Bacolod is known as the City of Smiles, because of the warm welcome you will receive when you come and visit. The city is also home to rich local history, a vibrant food culture and the best nature has to offer. Discover this for yourself when you come to Bacolod.
1. Get to know local history and culture: the Negros Museum
The Negros Museum is housed in a building that was built during the American colonial period, thus its architecture reflects the style of that period. If you want to peek into how the people of Negros Island lived their lives in the early days, this is the place to go. You will learn about the elegant lifestyle of old families through the museum’s collection of old furniture and fixtures from ancestral houses. Aside from this, the museum also hold exhibits displaying artwork. It also is a child-friendly museum.
Address: Provincial Capitol Complex, Gatuslao Street, Bacolod City
How To Access: Take a taxi, locally called PU, to the Provincial Capitol Complex. Most taxi drivers are familiar with this site.
Operating Hours: 9 am to 6 pm, Monday to Saturday
Website: The Negros Museum
2. Get to know local history and culture: the San Sebastian Cathedral
The San Sebastian Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church Diocese of Bacolod City. Founded in 1876, this centuries-old church is a symbol of the influence of the Catholic faith in Philippine history. The church’s patron saint, Saint Sebastian, was designated the protector of the early settlements in the area, which eventually became the city of Bacolod. The church is in the Baroque style and is made of coral stones. Instead of one bell tower, the church has two bell towers, which were constructed in 1885.
San Sebastian Cathedral
Address: Rizal Street, Bacolod City
How to Access: Take a taxi to the cathedral
3. Get to know local history: Capitol grounds and lagoon
Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol Building and Lagoon Credit to the photographer.Posted by Negros Occidental Provincial Government on Monday, 5 March 2012
The provincial seat of government of Negros Occidental is found in Bacolod City. The government building, which holds the offices of the governor, is located within a sprawling park with a man-made lagoon. Locals love to jog and walk around the park, and during weekends, it is also a good place to hold picnics. The park also serves as a venue for provincial events such as agricultural trade fairs and other celebrations. Concerts and other musical events are also organized as part of the Concert at the Park series. The lagoon contains live tilapia, which can be fed by visitors and guests. The park features a pair of sculptures, made by an Italian artist, of a man and woman with a water buffalo. The park is always open, any day of the week. Most taxis are familiar with this site.
Negros Capitol Park and Lagoon
Address: Provincial Capitol Complex, Bacolod City
Facebook page: To check if there are events at the park, visit Negros Occidental Provincial Government
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4. Celebrate with the locals: the MassKara Festival in October
On the third weekend of October every year, the city comes alive with their annual MassKara Festival. The name of the festival is a combination of two words: mass, to signify the mass of people, and kara, which means “face.” The festival features a “multitude of faces.” The term “maskara” also means mask, and a lot of masks are used during the festival. All of the masks show smiling faces, to symbolize Bacolod as the city of smiles. Nowadays, the masks made and used during the festival are heavily influenced by the masks of the Carnival of Venice and the Rio Carnival. Intricately designed masks are usually made and sold as souvenirs during the festival.
Among the regular events, you can catch during the festival is the street dancing parade and competition, the MassKara Queen beauty pageant, the food festival, and the agricultural trade fair.
The MassKara Festival
Address: Lacson Street, Bacolod City
Duration: every third weekend of October, yearly
Facebook page: The MassKara Festival
5. Eat local food: try the chicken inasal
Ang Inasal nga gina balik balikan sa Manokan Country sa Bacolod ❤Posted by Bacolodnon Ko 'Ya on Thursday, 9 February 2017
Chicken inasal is a famous Bacolod delicacy. It is actually roasted chicken that has been marinated in lime, vinegar, pepper, and a natural food coloring called annato, which gives the chicken its signature yellowish tinge. As it grilled over an open flame, the chicken is continuously basted with the marinade. Being a local delicacy, there are many restaurants that serve inasal but most people, especially the locals, choose Manokan Country along Fr. M. Ferrero Street. This place is actually a conglomeration of several small restaurants that serve inasal. If you ask the locals, the place they will recommend is Aida’s. Because this is a popular place, most taxi drivers know their way here.
Address: Fr. M. Ferrero Street, Bacolod City
Operating Hours: 9 am to 12 am, daily
Contact Information: +63-34-4340603
6. Eat local food: seafood cooked the way you like it at Pala-Pala
Pala-Pala is an area in downtown Bacolod that started out as a seafood market, where locals can buy cheap and fresh seafood. When small restaurants and cookeries started sprouting up near the market, people ended up bringing their seafood to these eateries to have them cooked the way they like it. The restaurants would usually charge a minimal cooking fee depending on the ingredients needed for a dish. This is casual dining at its best in the city, where you can eat the freshest seafood without breaking the bank. You can have your seafood cooked with soup, with a sauce, steamed, grilled, or even pickled, but it is best to ask the cooks what is suitable for your catch. The market is open from 11 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 3 am.
If you want the Pala-Pala experience without going to the seafood market, you can try any of the Pala-Pala style restaurants in the city. You still get to choose your seafood and how it is cooked. Most taxi drivers are familiar with the old seafood market and the nearby restaurants.
Pala-Pala Seafood Restaurants
7. Shop for local crafts: the Negros Showroom
The Negros Showroom is a shopping haven if you are looking for local crafts to buy and bring back home. This showroom was established by the Association of Negros Producers, a group of local producers that are mainly cottage or home-based industries. Local crafts and products are on display here and guests can pick and buy anything that catches their fancy. Clothing and accessories that are handcrafted or handmade can be found here. Food products and even fresh produce are also available. If you purchase products from the showroom, it will be a great help to the small producers who are part of the association.
The Negros Showroom
Address: Robinsons Citywalk, Robinsons Place Mandalagan, Bacolod City
Operating Hours: 9 am to 7 pm, daily
Facebook page: The Negros Showroom
8. Around Bacolod: the ruins in Talisay
This old mansion was owned by Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson, whose family was big in the sugar industry back then. According to locals, he built this mansion in loving memory of his Portuguese wife, who died while carrying their 11th child. After her death, he embarked on constructing a mansion for his children. He constructed this mansion with superior materials, and because Don Mariano had access to imported goods, the mansion turned out to be one of the most beautiful structures in the area. The family, however, left the mansion when World War II started. During the Japanese occupation, American forces burned down the mansion to prevent the Japanese from using it as their headquarters, thus only the pillars and the grand staircase remain.
Address: Talisay City, Negros Occidental
How To Access: To reach the Ruins, you may take a cab from Bacolod City or from the Silay-Bacolod Airport. It only takes 15 to 20 minutes to reach Talisay. There is also a shuttle that can take you from the airport to the Ruins. The shuttle service in Bacolod City is at GO Hotel.
Operating Hours: 8 am to 8 pm, daily
Website: The Ruins
9. Around Bacolod: adventure at Campuestohan Highlands
You can swing by Campuestohan Highlands Resort after your visit to the Ruins, because both are located in Talisay City. This resort offers several adventure rides that will get your adrenaline rushing. There is a zip line, a four-lane sky bicycle track, a ropes course, and a cable hamster wheel. For the kids, there is a grand carousel, a mini train, and lots of open areas for running around. If you want to take a dip, there are several swimming pools. While this is good for a day trip, you can also opt to stay overnight to enjoy the cool mountain breeze in this area.
Located on the border of Bacolod City and Talisay City, the resort is only 30 to 45 minutes away from Bacolod. The resort also offers a shuttle service from the city (Villa Angela Arcade, Burgos Street) on weekends only.
Campuestohan Highland Resort
Address: Talisay City, Negros Occidental
Operating Hours: Resort - 7 am to 6 pm
How To Access: Take a taxi to Barangay Alangilan, Bacolod City, where you can ride a tricycle to Campuestohan. If going on a weekend, take the shuttle service from the city that leaves at 9 am and comes back to the city at 4 pm.
Website: Campuestohan Highland Resort
10. Around Bacolod: cool off at Mambukal Resort in Murcia
2nd Place- Sights and Attractions - - Jerick Daryll Pillo, Bago CityPosted by Mambukal Resort _Official Page_ on Monday, 6 July 2015
Mambukal Resort is a government-owned and operated resort located in the village of Minoyan, Murcia Town. The resort is situated about 365 meters (1,200 feet) above sea level and serves as a gateway to Mt. Kanlaon National Park. It is only 30 to 45 minutes by private car from Bacolod, but with public transportation, it would take you between 1 to 1.5 hours to reach the park. Among the facilities in the resort are three swimming pools, a warm sulfur dipping pool, a Japanese ofuro or hot tub, and a bath house. If you prefer not getting wet, you can go boating in the lagoon, take the canopy walk, try the zipline, or climb the wall. Or better yet, arrange for a trek to the famed Mambukal Falls.
Address: Barangay Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental
How To Access: Via private car, the resort is a 30 to 45 minute drive through Murcia Town. Public utility vehicles to Murcia are available at the northwestern side of the Libertad Public Market. Jeepney trips to Mambukal start at 7:20 a.m. to 7 p.m. and are about 35 PHP (0.70 USD) per person.
Website: Mambukal Resort
How to get to Bacolod and other tips
From Manila, several commercial airlines fly to Bacolod daily. The airport, however, is not in Bacolod City, but in nearby Silay City. Shuttle services to and from the Silay City airport are available in SM City Bacolod and the Phoenix Gasoline station on Araneta Street. If you plan to join the MassKara festivities, book your flights and hotels several months in advance as this is peak season for travel to Bacolod.
Always remember that the key to enjoying Bacolod is to try new things and open yourself to new experiences. And enjoy the smiles of locals in this City of Smiles.
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