Past Cities

Bago, Western Visayas, Philippines

Loading map...

Bago is a third-class city in the province of Negros Occidental, located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. It has a population of around 170,000 people and covers an area of 38,895 hectares. Its history is rich, shaped by its political environment and geography.

Bago was originally a settlement of the native Negritos, who were later replaced by the Malay settlers who came from Borneo. In the 15th century, the arrival of the Spanish colonizers brought about a significant change in the city's culture and governance. The Spaniards established Bago as a "pueblo" or township, and they named it "Himamaylan" after a hill near the town center.

The town's development was hampered by the constant attacks of Muslim pirates from Mindanao. As a result, the Spanish built a fortification called "Fuerte de la Conception" to protect the town. In 1856, the town's name was changed to Bago, derived from the local term "bag-o," meaning new.

In the 19th century, Bago's economy flourished due to the sugarcane industry. Many wealthy families established sugar plantations, which created jobs for the locals. However, the sugar boom also led to the exploitation of the workers, who were mostly farmers and fishermen.

During the Philippine Revolution against Spain, Bago played a significant role in the fight for independence. The town was led by General Juan Araneta, who was a prominent revolutionary leader. He established the "Araneta Army" and led several successful campaigns against the Spanish forces.

After the Philippines gained independence from Spain in 1898, Bago became part of the newly established Negros Occidental province. The city continued to grow, and in 1966, it was officially recognized as a city by the Philippine government.

Bago's political environment was shaped by the Marcos regime, which lasted from 1965 to 1986. The city was governed by several Marcos loyalists, who were accused of corruption and human rights abuses. In 1986, the People Power Revolution ousted Marcos, and Bago experienced a significant shift in governance.

Today, Bago is a bustling city with a diverse economy that includes agriculture, fishing, and manufacturing. It is also home to several tourist destinations, including the Bago City Public Plaza, the Bantayan Park, and the Bago City Eco-Tourism Park.

Bago's history is a reflection of the Philippines' complex political and cultural environment. Its rich heritage, shaped by its geography and economy, has created a unique identity that continues to evolve today. Despite the challenges it has faced, Bago remains a vibrant city that celebrates its past while looking towards a bright future.