Bacolod City offers some of the best finds in Western Visayas. Here you’ll find one of the best pastries (Napoleones), one of the most vibrant festivals (MassKara Festival), one of the best chicken dishes (Chicken Inasal), and even some of the best resorts and recreational centers (Lakawon Island, Campuestohan Highlands Resort).
To help you decide, here are 10 of the best things to do in Bacolod:
1. Join the MassKara Festival
If you want to experience Bacolod to the fullest, visit the Negros Occidental city during the Masskara Festival. Held every October, the fiesta is one of the happiest and most vibrant celebrations in the country, featuring street parties, colorful parades, mardi gras, concerts, and events that bring everyone together -- whether tourist or local. The Masskara festival is a month-long celebration you wouldn’t want to miss!
Location: All over Bacolod
- Join the festivities! The whole town will be painted red...and green, blue, orange, and yellow, as colorful masks and costumes highlight the parade. You can watch from the sidelines or bop with the street dancers.
- Enjoy the free concerts. All throughout October, street parties and concerts will be held at the Public Plaza. You’ll be able to enjoy music from the hottest bands to date for free!
- Make sure you make reservations for your hotel ahead of time! Hotels could get fully booked as the festival draws near.
- The Masskara Festival schedule is released before the fiesta kicks off. Plan your trip accordingly so you can squeeze in a trip to some tourist spots while not missing the festivities.
Phone: (034) 432 6697
Email/ Site: email@example.com
2. Visit the “Taj Mahal of Negros”
(photo via theruins.com.ph)
India is not the only one with a Taj Mahal. Ok, maybe Negros Occidental’s isn’t called the Taj, but it sure serves the same purpose -- to immortalize the memory of a loved one.
In 1911, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson had built a mansion in Talisay City in memory of his wife who died a tragic death (she fell in the bathroom). Here he raised his 10 children until the World War II when the Americans demolished the mansion in fear that the Japanese would occupy it. The frame of the house continues to stand today and is known as one of the most fascinating ruins in the world.
Location: Batulau Street, Hacienda Sta. Maria, Talisay City
Fee(s): P100 (entrance fee)
Operation Hours: 8am to 8pm
Best For: Families, Barkadas, Art lovers
- Appreciate the beauty of the structure and its Neo-Roman architecture as your tour guide tells you the story behind the mansion.
- The place has also been turned into a restaurant that serves Italian-Mediterranean dishes. The ambiance + food = perfection.
- If you’re looking for a romantic venue for your events, you can reserve the place too.
- Best to visit The Ruins just before sunset so you’ll see the structure glisten. At night, the whole mansion is lit up with lights.
Phone: (34) 476 4334
Email/ Site: theruins.com.ph
3. Dine at Manokan Country
You haven’t really been to Bacolod if you haven’t tried their famous Chicken Inasal. And there is no better place to have your fix than in Manokan Country. From its namesake, the Chicken Country is a food complex with dozens of food stalls selling, you name it, Chicken Inasal!
The local specialty has taken over the entire country but not even Mang Inasal can beat the authenticity of having it in Bacolod. At an affordable price, you can have your freshly grilled chicken, ready to be devoured. Enjoy!
Location: Father M. Ferrero St, Bacolod City
Operation Hours: 7:30am to 3am
Best For: Foodies, Families, Barkadas
- No one takes the spotlight from the Chicken Inasal on this one! Marinated in different spices for 24 hours before being grilled to perfection. This gives it its unique color and juicy taste. Yummy!
- Manokan Country is like a community food hall. Yes, Filipinos are used to foodcourts, but this one’s a bit smaller compelling everyone to share a seat with a stranger. What makes it even more communal is everyone’s here for just one thing -- Chicken Inasal!
Activity Tip: While there are several restaurants/ eateries to choose from selling Chicken Inasal, each one could still be jampacked with customers so best to come early.
Phone: (034) 433 8830
Phone: (034) 433 8727
4. Go museum hopping
(photo via Commons, @Rachel Leyritana)
Silay City, part of the Bacolod Metropolis area, is known for its museums and heritage sites. Dubbed as the “seat of arts, culture, and eco-tourism in Western Visayas”, the city is one of two “Museum Cities” recognized by the National Historical Institute having over 30 heritage houses and museums.
Aside from having Spanish-inspired architecture, they also feature artifacts and historical mementos dating back to the era. Just walking along the streets of Silay will you blast you back to the late 1800s, early 1900s when we were still under Spanish ruling. And once you enter the houses, you’ll feel like wearing a barong or baro’t saya.
Location: Silay City, Negros Occidental
Fee(s): P60 entrance fee (some galleries are free)
Operation Hours: The streets are open for strolling 24/7, with most museums open from 9am to 5pm daily, except Mondays.
- There are several heritage houses and museums to visit in Silay City, each one featuring Spanish era-inspired architecture and memorabilia from the late 1800s. Some of the popular ones are the Jalandoni Ancestral Home (Rizal Street), Balay Negrense Museum (Cinco de Noviembre Street), and the Municipal Hall Museum (Zamora Street).
- While at it, we suggest dropping by the oldest bakery in Negros. El Ideal Bakery and Restaurant was established in 1920 and continues to serve locals and tourists with their delectable sweets to this day.
Activity Tip: Make sure you visit several heritage sites and museums during your trip. Don’t settle for just one site, as each one offers something unique to guests.
Insider Info: Most of these houses were owned by the elite and wealthy back in the day. Some are still being used as homes to this day.
Phone: (34) 714 7676
Phone: (34) 495 5093
5. Cross the longest bamboo bridge in Visayas
Balaring Mangrove is not only a shelter for over 20,000 mangroves and birds, it is also the site for the longest bamboo bridge in Visayas. Tucked in the 50-hectare eco-park in Silay City is the bridge that is believed to run close to a kilometer-long with the mangroves enveloping you on each side. The immersive experience leads to a three-story bamboo tower which gives a full view of the park.
Location: Brgy. Balaring Mangrove Eco-Tourism Coastal Area, Silay City
Operation Hours: 6am to 5pm
- With over 20,000 towering mangroves surrounding the area, it’s as serene and calming as can be. Visit Balaring Mangrove Eco-park if you want to calm your mind.
- The three-story bamboo watchtower gives you a panoramic view not only of the forest, but of the nearby Guimaras Strait.
Insider Info: The eco-park is home to three kinds of mangroves -- Bungalon, Bakhaw, and Patpat.
Phone: +63 0947 958 8910
6. Hike up to seven different waterfalls
(photo via Facebook, @Mambukal Resort_Official Page_)
Mambukal Mountain Resort is a recreational haven. It offers almost all recreational activities you can think of -- from swimming pools to a lagoon, a wall climbing facility to a hanging bridge, picnic huts to a butterfly garden, ziplines to bat caves. However, there’s one offering that gets tourists flocking to this resort: the seven-waterfall hike.
The adventure will take you to seven different waterfalls, an experience like no other. This is the spot to visit for an entire list of things to do in Bacolod.
Location: Brgy. Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental
Fee(s): P50 (Adult entrance fee), P20 (Kids entrance fee)
Operation Hours: Open 24/7 (Facilities are available from 8am to 5pm)
Best For: Adventurous, Nature lovers
- As if one is not enough, take a trek up to see seven different waterfalls! It’s a view you won’t forget.
- If you’re not into hiking but want the adrenaline rush, try Mambukal’s zipline, canopy bridge, and wall climbing facilities!
Activity Tip: The trek is not for the faint of heart. Quite literally. If you’re not in the best health, skipping this activity is suggested. While it’s not a steep trek up, it will be quite a long trek and will need endurance.
Phone: (34) 473 0610, (34) 433 8516, (34) 709 0990
Email/ Site: mambukalresort.negros-occ.gov.ph/index.html
7. Enjoy the sunset at Capitol Park and Lagoon
Capitol Park and Lagoon is the center of Bacolod City. The complex consists of the Capitol Hall, the provincial library, the Negros Museum, and a few more government buildings, with a manmade lagoon in the middle. It is also where the Kilometer Zero marker is located. The park brings locals together in the morning or in the afternoon to relax, unwind, or join recreational activities.
Location: Lacson Street, Bacolod City
Operation Hours: Open 24/7
- The tree-lined park makes afternoon strolls great. With the breeze and the sunset coupled with the sound of kids running around, it’s a perfect way to cap your day.
- The Capitol Park and Lagoon is also home to several Iloilo tourist spots, like the Negros Museum and the Provincial Library. Best to pay these a visit too.
- The park is best visited just before sunset when the sun isn’t scorching on you. You can stroll around and not get uber sweaty. You can watch the beautiful sunset too.
- The complex is right in front of the Ayala Malls Capitol Central. You can go malling after a stroll at the park.
Negros Occidental Tourism Center
Phone: (34) 433 2515
Email/ Site: tourism.negros-occ.gov.ph
8. Take the ultimate adventure at Campuestohan Highlands Resort
(photo via Facebook, @CampuestohanHighlandResort)
If you’re looking for a spot for the whole family to enjoy, then Campuestohan Highlands Resort is the place to be! It offers a range of recreational activities that everyone can enjoy. Kids can enjoy the playground, the mini train, and a grand carousel. The adrenaline junkies will enjoy facilities like the zipline, sky bicycle, hanging hamster wheel, hanging bridge, and bungee trampoline. Senior guests can relax at the spa or the pool. Campuestohan Highlands Resort offers the ultimate getaway for the whole family.
Location: Sitio Campuestohan, Brgy. Cabatangan/ Brgy. Granada and Alangilan, Talisay City
Fee(s): starts at P150 (entrance fee)
Operation Hours: 7am to 6pm
Best For: Families, Barkadas, Kids, Thrillseekers
- For the thrill seekers, try out Campuestohan Highlands Resort’s many thrilling attractions. Try the zipline, the sky bicycle, and the hanging hamster wheel!
- Aside from the rides and attractions, the resort also has a restaurant that serves delicious local favorites and more. This makes your whole trip to Campuestohan Highlands Resort complete.
- Since there’s a ton of activities to do at Campuestohan Highlands Resort, it’s best that you spend the night over as well. They offer several accommodation options to fit your budget.
- If you’re arriving in a big group, best to make your reservations ahead of time.
Insider Info: Guests are allowed to bring in food as long as they stay at the picnic cottages. Corkage fee applies when food is brought into the restaurant.
Phone: (34) 702 0964, (34) 433 3335
Mobile: 0915 211 1406, 0917 300 5007, 0925 600 8088
Email/ Site: campuestohanhighlandresort.com
9. Pack your bags with Napoleones
One of the best things to do in Bacolod is to eat. And you’re food trip wouldn’t be complete without Bacolod’s iconic sweet treat, Napoleones. This flaky, custard-filled, sugar-glazed pastry is heaven-sent! It’s smooth, sweet, and oh-so-delicious! Make sure you bring home enough boxes of this yummy delight for your friends and for yourself!
Fee(s): P140 to P160 per box
Best For: Foodies and anyone wanting to buy pasalubong
- The melt in your mouth Napoleones is a party in the mouth. It has just the right amount of crunchiness, crispiness, smoothness, and sweetness. It’s available in almost every corner of Bacolod too.
- It’s the perfect pasalubong! It’s authentic Bacolod. It’s affordable. It’s delicious.
Activity Tip: If you’re bringing it back to Manila as pasalubong, best to buy it on the day you’ll be giving it to friends to ensure the best quality.
Insider Info: Some say Napoleones was adapted from the French pastry Mille-Fuille and may have been introduced to the province by the Gastons.
10. Explore the natural beauty of Lakawon Island
(photo via Facebook, @lakawonisland)
A patch of paradise in the city, Lakawon Island offers an escape from the hustles and bustles of the metropolitan life. Located in a 16-hectare banana-shaped island, the resort features white sand shores and clear blue waters. The high-class resort is lined with coconut trees and offers several amenities and activities that everyone can enjoy.
Location: Brgy Cadiz Viejo, Negros Occidental
Fee(s): starts at P280 per person
Operation Hours: 24 hours
Best For: Families, Barkadas, Adrenaline Junkies, Beach bums
- Lakawon Island is home to TawHai, the biggest floating bar in Asia. You can enjoy the sunset over a couple of cocktails or beers. What a way to unwind!
- There’s a ton of activities to do at Lakawon Island. You can go kite surfing, snorkeling, or kayaking. You can also ride a banana boat or play beach volleyball and beach football.
- If you want to enjoy the shore to the fullest and be one with nature, you can choose to pitch tents and go beach camping for only P300 person.
- If you’re not looking to stay overnight, they offer cottages and huts for a fee.
Insider Info: You can bring food for grilling inside the resort. They offer grilling areas and only impose a P50 corkage fine per person.
Phone: 0917 502 2625, 0917 555 6979
Email/ Site: lakawon.com.ph