Bacolod Itinerary, Philippines


City of Smiles in the Philippines

Bacolod is the capital of the province of Negros Occidental and the largest city on the island of Negros. They're famous from being the cleanest and greenest city and now considered as the Football City of the Philippines The city rose to popularity because of the MassKara Festival held during the 3rd week of the month of October. This is a short post about my short trip to Bacolod. Let's go!

How to get there: Cebu-Bacolod (Bus and Boat)

From Cebu City:

Terminal: North Bus Terminal take the Ceres buses (Bus bound for Bacolod)
Bus fare: air-conditioned bus fare: 325 PHP, non-air-conditioned bus: 315 PHP, might as well take the air-conditioned bus but you have to be early to catch it. 

Bus timing: 4:30am 
Travel time: 2-3 hours, depends on the stopovers and the weather. We arrived at the Port Area in Toledo around 6:30 in the morning. We rode the waves at 8:00 AM and got our feet on the ground at about 9:30 AM.

Ticket for the Barge/Boat: 215 PHP, which includes the terminal fee
Sea Travel time: 1.5 hours one and half hours of sea travel. 

We landed at San Carlos City, a part of Negros Occidental and our bus made it's way passing beautiful mountains and trees. We made a stop at the South bus terminal and took another bus going to the place where we will be staying. It was a smooth ride going to La Carlota, a kind aunt of my friend has invited us to stay in their house. 

Bus fare going to other towns of Bacolod: 35 PHP - 40 PHP

Power outlets: are commonly type A, with standard voltage 220 V and frequency 60 Hz.  Be sure to bring a universal plug adapter!
Money matters:  We recommend getting your currency exchanged via Western Union (WU) since you'll get a better rate than at the airport.  You can send your travel budget to yourself and pick up the exchanged amount at the local WU.
Convenient phone apps:  Grab for transportation.

Survival Terms
CR is the term for the toilet
Salamat means "thank you"

What to do in Bacolod 

Welcome to the city! Now what?!

MassKara Festival of Bacolod City

Bacolod City has two main roads, Lacson Street to the north and Araneta Street to the south. Lacson Street is the place where the Festival is, their Main Highway intended to be closed for 2 days for the event. It is packed with people from day till night, every corner of the street has it's own thing: a Band playing here and another one there. Expect Eye-popping and Enchanting MassKara's. Behold in its beauty and how Bacolodnon's culture unfold in front of you. 

The Festival is held each year every third weekend of October nearest October 19, the city's Charter Inauguration Anniversary, it was all about creativity and originality. I was fascinated to see different kinds of MassKara and how durable and eye-catching it is. It's quite heavy with all its beads, feathers, fans and layers of decorations. It was an amazing sight to see, another interesting festival just likes what we have in Cebu, Sinulog. 

The MassKara Festival was said to have been a cover-up for the downfall of the sugar cane industry, that came out from the mouth of my Bacolodnon's friend. 

Ted's La Paz Batchoy and Bong Bong's Pasalubong

Bacolodnon's are Batchoy lovers. Ted's La Paz Batchoy at Sm Bacolod is a must-try. I'm really not a fan of Batchoy but I guess I changed my mind. My friend's cousin served as our tour guide all throughout our stay in Bacolod. I partially dedicated this blog to her, thank you Benajoy. 

We dropped by at Bong Bong's Pasalubong outlet, they have several branches in malls around the City, and their main branch is located at UTC Mall Araneta Street, Purok Lechonan, Bacolod City. I loved their butterscotch, caramel tarts and barquiron. I bought yummy pasalubongs for my family and friends. I should have brought more because I was craving for it for days.

Bacolod's Chicken Inasal

The Best Tasting Chicken 

A long row of Inasal stalls along the street will feed your Chicken Barbeque cravings found at Manokan Country Strip, located in front of SM Mall Bacolod, Reclamation Area. Aida's Chicken was the Winner of Bacolod's Best Tasting Chicken Contest during the last MassKara Festival 25th Anniversary. They surely have the best tasting chicken- I can assure you that. The chicken inasal will never be as delicious as it can be without dipping it in their very own "sinamak" (spiced vinegar). 

Bacolod's Gigantic Pizza

We also got to try the newest pizza place at Bacolod, Greeno'z Pizzaria, a Schweiss-Italian pizza, located at Block 3 Lot 2 Green Plain Subdivision, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. They offer the most affordable thin crust pizza in Bacolod. The nipa-made structure made the area a relaxing place to hang out, especially with your friends. 

Nightlife in Bacolod: Siberia Bar, Pepe's at Sorrento Plaza and MO2 Ice Bar and Restaurant Bacolod

Siberia Bar is one place I loved in Bacolod. It comes to Life after sunset- definitely made my night. A masquerade party made it more fabulously fantastic. They have the coolest remix of music and fortunately at that time they had a special guest, the Grupo Tribale. Mixed with great music their drumming produces a sound that keeps you dancing all night. We're tired but that didn't stop us from having fun. 

We continued the night with a drinking session at Pepe's, located at Sorrento Plaza along Lacson Street, a few blocks away from L'fisher Hotel. A perfect place where people come to drink and chill out. We grabbed a taste of their refreshing Margarita, with just the right mixed. 

Bacolod's MO2 Ice Bar and Restaurant located at Lacson St., Mandalagan, Bacolod City. We're hoping to have a short game of billiards, unfortunately, they were already closed, but something interesting caught my eye. We sat at their restaurant to have a few drinks as "annipa" fan attached on top that moves sideways to produce a smooth air that slightly lifts your hair. It was alright to have a cancelled game of pool, I got to see something cool that pleased my eyes. 

We had gone home early in the morning at exactly 5:00 in the morning we're already in the street waiting for the Bus going to San Carlos City Port Area. One more thing that made my Bacolod such an interesting trip, it happened when we were dining at Greeno'z Pizzaria. A group of friends were having a great time at the other table, then a tall, quite a handsome guy came in towards them, one by one he kisses all the girls cheek in such a slow pace. I knew for sure he's straight and I liked what I saw. I also noticed how taxi, jeepney, tricycad drivers never failed to smile when you either pay your fare and ask for directions- maybe they're all in a good mood I'm glad I've got to see it. It would be a great thing if we all have that kind of manners in our culture. Bacolodnon's are smiling, sweet, affectionate people and I can definitely say it's true. No wonder how they became the "City of Smiles" here in the Philippines. 

Have fun and be safe ^__^

Itinerary Reminders:

1. Flight Details
Make sure to write down your booking reference number, be at the airport two hours before your flight and allocate time for your travel to the airport.

2. Accommodation Details
Write down your hotel/motel/resort/BnB booking number. Contact your place to inform them around when you'll be arriving — it really does help.  Also, ask if your accommodation has any discounted activities.  You'd be surprised!

3a. Transportation
List possible times your bus/train/boat arrives and leaves so you don't miss an activity.  Always give yourself an extra 30-45 minutes in case you get lost, get stuck in traffic, or are looking for parking.  Better early than late.  Of utmost importance: check for the last trip and fares!  So you still have time and money to get back.

3b. Car Rentals
Take note of your pick-up address and time allotted.  Our last car rental told us to bring the car back by a certain time with a certain amount of gas.  Allot money for fuel and parking.

4. Budgeting
Set aside a minimum and maximum spending amount for meals, transportation, entrance fees, activities, souvenirs and emergencies.  3 meals a day + snacks add up quickly, so keep track!  As well as tips for restaurants and activities.

5. Activities
Call to confirm your booking(s) a day or so beforehand.  Set alarms and/or calendar reminders for things you plan to do (i.e- bungee-jumping, river-rafting, or even city/food tours).

Do you want more adventure?
If you still have one more day to spare why not go to Oslob and see the famous whale shark or also known as "Butanding."

Where am I going next?
My next adventure is to check out a UNESCO World Heritage, The Chocolate Hills of Bohol.

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