24 Hours in Bacolod

Let the “City of Smiles” charm you with a day spent appreciating its scenic beauty and colorful heritage.

By Krissie G. Pacia
November 19, 2012

The name Bacolod is the Ilonggo word for "stonehill," which is where the area was founded in 1770. Due to Muslim raids, Bacolod was moved to the shoreline in 1787 and became the capital city of Negros Occidental. Known as "The City of Smiles," it was recently voted "The Best Place to Live in the Philippines."

First Things First

Being the gateway to the Province of Negros Occidental, Bacolod City offers a buffet of city tours and outdoor adventures. Pack light and pack smart with lightweight clothing, comfortable footwear, sunblock, and your trusty camera.

Although it is best to visit during the summer season (March to May) for some fun under the sun, you should also try participating in the famous MassKara Festival in October. It's a colorful celebration held everythird weekend of October with float parades, street dances, pageants, food festivals, carnivals, and other special events.

Getting There

You can reach Bacolod by air from Metro Manila in 45 minutes via several commercial flights from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Bacolod-Silay Airport. Book early to catch special deals and promotions offered by your budget carrier of choice.

Photo courtesy of Go Hotels Bacolod

Where to Stay

A budget traveler will be able to make the most of a 24-hour vacation by choosing a centrally located hotel with excellent amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. Try Go Hotels Bacolod. It is located within the Robinsons Place Bacolod Shopping Complex, convenient if you have any last-minute emergency purchases.

Remember to inform the hotel of your early arrival since the usual check-in time is 2PM. If they have no rooms available early in the day, opt to leave some of your luggage at their concierge while you take your morning tour.

6 AM: Bacolod Bound  

Bacolod is so rich in historical sites and vibrant cultures that one full day can be spent getting to know the city. Upon landing at the airport, take a 15-20 minute taxi ride to the hotel, unload your luggage, and grab a quick breakfast.

San Sebastian Cathedral
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

7 AM: City Tour

Take a jeepney ride for P7 from the Robinson's Mall to the city plaza, which is at the heart of the downtown area. Stroll along and snap photos of this picturesque park surrounded by trees, fountains, and a gazebo.

Make a stop at the San Sebastian Cathedral built in 1876, which is located right across the Bacolod Public Plaza. Mounted on one side of the church are two massive centennial bells known as the Centennial Belfry.

There is also a central market a short walk away where you can purchase native souvenirs and dried delicacies like uga and dangit.

Proceed to Casa Carmela at Lizares Street, a piaya-making factory that lets you see how this unique Negrense delicacy is made. Aside from this mouthwatering treat, there are other native delicacies that you can purchase as gifts for when you go back home.

Hail a tricycle to and head toward nearby Negros Museum on Gatuslao cor Lacson St. It's open every Tuesday to Sunday from 10AM to 6PM. Also known as the "Sugar Museum," it tells the story of the people of Negros Occidental and various historical events through exhibits.

Appreciate nature's bounty with a visit to the Negros Forest Ecological Foundation Breeding and Biodiversity Center just a stone's throw away from the Negros Museum. Proceed to the Association of Negros Producers Showroom afterward where arts and crafts produced by Ilonggo ingenuity and artistic skill are showcased.

11 AM: Lunch by the Beach

After a morning spent in the city, take a 20-30 minute trip to Punta Taytay Beach. The coastal barangay doesn't have white beaches like its more popular neighbors, but it's a favorite spot for picnic lunches with family. There are several cottages for rent in the area. Just prepare at least P120. Have a healthy serving of sisi, which is a smaller variety of oysters with a creamier taste. Dip it in spicy sinamak vinegar and eat with a healthy serving of rice.

2 PM: Rest Stop

After a fun and educational morning, it's best to go back to the hotel for a quick break to freshen up and deposit your purchases.

3 PM: Balay Negrense

Take a quick taxi ride to nearby Silay City and visit the Balay Negrense. Aside from once being the ancestral house of Victor F. Gaston, one of the sugarcane cultivation pioneers, it was also a ballet studio before falling to disrepair. Now restored to its former opulence, this two-storey colonial house with 12 bedrooms is a sprawling museum where you can go crazy capturing intricate details of its architecture. It's open to the public daily except Mondays and some holidays from 10AM to 6PM.

The Ruins
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

5 PM: Ruins at Dusk

On your way back, pass by the Ruins in Talisay City for an entrance fee of P50. The Ruins was a huge mansion built in the early 1900s that was intentionally set on fire by Filipino guerillas and the US Armed Forces to dissuade the Japanese from using it as headquarters. It's best seen at sunset when lighting is the most dramatic, so you'll have enough time to take a quick merienda at their onsite café.

To save on costs going back to Bacolod, take a trike (P7) parked at the entrance of the Ruins to the Pepsi Bottling Plant (Bata). From there, cross the road underneath the flyover to ride the Silay-Bacolod Jeepney.

7 PM: Finger-lickin' chicken

You can't leave Bacolod without trying their famous Bacolod Chicken Inasal. Try Chicken House, a cozy laidback restaurant where locals and tourists alike flock to enjoy a delightful Filipino meal. The price ranges from P90 for a typical chicken inasal meal to P135 for a meal good for two.

Chicken House is located on 24 Lacson Street near the business and commercial districts. After a filling meal, take your pick from several bars and clubs a short walk away if you want to end your Bacolod trip with a cold bottle of beer.

9 PM: Hotel Bound

It's time to relax and enjoy the comforts of your room and maybe even indulge in an in-room massage before going to bed.


Need somewhere to stay for your trip? Try value-for-money accommodations like Go Hotels. Learn more about Go Hotels here.