Distance from Bacolod: 95.2 kilometers (Poblacion) – 102.1 (Old Poblacion)
Land Area: 12,500 hectares
Classification: 5th Class
No. of Barangays: 21 Barangays
Population: 79,098 (May 1, 2000) – 83,669 (2005 Projection)
Language: Cebuano/English is spoken and understood
Originally, the town was known as Manlambus, a Visayan term meaning to strike with a club because its coastal waters were then teeming with fishes that catching them could simply be done by using a club or lambus.
It is believed that Escalante was inhabited since 11th A.D. per artifacts unearthed by Siliman University Anthropological Team in 1975-76. It was created a municipality on November 28, 1856 on orders of Gobernador Manuel Crespo, with Nueva Sevilla (now Old Poblacion) as the seat of government. In 1860, Fr. Cipriano Navarro, the first Spanish Missionary assigned to the place renamed it to Escalante, after his hometown in Spain.
Escalante was then a very big town with population bigger than that of Bacolod until 1939. However, Toboso, one of the biggest barangays of the town was separated from it in 1948 to be a Municipality by virtue of Executive Order No. 141 by President Elpidio Quirino decreasing its area and population.
The seat of the Municipal Government was transferred from Barangay Old Poblacion to Barangay Balintawak per Executive Order 301, dated May 30, 1958 by President Carlos P. Garcia.
Escalante was converted into a component city of Negros Occidental when its charter, R.A. 9014 was signed into law on February 28, 2001 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which was subsequently ratified in a plebiscite on March 2001.
This progressive city is the home of Manlambus Festival every 30th of May in celebration of its rich cultural heritage and glorious past that every Escalantehanon loves to share and tell. As its present dictum goes… ABANTE ESCALANTE, MASARANGAN NATO KINI!
How to Get There
Escalante City is a two-and-a-half hour drive from Bacolod City. Public utility vehicles plying the northern Negros route pass by this city. From Cebu, Escalante can be reached by ferry boat through the Yap RORO Port or the Barcelon Port.
St. Francis of Assisi Church Ruins was built as part of the mission of the Augustinian Recollects in the late 19th century in the pueblo of Escalante (now Old Poblacion) when the parish separated from Silay in 1860. The church ruins are classified as historical structure by virtue of NHI Resolution No. 3, series of October 22, 1991.
A 1930-built Old Municipal Building, now turned into a City Museum, houses two galleries, Archaeological and Ethnographic, containing collections from the 21 barangays. It has a mini library with around 900 book holdings.
In between the City Museum and Gabaldon Building is the Plaza Complex consisting of Municipal Portal and Rizal Monument built in September 15, 1955, a bandstand and a skating rink constructed in September 28, 1935, with a drinking fountain erected in October 3, 1953.
As a “significant and irreplaceable historical and cultural heritage from the country’s American colonial past”, this 1912 building stood witness to the educational development of this part of the island. Linkages had been made through National Historic Institute (NHI) and Heritage Conservation Society (HCS) for a call to rehabilitate the two existing decrepit Gabaldon Buildings located at Brgy. Langub and Brgy. Old Poblacion. Those with deep sense of history will find this very interesting.
Located in Sitio Urbasa, Brgy. Mabini are quiet places suited for religious pilgrimage and frequented by the devotees and those with deep religious fervor. On the hilltop are gardens and religious images where one can seek solace and commune with God or nature.
Bonista Beach Resort in Brgy. Buenavista is 15 kilometers away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This is an ideal place to unwind with its clean white sand beach and unique swimming pool. It has a restaurant and karaoke bar.
Jomabo Paradise Island and Beach Resort in Bag-ong Banwa Island, 6 miles away from the city. This white sand island resort offers challenging water sports like wind surfing, scuba diving, water bicycle, torpaulin jump, banana boat ride and leisure fishing.
Caving in Escalante challenges high spirited adventure seekers. Stalactites and stalagmites in all forms and sizes, cave pearls and diamond rays are imbedded in more than 50 caves.
Manlambus Festival manifests the joys and sense of thanksgiving for all the blessings of abundance it has received through the years. The festival dance appeals to all ages, as movements are simple, easy and expressive. It is a wholesome form of entertainment. The compelling rhythm of the drumbeats, the expressive movement and vigorous actions of the dancers make it attractive to spectators.