In 2016, the Food Consumption Survey (FCS) of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) revealed that sugar ranks as the fifth most consumed type of food in the Philippines.
While we are known for our love of kanin, we cannot deny that the rich dessert and kakanin culture pushed a lot of Filipinos to the sweeter side of the palate spectrum. If you are one of those who have a sweet tooth, you might find it interesting to visit the “Sugarbowl of the Philippines”, Negros Island. Contributing about two thirds in the country’s total sugar production industry, the island region has over 12 sugar milling facilities, distilleries, and refineries.
Compared to other regions in the Philippines, Negros Island is less frequently visited by tropical cyclones with about 7% recorded instances, or about one tropical cyclone in every two years. However, this did not exempt them from damages of some notable weather systems that passed by the area. These include the following:
- Super Typhoon Amy – December 8-10, 1951. The deadly impacts of Super Typhoon Amy to Negros Island were mainly caused by high wind and torrential rains that resulted to flooding, which displaced thousands of residents. Bacolod City alone had 52 deaths and 2,250 were left homeless. In terms of agriculture, around 30% of the crops across the island were decimated. Damages were calculated to be around $30 million for Central Philippines during this onslaught.
- Typhoon Nitang (Ike) – August 31-September 4, 1984. Super Typhoon Nitang made landfall over the Northeastern coast of Mindanao, and Negros Island was under its immediate path destroying about 4,000 homs and leaving 75,000 individuals without food and shelter during its rampage. Ilog River overflowed to low-lying areas around Ilog and Kabankalan. There were about 120 people who died in Negros Occidental, and 60 others in Negros Oriental.
- Super Typhoon Ruping (Mike) – November 10-14,1990. Its highest winds clocked 220 km/hour when it struck Cebu Island, toppling communications and power lines, which plunged the whole of Visayas region into darkness well in the succeeding New Year. High wind and flooding rains were the major issues when it hit Negros Island, leaving 35 dead and an estimated damage amounting to $446 million.
- Tropical Storm Uring (Thelma) – November 5, 1991. When it struck Samar, Tropical Storm Uring has relatively low intensity in terms of wind velocity. It earned its deadly reputation when it dumped torrential rains amounting to 580.5mm in a three-hour period over Leyte province adjacent to the city of Ormoc. This resulted to a massive torrent of mud and earth rolling downslope, engulfing the city and killing around 4,922 residents. This was referred to as the dreaded “Ormoc tragedy”. Several rain events in other parts of the Visayas also resulted to death and destruction with 70 killed in Northern Negros during its landfall with damages reaching $8.73 million for Negros Island alone.
- Super Typhoon Pablo (Bopha) – December 4-5, 2017. At midnight of December 3, 2012, Super Typhoon Pablo (Category 5) became deadly when it tore through the coast of Cateel, Davao Oriental with 1-min sustained winds of 282 km/hour, knocking down trees and power lines which practically flattened homes across a wide swath of land. On the succeeding days, it moved over Bohol Sea, threatening Siquijor Island and Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental with high wind, torrential rains, and rising tides slamming the exposed coastline of Southern Visayas.
#WeatherWiser DepEd-Negros Island Region
The whole island region of Negros is under Climate Type III, characterized by having a short dry season, usually from February to April. Despite being less affected compared to other typhoon-prone regions in the Philippines, the region still has had its share of damages and lives lost to typhoons.
To help in building a #WeatherWiser Negros Island region, WeatherPhilippines Foundation partnered with CitySavings Bank and the Department of Education in creating weather and tropical cyclone awareness for DepEd personnel in Negros Island.
DepEd NIR’s Education Program Supervisor and Lead Coordinator Adolf Aguilar joined the WPF team during the two-day training at the DepEd NIR Conference Hall in Dumaguete City. In total, 95 personnel from different DepEd NIR offices were able to receive Weather 101 and Tropical Cyclone 101 trainings.