JUNE 24, 2010 was a special day for Ms Jona Macaranas of the Bacolod City Archives because it was her natal day. The next day, I dropped by the Bacolod City Library to give her my belated birthday greetings. Little did I know that I was in for a very big surprise of my life. A photo exhibit of Bacolod during the yesteryears which was on display at the library yielded some very vital and stunning information about the city's historical landscape which until recently escaped my consciousness.

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One picture taken from the belfry of the San Sebastian Cathedral in 1929 seemed to be confusing at first. The photo caption partly read "At the background was the Municipio of Bacolod whose lot was sold in 1936 and became the property of the Hinojales family. It is now the PCIB Building."

A visit to the Bacolod City Archives yesterday, July 8, 2010, and a second look at the picture made things alot clearer to this writer. So there were three massive structures that stood along the stretch of what was once Calle Real and is now the very busy Araneta Street. The Eusebio Luzuriaga house, the Jose Ruiz and Luis Luzuriaga house and the Municipio or Casa Tribunal fronting the Plaza de Seis del Noviembre as what the Bacolod City Plaza used to be called.

The Eusebio Luzuriaga house was where the Act of Capitulation of Bacolod to the Revolutionary forces was signed by then Spanish Governor of Negros Colonel Isidro de Castro on November 6, 1898. Inside Ms Jona's office, there's a framed picture of the Jose Ruiz and Luis Luzuriaga house in the process of being demolished way back in 1968. In its place now stands the water fountain of the old City Hall. I took a picture of it in my cellphone and later at home I showed it to my daughter Janette who in turn gasped and said "Ma, di pag-idelete!" It's a pity it wasn't preserved for posterity. It could have been a major tourist attraction, just like Balay Negrense in Silay City.

The third historical structure in the picture was the Municipio or the Casa Tribunal. This was the place where the earliest Municipal Council of Bacolod held its regular sessions. Ms Jona handed me the oldest known records of the minutes of the meetings of the council dating back to the year 1894 until 1898. They were all written in Spanish. This reminds me of my conversation with my son John Peter when the schoolyear just began. Among his subjects for the semester was Conversational Spanish and I made some remarks about it's being irrelevant nowadays. As I browsed over the yellowed pages of the manuscripts, I thought a little Spanish could have helped me in deciphering the contents which were totally incomprehensible to this writer. I had some Spanish subjects way back when I was in college but they were all lost to oblivion for lack of practice.

Thanks to the efforts of Mrs Jona Macaranas in collaboration with local historian Mr Modesto Sa-onoy, Bacolod City Library and City Planning Office, a great veil of ignorance has been lifted from this writer and in turn may this write-up be also an eye-opener to the younger generations of Negros.