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Diocese of Dumaguete
Diocese of Dumaguete

In a land area of 4,955.9 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the civil provinces of Siquijor and Negros Oriental, from Dumaguete City up to Jimalalud in the north, bounded by the Diocese of San Carlos, and from Bacong to Kalumboyan and Basay in the south, bounded by the Diocese of Kabankalan.

Population

As of year end 2016 the total population of the diocese is 1,157,583 of which 91 are Catholics.

History

Suffragan of Cebu
Created on April 5, 1955
Comprises the civil Provinces of Siquijor and Negros Oriental, from Dumaguete City up to Jimalalud in the north, bounded by the Diocese of San Carlos, and from Bacong to Kalumboyan and Basay in the south, bounded by the Diocese of Kabankalan.
Titular: St. Catherine of Alexandria, November 25

Pope Pius XII created the Diocese of Dumaguete on April 5, 1955 and appointed the Most Reverend Epifanio B. Surban, D.D. as its first bishop. The diocese then included the province of Negros Oriental, the sub-province of Siquijor, and four municipalities of Negros Occidental.

Negros Oriental covers the eastern portion of the island of Negros and is part of the Central Visayas region known as Region VIII. Its western and northern portions connect with the borders of Negros Occidental. It is bounded on the east by the Tañon Strait, on the south by the Mindanao Sea.

Spanish explorers on the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi first came to the island in April 1565. They reported seeing many dark-skinned inhabitants, and they called the island "Negros" (Negro means black in Spanish). In 1571, Legazpi assigned encomiendas (a labor system/legal system in Spanish policy) on the island. The Catholic faith was first introduced to the early inhabitants of eastern Negros by the Augustinian friars who established the parish of Tanjay in 1580. Forty years later Dumaguete was created as another parish covering the southern territories and Siquijor, which the Spaniards called Isla de Fuego.

Negros became a politico-military province in 1856. Due to its proximity to Mindanao, the south eastern coast Negros was in constant threat from Moro marauders (sea pirates) looking for slaves. Watchtowers were built to protect the Christian villages. The Moro raids and Negros Oriental's distance from the Negros capital in Bacolod induced some 13 Augustinian Recollects priests to petition for the division of the island in July 1876. The island of Negros was then divided into the provinces of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental by a royal decree executed by Governor General Valeriano Weyler on Jan. 1, 1890. Dumaguete City was made the capital of Negros Oriental.

Dumaguete was under the territorial jurisdiction of the Diocese of Cebu until 1865, the Diocese of Jaro until 1932 and the Diocese of Bacolod until its creation as a new diocese in 1955. In 1988, the Diocese of San Carlos was created in Negros Occidental which absorbed ten parishes of the Diocese of Dumaguete.

Today the Diocese of Dumaguete includes the civil province of Negros Oriental and the sub-province of Siquijor, excluding the municipalities of La Libertad, Guihulngan, Vallehermoso and Kanlaon City in Negros Oriental. The population covered includes 829,603 persons, 85 percent of whom are Catholics. It remains a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Cebu, and has for its titular patron St. Catherine of Alexandria whose feast is celebrated Nov. 25. On Aug. 2, 1989 the Most Reverend Angel N. Lagdameo, D.D. was installed as Second Bishop of the Diocese. Five months later, on Jan. 7, 1990 he convoked the First Diocesan Synod of Dumaguete.

Attention has been centered on the promotion of the BEC's. For this purpose a Diocesan BEC Secretariat composed of priests, sisters and lay persons has been formed to give basic orientation seminars and to follow up those which have been formed so far in 18 parishes. Likewise, a team ministry to promote the spirit of brotherhood, community, collaboration and sharing among priests is on the stage of experimentation. Guidelines for the functioning of diocesan and parish councils and other structures have been formulated. All these have resulted in the streamlining of the work of the diocesan commissions and apostolates.

Geography

The island of Negros is approximately located in the middle of the archipelago, 800 kilometers south of Manila. It is the fourth largest island in the Philippine archipelago. It is located between the islands of Panay in the west and Cebu in the east. It is bounded by the Visayan sea in the north, the Tañon Strait in the east, the Sulu and Mindanao Seas in the south and Guimaras Strait in the northwest.

Negros Oriental is located on the eastern side of the Negros Island in the Central Visayas Region, occupying the southern lobe of the island of Negros.

Negros Oriental is a narrow estate extending two-thirds of the way from the south to the north of the island. It measures 165 kilometers from the north to south and from the east to west it is 79 kilometers at its widest, and 13 kilometers at it's narrowest. It is bounded by a chain of rugged mountains from its sister province of Negros Occidental and separated from Cebu by the Tañon Strait.

Siquijor is an island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas region. Its capital is the municipality also named Siquijor. To the northwest of Siquijor are Cebu and Negros, to the northeast is Bohol and to the south, across the Bohol Sea is Mindanao.

With a land area of 343.5 square kilometers and a coastline 102 km long, Siquijor is the third smallest province in the country both in terms of population and land area. For a time it was sub-province of Negros Oriental. Called Isla del Fuego or the "Island of Fire" by the Spanish before, Siquijor is considered by many Filipinos to be a mystical island.

The island lies about 19 kilometers east of the nearest point on southern Negros, 25 kilometers southeast of Cebu, 30 kilometers southwest of Bohol, and 45 kilometers north of Zamboanga Peninsula of Mindanao. It is predominantly hilly and in many places the hills reach the sea, producing precipitous cliffs.

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