Philippine Places: Sagay City

July 6, 2007 at 1:24 pm | Posted in All, Environment, Philippines, Sagay, So You May Know, Travel | 29 Comments

I would like to help spread word about the Philippines and I’ll start with the place where I grew up, Sagay City. Not to be confused with Sagay in the island province of Camiguin, Sagay City is in the northenmost tip of Negros Occidental, about 84 kms or two hours travel by land from the province’s capital city, Bacolod.

sigayshells.jpgSagay got its name from sigay, a semi-spherical shell abundant in the town’s shores.

From a municipality, Sagay became a city in June 1996. Then President Fidel V. Ramos formally proclaimed Sagay the seventh city of Negros Occidental, citing it as an excellent example for other striving communities.

So much has changed since I left Sagay in 1986. I lived with my bro and his family in college and would only go back to Sagay once in a while. I was assigned in Manila for my school’s compulsary industry exposure (OJT) and since then have lived in Manila until I moved to Melbourne. It wasn’t financially practical to visit go home every so often. I may have seen a lot of the Philippines but mostly they were gratis as I have mentioned in this post.

From a third class municipality, Sagay is now a second class city. The unwavering and relentless efforts of it’s local officials has made the city what it is today.


sagay-underwater.jpgSagay now is home to a 32,000 hectare marine reserve that includes Carbin Reef, Panal Reef, Maca Reef and Maca Shoal. There is also BalayKauswagan, (read: House of Progress) an ideal venue for seminars, skills training, art exhibits, trade fairs, wedding receptions and even a place to stay when you’re in the area.

steam-train.jpgsinigayan-festival.jpgOther points of interest includes the City Garden and the Living Tree Museum, Museo sang Bata (Children’s Museum) sa Negros, Vito Church which was built in the 1800’s and the biggest annual event in the city, the Sinigayan Festival.

A steam train, called the Legendary Siete is in display a the city plaza. Colin Garratt, author of the book, Iron Dinosaurs considered Siete as the “world’s most incredible steam survivor” and even proclaiming her a ‘portrait of a dinosaur’ at the date his book was published in 1976.

A travel article at Inquirer.Net recently featured Sagay. That article also appeared blog.


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  1. Wow. Your hometown looks very pretty. Any more photos?

  2. Wow, Sagay is gorgeous. A definite must-see tourist stop.

  3. hey there, i’m a sagaynon too! never did go to snhs but the rest of my family did. im also in melb now, working and living in the cbd. would you happen to know anyone with the surname of balinario from sagay?

  4. Hi Nanc,

    Yes, I know Edward Balinario, he was a year ahead of me in school. We both went to the elementary and high school.

    I will email you my details so we can catch up. What do u think?

  5. please visit our website thank you!

  6. Hi Kenneth,

    Yes, I am a regular (as in everyday) visitor of Sagay City website.

    Your name sounds familiar. My middle name is Rivera. Are you a son of Tibong Rivera? If so, then you might know my brother Wilfred.

  7. hello! i am the third son of tibong rivera. i know tito fred and tita dolly. they’re like my second family. i am maintaning our site and i would gladly welcome any suggestions. thank you for writing about our city.

  8. hi, stumbled on your page while surfing on sagay city. i’ve two entries on sagay in mine and hope to have more, with contributions from fellow sagaynons. my blog is in please leave a message if you’re interested and let’s see how we can work it out. bless you…

  9. whooo! guys, I just want to thank you for all of this. I’ve spent my supposedly working time just to search my beloved hometown, now I’ve come to this page. That’s why I thank you all.
    SNHS! I never dreamed of any other schools!
    At last I’m going home!

  10. What a nice pic of the Legendary Siete and notes on Colin Garratt on his book “Iron Dinosaurs” in the article: “Philippine Places: Sagay City”. I met Colin Garratt when I was very young in Barangay Fabrica when he visited our home after meeting & making friends with my Dad @ ILCO in the early ’70’s. I walked him back thru “Taytay Kahoy” to get a bus to Bacolod on his way back to London after waving an emotional goodbye to my Mom and Dad and our house. He visited my Dad again in 1975 in Bo. Bato when Sagay Central Inc bought the ILCO Railroad Lines including the “world’s most incredible steam survivor”. My dad, the respected “‘Tyo Dadong”; was ILCO’s Railroad Superintendent at that time when he was hired by SCI after ILCO closed its operation in Fabrica.

    (When my wife – then my girlfriend in College in Cebu City at that time – and her college friends visited Barangay Bato in 1980; I have them climbed up to the “Legendary Siete” and took souvenir pictures of their visit).

    Anyone out there who is an FI (Fara-on Institute) Alumni? Or anybody you know? Or anyone from Fabrica?


    Michael & Fe Gabriel
    Gilbert, Arizona USA
    February 14, 2009

  11. Hi Michael and Fe,

    Thank you very much for spending time and commenting on my blog. Wow, you have actually met Colin Garrat.

    It is so good to hear from fellow Sagaynons halfway around the world. I only knew one person from FI, her name is Faith Visto. We were classmates in grade school.

    If you don’t mind, would you like to send me the souvenir photo you took of Siete? I would like to see how it was before it was moved to the city plaza.


  12. Hi Alma,

    Thank you for replying to my comment on the “Legendary Siete”. I apologized; I read your blog a long time ago but didn’t comment at that time. (I am hoping you know a classmate from FI; unfortunately, I had not known Faith Visto due maybe to our different class years. Since I graduated, I didn’t visit & never attended any reunion. I finally decided to visit FI this Summer (July 2009) and desperately hoping to see my classmates in a special reunion for probably my first & last visit since my graduation. Regrettably, I never had contact with them and don’t know where to start). And yes, I met Colin. I fetched him from Fabrica’s famous Train Station (while my Dad is delayed on his way from the work site) and guided/walked him to our house for some nice foods and a good rest before leaving back to London. I would love to send you souvenir photos of “Siete” (and some memorable stories while we play with Siete in our Elementary years) as soon as I find/dig it up in our photo boxes . (We have dozens of boxes of old photos from the Philippines and our travel & work overseas since we left in the early ’80’s). By the way, Colin is just one of a number of writers & photographers who became friends with Dad because of “Siete” but I couldn’t remember the names of the rest). Are you still in Melbourne?


    Michael & Fe

  13. Hi Michael and Fe,

    I realised that you wouldn’t have known Faith when I re-read your first comment. We finished HS in the mid-80’s.

    Have you tried the guestroom of Sagay City’s website? You may be able to find some Sagaynon’s there who may know FIans.

    Our local library here has books of Colin Garratt. I’ll have a look at them soon and see if I can get any more photos of the Siete. I would also like to trace Siete’s roots.

    Yes, I live in Melbourne and go back to Sagay (not very often) only to see my family (and friends).

    Goodluck to your upcoming reunion with your FI schoolmates. I attended SNHS grand alumni homecoming last year.It was great to see old friends again.


    PS. Should you plan to visit Melbourne, let me know. I would love to show you around.

  14. elow! i’m not a sagaynon but i’ve once been a part of this beautiful and enchanting city. most of my learning experiences here had been truly memorable and worth keeping .my work brought me here and in my almost two years of stay, this city had made me feel like i was ‘family’ that’s why it will always leave a mark on my memory no matter where my future brings me. . . . . . sagay, i will always be grateful!

  15. Hi Alma,

    How are you? I appreciate your offer to show me around Melbourne should I plan to visit. Sorry, I got sick and was unable to reply to you at that time. I also appreciate your wishing me good luck on a possible reunion with my high school this July. It turned out to be really heartbreaking the fact that I’m right at this moment in the Philippines but unable to visit Fabrica & Sagay and of course FI due to lack of contacts. I was able to contact a classmate in Canada and a friend in California before leaving Arizona unfortunately they don’t have contacts in Negros either. I am right now in Cebu City with my Wife and Son visiting my wife’s parents and relatives since July 3rd (we have canceled our flight to Bacolod) and will pass by/visit Manila on our way back to Arizona on the 25th.


    Michael & Fe Gabriel

  16. Hi Sagaynons, I just want to remind you that we are invited by Mayor Maranon to attend the Balik Sinigayan 2010 0n March 16-19. We are on our 10th year as a city.
    Please keep this date for our vacation so we will be together. This is an international
    affair… from Bacolod Sagaynons to all over the world. So exciting. Kindly bring your family and register through this website. Kenneth, could you help me with the page so that I may know who will register. I will call you soon. Tita Elsa

  17. Hi Ma’am Elsa,

    Thank you very much for gracing my blogsite. I hope you still remember me. I was a student of yours in 1982. Monares ang maiden name ko. Kenneth knows by name lng kay we haven’t met pa man.

    I am not sure which website you are referring to in your comments about registering for the Balik Sinigayan 2010. There was no link mentioned.

    If you were referring to this site, I am happy to accommodate the registration. I can create another page for that. Please let me know.


  18. Hi! to all my friends in sagay, I always remember when I was in college in nonescost old sagay. I left sagay from 2001 to denmark and never visit my school again I was travelling back to philippines from denmak several times but hopefully next time I could visit sagay. its a very memorable place for me and my dad sir Melvin tan, who was been a teacher before in SNHS. anyone knows kristine kho? she was my classmate since kinder garten. Any one could help me to get a contact with her? GREETINGS to all from us here in denmark.

    Kristan and Karen tan Ronne
    naestved, denmark-dk

    • I know Kristine Kho! i was her photographer.

  19. Hi Karen,

    Thank you for visiting my blog. I haven’t updated this for a long time now.

    I know your dad, he was my Biology teacher at SNHS. Sory I do not know Kristine Kho. If she is related to Vrilla Kho, I can ask her for you.


  20. Hi! Alma,
    thanks for the reply. yes christine kho is a sister to vrilla. please help me to have here no. so I could call here. May I know who Alma are you? thanks.

    Kren tan Rønne
    Naestved, Denmark


  22. yup………definitely……..Ive been there just 4 days ago…….at it really a well-developed city with a simple living folks…and probably got a world class beaches to be proud of…

  23. I have nieces and nephews living in Inangtan, Sagay City that I haven’t seen since 2006 when I lived in Zambalis. they returned to Negros in 2010 and I haven’t been able to reach them. Their names are Rexona, Junalyn, Rosalyn and Lito. I would love to hear from them. I wish they had a phone I could call them just to hear their voices and know they are okay. Their tita Marie misses them alot, too.

  24. im a true blue sagaynon. i miss Sagay so much. would love to retire and settle there for good.
    Calling my teachers in elementary:
    grade 1- Ma’am Talisay
    grade 2- Ma’am Perigil
    grade 3- Ma’am Bantiling
    grade 4- Ma’am Piamonte
    grade 5- Ma’am Santacera
    grade 6- Ma’am Bautista

    These are the people who honed us into persons that we are right now. 2nd to our parents.

    Sorry but this is the only way i can show my gratitude to all of you.

  25. YES! I agree with you Dockie, because I could say the same. Thanks to all of you our honorable sagaynon teachers, I am proud of who I am now as I am also a teacher like you and of course to my supportive parents that they were also teachers. I could say that a true teacher is a noble person.

  26. WOW!!! This is the first time am aware of a small settlement called Sagay city and am from a family call Sagay in Africa “NIGERIA”.could it be a coecident???????!

  27. Do you know Vrilla “Mac.mac” kho.

  28. rank higher

    Philippine Places: Sagay City | Spilling my own thunder

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