Bacolod City Travel Guide

Overview of Bacolod City

Discover Bacolod, a city with a vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and historical landmarks that will transport you to the time of Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines. The attractions, cuisine, and celebrations that await you in this place, also referred to as The City of Smiles and situated northwest of Negros Occidental in Visayas, will undoubtedly make you grin.

Where to Go

The Ruins

One of Bacolod's most iconic landmarks, The Ruins is a beautifully preserved mansion located in Talisay City, just a short drive from Bacolod. This historic site boasts elegant architecture, lush gardens, and a fascinating backstory, making it a popular spot for photography and sightseeing.

Negros Museum

Immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of Negros Occidental at the Negros Museum in Bacolod City. The museum features exhibits on local history, art, and culture, showcasing artifacts, photographs, and artworks that highlight the region's rich and diverse heritage.

San Sebastian Cathedral

Pay a visit to San Sebastian Cathedral, Bacolod's iconic church located in the heart of the city. Built in the Spanish colonial era, the cathedral features stunning architecture and intricate designs, making it a must-see for history enthusiasts and architecture buffs.

Bacolod Public Plaza

Take a leisurely stroll at Bacolod Public Plaza, a charming park located near the city center. This historic plaza is known for its colorful lights, ornate gazebo, and statues of local heroes, providing a relaxing oasis amidst the bustling city.

Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation

Discover the rich biodiversity of Negros Occidental at the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation in Bacolod. This conservation center features a wildlife sanctuary, botanical gardens, and educational exhibits, offering visitors the chance to learn about and interact with native flora and fauna.

Panaad Park and Stadium

Experience the vibrant culture of Negros Occidental at Panaad Park and Stadium, a sprawling complex located just outside Bacolod City. Home to the annual Panaad sa Negros Festival, the park features themed pavilions, recreational facilities, and a stadium where various events and performances take place.

Bacolod City New Government Center

Marvel at the modern architecture of the Bacolod City New Government Center, a prominent landmark in the city. The complex features futuristic buildings, landscaped gardens, and a scenic lagoon, providing a picturesque backdrop for leisurely walks and photo opportunities.

What to Do

Food Tripping

Indulge in Bacolod's rich culinary scene by sampling local delicacies and specialties. Don't miss out on trying Bacolod's famous chicken inasal, piaya (a sweet flatbread), and various seafood dishes. Visit popular food destinations like Manokan Country and the public market to savor authentic flavors and immerse yourself in the city's food culture.

MassKara Festival

If you're visiting Bacolod in October, make sure to experience the vibrant MassKara Festival. Join in the festivities as the city comes alive with colorful masks, street performances, parades, and music concerts. It's a celebration of joy, resilience, and the Bacolodnon spirit that you won't want to miss.

Explore Silay City

Take a day trip to Silay City, often referred to as the "Paris of Negros" due to its well-preserved heritage houses and Spanish colonial architecture. Wander through the streets lined with ancestral homes, visit museums like Balay Negrense and Hofilena Heritage House, and immerse yourself in the city's rich history and culture.

Visit the Ruins

Head to Talisay City to explore The Ruins, a beautifully preserved mansion that offers stunning sunset views and a glimpse into the region's sugar plantation era. Take a guided tour of the mansion, stroll through the picturesque gardens, and capture memorable photos of this iconic Bacolod landmark.

Hacienda Tour

Gain insights into Bacolod's sugar industry and agrarian heritage by embarking on a hacienda tour. Visit working sugar plantations, learn about the process of sugar production, and interact with local farmers and hacienderos. It's a unique opportunity to experience rural life in Negros Occidental firsthand.

Relax at the Beach

Unwind and soak up the sun at nearby beaches like Lakawon Island or Punta Bulata. Spend your day swimming, snorkeling, or simply lounging on the white sandy shores. These beach destinations offer a tranquil escape from the city where you can rejuvenate and recharge.


Explore Bacolod's shopping scene by visiting local markets, malls, and specialty shops. Shop for souvenirs like piaya, local handicrafts, and MassKara masks at places like Merci Pasalubong and Pendy's. Don't forget to pick up some bottles of Bacolod's famous piña fabric or muscovado sugar to bring a piece of Negros home with you.

When is the Best Time to Visit Bacolod City

During the dry season, which typically occurs from November to April, Bacolod City enjoys sunny weather with minimal rainfall. This period is considered the peak tourist season, making it ideal for outdoor activities, sightseeing, and festivals. Visitors can explore attractions like The Ruins, MassKara Festival, and nearby beaches without the interruption of rain. The dry season also offers pleasant temperatures, making it comfortable for exploring the city's culinary scene and cultural landmarks.

Conversely, the wet season in Bacolod City spans from May to October, characterised by increased rainfall and occasional typhoons. While the wet season may not be ideal for outdoor activities like beach outings and sightseeing, it offers its own unique charm. The lush landscapes become even more vibrant, and the city's gardens and parks come alive with blooming flowers and lush foliage. Additionally, the wet season provides opportunities to experience local life and cultural events, as well as enjoy lower accommodation rates and fewer crowds.

How to Get to Bacolod City

By Air

The fastest and most convenient way to reach Bacolod City is by air. The city is served by the Bacolod-Silay International Airport (BCD), located in Silay City, approximately 15 kilometers northeast of Bacolod City. The airport offers domestic flights from major cities such as Manila, Cebu, and Davao, as well as international flights from select destinations. Several airlines operate daily flights to Bacolod City, including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia.

By Sea

Traveling to Bacolod City by sea is another option, especially for those coming from nearby islands or provinces. The city is accessible via the Port of Bacolod, which serves passenger ferries and ships from various destinations. Several shipping companies operate regular routes between Bacolod City and ports such as Iloilo, Manila, and Cebu. Travel time by sea varies depending on the origin of the voyage, with trips from nearby islands typically taking a few hours to reach Bacolod.

By Car / Bus

For travellers coming from other parts of the Philippines, reaching Bacolod City by land transportation is an option. The city is accessible via well-maintained highways and roads, making it easy to reach by car, bus, or rented vehicle. From Manila, travellers can take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR Tollway) to Batangas Port, then board a RoRo (roll-on/roll-off) vessel bound for Dumangas Port in Iloilo.

From there, it's a scenic drive across Panay Island to Bacolod City via the Pan-Philippine Highway (AH26). Several bus companies also operate daily routes between Manila and Bacolod City, offering comfortable and affordable transportation options for travelers. The journey by land typically takes around 18 to 20 hours by bus, depending on traffic conditions and the chosen route.

How to Get Around

By Taxi / Ride-Sharing Services

Taxis are readily available in Bacolod City and are a convenient way to get around, especially for travellers who prefer door-to-door transportation.

By Car / Motorcycle

Renting a car or motorcycle is a popular option for travellers who want more flexibility and independence in exploring Bacolod City and its surrounding areas.

Several rental companies offer vehicles for hire, ranging from compact cars to motorcycles, allowing you to choose the option that best suits your needs and preferences. Having your own vehicle allows you to explore at your own pace and visit off-the-beaten-path destinations

What to Eat

Local Food

Travellers can immerse in the flavourful cuisine of Bacolod by indulging in local delicacies offered at renowned dining establishments such as Aboy's Restaurant, East Bite, and Museum Cafe.

Fresh Seafood

Travellers exploring coastal towns and beachside areas will encounter a plethora of seafood restaurants and eateries serving an extensive selection of fresh ocean delights. Establishments like Bacolod 18th Seafood, Hunasan Seafood House, and Gina's Seafood Restaurant are among the many options available to satisfy seafood cravings.

Western Food

In Bacolod City, numerous restaurants present a delightful range of Western cuisine, offering a pleasant contrast to the local flavors. Dining spots such as 2 Story Kitchen, Time Out Resto, and Delicioso are among the establishments providing a delectable array of options.

What to Buy

When exploring Bacolod City, Philippines, there are several unique items you can purchase as souvenirs or gifts. Indulge in the city's vibrant culinary scene by bringing home delicacies such as piaya (a sweet flatbread filled with muscovado sugar), Napoleones (layered puff pastry filled with custard), and barquillos (crispy wafer rolls). Don't miss the opportunity to shop for local handicrafts like intricately woven piña fabric, hand-carved wooden crafts, and colourful MassKara masks, which are iconic symbols of Bacolod's annual MassKara Festival. Additionally, Bacolod is known for its high-quality muscovado sugar, which is produced locally and makes for a unique and flavourful souvenir.

Where to Stay

In Bacolod City, Philippines, there is a wide range of accommodation options to suit every traveler's preferences and budget. From luxurious hotels to budget-friendly guesthouses, you'll find a variety of places to stay during your visit. For those seeking upscale accommodations and amenities, popular choices include L'Fisher Hotel, Seda Capitol Central, and The Suites at Calle Nueva.

These hotels offer comfortable rooms, modern facilities, and convenient locations in the heart of the city. If you're looking for more budget-friendly options, consider staying at one of the many guesthouses, inns, or backpacker hostels scattered throughout Bacolod City. Places like Go Hotels Bacolod, Ong Bun Pension House, and Mayfair Plaza Pension House offer affordable rates without compromising on comfort and cleanliness.

Bacolod City is known for its warm hospitality, so you can expect friendly service and welcoming accommodations no matter where you choose to stay. It's advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons or festivals, to secure the best rates and availability for your stay in Bacolod City.

What to Bring

  • Bring sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun's rays.
  • Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are ideal for beach outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful for hiking or exploring.
  • If visiting during the wet season, a compact umbrella and a lightweight rain jacket can come in handy.
  • Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle, particularly if you're engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Ensure your electronic devices stay charged by bringing the necessary travel adapters.
  • While there are ATMs in urban areas, having some local currency can be useful, especially in more remote locations.

What to Wear

For your journey to Bacolod City, it is advised to pack lightweight and comfortable attire, taking into account the tropical climate. Choose breathable materials such as cotton and linen to remain cool in the heat.

Bring swimwear for beach outings, and consider modest clothing when visiting religious sites. Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are suitable for casual outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful if you plan to explore nature reserves or hike.

Things to Note

  • Stay hydrated, especially in the warm weather, and use sunscreen to protect against the sun. Consider bringing insect repellent, particularly if you plan to explore nature reserves.
  • The local currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). While ATMs are available in urban areas, it's advisable to have some local currency on hand, especially in more remote locations.
  • Keep a list of important contacts, including the local emergency numbers, contact information for your accommodation, and the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Filipino and English are widely spoken, but learning a few basic Filipino phrases can enhance your travel experience and interactions with locals.

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