Updated as of January 2020
Summary: This blog shares a budget travel guide for Bacolod with a DIY itinerary that is good for 2 to 3 days. All needed details for each top attraction are laid out in the post including operating hours, entrance fee, location and information on how to get there. This Bacolod blog is intended for budget travelers either solo or traveling in group.
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.
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.
QUICK FACTS AND TIPS ABOUT BACOLOD
Here are few facts and tips to consider when traveling around Bacolod.
- 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.
- 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.
- The city can tickle even the deepest of your gastronomic delights. Set aside a considerable amount for food trip.
- A terminal fee of P200 is required in your exit flight. Consider this on your list of expenses.
- Avoid getting ripped off. Be wary of taxi drivers that do not use a meter.
- Bacolod City makes for a good base for Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park and to the nearby historic district of Silay.
- A kilometer zero post can be found at the Capitol ground.
HOW TO GET TO BACOLOD CITY
Here are options to get to Bacolod city:
Below are local destinations that offer plane trips to Bacolod.
- Cagayan de Oro
- Puerto Princesa
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.
- Shuttle Service which is provided outside the airport for a fare of P150 per person.
- 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.
- Van which is located at the airport’s parking area. Fare is around P150 per person.
- Taxi (or GrabTaxi) with an estimated fare of P250. Ask the driver to use a meter to avoid getting ripped off.
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)
Here are local destinations that offer ferry trip to Bacolod
- Manila (by ferry and plane)
- Cebu (by ferry and plane)
- Iloilo (by ferry only)
Use the search box below for availability and rate of bus, ferry and plane to Bacolod City:
TOP 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 SAMPLE ITINERARY
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+
|To Mambukal Springs||3:00PM||P100|
|Back to Bacolod City||6:00PM||P35|
|Dinner at Manokan Country||6:30PM||P150|
|To Campuestohan Highland Resort||9:00AM||P500|
|Back to Bacolod City||11:30AM||P60|
|Try Kansi or KBL for lunch||12:00PM||P200|
|Bacolod City Walk Tour||1:00PM||–|
|San Sebastian Cathedral||–||–|
|Capitol Park and Lagoon||–||–|
|Kilometer Zero Post||–||–|
|Buy Pasalubong at Bongbong or |
Merci’s and House of Mask
|Desserts at Calea||4:00PM||P200|
|The Ruins (stay until night to see |
the Ruins all lit up)
Look for discounted deals from Klook from the major destinations in Asia, including the Philippines.
OPTION B – BACOLOD with side trip to nearby cities | Budget per person: P2,400+
|Arrive in Bacolod City||8:00AM||–|
|The Negros Museum||8:30AM||P100|
|To Mambukal Springs||9:30AM||P100|
|Head back to the city||1:00PM||P35|
|Lunch at Manokan Country||1:30PM||P150|
|To Campuestohan Highland Resort||2:00PM||P60|
|Enjoy the activities in the resort||4:00PM||P500|
|Back to Bacolod City||9:00AM||P60|
|To Lakawon Island||11:00AM||–|
|Enjoy the island||12:00PM||P570|
|Back to Bacolod City||3:00PM||P310|
|Buy Pasalubong (souvenir)||4:00PM||–|
|Visit the Ruins||5:00PM||P100|
|Dinner (try KBL and Kansi)||6:00PM||P250|
|Sweets at Calea||7:00PM||P200|
WHERE TO STAY IN BACOLOD
Check out the links below for the best accommodations, both budget and luxury, around the city of Bacolod.
- Mainstreet Pension House Check rate and availability
- The Suites at Calle Nueva Check rate and availability
- Star Plus Pension House Check rate and availability
- Saltimboca Tourist Inn Check rate and availability
- Cityscape Residences Check rate and availability
- Hometown Hotel Check rate and availability
- Joaquin’s Place Check rate and availability
- Amaia Steps Capitol Central Check rate and availability
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
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BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER
And lastly, don’t forget to be awesome! 😉
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