First-time Travel Guide: Bacolod City
A Travel Guide for
First-time Travelers to Bacolod
Bacolod City (10° 40′ 12″ N, 122° 57′ 0″ E), known as the “City of Smiles”, is the capital of the province of Negros Occidental, which composes one half of Negros Island. It is located in the Visayas part of the Philippines, an archipelago in Southeast Asia with 7,107 islands.
This city has a rich history — from the bountiful sugar industry, to its downfall, to its rising from the ashes. But its most popular feature are its sweet food and its friendly people. It is home of the Masskara Festival, held every third weekend of October. (READ: Behind Masskara’s Smile)
HOW TO GET TO BACOLOD
Points of Entry: Bacolod is accessible through the Bacolod-Silay airport. Taxis and shuttle vans are available outside the arrival area that can take you to your hotel. If you are from outside the Philippines, you need to fly into one of the country’s hubs — Manila, Cebu, Iloilo and Davao — before you can get to Bacolod City.
From Manila: By plane, there are several flights everyday that serves the Manila-Bacolod and vice versa route. The flight is around an hour long. You can also opt to take the ship at the Port Area in Tondo, Manila, which will take you around 14 hours or more. If you are to take by private car, you can take the Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO) via the nautical highway that will bring you through six ports and four major islands. (READ: Road Trip to Bacolod)
From Cebu: By plane, it is just 45 minutes from Cebu to Bacolod. Another option is to take the bus, which will travel to the Toledo port and will cross the sea by barge to the San Carlos port. The trip will last to about 6 or more hours.
From Iloilo: Bacolod is accessible from Iloilo for 45 minutes or more via ferry. Bringing a vehicle via barge is about an hour or two long.
From Davao: There are several direct flights from Davao to Bacolod every week. One can also travel to Bacolod from Davao via Iloilo or Cebu.
Websites for flights, shipping and bus schedules:
WHERE TO STAY IN BACOLOD
Here is a list of various hotels in Bacolod City where you can stay during your visit. Choose based on your preference. You can opt for cheap and affordable hotels, or one that can provide you with comfort and convenience.
|L’Fisher Hotel/L’Fisher Chalet
14th Lacson Street
Bacolod City, 6100 Philippines
(+63 34) 433 3731
READ: 10 Reasons to Spend the Holidays at L’Fisher Bacolod
Araneta Street, Singcang
Bacolod City, 6100 Philippines
(+63 34) 435 2691 to 99
The Hostelry Bacolod
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN BACOLOD
You can create an itinerary based on the attractions below. Or, you can also refer to my post Five Days Around Bacolod, Silay, Talisay for an idea on how you can explore Bacolod and its vicinity.
- City Plaza – see the daily activities by the locals and spot some interesting statues that have been there for many years.
- Central Market – try the local coffee shops and stores that have become institutions in their own right.
- Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation – visit a piece of nature tucked within the city where animals are cared fore. It is located near the Provincial Capitol area (READ: Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation: Nature in the City)
- Sta. Fe Resort – enjoy a swim at the city’s oldest resort (READ: Sta. Fe, Bacolod’s Oldest Resort)
- Forest Park Resort – cool off in one of the pools and see some of the animals kept here (READ: First-time in Bacolod Forest Park Resort)
- San Sebastian Cathedral – this heritage structure is the seat of the Diocese of Bacolod
- Negros Museum – know the history of the province through a visit at the Negros Museum
- Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol – another heritage building in the city. Right in front of the Provincial Capitol is the man-made lagoon and park.
- Panaad Park – visit the booths of all 32 towns and cities of the province of Negros Occidental. Check out their products and attractions in their booths. (READ: First-time in Panaad sa Negros Festival Part I and Part II)
BACOLOD CITY IS ALSO THE GATEWAY TO
- Punta Ballo beach and Tinagong Dagat, Sipalay City – go on an island hop and enjoy the beautiful beaches, as well as the many snorkeling and diving sites. (READ: Sipalay City Island Hopping)
- Lakawon Island, Cadiz City – roll on the white sand beach or simply bask under the sun in this private island where you can be away from the crowd while you can have fun on a floating bar called Tawhai. (READ: First-time in Lakawon Island)
- Mambukal Resort, Murcia – trek to the falls, hike to the mountains, or take a dip at the hot spring. Mambukal has plenty to offer and you can even stay the night here. (READ: First-time in Mambukal)
- Rapha Valley, Don Salvador Benedicto – another place to spend a night or two. This is a vegan’s or organic food-lover’s haven. But be sure to book in advance prior to your visit. (READ: First-time in Rapha Valley)
- Campuestohan Highland Resort, Talisay – get near to the mountains, spend the night here, enjoy a swim in one of the pools, do some of the activities being offered here, and bond with your family and friends. (READ: First-time in Campuestohan)
- Peñalosa Farm, Victorias – advanced booking is also required in this organic farm, where you can enjoy farm tourism and know more about zero-waste farming. (READ: First-time in Peñalosa Farms)
- The Heritage Houses, Silay – travel back in time and see how Negrenses lived during olden times. (READ: Negros Bloggers go on a Silay Heritage Walk)
- The Ruins, Talisay – learn the story of the Lacson family through this mansion. (READ: First-time in the Ruins, Talisay)
WHERE TO EAT IN BACOLOD
There are plenty of restaurants in Bacolod. In fact, one of the main things many travelers to this city enjoy is going into a food trip. From international cuisines to local dishes, Bacolod has many spectacular eateries. (READ: Global Food Trip in Bacolod Restaurants and Eat’s More Fun in Bacolod)
Below are restaurants that are homegrown in Bacolod that you will love to try.
B.S. Aquino Drive, Bacolod City
+63 34 434 2409; +63 34 709 1307
Negros Museum Café
18th St. Pala-Pala Restaurant
Izumi Authentic Ramen
Delicioso Wine Food Coffee Restaurant
Felicia’s Pastry Café and Steak Room Restaurant
|Welcome Home Foundation’s Natural Garden Café
Consuelo Ave., Villa Valderama
Mandalagan, Bacolod City
+63 927 816 8757; +63 34 441 2031
21 Bar and Restaurant
Imay’s Bar and Restaurant
Calea Pastries and Coffee
- Getting around – it is easy to get from one point of Bacolod to another. Apart from taxis and tricycles available almost everywhere, there are also different jeepney routes that you can try when you commute. Bacolodnons are friendly people, so do not be afraid to inquire. Still, be sure to ask people who can be trustworthy. If you prefer tour packages, you can message the author as she has friends who are accredited tour guides (namely, Maricar Dabao, Betsy Gazo, and Artie Lacson.)
- What to buy – food is the primary product in Bacolod. But if home is a bit far away and you do not want to carry perishable goods, buy a mask at Jojo Vito’s Design Gallery (READ: Masks at the Jojo Vito Designs Gallery). Also, you can visit OISCA in nearby Bago City and buy their silk products (READ: Silk Making at OISCA Bago).
- Must-try – commodities in Bacolod are basically affordable and cheaper compared to other megacities. You should at least try the cakes and sweet delicacies in Bacolod, even in small quantities. Visiting a sugar plantation is also something interesting that you might want to experience.
- Language – while majority can understand and speak English, it is advisable to learn a little bit of Hiligaynon, the mother tongue of those living in Bacolod. The tone is singsong and very friendly. Here are a few phrases:
- Good morning – Maayong aga
- Good noon – Maayong udto
- Good afternoon – Maayong hapon
- Good evening – Maayong gab-I
- Let’s eat – Kaon ta
- Delicious – Namit
- How much…? – Tag-pila…?
- Thank you – Salamat
- How do I get to…? – Paano ko makakadto sa…?
- Very nice – Nami gid
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