Sometime in the middle of last year we had the opportunity to go to Bayawan city in Negros Oriental. I was going with my wife who was escorting her class at Southwestern University Social work department for a field trip. Their objective was to observe the best practices in terms of governance and the environmental initiatives of Bayawan’s local government.
We left our place very early in the morning to catch the 6 a.m. boat from Santander to go across Amlan, Negros. It was a long 3 hour torturous drive, at the least the beautiful sunrise scenery and the fresh sea breeze in Santander provided some respite for our suffering.
After almost an hour, we finally landed in Negros Oriental. We stopped to have breakfast afterward we started our long and arduous journey to Bayawan once again. (Another 3 hours to Bayawan)
After such long and tiresome trip, we finally arrived at Bayawan City. We immediately proceeded to the hotel that we will be staying.
The hotel was operated by the Bayawan city local government. The prices are very reasonable and the place looks really great! It was a huge complex that was meant as a one stop bus and transportation terminal. I was very much impressed. The Bayawan city government is still negotiating with the bus companies and other transportation groups to start using the terminal. Aside from it being a terminal and a hotel, the huge complex can also be used for functions and other commercial purposes.
Our guide was the tourism officer of Bayawan named Raffy. At about 2 p.m. my wife and her students had a meeting with the mayor. I was off to the Bayawan city hall to visit my good friend Dannel Fernandez who works at the legal department of Bayawan City. We had a good time catching up. At about 3 p.m. My wife together with her students picked me up. We are going to see the rest of beautiful Bayawan City.
Bayawan City is a small city, it is only a 3rd class component city. It has dubbed itself as the “Agricultural capital of the province.” But it is very progressive because of the good leadership of the incumbent mayor, Mayor German Sarana Jr.
Our first stop was the Bio-diesel plant. On our way there we passed by the fisher man’s wharf. We were informed that Bayawan City is one of the major suppliers of fish in other cities like Cebu and Dumaguete.
The bio-diesel plant is one of the most innovative projects of the current administration. Bayawan city has successfully used bio-diesel to run some of its vehicles. What the city is further planning is to plant more Jatropha in order to produce a substantial amount of bio-diesel. The plant is still a working prototype. They are planning to build a bigger one.
Next stop is the future Bayawan City hall area. Bayawan City plans to put all government offices in one location. This is indeed a good idea as it will help maximize the efficiency of the government. (No more need to travel long distances to reach one office) The idea is to kind of put up a “Washington D.C,” a centralized location for all government offices both national and local. The place is located in a hilly area. The necessary infrastructures such as roads and landscapes are already in place. What is just needed is for them to build the metal buildings. The local prison is already located there.
Afterwards we then proceeded to another innovative project of Bayawan city, the water recycling-treatment facility. We were told that the city is using German technology to do this. With the help of German consultants, Bayawan city has already a working facility that services several houses in one area. What the water recycling facility does is take water used in the household, pass it on to several stages of filtration and treatment. The result is clean water. Said water can even be used for drinking! (Although the people there do not drink it as they cannot bear the thought that it came from waste water) We were told that the German consultant who worked on the project drank the treated water. (We do not know though if he is still alive right now hehehehe just kidding) The clean water is used for watering gardens and for other general water uses. Bayawan city is planning to put up more water recycling and treatment facilities in several areas in the city to service more household. In that area also we were shown the government housing project.
I was really impressed with the progress of Bayawan City. I asked Raffy how the mayor initiated the change, because usually when you do a lot of changes for the better you encounter a lot of opposition. Raffy told me that what the Mayor first did was instill “character” into the leadership and the people of Bayawan. Bayawan City has a program called “character first.” For more information on this you can visit the Bayawan City official website. (whew ! I wish we had this in all cities!)
Going back to the hotel we passed through Bayawan city’s boulevard, said to be the longest in the country. Since we were so exhausted we decided to go back to the hotel to get some rest.
In the evening we went back to the Bayawan Boulevard to have dinner at the Talipapa. We spent time walking in the boulevard and enjoyed the nice cool sea breeze.
The next day before we left the city we stopped by the Bayawan marketplace to buy Bayawan’s specialty. “Baye-baye” is a soft marshmallow like confection made out of rice. I absolutely love it! (I have a thing for marshmallows) Afterwards we proceeded to Dumaguete City to take a little rest and recreation at Forest Camp, Dumagete City. Although I’ve been there several times already, the place still never ceases to amaze me.
With good governance, beautiful places and beautiful people, Bayawan City is set to be poised as one of the emerging cities in Central Visayas in the near future. I’ve heard that a lot of foreigners have already relocated there. Bayawan city has been awarded and recognized not only locally but internationally as well for its environmental initiatives. Mayor German Sarana Jr. is said to be on his last term there. I hope that whosoever will replace him will continue his projects. I call on the good mayor to rise to the challenge to take his good leadership up further. (Running for governor might be a good idea)
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