacolod Golf and Country Club in Hda. Binitin, has a tight and compact 18-hole layout in a sugar plantation setting. It has a clubhouse, restaurant, swimming pool and locker rooms. It is open for tourists. For information call Tel. No. (034) 446-1794.
Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club in Bata Subdivision has 18-hole golf course that will challenge the intrepid golfers with its water hazards and the strong winds from Mt. Kanlaon. It has a clubhouse, tennis courts and swimming pool. Tel. No.(034) 441-1190, Telefax 441-1191.
Festival –October 19
Experience Masskara Festival every month of October, a festive celebration where revelers dance in the streets wearing colorful smiling masks and vibrant costumes.
Choices range from first class hotels to pension houses and inns. For style, comfort and elegance, there are hotels accredited by the Department of Tourism. For nightlife lovers, the Filipino Casino Hotel is situated right at the Goldenfield Commercial Complex. The L’Fisher Hotel located within the city caters to businessmen and dignitaries.