Bacolod is a highly urbanized city in the province of Negros Occidental in Western Visayas, Philippines. It is among the top tourist areas in the country attracting both domestic and international travelers. It is well known for its sugar industry and is the home to the original Bacolod Chicken Inasal. [Check out our list of top tourist spots in Negros Occidental]
Bacolod City’s Masskara Festival is one of the Philippines’ most popular festival happening annually in the month of October. Tourists from all over the country and abroad flock to the “City of Smiles” to celebrate the festival.
How to get to Bacolod City
Bacolod City can be reached by air, land, and sea. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have direct flights to Bacolod City from Manila, Cebu, Davao, Clark, and Cagayan de Oro City.
If you prefer to travel by sea, you can take a boat from Manila, Ozamis and Iligan. A RORO is also available from Iloilo to Bacolod which only takes about an hour.
- Manila to Bacolod boat schedule and fare
- Ozamis to Bacolod boat schedule and fare
- Iligan to Bacolod boat schedule and fare
- Iloilo to Bacolod ferry schedule and fare
The city is also accesible by land travel. There are daily bus trips from Dumaguete, Cebu and Zamboanga City to Bacolod City.
Where to Stay in Bacolod City: Hotels in Bacolod
There are a lot of hotels and budget accommodations in Bacolod City that will surely fit your budget and preference. Here are some of the hotels you can stay in Bacolod City.
Go Hotels Bacolod
Address: Lacson Street, Mandalagan, Bacolod, Negros Occidental, Philippines
Seda Capitol Central Bacolod
Address: Lacson St. corner North Capitol Road, Bacolod Downtown, Negros Occidental, Philippines
L Fisher Hotel
Address: 14th Lacson Street, Bacolod Downtown, Negros Occidental, Philippines
Tourist Spots in Bacolod City: Things to Do and See in Bacolod
Bacolod City is an all-year round destination so there’s a flexibility when it comes to your desired date to explore the city and its nearby towns and cities. If you want to fully enjoy your holiday in Bacolod, the best time to go is during the Masskara Festival in October and Panaad Festival in April.
Here are some of the top tourist spots in Bacolod City:
To get a glimpse of the history of Negros Island, you should head to Negros Museum located in the provincial capitol complex in Bacolod City. It’s a privately owned museum that houses contemporary artworks and some artifacts. It is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday to Saturday. Entrance fee is Php100.
Negros Forest & Ecological Foundation
Situated just a walking distance from Negros Museum and the Provincial Capitol of Negros Occidental, Negros Forest & Ecological Foundation is a forest park in the middle of a highly urbanized city of Bacolod. Most of the animals that are housed here are endemic to the region like the Visayan warty pig, Philippine sailfin lizard, and Visayan spotted deer.
Jojo Vito Designs Gallery
One of the best things to do in Bacolod City to fall in love with its culture and understand the friendly locals is to experience mask painting at Jojo Vito Designs Gallery. The gallery’s staff are friendly and are willing to provide basic facts about the Masskara Festival. Definitely, a worthwhile activity especially when you are traveling in a group.
Jojo Vito Designs Gallery also serves as a pasalubong center. So, if you want to take home masskara inspired ref magnets, key chains, ornaments, and handicrafts, this is the place you should include in your itinerary.
Jojo Vito Designs Gallery is located at 119 Kapitana Dicang – Alunan Avenu, Bacolod City. It is near Metrodome and Planta Hotel. You may contact them at 034-704-2378.
Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol
Located in Lacson Street, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol is one of the must-visit structures in Bacolod City. It is the seat of the provincial government of Negros Occidental and a tourist attraction in itself.
Panaad Park and Stadium
The Panaad Park and Stadium or the Panaad Sports and Recreational Park is a multi-purpose complex located in Brgy. Mansilingan, Bacolod City. Aside from the stadium and sports facilities, the complex also houses the pavilions of the cities and towns of Negros Occidental.
The best time to visit the Panaad Park and Stadium is during the Panaad Festival in April. To get there by public transport, take the Alijis – Central Market jeepney from downtown Bacolod City.
May’s Organic Garden
A trip at May’s Organic Garden will kiss away all your worries and stress as everything it features is organic. Aside from the organic plants, you can also enjoy their swimming pool and recreational areas.
Quick Escape from Bacolod City: Tourist Spots Near Bacolod
You have never been in Negros Occidental if you don’t have a photo opportunity at The Ruins. It’s a mansion with landscaped gardens and a restaurant built in 1900s by Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson to show his love for his wife Maria Braga.
Silay Ancestral Houses
There are a number of interesting Ancestral Houses in Silay City. The most popular of all the ancestral houses in Silay is the Balay Negrense. Also known as the Victor Gaston Ancestral House, the Balay Negrense is an ancestral house turned into a museum in Silay CIty, Negros Occidental.
Another interesting ancestral house in Silay is German Unson’s ancestral house which turned into a bed and breakfast. You can stay here for around Php2,500 a night with complimentary breakfast.
Hacienda Sta. Rosalia
Located in the town of Manapla, Negros Occidental, Hacienda Sta. Rosalia is home to the Gaston Mansion, Hacienda Crafts Workshop, and the Chapel of the Cart Wheels. The Gaston Mansion is an ancestral house used in the movie Oro Plata Mata in the 1980s.
OISCA Bago Training Center
The Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA) Bago Training Center is a Japan-based non-government organization that is known for its silk reeling plant and sericulture facility. It is a 26-hectare farmland that plays a major role in the country’s silk industry.
Situated between the islands of Cebu and Negros, Sipaway Island is an emerging tourist destination in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental. It is a 15-minute boat ride making it an ideal place for a quick escape from San Carlos City. It offers cream sand beaches and several diving spots ideal for both novice and professional divers. [Check out our Sipaway Island DIY Travel Guide]
Where to Eat in Bacolod City: Restaurants and Cafes in Bacolod
Your visit to Bacolod is not complete without trying the original Bacolod Chicken Inasal. The best place to go to try this dish is at Manukan Country. It’s a dining place with different stalls. We recommend trying Aida’s or Nena’s Beth.
Punong Gary’s Place
If you want a full course meal in the middle of fish ponds, this place is for you. Punong Gary’s Place does not accept walk-ins so you must call 0917 327 1729 to make a reservation.
Wholly Grounds is a restaurant in Bacolod City that serves healthy dishes made from fresh and organic raw materials.
Fresh Start Organic and Natural Store & Cafe
Fresh Start Organic and Natural Store & Cafe is one of the must-try restaurants in Bacolod City. They offer sumptuous and healthy dishes made from organic produce.
Sandok Comfort Food
If you want to try kansi, KBL, and other local dishes, head over to Sandok Comfort Food. From the name itself, it offers Filipino Comfort food popular in Bacolod City.
Where to Buy Pasalubong in Bacolod City
If you want to buy some pasalubong in Bacolod City, head over to the Negros Showroom at Robinson’s Place. They sell souvenirs, food items like the famous piaya, muscovado and whole lot more.
Sample Bacolod City Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Bacolod
12:00 NN: Lunch
1:00 PM: Visit the Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol, Negros Museum, and Negros Forest & Ecological Foundation
4:00 PM: Visit the Ruins
7:00 PM: Dinner at Manukan Country
Day 2 in Bacolod
8:00 AM: Visit the Ancestral houses in Silay
12:00 NN: Lunch at Sandok Comfort Food
1:00 PM: Visit Mambukal Resort or Campuestuhan
7:00 PM: Dinner at Fresh Start
Day 3: Visit Nearby Attractions
7:00 AM – You can opt to visit the beaches of Sipalay or go to Lakawon Island in Cadiz City. If you feel more adventurous, you can go diving in Sipaway Island in San Carlos City.
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Glen Nomad is a travel blogger and the founder of Escape Manila, one of the top travel blogs in the Philippines. He has visited all 82 provinces in the Philippines and has explored 53 countries across Asia, North & South America, East Africa, Europe, and Australia. Follow him on IG at @escapemanila