The story of Silay started with an etymology that was being preserved by the historians. According to the old story there is a local legend where the name of Silay came from. It says that, during the time of rajahs and datus there is a princess who lived in the town of SIlay. She is Kansilay a very lovely and beautiful princess but very passionate to her villagers.
One day the village was attacked by the pirates that turns into a bloody battle because of such abused the princess led the villagers to fight the pirates. Kansilay bravely battled the oppressors just like a seasoned warrior with the used of “talibong” a native sword of villagers that usually used for farming. Although Kansilay successfully defended her villagers to the pirates but it only cost her life that really made the villagers into despair. They give the princess a very respectful burial, but they were surprised when a tree grew right over her grave, the first Kansilay tree a final gravce from the loving princess where the name of Silay came from.
During the Spanish colonization in 1565 the first settlements was called “Carubcub’ which mean ribcage in Hiligaynon, the official language of the city. In early days it was also called as “Calubcub” and “caraco” which mean snail or spiral in Spanish term. The said settlement was established near the mouth of the creek. Cristobal Nunez Paroja, one of the trusted soldier of Migul Lopez de Legazpi accepted the Carobcob as his encomienda in January 25, 1571. In 1760 Silay was recognized as a town bein g referred to in a letter from Gobernador Juan Jose de Mijares putting Silay as the leading town in the north.
Silay was considered as the center of parish in 1776 by the bishop of Cebu., by 1896 the town became the no. 1 producer of sugar because of the sugar mill that being established by a Frenchman and later became a permanent resident of Silay, Yves Leopold Gaston. With the outbreak of the revolution of 1896 came a division between the sugarcane planters of Silay and the clergy. Some planters and clergy supported the rebels while others were against the revolution.
On November 5, 1898 at about 2:00 in the afternoon, residents of Silay gathered in the street corner now known as Cinco de Noviembre Street and from there they proceeded to the Spanish garrison near the Catholic church. The encounter was bloodless. The Spanish civil guard commander, Lt. Maximiano Correa, refused to surrender. After negotiations with the revolutionaries mediated by Juan Viaplana, a local Spaniard, the Spanish garrison did surrender. A Philippine flag was was raised for the first time at the Silay plaza later that afternoon. Leandro Locsin became temporary president after the signing of the terms of surrender. Timoteo Unson and the group of Silay residents then marched south to join forces with some residents of Talisay for an attack on Bacolod.After the Spanish colony Silay was still in the shadow of different foreign invaders, the Americans and later on the abusive Japanese regime, but with the brave heart of Silaynon they refused and fight their freedom and later find the liberty from the heart of foreign aggressor.
The city of Silay was known as “Paris of Negros” and the “intellectual hub of Negros because of the cultural heritage left by the history and the passionate of people for loving and preserving the arts and works that still in the city. As the Philippines celebrated the Independence Day Silay was also became a chartered city by the virtue of Republic Act 1621 on June 12, 1957.
On June 7, 2003, Silay City became the first local government unit in the Republic of the Philippines to hold a referendum through a People’s Initiative approving the 2003 annual executive budget. Today, Silay City is listed by the Department of Tourism as one of its 25 tourist destinations in the Philippines. It is considered the seat of arts, culture and ecotourism in Western Visayas.