One of the reasons we visited Bais City was the Central Azucacera de Bais. At the height of Ondoy, my family went to the town of Mabinay in Negros Oriental, and along the way, we passed by several towns, including Bais and Tanjay. What drew me to come back to the azucarera was the tree-shaded street in between the small gated compound of houses that used to accommodate the azucarera’s owners. The azucarera, or sugar refinery, is technically located in Tanjay but Tanjay could have been under the jurisdiction of Bais when the azucarera first opened in 1918, hence the name. Bais City and its neighboring town could attribute much of their progress to the azucarera, being the first sugar mill in the Philippines. The azucarera is off limits to stray visitors so we only took pictures of the road.
While waiting for any kind of transportation to take us back to Bais, we sighted this chapel and, because no one was in sight, we pushed open the small gate. The chapel is, according to Ka Bino Guerrero, a historian from Tanjay, who also lives just a few houses from the chapel, the Central Azucarera de Bais Chaplaincy and I can already imagine people going to and coming from the church on Sundays wearing their best clothes. While the chapel may look well preserved, upon closer look, we learned it was rotting and almost falling to the ground. I dared not take a peek inside for fear someone might peek back. At the roadside, my initial thoughts was the chapel could be a perfect place to hold a wedding ceremony. Knowing it’s rotting inside, I then thought the chapel is a a perfect backdrop for a horror movie, and I was a little scared at the time we were there because I was afraid the soft ground would eat us up. Thankfully, that day was hot and I thought horror scenes only happen when it’s gloomy.
Across the chapel is an abandoned Baldwin train. We were excited to check out what’s inside but we were disappointed. There was nothing inside the train. The body of the train has no floor, and the only thing I could remember from that episode was the very pungent smell of cat feces. Consider yourself warned.
One Day in Bais
Bais City and the neighboring town of Tanjay can be toured in one day. Bais is the jump off point for the famous Manjuyod sandbar and dolphin watching. (Take note: dolphin watching is seasonal so make sure you are there in season). Bais and Tanjay are sleepy towns but that is why I loved them. My favorite thing to do would be to visit Azucarera de Bais, which is actually in Tanjay. It is a shaded place of old American-style houses that used to the homes of the owners and workers of the sugar plantation.
We stayed at the La Planta Hotel in Bais, which is a former power plant converted to a small hotel.