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.”
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.