BACOLOD CITY, home to Chicken Inasal, Masskara and the Bacolaodiat Festival, will definitely leave a smile on your face after your visit.
#TravelwithTia to Bacolod:
I think it’s about time to post a travel guide of my hometown, and as someone who’s lived here for all her life, it’s only fitting that I show you the best places to go, the most amazing things to do, and the yummiest places to eat while you’re here. In addition, I’ll also be showing you some of the best side trips that you can visit outside of the city.
Known as the City of Smiles, Bacolod is a highly urbanized city located in Negros Occidental and is an hour away by plane from Manila. It’s also known as one of the “Best Places to Live in in the Philippines” according to Sunstar Newspaper and a survey from MoneySense Magazine. I guess one of the reasons I like living and being here is how you can do so many things in a day without having to rush through everything.
Here are the things to consider before heading here:
There are daily flights from Manila to Bacolod. I always check Cebu Pacific Air for my flights and I book them in advance to get lower prices. You will land in Bacolod-Silay International airport and will need to ride a few minutes more before you reach Bacolod. Opt for a Van service at around 150 Php, or by a taxi. Taxi’s are a bit more expensive when coming from the airport. They usually charge around 200-500, so I would recommend getting a Grab Car to get a fixed rate.
2. Pocket Money
Manileños are often surprised by how affordable a lot of the places in Bacolod are. Almost all the go-to places are accessible by one to two jeeps (8PHP/ride), and taxi prices seldom go higher than 150PHP. Most of your money will probably go to food since there are plenty of restaurants and cafes here that you don’t want to miss out on. If you don’t have a friend who can take you around here, then you can also set aside money for transportation (bus rides or car rental) especially if you are planning to visit beaches or going out of town.
3. Things to Remember
Whenever I travel, I always make sure to bring my camera so I can take pictures as a remembrance. I always bring my Fujifilm camera with me since it’s so handy and has great color quality already. When going to Bacolod, expect to bring food and other kinds of pasalubong back home! Consider packing light to make room for all the food you’re probably gonna bring back to your friends and family. Most restaurants, cafes, and malls have free WiFi available
WHERE TO STAY:
There are a variety of places you can stay at when in Bacolod. There are hostels, Airbnb’s, Boutique Hotels and Business Hotels available.
The Hostelry Bacolod – P420-475/night
La Salle Avenue
Bacolod City, Philippines
Phone: (034) 432-2663
Boutique hotels/ Bed and Breakfast
– Hometown Hotel Bacolod at P 878 /night
26TH Lacson St, Bacolod City
. +63347073145 (LANDLINE) +639565919534 (GLOBE) +639323867883 (SUN/SMART)
Bed and Breakfast at 1,200/night with breakfast for two
11th Lacson St. Bacolod City
(034) 433 9191
-La Luz Airbnbs– 1500-2000/night
3/F, La Luz Building, Lacson St. Mandalagan Highway, Bacolod City
0933 243 0806/ 0925 850 0077
Seda Hotels Bacolod – 5000-7000/night
Located just along Lacson Street where the festivities usually happen, Seda Capitol Central is the best place to stay in since its only 20 minutes away from the Bacolod-Silay airport and 8 minutes from the Port of Bacolod. It is also located in the Ayala Capitol Central complex, allowing easy access to other business and lifestyle establishments. I loved how I can just walk to restaurants, bars, and even jog and swim so easily during my stay here.
Lacson Street cor. North Capitol Road,, Bacolod City, 6100, Philippines
-Real Suites– 1600-2200/night
27th Lacson St, Bacolod
(034) 488 7070
THINGS TO DO:
ENJOY THE FESTIVALS!
One of the highlights of visiting during Chinese New year is the Bacolaodiat Festival. Bacolod Celebrates the Chinese New year with a blast. The main street is closed and is filled with dazzling giant lanterns, fireworks, floats, and food alleys. Get entertained with Dragon and Lion Dances, Gift giving and chinese traditions. “Bacolaodiat” — comes from two words, ‘Bacolod’ and “Laodiat’ meaning celebration in fookien.
Read more about the Bacolaodiat Festival here.
The famous Masskara Festival is an annual festivity with highlights held every fourth Sunday of October. 19 blocks of Lacson street turn into a venue for eateries, pasalubong stalls, concerts, and more! You can read all about the festival on their official website here.
EXPLORE THE NEIGHBORING CITIES/ BEACHES:
Bacolod’s neighboring cities are actually gems waiting to be discovered! Check out my previous post about side trips you can take when visiting Negros, and you’ll find that there’s still a whole lot more to see!
The first destination you’d probably pass by from the airport going to your hotel is the Ruins. It’s an old house that burned for 3 days straight yet still stood with its foundation intact. It’s one of the most famous and photographed destinations in Talisay/ Bacolod.
Another place I’d suggest you visit is Carbin Reef located in Sagay City, this destination is a long stretch of sand in the midst of a marine reserve. I’d recommend relaxing here for a couple of hours and from there, you can take a boat heading to Suyac Marine Eco Park and explore the mangroves or have freshly served seafood for lunch!
Another famous tourist spot here in Bacolod is Mambukal. Although located in Murcia, its the most accessible place to visit. Here, you can bathe in hot springs, get a massage from the Blade Spa, ride a boat on their lagoons and even take dip in the water during your hike up the seven falls.
Next, you can also visit Duyan Cafe if you want a relaxing day in the mountains.
A new destination to add to your summer go-to list, the cafe is located less than 30 minutes away from Bacolod City! This instagrammable spot gives off Bali vibes and also serves a mean grilled cheese and chicken sandwich!
You can’t say you went to Bacolod without trying (and eventually bringing home boxes of) the famous cakes from Calea, pigged out on chicken inasal, feasted on the famous barbecues from Chai Rose, had Batchoy from 21 AND gelatos from Cafe Bob’s! The Bacolod food scene is a must-experience for both first-time tourists and frequent visitors!
I’ve listed down some things that you should definitely check off your to- eat list:
Pasalubong from Merzci– Bring home some Bacolod goodies like biscocho, napoleones, butterscotch and piaya!
This way, you can still savor the sweetness once you leave sugartown.
Enjoy the delicious Seafood at 18th St. Pala-Pala– it’s located just parallel to the main Lacson road (behind Starbucks Lacson) so it’s accessible even just by walking. Their fresh seafood will definitely be the savory counterpart to all the sweetness here in this city. I recommend getting their scallops and their kinilaw here.
Enjoy the Breakfast at Seda Hotels– if you do decide to stay here, then Seda has some really great breakfast food and views. Not to mention, they have their own rooftop bar, so you can also have a few drinks there!
Next, get your dose of savory food from Bar 21’s famous batchoy, Chilcken house’s Chicken inasal with spareribs and leche flan and Cha Rose’s hot off the grill barbecue.
Last but definitely not the least, Calea’s cakes The cakes are affordable yet sooo delicious– I love the mudpie, ice cream cake and pecan pie here the most. It’s also really instagrammable and accessible so what’s to lose?
Sound like a good idea? Nah, it’s a great idea!
Come night time, visit Bacolod’s magic-themed pub/ speakeasy at Trap door where you can enjoy a cup of butterbeer. They also serve desserts from which I would recommend trying their ‘Snow Storm’. Get the shock of your life when you visit their restroom and enjoy their interior aside from their great food and drinks like ‘Love and Hate’ and ‘Cream of Smiles’.
Bacolod definitely does not back down when it comes to drinking, so aside from Trap door, check out Portiko, Mushu, Que Dan, Brewery, or Sitting Duck, all along Lacson St.
2019 MASSKARA ITINERARY and BUDGET GUIDE
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 23
2:00 PM Arrive in Bacolod and check in to your hotel
4:30 PM Drop by The Ruins in Talisay for coffee and sunset-viewing. You can take a tricycle from Bangga Pepsi to The Ruins. Entrance Fee is 100PHP!
6:00 PM Head back to Bacolod
7:00 PM Masskara Queen Pageant and Coronation Night
8:30 PM Feast on chicken inasal at Masskara Chicken for dinner
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24
7:00 AM Breakfast
8:00 AM Head to Carbin Reef
- Take a jeep (Bata-Libertad, Mandalagan-Libertad, or Northbound Terminal) heading to the New Bacolod North Ceres Terminal. Fare starts at 8.50PHP/person.
- Ride a bus heading to Sagay. The trip will probably take a little longer than 2 hours so make sure you bring snacks. Bus fare costs around 257-300+ depending on what type of bus you take.
- From the Sagay Terminal, take a tricycle heading to the port going to Carbin Reef (20PHP).
- The general admission, environmental, and port fees will cost around 100PHP while a pumpboat good for 1-10pax costs 1,200PHP.
1:00 PM Proceed to Suyac Island Ecopark for a late lunch
- Depending on how many people join the boat ride, you may be charged anywhere from 600 to 800 PHP to get to Suyac.
4:00 PM Head back to Bacolod the same way you got there
7:00 PM Dinner
8:00 PM Desserts at Calea
Friday, October 25
8:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Head to Mambukal Resort
How to get there?
• The easiest way to go to Libertad Terminal is to take a taxi (approx. 120PHP). Tell the driver that you’re taking a bus going to Mambukal Resort.
• The buses (35PHP) aren’t airconditioned, but the travel time only takes about 45mins-1hr. Besides, you’ll be pampering yourself for the rest of the day at Mambukal!
Fees per person:
Taxi – estimated 120 pesos
Bus going Mambukal – 35 pesos
Entrance – 50 pesos
Hot Spring – 50 pesos
Swimming Pool – 50 pesos
Japanese Ofuro – 100 pesos
Falls – Tip for the tour guide.
Boating – 30 pesos
Note: In case you forget to bring food there’s a canteen below the bridge.
5:00 PM Back to the City! The bus is just outside the Mambukal Entrance. Last trip is at 5-5:30PM.
6:30 PM Electric Masskara! 19 blocks of Lacson Strip will be livening up the night with 5 major concerts and a float parade. Make sure to wear your most comfortable shoes because there’ll be a LOT of walking!
7:00 PM Dinner
10:00 PM Night Out: Bacolod Style
- The Palms, 18th Street
- 9th StrEAT Lacson
- Art District, Mandalagan
- The Frontyard by Bluegreen
- Chillnom Areas
- Tippy’s Bistro
- Trap Door Tasting Room
- Bites & Booze
- Drinking in Style
- Seda Hotel
- Chalet, L’Fisher
- Stonehill Suites Roofdeck
- Urit Bar
- Drinks and Dancing
- Portiko Café and Lounge
- Rainure, 22nd Street
- Gypsy, Sorrento
• Ride a jeep going to New Bacolod Ceres Northbound Terminal.
• Take a bus going to Cadiz City.
• Travel time will take 1hr and 30mins.
• Ride a tricycle going to the port.
• Pumpboat schedule: 7AM onwards
• Don’t forget to catch a boat going back by 3PM!
• Hello LAKAWON ISLAND!
Jeep – 7 pesos
Bus – 200
Tricycle – 120 for 4 persons
Pumpboat – 320 (back and forth) *this includes Lakawon entrance fee, boat fee & terminal fee.
Floating Bar – 250
Cottage – 600 good for 6 persons
Expenses: P1000/ person