One of the first places of interests to see upon reaching the province of Negros Occidental is the Negros Provincial Capitol and Lagoon located in Bacolod City, the capital city of Negros Occidental province. A beautiful people's place with a wide area for recreation and strolling with a beautiful lagoon which glows at night as its centerpiece. A statue of a man holding a carabao over a raised concrete platform is a wonderful icon symbolic of the province. It is finely made and beautifully structured.
San Sebastian Cathedral fronting the Bacolod Public Plaza was built more than one hundred thirty-three (133) years ago through the efforts of Father Fernando Cuenca who was sent by Governor General Narciso Claveria to establish a central capital in the island of Negros. The walls are made of thick, sturdy coral rocks. These coral rocks were taken from the island of Guimaras by the patient, hard-working natives as ordered by the church authorities. One can cross the church patio and enter the side door of the Palacio Episcopal or the Bishop's Palace adjacent to the Cathedral. This Palace is older than the Cathedral by fifty (50) years. It was built in 1830 at a cost of ten thousand (P 10,000) pesos which was so prohibitive at that time. This Palace is a mute but living witness to the rise and fall of the foreign powers in this province. In fact, it has witnessed the surrender of the then Spanish Governor to the Negrense Revolutionaries led by General Araneta and Lacson on November 5, 1898. Today, it is the seat of the Diocese of Bacolod.
Santa Clara Chapel was constructed by the "Barangay sang Virgin" at. Sta. Clara Subdivision, Bacolod. This small yet adequately spacious chapel is unique in artistry and craftmanship. You will note that it consists mainly of a mural of our Blessed Virgin Mary formed as a collage, composed wholly at least 95,000 pieces of locally available shells carefully selected, shaped, fitted, glued, mounted and lacquers. The sidewalls has the unique stations of the Cross with its images of saints and other characters therein being etched and shaped out of the various shells fitted and mounted in place. This artistic chapel was built in 1983. San Antonio Abad church in Lizares subdivision has a remarkable work of art. The roof of the church is shaped like a crown. The Resurrected Christ in the main altar is finely sculptured by the famous Filipino modern artist, Solomon Saprid. The Stations of the Cross on the sidewalls are made by noted Bacolod artists.
The first town outside of Bacolod City is Murcia where the famous Mambucal Hot Springs and Resort is located. It is a 24-hectare resort southeast of Bacolod City. There is a wide, white-tiled, and immaculately clean swimming pool full of mirthful swimmers and on its bermuda grass carpeted banks stroll the relaxed and carefree people. It is considered as one of the cleanest and most attractive among local and foreign tourists. Almost all national and regional conventions and conferences in Negros Occidental are being held here because of its pleasant and relaxing atmosphere which suits the purpose of such conventions and conferences. There is also a place called Prism. It is a four (4) hectare piece of land which serves both as a livelihood and as an amusement center. There is an integrated farming project and a food processing plant on the other side and at the center lies a swimming pool, which caters to the pleasure of the swimmers especially during weekends. Next is the city of Bago. The coastal city is know to have some idyllic beaches which can also serves as a conducive venue for various live-in training programs, conferences, seminars, conventions and workshops. At the center of Bago City public plaza is a monument of General Juan Araneta, a hero of Bago City who, together with General Aniceto Lacson, led a one-day revolution on November 5, 1898 against the hated Spanish regime. On a street adjacent the monument is the historical home of General Araneta which is now being used as historical landmark and museum for the province.
Next is the town of Pulupandan where you can see a vast sugarcane fields in the Hacienda Montinola on both sides of the road until one can reach a fine sandy beach. This beach is the favorite place of swimmers who wants to escape the sultry heat of summer months. This beach earned its place in our country's history because on this scenic spot, the American forces landed during the last days of the Second World War to launch their counter offensive and redeem the whole province of Negros Occidental from the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army. This little known beach is called Green Beach. As to the reason why it is called as such is still unknown. Probably, it's because during the Second World War, the American forces used certain colors as their invasion code in order to deceive the enemy. Perhaps, green was the color code used by the Americans in their invasion of Negros Occidental as launched in this beach.
After Pulupandan is the town of Valladolid where its center of attraction is its century old church built by the Recollects in 1851 to show their doctrine of religious authoritarianism during those dark days of the Spanish regime. Next are the towns of San Enrique and Pontevedra. As one pass through the twin bridge of Pontevedra, there were stands of Sisi and Talaba (mussels and oysters) since Pontevedra is known for its seafoods. After the town of Pontevedra is the town of Hinigaran then the town of Binalbagan. You will be amazed by the gargantuan structure of BISCOM Central with its enormous chimney spewing forth dark and thick clouds of smoke. The sugarmill of the BISCOM Sugar Central is considered as the biggest sugar mill in Southern Negros and one of the biggest in the province of Negros Occidental. Before, when the price of sugar is high in the world market and the United States did not restrict the sugar quota of the Philippines, this BISCOM Central is one of the biggest dollar earning sugar centrals in the Western Visayas region.
Himamaylan town is just 10.4 kilometers away from Binalbagan. Aya Drive is one of the places of interest in Himamaylan. Aya is the other name for balete tree. This place is considered as one of Himamaylan's historical landmarks because during the Spanish regime, these 'Aya' trees grow abundantly around this place covering the old Spanish garrison, thus, protecting the Spanish sentry from the marauding attacks of the Moro pirates. Next is the town of Kabankalan where one can pass by Dancalan, a big barangay of Ilog located at the intersection of the towns of Candoni and Cauayan. The town of Cauayan pride itself of Bulata Island. The island is 43 hectares wide and has a distance of around two miles from the sea coast of Cauayan. The waters surrounding the island are rich in fish, seafoods and other marine life. To see more interesting places, a bus or any private transportation can climb uphill the long, winding, rough road over the mountains separating the poblacion of Cauayan and its poblacion-sized barangay Inayawan, traversing the highland road over high hills and mountains bordering the towns of Cauayan and Sipalay where it turned to the road leading to the Sipalay Mines Corporation quarry. On viewing the cavernous mouth of the copper mines, one will be awed by the immensity of the area covered by the diggings in addition to the numerous tunnels dotting the hillsides of the mining area. Opposite the mining site is the picturesque Maricalum Bay with a stunning scenery offered them by the serene atmosphere of the bay.
The town of Hinoba-an with its Ubong Point is also a place to see. Ubong Point was the site where Col. Jesus Villamor landed his fighter plane after his dogfight with the Japanese warplanes during World War II. At the end of the grassy plain used formerly as runway and landing site, one can see the Salvacion Cave where Col. Villamor hide during the war, which many cave explorers, adventurers, and treasure hunters found to be thrilling and exciting to be explored. The town of La Castellana offers anyone a great view of the majestic Mount Kanlaon - the only known active volcano in Western Visayas. There is a Dalapnagon Nursery of the La Castellana portion of the Kanlaon National Park which nurses millions of tree seedlings for the reforestation of Mount Kanlaon. La Carlota City has a vast compound containing the massive sugar mill and huge modernized residential buildings of the Central Azucarera de la Carlota. Watching the thick, dark clouds exhaust fumes coming out of the enormous chimney pipe of the sugar mill, one could see some workers on the front yard busy loading some trucks with sacks of raw sugar while others are busy unloading other trucks full of sugarcane. There is also the La Granja Agricultural Research Center at Barangay La Granja, a short distance away from the sugar central. This research center is committed to find ways and means to solve agricultural problems for the total development of the agricultural industry in the country. It applies the integrated approach to research as it has complete facilities for research both for the national and regional level. It has National Research Center for sugarcane but it also has a Regional Center for legumes, field crops, vegetables and root crops. This center has also an agro-meteorological station completely equipped by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA). Our Lady of Peace church in La Carlota City has a beautiful interior in which the facade and walls were mostly made of bricks and coral stones. The interior walls were architecturally designed and decorated with arches, balustrades and carvings depicting the stations of the Cross. Its high, dome-shaped main altar is painted with the important scenes from the Bible. Further along the journey in the vast open fields planted with the ubiquitous sugarcane, one can reach the city of San Carlos where the popular Sipaway Island is located. It is only around three and a half nautical miles from the city. It took only around ten to fifteen minutes ride over a pumpboat.
One has to pass the towns of Calatrava then Toboso before reaching the town of Escalante where one can visit the famed Enchanted Isle of Escalante. This long stretch of white sand covers the shores surrounding the beach area of this scenic island. Thus, the whole island is practically covered with this shimmering white sand such that this island is called "Isla Puti" (White Isle). Next is the town of Sagay. The thirteen kilometer distance between Escalante and Sagay was shortly covered by a bus in a short time. Barangay Fabrica is an urbanized and highly developed barangay of Sagay noted for its sawmills and sugar central. There is a sculptured monument in the small plaza of Fabrica which was affixed with an inscribed bronze plate. It is the Japanese Memorial Shrine. This was constructed by a group of Japanese in memory of their historic, sentimental visit which included the tour of Negros Occidental back in the late 1980s. The next destination which is around eighteen kilometers from Sagay is Cadiz City where the famed Disneyland Park is found. Children will enjoy rushing forwarf and immediately seated, climbed and gilded on the smooth, polished surface of the gigantic favorite comics characters. They will be engrossed playing with the gargantuan life-like replicas of the well-known comic characters and structures like a castle, shoehouse, pastry house, including storybook animals. After Cadiz is the town of Manapla, which has a distance of 11 kilometers in between the two places. One of the most attention grabbing attraction of the town is the Hacienda Rosalia Chapel. The facade on the upper portion above the main door of the totally wooden chapel. You will be astounded to the sight of the unique design and craftmanship of the artwork. There is a stylized salakot, a farming motiff symbolizing that this is mainly a agricultural community. That piece of artwork is made up of carefully selected hardwood so skillfully carved and painstakingly mounted to form that admirable work of art. The walls made up wholly of discarded carabao cartwheels. It is a wonder how the artists as well as the architect of the chapel was able to assemble these discarded, useless cartwheels into an artistic, beautifully crafted wall of the chapel. The cartwheels adorned most of the church including the a modified form of Christ image in cartwheels and also all the fixtures and religious decorations are made up of cartwheels.
Victorias City is just ten kilometers from Manapla where the renowned Victorias Milling Company is located. Inside the Victorias Milling Company compound is a beautiful chapel named Church of St. Joseph. The artwork is in form of a mosaic depicting a nativity scene exquisitely formed out of bits of broken pop bottles. The altar painting is unique in our Philippine culture for the painting sends a strong message of fierce nationalism. The mural portrays Christ and His Saints as Filipinos because of their brown skin, their distinctive Filipino faces and dresses and displays a splash of primary colors. The marvelous psychedelic painting was expertly done by the famous Belgian born American artist, Ade de Buthune. This chapel is also called Church of the Angry Christ!
Next is the city of Silay where upon entering the city one can see the Patag Settlement Area where the War Memorial Shrine is found. It stands in the mini plaza along the central portion of the settlement. The shrine is a church-shaped concrete structure with a raised platform at the center embedded with a historical marker represented by an inscribed bronze plate. The shrine is a reminder that this place was once the last stronghold of the Japanese Imperial Army in their fiercest battle in the Western Visayas Region against the Filipino-American soldiers during the last days of the Second World War (World War II). The memorial altar which is a raised platform at the center of the shrine is a commemoration of the 15,000 Japanese and hundreds of Filipino and American soldiers killed in that ferocious battle. It also serves as the base holder of the commemorative marker. Further in the city is a ravine overlooking the Malogo River which upon its beds flowed abundantly a strong current of crystal-clear water striking against the huge smooth-surfaced boulders and rocks strewn amidst the stream and along its gravel filled banks. There is another historical marker in the city of Silay called the "Cinco de Noviembre" Marker because on the spot occured the first exchange of shots between the Filipino and Spanish soldiers during the one-day revolution in Negros Island on November 5, 1898. It was also the same spot where the public square was approximately located where the Northern Forces under General Lacson assembled and raised the Philippine Flag. Next is the town of Talisay where General Aniceto Lacson house is found. On that house, the Negrense Revolutionaries assembled and gathered together led by Generals Aniceto Lacson and Juan Araneta to stage a revolution on November 5, 1898. On the next street is the house of Leon Guinto. Leon Guinto is a native of Talisay City who became a mayor of Manila. Inside the house upstairs are array of rare collections of antique furnitures and accessories. They were ornately woven high rattan chairs, exquisitely carved dressers and aparadors, dining and reception tables, majestically designed and expertly carved posts of the wide canopied beds. From the wall decors show the vintage of the 18th century craftmanship.