Municipality of Isabela

Municipality of Isabela

Profile

Distance from Bacolod: 78.2 kilometers
Land Area: 17,740.00 hectares
Classification: 3rd Class
No. of Barangays: 15 Barangays
Population: 48,719 (May 1, 2000) – 51,535 (2005 Projection)
Language: Hiligaynon/Ilonggo/Cebuano/English is spoken and understood

History

Before the coming of the Spaniards in the Island of Negros, the area where Isabela is now was once a part of a large coastal settlement called “Inabagan” which is now the town of Binalbagan.  The place was once inhabited by the natives whom the earliest explorers called “Pintados” because they had tattoos on their bodies.  The natives however, called those occupying the coastal areas as the “Higuencinas” while those in the upland and hills were called “Igneines”.

Among the early villages in the area of Isabela was “Tinungan”.  During the Spanish occupation of the island when the town of Himamaylan was founded “Tinungan” was made a “visita” Parish of Himamaylan and makeshift chapel of bamboo and “nipa” and “sawali” was built there.  The site of the “first church”, however, was plagued by recurring floods during the rainy days when the river would overflow.  In 1834, the Parish Priest of Himamaylan, Father Agustin Silva transferred the church of Tinongan to another place called “Manacup”, which is now the present site of the Poblacion of Isabela.

In 1861, “Manacup” became a parish and virtually a town.  The first Parish Priest assigned was a Recollect Friar named Pedro Echevarria who subsequently changed “Manacup” to Isabela in honor of the Queen of Spain at that time (Queen Isabela II, 1833-1868).  The most noted founders of Isabela were Father Vicente Abrego and Father Mariano Lasa.

How to Get There

Isabela is over an hour’s drive from Bacolod City by private car and nearly two hours using public utility vehicles, available at the Bacolod South Terminal.

Location

Isabela is bounded on the north by the towns of La Castellana and Moises Padilla on the west by the Municipality of Hinigaran on the south by the Municipality of Binalbagan and on the east by the Municipality of Guihulngan of the Province of Negros Oriental.

Famous Landmarks

Glory Hill has a cross on top which was built by an American engineer of Binalbagan-Isabela Sugar Company (BISCOM). The hill is visited by penitents during the holy week.

Ancestral House of the Miranda Family is a century-old house where bita is found. The tree bears flowers during the summer and scents permeates throughout the area.

Century-old Bell is widely considered as the sweetest-sounding bell in all of Negros in the past.

Lima Lima Falls is 13 kilometers away from the Poblacion. It is said to be the home of Papa Isio- the acknowledge “pope” of the Babaylanes who fought the Guardia Sibil during the Spanish period.

Festival

Tigkalalag Festival of the Municipality of Isabela celebrated every 2nd day of November is the most peculiar festival of Negros Occidental.

This is the Isabeleños way of giving respect to the souls of our departed loved-ones in a form of merry-making and a way of giving recognition to the super naturals spirits in the third dimensional world which our Filipino forefathers believed in.

Tigkalalag Festival does not depict pagan rituals but merry-making activity, unlike in the mid 40’s that children were threatened by their forefathers to be at home during the Angelus because they might be made as “daga” or  offering to the sugar mills to appease the spirits living in the “mariit” site.

With the advent of modern technology and science, this festival is considered to be the past culture and is only reminisced to give recognition to the human and superhuman forces.