“The City of Smiles”
Bacolod was not established as a town until 1755 or 1756, after the inhabitants of the coastal settlement of San Sebastián de Magsung̃ay, were attacked by forces under Datu Bantílan of Sulu on July 14, 1755 and the villagers transferred from the coast to a hilly area called Bacólod. Bernardino de los Santos became the first gobernadorcillo (English: municipal judge or governor). The town of Bacolod was constituted as a parroquia (English: parish) in 1788 under the secular clergy, but did not have a resident priest until 1802, as the town was served by the priest from Bago, and later Binalbagan. By 1790, slave raids on Bacolod by Moro pirates had ceased.
In 1846, upon the request of Msgr. Romualdo Jimeno, bishop of Cebu and Negros at that time, Gobernador General (English: Governor-General) Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa sent to Negros a team of Recollect missionaries headed by Fr. Fernando Cuenca.A decree of 20 June 1848 by Gobernador General Clavería ordered the restructuring of Negros politically and religiously. The following year (1849), Negros Island Gobernadorcillo Manuel Valdevieso y Morquecho transferred the capital of the Province of Negros from Himamaylan to Bacolod and the Augustinian Recollects were asked to assume spiritual administration of Negros, which they did that same year. Transfer of Bacolod to the Recollects, however, took place only in 1871. Fray Mauricio Ferrero became the first Augustinian Recollect parish priest of Bacolod and successor to the secular priest, Fr. Mariano Ávila. In 1863, a compulsory primary public school system was set up.
In 1889, Bacolod became the capital of Occidental Negros when the Province of Negros was politically divided into the separate provinces of Occidental Negros (Spanish: Negros Occidental) and Oriental Negros.
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.
Population/ Language/ Area
As of 2010, Bacolod City recorded a total population of 511,820. Nat
ives are called as Negrense, Ilonggo/Ilongga or Bacolenos. The people mainly speaks Hiligaynon as their language. There are other who speaks English.
Bacolod City has a total land area of 162.67 km2 (62.81 sq mi), consists mainly of infrastructures and modern buildings.
Products and Services
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 has been recommended by the Department of Science and Technology’s Information and Communication Technology Office (ICTO) and Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) as the best location in the Visayas for business process outsourcing activities (BPO).
Bacolod is the Philippines’ third fastest growing economy in terms of IT-BPO growth.
Among the notable business process outsourcing companies operating in the city are Convergys, Teleperformance, TeleTech, Transcom, Panasiatic, Focus Direct, and Telequest.
- Bacolod City Plaza Bandstand – this is the center for cultural activities of the early Bacolenos during weekends, located at the Bacolod City Public Plaza.
- CApitol Park and Lagoon – this park is located in front of the Capitol Building where it features sculptural work of a woman and a female water buffalo done by a French artist, as well as a man and male buffalo which was also done by a native Negrense artist.
- The Province Capitol Building – built in 1927 and finished 1933. This building is used to be the current seat of the Provincial Government of Occidental Negros. The building boasts its architectural design of Neo-Roman classic style that was really quite impressive. When the Japanese occupied the country, the building was used as the General Headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Army.
- Negros Museum Provincial Capitol Building – this museum was opened last March 18, 1996 and now under the Negros Cultural Foundation, an NGO organization committed to preserving the cultural and historical heritage of Negros.
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Festivals and Celebrations
- Masskara Festival – this famous festival of the city is celebrated every third weekend of October nearest October 19, the city’s Charter Inauguration Anniversary. The dancers are wearing colorful clothes and maskara (mask) throughout the festival. Masskara derived from two words “mass” which means a multitude of people and cara, meaning faces, thus forming Masskara which basically means “multitude of faces”.