Your Ultimate Guide in Exploring the City of Smiles-Bacolod

December 17, 2018


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.

Welcome to the City of Smiles

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:

The Masskara Festival is a unique celebration to witness its people’s joyful spirit

MassKara Festival

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.

A Heritage Site with a Story of Fame, Power and Tragedy

The Ruins

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.

Manokan Country

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.

Bamboo Bridge

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:

The Infamous Chicken Bacolod Inasal

Roli’s Cafe

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.

Chicken House

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

Balay Negrense

El Ideal Bakery

Bernardino Jalandoni Museum

San Diego Pro-Cathedral

Pulang Tubig Waterfalls

Blessed with natural features, Mambukal Resort is a perfect haven for Negros visitors.

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:

Go Hotels

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.

Business Inn

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.

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