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History of Negros Oriental

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List of Municipalities in the Negros Oriental Province within Region VII in the Republic of The Philippines
Amlan (Ayuquitan) || Ayungon || Bacong || Basay || Bindoy || Dauin || Jimalalud || La Libertad || Mabinay || Manjuyod || Pamplona || San Jose
Santa Catalina || Siaton || Sibulan || Tayasan || Valencia || Vallehermoso || Zamboanguita

Cities in the province of Negros Oriental: Bais City || Bayawan City || Canlaon City || Dumaguete City (Capital)
Guihulngan City || Tanjay City

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History of Negros Oriental

The 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 Philippines.

BRIEF HISTORY 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 liberate it.

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 flourished.

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.

The above article provided by The Department of Tourism. Government of The Philippines.

Another Version of the History of Negros Oriental from the Provincial government of Negros Oriental.

Political History and Cultural History

The expedition of Ferdinand Magellan that arrived in the Philippines on March 16, 1521, and the succeeding expeditions in the following decades, has not been able to reach the island of Negros. It was only in 1571 or fifty years later when Legazpi came that the Spaniards discovered the island of Negros. Historical accounts compiled by Prof. Caridad Aldecoa-Rodriguez, a renowned local historian, have in her book, "“Negros Oriental and the Philippine Revolution”, that while anchored in the island of Bohol, Legaspi dispatched a frigate to reconnoiter the coasts of the islands that were visible from that point.

Legaspi and his men found the natives inhospitable, but there were plenty of food in the island. It was during the time of Legaspi that distribution of big tracts of land (encomiendas) to 15 encomenderos residing in Cebu and Iloilo was done. Three of the encomiendas were the Rios de Tanae (Tanjay), “Davi” (Dauin) and “Monalongon” (Manalongon) in the southern part of Negros Oriental. Tributes collected were, however, sent to Cebu or Iloilo governments where funds of Negros were administered. It was in 1734 when a separate military district government was established in the island.

As settlements in Negros Oriental continually grew and swelled out to other points along the coast, the sugar cane plantation expanded just as fast. Meantime, the government officials who resided in Bacolod could hardly cope up with government functions and rarely visited the Oriental part due to the inadequacy of roads and difficulty in communication facilities. Consequently, the socio-economic life of the Oriental Negrenses suffered a great setback. There was a pressing need for more officials to supervise closely government functions such as strengthening defenses against devastating Moro raids, apprehending and trying criminals, and opening of more curacies. A petition to separate Negros Oriental from Negros Occidental was presented to the Governor General, recommending the town of Dumaguete as capital. Thirteen years later, Governor General Valeriano Weyler, in compliance with a royal decree dated October 25, 1889, established Negros Oriental as a separate province on January 1, 1890 with an estimated population (the Negritos living in the hinterland had no accurate counts) of 94,782 consisting of 17 towns of Guihulngan, Jimalalud, Tayasan, Ayungon, Manjuyod, Bais, Tanjay, Amlan, Ayuquitan, Sibulan, Dauin, Nueva Valencia, Bacong, Dumaguete, Zamboanguita, Siaton and Tolong. The appointed Politico-Militar was Joaquin Tavera.

The new province left no time concerning itself with local administration and development. Public works and other needs of the towns were attended to with public funds. A court of peace was put up in every town and, at the provincial capital town, a Court of First Instance. But in the later part of 1898, Negros Oriental rebel forces, under the leadership of Don Diego de la Viña, succeeded in driving the Spanish forces and government officials from all towns. On November 25, 1898, the Provincial Revolutionary Government of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo was established in Dumaguete, the capital town, with Don Demetrio Larena as Presidente.

On April 9, 1901, the Second Philippine Commission under the Chairmanship of William H. Taft, arrived in Dumaguete. On May 1, 1901, the civil government under American rule was established. On August 28, of the same year Dr. David S. Hibbard founded Silliman Institute now Silliman University.

In 1924, Hon. Herminigildo Villanueva was elected Governor and a Capitol Building was erected. The province experienced real war in a grand scale when World War II broke out in December 1941. The war, aside from the physical devastation wrecked throughout the province, also left painful scars, which up to this date remain unhealed. But the people came out stronger and more determined. However, the people found out that the political independence they gained did not equate economic independence and self-sufficiency. The struggle for the improvement of the quality of life still remains a quest for every Negrense along with the rest of the Filipino nation. Ninety years after 1901, the Local Government Code of 1991 (LGC) was made into law and took effect on January 1, 1992. With the advent of the LGC, a new era in local government finance and administration of reelectionist Governor Emilio C. Macias II spearheaded Negros Oriental in the development of the ‘90s.

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