Bais City is one of the cleanest and safest cities of the Philippines in Negros Oriental province. The main tourist draw is whale and dolphin watching in the Tañon Strait between Bais and the neighbouring island of Cebu.
The whole municipal area has a population of more than 80,000 and the major economic activity is sugar cane growing with a few wealthy families dominating both the local politics and economy. The central market has just been re-built as a large two-storey building of unusual design but pedicabs still ply the streets as a legacy of a Dutch NGO's project to alleviate rural poverty.
Bais is on the main long distance bus route between Bacolod, Kabankalan City and Dumaguete. One can also take a Ceres Bus from Cebu that travels directly to Bais via a 35 min roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro} ferry between the Southern tip of Cebu island at Bato and Amlan just south of Tanjay. Other Ceres buses set passengers down at Lilo-An so they can take the faster passenger-only boat and shorter 15 min crossing to Sibulan just north of Dumaguete.
Moto-tricycles are rather confusingly termed pedicabs in Negros Oriental, and are usually underpowered by 200cc motorcycles considering that they often carry in excess of 8 persons and sometimes up to 15! The cycle rickshaws are certainly quieter on Bais's flat streets and the commercial centre is very compact.
- Central Azucarera de Bais (CAB) Established in 1918 as the first two sugar centrals of Tabacalera in the country, pioneered in the manufacture of paper from bagasse. CAB propelled the province’s sugar industry into a top dollar earner. Buildings, early machines, implements and locomotives used for hauling sugar cane in olden times are on display, making the visit truly informative and interesting.
- Baldwin Locomotive The Baldwin locomotive rests on memories of its heyday as the dean of the hacienda workhorses. The Central Azucarera de Bais was established in 1918 and the Baldwin locomotive was integral in the stimulation of the growth of the Negros Oriental sugar industry.
- Lag-it Beach A magnificent seven kilometre stretch of powder-white sand that disappears in the clear waters at high tide, a unique adventure for swimmers.
- White SandBar Reef Its shoreline is a vast stretch of powder-white sand that disappears at high tide, leaving sparkling azure waters, ideal for swimming and snorkeling
- Talabong Mangrove Park A 400-hectare protected mangrove forest which is a natural habitat and nesting place of birds and other wildlife. Talabong Mangrove Park is accessible by boat at high tide and visitors have to walk through a 5,968 split-bamboo boardwalk before reaching the park. There is a troupe of semi-wild macaque monkeys here.
- Mojon Church. Just inside the southern boundary of Bais with Tanjay, this church is often overlooked because drivers' attentions are concentrated on the blind curve in the road. The inside, with it's gracefully curving screens and woodwork and finely carved mahogany altar pieces, is prettier than the outside. Next door are some fine, large colonial houses sheltering beneath a canopy of mature trees with epiphytes growing on them.
- Sipong Festival held every 7 September. A spectacular thanksgiving for the fruits of labour in the hot fields and the cold sea, by the native Baisnons of a city renowned as the cradle of the province’s sugar industry and as home of dolphins and siganids (danggit). The formal Mass in the Cathedral is preceded by choreographed street dancing with colourful floats and parades that the whole city has been preparing for weeks.
- Get a group together and hire a barca from Capiñahan Wharf in South Bais Bay for about ₱3,000 and go Dolphin and Whale watching in the Tañon Strait. Afterwards the barca can moor for some snorkelling in the coral area beside the white sand bar.
- Open air ballroom dancing in the Plaza in front of the new Mercado de Bais on Friday and Saturday evenings. These are family occasions and there are tables and chairs laid out to eat barbecued foods. Free!
- Play tennis on the well maintained, municipal courts on tarmac - good floodlighting at night.
- Play volleyball in the outside municipal auditorium - good floodlighting at night.
- Bais City Library, Aglipay St (Behind the tennis courts). M-F 09:30-12:00 & 13:00-18:30. Helpful and knowledgable staff in this one room, well-lit, air conditioned facility curate a collection of reference works in English. As well as a small lending collection, there are also current editions of national newspapers and some magazines to read.
- Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). M-F 09:00-16:30. Two external ATMs accept Visa, UnionPay, JCB, Plusnet, Cirrus, Maestro and MasterCards 24/7, charging a fee of ₱200 for each withdrawal. Users of Australian debit cards might want to try the "Savings" option if "Current" does not work. Maximum withdrawal in any one transaction is ₱20,000.
- Amorganda Supermarket, P T Villanueva St. M-Sa 08:00-20:00, Su 08:00-13:00. A small, usually crowded shop with weak air-conditioning and poorly treated staff that accepts Visa and MasterCard.
- Casa Don Julian a spotlessly clean and well maintained two storey house in nicely kept gardens built by a Spaniard quite a while ago and featuring four spacious guest bedrooms with polished teak floors and air-con. This is a well-kept secret since there is no sign outside and most locals will know it as "Aunty Teves' place". 581 Mabini St. firstname.lastname@example.org As you enter Bais on the National Road from Dumaguete, Mabini St is the second road on the right or East side and this house is about 500 m from the road junction on the right and next door to La Planta Hotel. ₱1,000-1,300. ☎ +63 35 402-9547
- Casa Sandoval is a two storey house on the left hand (East) side of the National Highway as you enter Bais from the North and with 9 rather small rooms. Free Wi-Fi. En suite rooms have nice shower rooms (unusual for accommodation of this price range in the Philippines) and small cable TV's (usual for accommodation of this price range in the Philippines) email@example.com ₱450 fan room, ₱650 air-con room, ₱750 en suite air-con room ☎ +63 35 402-8216
- La Planta Hotel, Mabini St, fax: +63 35 402-8321. Check-out: 12:00. Purpose built, two storey hotel in an attractive Spanish colonial style with a dark green and white colour scheme throughout. Seventeen medium size double rooms with individual air-con and hot showers, cable TV. Well kept, chlorinated outside swimming pool accessible by non residents for a daily charge of ₱50 per child. A surprisingly stylish and atmospheric restaurant in the former power plant generating house has a very high ceiling and gallery with a mediocre and badly cooked menu; powerful fans but no air-con. Secure parking with night watchman is separated from the rooms by a garden. Twin air-con rooms cost ₱1450 (or ₱1650 with hot shower & a morning egg!).
Bais Tourism Office +63 35 541-5161 / 402-8174 Fax: +63 35 402-8181
- Public Toilets (inside the covered public market, in the south-east corner). The Philippines is the most equal country in Asia as far as gender inequality is concerned and Bais is no exception as far as the necessities of life are concerned. ₱2 to urinate, ₱5 to defecate for both males and females.
From Bais City you can ride a tricycle going to Polo. The minimum fare of tricycle is ₱7 and it is only 5 minutes' travel.