Himamaylan was once a capital
of Negros Occidental. This was during the time when
Spaniards first settled in Negros and made the town their
center of island government. They started to build a
fortress in the place, but this was never completed.
However, it served as an ideal lookout point against
frequent Moslem raiders.
The town’s story began with
the Negritoes , a listless band of small, black people with
short and kinky hair. They led a fine, simple life, roaming
the wide hunting grounds and generally let alone other
inhabitants in the area. That was until the Malays came and
drove them into the mountains.
The newcomers were likewise
nomadic, but they were not used to the swamps and pretty
soon they acquired a malady called "hima" which was not like
the disease known as athlete’s foot. Hima was symptomized by
crippling itchy sores between toes.
The Malays were also a highly
supertitious people. They believed in evil spirits for which
they employed witch doctors called " babaylan". These were
the kind of people the Spaniards came upon. With their
swollen feet and witch doctors, the Malays soon came to be
known as Himamaylans (from hima and babaylan) by the
conquistadores. The name became that of the place as well.
Himamaylan could have been
truly the hub of activities of the entire province if not
for its inaccessibility which made communication difficult.
Subsequently, the Spaniards transferred their capital site
to what is now Bacolod. Spanish rule of the place was ended
by the Americans in April 4, 1899.
The town got
its place in history when the Japanese came during World War
II. While its residents all fled to the mountains, the town
became a battleground for Negros Occidental’s liberation
from the invaders. The first shot that started guerilla
activity in the province was fired in barrio Buenavista
where a shrine today has been put up by the veterans of war.