Bacolod is on the island of Negros in the Visayas region (south of Manila). It is known as the City of Smiles because of the accommodating and friendly nature of its people. It is also an apt description of how people look once they’ve tasted native cuisine. It is one of the most visited travel destinations in the Philippines.
Bacolod was once known for its vast sugar industry which created many affluent and influential families with paternal figure called “don”. Sprawling plantation and haciendas were owned by rich sugar planters. Today, however the sugar industry has decreased substantially but has already left its mark in the development of the City as a domestic and international trading center in Visayas.
The title of “City of Smiles” is not one given lightly in a country known for its hospitality. It has certainly earned this reputation for many reasons. One, because of its resident’s innate hospitality. Also because of the local dialect’s tone and inflections. Most importantly because of Bacolod’s reputation in satisfying one’s sweet tooth. Going to Bacolod isn’t merely about seeing the sights and sounds but also tasting the variety of cakes and sweet delicacies which the city is known for.
The Masskara Festival is also an excellent reason to visit the city. The Masskara Festival gives residents and visitors a perfect excuse to eat and drink to their heart’s content for the duration of the festivities ensuring that you’ll leave the city of smiles with a smile of your own.
Since 2005 when Bacolod hosted the 2005 Southeast Asian Games , the city has then been famous for hosting football matches in its Panaad Stadium ( a multi-purpose stadium) and is the home of the Philippine national football team, the Azkals.
How to get there
Getting to the place is easy as there are a number of daily air flights from Manila to the City of Smiles. Just remember that during The Maskara Festival in October, most flights going to the city are full. You can choose from the two carriers, Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific Airlines. But you can get cheap air flights if you book ahead of the peak season.
- Philippine Airlines has five flights, starting from 4AM until 6PM, and fares range from roughly P3,000 for Economy Class and P6,000 for Business Class one way. So a round trip ticket costs anywhere between P6,000 to P12,000. If you’re taking PAL, you’d have to go the NAIA Terminal 3. The fares can vary according to the seasons.
- Cebu Pacific also has a number of flights daily also uses Terminal 3 and their airfares are about P2,500 for one way and about P5,000 for a round trip ticket. But just to be sure you can check the latest rates, promos and up-to-date schedules on their website.
Where to stay
There are a number of really good hotels but I’ll just name three which are most recommended.
- The O-Hotel is one reputed to be one of the best in the City, the service and staff are excellent and quickly cater to the needs of the guests. O-Hotel has 53 rooms and you can choose from the Superior Room (P1,400), the Executive Rooms (P1,600), and the Suites (P3,500/P4,000/P5,000). The best suite , the Natalia Suite has a jacuzzi, just in case you’d want to unwind after a long day of walking around and eating. The rooms are all air conditioned and have hot and cold showers, cable TV, a safety deposit box, a refrigerator and come with one free breakfast buffet.
- The Business Inn is another recommended place for travelers to stay. It has all the modern amenities of a hotel including Wireless Internet. The rooms are also reasonably priced, with prices ranging from regular rooms (P1,200), Jr. and Sr. Executive rooms (P1,350/P1,550), corporate rooms to share for 3 people (P1,950.00) and the suite rooms (P3,800).
- Probably one of the most famous hotels in the city is the L’Fisher Hotel, its stylish exterior and its restaurants and cafes are the haunts of the Bacolod’s elite. L’Fisher Hotel has two buildings, the rooms at the hotel proper or Tower I are a bit pricey compared to the other hotels with De Luxe Rooms at P3,500, Matrimonial Rooms at P5,000 and Suites at P12,200. The rooms are all well apportioned with all the amenities of a modern hotel and include a buffet breakfast. The L’Fisher Chalet has more affordable rooms, the budget room is P995, and the grand superior rooms are P5,000. The rooms at the Chalet include a plated breakfast.
Learn about the local cuisine of Bacolod like the Chicken Inasal including some of the recommended restaurants where you can enjoy a unique treat of Bacolod food.
For any travel inquiry or issues encountered, you can contact the local tourism office.
Bacolod, Negros Occidental Tourism Center
Provincial Capitol Building, N Capitol Rd, Bacolod City
Phone: +63 34 433 2515
Phone: +63 34 434 6751
Phone: +63 34 708 3066