" F o l l o w   M e ! "

Alfred Nigel Bruckner - "Tourist Guide" / Writer

In Western Visayas, which - apart from the island of Boracay off the northwest corner of Panay - from tourism is far from "overrun" and there are many very interesting and in guidebooks (unfortunately) rarely mentioned destinations for excursions. To such I invite you cordially.

F O LL O W   M E  !

In BACOLOD, we proceed northbound along the Lacson Street to the suburbs. It is the main street, named after General Lacson, who in 1898 led the revolutionary army from TALISAY towards BACOLOD. Those then met with the army under General Araneta, who was approaching from BAGO. In a bloodless "battle of words" defeated both the Spaniards.

We pass by the lagoon and see on the other side the splendid Capitol, the provincial administration building.

In MANDALAGAN district, we turn near the major shopping center of Robinson's to the left and come to the gate of Santa Clara Subdivision, where I deposit my driving license with the Security Guard and get in return a visitor's badge, which also includes you, my guests.

We are at the first destination of our trip

Chapel of Santa Clara

It was constructed in the eighties of the last century by the "Santa Clara Homeowners Association." The chapel has foundations made of stone and is otherwise made of wood. Doors and windows have small pieces of shells instead of glass. Also chandelier and decoration are made of shells.

The chapel is during masses open to the public - even from outside - accessible. Masses are at seven in the morning read and Sunday afternoon. And the chapel is loved for its park-like setting by wedding couples.

Now you are wondering what makes the chapel so unique?

It is a large mosaic of the "Barangay Sang Birhen" - a "local" representation of the Mother of God - to create a unique image assembled from 95,000 small and large, polished shells.

Special Fascination achieves the light. Even in cloudy weather you think you can see the mosaic was irradiated by the sun. The Blessed Virgin Mary and baby Jesus are the center of the mosaic. In the background a village is shown on the coast. Saints and the altarpiece are another collage of 30,000 shells.

On the Hi-way, where the slow traffic usually takes the left lane claim for themselves, we go to TALISAY and on to

 

SILAY ..... the "Paris" of Negros,

so named because it has raised a lot of effort and expense to restore several old buildings from the time of the Spaniards. Some houses have been made available to the public - a reflection of the society at that time.

In this town we will pass on the way back again, and then make a stop to visit one of the orchid farms.

If you are interested and want to plant these wonderful flowerage in your home or garden, please inquire in advance about any import restrictions for your country. Otherwise, you will be able to issue advice like, because orchids are exported from here.

 

The next destination is the

CHAPEL of ST. JOSEPH - THE WORKER

in V M C - Victorias Milling Company

Chapel of the "Angry Christ"

It is almost impossible to miss the intersection in a sharp left curve where we have to turn to the sugar factory to the right. It is located one and a half kilometers after the bridge over a small river that runs. Following heavy rain in the mountains, whose summits we see right in the background, ever can turn from a trickle into a raging river and thereby also to flood the wider environment.

Otherwise, the shallow river bank is very popular among carabaos, which use the place as a "Beach Resort" and are happy if they enjoy at lunchtime the break from work while hauling the sugarcane harvest and then comfortably indulge in the cool water of their siesta.

The connecting road to the -"Central" called - sugar mill has heavy traffic and on the edge waiting trucks fully with loaded with sugar canes for the entry permit.

From a distance we could see the white smoke from the chimneys of the sugar factory that has made a name for some time in other areas of the production of art and materials. And also fish farming and canning is another branch of economic activity in order to create monoculture "sugar" additional posts.

In well-marked roads, we arrive at the factory premises to the finished in 1950, small, almost inconspicuous chapel.

The unique works of art in its interior had triggered an extremely controversial debate among Christians in the fifties and sixties.

What had happened?

B e n j a m i n   V a l e n c i a n o ,

who had attended no school, but as a wood carver was extremely talented, was commissioned the construction of the chapel with making statues of saints. What he presented, then amazed the experts:

There were dark-skinned statues wearing national dress - the holy pair as Filipinos: Virgin Mary with baby Jesus wearing a "Saja" Joseph a "Barong". The two figures were the first examples for Filipinism in the religious history of art.

World famous, the chapel was because of the mural, made by

A l f o n s o    O s s o r i o ,

son of Don Miguel, the founder of Victoria's Milling Company, which he designed in a unique color technique and style of painting.

Experts from around the world trying to find out the mystery of color mixing, because the painting looks half a century later still as fresh as if would just become yesterday finished the painting. "Life Magazine" named it once

"The Chapel of the Angry Christ".

It's lunchtime. So we drive over two kilometer up behind the factory site where the 18-hole golf course begins. It is one of the various places in international format, Negros Occidental offers guests and locals.

From the terrace, where let us serve lunch, we see across to the spacious grounds on which we - it's midday - this time, of course, can not see a player with his punches.

The operational center of the railway station has confirmed to me that one of the "Henschel" stands "under steam" today. So, let's go for it!

Victorias has a three hundred kilometers wide rail network on which earlier most of the sugar cane crop was transported by rail - as in most sugar mills in Negros, which contribute to more than half of the total production in the Philippines.

Despite all this, was the operation of steam locomotives "beneficial" because fueled by "bagasse", a waste product in the manufacture of sugar and so the operating costs were lower than those of diesel locomotives.

Then one day the "private" transport industry came into the business. More and more sugar cane was transported by truck and rail networks rotten ..... If they are not removed by the 'neighbors'. But roads were more and more blocked and - not built for high weights - increasingly destroyed.

Towards the locomotive office we pass the railroad crossing of an extension track, where a small cart pulled by a horse. The "users" are people from a Barangay behind the golf course which are on their way home after shopping in the city.

Railway with 1 hp

The operational center of the railway station has confirmed to me that one of the "Henschel" stands "under steam" today. So, let's go for it!

Victorias has a three hundred kilometers wide rail network on which earlier most of the sugar cane crop was transported by rail - as in most sugar mills in Negros, which contribute to more than half of the total production in the Philippines.

Despite all this, was the operation of steam locomotives "beneficial" because fueled by "bagasse", a waste product in the manufacture of sugar and so the operating costs were lower than those of diesel locomotives.

Then one day the "private" transport industry came into the business. More and more sugar cane was transported by truck and rail networks rotten ..... If they are not removed by the 'neighbors'. But roads were more and more blocked and - not built for high weights - increasingly destroyed.

Towards the locomotive office we pass the railroad crossing of an extension track, where a small cart pulled by a horse. The "users" are people from a Barangay behind the golf course which are on their way home after shopping in the city.

We are surrounded on the way to our third destination of sugar cane fields when we turn about five kilometers north VICTORIAS CITY left of the main road to the north and further to the east coast of Negros.

On the two kilometers long road that is lined with coconut trees, we come to

HACIENDA SANTA ROSALIA

The hacienda was built in the nineteenth century by YVES GERMAINE GASTON. He came with his family from France to do pioneering work in the development of Negros' sugar industry.

Behind the Hacienda are orchid gardens with beautiful ornaments and flower arrangements. Through these floral display we go to the

C A R T W H E E L - C H A P E L

In response to the question of what makes this chapel - built by the descendants of the family GASTON 1967 - so unique:

It is interesting in any case already the unique architectural design, in particular the use of endemic structural material.

From a distance, the chapel looks like a "Salakot" with lid, up to the cross at a height of 17 meters. The wooden roof is on 16 wooden posts and is in the middle "crowned" by the wheel of a buffalo cart, between the spokes of which colored glass was added and the light falls at noon for a short while on the ground.

The color scheme of the entire structure is a crazy mixture of more or less dark colors that represent the constant change in world affairs. This contrasts with the bright and light colors of the subdivisions, expressing the good news of salvation.

The soil is a mixture of ordinary cement with Margana, a "blue" sand, which is only available here on the coast in front of the hacienda. No one knows how this natural wonder came to this area. Wheels of buffalo carts - and therefore the chapel takes its name - are wall decoration, which means that they make to each other and about each other set, the "walls".

Behind the altar are three wheels designed as a window. Colorful glass between the spokes breaking the light in a peculiar way, especially when the afternoon sun hits full on the glass. The tabernacle in the sanctuary is made of brass and is decorated with broken glass and glass stones.

Viewed from the entrance, the round building is divided into two halves, symbolizing on the one hand the Old Testament and on the other hand the New Testament. Both Testaments are each even divided into 64 units.

The statues are made of colored straw and completely undecorated. Creator was - as in the St. Joseph Chapel of Victoria -

B e n j a m i n   V a l e n c i a n o .

Unmistakably he left his "signature":

Valenciano's Christ is a farmer who is "crucified" on a buffalo cartwheel and hangs above the altar. The Virgin Mary wearing the traditional "Balintawak".

Before we start back, we refresh ourselves with "Buko Juice", the water from the coconut that will bring us a boy of a palm tree.

And then you can still - as long as you want - enjoy the magnificent floral display of orchids farm in SILAY.