Bacolod City, known as the “City of Smiles,” is a charming destination in the Philippines that beckons travelers with its warm hospitality, rich cultural heritage, and delicious cuisine. Located in the heart of Negros Occidental, Bacolod offers a delightful mix of historical sites, natural wonders, and vibrant festivals.
In this article, we will explore some of the top places to visit and exciting activities that tourists can enjoy in Bacolod City.
The Ruins is a must-visit attraction in Bacolod, often referred to as the “Taj Mahal of Negros.” This beautifully preserved Italianate mansion was built in the early 1900s and is surrounded by lush gardens. Explore the stunning architecture, take a guided tour to learn about its history, and capture breathtaking photos during the golden hour as the sun sets behind this romantic backdrop.
Visit the Capitol Park and Lagoon
Located in the heart of Bacolod City, the Capitol Park and Lagoon is a scenic and peaceful urban oasis. Stroll along the park’s tree-lined pathways, rent a paddleboat to explore the lagoon, and admire the Provincial Capitol Building’s neoclassical architecture. It’s a perfect place for a leisurely walk or a picnic with loved ones.
Indulge in Bacolod’s Sweet Treats
Bacolod City is renowned for its delectable sweets, and no visit is complete without sampling local delicacies like piaya (a sweet pastry filled with muscovado sugar) and napoleones (layered puff pastry with sweet custard filling).
Join the MassKara Festival
Plan your visit to coincide with the MassKara Festival, one of the most colorful and lively festivals in the Philippines. Held in October, MassKara is a grand street party featuring dazzling masks, vibrant costumes, street dances, and a lively atmosphere that epitomizes Bacolod’s spirit of resilience and happiness.
Explore Balay Negrense
Balay Negrense, also known as the Victor Fernandez Gaston Ancestral House, is a historical house museum that offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the sugar barons during the late 19th century. Wander through its well-preserved rooms filled with antique furniture, photographs, and memorabilia that tell the story of Negros Occidental’s sugar industry.
Take a Day Trip to Lakawon Island
For a relaxing beach escape, take a short boat ride to Lakawon Island, located off the coast of nearby Cadiz City. Known for its powdery white sand, crystal-clear waters, and the iconic Tawhai Floating Bar, Lakawon offers a perfect day of sun, sea, and relaxation.
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Visit the San Sebastian Cathedral
The San Sebastian Cathedral is a historic and religious landmark in Bacolod City. Its impressive neo-gothic architecture and serene ambiance make it a peaceful place for reflection and prayer. Don’t forget to explore the nearby public plaza, where you can find the iconic Pope John Paul II Tower.
Savor Local Cuisine
Bacolod City is a culinary haven with a wide array of local dishes to try. Enjoy a sumptuous meal of chicken inasal (grilled chicken marinated in a special sauce), kansi (a sour soup made with tamarind), and seafood fresh from the Negros seas. Visit Manokan Country for an authentic chicken inasal experience.
Discover Nature at Mambukal Mountain Resort
Mambukal Mountain Resort, located just an hour away from Bacolod, offers a refreshing escape into nature. Explore the lush rainforests, trek to picturesque waterfalls, take a dip in the sulfuric hot springs, or enjoy a relaxing bath in the Japanese-inspired Koi Village.
Shop at the Negros Showroom
For souvenirs and local crafts, visit the Negros Showroom. This cooperative store features a wide range of products made by local artisans, including handwoven fabrics, pottery, and other traditional Filipino handicrafts. Purchasing from the Negros Showroom supports local artists and communities.
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Bacolod City, with its rich history, vibrant festivals, and delectable cuisine, is a destination that promises an unforgettable experience for travelers.
Whether you’re exploring its historic sites, savoring its sweet treats, or immersing yourself in its lively festivals, Bacolod’s warm and welcoming atmosphere will leave you with fond memories of the “City of Smiles.”
So pack your bags and embark on a journey to discover the beauty and culture of this charming city in the heart of Negros Occidental.
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