San Carlos City

San Carlos City

San Carlos City


Distance from Bacolod: 144.5 km. (via Coastal Rd.) 86 km. (via Translink Hwy.)
Land Area: 45,150 hectares
Classification: 2nd Class Component City
No. of Barangays: 18  Barangays
Population: 127,342 (as of March 2006)
Language: Hiligaynon/Ilonggo/Cebuano/English is spoken and understood


The original name of San Carlos was “Nabingkalan”, which referred to the Negrito settlement of inhabitants from towns of the Western Coast of Cebu Island who came to Negros. The settlers were led by an enterprising Cebuano from Badian, Carlos Apurado, who developed the area into a thriving Christian village with the help of his fellow pioneers.

“Nabingkalan” is also derived from the name of “Nabingka”, a beautiful princess who ruled the territory for many years that when she died, the inhabitants of this Negrito region mourned the death of their beautiful princess for two years. In order to perpetuate her soul, the people gave the name of “Nabingkalan” to the place where their beautiful princess ruled for a long period.

In 1856, the first politico Military Governor of Negros Island, Don Emilio Saravia, renamed the place “San Carlos” and established it as “pueblo” status in 1890 when Negros Island was divided into two provinces Occidental and Oriental Negros. San Carlos was recorded as an “arrabal” or barrio of Calatrava, then known as “Hilub-ang.”

In January 1892, the Bishop of Diocese of Jaro in Iloilo appointed a recollect as the first parish priest of San Carlos and three years later, the place regained its momentum for progress with 16 well-equipped “haciendas’ in operation.

In 1898, San Carlos acquired its township status when Gen. Juan Araneta of the Revolutionary Negros Republic officially proclaimed it as a municipality. This was confirmed by the American Military Administration in 1901.

Five years later, in 1906, a constraint of the new administration from of local government implemented  by the American Administration made Calatrava an “arrabal” or barrio of San Carlos.

San Carlos became a city on July 1, 1960. Each year, the city celebrates the Pintaflores festival on November 3-5 that culminates in a fascinating street dancing competition participated in by floral-painted dancers donned in colorful, ethnic-inspired costumes.

How to Get There

San Carlos City can be reached in four hours through the coastal highway and about two-and-half-hours through the Negros Translink Highway. With its natural harbor, San Carlos is also the take-off point to Cebu with fast crafts reaching Toledo in an hour.

Tourist Attractions

Sipaway Island is geographically known as Refugio Island, a favorite rendezvous of local and foreign guests. It has beautiful century-old Balete tree, white sand beach resorts and natural reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving. Travel time is only 15 minutes from the pier by local outrigger.

Alinsayawan Falls is approximately 45 minutes away  from the city proper ideal for nature lovers and local tourists.

La Fortuna Nature and Wildlife Lagoon is located in So. Katingal-an, Brgy. Buluangan. Owned by the Ledesma family, this five-hectare paradise with man-made lagoon, pine trees, and various plants serves as sanctuary for birds and beckons nature enthusiast to explore this peaceful haven.

Whispering Palm Island Resort in Sipaway is a white sand beach resort and a 15-minute boat ride from the city proper. It has air conditioned cottages, cocktail bar, multi-purpose hall, restaurant, gym, seafood grill house, mini-zoo, swimming pool, tropical garden and children’s playground.

San Carlos Hills (Choco Hills) can be seen along the Negros Translink Highway in Brgy. Prosperidad. Travel time is 30 minutes from the city proper.

Cave Lapus has unique rock formation, underground river and passageways. Located at Upper Tongo, Brgy Palampas, this mysterious cave enthralls many enthusiasts and adventurers. It is accessible in one hour by motorcycle and trekking.

Famous Landmarks

Broce Ancestral House was built in 1934, formerly the “Old Municipal Hall”. It was used as a Japanese Garrison during World War II.

Had. Sta. Ana Grotto was built by Atty. Silverio Eusebio in the late 1960’s that features the life-size religious statues depicting the 14 Station of the Cross and the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes.

San Carlos Borromeo Cathedral, this Gothic, Byzantine and Romanesque design cathedral became a parish in 1895 during the term of Fr. Pedro Chivite, OAR. It became a diocese on February 10, 1998 covering the municipality of Manapla, Negros Occidental down to La Libertad, Oriental Negros.

Special Interests

People’s Park features fresh water swimming pool, children’s playground, kiosks, gazebos, promenades, picnic areas, pavilions, outdoor café, miniature buildings,  The People’s Park overlooking the Sipaway Island is an is ideal for family picnics or simply for relaxation.

Pano-olan Pottery is the center of pottery industry of San Carlos City. Located along the highway going to Dumaguete City, cooking pots, vases, and other assorted products are displayed beside the road.

Jilla’s Café & Grill is a unique restaurant atop the hill overlooking the coastline of San Carlos City and the picturesque view of Sipaway Island. Enjoy the sight of mountain ridges while sipping native coffee amid the cool ambiance and unpolluted air from this place.

Hardwood Furniture Café sells native furniture made of hardwood. Owned and managed by Nestor Dela Calsada and Joy Secong, the place has a collection of beautiful and unique furniture like tables, chairs, mini bar, cartwheels and lampshade.


Pintaflores Festival has become a by-word of the people’s artistic creativity. Pintaflores dancers won top awards in Bacolod City as Hall of Fame awardee in street dancing during the Panaad sa Negros Festival. It is also a consistent winner in Sinulog street dancing.

Pintaflores is a yearly cultural festival that culminates on November 5 in a fascinating street dancing competition among floral-painted dancer in colorful and floral-inspired.