Negros Occidental Part 2
Negros Occidental has produced a large number of athletes that have achieved success in both national and international circuits. The province is also well known for hosting national and international athletic events, which has given it a reputation as the sports capital of the Philippines.
Negros Occidental has a long, entrenched history when it comes to football. The first ever Filipino to play in the European football circuit was Bacolod-born Manuel Amechazurra, who joined FC Barcelona from 1905 to 1915.
The Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City has been a venue for national and international athletic events; such as the 23rd Southeast Asian Games men's football and the 2006 ASEAN football qualifiers. On February 9, 2011, the stadium hosted a match between the Philippines national football team and Mongolia in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup qualification with an attendance of 20,000 people.
Bacolod City has been christened as a Philippine "football city" for its patronage of the sport in the country. A few members of the Philippine football team are from Negros: most notable is goalkeeper Eduard Sacapaño, a native of Bago City; Tating Pasilan and Jinggoy Valmayor of San Carlos City; and ace striker Joshua Beloya of Bacolod.
Negros Occidental has its own football association: Negros Occidental F.A. It works under the Philippine Football Federation as provincial football association for the Negros Occidental area. The Negros Occidental FA sends a team to represent the region in the yearly PFF National Men's Open Championship and PFF National Women's Open Championship. In the 2011 season of the PFF Suzuki Cup U-23 National Championship, the Negros team were crowned as champions where they defeated their fierce football rival Iloilo (IFA) in the finals.
Negros Occidental is also home of the 2013 PFF National Men's Club Champions, 2017 Philippines Football League Champions, Ceres-Negros, who represented the province in the said tournament. They battled UFL Cup Champions Stallion in the Round of 16 and won 1–0. They battled 2012 UFL Champions Global in the quarterfinals and also won 1–0. In the semifinals, Ceres FC topped Kaya with 3–1 scoreline to enter finals of 2013 PFF National Men's Club Championship. Ceres FC eventually won the 2013 PFF National Men's Club Championship trophy after they beaten the other finalist PSG with 1–0 score.
Ceres-Negros FC is the Philippines Football League Champions in 2017 and 2018.
Aside from hosting sporting events Negros Occidental has produced many of the nation's finest athletes, particularly in boxing. The likes of 1923 World Flyweight boxing champion, Francisco Guilledo a.k.a. Pancho Villa, current WBO minimum weight champion Donnie Nietes, 1970's WBA world junior lightweight champion Ben Villaflor, all hail from Negros Occidental.
Bacolod City has two major golf courses. These are the Bacolod Golf and Country Club and the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club. The city hosted the 61st Philippine Airlines Inter-club Golf Tournament and the 2008 Philippine Amateur Golf Championship.
Bacolod City hosted two major karatedo championships, the 1996 Philippine Karatedo Federation National Championship and the 2007 20th PKF National Open. Both tournaments were held at the La Salle Coliseum of USLS. The tournaments were contested by hundreds of karatedo practitioners all over the country.
Bacolod City hosted the 2008 PBA All-Star Weekend. The city is also a regular venue for the Philippine Basketball Association out-of-town games. Another major sports team in the past is the Negros Slashers, arguably the most successful team of the now defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association
Mixed Martial Arts
Bacolod City and its neighboring cities and towns are home to many mixed martial arts competitions including quarterly fights hosted by the Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC).
Through its capital, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental is only 50 minutes from Manila and 30 minutes from Cebu by air. By sea, it is an 18-hour cruise from Manila and an hour by fast ferries from Iloilo. It is also accessible by sea and land trip from Cebu via Escalante City, San Carlos City and Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental. Travel from Bacolod to Dumaguete is only 5 to 6 hours by land. Seven airline companies, including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines, serve the province. Four inter-island shipping lines call on nine seaports of Negros Occidental
Bacolod-Silay International Airport
On January 18, 2008, the new airport was inaugurated in Silay City, 16 kilometers north of Bacolod. The new airport replaced the Bacolod City Domestic Airport. The new airport runway is of international standards and was constructed to facilitate future landings of international flights to serve the growing number of tourists visiting Negros Occidental each year.
Kabankalan City Domestic Airport
A new airport designed to serve the general area of Kabankalan City. The airport would be the second airport in Negros Occidental, after the Bacolod-Silay International Airport and the third airport on Negros Island Region. It is located four kilometers northeast of Kabankalan City proper on a 100-hectare site in Barangay Hilamonan. Completion of the airport is still undergoing.
On August 3, 2017, Air Juan started to open flights to Sipalay City from Cebu and Iloilo. Flights from Cebu to Sipalay will be every Wednesday while Sipalay to Cebu on Sundays; Iloilo to Sipalay on Mondays and return on Thursdays. Sipalay Mayor Oscar C. Montilla, Jr. had been looking forward to having an airline company operate in the city to boost tourism. The small Sipalay airport with a 1,400-meter runway is located in a 10-hectare property of the local government. Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo G. Marañon, Jr. has committed to support the planned concreting of the runway.
Road network and accommodations
All cities and municipalities are linked by an extensive road and bridge network stretching more than 1,500 kilometers crisscrossing the province with seven alternative scenic routes to the nearby province of Negros Oriental. Within the province, travel is also easy, comfortable and even enjoyable with air-conditioned and non-aircon buses or metered taxis. Car rental services are also available. However, the jeepney is still the most common means of transport among the towns and cities. For accommodations, visitors may choose from a wide range of about 67 hotels, pension and lodging houses and tourist inns. The better known hotels are L’ Fisher, Bacolod Convention Plaza, Pagcor Hotel, and Business Inn, Sugarland Hotel, all in Bacolod City.
Energy and water
The province has adequate power and water supplies. It is currently interconnected to the Visayas Power Grid whose main sources of power are geothermal. Aside from its existing 170 megawatts capacity, Negros Island by the year 2006 has an additional 105 megawatts of locally produced power from geothermal plants in Bago City and in barangay Palinpinon, Valencia, Negros Oriental, and from bagasse co-generation facility of First Farmers Sugar Mill. Ample water supply for household, commercial, industrial and agricultural uses is assured by 73 thousand hectares of proclaimed and protected major watersheds, regular rainfall and six major river systems.
San Carlos City is going to play a major role in renewable energy as it will be the site of San Carlos Solar Energy INC. It is a solar farm with an initial capacity of 13 MW in Phase 1, and a provision for an addition of 7 MW in Phase 2. It is intended to provide power to the grid throughout the year, at pre-determined Feed-In-Tariff rates set by the ERC. It is a DOE approved stand-alone solar power plant consisting of approximately 52,000 modules.
Communications and medical facilities
International direct dialing, fiber optic data lines and internet services are accessible in most areas of the province. Also, GSM, digital and analog cellular networks provide good coverage in Bacolod City and other areas, including international roaming. The medical and health care needs of the people of Negros Occidental and its guests are presently being met by 20 government hospitals and 10 private hospitals, as well as several city and municipal health centers, barangay health stations and day-care centers. Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel serving these facilities are not only competent but also very caring towards their patients.
Banking, finance and accessibility
Banking and finance is likewise a thriving industry in Negros Occidental. According to the latest count, there are 389 financial institutions competing for businesses in the province. 149 of these are banks. Negros Occidental offers several advantages for those who are doing business in the province. It is strategically located near Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao, all major international gateways with maximum travel time of only about 4 hours between the Philippines and its neighbors in Southeast Asia. It is equipped with major infrastructure facilities for easy travel and shipment of goods within and outside of Negros.
It has information and communication facilities with connection capabilities necessary for, among others, call center operations for business communication and transmission of data. The province has abundant water supply and dependable power supply. Modern health care facilities with medical services are available, as well as academic institutions.
Panaad Park and Stadium
The Panaad Park and Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in the province. It is currently used mostly for football matches, and was used for the 2005 South East Asian Games. It was the venue of the pre-qualifiers of the 2007 ASEAN Football Championship or ASEAN Cup, in which the Philippines, Cambodia, Timor Leste, Brunei and Laos participated. The stadium has a seating capacity of 15,500, but holds around 20,000 people with standing areas. It is unofficially designated as the home stadium of the Philippines national football team. Aside from the association football field, it also has a rubberized track oval, an Olympic-size swimming pool and other sports facilities.
The stadium is also the home of Panaad sa Negros Festival, a week-long celebration participated in by all cities and municipalities in the province held annually every summer. The festival is highlighted by merry-making and field demonstrations at the stadium. The stadium itself features replicas of the landmarks of the 13 cities and municipalities of Negros Occidental.
Capitol Park and Lagoon
The Capitol Park and Lagoon is a provincial park located right in the heart of Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, in the Philippines. One of the landmarks of the park is the statue of a carabao (water buffalo) being pulled by a woman. This statue is located at the northern end of the lagoon. On the other end, there is also another carabao sculpture but the figure is being pulled by a man.
Fountain of Justice
The Fountain of Justice is a historic landmark in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines. It marks the location where the house of Jose Ruiz de Luzurriaga used to stand. It was in this house that the surrender of Bacolod by Spanish authorities to the Filipino forces of General Aniceto Lacson took place on November 6, 1898, during the Negros Revolution.
Bacolod Public Plaza
The Bacolod Public Plaza is one of the notable landmarks of Bacolod City, the capital of Negros Occidental, Philippines. It is located in the heart of the downtown area, near the city hall and across from the San Sebastian Cathedral. The plaza is a trapezoidal park with a belt of trees around the periphery and a gazebo at the center. Scattered within the trees are four circular fountains.
The plaza was constructed in 1927 as a place for recreation, political, spiritual and cultural activities. It is quite a popular site for outdoor picnics and concerts. The gazebo is often used to house a bandstand.
The Balay Negrense was originally the ancestral house of Victor F. Gaston, a son of Yves Leopold Germain Gaston and Prudencia Fernandez. The elder Gaston is credited as one of the pioneers of sugarcane cultivation in this portion of the Philippine archipelago. A native of Normandy in France, he married a Filipina from Batangas where he initially began experimenting with sugar production before relocating to Negros.
Built in 1897, the structure housed Victor Gaston and his twelve children from 1901 until his death in 1927. Left unused by the family, the structure was abandoned in the mid-1970s and fell into disrepair until a group of concerned Negrenses formed what would later become the Negros Cultural Foundation and managed to acquire the house from the heirs of Gaston through a donation. With donations from prominent individuals and later the Department of Tourism, the structure was repaired and furnished with period furniture and fixtures. The museum was officially inaugurated on October 6, 1990.
Mariano Ramos Ancestral House
The Mariano Ramos Ancestral House is the home of the late Don Mariano V. Ramos, the son of Agaton Ramos and Dolores Varela, was the first appointed Presidente Municipal of Bacolod City, Philippines. It was built in the 1930s and its architecture is a combination of Castilian and Tuscan and has three storeys, including the tower room, known as the torre.
During World War II, Don Mariano's Ancestral house was the most prominent structure with a view over the whole city. The commanding Japanese general was disguised as a family gardener. As the war broke, the Japanese seized the Mariano Ramos Ancestral house in order to use it as a watchtower and as a headquarters.
San Diego Pro-cathedral
The San Diego Pro-cathedral, formerly known as the San Diego Parish Church or the St. Didacus Parish Church before its declaration as a pro-cathedral in 1994, is an early 20th-century church in Silay City, Negros Occidental in the Philippines. It is the only pro-cathedral outside of the national capital of Manila, and is unique in Negros Occidental for being the only church in the province featuring a cupola or dome.
The mansion dates back to the 1900s when it was built by sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson for his first wife, Maria Braga, a Portuguese from Macau whom he met in his vacations in Hong Kong. The mansion's structure is of Italianate architecture enhanced by a belvedere complete with renaissance-type balustrading typical of the homes of English ship captains. It was burned down in World War II to prevent the Japanese from using it. It was opened to the public by descendants of the original owner and is listed as among the World's 12 most fascinating ruins.
Paglaum Sports Complex
The Paglaum Sports Complex is a provincial-owned sports venue adjacent to the Negros Occidental High School established during the 1970s that hosted various football events, such as the 1991 Philippines International Cup and the football event of the 2005 Southeast Asian Games. It also hosted three editions of the Palarong Pambansa (1971, 1974, 1979). However, the stadium became unfit to host football matches following the erection of business establishments around the area. In 2012, a two-hectare portion of the four-hectare complex was partitioned for the construction of the Capitol-owned Negros First CyberCentre (NFCC) as an IT-BPO Outsourcing Hub. As of 2013, the provincial government has been proposing for a renovation of the stadium to serve as alternative venue to Panaad Park and Stadium, particularly for football competition. Recently, the Paglaum Sports Complex also serves as an alternative venue to the Bacolod Public Plaza for the MassKara Festival celebration.
Negros Occidental Multi-Purpose Activity Center
The Negros Occidental Multi-Purpose Activity Center (NOMPAC) is a provincial-owned multi-use gym located in Bacolod City, adjacent to the Capitol Park and Lagoon. It is currently used mostly for basketball, karatedo and boxing matches. Aside from the gym, it also serves as evacuation site of the city and province during disasters and likewise also serves as cultural facilities in many events and celebrations.
There are 1,318 schools in the province; 53 are registered technical schools including the Technological University of the Philippines – Visayas and Carlos Hilado Memorial State College in Talisay City. Of these, 158 are private schools, including University of Saint La Salle, STI West Negros University, Colegio San Agustin - Bacolod, La Consolacion College - Bacolod, VMA Global College, University of Negros Occidental - Recoletos, Central Philippines State University, Philippine Normal University – Visayas, Southland College and Central Philippine Adventist College.
Modern communication facilities, as well as radio, television and newspapers, are available in the province. Most are provided by dominant national players in the industry like PLDT, Globe Telecom and their subsidiaries. For television and radio, the major providers are network giants ABS-CBN, GMA Network, The 5 Network and CNN Philippines. Cable TV provides access to BBC, ESPN and other international programs. National and international newspapers are available on the same day of issue in Manila.
Bacolod City is noted for being the home of the Negros Summer Workshops, founded by multi-award-winning filmmaker and Negrense Peque Gallaga. Founded in 1991, Workshops has long been training students from different parts of the country who wish to learn courses in film-making, acting, writing, and more. Some of its alumni include actors in mainstream Philippine show business.
Negros Occidental has also been used as a setting and location shoot for various films and television shows, most notable of which is the 1981 epic Oro, Plata, Mata where Hacienda Rosalia is the setting. Recent films that were set and filmed in Negros are Ligaw Liham (2007), Namets! (2008), and Everyday I Love You (2015).