The best time to visit Bacolod City is every October when the city becomes festive with the celebration of the yearly Masskara Festival. If you're visiting Bacolod City for the first time, keep this handy travel guide on what to do, where to eat and what not to miss in the "City of Smiles! Indeed, there are a lot of tourist spots and attractions to enjoy and activities to do in the Bacolod City. Check out this interview we had with Danilo Ong from Bacolod City. He shared to us some of the must-do activities, best hotels to stay, best places to eat and some useful travel tips that will surely be very helpful if you're traveling to Bacolod City for the first time.
BACOLOD TRAVEL GUIDE: 8 Tips and Tricks for First-time Travelers
1. What are the best hotels in Bacolod to stay in?
My most-recommended hotels in Bacolod are L’Fisher Hotel (Check rates online), Chalet (Check rates online), Avenue Suites (Check rates online), Business Inn (Check rates online), O Hotel (Check rates online), Circle Inn (Check rates online), Planta Centro Hotel (Check rates online), and Go Hotels Bacolod (Check rates online). For as long as it’s not Masskara season, you’ll surely have a room to book.
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SEE ALSO: Bacolod City Cheap Lodges, Rooms, Homestay, Pension Houses, Hotels and Resorts
2. Where to Eat in Bacolod City?
What made Bacolod known is its famous Chicken Inasal. Eat in the original “chicken alley” of Bacolod in Manokan Country, located beside SM City. Around 15 Manokan restaurants lined up will definitely satisfy your inasal drooling. The likes of Nena’s, Aida’s, and Umbao’s are my suggested manokan restos and before I forget, people eat their meals by hand and that is a must if you want to devour the flavors well.
If you’re looking for a hot and spicy soup for a cold weather’s night in Bacolod during rainy seasons, head down to Shopping Area (near La Salle) and eat at the two famous “Kansi” houses; Sharyn’s and Eron’s. Kansi is the local version of Manila’s Nilaga but what makes it different is the soup is really spicy and has been flavored with “atsuete”. If you’re a fan of bone marrow meat as well, this should be for you. Also, try eating at Enting’s Restaurant, beside L’Fisher Hotel, for their sumptuous sinigang and nilaga soups and seafoods.
For Desserts, visit Calea and Felicia’s for their delicious cakes. These are both located along Lacson Street. I suggest trying their various cheesecakes and ice cream cakes and as well as their classic triple chocolate. Epic!
For coffee addicts, skip your usual Starbucks and CBTL cravings and instead try either Bob’s Coffee or Kuppa. Bob’s has been the institution that defined coffee in Bacolod for more than a decade, even before Starbucks came in town. The usuals are their Mocha and Caramel Frappe, and Espressos. On the other hand, if you prefer a cozy and less crowded ambiance, visit Kuppa which is located along Shopping Area, near St. John’s Institute.
3. What are the best places to visit in (and near) Bacolod City?
- The Ruins located near Brgy Bata, Bacolod City
- Campuestohan Mountain Resort, a 1-hour ride uphill, overlooking Bacolod and Talisay cities
- Heritage Houses in Silay City, which is 30 minutes away from Bacolod City
- Negros Capitol Building and Lagoon Park
- Lakawon Island in Cadiz City, which is an hour land travel from Bacolod City
- Mambukal Mountain Resort and La Vista Highland Resorts, which are around 1-2 hours away from Bacolod City
4. What are the must-do activities in Bacolod City?
Bacolod is literally a sanctuary of food lovers looking to compensate one’s gastronomic desires. Food tripping along Lacson Street will surely make your tummy overwhelmed. From dessert shops, local coffee shops, casual and fine dining restaurants, and hang-out bars, everything you need are all lined-up along Lacson Street.
ALSO READ: Top 10 Things to Do in Bacolod City
5. What are the “secret spots” in Bacolod City that shouldn't be missed?
There’s a new haven for organic food and nature lovers, May’s Garden, located along Araneta St. in Brgy. Pahanocoy.
Also, I guess this may no longer be a secret spot but there’s an emerging food district near the Bacolod City New Government Center located at the East side. What’s surprising is that a lot of restos sprung over the years offering different types of specialties. Try eating at Recados, Pepe’s and Cookies and Crumbs by the way.
On the other hand, if you’re really looking for cheap and delicious seafood meals, ditch those fancy restos along Lacson Street and go to Pala-Pala instead. Pala-Pala is your usual “dampa” style of seafood cooking and the seafood supplies are always guaranteed fresh!
6. How to get around in Bacolod City?
Very easy, just ride a jeepney and you won’t get lost around the city. Bacolod City may be a big city but it can be traversed by riding a jeepney with the corresponding route sign. Unlike in Manila where jeepney route signs change drastically before you realize it, in Bacolod, routes are fixed, like literally inked on the jeepneys’ façade. Just learn the Hiligaynon words “bayad palihog” (bayad po) and “sa lugar lang da” (para po sa tabi) and you’ll surely get to your destination in one piece.
ALSO READ: How to Get in and Out of Bacolod-Silay International Airport
7. What are the best pasalubong from Bacolod to bring back home?
A must is the Napoleones, which is a variety of cream puff with melted confectionery sugar on top and filled with creamy butter filling. The defaults of course are the all-time Piaya, Biscocho, Barquillos and Flavored Tarts by Bong Bong’s Pasalubong Center. And no one should forget the delicious cakes by Calea, which has recently established its mark as one of the must have pasalubongs from Bacolod.
8. Where to shop in Bacolod City?
Negros Showroom located along Lacson Street, beside Chicken Deli, should be your go-to place for anything local pasalubong. For malls, the likes of Robinson’s, SM City, and The District are also present but if you prefer a cheaper option, head straight to the new 888 Mall. You won’t surely get lost looking for 888 mall because of its hugely decorated, Chinese-inspired well-lit mall buildings… like literally filled with LED lights and stuff.
Get more travel tips from Danilo by visiting his blog travelandcount.com and by following him on his Instagram account @daniloong where he shares his travels and adventures around the Philippines and beyond.
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