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Diocese of San Carlos

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Diocese of San Carlos
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In a land area of 3,041 square kilometers, the Diocese of San Carlos occupies a territory on the northeastern part of Negros Island comprising 4 municipalities of Negros Oriental, and 7 of Negros Occidental including the City of San Carlos which is the see of the diocese.

Negros Occidental can be found near the central part of the country. It is one of the five provinces that compose Western Visayas or Region VI. It is located in the northwestern portion of Negros Island, the fourth biggest island in the Philippine archipelago.

It is bounded on the north by the Visayan Sea and on the south by the Sulu Sea. It is southeast of Panay Island from which is separated by the Guimaras Strait.

On the east are the Tanon Strait and Negros Oriental, which forms part of the Central Visayas or Region VII. 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. While Negros Occidental belongs to Region VI (Western Visayas Region), Negros Oriental is in Region VII (Central Visayas Region) grouped together with other Cebuano-Speaking provinces of Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor.

Negros is basically volcanic. Mount Kanlaon is one of the mountain ranges found in the heart of Negros Island. One of the country's 13 most active volcanoes, Kanlaon is the highest peak in Central Philippines. At an elevation of 2,465 meters above sea level, the most dominant and attractive feature of which is its active summit-crater. Mt. Kanlaon has a land area of 24,577.6 hectares, with rainforest and verdant vegetation sliced from the cities of Bago, La Carlota, San Carlos and Canlaon (in Negros Oriental) and the towns of Murcia and La Castellana.

San Carlos diocese covers the towns of La Libertad, Guhulngan, Vallehermoso, and the City of Canlaon in Oriental and the towns of Manapla, Escalante, Toboso, Calatravan, Don Salvador, Benedicto and the cities of San Carlos, Cadiz and Sagay in Negros Occidental.

Negros Occidental is composed of 13 cities and 19 municipalities distributed in six legislative districts. 

Negros Oriental consists of twenty (20) municipalities, five (5) cities and five hundred fifty-seven (557) barangays. It is also further divided into three (3) legislative districts. 

Among its earliest inhabitants were dark-skinned natives belonging to the Negrito ethnic group. Thus the Spaniards called the land "Negros" after the black natives whom they saw when they first came to the island.

Two of the earliest native settlements were Binalbagan and Ilog which later became towns in 1573 and 1584, respectively. Other settlements were Hinigaran, Bago, Marayo (now Pontevedra), Mamalan (now Himamaylan) and Candaguit.

When the Spanish explorers landed in Negros Oriental in 1565, they found natives who called the place "Buglas", named after a kind of tall grass resembling the present-day sugarcane plant. Buglas grass was then abundantly growing in the island. The Spaniards encountered many black people with black kinky hair among the inhabitants, they called the islandNegros. Kabilin, a book on provincial history, mentions what seemed to be the first known documentary reference of the island of Negros in the atlas drawn in 1545 by renowned Spanish cartographer Alonso de Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz' map bears the legend y de Negros, probably derived from the reports of the presence of small black people (negritos) on the island. Thus, a score of years before the Legaspi Expedition, the Spaniards already knew the island of Negros by this name. At that time, there were two (2) types of forest dwellers, the black natives called Ata or Agta (Negrito) and the Proto-Malay also known as Bukidnon with dark brown skin.

Along the coastline dwelt natives of Malayan heritage who were engage in little agricultural activities and barter trading with the Chinese and other Asian merchants who came as early as the 13th century. Although no written documents have been found, artifacts and relics belonging to the Sung Dynasty period in the 12th century were excavated in the towns of Bacong, Bayawan and La Libertad in Negros Oriental and Escalante in Negros Occidental. This indicates a flourishing trade and commerce with other neighboring countries such as China, India and the Malayan peninsula.


As of year end 2017 the Diocese of San Carlos has a population of 1,098,440 of which 85 per cent are Catholics or equivalent to 933,675.


Cebuano is the major language. English, Hilogaynon, and Tagalog are also widely spoken and understood, especially in the urban areas.

Negros Occidental is home to the Ilonggo (or Hiligaynon) language. Ilonggo is derived for Iloilo which was the early influence to Negros.

Cebuano is the main language of Negros Oriental because of its closeness to the Island of Cebu. Cebuano is spoken by 969,192 individuals (94.75%) and Hiligaynon or Ilonggo is generally spoken by 49,101 (4.80%) individuals mostly in areas around Basay, Bayawan, Sta. Catalina, Canlaon City and some areas in Mabinay.

At least 67 dialects or mother tongues are known to be spoken in the different parts of the province. Tagalog is understood by majority of the population as well as the English language. English remains the medium of instruction in schools, colleges, and other higher learning institutions.


Diocese of San Carlos 
(Diocesis Sancti Caroli)

Suffragan of Jaro
Created: March 30, 1987
Erected: February 10, 1988
Comprises the towns of La Libertad, Guhulngan, Vallehermoso, and the City of Canlaon in Negros Oriental and the towns of Manapla, Toboso, Calatrava, Don Salvador Benedicto and the cities of San Carlos, Escalante, Cadiz and Sagay in Negros Occidental
Titular: San Carlos Borromeo

The Diocese of San Carlos occupies a territory on the northeastern part of Negros Island comprising 4 municipalities of Negros Oriental, and 7 of Negros Occidental including the City of San Carlos which is the see of the diocese. 

The history of the Diocese of San Carlos is very closely linked with that of her sister dioceses on the same island: those of Bacolod, Dumaguete and Kabankalan. Its territory was carved partly from the Diocese of Bacolod, and partly from the Diocese of Dumaguete. The day of its creation coincides with that of the Diocese of Kabankalan, which covers the southern portion Negros Occidental. 

Way back during the Spanish era, the island of Negros was part of the then Diocese of Jaro when this was created in 1868. Negros stayed under the jurisdiction of the Jaro diocese until 1933, then the Diocese of Bacolod was created and the entire island of Negros was placed under its jurisdiction. When the Diocese of Dumaguete was created in 1955, it was separated from that of Bacolod.

On March 30, 1987, the Diocese of San Carlos and the Diocese of Kabankalan were created and these two new ecclesiastical territories were separated from the jurisdictions of Bacolod and Dumaguete. All four dioceses on Negros Island are now suffragans of the Archdiocese of Jaro.

From its creation in 1987, the diocese has witnessed the construction of monumental buildings on a 3-hectare lot donated by a generous family of San Carlos. Completed are the Bishop's Home and chancery offices. Still under construction are the dormitories for lay seminars and the seminary buildings of the St. John Mary Vianney Seminary. All these have been made possible by financing from the faithful and some benefactors from abroad. 

In line with its vision and mission, and the directions set by the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, the diocese has embarked on its diocesan thrust: the formation of Basic Ecclesial Communities. About 567 BEC's have become operative in the region since 1988. The various commissions have pursued their respective programs in the parochial and diocesan levels. And all these have brought about a greater awareness of the faith.

The socio-economic programs are being implemented through the Social Action Center (SAC). And most effective in improving the socio-economic climate are the small cooperatives. The SAC is also helping feed malnourished children and their mothers, supplementing material help with nutrition information and the introduction of herbal medicines, acupuncture, etc. Summarily the Diocese of San Carlos is much involved in the delivery of services through its varied apostolates, especially to the poor and the marginalized.

As to its financial viability, the diocese is now implementing the tithing system in some parishes.

We, the Pilgrim Church of the Diocese of San Carlos, are committed in Faith to Incarnate the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Justice and Love, where there are viable living conditions in freedom and participation, integrity, culture and religious maturity.

We also strive to build the diocese a people of God living as witnessing community in worship/prayer, in preaching, in service, in sharing, in unity, and participation for the transformation of the present day society.


  • Airport
    The Dumaguete City airport is the only major airport in Negros Oriental serving daily domestic flights to and from Manila with two airline companies (Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific). Its facilities are for all weather conditions. The province has also two private airports, one located in Tolong, Sta. Catalina and the other in the Pamplona Estate in Pamplona. Another private airport is soon to be constructed in Bayawan City.

  • Seaport
    The Dumaguete seaport is a major link to Mindanao traffic and is part of the "Strong Republic Nautical Highway" route.

    The Guihulngan Port caters mainly to small vessels ferrying passengers between Guihulngan and Tangil, Dumanjug, Cebu

  • Roads and bridges 
    All cities and municipalities are linked by an extensive road and bridge network stretching more than 1,500 kilometers crisscrossing the province with seven alternative scenic routes to the nearby province of Negros Oriental.

    Road surface analysis in the province of Negros Oriental shows that there is a total of 909.768 kilometers of national and provincial roads, 120.42 kilometers of which are concrete-paved, 308.885 kilometers or 33.95 per cent are asphalt-paved, 352.596 kilometers or 38.76 per cent are gravel roads and 127.867 kilometers or 14.05 per cent are earth roads.

    There are 140 national bridges in Negros Oriental with a total length of 4,782 linear meters, 139 of which are permanent bridges and one is a temporary bridge. A few of these bridges have already undergone repairs and upgrading, especially the bridge approaches.

    There are 17 provincial farm-to-market bridges with an aggregate length of 434.68 linear meters, 189.91 linear meters of which are temporary or made of timber; 25.14 linear meters are concrete girder bridges; and 219.63 linear meters are reinforced concrete deck girder.


Annual per capita income in the diocesan territory is (in Philippines Pesos) 16,553 or USD375 as of November 2010. 

Negros Occidental is the Philippines' major sugar producer. 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 country's principal lowland areas. 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 Occidental. It is where you find oil companies, factories, bottling plants, allied industrial businesses, steel fabrication, power generation, agri-businesses, prawn culture and other aqua-culture ventures.

The province is rich in mineral deposits. Minerals that abound in the province are primary copper and gold ore. Silver andmolybdenum deposits are also abundant, as well as non-metallic minerals suitable for agricultural and industrial uses. Notwithstanding its great potential, the mining industry in Negros Occidental has remained virtually dormant since the biggest copper mine.

Total land area in Negros Oriental which is devoted to agriculture consists of 302,729 hectares, 167,515 hectares of which are planted to major crops, the rest are utilized for the cultivation of indusrial and minor crops.

Irrigated fields contributed the bulk of the palay (rice) production with a 2.5 cropping per year which reached 48,622 metric tons or 82.43 per cent of the total production while the remaining 17.57 per cent or 10,362 metric tons were derived from lowland and upland rain fed areas. In 2001, an estimated basic area of 16,255 hectares


International direct dialing, fiber optic data lines and internet services are accessible in most areas of Negros Occidental. Also, GSM, digital and analog cellular networks provide good coverage in Bacolod City and other areas, including international roaming.

Modern communication facilities, as well as radio, television and newspapers, are available in the province. Most are provided by dominant national players in the industry like PLDT, Globe Telecom and their subsidiaries.

Telecommunications facilities operating in Negros Oriental include telephone systems, cable television stations, and telegraph stations, and telex station exchange. Each local government unit (municipality and city) has a postal station that caters to the populace, usually located at the town or city center. Private telephone companies maintain modern telephone equipment, giving access to all major cities in 116 countries in the world on a 24-hour basis through long distance International Direct Dial (IDD) and National Direct Dial (NDD).

Although some cities and municipalities have direct contact through telephones, cellular phones and single side band radio sets, a majority of these cities and municipalities still require additional communication lines.

There are 47 internet cafes that operate in Negros Oriental.

For television and radio, the major providers are the giant networks ABS-CBN, GMA and RPN. Cable TV provides access to CNN, BBC, ESPN and other international programs.

There are 15 TV broadcasting stations, 13 AM radio stations and 22 FM radio stations in Negros Occidental.

There are six TV stations, four AM radio stations and nine FM radio stations in Negros Oriental


Literacy rate (simple literacy) is 91.21 percent in the diocesan territory.


  • Feast of St. Charles Borromeo (Nov. 4)
  • Panaad Festival
    The biggest festival of them all in Negros Occidental, the Panaad Festival (the mother of all festivals), started in 1993 as a thanksgiving celebration and a fulfillment of a promise and vow to the Divine Providence in exchange of good life.

    It features 32 festivals that bring together 13 cities and 19 towns of Negros Occidental. In theme booths that showcase their history, culture, trade, agriculture, tourism and other industries.

    The annual Panaad sa Negros Festival held at the Panaad Park and Stadium, Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City.

  • Pintaflores
    Pintaflores is a yearly cultural festival that culminates on November 5 in a fascinating street dancing competition among floral-painted dancer in colorful and floral-inspired. Pintaflores is coined from the words pintados ("painted ones"), andflores, the Spanish word for "flowers" that dominated the theme of the Dances of Flowers.

  • Dinagsa Festival
    Dinagsa Festival is the highlight of a weeklong celebration in honor of its Patron saint, the Señor Sto. Niño. Held every last week of January, this spectacular revelry features "Ati" tribes garbed in their colorful costumes dancing to the fast and defeaning beat of drums while carrying the image of the holy child Jesus.

  • Sinigayan Festival
    Sinigayan Festival held every 3rd week of March is an annual celebration and thanksgiving in honor of their patron St. Joseph. Sinigay sa Sagay is an expression of art and culture of the hardworking and God - fearing Sagaynons displayed and exhibited during the Annual Sinigayan Festival as eloquent assertion of thanksgiving on the past year.

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