Negros Oriental, Philippines

It just fits. Moving permanently to the third largest English-speaking nation in the world (per capita) the Philippine Islands that I should also move to the third largest island of that archipelago of over seven thousand islands.

Location of Dauin on Negros Oriental marked in orange
Location of Dauin on Negros Oriental marked in orange

The name of that island is, Negros Oriental. It is believed to have cut-off from the larger island of Mindanao by the rising waters of the last Ice Age. The early inhabitants of the island were Negritos, as well as Han Chinese and Malays. They called the island; “Buglas” a native word meaning or believed to mean, “cut-off.”

Spanish explorers reported seeing many dark-skinned inhabitants, and so they called the island “Negros” or so it has been written.   “Negro” means “black” in Spanish.

Because of its proximity to Mindanao, the southeastern coast of Negros was in constant threat from Moro marauders looking for slaves, and watchtowers were built to protect the Christian villages.  

Tower to watch for invading Moro's and pirates.
Tower to watch for invading Moro’s and pirates.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, or MILF is alive and well today though relegated mainly to the Sulu archipelago at the south of Mindanao and Zamboanga the southwestern port city of Mindanao.

In 1901 the Negros Oriental province was reorganized by the United States and a civil government was established. The American government made Siquijor a “sub-province” of Negros Oriental. Negros Oriental became a province under the American civil government on March 10, 1917. In 1934 Negros Oriental became a corregimiento, a separate military district. Under the American colonial government, transportation infrastructure was developed with improvements of roads and new bridges.

During World War II, the province was invaded by Japanese forces and many residents were forced to flee to the mountains to escape. Negros Island was liberated by combined Filipino & American troops with the local Negrosanon guerillas attacking the Japanese on August 6, 1945.

Their climate is of course, tropical. There is a mountain range running north to south and the province has two types of weather conditions. Those two seasons are either wet or dry, but it is always hot and humid. The Philippines were, after all, a jungle. Now sad to say, the Philippines have become more of a glass and concrete jungle with cars, trucks and buses often times billowing pollutants into the air. Though not so much in the provinces as in the big megalopolis, Manila.

Dauin — Dauin lies on the southeastern coast of Negros Oriental, Philippines. There are perfect beaches of fine sand that stretch for miles. The Mindanao Sea forms its border and this is where the most precious treasures of Dauin lie – underwater.  With excellent scuba dive sites – my daughter loves swimming and will be a natural to learn the scuba diving lessons, offered. Dauin has both beautiful coral reef and muck dive opportunities. I didn’t know what, “Muck Diving” was so I looked it up and I was spot on with my assumptions as I’m confident you will be also. At any rate, this is the explanation I garnered from their interesting website that I hope you will visit:

Muck Divers forgo the glamorous brightly colored reefs and blue-water sea mounts for an underwater world of sand and seagrass.

Flying Gunnard seen while Muck diving
Flying Gunnard seen while Muck diving

You will see on your Dauin muck diving escapade, Midring Blueringed Octopus, Wonderpus, Mimic Octopus, Poison Ocellate Octopus, Ambon Scorpion fishes, Flamboyant Cuttlefishes and Bobbit Worms are frequent sights on the sandy shores of the municipality.Apo Island

Visitor Attractions, but Honestly…

What initially attracted me was a beautiful two-bedroom house for rent at roughly $400 per month. The largest tree-covered nearby mountain kept things cooler and the stunning view of the sea from the tiled deck; well that to me was Dauin, Negros Oriental.

Apo Island

This internationally acclaimed dive site with spectacular coral gardens and a cornucopia of marine life is accessible by motorized outrigger boats. The 72-hectare volcanic island is home to 450 coral species and 2,500 fish species. The community-managed marine sanctuary, is often cited as one of the best managed reefs in the Philippines.

When those inhabitants mistook the Spanish explorers for Moros (whom the natives knew to be marauding pirates) they fled to the hills, to the place they called Dauis, which meant “top of hill.” Thus it is said that Dauin became known to the Spaniards as the dwelling place of the early inhabitants of the area.

A second version is that the locals who were assigned to stand guard at the Spanish-built watchtowers would hear a strange sound nightly that sounded like a boom of thunder. This made them afraid because, although they would see nothing, but by morning footprints could be found around the tower.  This strange occurrence would be reported to the Spaniards who did not believe them until they took their turn watching the tower and saw that what the locals were saying was true. They would refer to the visiting supernatural beings “Duwende.” Later when the Spaniards organized the different towns in order to facilitate the collection of tributes, they called this place where the watchtower stood (and still stands) Dauin. That was the story some of the older residents told.

The mountainous area bordering Dauin makes for nice sleeping weather and I have been told that there is no need for an air conditioner in Dauin.  That is among the Pilipinos who are used to a tropical climate.

Beautiful nearby Mt, Talinis
Beautiful nearby Mt, Talinis

Another tourist attraction of Dauin is the Baslay Hot Spring. The hot spring is located in Barangay Baslay. The water from the hot spring contains natural sulfur which is known to have health benefits and naturally, I am all for that!

Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.


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