Backlog / Negros Occidental

THE PROVINCE AT A GLANCE
Experience a happy blending of cosmopolitan and rustic lifestyle in Negros Occidental, the sugar capital of the country. Celebrate nature’s blessings: waterfalls, caves, mountains, rivers, springs and valleys.

Go hiking and camping, fishing and angling, scuba diving and snorkeling, mountain biking and sky diving with guidance from reliable locals. Travel centuries back in time visiting stately mansions in Silay City, one of the top 25 destinations of the Philippines. Or go on Iron Dinosaurs (steam locomotives) or other special interest tours. There are varied accommodation and dining facilities from luxurious to simply modest. Rates are reasonable. Whatever you go for, Negros Occidental has it.

BRIEF HISTORY
Originally known as "Buglas" by its natives. This fourth largest island in the Philippine archipelago was given the name "Negros" by the Spanish navigators when Esteban de Rodriguez discovered the island in April, 1565 and found its earliest occupants to be dark-skinned natives belonging to the Negrito ethnic group. The natives then, occupied initially most of the southern portion of the province, being Binalbagan and Ilog. Two of the earliest native settlements which officially became towns in 1572 and 1584, respectively. Other settlements were Hinigaran, Bago, Marayo (now Pontevedra), Mamalan (now HImamaylan) and Candaguit.

In 1734, the island became a military district and Ilog became its first capital. Bacolod was made provincial capital in 1849. Then in 1856, Negros Occidental was raised to the category of a politico-military province. During this time, several more towns were established like San Carlos and Calatrava. Other towns were created, particularly Saravia, Escalante and Valladolid (1860) as a result of the growth of Population and the influx of immigrants coming from neighboring provinces such as Iloilo, Antique, Capiz, and Cebu. These growth in population and immigrants brought to the province in turn rapid material growth and development during the later part of the 18th century. The major boon to the province at this time were two: the cultivation of sugar which brought economic boost as it later led Negros to pioneer other provinces in sugar production with its initial of 4,000 piculs of sugar in 1856 increasing to 2,000,000 piculs in 1897. With this, new machineries such as those operated by steam were used in the towns of Bacolod, Minuluan and Bago. Another boon was the opening of the ports like Iloilo and Cebu to foreign commerce.

During the last decade of the 19th century, several important events may be summarized: one, the making of Negros Occidental as a separate province in 1890.Two, the joining of the Negrense revolutionary leaders in the nationwide Katipunan Movement which overcame the Spanish garrison in the province on November 6, 1898 during one of the Filipinosดrevolt against the Spanish rule. Three, the arrival of the Americans in the province in May, 1899 leading to the establishment of a Civil Government in Negros Occidental on April 20, 1901. Fouth, the ousting and surrender of the Japanese Forces in Negros (1945) after both civilian and military leaders in Negros Occidental pursued and organized a free government in the province. After the upheaval and destruction brought by the first and second world wars, the next years following it, were dedicated to the rehabilitation and reconstructions of various sectors as Industry and Commerce, principally the sugar industry. Following this recuperation period, socio-economic growth in the province ensued.

LANGUAGE/DIALECT
Negrenses, as practically all Filipinos, are poly-lingual. Of the 87 dialects in the country, two Visayan dialects are predominantly used in the province: Ilonggo, which is spoken by 80% to 90% of the populace, and Cebuano which is used by the rest. English, however, is widely spoken; thus the English-speaking visitor will have little or no communication problem at all.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES

Negros Occidental is primarily an agricultural province. Of the total land area of 792,607 hectares, 588,145 hectares are arable land of which appoximately 419,305.084 hectares or 53% are devoted to agriculture. With diversification as a major provincial development program, new land uses such as more inland fishing, livestock & poultry, grains and new crops like coffee, cacao, black pepper, orchards, ramie and others are increasing. The province of Negros Occidental is reported by the Bureau of Mines to be rich in both metallic and non-metallic mineral resources, notably copper, gold, silver and molybdenum. Among the non-metallic minerals are stones, gravel, and sand and other construction materials, also salt and guano. The socio-economic life of Negros Occidental from the 1950ดs up to the 1980ดs depended mainly on sugar, producing annually about 60% of the countryดs sugar output. The four corners of the archipelago have focused their wide open eyes and melting mouth to the glory of the Negrenses. Negros is where high living and high eyebrows were.

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  Information provided by Department of Tourism. Government of Philippines.

 

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