Bago, Negros Occidental

Bago, officially the City of Bago, (Hiligaynon: Dakbanwa/Syudad sang Bago; Tagalog: Lungsod ng Bago) or simply Bago City, is a 2nd class city in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 170,981 people.[3]

City of Bago
From top, left to right: Public Plaza, Museum, Buenos Aires Mountain Resort, Tan Juan Monument, Kipot Twin Falls.


  • "Home of Historical and Natural Treasures"
  • "Boxing Capital of the Philippines"
Map of Negros Occidental with Bago highlighted
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 10°32′20″N 122°50′18″E
Country Philippines
RegionWestern Visayas (Region VI)
ProvinceNegros Occidental
District4th District of Negros Occidental
FoundedJune 24, 1575
CityhoodFebruary 19, 1966
Barangays24 (see Barangays)
  TypeSangguniang Panlungsod
  MayorNicholas M. Yulo
  Vice MayorRamon D. Torres
  CongresswomanAtty. Juliet Marie "Yoyet" D. Ferrer
  Electorate100,368 voters (2019)
  Total401.20 km2 (154.90 sq mi)
 (2015 census)[3]
  Density430/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
  Income class2nd city income class
  Poverty incidence19.28% (2015)[4]
  Revenue (₱)708,730,573.12 (2016)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63(0)34
Climate typetropical climate
Native languagesHiligaynon

Located some 21 kilometres (13 mi) south of the provincial capital Bacolod, Bago City comprises 6.63% of the population of the entire Negros Occidental, making it the third most populous city in the province. It sets a land area of 389 square kilometres, which is 5% of the entire Negros Occidental and 10% of the total land area of component cities.

It is also tagged as the “Home of Historical and Natural Treasures”, owing to its contribution to the history of the province of Negros Occidental and country, and its scenery and flora and fauna making it an eco-tourism destination. It is also known as the “Boxing Capital of the Philippines” title, owing to the great names it produced in boxing. It is also home to the only three known populations of the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin in the entire Philippines. The other two populations are in Guimaras and Palawan. All of which are designated as critically endangered populations.[5]


The community was named after a large tree called “Bágo” (gnetum gnemon) under which a native prince Mapagic died according to the writings of a Spanish historian, Diego de Povedano. 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.[6]


Spanish Era

Its history has its beginning on September 6, 1571 when the Spanish Adelantado, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, allotted the community to a Spaniard named Juan Gutierrez Cortes as his "encomienda". At that time, the community was still composed of small clusters of settlements along the banks of a big river which later became known as the Bago River. The "encomiendero", since then, administered to the spiritual and socio-economic needs of the natives in the settlements until June, 1578; however, a year before that, this community was placed under the evangelical visitations of Father Geronimo Marin, an Augustinian priest who had taken charge of the Christianization of the natives of Binalbagan since the year 1572. Father Matin, upon his arrival in the community, celebrated the feast of St. John the Baptist, who would later be accepted as the patron saint of the place. Following the traditions and practices of the Spanish missionaries and historians in recording the founding of a "pueblo" or town that usually coincides with the feast day of a saint and since the feast day of St. John the Baptist, falls on June 24 of each year, it follows thereof that Bago was founded on June 24, 1575. History only records 1575 as the year when Bago was founded so that the exact month and day can only be deduced from such traditional practices of the Spaniards. Manila, Cebu and Binalbagan also predicted the dates of their founding on the same historical situations; hence, the logical conclusion is that Bago City was officially founded on the month, day and year heretofore mentioned.[7]

As regards on how the community acquired its name, according to the manuscript of a Spanish historian, Diego Lope de Povedano, which is available in the library of the University of San Carlos, Cebu City, the community was named after a large tree called "Bago" under which, a native prince by the name of Mapagic died.

Another historical version is that the place got its name from a shrub called "bago-bago" which was then growing luxuriantly along the river banks.

17th Century

From the year 1575 up to the close of the 16th century, no historical account was written about the community. Bago came into the historical scene again when, at early part of the 17th century, a group of settlers settled along the banks of Bago River. The arrival of these settlers merged into a sizable village capable of self- governance. In later years, the descendants of these settlers petitioned the Spanish authorities to declare their village a "pueblo" or town and to name it "Bago". Among the petitioners were Manuel Sitchon, Gregorio Varela, Paulino Torres, Jacinto Araneta, Clemente Celis, Mariano Gonzaga and Fernando Villanueva, whose forebears hailed from the town of Molo, lloilo. The said petition was finally granted by the Spanish authorities in the year 1800; thus, Bago officially attained the status of a "pueblo" or town in that same year.

19th Century

Between the years 1800 and 1898, the inhabitants of Bago are among those who suffered tremendously under the Spanish tyranny, injustice and oppression. This social condition finally led to a great revolt on November 5, 1898 when on this day, General Juan Anacleto Araneta rallied his people in the struggle for freedom. This historic event was chronicled in a historical marker found in the city public plaza of Bago which bears the following inscriptions:

Republica de Negros

Together with General Aniceto Lacson who led the forces in Talisay, he was able to force the capitulation of the Spanish garrison at Bacolod thus putting an end to the Spanish sovereignty in the province. Forthwith, a revolutionary government was established with General Juan A. Araneta as the Acting Governor. The Municipality of Bago, an election was held and Ramon del Castillo became the first elected municipal president who served in such capacity from the year 1898 up to the year 1900.

20th Century

In April, 1901, the Americans came and established a civil government in the province of Negros Occidental which completely abolished the revolutionary government of General Araneta. Bago as one of the towns that were placed under the control of the Americans; however, they allowed the municipality to be governed by Filipino officials.

When the Japanese forces invaded the Philippines, the civil government of Bago was dissolved. The Japanese occupation forces tried to establish a provisional government but the local people refused to cooperate. When the joint American and Filipino forces including recognized guerrillas liberated the town on March 29, 1945, it was completely destroyed but rehabilitation work was immediately started.

Bago City was finally granted its cityhood on February 19, 1966, by virtue of Republic Act. No. 4382 with Manuel Y. Torres as the hold-over City Mayor until 1998.

Legal limitations on the number of successive terms disqualified Mayor Manuel Y. Torres in running again as city mayor and in the 1998 local elections, his wife, Janet e.Torres run as candidate for mayor and won. Mayor Janet served Bago City as city mayor for three consecutive terms.

Presently, the City of Bago is under the leadership of Mayor Nicholas Yulo.[7]

21st Century

On July 27, 2018 the city of Bago was awarded at Gawad Kalasag 2018 City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management as 1st Placer under Independent Component City Category.


Bago City has a total land area of 38,941 hectares, 3,651 ha. of which belongs to Mt. Kanla-on Natural Park. It is composed of 24 barangays, 16 of which are rural and 8 are urban. Based on NSO 2000 Census, urban barangays include Abuanan, Atipuluan, Caridad, Balingasag, Don Jorge Araneta, Ma-ao, Poblacion and Taloc. Barangay Ilijan, however, with a distance of 30.50 km from the city proper is the farthest barangay. Barangay Bacong has the biggest land area with 4,827.0350 hectares while Brgy Poblacion, as the smallest, has 311.5044 hectares. The city has 1,100 has-water area and 15 km coastline. Bago City is traversed by the widest river in the province, the Bago River, which starts from the northeast slope of Kanlaon Volcano and drains into Guimaras Strait.

It has moderately sloping to rolling lands. Slopes are raging from 0 to 3% comprises 22.911.42 has. 3 to 8% comprises 5,783.92 has. 8 to 18% comprises 4, 682.22 has, 18.1 to 30% comprises 1,514.84 has, 30 to 50% steep hills and rolling comprises 1,735.18 has. and a very steep and mountainous 50% above comprises 2,313.57 has.

Normally, the city is wet from May to December and dry from January to April with a temperature level of 24.40 degrees Celsius. Average rainfall recorded is 5.68 mm for 89 rainy days within a year while average humidity level is at 76.17%.


Bago City is politically subdivided into 24 barangays.

  • Abuanan
  • Alianza
  • Atipuluan
  • Bacong-Montilla
  • Bagroy
  • Balingasag
  • Binubuhan
  • Busay
  • Calumangan
  • Caridad
  • Don Jorge L. Araneta
  • Dulao
  • Ilijan
  • Lag-Asan
  • Ma-ao
  • Mailum
  • Malingin
  • Napoles
  • Pacol
  • Poblacion
  • Sagasa
  • Tabunan
  • Taloc
  • Sampinit


Population census of Bago
YearPop.±% p.a.
1903 23,630    
1918 26,262+0.71%
1939 53,874+3.48%
1948 56,693+0.57%
1960 58,834+0.31%
1970 71,653+1.99%
1975 89,213+4.49%
1980 99,631+2.23%
1990 122,863+2.12%
1995 132,338+1.40%
2000 141,721+1.48%
2007 159,933+1.68%
2010 163,045+0.70%
2015 170,981+0.91%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[3][8][9][10]

99.6% of the residents speak Hiligaynon/Ilonggo while 0.4% speak other languages such as Kinaray-a and Cebuano. When it comes to religion, 82% are Roman Catholic, 2% are Convention of the Philippines Baptist Church, 6% are Aglipayan, 3% are Iglesia ni Cristo and the remaining are either Jehovah's Witnesses, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Seventh Day Adventists, Evangelicals, etc.[11]

Here are some notes regarding the city's demographic information:

  • First recorded population was 23,630 in 1903
  • 2000 census showed that Bago City has a population of 141,721
  • Male Population is 72,777 (NSO 2000 Census)
  • Female Population is 86,944
  • Urban Population is 60,557 (NSO Census)
  • Rural Population is 81,164 (NSO Census)
  • Population Density is 362 persons per km2.
  • Barangay Ma-ao has the biggest population of 14,916
  • Barangay Bagroy has the lowest population of 1,305

Local government

Ramón D. Torres was elected as Mayor of Bago City in 2007, replacing Janet E. Torres, whose husband served as mayor for almost 40 years.[12] The coliseum located in the heart of the city is named after him.

List of former mayors of Bago

The following were the succeeding municipal presidents and mayors of Bago until the outbreak of the Second World War on December 7, 1941:

  • Eustracio Torres
1901-1903 (elected)
  • Sofronio Yulo
1904-1906 (elected)
  • Mariano Villanueva
1906-1907 (appointed)
  • Rufino Advincula
1907-1908 (elected)
  • Mariano Villanueva
1908-1909 (appointed)
  • Carlos Dreyfus
1910-1912 (elected)
  • Mariano Araneta
1912-1918 (elected)
  • Angel Salas
1919-1921 (elected)
  • Aguedo Gonzaga, Sr.
1922-1929 (elected)
  • Hilario D. Yulo
1930-1932 (elected)
  • Aguedo Gonzaga, Sr.
1933-1935 (elected)
  • Luis Matti
1936-1941 (elected)

The leadership since World War II:

  • Basilio Lopez
1945-1946 (appointed)
  • Humberto V. Javellana
1946 (appointed)
  • Carlos Dreyfus
1947 (appointed)
  • Jose T. Yulo
1947 (appointed)
  • Luis Matti
1948-1951 (elected)
  • Carlos Dreyfus
1951-1955 (elected)
  • Hon.Teodoro A. Araneta
1956-1959 (elected)
  • Manuel Y. Torres
1959-1986 (elected)
  • Enrique J. Araneta
1986-1987 (appointed OIC Mayor)
  • Roberto Matti
Dec. 1, 1987 -Jan. 31, 1988 (appointed OIC Mayor)
  • Rosemary Caunca
Feb 1, 1988 (appointed OIC Mayor)
  • Manuel Y. Torres
Feb 2, 1988-1998 (elected)
  • Janet E. Torres
1998-2007 (elected)
  • Ramon D. Torres
2007–2016 (elected)
  • Nicholas Yulo
2016- (elected)

Notable natives or residents


  1. "City". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  2. "Province:". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  3. Census of Population (2015). "Region VI (Western Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  4. "PSA releases the 2015 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates". Quezon City, Philippines. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  5. "Rare dolphins make Negros coastal waters their home". GMA News Online.
  6. "About Bago City – Bago City".
  7. "The Birth of a City… | City of Bago". Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
  8. Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region VI (Western Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  9. Censuses of Population (1903–2007). "Region VI (Western Visayas)". Table 1. Population Enumerated in Various Censuses by Province/Highly Urbanized City: 1903 to 2007. NSO.
  10. "Province of". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  11. "Geographical Features | City of Bago". Retrieved 2015-12-06.
  12. "The Birth of a City…". About Bago City. City of Bago. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.


  • Alfredo Saulo. (1991). "IV Bago: Birthplace of the Negros Republic". Jorge vargas Autobiography. University of the Philippine Press.
  • Violeta Lopez-Gonzaga. (1994). Land of Hope, Land of Want : A socio-economic history of Negros. Philippine National Historical Society.
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