JULY 12, 2010. There I was in tourist mode at the rain-drenched Bacolod City Public Plaza admiring the bandstand at a distance. Moments before, I had taken some still shots of the two lion-statues which stood beside the stairs leading up the edifice.

From the photo exhibit, I recently learned that these lion-statues used to stand by the entrance of the original Provincial Capitol of Negros, the Jose Ruiz and Luis Luzuriaga house, which was later turned over to the city following an exchange of monetary compensation amounting to P5,000.

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The lion-statues represented the power of the King of Spain. Indeed, gazing at these sculptures gives one a sense of ferocity and supremacy of Spanish rule during colonial times in our country's history.

Nestled in the heart of the public plaza is the bandstand whose rooftop is adorned with musical greats namely Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart and Wagner. From the photo exhibit we learn that the bandstand was designed by the Public Works Department which was then under Daniel Hudson Burnham, the great American architect and city planner who also designed the original plan for Baguio City. The bandstand was constructed in 1927.

Mrs. Lydia Montoya who works at the Business Permits and Licensing Division of the old City Hall and is presently 74 years old recalls a time when the plaza grounds were still uncemented. That was in 1973 when she was with the Department of Social Services. "I swept the plaza and did some gardening. I also watered the plants there", Lola Lydia recounted to this writer. "Look for the tree that Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon planted", she further exhorted.

As of this writing, I am not sure of the exact date of the tree-planting but from what I learned from the photo exhibit was that President Quezon was present during the inauguration of Bacolod as a city on October 19, 1938, along with the following high government officials and dignitaries - House Speaker Gil Montilla, Justice Jose Yulo, Bishop Casimiro Lladoc and Assemblyman Pedro C Hernaez, the person responsible for the passage of Commonwealth Act No. 326 converting the municipality of Bacolod into a chartered city on June 18, 1938. President Quezon was originally scheduled to speak at the plaza but it rained hard after the inaugural parade and they had to transfer to the Session Hall of the Bacolod City Hall.

It has been 72 years since this historic event in Bacolod City's history and through the Bacolod City Archives photo exhibit, those memorable moments are now preserved for posterity.