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BACOLOD BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE (with itinerary, expenses and top attractions)

UNDERSTANDING BACOLOD CITY

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 that speaks good English, asserting the city to becoming one of the top choices for BPO industry 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 – literally munch, lip smack and finger lick on 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 sights 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.

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

QUICK FACTS & TIPS ABOUT BACOLOD CITY

  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. The streets of Bacolod become busy around 5-7PM after school and office hours, and worse on holidays and during the Masskara festival. Don’t be caught in the traffic.
  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.

HOW 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 metered fare to avoid getting ripped off.

By Bus

Traveling by bus is possible from these local destinations:

  • Cebu – Head to the South Bus terminal and look for Ceres buses 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)

By Ferry (Click here for the shipping line, schedule and fare.)

  • Manila
  • Iloilo
Lakawon island sign post.

TOP ATTRACTIONS IN & 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. Operations hours is from 9AM to 6PM 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 8:30AM to 8:00PM 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 here 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 P80-100, depending on your negotiation with the driver.
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 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 teepees that can accommodate 6 people. 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 here: 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 7:00AM-3:00PM. Last trip from the resort to the city is at 5:00PM. 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 here, 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 5PM Monday to Thursday, until 8PM Friday to Sunday). To get here, 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 5PM. 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

MUST-TRY ACTIVITIES IN BACOLOD CITY

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

  • KBL

  • Cakes and Desserts in Calea

  • Food items at Bongbong and Merci’s Pasalubong centers

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

3. 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 a few meters towards the east from Metrodome, right in front of Bongbong’s pasalubong center. The gallery is open from 8:30AM to 5:00PM, Mondays to Saturdays.

BACOLOD CITY SAMPLE ITINERARY

The 2 samples of itinerary below 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 1

Activity Time Budget
Check in 2:00PM
To Mambukal Springs 3:00PM P100
Back to Bacolod City 6:00PM P35
Dinner at Manokan Country 6:30PM P150
Lights Out 8:00PM

Day 2

Activity Time Budget
Wake up 8:00AM
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
Bacolod Plaza
San Sebastian Cathedral
Negros Museum P100
Capitol Park and Lagoon
Kilometer Zero Post
Buy Pasalubong at Bongbong or Merci’s and House of Mask 3:00PM
Desserts at Calea 4:00PM P200
The Ruins (stay until night to see the Ruins all lit up) 5:00PM P100
Lights Out! 8:00PM

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

Day 1

Activity Time Budget
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
Check in 2:30PM
Enjoy the activities in the resort 4:00PM P500

Day 2

Activity Time Budget
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
At Lakawon Island.

WHERE TO STAY IN BACOLOD CITY

Here is a list of budget and average hotels in Bacolod.

Mainstreet Pension House
Lacson St., Extension, Bacolod City
(034) 476 4367

The Suites at Calle Nueva
Nueva Street, Bacolod City
(034) 435 6080

Star Plus Pension House
Lacson St., corner Rosario Street, Bacolod City
(034) 433 2960

Business Inn
28 Lacson Street, Bacolod City
(034) 433 8877

Grand Regal Hotel
Araneta St., Singcang, Bacolod City
(034) 708 5888, (034) 708 5588

Saltimboca Tourist Inn
15th and Lacson St., Bacolod City
(034) 432 3617, (034) 433 3179, (034) 432 1145

The Ruins (Mansion) shot on a dark glass.

USEFUL PHRASES

English to Hiligaynon (Ilonggo)

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.

BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER

Have FUN! 😉

EXTEND YOUR TRIP

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