Tag Archives: Tuting

Bacolod during its eventful days – Feedback by Primo Esleyer (from the Visayan Daily Star)

We welcome today’s Charter Day guest speaker Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita. I recall in mid or late 60s, my friend and neighbor Jesus Ermita and wife Dr. Delia Ocampo Ermita were looking for me.

They wanted me to meet Jess’ nephew, a Major Eduardo Ermita of the Philippine Constabulary who was visiting Bacolod . I was the correspondent of The Manila Times then. That was the first and last time I met the now Little President. I followed up in the papers his rise to fame.

Jess’ nephew was not much of a talker, but obviously brilliant, and well behaved, without the swagger of a PMA graduate, a military officer. I recall telling Jess Ermita, “Your nephew will go places. He knows how to behave well in the presence of his uncle.”

He is a good lightning arrester. As Little President he attracts criticisms but they fizzle out. He is not controversial. He is like Jorge Vargas of Manuel Quezon. Vargas is the grandfather-in-law of Lito Coscolluela.

* * *

Today is the 71 st anniversary of Bacolod as a city. Our young people need to look back where we came from and view all the trials and triumphs, the adventures and adversities, and the sacrifices and successes that Bacolod went through.

Bacolod has a very colorful history. I lost my copy of the book of my friend Judge Rafael Guanzon “Bacolod In the Most Eventful Years 1895-1945.”

Paeng Guanzon wrote of the second quarter of the century as the most eventful and memorable.

He wrote of the turbulence of the early 1920s when two labor groups clashed in the face of a growing sugar industry. There was the “Kusog Sang Imol (Strength of the Poor)” led by labor leaders and the pro planters group, “Ang Mainawa-on (The Concerned)”.

I recall the late post war Bacolod Mayor, Aurelio Locsin, telling me he was the leader of “Kusog Sg Imol” clashing with the Mainawa-on. But clashes then were not violent.

Today Zay de la Cruz unites than all.

There was the Joffar murder that became a celebrated case. The Intrencherado rebellion, the cholera of 1930 that killed many people. Those burying relatives would just fall there near the grave and would just be buried. The dead buried in groups were not in coffin.

I recall in 1960 while renting a house at 1 st Street , neighbors dug a well when there was water shortage. Just four feet below we found human skeletons. It was one of the burial sites during the cholera.

The great strike of the Federacion Obreras de Filipinas, a very big labor group staged a simultaneous strike in the wharves of Negros and Iloilo that crippled sugar shipments.

Bacolod then was just a small community, clustered around the Church and a very small population, compared to today’s nearly half a million.

* * *

The ruling families then were the de la Rama, Gonzaga, Montelibano, Ramos, Ciocon, Ruiz de Luzuriaga, Ballesteros, Villanuevas… The Lizares and Lacson families were originally from Talisay.

The political leaders of the era were the Gonzagas, the Villanuevas, the Ramoses. The Gonzagas were the forebears of the late Mayor Romeo Gonzaga Guanzon, the Ramoses were the forebears of incumbent Mayor Evelio Ramos Leonardia, and the Montelibanos and Gatuslaos.

And there were many more I can only recall from the book of Rafael Guanzon which I cannot find now.

The famous lawyers at the time were Antonio Jayme, Matias Hilado, Agustin Seva, Ricardo Nolan, Rafael Alunan, Roque Hofileña, Valeriano and Agustin Gatuslao…

Some became “juez de paz” or justice of the peace that we call today as judges.

* * *

Interesting too were the journalists of the era. There was no radio then. DYDL was the first radio station here and it came only in the 50s. Its first manager, I think, was our friend Rene Tan.

The writers at the time were mostly the “ilustrados” or the educated and well known professionals, mostly lawyers.

Foremost of them were Antonio Jayme who, like many others wrote in Spanish. According to Paeng Guanzon who was a Spanish professor himself, the early writers wrote in florid Castillan language or in Hiligaynon. They wrote beautiful poems, too.

The other writers were Manuel Fernandez Yanson, another lawyer, Agustin Seva, Jose Ruiz de Luzuriaga.

They wrote in publication like “La Libertad,” and also “La Igualdad” published in Manila .

The publication here was “El Civismo” of Aurelio Locson that lasted up to Sept. 21, 1972 and jolted up only with Martial Law. Don Aurelio didn’t see reason to continue with it.

* * *

In the early years, Bacolod was just a small place, from Justicia St. , in the north to Libertad St. in the south. Mabini in the east and San Juan in the west.

When the city council changed Libertad to Pedro Hernaez and Justicia to Vicente Galo, people shouted, “In Bacolod there is no more justice and liberty.” Washington Street became Valeriano Gatuslao Street and Smith Street became Aurelio Locsin.

* * *

We must adore Clio, the Greek Muse of History. She tells us where we came from. And therefore, will lead us to where we are going. Don Aurelio Locsin became Negros Press Club president in his 80s. I was close to him, having edited his “Country Post” and putting in English his communications. He was Spanish speaking.

From him, too, I learned plenty of Bacolod history the many leaders who were grandchildren or great grandchildren of Spanish friars.

It seemed all of them were. Locsin sired well known journalists Raul, Alfio, and Gerardo.*


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Gatuslao thanks mayors

Special to the Manila Times

BACOLOD CITY, Nov. 21, 1961 – Congressman-elect Agustin M. Gatuslao of the third distrcit of Negros Occidental thanked recently the 11 Nacionalista municipal mayors for their wholehearted support for him during the pre-campaign and during the last ballotings which gave him a comfortable margin over his closest rival LP bet Jacinto Montilla.

Gatsualo, younger brother of Gov. Valeriano Gatuslao, thanked the electorate for reiterating their vote of confidence in him in last Tuesday’s elections.

He said he would continue his unfinished projects in the district which he had already started during his first and second terms in Congress.

This time, he said, it would be his third term which will be dedicated to improvements of the irrigation system, fishin and cocounut industry and the feeder roads be given more emphasis.

Gatuslao said he would also give priority in constructing more asphalt roads and concrete bridges particularly in the soutern town sot hat ambulat traders and transportation businesses would not hamper their daily schedule during rainy season.

Ilog, Cauayan, Inayauan, Sipalay and Hinobaan towns are always flooding during rainy days, Gatuslao said.

These towns are along the shoreline and its wharf should be improved. -PR

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Move to split province bared

Special to the Manila Times

BACOLOD CITY, Oct. 17, 1961 – A move to divide Negros Occidental into two provinces was bared by Rep. Agustin M. Gatuslao during a symposium sponsored by the Negros Press Club at Hinigaran where four of the five known congressional aspirants for the third district were the main speakers.

Rep. Gatuslao, brother of Gov. Valeriano M. Gatuslao and Himamaylan Mayor Jose M. Gatuslao, is running for reelection for congress in the third district under the Nacionalista banner.

He revealed that a bill to split this province was presented in the last session of Congress but failed to pass because of opposition in certain quarters.

“But this time,” he vowed, “I’ll press the division if I am elected, because the big size of the province demands it.”

Jacinto Montilla, LP official candidate, assailed Gatuslao for abandoning the welfare of the southern towns and barrios during the latter’s term of eight years as congressman of the third district. Montilla pledged that, if elected, he will emphasize the building of roads that will connect the hinterlands to the towns.

Other speakers were Dr. Macario Zafre (NP) and Cesar R. Borromeo (Ind.). Dr. Zafra, who is related to President Garcia, said that he will utilize his close relations with Malacañang to the advantage of the people in the third district.

Borromeo, a former newspaperman and past president of the Negros Press Club, said that his past reputation as a fighting member of the fourth estate is guarantee enough that he will protect the interests of the poor.

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The Gatuslaos: Five generations in politics

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Leadership Profile: Rep. Agustin M. Gatuslao

Source: Get to know your officials, 1st ed, 1958



Third District, Negros Occidental

Rep. AGUSTIN M. GATUSLAO has the distinction of breaking a 50-year old no re-election tradition in the third district of Negros Occidental.

Garnering a convincing majority of nearly 17,000 votes over his closest rival in the last 1957 polls, Rep. Gatuslao now begins his second term in the lower House with renewed confidence from his constituents.

“Tio Tuting,” as he is fondly called, began his meteoric rise in Negros politics as municipal mayor of his home town, Himamaylan, in 1937, holding the same position for three consecutive terms until 1945.

Born in Himamaylan, Negros Occidental, on August 8, 1904, he is the fourth child of Don Serafin Gatuslao and Julita Monton.

Rep. Gatuslao finishd his elementary and high school education at the Colegio de San Agustin in Iloilo (now University of San Agustin). For his college education, he chose the University of Santo Tomas, where he obtained his bachelor of laws degree in 1926. He passed the bar examinations in the same year.

During his first term in the lower House of Congress, Gatuslao was a member of the following standing House groups: Committee on Provincial and Municipal Governments and Committee on Public Works. He was also a ranking member of the Commission on Appointments wherein he was the chairman of the sub-committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Rep. Gatuslao is married to the former Alicia Montinola of a well-known family in San Enrique, Negros Occidental,with whom he has five children: Hernan, a holder of a bachelor of science degree; Carminia, a bachelor of arts degree holder (cum laude); Florinda, Maria Theresa and Antonio.

“Tio Tuting” can be proud of his record in the public service as it has always been ‘stainless’ and dedicated to the welfare of the commonweal.

Gatuslao, indeed, is a legendary name in the history of Negros Occidental.

Finally, as Philippine politics becomes a more complex part of our endeavors as an independent nation, Rep. Gatuslao, with all resolve and determination, fervently hopes to be a more useful and a cmore active participant in our great task of making the Philippines a more respected country in the world. And surely, he will do it!

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Himamaylan Officials (1938)

Source: Negros Yearbook 1938

The Municipality of Himamaylan

Municipal Mayor……………………… Agustin Gatuslao

Municipal Vice Mayor………………. R. Montesino


  1. Florencio Villfranca
  2. Isabel Segovia
  3. Dr. Felipe Gariloa
  4. Aquilino Gimotea
  5. Federico Limsiaco
  6. Jesus Nava
  7. Marcelo Pijuan
  8. George B. Wiles
Justice of the Peace………. Manuel Tongbanua
Sanitary President………… Dr. Juan Velmonte
Municipal Treasurer……… Quirino Lauron
Chief of Police…………….. Aurelio Calibho
Postmaster…………………. N. Capinpin
Supervising Teacher…….. Vicente Martir
Principal…………………….. Jose A. Macaraeg


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