Bais City

Hey there, fellow adventurers! Ever heard of a little gem tucked away in the Philippines called Bais City? No? Well, buckle up, because you’re in for a real treat. Nestled in the heart of Negros Oriental, this city is more than just its sugar cane plantations and sweet smiles. It’s a fusion of history, culture, natural beauty, and yep, you guessed it, incredible food!

“Where else can you chase dolphins in the morning, explore old Spanish houses in the afternoon, and have a picnic by the bay under the stars?” I ask you. Nowhere, that’s where! Bais City is the place that has it all, and then some. It’s a haven for thrill-seekers, history buffs, foodies, and folks who just want to chill out and soak in the local vibe. But, don’t just take my word for it. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Old locomotive in Bais City
By Alice Delgado Chew – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

History of Bais City

During the mid-19th century, Bais City emerged as a small settlement known as “Mabunao.” The name, derived from a Visayan term for “spring,” reflects the area’s abundant water sources. As the settlers started to explore, they discovered the vast potential of these lands, setting the stage for a thriving community.

In 1848, the Spanish colonial government recognized Mabunao as a town, and its name transformed into Bais. The name change honored the Spanish governor of Negros during that period, Don Juan de Dios de Bais. The new identity signified a shift in the city’s narrative, intertwining its native roots with foreign influence.

The late 19th century marked a turning point for Bais City. As the sugar boom swept across Negros Island, Bais City took center stage. It became the hub of the sugar industry in the region, attracting a wave of migrant workers and sparking a period of rapid growth. Notably, the city was home to the first sugarcane mill in the Philippines, Central Azucarera de Bais, established in 1918 by Spanish entrepreneur Don Enrique Baró.

During the American colonial period, the city continued to prosper. The Central Azucarera de Bais expanded, and the city’s infrastructures developed. Education also took a leap forward. In 1925, the first public high school, now known as Bais City National High School, was established, serving as a beacon of knowledge for generations to come.

World War II

The Second World War brought a temporary halt to Bais City’s progress. Japanese forces occupied the city, causing widespread fear and chaos. Yet, the resilient spirit of the Baisanon people prevailed. They fought back, and by 1945, with the help of the Allied forces, the city was liberated.

In the post-war period, Bais City continued to rebuild and grow. It embraced modernity while preserving its rich cultural heritage. On September 1, 1978, Bais City was officially declared a city by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 564. The city’s motto, “Bais City, a City in Bloom, in Service and in Love,” reflects its continued commitment to progress, service, and community spirit.

Natural Wonders of Bais City

This city is a paradise for nature lovers. The city is renowned for its stunning landscapes, from lush green hills to crystal-clear waters. The Manjuyod Sandbar, often dubbed as the “Maldives of the Philippines,” is a must-visit. Here, you can walk on miles of pristine white sand during low tide.

Another natural wonder is the Talabong Mangrove Park. This 400-hectare mangrove forest is home to various species of birds and marine life. A boat tour through the park offers a serene and educational experience.

Activities that you can do

This city is not just about sightseeing. It’s also about adventure. One of the most popular activities is dolphin and whale watching. The city’s coastal waters are teeming with these magnificent creatures.

For those who prefer land-based activities, the city offers a rich cultural experience. Visit the Central Azucarera de Bais, the oldest and largest sugar mill in the country. Here, you can learn about the city’s history and its role in the sugar industry.

What To Eat in Bais City?

Start your culinary journey in this charming city with a hearty breakfast. Filipino breakfasts are not complete without their iconic silog meals, and Bais City is no exception. Dive into a plate of Bais Longganisa Silog, featuring the city’s special spicy-sweet sausage served with garlic fried rice and a sunny-side-up egg. The aroma of the longganisa sizzling on the pan fills the air with an irresistible scent that promises a day of delightful food exploration.

As the morning sun gives way to midday, it’s time for a local favorite – Pancit Molo. This traditional Filipino soup, crafted with handmade dumplings and shredded chicken in a rich, savory broth, is a comforting lunchtime staple. It’s more than food; it’s a warm, hearty hug in a bowl, a testament to the city’s love for comfort and simplicity.

Once the afternoon heat sets in, cool down with a scoop, or two, of Binignit. This dessert, a coconut milk-based stew of assorted root crops, ripe bananas, and glutinous rice balls, is a sweet, creamy reprieve from the tropical heat. It’s not just a dessert; it’s a refreshing, mid-day break, a celebration of the city’s abundant local produce.

As the sun sets, painting the sky with hues of orange and pink, the smell of charcoal-grilled chicken – locally known as Chicken Inasal – wafts through the streets. Marinated in a mixture of local spices, calamansi juice, and vinegar, then grilled to perfection, this dish is a dinner favorite. Served with a side of pickled green papaya known as atchara and a steaming cup of rice, it’s a delectable symphony of flavors that encapsulates a day in Bais City.

Basi

Finally, cap off your day with a glass of the city’s locally produced sugarcane wine, known as Basi. Its sweet, robust, and distinct flavor profile is a fitting end to a culinary adventure in Bais City. It’s more than just a drink; it’s a toast to the city’s rich agricultural heritage, a sweet nod to the acres of sugarcane fields that blanket the city.

People Also Read: Activities that you can do in Balanga City

Tourist Spots

Start your journey with the first highlight, the Manjuyod White Sandbar. Dubbed as the “Maldives of the Philippines,” this natural wonder stretches over seven kilometers of pristine white sand. It emerges only during low tide, presenting a picturesque vista that will leave you breathless. Enjoy a leisurely walk, soak in the warm sunshine, or go for a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters surrounding the sandbar.

Transitioning from the beach, the next stop is the Bais City Dolphin Watching and Bird Sanctuary. Prepare your binoculars and board a boat to witness the spectacle of playful dolphins and migratory birds in their natural habitat. The sight of these creatures frolicking in the wild is an experience that will surely touch your heart. It’s a reminder of the diverse wildlife that thrives in the waters and skies of Bais City.

Next on the list is the Central Azucarera de Bais, the first and oldest sugar cane mill in the Philippines. Immerse yourself in the rich history of this sweet industry as you explore the vast sugarcane fields and the century-old types of machinery. This spot offers a fascinating peek into the past, as well as the hard work and dedication that built the city.

Finally, end your day in the peaceful ambiance of Pantao-Pantao Mangrove Forest. This vast mangrove reserve offers a tranquil retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life. A walk through the wooden bridges, surrounded by lush greenery, is a great way to connect with nature. Listen to the symphony of the forest, and you might even spot some of the local wildlife.

Conclusion

So, there you have it, folks! That’s Bais City in all its glory. From its rich sugarcane fields that stretch as far as the eye can see to its vibrant festivals that fill the air with music and laughter, from the historic ancestral houses that whisper tales of yesteryears to the stunning marine life that leaves you in awe. Bais City, ladies, and gents, is the epitome of a tropical paradise wrapped in history and sprinkled with Filipino hospitality.

I mean, where else can you get a taste of the sweet life (pun intended) that’s so rich, so diverse, and so darn delightful? Nowhere, that’s where! So, ready to pack those bags and book that flight? Because Bais City is waiting for you with open arms, and trust me, you’re going to love every minute of it. And as we say in the Philippines, “Kita-kits sa Bais City, mga kaibigan!” See you in Bais City, friends!

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