Sagay is a city in Negros Occidental.
Sagay Under Spain
Sagay City was originally called Arguelles when Teniente Francisco Rodriguez and Basilio Cordova founded it in 1860 in the mouth of the Bulanon River. Later, by the order of the Spanish governor the town was transferred to Pueblo de Magallanes (now known as Old Sagay) in honor of Fernando Magallanes.
Having the status of a pueblo, Sagay was entitled to have a "Capitan del Pueblo," the highest town official during the time. The first to be appointed to this position by the Spanish Governor was Elulalio Rodriguez. Gregorio Parreño, and Pedro Katalbas Y Villanueva later succeeded him.
During the Philippine Revolution, Sagay contributed its share to what proved to be a successful national struggle for independence. The hard-won First Philippine Republic was however short-lived when the country passed to the hands of another colonial power, the United States of America in 1898.
The American Period
In 1906, during the administration of the second President Quintin Katalbas, the name of the town was officially changed to Sagay. The name was taken from the semi-spherical shell called "sigay", which can be found in the area. The American influence seeped into every aspects of Sagay's life: - politically and culturally. At this period of Sagay's history, land transportation began to supplant sea travel but the seaside community continued to flourish. The first public schools conducted in English were established. Mr. Cornelio Pascual, Sr., was the first English Teacher assigned in Vito. American missionaries were sent to tutor more Filipino English teachers.
Meanwhile, sometime in 1907 the Insular Lumber Company, reputed to be the biggest hardwood mill in the world, was established in what is now called Barangay Fabrica. Though measures to prevent the destruction of Sagay's rich forest were made, reforestation programs failed. Later, the old forest areas were converted mostly into sugarcane fields and some into cornfields. With the exhaustion of the forest resources of Sagay, the ILCO - Philippines was phased out in 1975 and later transferred to Hinoba-an.
Lopez Sugar Corporation
Another major industrial development gave Sagay another big step forward the establishment of Lopez Sugar Corporation in the 1920s. Also during these years, sugar, copra, lumber and fishing became the important source of income for the inhabitants. The economic growth of Sagay brought about influx of migrants from Iloilo, Cebu and Bohol. This trend made Sagay a melting pot of ethnically different but equally hardworking Cebuanos and Ilonggos. With these developments, business and industry flourished. Leading both sectors were big businessmen and industrialists like the Lopezes, the Cuaycongs, the Jizons, the Gamboas, and the Vasquezes. The sugar boom brought the "old families" into the industry like the Pueys, the Nichols, the Katalbases, and the Tupases, which branched out to the Marañons, the de la Pazes, the Ibrados and the Libo-ons.
World War II and the Japanese occupation of the Philippines
During the Japanese occupation, two Civil Governments existed in Sagay. Under the Japanese national government of Jose Laurel, Sr., Vicente Katalbas was appointed mayor, while the resistance government of the province, headed by Alfredo Montelibano, Sr., as governor appointed Tomas Londres as Mayor whose seat of government was in the mountain areas of Sit Balibag, Lopez Jaena. Their term however, abruptly ended when the combined Filipino and American forces liberated the province from the Japanese at the early part of 1945. When Serge OEMs, Sr., as vice-president to Manuel L. Quezon who died during the war took over the helm of the national government Teodoro Lopez, Sr., was appointed Mayor of Sagay. During his short term Teodoro Lopez, Sr., concentrated in rebuilding the administrative machinery of the local government.
When the several hundreds of thousands of Filipino soldiers and officers of the 7th, 72nd and 75th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and the 7th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary was liberated and re-occupation in the town of Sagay and attacking Japanese troops in 1945.
The factories were destroyed and the economy was in shambles. A Eusebio Lopez Memorial School Building in Barangay Paraiso, served as the incarceration area for captured Filipino soldiers and American pilots and soldiers. It also served as the headquarters of Fourth Flight Division of the Japanese Imperial Air Force whose airfield was located in Pula-Bunglas area in Barangay Malubon. During the last days of the war, the Fourth Flight Division of the Japanese Imperial Airforce organized kamikaze or suicide units to be stationed here and in Bacolod. Known later as the Third Regiment Suicide Corps, it was headed by Major Tsuneharu Sirai with Capt. Tetsuzu Kimura as his Chief Staff Officer, of its 59 pilots and crews, 30 were killed in the Battle of Leyte Gulf which they played a major role as kamikaze pilots. The Pula - Bunglas area of Barangay Malubon served as the Japanese landing field for the Fourth Flight Division. It was also a site where the local soldiers, guerrillas and civilians, after Japanese spies identified them as guerrilla members or collaborators were forced to dig holes consequently executed and buried. Old residents believe that almost 1,542 people were buried here.
Barrio 3 Wharf, Fabrica
Served as the transport point of processed lumber destined to Japan from Insular Lumber Company and also a docking area of Japanese supply ship during the war torn years. The Iglanggam Bridge at Barangay Tadlong served as the dumping site of executed guerrillas and civilians. This is also known as the site where confiscated money, especially silver Peso coins encased in concrete blocks were dumped by the retreating Japanese soldiers.
Balibag Hill, Lopez Jaena
It was in this place where the set of resistance government of Free Sagay under Mayor Tomas Londres (appointed by Island Governor Alfredo Montelibano, Sr.) was established. It was also known as tabo-an or market place during the war and in 1944 a group of Japanese soldiers killed about 27 homeguards or "toltog" guerrillas. After the mass killing, the Japanese soldiers set the whole area on fire, burning the shanties and the dead. The Japanese "puppet" government under Vicente Lacson Katalbas was established at the Big House, Central Lopez, Paraiso. A Japanese barracks and checkpoint was established. A Japanese anti-aircraft still can be found inside the ground of the house.
At Brgy. Poblacion II, Japanese zero fighters left bullet holes when they intended to destroy the water supply of the people during the last days of the war. Holes from 60 mm machine-guns left an indelible mark on the water tank. The USAFE Base A training site of USAFE under the supervision of Lt. Dominador Gaerland was established at Tangnonon, Barangay Fabrica at the ancestral home of Lopez Kabayao.
On July 26, 1942 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the United States of America ordered a national mobilization in the Philippines and on August 23, 1942, the first group of reservist in Negros were called on duty by virtue of Philippine Army HQ order of August 4 and they were trained here. The first group reported in the said mobilization camp constituted the 71st Infantry Regiment.
Post War Period
The first election held right after the Second World War made Jose B. Puey, Sr., and Amalio Cueva, Sr., Mayor and Vice-Mayor respectively. However, shortly after, Mayor Jose B. Puey, Sr., was appointed member of the Provincial Board of Negros Occidental thus Vice-Mayor Amalio Cueva, Sr., took over the Municipal leadership and through his initiative the seat of government was transferred to its present site, Dalusan. Incidentally, the transfer signaled the diminishing importance of sea travel and the take over of overland transportation as the conveyor of progress and development. Significantly, in this regard, Old Sagay (the previous seat of government) is an old coastal center of population while Dalusan is a late highway occurrence. The transfer was made possible partly through land donations for the town site by Doña Rosario Cooper and heirs of the late Clayton Nichols. Schools, markets and commercial establishments were soo established. Jose B. Puey, Sr., remained Provincial Board Member until his election as congressman for the first District of Negros Occidental in 1953.
In the late 1950s two Sagaynon politicians were in the forefront of Negros politics, Jose B. Puey, Sr. (Congressman from 1953 to 1957) and Alfredo G. Marañon, Sr. (Board Member from 1956 to 1959). This meant that provincial and national aid were extended to Sagay. More roads and school buildings were constructed, thousands of hectares of logged off area of the Insular Lumber Company were planted with coconut trees and sugarcane. Sherman Hill near Brgy. Bato was discovered to contain rich deposits of highest silica. The growing markets for sea products brought about unprecedented boom in the fishing industry for which the coastal waters of Sagay proved to equal the demand. The municipal population rose to more than 60,000 and the revenue increased. After Mayor Amalio Cueva, came Tereso Canoy, Bruno Cueva, Sr. and Quintin Katalbas.
In 1963, Jose H. Puey, Jr. was elected mayor of Sagay. The income continued to rise. More schools were built and more linking the barangays to the town capital were constructed. The inefficient electrical system was updated, fire fighting equipment and the police units were modernized. It was during this time that the Marañon Snr began entertaining the idea of putting up another sugar mill in Sagay which farmers can partly own. He campaigned for support but there was too much opposition even from some of his close friends. Nevertheless, his idea became a reality when in 1967, shortly after his death, Sagay Central Inc. was born. Mr. Marañon's dream was made real through the help of President Ferdinand E. Marcos and then the Philippine National Bank President Roberto S. Benedicto who both shared his vision for Sagay. With the new sugar mill at Barangay Bato, new areas were opened and planted with sugarcane. Today the new sugar mill factory is benefiting hundreds of small farmers.
The then Mayor now Congressman Alfredo G. Marañon, Jr. assumed the political leadership of Sagay in 1972. Under this administration, Sagay acquired a new town hall, a municipal gymnasium, a livestock auction market, public markets for number of barangays and municipal wharves in barangays Vito and Old Sagay. He caused the organization of Sagay Water District in 1978. He affected the purchase of a municipal subdivision for the municipal employees in 1979. These achievements by themselves have helped make Sagay a first-class C municipality (the highest in entire Negros). Mayor Marañon considers his most important achievement to be the successful negotiation of the sponsorship contract with the German District of Osterholz.
Conversion into a City
It had been a long time aspiration to get Sagay city status. The leadership of Mayor Joseph G. Marañon and Vice Mayor Fortunato S. Javelosa inspired the authorship of Congressman Alfredo G. Marañon of House Bill No. 6543, "An Act Converting the Municipality of Sagay into a component city of Negros Occidental" during the 10th Congress. Passing through the legislation process, a public hearing was held in Sagay City on February 22, 1996. On May 3, 1996, Sen. Raul Roco sponsored the Senate Bill No. 1191, the Senate version of the cityhood. On June 11, 1996, former President Fidel V. Ramos signed into law RA8192, now the charter of Sagay City. On August 10, 1996, the residents voted and ratified RA8192 and made Sagay, officially Sagay City.
Sagay City is politically subdivided into 25 Barangay.
Sagay City is a two-hour travel by bus from Bacolod. Ceres Liner is the island's most used bus liner.
- Himogaan River, Barangay Puey, Sagay City, Negros Occidental. Residents call that place as the Himoga-an River Overflow that is located at Barangay Puey, Sagay City, Negros Occidental. The Himoga-an River is the longest river of Sagay City. It was wide and clean so you would not wonder why most people living near that area usually take a bath and wash their clothes there. Free as it is for public viewing.
- Inangtan Hanging Bridge, Barangay Maquiling, Sagay City, Negros Occidental. "Inangtan", in local dialect, which means to connect. The Inangtan Bridge connects the Barangay Maquiling proper from its rural half that is separated by Himoga-an River. Free as it is for public viewing.
- Sinigayan Festival
Shopping Malls and Markets
- Lopues Value Store, AE Marañon St.
- Sagay City Market Mall, Rizal St.
- Escalante - Discover Baranggay Dian-ay