Your Ultimate Guide in Exploring the City of Smiles-Bacolod
It is popularly known as the Sugar Capital of the Philippines and is home to the country’s famous chicken inasal. Whether you’ve already been to Bacolod or not, this treasured city in the Negros Island will definitely amaze you.
So yeah, I’m recommending you to visit Bacolod City simply because it has a lot to offer in terms of delightful food, breathtaking tourism, fun activities, and of course, the friendly locals.
And if you’re into delicious pastry, there are plenty of local shops you can check out in the city! Plus, there are a lot more finds here in Western Visayas aside from the precious smiles of the people. At least that’s what my personal experience made me realize.
Things to Do in Bacolod City
First thing first, the most important thing to know about the interesting city of Bacolod is its rich culture and tourism. With that being said, the following are the ultimate things you can do while in the Philippines’ Sugar Capital:
If you haven’t witnessed the MassKara Fest yet, then joining the festival while you’re in the city is a must. It’s one of the best experiences you’ll ever have when visiting Bacolod. You will see the brightest smiles and the most vibrant festivities in the Philippines.
Another exciting thing to do is visit The Ruins, also known as the Taj Mahal of Negros. The mansion was built to commemorate the tragic death of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson’s wife, who feel in their bathroom. It was demolished by the Americans because they feared it will be occupied by the Japanese.
If you want to enjoy a scrumptious meal, then you can dine with your friends at the Manokan Country. This is where you can try Bacolod’s specialty, Chicken Inasal. However, there are other plenty of menus you can choose from the food stalls.
Museums and Heritage Sites
Since you’ll be arriving at Silay airport, might as well check some of the heritage houses in the area. I visited the museums and was awed by the impressive Spanish-inspired structures that preserve the cultural arts of the city as well as the eco-tourism of Western Visayas.
Have you ever crossed a bamboo bridge before? Well if you haven’t tried it yet, then you can experience the “longest bamboo bridge” here in Visayas. It’s located in the Balaring Mangrove where you will also witness some rare birds and mangroves.
Best Places to Eat in Bacolod
Now the best part, indulging in a food trip. The following are some of the most popular restaurants and food stalls I have tried in Bacolod City:
If you happen to be in La Salle Avenue between 7 in the morning until 10 in the evening, you can check out this cafe. They offer the best homegrown snacks that the city has to offer. I’ve tried some pastries and delicious treats and even brought some as pasalubong.
Another great stop is Calea in Lacson Street. They offer meals with yummy sweets and desserts. You can try some of their best-seller cakes and take home for your loved ones. It’s a perfect treat for family and friends.
Of course, you would not want to miss an important meal of the day, the pride of Bacolod – Chicken Inasal. I know I’ve already mentioned Manok Country, but this is a great alternative if you haven’t tried it yet.
Must-See Tourist Spots in Bacolod
San Sebastian Cathedral
Mambukal Resort, Murcia
Campuestohan Highland Resort
El Ideal Bakery
Bernardino Jalandoni Museum
San Diego Pro-Cathedral
Pulang Tubig Waterfalls
Top Hostels/Hotels in Bacolod
Enjoying a good accommodation that feels like you’re in the comfort of your home is important when traveling to places. I stayed at L’Fisher Hotel for a few days to explore the city. But there are other affordable options for you if you’re traveling in a budget:
Located in Mandalagan, Bacolod City, this hotel offers room frates starting at 1,100 pesos. It is close to malls, restaurants, and tourist spots around the city.
If you’re staying in Singcang, then Sugarland is the perfect place. Room rates are as low as 2,200 pesos and you can enjoy a hacienda-inspired interior in their rooms.
Hometown Hotel Bacolod
For only 1,066 pesos, you can stay at a decent hostel in Bacolod. They offer almost similar service as those big hotels in the city, but at a more affordable price.
Another affordable hostel in the city is Business Inn. It’s a perfect choice if you’re backpacking the city or a solo traveler.
When to Visit the City of Smiles
Visitors, local and foreign, can visit Bacolod any time of the year. But if you want to enjoy its warmth and tropical climate, then you are welcome to visit the place during summer or hot months. I went here just last October to experience MassKara Festival and the weather is good.
To enjoy the sun, you can book your airline ticket to the City of Smiles between December to May. This is a dry season and the perfect time to indulge in the white sand beaches as well as waterfalls around the island.
How to Get There
From Manila, my flight only took 45 minutes before we arrived at the Bacolod-Silay airport. From the airport, you can book Grab or take any taxi you see near the airport to check in to your hotel. In less than one hour, you can reach Bacolod from Silay.
When it comes to transportation, Bacolod offers plenty of options to get to your destination in between cities. You can take a taxi, Grab, tricycle, jeepney, shuttle bus, or even motorcycle to get around the city. I rode the jeepney because it’s much cheaper and convenient while I explore the beautiful city of smiling people.