The adventure you will take in Bacolod will forever leave a smile on your lips and a place in your heart, proving that it is worthy of its name “City of Smiles.”
Bacolod, a picturesque city in Western Visayas, offers traveler different types of wonderful experiences - whether you are in for a food trip, thrilling adventure, artistry, historical walkthrough or beach outing.
True to its name, the people in Bacolod or the Bacolenas are regarded as affectionate, generous and genuinely warm. It boasts a rich cultural and culinary heritage that appeals to visitors. Many come to the province to attend the Mardi Gras-like festival called MassKara Festival and to try the famous Chicken Inasal and sweet dessert treats in Bacolod.
Traveling by plane is by far the easiest and fastest way to get to Bacolod, though not always the cheapest, which is why it is best to book your flight at least a month earlier or look for airline promos to save you from spending a lot.
Bacolod City is 18-23 hours from Port of Manila. 2GO Travel offers three times a week schedule, the ship sails every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, for those who wanted to travel by sea from Manila to Bacolod.
If you love and enjoy long road trips, then the land route is for you. From Manila, you have to take a ride bound for Batangas port then take the Roll On Roll Off (RORO) vessel. From Batangas, the RORO will take you to Mindoro port then off to Caticlan in Aklan then Kalibo, Iloilo. From Kalibo, you have to drive going to Dumangas Port which is approximately 3 hours from Bacolod City.
Just like in Manila, going around Bacolod City is easy by riding jeepneys or taxi. Cars for rent are also available and most convenient especially for out of town escapades.
One cannot leave the so-called City of Smiles without ever visiting “The Ruins.” This site is located at Talisay City and is considered as the Taj Mahal of Negros. If you like photography or like your pictures taken with a European feel to it, this place will never fail you.
If you have more time, you may want to visit Mambukal Resort. This place boasts hot sulfur springs where you can relax your tired and weary muscle. If you are on for an adventure, you might want to dare yourself and climb the wall, experience their 200m zip line or slide for life crossing the boating lagoon.
If you want to unleash the artist inside you or you have a thing for history, you can also visit Jojo Vito Designs Gallery, Balay Negrense, Bernardino-Jalandoni Museum, and San Diego Pro-Cathedral to name a few. Surely, you can never run out of place that you can visit here in the City of Smiles.
Want to know why Bacolod earned its title as “The City of Smiles?” You will never go wrong if you attend and immerse on their massive, colourful and famous MassKara Festival held every October. The festival showcases different mask worn by locals, all of which have smiling faces. During the festival, there is a dance contest, beauty pageant, food frenzies, garden shows and more. This experience will surely leave a smile both on your face and in your heart, definitely an experience that is one for the books.
If you are a beach lover or a scuba diver or just a fan of underwater creatures, take the time to visit Sipalay. Sipalay is almost a four-hour drive south from Bacolod City and is known for having one of the best beaches in Western Visayas.
Bacolod is known for its Chicken Inasal and if you want an entire street of restaurants selling it, visit and try the restaurants in Manokan Country. If you are in for sea foods or would like to taste a wide array of freshly caught seafood, try Aboy’s located at Liroville Subdivision, Singcang, Bacolod City.
In Talisay, while visiting the famous “The Ruins,” you may want to dine at Don Mariano’s Garden Café to experience dishes that are passed on by their great grandparents. Don Mariano’s Garden is located at HAD, Sta Maria, Talisay City.
Want to eat some sweets? Do not leave Bacolod without trying their mouth-watering cakes. Bacolod is also known as the Sugar Capital of the Philippines so it is a must to experience and eat pastries and cakes when visiting this city.
Try Calea Pastrie and Coffe for the best cake in the city and Felicia’s Pastry Café for the best chocolate cake in town. Try also Ann Co Cakes for their frozen Brazo De Mercedes. These cake shops are all located along Lacson Street.
Bacolod has several hotels for travelers with different kinds of need. One of the best and convenient to travelers is the GT Hotel Bacolod. It is a short walk from commercial establishments and dining destinations. Another one is Sugarland Hotel, one of Bacolod City’s premium hospitality service providers.
For budget-conscious travelers looking for a high-quality service hotel, you may want to check Star Plus Pension Inn or Java Pension House.