San Carlos City, Lola’s Hometown

San Carlos in Negros for me is home to forgotten family ties. My grandmother, a de los Santos, was a sugarcane farmer in the Ledesma owned Hacienda Fortuna. She came from a big family but believe it or not, I have not met anyone or known personally a relative from this town. 

My Nanay gave me instructions on the exact locations of where she used to work as a “tindera” and some houses in the poblacion where I could find relatives. But the town has changed drastically in the 50-odd years that have passed since she left San Carlos. Those relatives are no longer there and that shop where she used to work is now something else.

The landscape has changed. A new city hall, a large Gaisano mall and expensive looking subdivisions are now landmarks. There’s this highway called Don Salvador Benedicto that cuts deep through the Negro’s central mountains. A very impressive feat of road engineering. It reminded me of the steep zigzagging roads in the highlands of Luzon. Before the only road going to Bacolod pass along the coastlines. The mountain highway substantially lessen travel time by more than half I was told.

The old plaza now have a covered convention center. There were several banks which I take as a sign of progress. The Elementary school grandmother attended is still there. The Institute (Central Negros) where my mother enrolled for secondary studies is now a full college. The centuries old Catholic institutions, Sta. Rita (located in the old convent) and Colegio de Sto. Tomas of the Recollects, remains unchanged.

My Nanay remembers my grandmother to be extremely religious. She dabbled in spiritual healing when not helping out in the farms and vending vegetables. She was very spiritual, a devout churchgoer. If she fail to hear mass, she still goes to church anyway, to pray. While I was inside the church, I saw some old women that reminded me of my mother’s description of her. They were wearing “belo”, dressed in long saya and had these laced novenas around their necks while praying the rosary.

Her children helped sell vegetables and mani (a popular San Carlos crop) in the old public market. All her young boys never finish high school. They preferred working over books. The two girls, my mom and her younger sister, were the only ones that took interest in studying. My aunt, (now living in the Emirates) was the only one that finished college. She majored in education, graduated with honors. She is said to be the splitting image of their mestisahin mother. Since they don’t have a surviving picture of Lola (they lost belongings because they were like gypsies moving from one town to another) my mother would always tell old friends and relatives to look at her younger sister if they wanted to see what their mother looked like.

I’ve never known my maternal grandmother. Never even saw a picture of her but there’s a lot of her in all of us. My mother would be reminded of her in us. She said that I have her eyes. I like the idea that I’m seeing the world with these borrowed eyes. My Lola’s eyes.

She lives in all of us her grandchildren.

Just before I left the town. I dropped by a lodging house managed by a friend’s mother. Their property sits right beside the cemetery. I asked them if people are turned off by their location. My host said the location is never a problem. Lodging and hotel business are doing well these days because according to them because local government is getting better in promoting tourism.

The lodging house’s service mini-van took me to the Ceres station where there are buses going to Bacolod through the Benedicto Salvador highway. I bid them farewell and bought some mani for pasalubong before boarding the bus. I would like to comeback one day and hopefully meet some of my relatives.

Vamos San Carlos!

San Carlos Church. What a clean and peaceful town.

Santo Tomas – Recoletos de San Carlos

The old mercado and the Tri-sikad’s

la contruccion de esta calle de cemento concreto es una donacion a esta iglesia de los esposos Dn. Vicente Atienza y Senora – diciembre 27, 1966. What happened to these Spanish speaking residents?

Vamos San Carlos! What a catchy slogan…

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7 responses to “San Carlos City, Lola’s Hometown

  • Berny

    I just love San Carlos City. Married overthere in 1995 and travelling almost every year to S.C.S. – Now end of October 2014 I will stay there for good and really cannot wait – For me S.C.C. is so wonderful, unique with a great location and wonderful people !

  • bb

    Throw back time …I’m from San Carlos also…our house is in Broce St….my parents used to have a negosyo ; Litas Store/ Lucky 13…i hope it will bring back memories of your Nanay..how about Dadong Store, Amies Restuarant..ect…sad to say wala na lahat yan…most of my childhood memories are in Valdivia St. were the public market is located.I’m a graduate of CST-R in secondary ; City Central School in Elementary …I’m already 43 y.o. born 1970…I’m proud to say “I Love San Carlos” there’s.. “NO PLACE like HOME”..now leaving in CEBU

  • Jose Dela Victoria

    Hello Author, I really like what you wrote about my hometown. Would by any chance I know your Lola or Mom too? You mentioned familiar places where I used to roam around during my high school days in the city, like the mercado, hda fortuna, etc … I am no longer living in San Carlos (I now live in Cebu City), but anything written about the place where I was born, I always love reading.
    I graduated in Colegio de Sto Tomas Recoletos high school in 1964 and next year will be our Golden Anniversary.
    Once again thank you for making me proud of my hometown

    • De AnDA

      Both of my parents have roots in Sn. Carlos. Especially my mother. She’s a de los Santos. While her father was from a landed clan, their family were poor farmers in Ledesma’s hacienda. Despite this, she recalls happy childhood and fond memories of Sn. Carlos. This was cut short when both of her parent died but around this time they’re already living in Bayawan.

  • San Carlos Gal

    I miss San Carlos very much 😦

  • m.delrosario68

    thanks for the pics! I can imagine how peaceful it is living here. You’ll wonder why anybody would want to move…

    • Anonymous

      … I would think, maybe better paying job or not enough jobs available for anyone’s chosen field; mostly engineering, technical, medical, education, etcetera, (just my wild guess, haven’t lived there myself for quite a long time)

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