Bais City is a 2nd class city in the province of Negros Oriental, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 68,115 people in 13,199 households. Located 44.7 km from the provincial capital Dumaguete, it has a land area of 316.90 square km.
People and culture
Bais City in recent years has also become a haven for dolphin and whale watching in Asia. Off the coast of Bais City at Tañon Strait between the islands of Negros and Cebu one can get a one-of-a-kind experience with the sea's very friendly and intelligent creatures.
To make this experience even more memorable, boats manned by a marine biologist and a spotterare available for charter making the trip most educational, aside from making us more appreciative of the beautiful marine life around us. Best viewed during the second and third quarter of the year. Bais City in recent years has also become a haven for dolphin and whale watching. Off the coast of Bais City at Tañon Strait between the islands of Negros and Cebu one can get a one-of-a-kind experience with the sea's very friendly and intelligent creatures.
At least 5, 000 people witnessed the annual lighting of a giant Christmas tree in Bais City recently at the public plaza of the city. The 70 foot revolving Christmas stands in the middle of the plaza may considered as the tallest Christmas tree in the Negros Oriental.Bais City is the Plantation and Christmas Capital of Central Visayas since 1950s.
Early Europeans and Latin American settlers in Dumaguete and around Oriental Negros were Don Joaquin Montenegro y Mascato, Tomasa, Brigida & Nicolasa Elena Gomez (Vicente Hermanos) of Avila Spain the pioneer Haciendera in the place,Don Diego-Garcia-Baena, Don Agustin de Sandes of Mexico, Ramon Telesforo Belloso of Extremadura Spain, Don Anecito Villianueva (Chinese Espanol merchant) Don Pedro Gustavo Furbeyre ( Frenchman),Camilo Rodrigo Antonio Rubio ( Italian merchant)Don Demetrio Larena and Don Juan Saavedra who would subsequently lead the Negros Oriental Republic in 1898 (Bais Historian Penn T.Villanueva Larena).
The city derived its name from the word Bais, a fresh water eel that abundantly living in the place. According to the historians, when the Spaniards heard the fertile flatlands and rich in fishing grounds of the place they made an expedition led by a Spanish engineer to get the name of the area and pinpoint what is the exact location of the place and as well as to prepare the map of the island. When they arrived to the place, they saw some people in the mouth of the river catching on their net the so-called fresh water eel “Bais”, then the Spanish engineer asked a fisherman in a Spanish dialect “Como se llma este lugar?”, but the fisherman failed to understand, and only thinking that he was asked about the name of the fish they have caught, so the fisherman abruptly answered “Bais”. The Spanish engineer therefore expects that it was the name of the place.
After discovery of the island, many Spaniards travelled and settled in the area on the account of a good place and the fertility of the land. Some of them planted sugarcane and build sugar milled that produced “muscuvados” that came from the sugar cane. This is the start of the exportation of sugar to Spain via Iloilo, which then was the principal shipping point in the Visayas. The sugar was carried by a large boat called Lurcha or Batel during that time.Built by our pioneer Haciendoros Don Anecito Villanueva
The dominant religion of Bais is Roman Catholicism.
An annual fiesta is held each year on September 10 in honor of the city's patron saint San Nicholas de Tolentino, a celebration inherited from the Spanish era. On this occasion, most of the residents prepare food for anyone who visits the place. It is a tradition practiced not only in Bais but in most towns and cities in the Philippines. Lately the celebration has included mardigras and parades.
Bais City is the largest producer of raw sugar in Negros Oriental. There are two sugar mills in the city. The Central Azucarera de Bais was established by Tabacalera of Spain in the early 1900's and is one of the oldest in the country. The other mill, URSUMCO (United Robina Sugar Milling Corporation) was formerly UPSUMCO (United Planters Milling Corporation) and constructed in the mid 70's by by Marubeni Corporation of Japan as a project of Ignacio Montenegro (also of Spanish roots).
There are two bays in the area, hence the name "Bais". The shore line is mostly mangroves, which are in danger of destruction due to the increasing population. The richness of marine life in the bays is because of these mangroves.
Bais City's bays are widely known to have one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the area.
The Pelarta river runs beside the city center. There is, however, a dispute that the name Bais was taken after the eels locally called "Bais" that used to thrive in this river. The river has been the source of irrigation water for the nearby sugar farms. This has been vital in the success of sugar plantations in this area. This river also has a big influence on the city's geography, as it deposits sediments in the former mangrove areas during the (formerly annual) flood season. These former mangrove swamps have now dried out and become populated with residents. In the late seventies, under the government of Genaro Goni, there was established a river control system stretching from the city center towards the low lying areas in order to lessen flooding during the rainy season.
Bais City is politically subdivided into 35 barangays.