Bacolod, one of the highly-urbanized cities in the Philippines, is more than just a city of happy people and smiling faces.
Also known as the City of Smiles, Bacolod is notable for its MassKara Festival celebrated every October, where Bacolodnons wear smiling-faced masks and bright-colored costumes while parading on the city streets, carrying a message of being happy despite life’s adversities.
Aside from the Bacolodnons being warm and friendly, their sweet way of speaking in a melodious tone, and the MassKara Festival, there is so much to explore in Bacolod City in just a day.
It’s time to pack your bags, book your tickets and enjoy the rich culture, food and places that Bacolod City has to offer!
1. San Sebastian Cathedral
One of the most visited and historic infrastructures in the city, San Sebastian Cathedral is located in the city’s downtown area across the Bacolod Plaza. Originally constructed in 1825, the cathedral has astonishing wall and ceiling paintings, allowing tourists to revel in its beauty.
2. Laguerta Home of the Vintage Glasses Museum
The museum features a unique experience for visitors as it exhibits glasses of different kinds, sizes, colors, and shapes – from bowls, plates, mugs, and drinking glasses.
3. Negros Museum
A privately-owned museum situated in the Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol Complex in Bacolod, Negros Museum features the rich culture and heritage of Negros, which includes archeological artifacts, old furnishings and loaned items from ancestral houses. The museum also features art exhibits by various local and foreign artists from the island.
4. John Paul II Tower
The eight-story pilgrimage center was the site to commemorate Pope John Paul II’s visit to Bacolod on February 20, 1981. The building, dedicated to the late pope, displayed relics and vestments he used during his visit.
5. Punta Taytay Beach
Enjoy a quiet afternoon at Punta Taytay Beach, just a few minutes’ drive from the city’s downtown area. The beach has no entrance fee; you just have to pay a small environmental fee of P10. Also, you can check in at any of the private beach resorts, if you want your own “me” time.
6. Bantug Lake Ranch
This resort in Barangay Alangilan, has been a quick respite from city life while still in Bacolod. Bacolodnons would come to enjoy the green scenery, go boating at the lake, and horseback riding.
7. Pala-Pala Market
Go to a “pala-pala” style restaurant around the city, where diners can buy fresh seafood – crabs, shrimps, squid, scallops – straight from the Pala-Pala Market and servers can cook it for you. The price will depend on the cooking style and ingredients used in the paluto.
8. Bacolod Chicken Inasal
Bacolodnons loved to eat grilled chicken or “inasal,” which has been one of the most popular dishes in the city. Inasal comes best with “sinamak,” a mixture of vinegar, sliced ginger, onion, garlic and spices. Manokan Country, near a popular mall in the Reclamation Area, serves one of the best chicken inasals in the province, but all the stalls serving the famous dish are really good.
KBL – or kadyos, baboy and langka – is just as delicious as chicken inasal. This Filipino pork stew is quite one of the most-loved Bacolod dishes for its richness in flavor.
Another popular dish in Bacolod comes cansi – a slightly sour soup made with lemongrass, langka, and beef shanks. The dish is a crossover between the two famous Filipino cuisines, bulalo (beef marrow stew) and sinigang (sour soup).
Your Bacolod trip would be incomplete without the famous piaya. The sweet round-shaped muscovado and ube-filled delicacy is made as pasalubongs and gifts by tourists who visit the city.
Another excellent sweet treat from Bacolod is napoleones, a box-shaped pastry made of thin layers of dough glazed with white sugar. Napoleones is best paired with coffee.