History of Bacolod by Sa-Onoy

Self found the book at the Bacolod Public Library and Jerry at L’Fisher photocopied the entire book for her. That was months and months ago — self is sorry she’s only gotten around to reading the book now. But, better late than never!

From her reading of the first two pages, self learns that Bacolod began as “a settlement known as Magsungay,” which was situated between two rivers, called (What else?) Magsungay Daku (or “Big Magsungay”) and Magsungay Pequeño (or “Small Magsungay”).

BTW, self just loves the Bacolod way with names: when she first got a look at the piece of land she owns, the map pointed out a river that bordered her property. And the name of this river? Ngalan, which means Name. Similarly, her cousin’s dog is called Ido. Translation: DOG.

Back to the subject at hand, the history of Bacolod: A “priest would visit once or twice a year to say Mass, administer the sacraments and conduct religious instruction.”

An early report, dated July 14, 1755 (Holy moly! Self’s birthday is July 14!) describes a Moro assault during which “Magsungay suffered heavy losses … since it was a holy day and the priest was not in town” (How very convenient, self thinks. For the priest!) — “and the natives were in church praying the rosary when the Moros arrived and killed and enslaved most of the townspeople.”

Paradoxically, the number of recorded baptisms showed “substantial increase” that year. This “rise in population” prompted the Bishop of Cebu, “who had jurisdiction over the island of Negros, to elevate … Magsungay into a pueblo (town) in 1756, which means that it had more than a thousand inhabitants. The new pueblo was placed under the patronage of San Sebastian, a favorite saint of the Spaniards.”

And, further, “on September 15, 1767, Rome declared that the small relic of St. Sebastian donated to esta Iglesia de Bacolod was authentic and could be displayed and honored publicly by the faithful.”

Fascinating stuff.

Self really can’t explain what it is about that place (other than being the place where Dear Departed Dad spent his earliest youth), but after going there in December 2010, she feels there are two halves of her: the one lives in Redwood City and putters about the neighborhood like an old woman. The other belongs to Bacolod and is fascinated by every burp and utterance of the denizens of that small island. One relishes the isolation and quiet of American suburbia, the other could stay up all night, watching the parties held in L’Fisher’s ballroom. (One day, self hopes, she will encounter the owner of L’Fisher, who she hears is a woman named Lourdes. Then self can tell her in person how very fabulous she thinks the hotel, and every single person who works there, is. The husband keeps asking her to describe the place but it’s no use: she knows that if he ever shows up there, he will find it tacky. Tacky, however, is precisely the kind of thing self adores)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sightings: Green Library, Stanford

Self has been most undisciplined:  she’s been back from Bacolod since early October, and not once has she gone to the Stanford libraries to continue her readings on the Philippines.  Stacks and stacks of books, waiting for self’s hungry eyes, and Stanford only about six miles south from her house.

Today, she whipped herself into shape:  she got herself out of the house bright and early, and went directly to the campus — no stopping for anything along the way.  After she’d parked, she started to walk with grim purposefulness.  A bunch of men in suits asked her where the Bookstore was.  “Over there, diagonally to your right,” she said.  They didn’t look reassured.

She approached Green, just over the rise.  There was a crowd milling around the outdoor kiosk that sells coffee and pastries.  As usual, the courtyard in front of the Halo was jammed with bikes.  She went inside and got a Visitor Registration Pass.  She asked for specific books, and was directed to the second floor.  She found a carrel (No slouching in inviting bean bag chairs, self decided:  she has to work!).  Then she read, for almost four hours.

At about 2 p.m., her stomach grumbling insistently, she wandered outside to grab a drink and sit in the sun.  She’d barely settled herself and snapped on her phone when she saw she had two messages:  one was from the Apple Store on University Avenue, reminding her that she’d signed on for a tutorial tomorrow on how to use her iPad’s many features.  The other was from Zack, and she called him back immediately.  It turns out that the both of us have the same problem with insomnia.  Self knows that hers is caused by anxiety, from not being sure she can do what she has set herself to do.  But we’re both writing, so that’s good.

She was still chatting away with Zack when she looked up and saw a familiar, stoop-shouldered figure shambling into the Library.  “Professor Dien!” self shrieked.  He didn’t turn.  Self practically bellowed:  “Professor Dien!  Professor Dien!  Professor Dien!”  Finally, just before he was about to pull open the glass library door, he turned.  Self left her bag, her books, her phone on the bench and went running up to him, stammering:  “It’s ME!  I used to work for you!  You don’t remember me?”

He looked exactly the same.  Well, maybe his hair was a little more gray, but his face was still essentially the Dien face.  Self was so happy to see him!

Shortly after that, self headed home.  It was truly a beautiful day!  The sun was shining in all its glory, it was warm, almost like spring.  She swung by the Redwood City Library on her way home, and picked up two books about how to write your own will (!!!)

Now she’s about to start cooking dinner:  arroz con pollo.

In other good news:  self thinks she may have finally found the right gardener to help her tame her front and backyard.  His name is Keith.  He drives a beat-up old truck.  He looks to be about 70.  He came two days ago and ended up spending the entire day.  Self treated him to burritos from Tacos El Grullense on El Camino at Jefferson.  Though resident in the area, he said he had never been there before.

“This is the best place for burritos in Redwood City!” self assured him.  (At least, that’s what niece G used to tell self, when she was still a Stanford undergrad, and self puts great stock in all of niece G’s recommendations)

Self ended up telling Keith about her upcoming trip to India.  The first thing he said was, “Got your shots yet?” Then self told him that, even though her doctor had recommended she get hepatitis shots, she had refused (She hates needles.  Besides, she had a suspicion she might get sick from the shots).  “Don’t drink the water,” he said next.  Self was curious about these very emphatic pronouncements and asked him if he had ever been to India, and he replied in the negative.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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