THE PROVINCE AT A
province which is "boot shaped" on the map is on the eastern
side of Negros Island, thus the name Negros Oriental which means
East of Negros Island. It is composed of the mainland province
and Apo Island which is a favorite of local and foreign divers.
It has 3 congressional districts, 3 cities and 22
municipalities. Negros Oriental has 1,336.7 kilometers of
scenic, clean and unspoiled beaches on one side, with beautiful
mountains and rustic scenery on the other side.
The province’s terrain consists of rolling hills, a few
plateaus, and mountain ranges which for the most part are close
to the narrow coastal trip. Kanlaon Volcano, the highest peak in
the island of Negros at 2465 meter, dominates the northern end
of the province. The whole eastern part of Negros Oriental has a
climate characterized by no pronounced rainfall. The other half
of the province has distinct wet and dry seasons. Negros Island
was originally called " Buglas", but the Spaniards changed this
to Negros because of the dark-skinned Negritos they found there.
Dumaguete City, the capital of Negros Oriental, is basically a
"University Town". It has several colleges and universities and
is home of Silliman University. Founded by American missionaries
in 1901, Silliman is one of the oldest universities in the
Negritos, Malayans and Chinese have long inhabited the island of
Negros before the 1565 expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi.
Because of the strong current of the channel between the islands
of Cebu and Negros, the Spaniards were forced to land on the
Occidental side. This island was called Buglas by the natives,
but because the Spaniards saw many black inhabitants, they named
it Negros. The Spaniards considered the island of Negros as one
province with Bacolod as the Capital. In 1856 it was changed to
a politico-military district. Constant pirate raids, very poor
defenses and the distance of the important towns from the
capital caused thirteen Recollect priests to petition for the
division of the Island.
After thirteen years, on January 1890 a royal decree prompted
the Governor General Valeriano Weyler to establish Negros
Oriental as a district and a separate political unit with
Dumaguete as capital. When the Philippine Revolution, which
broke out in 1896, reached the province in 1898, the functions
of the government were disrupted by the bloodshed and chaos.
Unfortunately, it was at this time that Gen. Pantaleon Villegas
(Leon Kilat) of Bacong, one of our fabled revolutionary leader
was treacherously murdered in Cebu.
In the last quarter of 1898, Negros Oriental was stirred into
action to support the revolution. Inspired and organized under
the strong and able leadership of Don Diego de la Vina, an army
composed primarily of farm laborers, marched to Dumaguete to
In 1901 the civil government was established under Don Demetrio
Larena as Governor. In 1934 Negros Oriental became a
corregimiento, a separate military district. After 10 years of
transition or Commonwealth period, independence for Philippines
was promised on July 4, 1946. Four delegates from Negros
Oriental were sent to the Constitutional Convention. The
economic condition in the Philippines was good. Negros Oriental
was directly benefited as a producer of sugar and copra. Forest
resources were vast and sawmills acquired modern machineries.
This was complemented with reforestation. Abundance of marine
life especially in the southern portion, attracted big Japanese
fishermen with better equipment. The Bais Sugar Central was
constructed to manufacture centrifugal sugar and alcohol.
Under the American regime, roads were improved and bridges were
built. Transportation companies sprung up and limited Cebu lines
were in operation. News of the bombing of Pearl Harbor started
preparations by Filipinos and Americans against Japanese
aggression with emergency committees and agencies. On May 26,
1942 the Japanese landed in a deserted Dumaguete whose residents
had fled to the mountains. In their evacuation sites, residents
made a concerted effort to become self sufficient.
President Manuel L. Quezon, escaping from possible capture
during WW II came to Dumaguete en route to Northern Mindanao.
Through the USAFFE forces, 75th Infantry Regiment and the
American Forces, the Japanese were defeated on August 6, 1945.
Thus rehabilitation of a devastated province and economy
started. People joined forces to achieve this goal. Municipal
governments were started. Schools were reopened and the economy
Under different governors, Negros Oriental developed into what
is now. Industries have increased, crops have been diversified.
With the opening of the Geothermal Power Plant in Puhagan
Valencia, Negros Oriental has improved its industrial potential
in opening more plants and sugar mills.
Majority of the population speak English fluently and have a
comprehending knowledge of Spanish. Dialects spoken are Cebuano
(Visaya), Tagalog and Ilonggo. The latter being the tongue of
Negros Occidental residents.
With its vast
fertile land resources, agriculture is the primary industry in
Negros Oriental. Opportunities for agricultural ventures include
contract farming, orchard and industrial tree farming,
aquaculture (prawn and fresh water fish), livestock, cut flowers
and ornamental plants and food processing. Among major products
are copra, Sugar, Molasses, Dehydrated fruits, Ammonium Nitrate
Agricultural Products: sugarcane, corn, coconut, rice, fruits,
root crops, legumes, vegetables, other industrial crops.