Negros island is the fourth largest in the Philippine archipelago and one of the major producer of sugar in the country. It’s a common sight to see sugarcane fields lining the road especially towards the northern part of the island where a lot of sugar mills are located.
Romantic Negros Island
Sugar became the most important agricultural export of the Philippines between the late 18th century and mid 1970s. During these sugar boom years, affluent Negrenses built beautiful mansions, most of which survived world war II. A walk around Silay City, where most of these beautiful houses were built, shows visitors a glimpse of the lifestyle of rich sugarcane planters in the island.
One of the popular tourist destinations in the island is the ruins of the mansion built by Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson for his wife. The beautiful house was burned by the owner to prevent Japanese occupation during world war II.
Real Negros Island
From the heydays of the sugar industry to until now when the island is slowly recovering from the export slump, only a handful of families are comfortably supported by sugarcane farming. Most families involved in sugar planting are small farmers with lands not conveniently accessible from the road.
From planting to harvesting to hauling sugarcane for milling, almost everything is manual labor.