The town of Victorias was originally located in what is now known as Daan Banwa (Old Town), a fishing village beside Malihaw River and near its outlet to the sea.
During the Spanish era, the town was called Malihaw, a name taken from Malihaw trees which grew in abundance along the riverbanks. It was ruled by Capitan Gregorio Conlu, and Moro pirates and Tulisanes reigned unmolested.
One day, the Capitan’s household was robbed. He was able to escape together with his Secretary Alfonso Pachera, but his wife Capitana Tutang and their servant Micay were taken aboard the sailboat which immediately sailed for the open sea. When Capitana Tutang was asked whether she knew how to swim, she replied that she could not. And so she and her servant were thrown overboard while their vessel was just outside Malihaw’s river mouth.
The robbers sailed on believing that the two will be drowned. But that was not the case, for both women were good swimmers. While struggling in the water, Capitana Tutang saw a beautiful lady she believed was the Blessed Virgin Mary.
When she reached home she prayed and promised to buy an image of the Lady who helped her. But having been divested of their possessions, it took several months of careful savings to be able to purchase the image from Barcelona, Spain. However, since she did not specify what image she wanted, Capitana Tutang received the statue of the Nuestra Senora de las Victorias, which to her amazement held the likeness of the Lady who saved her and Micay from drowning. The inhabitants later proposed to change the name Malihaw to Nuestra Senora de las Victorias to perpetuate the miraculous incidents. They enjoined Capitan Gorio to ask the Governor to approve the change of name. The governor gave his consent, but retained only “Victorias” as the official name.
On February 11, 1998, Victorias became a component city when Republic Act No. 8488 was signed into law by then President Fidel V. Ramos. Witnessing the signing at Malacanang were officials of Victorias led by Mayor Severo A. Palanca and key officials of Congress.
A plebiscite for the ratification was held on March 21, 1998. On March 21, 1999, Victorias City celebrated its first anniversary.
Population/ Language/ Area
As of 2010, Victorias City recorded a total population of 88,299 with an average population density of 660/km2 (1,700/sq mi). These people speaks Hiligaynon as their local language. There are however a mix of Cebuano and Tagalog speakers residing in the city.
The city has a total land area of 133.92 km2 (51.71 sq mi), featuring
The city offers opportunities in food processing especially sugar-based foods, meat and fish processing. The manufacture of furniture, clothing and fashion accessories, jewelry, personal care and other consumer goods are encouraged. The establishment of commercial complexes and tourist facilities are welcomed in this city.
- Gawahon Eco-tourism Development project – has seven natural waterfalls that nature lovers and trekkers would love to explore. Various facilities and other infrastructure projects are being implemented through the Gawahon Eco-tourism Development Project. There are also two-room staff house, a one-room cottage and open shed house/ picnic cabanas.
- The Victorias Public Plaza – is surrounded by different horticultural plants, flowers and trees. This plaza is considered as one of the tourist attractions in the city. Facilities include an amphitheater, skating rink, SK and Senior Citizens pavilion. It has a small lagoon with man-made waterfalls as an added attraction.
- Victorias Milling Company – this is the biggest integrated sugar mill and refinery in the world. The more than 7,000-hectare compound is self-contained agro-industrial complex with a world famous St. Joseph the Worker Church that features the Angry Christ Mural. Tours run everyday except weekend and Mondays.
Festivals and Celebrations
The city celebrates the Annual Charter Anniversary every 21st day of March and Annual Fiesta every 26th day of April. On this occasion, the search for Lin-ay sang Victorias, street dancing and other cultural activities are presented. Visitors from neighboring towns and cities as well as from other provinces come to Victorias to see the beauty and culture of Victoriahanons.