If you’ve been busy traveling to other please and haven’t heard of the Philippines before, it is a beautiful country known for its 7,000+ islands. To those who know of this place and may have even visited the country, you are aware of just how lovely, relaxing and unique it is. Every trip to this Southeast Asian paradise is sure to make memories that you will cherish for years.
Looking into the most treasured cities and islands, you may come across a place called Bacolod City. Though it may not be the most popular destination in the Philippines, it still ranks one of the most visited cities in the country. Why? Because there are many things to do in Bacolod City. We believe it is mainly because of the kind and very welcoming people. Can it also be because of the city’s rich history and culture? Well, it may also be the savory home-cooked meals (not to mention the most delicious chicken inasal that originated in Bacolod). Whatever the reason may be, Bacolod tourist spots are definitely worth exploring. We will tell you what´s the best time to visit Bacolod City, hotels in Bacolod City to stay and what to eat in Bacolod City.
Of course, Bacolod isn’t perfect. I mean, sure, it may not have the most breathtaking sights and the most beautiful landscapes ever. But you will surely keep coming back for more once you visit the place. The “why” is for you to find out.
Here in this article, you’ll learn all about how you can travel to Bacolod City. We will also give you our insights on why we think you should really visit this city at least once in your life.
Best time to visit Bacolod City
Bacolod can be found in Negros Island, on the Philippines’ Visayan region. It has been dubbed as “The City of Smiles” because of the warmth and friendliness of its people. Throughout the year, visitors from all over the country and foreigners from other parts of the globe flock to Bacolod to experience its people’s congeniality and the warmth of its tropical climate. It’s residents bask in the sun’s glory from December to May, which is the country’s dry season and is the best time to visit Bacolod tourist spots. The remaining months vary from light rains to thunderstorms, so it’s always best to plan your trip along those dry months.
For those looking for a street party, the Masskara Festival is held during the fourth Sunday of October each year. This is the city’s most important festival and is another great time to visit other Bacolod tourist spots.
How to get Wi-Fi in Bacolod City
Like many of its neighboring cities and provinces, Bacolod in Negros Occidental is already a highly urbanized area. Connecting to the internet will not be an issue when visiting this city as many of its residents also rely on stable net access for their day to day activities. There are countless spots that offer free Wi-Fi in the city. You can check WiMan.com before or during your trip for their extensive list of hotspots.
Another option is to buy a local SIM card. The biggest networks in the country are Smart and Globe. The latter offers an unlimited texting plus 1 GB internet surfing package for as low as 1.31 USD for an entire week.
How to get to Bacolod City
Bacolod City is a 45-minute plane ride away from the capital city of the Philippines, Manila. Once you get to Bacolod-Silay Airport, you will then take a 20-minute shuttle or taxi ride that will take you to the heart of Bacolod. Most of the tourists traveling to Bacolod come from Iloilo City and Manila, but there are also plenty of foreign visitors in the city throughout the year. There are airlines like Philippines Airlines with flights from Manila, Davao and even from Clark (where we are based, in Angeles City) and Cebu Pacific Air from those coming from Manila and Davao.
By Fastcraft Ferry
If you’re traveling to Bacolod from Iloilo, you can take a fastcraft ferry with regular schedules to and from both islands. The fees vary but the cheapest one you can get as a tourist is worth around 4.30 USD only. Taxis and shuttle buses/cars will not cost you more than 6 USD.
One of the many great things about traveling to Bacolod is how everything is really cheap and affordable! From the food and fares, this city’s affordability will keep your budget intact and will allow you to enjoy different things to do in Bacolod!
Since Bacolod is a highly urbanized city, you can easily go from one place to another through jeepneys, taxis, Grab taxi, tricycles, motorcycles and shuttle cars/buses. However, for first timers, riding a jeepney could get a little confusing because you would have to be familiar with the routes if you are to ride one. But it sure sounds like an adventure, right? After all, the good thing about getting lost is meeting the friendliest people. The Hiligaynons of Bacolod will never hesitate to give you directions and talk to you if you need any help!
If getting lost isn’t your kind of adventure, you could always join a tour or hire a travel agency. Fortunately, tours in Bacolod City don’t cost much and can definitely fit in your budget. It’s a hassle-free, tried and tested way to go around the city.
Hotels in Bacolod City
There are over a hundred pension houses and numerous very accommodating hotels in Bacolod City. These accommodations can be found all over town and have easy access to the best tourist spots. Here’s a short list of pension houses, hotels in Bacolod City along with the cost of stay per night:
THE SUITES AT CALLE NUEVA
MAINSTREET PENSION HOUSE
Double room (good for 2 persons) – P900 / night
Triple room (good for 3 persons) – P1,200 / night
L’FISHER HOTEL (4-star Hotel)
Rooms per night costs from P2,000
Standard room twin (good for 2 persons) – P2,300 / night
Standard room queen (good for 2 persons) – P2,300 / night
Deluxe room twin – P3,200 / night
Deluxe room twin – P3,200 / night
SEDA HOTEL (4-star Hotel)
Rooms per night costs from P4,000
These hotels in Bacolod City are accommodating and affordable. We recommend that you try one of these many options as they are sure to give you the comfort and rest that you deserve after a long day of traveling and exploring.
Things to do in Bacolod City And Tourist Spots in Bacolod City
From resorts to churches to old buildings, Bacolod City and its neighboring communities have so much to offer visitors. Negros Occidental has become the ideal blend of old and new, and Bacolod lies in the heart of it all. Those who haven’t seen and experienced the wonders of Bacolod, Talisay and Silay will surely enjoy discovering these iconic places.
1. See San Sebastian Cathedral
Located in downtown Bacolod City, San Sebastian is a famous church all over the country. Many Filipinos visit this church to attend mass there at least once in their lives. What makes the cathedral so special, you ask? Its stone structure was officially built in 1876 and was made with coral stones from Guimaras and hardwood from Palawan. After almost a century, it has been renovated several times and has transformed to the architectural beauty it is today. The interiors can fill you with solemnity and awe at the same time.
2. Have An Adventure At Mambukal Resort In Murcia
Located 1,200 meters above sea level, this mountain resort is a unique getaway that travelers from all over the world will surely enjoy. From trekking the 7 waterfalls to riding a zipline to wall climbing, Mambukal Resort has so many activities to offer! Apart from that, the food here is delicious and perfectly matches the cool, breezy atmosphere of the entire place. For those who just want to relax, they have a warm sulfur dipping pool, a boat lagoon, a butterfly garden, hot springs and the Mambukal River.
There is an entrance fee of 1 USD for adults and there are plenty of accommodations to choose from. You can also avail packages to make the most of your trip that cost from 14 to 28 USD. Murcia is only an hour away from Bacolod.
3. Explore Campuestohan Highland Resort
A truly exciting resort to visit, Campuestohan Highland Resort is a sight to behold. Not only does it offer lots of fun-filled activities, the resort itself is beautifully structured. There are tepee-shaped and igloo-shaped camp houses, a mini train, pools for adults and children, a wave pool, huge playgrounds and a hanging bridge. Other delightful installation include the Heroes Hall where you can find statues of different characters like The Hulk, Wonder Woman, Thor, and even Elvis Presley. They also have a massive King Kong statue that actually roars so loud, it can be heard all around the resort.
Campuestohan rests 800 meters above sea level and the weather there is comparable to the country’s coldest spots like Tagaytay and Baguio. There are many activities that you can try to keep yourself warm and occupied. There’s the hamster wheel, sky bicycle riding, a zip line, horse back riding, bungee trampoline, and many more! There’s also a spa and a restaurant pavilion for those who just want to chill and relax.
The resort has a 2.80 USD entrance fee and is open from 7 AM to 6 PM for those not staying in the resort’s cabins. Each activity also requires a small fee but the entrance fee already comes with access to the resort grounds, swimming pool, hanging bridge and playgrounds.
4. Marvel At The Ruins In Talisay City
The Ruins is an iconic destination in the region and the entire country as well. Recently, more people have come to visit this historic place because of its beauty. It’s truly an Instagram-worthy spot! Historically speaking, this Italianate mansion was created for Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson. It was his way of commemorating his Portuguese wife after she passed away from giving birth to their 11th child. Crazy, right? The Ruins sits on a 440-hectare sugar plantation owned by the aforementioned baron. It was eventually burnt down to prevent Japanese forces from using it as their headquarters during the Second World War. What stands today is what’s left of the building, which still looks beautiful and majestic despite it being “ruined.”
Now, it can be visited daily from 8 AM to 8 PM for an entrance fee of less than 2 USD per person. You can also hold special events in its gardens.
More things to do in Bacolod City
5. Go Around Silay City
You can find Silay City in the North of Bacolod. Silay, so much as Bacolod, has a beautiful history and a rich culture. The city is filled with ancestral homes and mansions, old building and historical sites which makes it quite popular among tourists visiting Negros. The city’s vintage look reels in visitors who enjoy architecture and are interested in taking lots of beautiful photos.
There are many wonderful places to visit in Silay. The following spots are some of the closest ones to the city’s public plaza and can be easily explored by yourself or on a tour.
6. Balay Negrense
Previously the mansion of sugar baron Victor Fernandez Gaston, this 19th-century building has been turned into a museum. It now houses beautiful pieces of furniture and has officially been declared a heritage house by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in 1994. Locals and tourists love visiting this mansion because of its creepy vibe and the wonderful story behind it. It is also the first museum in Negros Occidental.
7. El Ideal Bakery
Another oldie but goldie in Negros is El Ideal Bakery. It is the oldest bakeshop and restaurant in the entire province, and is located in the Cesar Lacson Locsin Ancestral House, another heritage site. Here, you can enjoy all kinds of meals served with bread or rice. Pastries and delicacies abound for tourists to enjoy; there’s piaya, angel cookies and all sorts of pies. You will definitely want to eat your heart out in this local favorite.
8. Bernardino Jalandoni Museum
Famously known as the “Pink House,” this ancestral home has been a National Historical Landmark since 1993. It’s unique color and architecture attracts many visitors, all of whom give nothing but praise to the museum. Completed in 1908, the house is a beautiful combination of Silaynon architecture and European furnishing. Bernardino Jalandoni Museum showcases the richness of Philippine history and how great its foreign influences were as well.
9. San Diego Pro-Cathedral
Easily distinguishable from all other churches in the province, San Diego Pro-Cathedral is the only church in Negros Occidental that has a dome. If you’re wondering what a pro-cathedral is, it’s basically a runner up to the existing cathedral in the province, the San Sebastian Cathedral. Though it ranks at second place in this respect, it is still a beautiful building that attracts many tourists. It was designed by an Italian architect and was built in 1925.
10. Pulang Tubig Waterfalls
Pulang Tubig (literally “red water”) can be found in a protected area called the Northern Negros Natural Park. The park is surrounded by lush forests and several river systems that make the area a tranquil sanctuary, perfect for those who want to be one with nature. To reach Pulang Tubig, you need to go trekking from a lovely community called Patag, which is 20 minutes away from Silay City and about an hour-long ride from Bacolod City. Aside from the majestic waterfalls, the park is also home to native birds, deer, bats and different local plants.
What to eat in Bacolod City
Inasal is Bacolod’s pride and joy, making it the #1 must-try food in the city. This unique version of charcoal grilled chicken originated in Bacolod and is cooked with a marinade of calamansi, coconut vinegar, pepper and annato. All these herbs and spices give inasal its unique flavor that people from all over the world fall in love with. Since Bacolod is inasal‘s hometown, there’s no better place to try it than here. Head on out to Manokan Country, Bacolod’s street market that specializes in this delightful chicken dish.
If you’ve ever heard of bulalo, it would be easy enough for you to imagine what cansi is, the Ilonggo version of said Filipino dish. For those who think those two words sound made up, bulalo and cansi are basically dishes cooked with the same main ingredient: beef shank. However, the shank isn’t necessarily the highlight of cansi. The star is actually the bone marrow, which can be eaten by using the wrong end of your spoon/fork to scoop the marrow from the bone. Even shaking the bone downwards to let the marrow fall out might do the trick!
This seafood fish famous all over the Philippines is said to be comparable to ceviche. In essence, though, kinilaw (literally “eaten raw”) refers to the process of using vinegar’s acidity to cook meat or fish. It is more commonly used with fish and is served with other souring ingredients like green mangoes. It is then seasoned with pepper, chili and onions. It does well as an appetizer but is more ideally served with beer as pulutan (finger food). With the abundance of fresh fish in Bacolod, kinilaw isn’t hard to find.
Also known as lumpiang sariwa or lumpiang ubod, this delicacy is literally just fresh spring rolls and is abundant in Bacolod. Unlike the more typical preparation of spring rolls, lumpiang bacolod is not friend and is eaten with a soft wrapper, special peanut sauce and vegetables inside. This dish is pretty common all over the country and is a popular merienda or mid-day snack.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are plenty of other seafood available in Bacolod like shrimp and talaba (oysters). Of course, different kinds of fish also abound in Bacolod and they are prepared and processed in different ways. One famous variant of fish found in the region is danggit, or salted and dried rabbitfish. It’s crunchy and salty, perfect to dip in vinegar, eat with hot rice and fried egg in the morning. Yum!
Festivals in Bacolod City
Like any Catholic or Europe-influenced nation, the Philippines holds lots of festivals all over its islands. These celebrations vary from place to place, and some of the most exciting and colorful ones can be found in the Visayas region, particularly in Negros Occidental. Here are two of the best festivals in the area to attend:
Celebrated every fourth Sunday of October, Masskara Festival is one of the best street parties in the entire nation. Bacolod is famously known as The City of Smiles, and the masks worn by performers on the streets show eternal smiles on their faces as they give their praise and thanks through dance. All the participants aim to please audiences and do their best to win the annual street dance competition. At night, the competition is taken to a whole new level with the Electric Masskara event where participants use lights for their costumes.
Panaad sa Negros Festival
As we’ve mentioned, the Philippines is home to a multitude of festivals all over the archipelago. One province doesn’t hold just one festival each year; each one has various things to celebrate! A great way to catch up on all the festivals you’ve missed in Negros is to attend the Panaad sa Negros Festival. This celebration is held in Panaad Park and Panaad Stadium. Events include the Festival Dances competition, Folk Dance competition and the Lin-ay sang Negros (Festival Queen Coronation Night).
That’s it for us! We hope you enjoyed reading this guide and learned a lot about Bacolod and Negros. If you liked our Bacolod City Travel Guide, share it with your friends on Facebook. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!