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Negros Oriental occupies the south-eastern half of the island of Negros, with Negros Occidental comprising the western half. It has a total land area of 5,402.30 km². A chain of rugged mountains separates Negros Oriental from Negros Occidental. Unlike its sister province, which belongs to the Western Visayas region, Negros Oriental belongs to the Central Visayas region. Negros Oriental faces Cebu to the east across the Tañon Strait and Siquijor to the south-east. The Sulu Sea borders it to the south.
The province's topography is characterized by low, grooved mountain ranges which mostly lie close to the shoreline. At the southern end of the province is the Cuernos de Negros (Horns of Negros) stratovolcano which rises to a height of 1864 meters. At the northern end of the province is Mount Canlaon, the highest peak in the island with a height of 2465 meters and an active volcano. There are a few plateaus in the interior to the west of the province. One of the landmarks of Dumaguete is the Dumaguete Bell Tower which stands next to the St Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral. It once used to warn the city of impending pirate attacks.
Negros Oriental has a tropical climate. Because of the mountain range running from the north to the south, the province has two types of climatic conditions. The eastern part of the province is characterized by unpronounced maximum rainfall with a short dry season lasting from one to three months. The western half of the province is characterized by a distinct wet season and dry season. Also because of the mountain range, the province is sheltered from the full impact of typhoons originating from the southwest. However, the northern part of the province (from Canlaon City to La Libertad) is in the path of typhoons from the east.