The CulArtHis of the Sweetest Province

I have discovered Negros Occidental with its lovely and remarkable destinations, I have witnessed the great difference of the place from the other places that I have been to. I thought that the discovery ended but I was wrong when I found out that it was just the start of exploring the whole culture, art and history of Negros Occidental.

–Negros Occidental

Buglas is Negros, it is a Hiligaynon term for “cut off”. This means that this boot-shaped island was separated from the nearby islands of the Philippines specifically in Visayas like Bohol and Cebu and this was due to a geological upheaval that happened thousands of years ago.

The island is 50 miles at its broadest and 30 miles at its narrowest breath. Mt. Kanlaon is located at the center of the island. It is divided into two provinces, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.


Negritoes (ati) or tagahitas were the first people who lived in the mountain areas of Negros Occidental, they were effective herbalists and hunters.Indonesians were the second group of people who reached the place and were agricultural villagers, Malays were the last group from Borneo headed by Datu Puti.

Negrenses believed in the ancient beliefs like the kang-laun which means “belonging to the old one”. They also believed in chanting and for them it was not being possessed by an evil spirit but it was to go above self. Beliefs in forces of nature or phenomenon that they could not understand but were feared were also on their records as a product of their history.

These are some of the enchanted creatures and word spoken to protect the person from the unknown elements:

  • kama-kama
  • Diwata
  • kapre-
  • Bulalakaw
  • amalanhig
  • ukoy
  • aswang
  • panabi-tabi

When the Spaniards discovered Negros, the original beliefs of the native Negrenses slowly faded and changed into a Spanish taste, the structure of the province also changed and Encommiendas and Pueblos were established.

When it comes to Sugar Industry, Don Yves Germaine Gaston is the name you can remember with. He is first person who brought sugarcane in Negros. He tried the different places of the whole Visayas and fortunately he was able to find the best spot and it was in Negros. The booming of sugar industry made Negros Occidental famous and hailed as “The Sugar Capital of the Philippines.”

These are the common words used by the natives and Spaniards:

  • Haciendas— hacenderos
  • Batel–sailboats
  • cawa—cauldron
  • Pulot—melting Sugarcane
  • bayong—sack made from buri palm
  • jornaleros— resident sugarcane workers
  • sacadas— transient sugarcane workers


Artist is both born and made.” it needs deliberation, interpretation and skill. Art gives meaning to our lives, to the people around us and especially to the Negros people because they treat it as endless as eternity.

Talking about the art in Negros occidental, whenever there is art, there is always a connection that bonds to the lives of the Negrenses. Literature, religion,politics, food, science, industry,etc are all connected and when these things are made or applied, for them the art is also linked.


Culture is the soul of one’s nation. It is the refinement of tastes and manners, and when a person who has no idea about it suffer from an identity crisis.

When it comes to culture of Negros, it talks about a very broad manifestation of the whole entity of their place. These are their lifestyle, houses, delicacies,religion,attire, literature ,festival,tradition and practices and so with love making.

Absolutely! Negros Occidental is a place of great adventure, historical places and artistic literature.

Resource person:

Mr. Ver Pacete

Tourism officer of Silay city Negros Occidental.

President of the Association of Tourism Officers of Negros Occidental (ATONO).


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