Changing landscape, changing lifestyle

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When did it all happen?

Just the other day we could walk our streets and know whose car it was that passed. We could sit and lounge around in Pendy’s at its old location where the Ikthus church is now, and know every single person who came and went.

The Bacolod Government Center

Yesterday, the workmen came and started building here, then there, then almost everywhere, in speed so fast I had to flee my old neighborhood where new buildings, and I a skyscraper or two, are sprouting. How many mornings had I woken up to the sound of earth moving equipment or some reckless driver in this once sleepy street where hardly any car passed before?

Today we could not even count the number of cars that whiz through our streets. We can still sit in Pendy’s, at its new location, but would hardly know most of the people who come in.

This small town pretending to be a city is really, finally, becoming what it is, a highly-urbanized city. No, wait, it is in fact fast becoming a metropolis, its heart bursting with so much activity, it is now spreading, especially towards north where a new airport was opened some what, five years ago?

Driving north these days can tell you how much things have changed in our Negros. The long stretches of sugarcane green are still there, but they are now punctuated by buildings housing new businesses, most notable of which are the car dealership showrooms – Honda, Ford, even BMW are there now.

Of course the south is also catching up, what with the Bacolod South General Hospital rising in whatused to be grazelands along the Pahanocoy highway.

Notable are the new, planned communities rising in the North, development projects of the country’s biggest, Ayala Land and Megaworld. Excitement is building up over the new commercial and residential districts that have opened and will soon open there, new destinations that are going to forever change not just our landscape but our lifestyle as well: The District, Forbes Hills, North Point. Once we had such a limited range of choices to go to for meetings for example, we now have an entire community to go to. Once we counted the number of restaurants that were opening, now we have an entire complex of new ones.

Our two other commercial meccas are not taking things sitting down in the excitement department, SM City unveiled its new three-storey north wing which houses its department store and a host of restaurants. Robinson’s Place has also opened its new wing, Citywalk beside its budget Go Hotel, all at what used to be the parking lot of its mall.

At the heart of the city, the skyline is now being redrawn, as Ayala builds a complex of a hotel, condominium, shopping mall, and convention center.

It is funny how our little speeches and write-ups about how development will come and how better our tomorrows will be are now coming to reality before our eyes.

For sure, these things did not happen with bolts of lighting ad thunderclap. They happened slowly, almost imperceptibly – until the bulldozers came and they moved the earth and out and up shot these new structures, and in came the waves of new people.

Our lives will never be the same again. Off-hours will no longer be spent in watering holes and bowling lanes and movies. There are a hundred other choices to do now, like running or walking in new nice spaces like the Bacolod Government Center grounds.

Oh, yes, Pendy’s is still a fab and fave place but it is no longer the only in place hereabouts these days. There are plenty around and plenty more to come.*

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