Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bais City - Beyond Dolphin Watching and Sugar Plantations

Bais City in Negros Oriental is known for is vast sugar cane haciendas and sightings of various species of dolphins along Tanon Strait.  It is 30 minutes away from Dumaguete City so most tourists would take a daytrip (or even halfday tour) to this city. 

In 2012, the DOT, together with the LGU and DTI-7 representatives, has conducted a site assessment and strategic planning workshop for the city.  I assisted in this project.  I was amazed with how much resources and potential this city has. 

Things to do and see in Bais City

1.     Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour
Bais City is famous for its protected marine sanctuary, the Tañon Strait,” where Nine (9) out of twenty three (23) marine mammal species sighted in Philippine waters, have been spotted such as spinner dolphins, bottlenose, pan tropical spotted dolphins, melon-headed whale and dwarf sperm whale.  It is considered to have one of the biggest concentrations of cetaceans in the world.(source:

Dolphin watching in Bais City, Philippines

2.     Talabong Mangrove Forest and Bird Sanctuary
The 250-hectare Talabong Mangrove Forest is a protected natural habitat and nesting place of various species of birds and other wildlife. It is the largest remaining mangrove forest in the entire island of Negros Oriental. It was declared in 1985 by DENR as a “game refuge”, wildlife sanctuary and a tourist spot. A 150-meter offshore mooring and concrete walkway leading to the sandy area of the mangrove was installed.

Talabong Mangrove Forest and Bird Sanctuary in Bais City

The Team at Talabong Mangrove Forest and Bird Sanctuary in Bais City

Nursery at Talabong Mangrove Forest and Bird Sanctuary in Bais City

3.     Tindog Bato Mountain and Watershed
This is Bais City’s highest peak (at 921 meters above sea level), located in Brgy. Sab-ahan.  The view from the top reveals an unobstructed panoama of the provinces of Negros Occidental, Cebu and Negros Oriental. At the foot of the mountain is a watershed that supplies water to the City.

Scenery as we go up to Tindog Bato

En route to Tindog Bato

We decided to ride at the back of the Pick-up to get a better view

At the peak of Tindog Bato, we had our packed lunch. 

4.     Lighi Lake
Located in Sitio Lighi, Brgy. Mabunao, the lake is an idyllic camping ground or rest stop when climbing the Tindog Bato Mountain.

Lake in Lighi, Brgy. Mabunao in Bais City

1.     Old Spanish/Ancestral Houses        
·        Casa Grande
This is a two-storey wooden Spanish house surrounded by big acacia trees which was built originally for the use of the employees of the Azucarera. It is at present, the residence of mill owner Steven Chan.

·        Casa de Larena
Formerly Casa Rubio, it was built in 1790.  This spacious Spanish residence located downtown hosted many diplomatic meetings, high profile gatherings and various remarkable events in Negros history.

·        Presidencia de Bais
A Spanish inspired building rebuilt in 1934 and has been the seat of Bais City Government. Old city documents/logbooks of resolutions and ordinances date back 1900s written in Spanish language are well-preserved and can be viewed at the building’s Session Hall.

Presidencia de Bais - Baic City Hall

2.     Central Azucarera de Bais
Founded in 1918 by the Tabacalera of Spain.  It is one of the pioneers in the sugar industry in the Philippines.  It is also the first to use the bagasse as the main raw material in paper manufacturing. Reminiscent of the life in the haciendas, the old machines and equipment are on display, including the Baldwin locomotive used for hauling sugarcane.

3.     Sipong sa Bais Festival
Annual celebration. September 7

4.     Salawaki and Seafood Festival
Annual celebration every 1st week of September 

5.     Pasko sa Bais Festival

6.     Bais Tocino Country
In front of the Mercado de Bais are street vendors in vibrant red and white stalls selling grilled native chicken and pork paired with steamed rice wrapped in coconut leaves locally known as “puso”.

"Puso", rice wrapped in coconut leaves

Bais Tocino Country

Bais Tocino Country

Bais Tocino Country

7.     Daing-making Demo
A processing demo of known local daing producers may be arranged through the Tourism Office.

1.     Kanumay Island
A stretch of white sand bar estimated to be 2.5 km., marine culture park and coral reef garden with a sloping terrain of 50 hectares and depth of 10-100 feet.

2.     Lag-it Beach and Boulevard
It is ideal for swimming and other recreational activities. The boulevard located in Brgy. Okiot is an ideal picnic area that features a row of nipa hut stalls with grilling area.

1.     Dewey Island Viewing Deck
The viewing deck provides a clear view of Olympia Island, Kanumay White Sandbar and Talabong Mangrove Forest.

<To be updated>

** The author assisted in the drafting of the Strategic Tourism Action Plan for Bais City

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