The best thing about Bacolod is that it stays true to its title, “The City of Smiles.” Whether it’s rain or shine, each travel destination you’ll find yourself in is sure to greet you with the hearty and welcoming personalities of Bacolod’s locals. As the capital of Negros Occidental province, Bacolod is perfect for travelers who want jus the right mix of the urban and rural lifestyle. While its center is thriving with malls and top-notch restaurants, a nature escapade is basically just minutes away. Bacolod City brings out that sense of home in all its aspects, in its food, travel spots, and its people, – which is why the city is always worth coming back to for a second (or third and fourth!) time.
By plane: Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have direct flights to Bacolod City. Travel time is around 45 minutes to an hour from Manila, and the fare can be as low as P1,000 (exclusive of taxes) depending on promo fares of different airlines.
Where to Stay:
Save: 11th Street Bed and Breakfast is located at the heart of the city. From here, the best restaurants are just a few steps away. It also offers delicious and free breakfast every morning. Rate starts at P900/night.
Splurge: L’Fisher Chalet is the go-to for most tourists visiting Bacolod City. Other than its variety of luxurious rooms, the hotel’s rooftop is a tourist destination itself, with its swimming pool, gym, spa, restaurant, bar, and a wide and open view of the city. Rates start at P4,000/night.
What To Do in Bacolod City:
1. Splurge on a Food Trip
A. Nena’s Rose at Manokan Country
Bacolod is especially known for its chicken inasal, and Nena’s Rose is one restaurant that locals will always recommend. This one, in particular, gives you that authentic grilling experience. With smoke from the grill filling up the venue with that distinct inasal aroma, you’ll be hungry by just taking a step inside. Try out their wide selection of seafood for the complete experience.
Have a taste of what the Bacolodnon’s eat in their own homes at Sandok Comfort Food. It serves the signature dish called KBL (Kadyos, Baboy, Langka), which is a popular Ilonggo dish that originated from Visayas. The restaurant also serves Beef Pochero, Manok sa Ubad, and many more dishes that are unique to the Bacolod experience. Don’t miss out on their mango graham float for dessert.
Contrary to its name, which means “small” in Hiligaynon, this is one big restaurant hidden behind one of the city’s main roads. You can pick from a selection of raw seafood before you enter the restaurant, which can be served to you grilled, fried, or even in soup. The servings are big enough to feed a family of ten, and its flavor is always delectable.
Every local in Bacolod should know that Sharyn’s was the pinnacle of Bacolod-unique dishes. The kansi here set a standard for all the replicates served in restaurants around the country. The beef simmers in the broth overnight, and it’s seasoned with the perfectly sour “batwan,” a fruit that grows only in Visayas. Also try their Sizzling Kansi for an interesting mix of the familiar flavors.
2. Visit the historical places
A. Negros Museum
Learn about the history, culture, and art of Negros at its museum. Other than beautiful, wide paintings that depicts the lifestyle of the City of Smiles from before, it also houses memorabilia from the Spanish colonization era. It’s a great place for a serene time surrounded by art.
B. The Ruins
One of the most photographed and popular tourist destinations in Bacolod is The Ruins, and it’s truly worth the visit. While it is a majestic sight to see, the place is home to the most interesting stories of the cultural and political ancestry of Bacolod intertwined with the mansion’s history. There is also a restaurant for you to lounge in after you take pictures.
3. Go for a nature escapade
A. Mambukal Mountain Resort
Mambukal is an all-time favorite for locals and tourists because there’s something for every kind of person, whether you’re looking for an adventure or a relaxed getaway. Activities include rock climbing, ziplining, and even trekking to its waterfalls. To let go of some steam, there’s a warm sulfur dipping pool, and even a butterfly sanctuary.
B. Don Salvador Benedicto
Take a day trip to Don Salvador to witness the majestic gift of nature. DSB is a highland municipality that has everything you need for a chill nature escapade. There are cafes and restaurants along the way that have a great view of the green fields and mountains. Malatan-og Falls can also be reached through an hour-trek from its beginning point. Through this trip, remind yourself of the importance and beauty of nature.
This spot is best for advocates of ecotourism and environmentalism. The mangroves provide protection and income for the locals living nearby, and houses numbers of flora and fauna. The place is a great experience for some fresh air and nature appreciation. Just a few minutes away are the Balaring Floating restaurants that serve great seafood.
Recommended Trip Duration
Three to five days in Bacolod is best to experience all the food and sites, and to also take a ride to its neighboring cities.