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Negros Occidental Sugar Capital of the Philippines

Negros Occidental is blessed with beautiful natural scenery, large sugar plantations, unexplored waterfalls and mountains, white sand beaches, and crystal springs.

Negros Occidental is not only famous for being the sugar capital of the Philippines, but it is also a realm that’s more than just the typical sugar.

It is a kind of Paris, with its century-old churches, grandiose ancestral houses, extraordinary mural paintings, priceless museums, and its being home of famous artists, such as the architect of Brunei’s palace, Leandro Locsin, and world-class pianist, Cecille Licad.

It is a sort of Boracay, with its pristine white sand beaches in Lakawon Island, Sipaway Island and Jomabo Island. It is a type of Latin America, deserving to be called “the Center of Philippine Festivals” with almost 30 festivals being celebrated each year, including MassKara Festival, Pintaflores Festival, and many others.

It is the land of “Iron Dinosaurs”, or steam locomotives in the sugar refineries, some of these trains being the oldest in the world. It is the world of spectacular waterfalls, mysterious caves, verdant mountains, therapeutic hot and cold springs, exotic marine sanctuaries, and diversity of flora and fauna.

Countryside lifestyle meets sophistication in 13 cities (the most number in the whole country) of Negros Occidental in the budding presence of varied accommodation and dining facilities, ranging from luxurious to plain and simple. Its capital, Bacolod City, has grown to be a preferred choice as venue for national and regional conventions, conferences, seminars, workshops or even small assemblies. There are also wide varieties of restaurants and cuisine, ranging from the local Negrense to Oriental and Continental choices, from gourmet to fast foods.

Negros island was initially established as "Buglas" by its natives. This island was named "Negros" by the Spanish navigators when Esteban de Rodriguez found it in April, 1565. He discovered its earliest dark-skinned inhabitants to be part of the Negrito ethnic group. The earliest native settlements were found mostly in the southern region of the province. Two of them, Binalbagan and Ilog, officially became towns in 1572 and 1584, respectively. The other initial communities were Hinigaran, Bago, Marayo (now Pontevedra), Mamalan (now Himamaylan City) and Candaguit.

Ilog became its first capital when the island became a military district in 1734. In 1849, Bacolod was made provincial capital. Negros then became a politico-military province in 1856. At about this time, many more towns were established as a result of population growth and the arrival of immigrants from the neighboring islands of Panay and Cebu. At this time of population explosion, the cultivation of sugar in the province and the opening of Iloilo and Cebu ports to foreign commerce brought the province’s economic advancement.

In 1890, the island was separated into the Occidental and the Oriental provinces. In the nationwide revolution in 1898, Negrense leaders joined and fought against the Spanish rule. Three years after, a Civil Government was established in the province. The first and second world wars brought turmoil and devastation in the province, but the Negrenses remained optimistic and worked hard to restore various sectors, especially the sugar industry.

The Negrenses are multilingual, which characteristic is typical of Filipinos. Two Visayan dialects are chiefly utilized in the province.

Hiligaynon is spoken by 80% to 90% of the population. The rest use Cebuano, which is common on the towns located towards the boundaries of Negros Oriental. English and Tagalog are widely spoken and understood in the province.

About 53% of the land area of the province is devoted to agriculture. The major industries in the province include inland fishing, poultry, livestock, grains, coffee, cacao, and black pepper. The province is also rich in mineral resources such as copper, gold, silver, molybdenum, salt, guano, stones, gravel, sand and other construction materials.

The province of Negros Occidental occupies the western part of Negros Island and is part of Western Visayas. It is composed of 13 cities and 19 municipalities. Bacolod City, the capital, is its main entry point and is accessible by plane (50 minutes from Manila and 25 minutes from Cebu) and by sea travel (20 hours from Manila and 1 hour from Iloilo).

In addition to the capital city of Bacolod, Negros Occidental has five cities, Bago, Cadiz, La Carlota City, San Carlos, and Silay City, to which the provincial government's website adds Kabankalan, Sagay, Talisay, and Victorias.





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