ATTY. Simplicio Palanca, the founder and chairman of the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corporation (Bredco), marks his 98th birthday Friday, March 12.

He is the renowned father of the local seaport who was instrumental in the vast reclamation undertakings in Bacolod City.

He is a visionary man who has earned the moniker as "the old man by the sea" who trail blazed the reclamation of the 250-hectare foreshore areas of Bacolod City and the establishment of the seaport, which he named under the City of Bacolod in adherence to the 1995 Comprehensive Revised Reclamation Agreement (CRRA).

He started working on his vision when he was a young and vigorous man.

He began his dream of building a port in 1961 that spanned decades of hard work, commitment, and determination to attain it. Such a dream was soiled with critiques emanating from both friends and foes as it was deemed as a herculean task.

But he never faltered on his goal despite the swelling friction. He remained focused on his dream that eventually propelled the implementation of enormous reclamation works and the establishment of the seaport that transformed the physical and economic landscape of Bacolod City.

The seaport currently caters to inter-island and international cargo and passenger vessels where job opportunities have spread among Bacolodnons, Negrenses, and others since its launch.

He is likewise known in the entertainment industry where he owned cinemas and carnivals that allowed the locals to enjoy and have fun with their family and friends.

The man has his entertainment gimmicks in his heyday that many people have appreciated.

Even in his sanitarium bed, he continued to dream that led to the establishment of the Magikland Park, a four-hectare theme park located in Silay City that showcases huge and adrenalin-rousing amusement rides matched with leisure and entertainment facilities.

Magikland Park caters to 3,000 guests a day but with the Covid-19 pandemic, they safely curb its operation to protect and promote the general welfare.

They require their guests and visitors to comply with the minimum health standards when coming to Magikland Park as required by the national and local Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Magikland Park is a member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.

Moreover, Palanca's philanthropic inclination led him to donate P70 million to Bacolod Adventist Medical Center-Medical Arts Building that houses 56 doctors' clinics, a pharmacy, and a physical therapy service.

His hard work earned him recognition in private and public institutions and the business community.

Palanca's name became a byword for the port, reclamation, entertainment, amusement parks, and his philanthropic endeavors.