Bayawan City was known as the Agricultural Capital of Negros Oriental for many years. Great and huge productions of agricultural products give the city it’s titled. With the help of scaregrow or “tawo-tawo’ for what the farmers called it, this technique had been known to be an effective great scare to drive the pesky little native birds called “maya” that feed on the ripening golden rice grains resulted to the people to produce a much better and large amount of agricultural products that gives the city a faster economic growth. This agricultural method gives birth of “Tawo-tawo Festival”.
The Tawo-Tawo had been conceptualize as an off-shoot of the fiesta islands trend initiated by the Bayawan Healt Club and commenced by the Bayawan Habagat Jacees on 1986, to add more attraction to the fiesta celebration. Since then, several civic organizations took turns sponsoring this affair until the year 1990 when the LGU of Bayawan decreed it to be a regular part of the annual.
For several years now –the Tawo-Tawo Festival had drawn mixed crowds. Guests from other cities, municipalities and provinces came in droves to witness the street dancing spectacle and field presentation. Each year saw the performance of participating contingents being improvised with artistic innovations. Still, the tableau of rice culture from planting to harvesting replete with the primary characters: farmers, Mayas, Scarecrows and carabaos are presented by the contingents in an artistically choreographed movements synchronizing now to the beat of the drums and other musical instruments. In the past, participation is open to schools, barangays, private entities and even neighboring municipalities. Presently, the Tawo-Tawo Festival is confined as a competition among the 28 barangays in the city.
The field presentation has its center piece, the legend “How Bayawan got her Name”. In the dance drama presentation, it is told that the coming of the Spaniards in the Philippines as harbinger of the Christian Faith was not exactly met with welcome approval from the natives living in the islands. And Bayawan was among those who resisted the advent of the new faith.
When the Spanish Missionaries sat foot on the shores of Bayawan to spread Christianity, the Bukidnons, the so called natives of Bayawan were very recalcitrant to give up their own faith in favor to Christianity. Though peace loving in mature, these natives had a ritual practice involving the act of killing. “This kind if ritualistic killing known as “Magahat” practiced by the Bukidnons was to avenge the death of a member of their family. Those who were converted to Christianity continue to settle near-by where a chapel was built. Those who were dubious of the intentions of the white strangers and thinking that they were here to grab their lands went up to the mountains and waited for the perfect time to launch their assault.
One Sunday morning, while the townspeople were gathered inside the chapel to hear mass, a tragedy happened. In the middle of the Holy Eucharistic Celebration, when the priest hoisted the Holy Host in the act of Consecration, an enraged Bukidnon barged in the middle of the assembly and threw a lance to the priest, killing him. Thus, the name Bayawan, which is derived from the Visayan Word, “Bayaw” or to hoist.
Bayawan is considered as a 3rd class component city in the 3rd Congressional District of Negros Oriental, Philippines. It is located around 101 kilometers from Dumaguete, the Negros Oriental capital. Bayawan City has a land area of 699.08 km², the largest in the province. This accounts for 13% of the province’s land area. Mabinay bounds it to the north, Santa Catalina to the east, Tanjay City to the southeast, Basay to the west, and it also shares a boundary with Kabankalan City of Negros Occidental on the northwest. The coastline is 15 km west to east, with 7 coastal barangays