San Carlos City lies at the northeastern part of the Negros Islands. It is bounded on the north by the town of Calatrava, on the east by the Refugio Pass, on the south by Canlaon City (Negros Oriental), and on the west by the town of Murcia.
The city, with a land area of 451.3 square kilometers, had a population of 90,058 (26% urban and 74% rural) in 1970.
San Carlos, with large tracts of land, is planted to sugarcane, the principal crop which annually earns for the city’s coffers a million peso revenue. Besides corn, tobacco, and coffee, soy beans are also raised.
As an ideal port city, San Carlos has two piers serving domestic and foreign ships.
Aside from being a commercial community, the city is also considered as a seat of culture in the northeastern part of Negros Occidental. There are four educational institutions: Coiegio de Santo Tomas de Villanueva, Colegio de Santa Rita, Central Negros Institute, and Tanon College.
The present site of San Carlos City was a former barrio of Calatrava, called Nabingkalan, in honor of a beautiful daughter of a Negrito chieftain. It was said that a certain Carlos Apurado and his men from the town of Badian, Cebu, bought the settlement from the Negritoes.
Nabingkalan became a municipality in 1898. It was later called San Carlos, in honor of San Carlos Borromeo, the town’s patron saint.
San Carlos became a city on June 18, 1960, with the passage of Republic Act No. 2643.
During the Second World War, in March 1945, the Japanese invaders were repulsed by the local guerrillas under the leadership of Lieutenants Alfredo Valdevia and Leonardo Marane. Under the overall command of Colonel Ernesto S. Mata, the guerrillas attacked a Japanese garrison in the compound of San Carlos Milling Company.
Two more of its sons who have distinguished themselves are the late Don Julio Ledesma, sugar magnate, and Romeo Tabuena, the internationally acclaimed painter.
The scenic vacation resorts in San Carlos City are the Refugio (Sipaway) Island (reached by sailboat or ferryboat from the city proper) which is famous for its white beaches; and the Mainit Spring (reached in twenty minutes by bus from the city’s thoroughfares) which is known for its hot water of volcanic origin.