The title "Queen City of the South" has sparked a lot of debates for Visayans. Especially between Ilonggos, Cebuanos and Negrenses/Bacolodnons. The reason is that the people of these three regions would be so honored to claim the title for their respective lands, and yet, the origin and propriety of claiming that title had been conflicting, to say the least.
Those who have the least interest in history and culture have no inkling who is right: The Ilonggo, the Negrense, or the Cebuano, in claiming that title.
To be honest, most of us who are in their 20's actually are not aware how the title is supposed to be bestowed. Personally, I've heard that Iloilo City dropped the title decades ago. The reasons for that, I'm not sure of. I just surmised that it's because of Cebu City's progress that it earned the right to the title.
But searching for answers on Google gave me a surprising look into the origins of that title. In one version, it was the Ilonggos' wartime gallantry and bravery that caused the Spanish Queen Regent Maria Cristina to bestow the title on the city. On the other hand, Wikipedia says that the title was proudly embraced by Iloilo City in the height of its prosperity in the Commonwealth era.
Today, the title is claimed by Cebu. And that has sparked a form of bitter rivalry and competition between Iloilo City and Cebu City. To the point of flame wars and acerbic discussions in forums, social media websites and even among the more contentious blogs across the Internet.
Talonggo, however, maintains a pacifist stand. We are proud of our heritage as Visayans, and we desire that there be peace and unity in our region. We are blessed with the fact that Cebu is a crucial International gateway and is already next to Manila in terms of urban progress, as a critical hub in business, and as a tourism getaway. We also understand that Bacolod and Negros Occidental will always be home to the sprawling haciendas and sugarcane fields. It will always be the region that the nation's rich call home. Iloilo, on the other hand, will always be a place where time seems to stand still. It will always be the home of great food and great cooks.
Frankly, I believe in the statement that excellence does not need to be exercised at the expense of another. Thus, whoever has the "right" to the title is immaterial. Engaging in flame wars and verbal mudslinging will never benefit our region. In terms of grace, it is always the one who gives up a position of power who wins. And today, we here at Talonggo maintain these things:
- Cebu -- We honor and admire the progress in your land; keep up the good work!
- Bacolod -- The haciendas will always be yours. We in Iloilo admire your good governance and endeavors in maintaining a well-kept city!
- Iloilo -- Work hard and pursue progress, and soon, we shall become a world-class city!
Visayas does not need to dissent. Our islands may be seas apart, but we can always be one united region. We all are, after all, Filipinos.