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Travel Guide - Best Activities You Should Do in Bacolod, Negros Occidental
Bacolod is indeed one of the top choices when it comes to local travels. In fact, the Philippines boasts Bacolod as a major tourism destination in the Province of Negros Occidental emphasizing on the genuine optimism and hospitality of the locals as the "prized assets".
Bacolod is also known for its abundance in sugar canes, and for such reason it was given the title, Sugar Capital of the Philippines.
Bacolod had its own republic during the past called the Republic of Bacolod, and consequentially a president.
City of Smiles
Hailed as the capital of Negros Occidental, Bacolod or prominently known as the City of Smiles is a perfect place for vacationers who want to enjoy a tranquil environment, warm hospitality, great food, amazing sights and exciting activities!
In this article, we will be going through some of the activities you may enjoy in Bacolod. To make this an easy read, I used a sub-section per activity.
The Provincial Capitol of Occidental Negros is only 5-15 minutes away from the hotel where we stayed which was the L'Fisher Chalet Hotel.
City Tour in Bacolod
One fun way to explore Bacolod is to have a city tour, or to simply observe around the province. You will be amused by how things work and go.
Hospitality at its Best
You may begin your tour by going to the place where the Provincial Capitol of Negros Occidental is located. Most of the time, someone in the provincial hall would be willing to provide a short tour around the Capitol Park and Lagoon. However, I believe this should be scheduled in advance. It also helps if you are coming to Bacolod in a group, since they will be more accommodating to tour you around.
Lasting for about 20 minutes, the tour focuses primarily on the Park where the guide speaks about the brief history of Bacolod, famous landmarks, symbol, significance of statues and other interesting facts about the province. Check out the photos above for our brief mini-tour!
Masskara Festival Dances
Check out the video above to see how locals usually celebrate the MassKara festival, specifically how the dances look like.
The Masskara Festival is traditionally held during the third week of the month of October. This event is characterized by a lot of simultaneous festive events, be it in schools, barangays or on the streets. Common activities held include Masskara Queen Beauty Pageants, street dancing, sports fest, food fest, concerts and more! Expect the airfare and lodging expenses to be high during this month. However, you may avoid incurring higher airfare by booking in advance.
DID YOU KNOW?
Masskara is actually a portmanteau from the words "Mass" which means a multitude of and "Kara" which is the Spanish word for face. Combining this two, we will have multitude of faces. Aside from this, the Filipino term for masks is "maskara". This is why dancers in this festival usually wear smiling masks, to substantiate the meaning of Masskara as well as to prove that Bacolod is indeed the City of Smiles.
Museum and Historical Tours
Another fascinating to do when traveling is to be acquainted with the place you are in. Hence, to gain knowledge of the rich culture and history of the Bacolod, you may engage in historical tours. Although there are many places where you can do this, I will just enumerate three of those places we visited:
- The Ruins - this was known to be the mansion of a prominent and wealthy family in Talisay, but it was decided to be burned down. After the voluntary destruction of the mansion, the basic structure and foundation of the place were all that remained. This is what we call now as "The Ruins". Definitely, you'll enjoy the history of the place, so check it out! Entrance fee: P60
- Balay Negrense - this is an ancestral house showcasing artifacts, antique equipment and traditional clothing. If you are into these things, you will definitely enjoy visiting this place. Plus, you will learn about interesting facts about individuals that had significance in the history of Bacolod. Entrance fee: P50
- The Negros Museum - if you want to have an enriching dose of Philippine history, this is the best place to go! The guides are really friendly and knowledgeable! Entrance fee: P50
It will be risky for you to bring with you your electronic gadgets, unless you'll protect them with waterproof casing or pouch.
Water Fun in Bacolod
If you are into water-related activities, fret not because Mambukal Resort will be there for you! This is also the place where you can hike to see the famous 7 Waterfalls.
The entire place is perfect for picnics, boat rides, swimming, wall climbing and more. However,I suggest that you prioritze trekking the mountain, Mount Kanlaon, to see the 7 Waterfalls, since this is something Mambukal Resort is well-known for.
I've dedicated an article documenting our experience in this place, you may read it more about here: The 7 Waterfalls of Mambukal Resort in Bacolod
If there's one thing Bacolod is really known for, aside from the warm hospitality and smiles, it would be the food!
- Chicken Deli - convenient place to have the famous Bacolod Chicken Inasal
- Aida's Chicken Inasal - very known for the unique taste of Bacolod Chicken Inasal
- Pepe's Restaurant - a quasi fine dining place offering inexpensive yet amazing dishes
- Greeno'z Giant Pizza - home of the gargantuan-sized pizzas
- C's by L'Fisher Chalet - place to enjoy some pastries, smoothies and cakes located just below the L'Fisher Chalet
- Calea's - a more famous place to have delectable yet affordable cakes in Bacolod
Located in 6100 Mandalagan, Art District is the name of the place where Bacolod Nightlife can be experienced. It houses quite a number of bars and hanging-out venues perfect for socializing with friends and even the locals.
Where to buy Napoleones and other souvenirs?
Drop by the Pendy's Store to purchase some Napoleones, piaya, tarts and more! Take note that there may be times when you will need to reserve or order in advance because it usually goes out-of-stock, since this is really something tourists never fail to buy!
However, in case you forget, you still have a chance by visiting Merci's Store in the airport itself.
Souvenir and Treats
As mentioned, Bacolod is the Sugar Capital of the Philippines; hence, expect sweet yet lovely desserts and pastries! These goodies are already good enough to be "food souvenirs" that you can share with you family and/or friends when you return back.
Bacolod is primarily known for the following treats:
- Piaya - a pie-like pastry but baked thinly with a filling inside, usually monggo or ube.
- Napoleones - tasty pastries with a delicious custard-like filling topped with sugar glazing
- Tarts - baked pastries with a filling but leaving the top open
Friendly tip: Buy your souvenirs on your last day to preserve the freshness of your bought treats.
How much did you spend in Bacolod excluding the plane ticket?
Participate in the Poll
Kindly participate in the poll above to give other tourists a clear picture of how much to prepare. For those who'll visit Bacolod the first time, kindly check the results of the poll.
Summary of Expenses
To give you an idea of how much you should bring when you visit Bacolod, I'm going to share with you the summary of my expenses for a 5-day stay.
Based on my experience, you'll be needing about P6,000 (more or less $150) to enjoy the activities above. I would say that we had a moderate number of activities. Hence, if you feel like you are going to be involved with a lot of them, make sure to adjust the budget upwards.
I aggregated the amounts of my expenditures based on 6 categories and tabulated them below.
Lodging and Boarding
Food and Dining
Tours and Museum
In a Nutshell
I've showed you some of the common activities you can enjoy in Bacolod. I know that there are a lot of activities, places and sites I didn't mention here, but I believe these are all sufficient to make your stay in Bacolod a good one! Also, rest assured that I'll update this as soon as I get to visit this place once more, so you may want to bookmark this page.
Anyway, this wraps up the travel guide, and I hope you appreciated it! Feel free to provide your own reviews of Bacolod or recommended places to visit below.
Directions and Map of Bacolod
© 2013 Renz Kristofer Cheng