Bais | Dolphins, Haciendas, Sandbar & Sweet Nothings
Bais City in Negros Oriental is not a popular travel destination. Save for summer & long holidays when the town gets full of tourists, the rest of the year is usually quiet. Most tourists come here only for two things: dolphins & the long sand bar in Manjuyod.
But there’s more to Bais than these. It is a city filled with haciendas, heritage buildings, exotic seafood & a hodgepodge of sweet treats.
Bais: Sweetly, beyond the usual
The sugar industry in the Philippines wouldn’t be complete without Central Azucarera de Bais in its history. It is the largest producer of raw sugar in Negros Oriental & made the city for what it is known today.
Bais is progressive yet quaint—-a character unique to most Negrense towns. It is a hustling city by day & an idle town at night. Generally, life here is cinch. And this easy-breezy feel is what locals love about & what keep tourists coming back.
If you love towns that brim with bucolic character, charming people & stunning sights, let this pretty town pamper your wanderlusts.
If there is one way to tell its story, Bais would probably say it through its homes. Houses here showcase the designs of bygone eras from Spanish principalia mansions to Commonwealth art-deco homes. These architectural narratives are living museums of the opulent days of the sugar boom.
Old Choo-Choo Train
Are you missing the charm of that old-school stream train? Central Azucarera de Bais still keeps some running on its tracks. The oldest is now being dolled up for its centennial celebration. Once it’s fully restored, it will be the most prominent roadside landmark when you enter the city.
When sugar became a hit in the 1900s, many Filipino elites came here & transformed much of its land into sugarcane plantations. It is pretty much the same beautiful landscape to this day. And if living like a haciendero fills your fancy, the City Tourism Office can whip you up this dream, even for a moment.
Central Azucarera de Bais
Central Azucarera de Bais was the first sugar mill in the country established by the Real Compañia-General de Tabacos de Filipinas in 1918. Take a glimpse of its centennial charm filled with haciendas, heritage homes & age-old trees.
Ever wonder the difference between “chocolate-eh” & “chocolate-ah”? Eh, means “especial”. It’s thick & creamy. Ah, means “aguado” or watery. But the secret to a good chocolate de batirol, however it is prepared is the quality of the “tablea” used. When in town, look for Tablea de Mercedes & experience what the señoras chocolate-eh taste like!
Bahia de Bais
Perched atop a hill, this spot offers the most stunning panorama of the city & the graceful bays that hem it. This mountain hotel is now under rehabilitation but special visits may be arranged at the Tourism Office.
Talabong Mangrove Park & Bird Sanctuary
Mangroves protect this coastal town. Because it’s lush & healthy, it has become a sanctuary for marine animals & endangered birds too. Ask your tour guide for a stalk, plant one & do something good for mother earth.
Visitors driving by Bais can’t help but stop at this tiny green chapel. Mojon as locals call it is small but so full of character. Its architectural style is so simple. But how it looks like in an ensemble of trees, grass carpets & ambient light make it a perfect shabby-chic OOTD stopover.
Nightlife here only means one thing—digging in on its streetfood at the night market. It’s a wonderland for foodies who have insatiable appetite for real good Visayan fare.
Forget about dolphin shows in theme parks because nothing beats seeing them in the wild. Here, there are no tricks & no fancy moves. It’s them in their natural element—jumping, twirling & racing. It’s an adorable experience you’ll surely treasure.
This sandbar has been dubbed with many names. But it’s beautiful as it is, sans the comparison. It’s just Manjuyod (read as man-hu-yud), a graceful stretch of white sandbar along Sumapao Shoal. It is a property of Manjuyod but most tourists take Bais as the gateway because of the availability of facilities.
Being a coastal town, fresh seafood is naturally abundant. But if you like to take your appetite to the next level, try their exotic seafood. Salawaki or sea urchin is among the most loved along with baby octopus.
Make your trip easy. Connect with the City Tourism here.
Check out this video by Tamara Goñi.
No frills, no cinematic effects. Just pure joy. Just love.
WARNING: Please lower your volume and excuse the happiest birthday girl that saw the most amazing thing on this planet!!!! This went on for 30 minutes and if we didn’t turn around, these beautiful creatures would still follow us. Thank you mi amor for this memorable birthday present ❤️❤️❤️ #itsmorefuninthephilippines #planetearth #freethedolphins
Posted by Tamara Sibala-Goñi on Sunday, December 11, 2016
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Betwixt and between the arthritic 40 and a horrendous body mass index of positive 30, escapism and yummyeology are my real-life double post-graduate degrees conferred with the highest honors. I lived nearly half of my life in fancy suitcases, jetsetting between reality and fantasy... read more