Bacolod-Silay International Airport in Silay City services flights from Metro Manila. You can catch a flight with either Cebu Pacific Air or Philippine Airlines. Travel time takes about more or less an hour.
Bredco Pier in Bacolod City serves ferries from Metro Manila. You can book a ferry ride through 2GO Travel. The cruise takes about 20 to 27 hours.
While there are no direct bus trips to Negros Occidental, you can just take a bus to Iloilo City via bus lines like Philtranco. After arriving in Iloilo, hop on a FastCat ferry to get to Bacolod. Total travel time takes about 22 hours.
How to Get Around
Taxis are the preferred mode of transportation from the airport to Bacolod City.
By Jeepney and Tricycle
Jeepneys and the roomy tricycle version of Negros Occidental are great means of getting around in short distances.
A bus ride is enlisted for greater distances. Ceres bus can take you to other towns within the province as well as other destinations in the Visayas like Cebu.
What to See
Negros Occidental is full of history and culture as seen in its myriad of cultural and heritage sites. However, your visit to this province should not just be limited to heritage tours. Negros Occidental also has a wealth of natural wonders where you can commune with nature.
When it comes to landmarks in Negros Occidental, the heritage houses are on top of the list.
The ancestral houses of Silay City are a must-see. Thirty of them are declared as historical landmarks by the National Historical Commission, making Silay City the second "Museum City" in the country next to Vigan. To name a few, there's the Balay Negrense (also known as the Victor Fernandez Gaston Ancestral House), the Bernardino Lopez Jalandoni House, and the Manuel Seferino Hofileña House. Some of them are open to the public so you can see some artifacts and memorabilia that will give you an idea of how affluent families lived back in the day.
Meanwhile, Talisay City is best known for The Ruins. This imposing structure is what remains of the ancestral house built by sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson for his wife. The house is of Italian architecture and features a palatial manicured garden.
Aside from heritage houses, other landmarks you can visit include the San Sebastian Cathedral and Bishop's Palace, Pope John Paul II Tower, the Capitol Park and Lagoon, and the neoclassical Capitol Building, all of which are in Bacolod City.
Beach bums would be delighted to know that Negros Occidental has several beaches and islands.
Danjugan Island is a marine conservation located in the town of Cauayan, which is three to four hours away from Bacolod City. You can frolic on the sand and take a dip in refreshing seawaters. It is also a popular snorkeling and diving site.
Another protected marine reserve is Carbin Reef in Sagay City, some two to three hours away from Bacolod City. This sandbar features white sand shores and azure waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
The beaches of Sipalay City are not to be missed as well. One of them is Sugar Beach, which, as the name suggests, features fine sand that resembles the color of washed brown sugar.
The natural beauty of Negros Occidental is not just limited to its wonderful coastline. The province also has its version of the Chocolate Hills, which you can catch a glimpse of when you pass by the Eco-translink Highway in the town of Don Salvador Benedicto. This town is also dubbed as the "Summer Capital of Negros Occidental" because of its cool climate just like in Baguio. Just near Don Salvador Benedicto is San Carlos City, where you can find the Codcod Rice Terraces.
You can also go on a trek to Mag-aso Falls in Kabankalan City and reward yourself with a dip in its refreshing waters. For hiking enthusiasts, a hike up to Mt. Kanlaon's summit is definitely a must.
Mambukal Resort is a hub of relaxation and recreation in the town of Murcia. This resort lets you enjoy a nature experience as well as access to recreational facilities. There are some warm sulfur dipping pools if you want to relax and seven waterfalls if you're up for a trek. Other activities you can enjoy include boating, wall climbing, and bat watching.
Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation also lets you get closer to nature. This zoo, which is run by a non-profit organization, aims to protect endangered species such as rare birds and local deer. While there is no entrance fee, you can leave a donation to help their cause.
Events and Festivals
Sinulog de Kabankalan is celebrated in Kabankalan City every January in honor of the Sto. Niño. Much like the Sinulog of Cebu, this event features colorful parades and lively street dances.
Meanwhile, Masskara Festival is Bacolod City's pride. It is celebrated annually during the weekend closest to October 19. As a symbol of the resilience of the locals, they don colorful happy smiling masks during the street dances.
Where to Eat
Fast Food Chains
You can enjoy your favorite dishes from some of the country's leading fast food chains like Jollibee, McDonald's, KFC, Chowking, and Greenwich to name a few.
Bacolod is known for its culinary variety. Aside from the province's native delicacies, various cuisines are available in the restaurants.
Manokan Country is an open-air dining establishment with a strip of restaurants that sell its famous delicacy—chicken inasal. Aboy's Restaurant offers a wide selection of native dishes to satisfy your palate. You can also feast on delicious seafood at Ading's Pala-Pala Restaurant and Diotay's Restaurant. Meanwhile, Byron's Back Ribs' grilled meat menu is perfect for carnivores.
If you're in the mood for some international flavors, head to Golden Fortune Restaurant for Chinese food, Rau Ram Cafe for Vietnames dishes, and Tyrol to try Austrian cuisine. For dessert, have a slice of any of the cakes at Calea or the tasty guapple pie from El Ideal Restaurant.
When you're in Silay City, make sure to drop by Cafe 1925 where they serve a variety of local and international favorites to satisfy every craving. But if you prefer seafood dishes, then try the yummy dishes made with the freshest catch at Melken's Seafood Restaurant.
After visiting Sugar Beach, satisfy your hunger at Driftwood Village restaurant, where you can order anything from local food, Asian cuisine, to European dishes. Takatuka Lodge's Sugar Beach Restaurant also has an extensive menu, and its unique interiors provide a chill vibe for a pleasant meal.
Where to Shop
Shopaholics can head to any of these malls: SM City Bacolod, Robinsons Place Bacolod, Ayala Capitol Central Mall, Gaisano Mall Bacolod, CityMall Bacolod, and 88 China Town Square.
What to Buy
Negros Occidental is known as the "Sugarbowl of the Philippines” because of its thriving sugar industry, but you can also purchase some treats around to bring home.
Bongbong's piaya is Bacolod's well-known pasalubong. It has two flavors: original and ube. Aside from piaya, other recommended pasalubong items are biscocho, pastillas de manga, and butterscotch bars.
Napoleones are another recommended delicacy to bring home when in Negros Occidental. You can buy them at Quan's delicacies. For some souvenirs like T-shirts and native handicrafts, head to Negros Showroom.
ATMs and Money Changers
There are plenty of banks and ATMs in Negros Occidental, particularly in the cities like Bacolod and Silay.
Fare: PHP 1,030.00 to PHP 5,000.00
A ferry ride from Metro Manila to Bacolod costs about PHP 1,030.00 via 2GO Travel. Meanwhile, bus fare from Metro Manila to Iloilo City ranges from PHP 700.00 to PHP 900.00, while the FastCat ferry ticket from Iloilo to Bacolod is around PHP 200.00 to PHP 300.00. Lastly, a one-way plane ticket to Bacolod-Silay Airport costs about PHP 3,000.00 to PHP 5,000.00
Food: PHP 50.00 to PHP 300.00
Enjoy carinderia meals for as low as PHP 50.00. Meanwhile, restaurant dishes range from PHP 200.00 to PHP 300.00.
Shopping: PHP 50.00++
At Bongbong's, a small pack of original flavor piaya costs about PHP 40.00, while a small pack of biscochos is about PHP 30.00. A 25-piece pack of butterscotch bars costs PHP 90.00.
Meanwhile, a souvenir shirt is PHP 200.00 to PHP 300.00 pesos, depending on the design. You can even buy a festive masskara to put as decoration for about PHP 1,000.00.
Accommodation: PHP 500.00 to PHP 3,000.00
For PHP 500.00, two people can already get an overnight stay in an air conditioned room at Mainstreet Pension House. If you prefer staying at hotels, PHP 1,000.00 to PHP 3,000.00 for two people is a reasonable price to pay.
Activities: PHP 20.00++
There is a PHP 20.00 fee to enter Pope John Paul II Tower. On the other hand, Mambukal Resort's entrance fee is PHP 50.00. Some of the heritage houses in Silay City like Balay Negrense charge entrance fees that cost more or less PHP 50.00.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 200.00++
Bacolod- Silay Airport's terminal fee for domestic flights is PHP 200.00.
Day 1 (Bacolod City, Talisay City, and Silay City Itinerary)
||Land at Bacolod-Silay International Airport. Hire a taxi to Bacolod City.
||Arrive in Bacolod City. Explore the sights such as the San Sebastian Cathedral and Bishop's Palace, Pope John Paul II Tower, the Capitol Park and Lagoon, and the Capitol Building.
||Have lunch at Manokan Country.
||Visit the endangered animals at Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation.
||Head to Talisay City.
||Arrive in Talisay City. Explore The Ruins and take lots of photos.
||Head back to Bacolod City and check in at your chosen accommodation.
||Head to Silay City.
||Arrive in Silay City. Do a walking tour of the 30 ancestral houses.
||Have dinner at Cafe 1925.
Day 2 (Danjugan Island Itinerary)
||Board a Ceres bus bound to Cauayan and get off at Brgy. Bulata.
||Once you get there, ride a tricycle going to Punta Bulata Beach Resort.
||Check in at the resort and have lunch at the resort's in-house restaurant.
||Board an outrigger boat to get to Danjugan Island.
||Arrive in Danjugan Island. Go swimming, snorkeling and kayaking.
||Arrive back in Punta Bulata Beach Resort.
Negros Occidental, as do the rest of the Philippines, only has two seasons: the dry season which runs from December until May and the wet season which runs from June to November. Most people prefer to visit during the dry season so their trip won't be disrupted by the rain.
Always bring medicine, first aid supplies, and insect repellent whenever you travel. In case you need medical assistance, just visit any of the hospitals and clinics in the province.
Though locals understand English and Tagalog, Hiligaynon, also known as Ilonggo, is widely spoken in the province. Here are some useful phrases if you want to speak like a local:
Good morning/afternoon/night! –Ma-ayong aga/hapon/gab-i!
How much is this? - Pila ini?
Please. - Palihog.
Excuse me. - Palihog sang madali lang.
Where is the bathroom? - Diin ang kasilyas?
I'm lost. - Nadula ako.
Safety and Security
Negros Occidental is generally a safe place but it's better to practice constant vigilance when you're visiting a new place. Make sure to always be mindful of your surroundings and your belongings.