SAGAY City is a second Class City found on the Northern tip of Negros Island, Philippines. It is an hour away from the Capital City of Manila by plane and over an hour's ride from Bacolod City.

Sagay can be easily identified in the map of Negros Occidental, because of its "ice-cream cone" shape sliced from the northern tip of Negros. The name of the city comes from the semi-spherical shell called "sigay", which can be found abundantly in the area.

Click here for stories and updates on the Sinulog 2010 Festival.

Sagay City boasts of it natural pristine beauty and rich marine resources. There is the Sagay Marine Reserve, a 32,000-hectare marine reserve composed of Carbin Reef, Maca Reef, the Molocaboc Islands, Panal Reef and other fringing reefs is an ideal place to experience nature in its natural beauty. Snorkeling and sea ranching are ideal activities on the Reserve.

We decided to venture to the city's recently launched newest tourist attraction, the Himoga-an River Cruise. The cruise plies along the 13.5-kilometer Himoga-an River starting from Barangay Fabrica to Barangay Old Sagay. It is a two-hour relaxing trip where one can see Mangrove Forests, avian wildlife and scenic beauty.

The Lopez Sugar Central is also one of the interesting scenes along the cruise. The river cruise is dependent on the tide. One has to catch it while the water is high. The houseboat that takes us through the Himoga-an River converts into a floating restaurant with entertainers singing local folk songs. So it's either, having Filipino lunch or merienda as you cruise but whichever meal is served, the ride is truly an unwinding experience. If you want to make it extra relaxing, you can take along a masseuse or a manicurista which we did.

Apres, it was trip to the Museo Sang Bata sa Negros, the only Children's Museum outside Metro Manila and the first marine museum in the country. The Museum has an interesting whale-shaped edifice located at the port area of Barangay Old Sagay, 5.5 kilometers from the city proper. The museum has 4 permanent exhibit areas namely Marine Story, Hampanganan, Las Islas Filipinas and Yosi Kadiri. It has varied programs designed to awaken and stimulate the creative and intellectual potential of the Negrense children.

What is charming about the Museo Sang Bata is that the guides are grade school students who I must say are very comfortable with their assignment. Polite and articulate from the moment they welcomed us, we were likewise impressed with their skill and how cute they are. To greet us, they presented a puppet show which also starred themselves beneath the puppets. Then it was a tour to the permanent exhibits. The museum is beyond the usual because it is interactive as well as educational. We learned much from the data presented and imparted to us. It was also fun to horse around like children. This was a Museum for children-we also acted the part! That was cool!

For a little historical tour, Sagay 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. 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.

Another major industrial development gave Sagay another big step forward the establishment of Lopez Sugar Corporation in the 1920's. 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, Bohol. This trend made Sagay a melting pot of ethnically different but equally hardworking Cebuanos and Ilonggos. With these developments, business and industry flourished.

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. 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 has grown in leaps and bounds because of able leadership. You can be sure that sooner than we know it, we will be trekking again to Sagay City for some new destination or adventure.