The Philippines, a country blessed with beautiful islands and exquisite nature sceneries. But I must say among these lovely features, there is one place here worth visiting for, and that is Negros Occidental. Negros Occidental is one of the most visited provinces in the south, where the well-known Bacolod, “The City of Smiles” is situated. Local and foreign tourists alike are looking forward to seeing the city’s “Maskara Festival” every October. Aside from the festival, Bacolod is also the home of the famous Mambukal Hot Water Resort, the 19th century old San Sabastian Church, and sumptuous batchoy, chicken inasal, and cakes. Other than this beautiful city, there are other locations in Negros Occidental that one should take time to visit, like The Ruins and Campuestuhan in Talisay, Perth’s Paradise Resort in Sipalay, and Lakawon Island in Cadiz.
Getting to Negros Occidental
It’s always the best option to go there by air. You can book a flight from your nearest airport going to Bacolod-Silay Airport.
The best place to stay in Negros Occidental
Last time I was in Negros Occidental was my third visit, and I always recommend to my friends to book their accommodation in Bacolod City. Taxis and TNVS (Transport Network Vehicle Services) are accessible compared to other neighboring cities. Mode of transportation going to other provinces in Negros Occidental is easier. There are a lot of good people to talk to in case you need assistance and they speak fairly- good English. Should you happen to miss your nightlife, there are bars ready to serve you. Now where in Bacolod City should you stay? I would say it would depend on your lifestyle or the kind of convenience you want to have. You can choose from 5 to 3 stars hotels in Bacolod, or if you’re a back-packer traveler like me, you can choose to book accommodation from a mobile app.
Must-see places in Bacolod City
San Sebastian Church
San Sebastian Church
You can start your Negros Occidental tour by visiting one of the oldest church in Bacolod City. It’s a 19th
century old Catholic Church, that was built during the Spanish Inquisition. Anyone can appreciate the church’s architectural beauty regardless of religion predilections. It opens at 7 am and closes at 8 pm. I got there via taxi from my rented place in Bacolod City, it was my first time. Taxi fare cost about Php 100 to Php 150 (USD 3.00) I didn’t realize that I can walk from my place going there, but of course, everyone learns from their mistakes, right? If you plan on walking, you can just ask for directions going to Bacolod Main Plaza, and you would see the church right across. Another option is to ride the Tricycle, which is the most common means of transportation in Bacolod. You can ask the driver to drop you off the San Sebastian Church, with a cheaper cost that would range at about Php 30 to Php 50 (USD 1.00), depending on your place’s distance to the church.
Inside San Sebastian Church
Mambukal Hot Water Resort
Mambukal Resort Entrance
Your Bacolod Trip would not be complete without relaxing in this Hot Spring Resort. Other than their hot spring pools, they also have a butterfly garden and 7 tier falls. From Bacolod City, you can ride a jeepney with a sign-board “Libertad”. Ask the driver to drop you off the Bus Terminal going to Mambukal Resort. Travel time from the city to the resort is approximately 45 minutes to 1 and a half hour. If I remember it correctly, the jeepney plus the bus ride cost me about Php 150 (USD 3.00)
One of the 7 falls in Mambukal Resort
Soon to be butterflies larvae
Butterfly landing in my hand
The entrance is Php 50 (USD 1.00). If you want to dip into their hot spring, the charge would be Php 100 (USD 2.00). Should you want to take a hike to visit the 7 falls, there would be a mandatory tour guide to assist you, they didn’t ask for a specific price, it’s for the tourist to decide how much they would pay the guide. As for the butterfly garden, they would charge you Php 50 (USD 1.00) for the entrance fee.
The hike starts towards the 7 falls
I love the facilities in this resort. From the peaceful hikes to the 7 falls, into dipping to their steamy hot springs, I can say this is one of my most relaxing experience so far. They also have spas and massage centers and a good food cafeteria, which you can visit once your legs get tired of walking.
21 Restaurant, Manokan Country and Calea
You better not be leaving Bacolod without tasting the food from these restaurants.
The best Batchoy I’ve ever tasted came from 21 Restaurant. They have varieties of luxurious worthy food, but their Batchoy is the bomb. Bacolod is known as the father of Chicken Inasal, one of the best restaurants in town is the Manokan Country.
Calea Pastries and Coffee Shop
You must save a room for desserts with Calea Cakes. Yet again, the best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten.
Other places to visit in Negros Occidental
Philippines’ version of Taj Mahal, located in Talisay Negros Occidental. It was a mansion built from love. It is one the most visited tourist attraction in Negros Occidental. I’m sure you would love the story of Don Mariano and Donya Maria while your guide tour you into this nearly 80 years old mansion.
Wire-biking in Campuestuhan
If you are looking for some thrilling activities, you should visit Campuestuhan in Talisay. It’s an amusement park resort perfect for wire biking, zip lining, swimming, obstacle course race, and many more.
Perth’s Paradise Resort
Perth’s Paradise Resort
A place that was also dedicated to the owner's other half. Negros Occidental is full of love stories, isn't it? It was named Perth from the birthplace of the Australian ex-owner of the resort. A rest house made for his wife, that is now developed as a beautiful resort.
Lakawon is the best place for those who love to go to the beach. I’m sure you will also enjoy the floating Bar, wherein you can drink, eat and dive. With its fine sand, you would love to do sunbathing until you get tired of it. Negros Occidental is a fine place for you to take a vacation with. It is only one of the beautiful places to visit in the Philippines. It has over 7,000 islands and most of them are not yet explored. Imagine all the beautiful places this country can offer us to visit.