A heritage of family tradition | SunStar

A heritage of family tradition

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A heritage of family tradition

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Cactus Hall is a great venue for parties 

WHILE growing up, there is one place constant for many significant life gatherings and opportunities for recreation. This place has etched so much significance in our hearts that there is no way we could ever forget that once upon a time, we were at Sta. Fe, enjoying the goodness of life in Negros.

Let's travel back in time in the pages of its rich history.

Thickly covered with bamboo forests “kawayanan” and sugarcane plantations or “campo” made the landscape of 8.11 hectare area of Sta. Fe way back 1950. It was in this year that the resort was formally constructed through the efforts and foresight of Don Generoso Montero Villanueva Sr. 

On the onset of this vision, he made the first 25 meter freshwater pool, the first zoo known as Balara, a 50-meter lagoon which offered the guests, especially the lovers, the perfect scenery and ambience, thus, the Lagoon is known as the “Lover’s Lane” is a frequent favorite.

This is where the popular Delia Razon and the son of Don Generoso “Oso” enjoyed boating and dining inside the big floating cottage called the “Pagoda.” These were just a few of its history-making amenities not only in Bacolod City but in Negros Island alike.

On the same year the restaurant, then called the “Pavilion” was erected. Other facilities followed namely the GV main house inside the Resort. The boating lagoon, the zoo, a basketball court and the famous “Cactus Hall.”

In the 1950’s to 60’s these was the most preferred venue for main events of “elite” schools such as La Consolacion College, La Salle College and social clubs for coronations, school balls and alike.

The resort’s employees enjoyed P30 salary per month. Managerial roles was pertinent thus, Nitong San Agustin and Leon Hofileña were hired, they religiously conducted their rounds at the sugarcane plantations and the Resort using their telescope with Don Gener leading them. The gate entrance rated a “peseta” 0.20 cents and the swimming pool at 0.50 pesos or “salapi.”

As of 1952, the Statue of Don Genereso was constructed influenced by his deep compassion to the poor, as his emblem states, “The man who loves the soil most.” In the same year was an Emu Bird made influenced by the Australian circus.

Nida Blanca and Nestor de Villa stayed in the huts and other influential personalities not only in show business but in politics as well. The cottage rate was at P120 per night and bowling rate at 40 cents per game.

In the 1970’s, the Pelota court was constructed considering the hype on the sport, but later, in responding to the demand of more function venues, the company decided to put up a 200 sitter structure with a dormitory of 120 beds called Alicia Hall and Dorm.

The Resort’s development has been so fast that in the 1980’s the tennis court was constructed and the Olympic sized swimming pool in Negros Island was constructed in 1990’s.

The Alicia Hall, dormitories, bowling area was constructed in the same year but more significantly is the construction of the Don Generoso M. Villanueva Sr. National High School at the donated one hectare lot located at Patricia Homes which started on January 1990 in honor of Don Gener.

Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on November 14, 2017.

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