Negros Oriental, also called Oriental Negros or "Eastern Negros", is a province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas region. It occupies the southeastern half of the island of Negros, with Negros Occidental comprising the north-western half. It also includes Apo Island — a popular dive site for both local and foreign tourists. Negros Oriental faces Cebu to the east across the Tañon Strait and Siquijor to the south east. The primary spoken language is Cebuano, and the predominant religious denomination is Roman Catholicism. Dumaguete City is the capital, seat of government, and most populous city.
Spanish explorers on the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi first came to the island in April 1565. Legazpi dropped anchor in Bohol and sent his men to scout the island. Because of the strong currents of the Tañon Strait between Cebu and Negros, they were carried for several days and forced to land on the western side of the island. They reported seeing many dark-skinned inhabitants, and they called the island "Negros" ("Negro" means "black" in Spanish). The island was sparsely settled at the time, except for a few coastal settlements including Ilog and Binalbagan. In 1571, Legaspi assigned encomiendas on the island to 13 of his men. Augustinian friars began the Christianization of the island the next year. The island was administered as part of the jurisdiction of Oton until 1734 when it became a military district, and Ilog became the capital of the island. The capital was transferred to Himamaylan in 1795. Negros became a politico-military province in 1856 and the capital was transferred to Bacolod.
Due to its proximity to Mindanao, the south eastern coast of Negros was in constant threat from Moromarauders looking for slaves, and watchtowers were built to protect the Christian villages. The Moro raids and Negros Oriental's distance from the Negros capital in Bacolod induced 13 Recollectionist priests to petition for the division of the island in July 1876. The island of Negros was then divided into the provinces of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental by a royal decree executed by Governor GeneralValeriano Weyler on January 1, 1890. Dumaguete City was made the first capital of Negros Oriental. In 1892, Siquijor became a part of Negros Oriental, having previously been administered by Spain under the politico-military province of Bohol.
The Philippine Revolution reached the province in 1898, disrupting government functions but without bloodshed. Revolutionary troops in the province were composed mostly of farm laborers and other prominent people of the Negros Oriental province who were organized and led by Don Diego de la Viña. The Spanish government in Dumaguete was overthrown on November 24, 1898. Later, the Negros Occidental area under the leadership of Gen. Araneta only, in contrast to the Negros Oriental area under the leadership of Don Diego de la Viña, formed the Cantonal Republic of Negros, a separate government from the more familiar Malolos Republic established in Luzon. In 1901 the Negros Oriental province was reorganized by the United States and a civil government was established with Demetrio Larena as governor. The American government made Siquijor a "sub-province" of Negros Oriental. Negros Oriental became a province under the American civil government on March 10, 1917. In 1934 Negros Oriental became a corregimiento, a separate military district. Under the American colonial government, transportation infrastructure was developed with improvements of roads and new bridges.
During World War II, the province was invaded by Japanese forces and many residents were forced to flee to the mountains to escape. Negros Island was liberated by combined Filipino & American troops with the local Negrosanon guerillas attacking the Japanese on August 6, 1945.
The 7th, 73rd, 74th and 75th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army was established 1942 to 1946 and the 7th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary was active 1944 to 1946 at the Military General Headquarters in Negros Oriental. Started the engagements of the Anti-Japanese Imperial Military Operations in Negros Oriental 1942 to 1945 against the Japanese Imperial forces.
When the Filipino soldiers of the 7th, 73rd and 75th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and 7th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary was started the Liberation of Negros Oriental in 1945 and fought against the Japanese forces.
On September 17, 1971, Siquijor finally became an independent province by virtue of Republic Act No. 6396. (See Province of Siquijor)
Negros Oriental occupies the south-eastern half of the island of Negros, with Negros Occidental comprising the western half. It has a total land area of 5,402.30 km². A chain of rugged mountains separates Negros Oriental from Negros Occidental. Unlike its sister province, which belongs to the Western Visayas region, Negros Oriental belongs to the Central Visayas region. Negros Oriental faces Cebu to the east across the Tañon Strait and Siquijor to the south-east. The Sulu Sea borders it to the south.
The province's topography is characterized by low, grooved mountain ranges which mostly lie close to the shoreline. At the southern end of the province is the Cuernos de Negros (Horns of Negros) stratovolcano which rises to a height of 1864 meters. At the northern end of the province is Mount Canlaon, the highest peak in the island with a height of 2465 meters and an active volcano. There are a few plateaus in the interior to the west of the province.
One of the landmarks of Dumaguete is the Dumaguete Bell Tower which stands next to the St Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral. It once used to warn the city of impending pirate attacks.
Negros Orienal has, for a long time, been a supplier of electricity to its neighboring provinces in the Visayas with its excess power capacity generated by the 192MW Palinpinon geothermal plant. This plant has recently been expanded with an additional 49MW capacity, bringing total power output of the province to over 240MW. Despite the huge power excess of the Province, other power sources such as hydro, wind and solar are being explored to provide additional power capacities that can be sold to neighboring areas.
With its vast fertile land resources, Negros Oriental's other major industry is agriculture. The primary crops are sugarcane, corn, coconut and rice. In the coastal areas, fishing is the main source of income. People are also involved in cattle ranches, fish ponds and rubber plantations, especially in the City of Bayawan. There are also mineral deposits like gold, silver and copper.
Negros Oriental is emerging as a technological center in Central Philippines with its growing business process outsourcing (BPO) that has started to penetrate the Province's secondary cities, and other technology-related industries. Vehicle assembly is a growing industry in Amlan. Construction of mass housing and subdivisions is very evident in the periphery of Dumaguete, and is expected to spillover in the Province's secondary cities and fast growing municipalities. Other industries include water bottling, warehousing, and cold and dry storing. Retailing has penetrated urban areas outside Dumaguete with the entry of hypermarts in cities such as Bayawan, Tanjay and Bais. The town of Bacong, Dumaguete's neighbor in the south, hosts industrial plants geared for the local and export markets. Negros Oriental is also becoming a notable tourist destination in the Visayas.
Dumaguete City, the provincial capital, is known as a university town due to the existence of many universities and colleges in the city. These universities include: Silliman University (1901), the oldest American established university in Asia; St. Paul University Dumaguete (1904), the first Paulinian school in the Philippines; Negros Oriental State University (formerly NOTS-1927, EVSAT, CVPC); and Foundation University (1949). TheColegio de Sta. Catalina De Alejandria (COSCA), Negros Oriental High School (1902), Ramon Teves Pastor Memorial-Dumaguete Science High School (1986), Dumaguete City High School (1967), Catherina Cittadini (St. Louis) School, Holy Cross High School and St. Louis School-Don Bosco (1967) can be also found in the city. There are also institutions and colleges inside (e.g. Metro Dumaguete College, STI, Maxino College, PTC, AMA Computer College, Asian College) and outside the city.