BACOLOD: A PRACTICAL TRAVEL GUIDE FOR DIY & BUDGET TRAVELERS [UPDATED as of 2021]

Note: As a precautionary measure in this time of COVID-19 pandemic, it is best to check with the authorities the updated travel requirements and possible restrictions that might affect your travel plan. Contact Bacolod Tourism Office at bacolodcitytourismoffice@gmail.com or at (034) 708 3066 to know the latest update.

Remember to always follow the health and safety protocols imposed from your travel origin to your destination. I wish you a safe trip ahead!

Traveling to Bacolod City for the first time? This detailed DIY travel guide is exactly what you need. Scroll down and take note of the outlined information from sample itinerary and budget, best places to visit, top things to do, recommended tours and transports, budget-friendly accommodations, and other travel tips. Have a fun and enjoyable trip ahead!

START HERE!

BACOLOD CITY AT A GLANCE

The charming city of smiles, BACOLOD, humbly resolves itself as the capital of Negros Occidental and stretches a metropolitan area covering the other two cities of Talisay and Silay. Its locals are a multitude of warm, friendly people who can speak good English, asserting the city to becoming one of the top choices for call centers in the Philippines.

The Ruins (Mansion) all lit up at night time.

As a tourist, the beauty of Bacolod is appreciated not by the outward sense of traveling for there is less fascinating landscapes in the area. It is rather enjoyed inward. You either literally munch, lip smack 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 few sites of historic interests.

Bacolod is urbanized but easy to navigate, you take a pedicab (trishaw) or a jeepney for P8 to get around areas within the city; and a bus, taxi or even a jeepney to its adjacent towns.

WHERE TO STAY IN BACOLOD CITY

The best place to stay in Bacolod is within the city proper. Here are top-rated accommodations that you can find in the area. Click the photo for more details.

UNIT 1109 CITYSCAPE RESIDENCES
Rating: 9.1 | Price: 1,909 for a studio apartment with seaview good for 3 persons
REDDOORZ@RAMOS LACSON
Rating: 7.9 | Price: P1,001 for a family room good for 3 adults and 2 kids
AVENUE SUITES
Rating: 7.8 | Price: P1,884 for a room good for 3 adults and 2 kids
HEI HOMES BACOLOD
Rating: 9.4 | P1,889 for an apartment good for 3 persons

HOW TO GET TO BACOLOD CITY

Here are options to get to Bacolod city:

By Air

Below are local destinations that offer plane trips to Bacolod.

  • Angeles
  • Butuan
  • Cagayan de Oro
  • Cebu
  • Davao
  • Puerto Princesa
  • Manila

The airport is situated at Silay, its metropolitan area. Upon your arrival, you can choose any of the options below to get to Bacolod City.

  1. Shuttle Service which is provided outside the airport for a fare of P150 per person.
  2. Public transportation. Take a tricycle outside the airport and head to Silay center where you can take a bus or jeepney bound for Bacolod North Terminal. At the terminal, ride another jeepney to your destination.
  3. Van which is located at the airport’s parking area. Fare is around P150 per person.
  4. Taxi (or GrabTaxi) with an estimated fare of P250. Ask the driver to use a meter to avoid getting ripped off.

By Bus

Traveling by bus is possible from these local destinations:

  • Cebu – Head to South Bus terminal and look for a Ceres bus plying to Bacolod city.
  • Dumaguete City – At the bus terminal near Robinsons mall, catch a Ceres bus to Bacolod. Trip goes every hour.
  • other towns in Negros

Take note that there are 2 bus terminals in Bacolod, both operated by Ceres Liner:

  • Ceres Southbound Terminal – for buses from and to Dumaguete (via Mabinay)
  • Ceres Northbound Terminal – for buses from and to Cebu (via Toledo or Tabuelan), San Carlos (via Don Salvador Benedicto), Bayawan (via Cauayan and Sipalay) and Kanlaon City (via La Carlota, La Castellana, Moises Padilla)
Lakawon island sign post.

By Ferry

Here are local destinations that offer ferry trip to Bacolod

  • Manila (by ferry and plane)
  • Cebu (by ferry and plane)
  • Iloilo (by ferry only)

TOP TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN BACOLOD

Here are six (6) top tourist spots that you can cover in a day tour or with an itinerary for 2 to 3 days while in and near Bacolod city.

THE NEGROS MUSEUM

A 1925-constructed museum which lays out an interesting display of artifacts and various artworks that illustrate the defining past of the province. It is located beside the Hall of Justice, 3 minutes away from the Provincial Capitol. General admission is P100, senior citizen is P80, and students is P70. Operating hours is from 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday.

Rating: 2/5

THE RUINS (MANSION)

The then-mansion-turned-to-ruins was built by a sugar baron for his Portuguese wife upon her death. The place is considerably one of the most famous heritage landmarks in the country and is a premier destination for events in Bacolod. The Ruins welcomes visitors from 8:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m. daily. Entrance fee is P100. The best time to visit is in the evening when the entire structure is lit up. After enjoying the Ruins, roam around the 400-hectare mansion and find yourself a comfortable seat at its park.

To get there by public transport, take a jeepney en route to Bata from the downtown area. Drop off at the tricycle terminal near a Pepsi factory. There is a sign showing the way to the Ruins. If you haven’t spotted the sign, ask any motorcycle driver in the area for directions. Some drivers would offer to take you to the ruins but the better way is to charter a tricycle which is only around the corner. Take note that there are no available transport from the Ruins back to the main road. It is best to ask the tricycle driver to wait. The round trip on a tricycle would set you back about P80-P100, depending on your negotiation skill.

Rating: 3/5

MANOKAN (CHICKEN) COUNTRY

Lies few meters away from SM Bacolod is Manokan country, a food market composed of stalls serving Bacolod’s front-runner in the culinary scene, chicken inasal (roasted chicken). The top choice among these stalls is Aida’s Restaurant which is usually occupied with a jam-packed of visitors, both of locals and tourists.

Rating: 3/5

CAMPUESTOHAN HIGHLAND RESORT

A sweet escape from the busy streets of Bacolod, Campuestohan is a rural theme park that sits on a 5-hectare highland overlooking mountains. It features a lineup of Native American inspired tepees that can accommodate 6 people at most. The resort has a garden, restaurant, outdoor pool, kid’s play area, ice cream shop, and a cafe. Activities available here are zipline and cable hamster wheel among others. Contact them at +63 915 211 1406, +63 917 300 5007, +63 977 804 0808 or visit their website for more details.

There are two options to get there: 1) By shuttle service which stations at Caltex Circumferential road in front of McDonalds or at i-Mart convenience store. Trip goes daily in an hourly basis from 7:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Last trip from the resort to the city is at 5:00 p.m. One way fare is P60. 2) By public transport, ride a jeepney to Burgos Market. Fare is P8. At the market, ride another jeepney that goes to Alagilan terminal. Fare is P20. At the terminal, charter a tricycle to Campuestohan. Round trip is P400.

Rating: 3/5

MAMBUKAL SPRINGS RESORT

Originally constructed by a Japanese, the now government-owned resort sources out its natural spectacle from a big mountain stream that descends through a series of seven waterfalls. Adding up to it are the hot sulfur springs and warm dipping pools dotted around its sloping landscape that make for a perfect bathing place. Everything here ties up with nature.

You can come for a day use or stay overnight on its accommodation facilities from cottages, villas, rooms, dormitories and camp sites. Entrance fee is P30 for adult, P20 for kids. Contact them at (034) 473-0610 or visit the Mambukal website for inquiries and reservation.

The resort is located in Minoyan, Murcia, outside Bacolod city. To get there, go by jeepney to Libertad market in Bacolod and take a bus that goes directly to the resort. To get back to the city, take a jeepney or bus outside the resort. Fare is P35.

Rating: 3/5

LAKAWON ISLAND

The vastness of Lakawon island.

At the coast of Cadiz, outside Bacolod city, is an imposing, banana-shaped island that brags of its sublime, white sands that extend to 13 hectares. Book for an overnight stay (by room, hut, cottage or canopy tent) and jam at the evening party or enjoy a good drink on its floating bar (the bar operates until 5:00 p.m. Monday to Thursday, until 8:00 p.m. Friday to Sunday). To get there, make way to the Ceres North terminal in Bacolod. Catch a bus that goes to Burgos public market for P250. Transfer on a tricycle going to the port for P120, travel time is 15 minutes. Book for a boat to the island and pay all fees for P270 . For day use guests, last trip back to mainland is 5:00 p.m. Travel time is 30 minutes. Contact them at +63 917 555 6979, +63 939 969 7574 or visit Lakawon Island website.

Note: Food items here can become pricey so bring your own food. Corkage fee is P50. Also, customer service and amenities in the resort sometimes require extra patience. Pack a load of it.

Rating: 3/5

Check out the top attractions in Negros Island via this link.

TOP THINGS TO DO IN BACOLOD

Here are activities that are worth a try while traveling around and near Bacolod city.

Food Trip – satisfy your gastronomic delights by hopping to few of the top food attractions in the city, aside from chicken inasal.

Bacolod delicacies
Bacolod delicacies

Join the Masskara Festival! Watch the city come alive and get lost in the pleasantries that only the Masskara festival can bring.

Partake in a Paint your Mask activity at JoJo Vito designed House of Mask where you can also find the finest masks for souvenir. The place is few meters towards the east from Metrodome, right in front of Bongbong’s pasalubong center. The gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays.

BACOLOD RECOMMENDED TOURS

Here are some of the recommended and affordable tours from KLOOK for Bacolod City. Click the link for more details.

Search below for more KLOOK tour packages and transport services for Bacolod City:

Klook.com

BACOLOD SAMPLE ITINERARY & BUDGET

In getting around the top tourist spots in Bacolod, one can go on a DIY or an arranged tour package. DIY is preferred by travelers who are in a shoestring budget. The 2 samples of DIY itinerary below, that you can combine for 2 or 3 days, assume a party of two and suggest an estimated budget per person (not including the expenses for accommodation and souvenir).

OPTION A – BACOLOD with side trip to Mambukal and Campuestohan | Budget per person: P1,500+

DAY ONE

ActivityTimeBudget
Check in2:00PM
To Mambukal Springs3:00PMP100
Back to Bacolod City6:00PMP35
Dinner at Manokan Country6:30PMP150
Lights Out8:00PM
Lakawon island in Negros
At Lakawon Island.

DAY TWO

ActivityTimeBudget
Wake up8:00AM
To Campuestohan Highland Resort9:00AMP500
Back to Bacolod City11:30AMP60
Try Kansi or KBL for lunch12:00PMP200
Bacolod City Walk Tour1:00PM
Bacolod Plaza
San Sebastian Cathedral
Negros MuseumP100
Capitol Park and Lagoon
Kilometer Zero Post
Buy Pasalubong at Bongbong or
Merci’s and House of Mask
3:00PM
Desserts at Calea4:00PMP200
The Ruins (stay until night to see
the Ruins all lit up)
5:00PMP100
Lights Out!8:00PM

OPTION B – BACOLOD with side trip to nearby cities | Budget per person:  P2,400+

DAY ONE

ActivityTimeBudget
Arrive in Bacolod City8:00AM
The Negros Museum8:30AMP100
To Mambukal Springs9:30AMP100
Head back to the city1:00PMP35
Lunch at Manokan Country1:30PMP150
To Campuestohan Highland Resort2:00PMP60
Check in2:30PM
Enjoy the activities in the resort4:00PMP500

DAY TWO

ActivityTimeBudget
Back to Bacolod City9:00AMP60
To Lakawon Island11:00AM
Enjoy the island12:00PMP570
Back to Bacolod City3:00PMP310
Buy Pasalubong (souvenir)4:00PM
Visit the Ruins5:00PMP100
Dinner (try KBL and Kansi)6:00PMP250
Sweets at Calea7:00PMP200
The Ruins (Mansion) shot on a dark glass.

QUICK FACTS AND TIPS ABOUT BACOLOD

Here are few facts and tips to consider when traveling around Bacolod.

  1. Bacolod celebrates the renowned Masskara festival every 3rd week of October. It is a spectacle of colorful, vibrant masks that comes in a mardi gras of street dancing on a mix of latin and tribal music. During the festival, hotels are mostly booked. Travelers are advised to look for accommodation 3 months ahead of the trip.
  2. Don’t be caught in the traffic. The streets of Bacolod become busy around 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. after school and office hours, and worse on holidays and during the Masskara festival.
  3. The city can tickle even the deepest of your gastronomic delights. Set aside a considerable amount for food trip.
  4. A terminal fee of P200 is required in your exit flight. Consider this on your list of expenses.
  5. Avoid getting ripped off. Be wary of taxi drivers that do not use a meter.
  6. Bacolod City makes for a good base for Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park and to the nearby historic district of Silay.
  7. A kilometer zero post can be found at the Capitol ground.
The first on my collection of kilometer zero post.

USEFUL PHRASES

English is widely understood in Bacolod. But in case you want to speak the local tongue, here are phrases that proved to be useful.

English to Hiligaynon (Ilonggo, the prevalent language in Bacolod)

Good morning – Maayong aga
Good afternoon – Maayong hapon
Good evening – Maayong gab-i
Thank you – Salamat
Where is… – Diin ang…
How much – Pila

Inside Tawhai Floating bar, the biggest in Asia.

EXTEND YOUR TRIP

Visit other top destinations that are only few hours away from Bacolod by bus:

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Leaning on our boat at Punta Sibaring 1. This photo was taken during a high tide.

Hey there! I’m Ker, The Fun-sized Traveller. Fun-size because I’m a short guy from the Philippines. Thanks for checking out this virtual block I have started building since my 30th birthday to document my 2nd quarter life. Yup, it’s more of a personal pursuit, but a part of me also wants to give back to the travel community that is why I make it a point to share travel articles out from my trips around Asia.

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