5:37PM – I’m waiting for my flight. I’m antsy and full of nerves. I’m going on a trip alone, again. It’s just funny every time it crossed my mind how four years ago I was so afraid to went out and did something all by myself. In all my trips, my mom or a friend was always with me, making sure I wasn’t getting lost. Someone was always taking care of my pathetic geographically-impaired ass. You know, your girl is forever clueless at navigation.
It’s been a while since I traveled without any supervision from anybody. I missed this, I swear.
To venturing into the great unknown I feared all the time. To take a hundred eighty degree drastic turn, I planned everything gently, carefully. Like a child tracing a piece of brand new crayon on a sheet of paper with all her utmost care. Like a child planning the biggest mischief of her life. I carved my travel plans against the wall.
In an hour, I’m backpacking my way through town after town, roaming recklessly like the eternal wanderer that I am.
I checked the time and saw that I have few hours to spare, so I picked up my laptop and typed my way into memory.
How to Get to Bacolod City
Bacolod City is accessible by air via Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific from Manila, Cebu, Clark, Cagayan de Oro and Davao.
How to Get to from the Airport to Bacolod City Center
The airport is in Silay City, located around 15km from Bacolod city center. Here are your options:
•By van (shuttle service) – There are vans that transfers passengers from the airport to Bacolod City and vice versa. You’ll find them stationed just in front of the airport’s arrival area.
Fare: Php 150
The journey terminates at SM City Bacolod, where you can take a taxi or jeepney to your hotel.
•By taxi or Grab Taxi – The expensive option, but more convenient if you have lotsa luggage. Travel time is about 30 minutes.
Fare: ranges from Php 250-500 depending on whether they use a meter or not. If you’re a Grab user, you can use GrabTaxi. That’s what I did since I was afraid of getting lost, and paid only Php 250.
•By tricycle + jeepney – Proceed to the airport’s gate where you can find a tricycle terminal. Take the tricycle to Silay highway.
Fare: Php 15 (if with other passengers)
Php 60 (if solo)
Then from the highway, take a Bacolod-bound jeepney (fare is Php 13) to “North-bound Terminal”. From there, take another jeepney (Bata or Mandalagan-bound) to downtown Bacolod City / your hotel, fare is Php 7.
Where to Stay in Bacolod City
There are numerous inns and hotels in Bacolod City catering to all type of travelers. Here are the recommended accommodations in Bacolod.
Top-Rated Budget Accommodations in Bacolod:
•Saltimboca Tourist Inn Located in Bacolod Downtown
Rate starts at Php 800
•Royal Am Rei HotelLocated in Bacolod Downtown
Rate starts at Php 900
Here is a memory.
The fresh air of the province hit me as soon as I went out of the airport, startling me for a second. The gravity of what I did started to fall into pieces in my head.
I was really all alone and unlike with my first trip where I was just spent a night at Tagaytay, this time I was in a province very far from the comforts of my home, away from the help of my mom and friends. I was spending the night outside the city all alone.
The charming city of smiles, Bacolod, I was pretty surprised at the vast difference of Negros to Manila. The sights—oh God, I fell in love with the sights! The road was wider here and well-maintained. I passed by the magnificent view of trees and hills, miles upon miles of greenery rolled out and planked me from both sides of the road—they were simply breathtaking. I admired every inch of it. And its locals are a multitude of warm, friendly people.
I didn’t want to go home anymore.
The beauty of Bacolod is not only appreciated by the outward sense of traveling but also enjoyed inward. You either literally munch and finger lick its top delicacies while on a food trip or figuratively take in a great deal of understanding about its rich heritage while hopping on its ancestral homes, old churches, and museums. I didn’t take so much photos in museum because I didn’t think my shots would give proper justice to the magic that this place was offering its viewers anyway. People should come to see them for themselves.
Negros has lots and lots of places to offer. From resorts to churches to old buildings; Negros Occidental has become the ideal blend of old and new, and Bacolod lies in the heart of it all. Those who haven’t seen and experienced the wonders of Bacolod, Talisay and Silay will surely enjoy discovering these iconic places. And you will surely keep coming back for more once you visit the places. The “why” is for you to find out.
Bacolod Tourist Spots And Things to do in Bacolod City
•Don Salvador Benedicto – it is dubbed as the “little Baguio” in the north of Negros Occidental. Because of its cold weather since they are in the highlands; Both the sunset and the sunrise were spectacularly mesmerizing in this place.
DSB welcomes you with a very green environment containing various types of trees especially pine trees. The intoxicating scent of pine trees wafting in my nose, easing the knots of stress in on my shoulders.
Here are some of the tourist attractions in Don Salvador Benedicto:
• La Guada Cafe
• Malatan-og Falls
• Lion Statue & View Deck
• Maranatha Camp Site
• Don Salvador Pine Trees
• Terraza Cafe
• Jomax Peak
Below are my personal go-to places in Don Salvador Benedicto.
•La Guada Cafe – I stopped by at the La Guada Cafe to enjoy a coffee with a view. The cafe itself is located at the peak of the hill. When it comes to food, they specialize in different Filipino foods, namely native foods such as “suman”, “suman latik”, “biko”, “budbod”, “ibos”, “alupe” and many other more.
•Jomax Peak – Introducing the home to the sea of clouds in Negros Occidental! It is an exclusive campsite, picnic ground and flower sanctuary in Don Salvador Benedicto which is owned by Atty. Jomax Ortiz.Be in awe of the panoramic mountain scenery. You’ll get an awesome mountain view experience from the balcony; therefore making it one of the instagrammable destinations in the region.I already liked the place because of its view—the bed of clouds. It’s very relaxing and you can take the time to reflect too. Also, they have an unlimited supply of free coffee. So coffee lovers, alam niyo na.
•Trekking to an underground river –(accompanied by a tour guide) for only 100 per head including the safety helmets and native “baston”. It would take about 20 mins to reach the jump off site which is 2 km away from the villa.
Staycation Villa in Don Salvador Benedicto:
Salvio’s Vacation Villa at KM55
The villa is located at Kilometer 55, Don Salvador Benedicto which is owned by Mr. Lito Salvio.
•Mountain Villa – Php 3,000
*good for 5-8 persons (Php 200 for the extra beds)
*1 queen bed
*3 single beds
*hot and cold shower
*and outside table and chairs.
•Poolside Challet – Php 3,000
*good for 3 persons
*1 queen bed
*1 sofa bed
*The guests can access the Pool (shared with Vacation and Poolside Villas)
*it has outdoor bath, hot and cold shower
*outdoor garden dining area and a teraza towering with the trees.
•Poolside Villa -Php 4,200
*good for 5-8 guests
*contains 2 bedrooms
*1 queen bed
*3 single beds
*it has living room with table and chairs
*hot and cold shower
*outdoor lanai in front of the pool with dining sets *outdoor kitchen
*Infinity Pool is shared with Vacation Villa and Chalet guests.
•Vacation Villa – Php 4,800
*good for 5-15 persons
*it contains 2 bedrooms
*2 comfort rooms
*1 queen bed
*3 single beds
*hot and cold shower
*2 dining tables
*flat screen tv
*a cctv monitor
*has a spacious rooms upstairs with balconies *fully furnished with rustic wood furnitures
*has a kitchen and an outdoor grille stand
*Guests can cook their food thru traditional charcoal cooking
Other things to note:
A camp fire event can be arranged in the backyard where families can bond, share stories and huddle on the warmth of the bonfire amidst the cold breeze of the mountains.
•Forest Villa -Php 2,200
*good for 2 persons
*2 single beds
*it has small bubbly heart shaped pool for a relaxing dip for parents and for children to frolic
*it has kitchen
*hot and cold shower
Other things to note:
Forest villa for 2 pax … have the option to add 2 more excess only at Php 250 per head payable upon check-in.
You may search and book on AirBnB or their official Facebook page.
For more inquiries and reservation, you may send a message to their official Facebook page: Vacation Villa KM55
•Go Around Silay City – You can find Silay City in the North of Bacolod. Its streets, sandwiched by elegant ancestral houses, mansions, old buildings and historical sites, make for a good sightseeing trail. Thirty one of these houses have been named as historical landmarks, making Silay the second “museum city” in the Philippines, after Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Here are some of the heritage sites you might want to squeeze into your itinerary.
•Balay Negrense – Also called the “Victor F. Gaston House,” Balay Negrense was built during the height of Silay as the region’s cultural and economic center.
Operating hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-5pm
Entrance Fee: P60 adults, P30 students.
•El Ideal Bakery – It is the oldest bakeshop in the city, but still completely functional. It is located in the Cesar Lacson Locsin Ancestral House, another heritage site.
Here, you can enjoy all kinds of meals served with bread or rice. Pastries and delicacies abound for tourists to enjoy; there’s piaya, angel cookies and all sorts of pies. You will definitely want to eat your heart out in this local favorite.
Operating hours: Daily, 6:30am-6:30pm
•Bernardino Jalandoni Museum – First owned by Don Bernardino and Dona Ysabel Jalandoni. It’s famously known as the “Pink House,” this ancestral home has been a National Historical Landmark since 1993. It’s unique color and architecture attracts many visitors, all of whom give nothing but praise to the museum. Completed in 1908, the house is a beautiful combination of Silaynon architecture and European furnishing.
Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-5pm
Entrance Fee: P60 adults, P30 students
•San Diego Pro-Cathedral – Built in 1925 and designed by Italian architect Lucio Bernasconi (Romanesque architecture). It is the only church in Negros Occidental that has a dome. If you’re wondering what a pro-cathedral is, it’s basically a runner up to the existing cathedral in the province, the San Sebastian Cathedral. Though it ranks at second place in this respect, it is still a beautiful building that attracts many tourists.
•Cinco de Noviembre Marker – Where the Negros Revolution was planned. The event created a new government that was run by Negrense Natives. The revolution ended the control of the Spaniards of the island, albeit for a brief period of time.
Note that most ancestral houses and museums like Balay Negrense and Bernardino Jalandoni Museum are closed on Mondays.
•Marvel at The Ruins (The Taj Mahal Of Negros) – It was constructed in the early 1900s, the Ruins was once a mansion that was said to be the biggest residential structure in the area at the time.
Here, the pulse of memories were its strongest, and if I listened close enough, I could almost hear the heartbeat of the love that paved the way for this mansion to be even created. As I moved closer to the Italianate architecture, it was bizarre and warming because this structure was build for and in memory of Don Mariano’s wife, Maria.At the height of World War II, the US Armed Forces in the Far East and Filipino guerrilla soldiers set the entire mansion on fire in order to prevent the Japanese from using it as their headquarters. What was left were the columns, the facade and the floor.
Opening Hours: 8am-8pm
**the best time to visit is in the evening when the entire structures is lit up. Roam around the 400 hectare mansion and find yourself a comfortable seat at its park.
Entrance Fee: Php 100
Parking Fee: Php 50
•Fill your tummy with local favorites
￼Bacolod is one of the best food destinations in the country, enriched by centuries of diverse culinary influences, from traditional Filipino to Spanish heirlooms. I have tried (and loved) the following:
Since Bacolod is inasal‘s hometown, there’s no better place to try it than here.
Head on out to
1). Manokan Country – Bacolod’s street market that specializes in this delightful chicken dish.
I was able to try two of these stalls: Nenas Beth and Aida’s. Aida’s is arguably the most popular. Most blogs and even travel shows on TV that featured Bacolod gave it a shoutout. Nena’s Beth taste good, too. Actually they taste identical, to be honest. They both cooked with a marinade of calamansi, coconut vinegar, pepper and annato. They just differ on more how it was cooked.
Also, just to manage your expectations, know that these are not air-conditioned. They don’t provide utensils by default either because inasal is best enjoyed using bare hands. (You can ask for utensils, though.)
Prices of orders are around Php 100, chicken and rice.
2). Sharyn’s Cansi House – If you’ve ever heard of bulalo, it would be easy enough for you to imagine what cansi is, the Ilonggo version of said Filipino dish. For those who think those two words sound made up, bulalo and cansi are basically dishes cooked with the same main ingredient: beef shank. However, the shank isn’t necessarily the highlight of cansi. The star is actually the bone marrow. Sharyn’s Cansi House is a humble but multi-awarded hole-in-the-wall serving Bacolod’s best bowls of cansi.
Prices for order is around Php 300.
Also try their original Crispy Cansi (Php 450). The servings here are huge, good for 3-4 hungry pax.
3). Oyster – There are oysters available in Manokan Country apart from the popular Inasal Chicken.
The prices is Php 60 for a dish and it’s quite big the order. So delicious for a cheap price!
4). Calea – My favourite place for dessert, coffee and tea. Order their bestsellers: white chocolate cheesecake with raspberry sauce and chocolate cake. The best thing about Calea is that they serve awesome-tasting cakes in generous servings at a low price. Did you know, you can fine delicious cake for Php 100 and there are so many flavors to taste. Great place for a coffee, it’s located in the popular Lacson Street where you will find many restaurants around.
5). Bibingka – This is another popular Filipino street food. This egg based dessert is eaten alongside. It’s usually served on a banana leaf.Prices are starting at Php 5 and it’s filled with buko.
6). Lumpiang Bacolod – this delicacy is literally just fresh spring rolls and is abundant in Bacolod. Unlike the more typical preparation of spring rolls, lumpiang bacolod is not fried and is eaten with a soft wrapper, special peanut sauce and vegetables inside. This dish is pretty common all over the country and is a popular merienda or mid-day snack.7). Danggit – there are plenty of other seafood available in Bacolod like shrimp and talaba (oysters). Of course, different kinds of fish also abound in Bacolod and they are prepared and processed in different ways. One famous variant of fish found in the region is danggit, or salted and dried rabbitfish. It’s crunchy and salty, perfect to dip in vinegar, eat with hot rice and fried egg in the morning.
There are several others like 18th St. Pala-pala Seafood Grill, Diotay’s, Chicken House, and Masskara Chicken. But I was only able to try those I mentioned above.
On my fourth day, I traveled to Oslob, Cebu.Isn’t it just the best feeling in the world when you realise you have become better at something? Remember last time I went snorkelling? This time I made so much better, I stayed calmer and got a chance to properly notice all the beautiful marine life around me. Oslob, is known for it’s rich aquatic life and has some of the best snorkelling and diving spots in the Philippines! You might see some tropical species. I would honestly love to get into diving!
glimpse of heaven found in the sea
The Gentle Giants
It was such a great experience!