|Negros Island Region (NIR)|
Location in the Philippines
|Regional center||Bacolod and Dumaguete (interim joint temporary regional centers for a three-year transition period; Kabankalan and neighboring Mabinay are to be joint permanent regional centers)|
|• Total||13,350.74 km2 (5,154.75 sq mi)|
|• Density||330/km2 (860/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+8)|
Negros is an island in the Philippines, which is the fourth largest in the country with a land area of 13,309.60 km2 (5,138.87 sq mi). Negros is one of the many islands that comprise the Visayas, which forms the central division of the nation.
As an administrative region, it is officially named the Negros Island Region (Hiligaynon: Rehiyon sang Pulo sang Negros; Cebuano: Rehiyon sa Pulo sa Negros; Filipino: Rehiyon ng Pulo ng Negros), also abbreviated and officially designated as NIR (unofficially Region XVIII), the 18th and newest region of the Philippines comprising the highly urbanized city of Bacolod and the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, along with its corresponding outlying islands and islets within a total regional area of 13,350.74 km2 (5,154.75 sq mi).
It was created on May 29, 2015 by virtue of Executive Order No. 183 issued by Benigno Aquino III, who was the president at that time. The predominant inhabitants of the island region are mainly called Negrenses (locally Negrosanons). As of 2015, Negros Island Region's total population is 4,414,131 inhabitants, making it the fourth most populous region in the Visayas.
- 1 History
- 2 Demographics
- 3 Geography
- 4 Administrative divisions
- 5 Transportation
- 6 Economy
- 7 Tourism
- 8 Energy
- 9 Endangered species
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Negros was originally called Buglas, an old Hiligaynon word thought to mean "cut off", as it is believed that the island was separated from a larger landmass by rising waters during the last ice age. Among its earliest inhabitants were the dark-skinned Ati people, one of several aboriginal Negrito ethnic groups dispersed throughout Southeast Asia that possesses a unique culture. The westernmost portions of the island soon fell under the nominal rule of the Kedatuan of Madja-as from the neighbouring islands of Panay and Guimaras.
Upon arriving on the island in April 1565, the Spanish colonizers called the land Negros, after the dark-skinned natives they observed. Two of the earliest native settlements, Binalbagan and Ilog, became towns in 1573 and 1584, respectively, while other settlements of the period included Hinigaran, Bago, Marayo (now Pontevedra), Mamalan (now Himamaylan), and Candaguit (now a sitio of San Enrique). In 1572, King Philip II of Spain conferred the title of Marques de Buglas to the heirs of Juan Sebastián Elcano, the first to circumnavigate the world; the current Marquis is the 17th in line, and resides in Silay, Negros Occidental.
After appointing encomenderos for the island, Miguel López de Legazpi placed Negros under the jurisdiction of the governor of Oton in Panay. In 1734, however, the island became a military district with Ilog as its first capital. The seat of government was later transferred to Himamaylan until Bacolod became the capital in 1849. In 1865, Negros and its outlying minor islands along with Siquijor was converted into a politico-military province.
In 1890, the island was officially partitioned into the present-day provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. The Spanish Governor, D. Isidro Castro y Cinceros, surrendered to the Negros Revolutionaries, led by Aniceto Lacson and Juan Araneta, on 6 Nov. 1898.:520 General Miller appointed Aniceto, Governor of the Island in March 1899.:520 On 9 April 1901, the Second Philippine Commission under the chairmanship of William H. Taft arrived in Dumaguete. Weeks later on 1 May, the civil government under American sovereignty was established, and on 28 August, Dr. David S. Hibbard founded what is now Silliman University, with the help of Meliton Larena as the first Mayor of Dumaguete, as well as Demetrio Larena.
Negros Revolution and formation of Republic of Negros
From 3 to 6 November 1898, the Negrense peoples rose in revolt against the local Spanish colonial government headed by politico-military governor Colonel Isidro de Castro. The Spaniards decided to surrender upon seeing armed troops marching in a pincer movement towards Bacolod. The revolutionaries, led by General Juan Araneta from Bago and General Aniceto Lacson from Talisay, bore fake arms consisting of rifles carved out of palm fronds and cannons of rolled bamboo mats painted black. By the afternoon of 6 November, Col. de Castro signed the Act of Capitulation, thus ending centuries of Spanish colonial rule in Negros Occidental.
On 27 November 1898, the Cantonal Republic of Negros unilaterally proclaimed independence, but this was short-lived as the territory became a protectorate of the United States on 30 April 1899. The state was renamed the Republic of Negros (Spanish: República de Negros) on 22 July 1899, and eventually dissolved by the United States and annexed by the U.S. Military Government of the Philippine Islands on 30 April 1901.
The leaders of the short-lived republic were:
- Aniceto Lacson, November 5, 1898 – July 22, 1899 (to November 27, 1898, in Negros Occidental)
- Demetrio Larena, November 24, 1898 – November 27, 1898 (in Negros Oriental)
- President of the Constituent Assembly José Luzuriaga, July 22, 1899 – November 6, 1899
- Secretary of War Juan Araneta
- Civil Governor Melecio Severino, November 6, 1899 – April 30, 1901
- Secretary of Justice Antonio Ledesma Jayme, July 24, 1854 – October 9, 1937
Formation of regions
Regions first came to existence on September 24, 1972 when the provinces of the Philippines were organized into 11 regions by Presidential Decree No. 1 as part of the Integrated Reorganization Plan of President Ferdinand Marcos. Negros Occidental was assigned to Western Visayas (Region VI) and Negros Oriental was assigned to Central Visayas (Region VII).
The movement for a single-island region started in the 1980s when officials of both provinces proposed a one-island, one-region unit. At the time, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental were the only provinces in the Philippines situated in the same island but belonging to two different administrative regions with regional offices located in neighboring Panay and Cebu. This led to the filing of House Bill No. 1477 titled "An Act Merging the Province of Negros Occidental and Oriental into One-Island Region." They argued, among others, that the two provinces "nestle in one common island; have common fowls and beasts in the forest; share the same soil in our plains and mountains; benefit and suffer together from the rivers that snake through our land; and our ancestors roamed the same length and breadth without complications of political, social, economic, religious and lingual obstacles."
The proposal was continued through talks between former Governor Bitay Lacson of Negros Occidental and the late former Governor Emilio Macias of Negros Oriental in 1990. Their successors, former Governor Rafael Coscolluella and former Governor (now Representative) George Arnaiz took the initiative further, first identifying Kabankalan in Negros Occidental and the neighboring municipality of Mabinay in Negros Oriental, with the two situated on or near the geographic center of the island, as joint regional centers. However, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) turned down the proposal for lack of funds to effect the merger.
Revival of proposal
In 2013, the one-island region talks were continued by Negros Oriental Representatives Pryde Henry Teves and George Arnaiz and Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. with Representative Alfredo Marañon III and Coscolluela. They pointed out that while the creation of a new region will entail substantial costs to the government, it will be advantageous to the people of both provinces because they would not need to travel by sea anymore to process transactions in the regional offices. They also claimed that a one-island region would also result to better coordination between both provinces in tourism, peace and order, environment, development planning, disaster management and road infrastructure. Edward Du, president of the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also proposed to convert existing offices of national agencies in the provincial capitals of Bacolod and Dumaguete to sub-regional offices during an interim period if the proposal is approved to defray the costs of establishing a new regional center. Various public officials and representatives from the academe, religious, media and other private sectors aired support for the proposal.
Notably, Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo was tagged to be initially opposed to the talks, claiming he was not convinced with a one-island region setup and that his constituents are allegedly not in favor of its creation. He eventually clarified that his original stand as regards the region was being "open" to it and that there were some concerns, such as revenue sharing between the two provinces, that had to be threshed out first.
President Benigno Aquino III directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to study the establishment of a new region. The DILG subsequently endorsed the proposal, noting that the new region would mean integrated planning for holistic development, disaster management, tourism promotion, and peace and order management. NEDA affirmed by saying that its studies show that the proposed region is economically viable.
On May 29, 2015, President Aquino signed Executive Order 183, joining the twin Negros provinces into one region — the Negros Island Region. It separated Negros Occidental and its capital Bacolod City from Western Visayas (Region VI) and Negros Oriental from Central Visayas (Region VII), making the total number of regions of the Philippines into 18.
The possible inclusion of the island province of Siquijor to this newly formed island region was thought by the Interior Secretary Mar Roxas during his visit in the two Negros provinces. Currently, Siquijor is still part of Central Visayas alongside Cebu and Bohol. On average, it takes five hours to reach the regional offices located in Cebu, while only an hour to get to Dumaguete in Negros Oriental. Siquijor used to be a part and later on a sub-province of Negros Oriental, gaining full independent province status in September 17, 1971.
Due to the rise of the Philippine government's conversion into federalism under President Rodrigo Duterte, Negros Island Region may have the capability to become a separate federal state. If Negros island Region is elevated into a federal state, then it will be able to reform and re-develop itself in order to make the region economically developed, self-reliant and highly sustainable in the future, as well as probably gain an HDI higher than the rest of the nation.
|Population census of Negros Island Region|
|Source: Philippine Statistics Authority|
Mount Kanlaon, the highest peak in Negros
Blank map of the Philippines showing Negros in red
|Location||South East Asia|
|Adjacent bodies of water|
|Area||13,309.60 km2 (5,138.87 sq mi)|
|Coastline||644.90 km (400.722 mi)|
|Highest elevation||2,465 m (8,087 ft)|
|Highest point||Kanlaon Volcano|
|Region||Negros Island Region|
|Largest settlement||Bacolod (pop. 561,875)|
|Pop. density||331.7 /km2 (859.1 /sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||Visayans (Hiligaynons and Cebuanos)|
Negros Island is the fourth largest island of the Philippines and the second largest in the Visayas, with a total land area of 13,309.6 square kilometres (5,138.9 sq mi). It is located between the islands of Panay and Guimaras to the west and Cebu to the east, with Siquijor located on the toe of the island and the islands of Bantayan to the north. Politically and linguistically, Negros is divided into two provinces: Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, together comprising the Negros Island Region.
This division of the island, which roughly follows the mountain range in the center of the island, corresponds to the two ethnolinguistic groups. The western section (Occidental) is home to the Ilonggo-speaking population while the eastern section (Oriental) is home to the Cebuano-speaking population. Together, they are all called as Negrenses.
Kanlaon Volcano, located in the central-northern part of the island is the third most-active volcano in the Philippines and overlooks bordering communities and the city of Bacolod to the west. It is the highest peak of the island and of the whole Visayas. Other notable peaks on the island are Mount Silay and Mount Mandalagan in Negros Occidental and Mount Talinis (also known as Cuernos de Negros) in Negros Oriental. There are also lakes that dot the island, among the most notable are the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes in Negros Oriental.
The volcanic activity in Negros is harnessed into electricity through two geothermal power plants in the island. One is located in Palinpinon of Valencia in Negros Oriental and the other is in Mailum of Bago City in Negros Occidental, but was eventually shut down.
Negros Island Region comprises 2 provinces, 1 highly urbanized city, 18 component cities, 38 municipalities and 1,219 barangays.
|Province or HUC||Capital||Population (2015)||Area||Density||Cities||Muni.||Bgy.|
|km2||sq mi||/km2||/sq mi|
Bacolod is a highly-urbanized city; figures are excluded from Negros Occidental.
Negros Island Region has the least number of provinces in the Philippines (only 2), but has 19 cities (18 component cities and the highly urbanized city of Bacolod) in total, making it the region with the most cities amongst the Visayas regions, tying alongside CALABARZON in Luzon, which also has 19 cities. Bacolod is the most populous city of the region and the center of the Bacolod Metropolitan Area (which also contains the cities of Talisay and Silay), as well as the 19th most populous city of the whole Philippines, while Dumaguete is the most densely populated city in the whole region.
Negros Occidental has the most chartered cities amongst all the provinces in the Philippines. The province comprises 13 cities and 19 municipalities, which are further subdivided into 601 barangays. Although Bacolod serves as the capital, it is governed independently from its corresponding province as a highly urbanized city. Negros Oriental comprises 6 cities and 19 municipalities, with 557 barangays.
|City||Population (2015)||Area||Density||City class||Income class||Province|
|km2||sq mi||/km2||/sq mi|
|Bacolod||561,875||162.67||62.81||3,500||9,100||Highly urbanized||1st||Negros Occidental|
|La Carlota||64,469||137.29||53.01||470||1,200||Component||4th||Negros Occidental|
|San Carlos||132,536||451.50||174.33||290||750||Component||2nd||Negros Occidental|
Both provinces of Negros Island Region are interconnected by major inter-provincial roads. In Bacolod, there are two main roads, namely Lacson Street to the north and Araneta Street to the south. Cities, especially the provincial capitals of Bacolod and Dumaguete, are being served by jeepneys and taxis. Tricycles are mainly used for short-distance travel, and is common in city barangays, smaller cities and towns. Bus stations are present in major cities and towns within the region. Vallacar Transit Corporation, which operates the Ceres buses, serves the whole Negros Island Region. There are regularly scheduled fast ferry and roll-on/roll-off services for the island region's coastal cities and towns.
Currently, there are two airports serving Negros Island Region. The Bacolod-Silay International Airport, located in the city of Silay, serves the general area of Bacolod Metropolitan Area, and is expected to become the primary international gateway to Negros Island Region. The Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport, located in the town of Sibulan, serves the general area of Dumaguete and its neighbouring towns. However, a new airport is being planned to be constructed in the town of Bacong, south of Dumaguete, to replace the older airport in Sibulan.
Negros is noted for being the nation's prime producer and exporter of sugar. Sugarcane plantations abound in the agricultural areas of the island. The island also produces cotton and hardwood. Sugar is the biggest industry in the island, followed by organic agricultural products and gamefowl breeding. Its principal sugar-growing region is located in the north and west of the island, stretching from northwest along the coasts of the Visayan Sea and Guimaras Strait, which is one of the nation's principal lowland areas in the Visayas. Negros Island Region is now aiming to be the prime producer of organic agricultural produce in Asia.
Sugar refining has many by-products such as acetylene, fertilizers and rum. Fishing is the major industry based in Cadiz City. There are also a number of fishponds and prawn farming has become a major industry. Bacolod City is the center of commerce and finance in Negros Island Region. It is where oil companies, factories, bottling plants, allied industrial businesses, steel fabrication, power generation, agri-businesses, prawn culture and other aqua-culture ventures are found. By November 2016, Negros Island Region generated a total net worth of ₱36.65 billion, making it the 2nd-richest region of the Visayas (after Central Visayas) and the 5th-richest of the whole Philippines.
Negros has a lot of tourist attractions. In the city of Silay alone, there are 30 ancestral houses, amongst the most notable is the Balay Negrense. Festivals are also a major tourist attraction in Negros, among the most notable, is the Masskara Festival in the city of Bacolod, which is celebrated during the third week of October, as well as Buglasan Festival in the city of Dumaguete, also held in October. Museums showcase the culture, history and people of Negros Island Region, with one example being the Negros Museum, situated behind the Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol Complex. Murcia and Salvador Benedicto offer experiences in inland Negros Occidental, the former being known for its Mambukal Resort, while the latter serves as the "Summer Capital of Negros Occidental". Kanlaon Volcano, as well as many other neighbouring peaks, are popular amongst mountain climbers and hikers visiting Negros. The town of Pulupandan, situated in the western tip of Negros, is becoming popular to bird-watching enthusiasts. thanks to its new bird-watching sanctuary.
When it comes to beaches and coastal resorts within the region, the most popular ones are Lakawon Island in Cadiz City, Jomabo Island in Escalante City, Sipaway/Refugio Island in the city of San Carlos, Sipalay City, Hinoba-an and Manjuyod's sand bar. The top attractions in Cauayan are the Punta Bulata White Beach Resort and Danjugan Island, which serves as a major diving spot in Negros Occidental. Also, a marine reserve is established in Sagay City, which protects the marine life and reefs of Carbin and Maca, making it a popular draw for marine life enthusiasts. Dauin is known for its beach resorts and Apo Island, a famous diving spot and marine reserve in Negros Oriental. The city of Dumaguete is popular amongst students, largely because of its presence as a university city in the region. Bais City has since then become a tourist spot for whale and dolphin watching, due to its coastline touching the Tañon Strait. Antulang Beach Resort and Tambobo Bay, as well as the inland Lake Balanan serve as three important attractions in the town of Siaton. Situated within the towns of Sibulan, San Jose and Valencia is the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park, which serves as an important draw for tourists going to inland Negros Oriental.
The island is known for using geothermal energy to provide electricity for its inhabitants. In San Carlos, Negros Occidental where energy company San Carlos Solar Energy (SaCaSol) is located, solar energy is being used to power the city and surrounding municipalities. Inland towns and cities of Negros Island Region uses hydroelectric power acquired from springs, rivers and waterfalls. Due to the island region's sugarcane-based agriculture, Negros may become the nation's major biofuel producer, with sugarcane being used for ethanol extraction.
Negros Island Region, like the Central Philippines (Visayas) overall, is generally recognized as a top priority area for wildlife conservation, both in terms of numbers of endemic species and severity of threat. More than half of the critically endangered species listed in the Philippines occurs in Negros. It is the most threatened area of the Philippines, since it has the least remaining forest cover and the highest numbers of severely threatened endemic species and subspecies. Mt. Silay and Mt. Mandalagan are the two mountain peaks in the Northern Negros Natural Park. These mountains have old-growth forests. Threatened species recorded in this area include the: White-winged cuckooshrike, Visayan Flowerpecker, Flame-templed babbler, Writhed-billed hornbill, Visayan tarictic hornbill, Rufous-lored kingfisher, Blue-naped parrot, Philippine hawk-eagle.
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Negros.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Negros Island Region.|