Map of Negros Oriental
Churches of Christ
Airport Church of Christ
Ajong Church of Christ
Bais City Church of Christ
Magatas Church of Christ
Pulantubig Dumaguette Church of Christ
Tranjay Church of Christ
Vallermosos, Lo-oc Church of Christ
Region: Central Visayas (Region VII)
Capital: Dumaguete City
Founded: March 10, 1917
2000 census—1,126,061 (20th largest)
Density—208 per km_ (41st highest)
Area: 5,402.3 km_ (14th largest)
Highly urbanized cities—0
Languages: Cebuano, Ilonggo
Negros Oriental (also called Oriental Negros) is a province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas region. It occupies the southeast half of the island of Negros, with Negros Occidental comprising the northwestern 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 southeast. The primary spoken language is Cebuano, and the predominant religion is Catholicism. Dumaguete City is the capital, seat of government, and most populous city.
Negros Island, the fourth largest island in the Philippines, is believed to have once been part of the island of Mindanao, but was cut off either by continental drift or the rising waters at the end of the ice age.
Among the early inhabitants of the island were dark-skinned natives belonging to the Negrito ethnic group, as well as the Chinese and Malays. They called the island “Buglas”, a native word which is believed to mean “cut off”.
Spanish explorers on the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi first came to the island in April 1565. Legaspi 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 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, then to Bacolod in 1856.
Due to its proximity to Mindanao, the southeastern coast of Negros was in constant threat from Moro marauders looking for slaves, and watchtowers were built to protect the Christian villages. The moro raids and Negros Oriental’s far distance from the Negros capital in Bacolod led 13 Recollect priests to petition for the division of the island in July 1876.
The island of Negros was divided into the provinces of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental by a royal decree executed by Governor General Valeriano Weyler on January 1, 1890. Dumaguete City was assigned 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 fuctions with bloodshed. Revolutionary troops in the province, organized and led by Don Diego de la Vina, overthrew the Spanish government in Dumaguete. The island’s two provinces united to form the Cantonal Republic of Negros, which was a separate government from the more familiar Malolos Republic established in Luzon. However, the short-lived republc was extinguished by the United States in 1901, 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.
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 taken back from the Japanese on August 6, 1945.