Distance from Bacolod: 21.5 kilometers
Land Area: 38,941 hectares
Classification: 2nd Class
No. of Barangays: 24 Barangays
Population: 141,721 (May 1, 2000) – 149,911 (2005 Projection)
Language: Hiligaynon/Ilonggo/English is spoken and understood
Bago was founded by an Augustinian priest, Father Geronimo Marin, on June 24, 1575, coinciding with the feast of St. John the Baptist.
Spanish historian, Diego de Povedano wrote that the community was named after a large tree called “Bago” under which a native prince Mapagic died. Another version, however, noted that the name came from the shrub, bago-bago that grew abundantly in the riverbanks. Around the 17th and 18th Centuries, settlers from Molo, Iloilo formed a little village at the mouth of Bago River, presently a rich source of sand and gravel. The village grew into a large settlement prompting its elders to pass a petition for its conversion into a town or pueblo, which was granted in 1800.
Bago became a city on February 19, 1966 by virtue of Republic Act No. 4382 with then Mayor Manuel Y. Torres as first city mayor, holding over from his election in 1959.
Bago City is a top rice producer in the province and is home to industries like the Ma-ao Sugar Central, Viva Mineral water bottling plant, Ginebra San Miguel distilled products and the Alter Trade muscovado mill, among others. It is host to the 40 to 80 megawatts capacity PNOC-EDC’s Northern Negros Geothermal Project that will be commissioned in early 2007.
How to Get There
Bago City is a 20 to 30 minutes drive south of Bacolod City by private car. Public utility vehicles abound in this first stop over going south of the provincial capital. Car rental facilities are available through reservation. All roads leading to all barangays in the city are asphalted.
Bago City is bounded on north by Bacolod City, on the northwest by Guimaras Strait, on the southwest by the towns of Pulupandan and Valladolid, on the east by the cities of San Carlos and Canlaon and on the south by La Carlota City.
Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park covers an area of 24, 557.60 hectares with rainforest and verdant vegetation sliced among the cities of Bago, San Carlos, Canlaon and the municipalities of Murcia and La Castellana. It was declared a National Park by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 721 dated August 8, 1934 in view of its colorful history and enchanted mystic beauty.
Rafael Salas Park and Nature Center is a special interest park that serves as a gateway to the Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park. It appeals to mountain climbers and adventure seekers because of the long and challenging trek to the peak of Mt. Kanlaon.
Gen. Juan Araneta Monument is a life-size replica of Gen. Juan A. Araneta on horseback. It depicts that momentous event when the legendary hero was leading his troops armed only with nipa stalks and rolled sawali mats painted black, in an attack leading to the historic bluff that liberated Negros from Spanish Conquestadores in 1898. Within the foundation of the said monument lies the remains of the late gallant leader and hero of Bago.
1898 Revolution Marker is a stone marker built at the plaza by the National Historical Institute (NHI) in memory of the heroic stand of the people of Bago City. The Philippine flag was raised on this site early morning of November 5, 1898.
Balay ni Tan Juan was built towards the end of the 19th century, the “Balay na Bato” is the residence of General Juan A. Araneta in the Poblacion of Bago. As a structure that stood witness to the struggles of the people during the dark years of Hispanic Colonization and the events that took place prior to that historic Negros Revolution of 1898, the Balay was declared by the National Historical Commission in 1978 as a National Historical Landmark and was allocated appropriate funding for its restoration.
Today the “Balay na Bato” is being utilized as a museum and a home for the antiquated materials, tools, equipment and artifacts that were used, created or crafted during the lifetime of Tan Juan. It also houses other works of art of the ancient times depictive of that mournful era of colonization.
It has become a usual host for visiting tourists who want to know about the history, arts and culture of the Bagonhon.
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church is one of the century old churches in Negros Occidental using Mexican architecture. Built in 1891 at the time of Father Juan Pineda, it is located in front of Bago City Public Plaza.
Old Bago Bridge is a steel span of 650 feet long and 40 feet above the water, traversing the wide river of Bago between the Poblacion and the Bago Ma-ao crossing. During the World War II, Bago Bridge used to be the key link between Pulupandan (where the American Forces landed in March 1945) and Bacolod. When the Americans landed and were on their march from Pulupandan to Bacolod, the Japanese Forces planned to blow up the bridge in order to delay their arrival in Bacolod where the Japanese had their Headquarters.
On March 29, 1945, 4:30 a.m., American soldier Theodore C. Vinther was killed while securing the bridge before the Japanese could blow it up.
The bridge was able to withstand the threat of war and time but unfortunately, when typhoon Ruping in 1991 hit Negros, the bridge was destroyed by flood brought by strong wind and rain.
Manuel Y. Torres Coliseum and Cultural Center – The huge structure is named after the illustrious leader, Mayor Manuel Y. Torres, in recognition of his exemplary leadership that, among others, led the Bago City Sports Program to unprecendented heights, and produced many great athletes that brought prestige and honor to the City and country in the national and international competitions.
It stands today as a landmark for the achievements of the sports program Mayor Torres initiated and for the Bagonhons’ resolve to excel in sports. This four-storey oblong-shaped structure is designed to accommodate at least 8,000 people and is an ideal venue for cultural shows and indoor athletic events.