Diocese of Bacolod Philippines at San Juan - Rizal Streets, Bacolod City, ND 6100 PH - Bacolod History
BRIEF HISTORY OF BACOLOD CITY
Prior to the coming of the Spaniards in Negros in 1565, there existed a small village near the north of Magsungay River. It was 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 wearly years of Bacolod as a small settlement by the river bank.
When the neighboring settlement of Bogo (now Bago) was elevated into the status of a small town in 1575, it had several religious dependecies, one of which was the village of Magsungay. The early missionaries placed the village under the care and protection os St. Sebastian sometime in the middle of 1700's. 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 perrenial problem. In 1765, pirates from Mindanao attacked the village as they did several times in the past, hence slow pace in progress. In 1770, small village of Magsungay was firmly established under the leadership of first "gobernadorcillo" or "Kapital 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 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 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 gauged 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 whereupon on a hill 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 been 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, encourage the eople to settle once again near the sea, but a little more inland for security reason. 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, envision the construction of San Sebastian Cathedral. From its present site, the Church (which was become the Cathedral as we see today) became the nucleus of the present-day BACOLOD. Gradually, the people left the hilly terrain where they had started to progress, and eventually the place became known a "Kamingawan" or the "place of loneliness". Fr. Gonzaga passed away in 1836, leaving as a legacy the new town which is today the City of Bacolod.
In 1846, upon the request of Msgr. Romualdo Jimeno, Bishop of Cebu and Negros at the time, Gov. Gen. 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 Occidental Negros was already Bacolod. During the Revolution on 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 today) was established in 1903. In 1919, the La Consolacion College was established to become the first private 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 Alfredo Montilabano, Sr., as the 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 when Bacolod was inaugurated after the weather condition had improved. Sponsors of the bill which created Bacolod City were Senator Pedro 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 Gatuslao.
During the inaugural rites, national dignitaries led by President Manel L. Quezon were present. Quezon delivered the charter presentation messsage 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 the outbreak of the 2nd World War, the Japanese Forces came to occupy the province in 1942 and the then Provincial Commander of the Japanese Imperial Army of Negros, Gen. Tagaishi Kono, who also supervised the island of Panay, had his wartime residence in Bacolod City, at the house of the late Don Mariano Ramos.