Explore Bacolod City and find out why it’s called the City of Smiles. Discover the must-visit tourist spots and dishes you shouldn’t miss. Read on to find out everything you need to know when planning a trip to this destination.
- Check out Bacolod tours and activities to add to your travel itinerary
- Book our Bacolod-Iloilo-Guimaras itinerary tour packages
Video by the Philippine Department of Tourism
Bacolod is called the City of Smiles because of its Masskara Festival and the locals who also have a smiling face. It’s also because this city can definitely make anyone smile!
This is one city that you can really call your second home, such as the ease of being in Bacolod alone. Read more to find out the best tourist spots in the city of smiles.
1. Discover The Ruins
Bacolod is the Sugar Capital of the country, and it was how the people of old here gained wealth. A remnant of this time is The Ruins, a structure that was once the mansion of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson, a sugar baron.
This is one of the top tourist spots in Bacolod. It has a beautiful architecture still visible to this day, but it was burned down during World War II.
Alternatively, you could take a cab directly to The Ruins or join a day trip in Bacolod.
2. Explore Negros Museum
Negros is a great place to be in, particularly because of the immersive experience it offers to tourists. It’s a museum that focuses not on storing artifacts, but on telling the interesting story of the Negros region.
Getting here is easy. Just ask to be taken to the Provincial Capitol Building where the museum is just a short walk from here.
3. Pray at San Sebastian Church
This is a structure that was opened to the public in 1882, and now holds the Bishop’s Palace within its grounds.
It has an elegant architecture that harkens back to the Spanish times and is considered an important historical marker by none other than the Philippine Historical Committee.
Getting here is also easy. Just take a jeep bound for Manokan Country, and it passes right by the church.
4. Visit Pope John Paul II Tower
The tower contains a lot of Papal memorabilia, including his Papal Throne and various photos of him and his visit. As a bonus, the top deck has a viewing section that sports a beautiful view of the Bacolod skyline.
5. Have a Fun Day at Mambukal Resort
If a quiet time with your friends and family is what you want, then you should take the time to go to this famous resort. Mambukal Resort is managed by the government of Negros Occidental and features a 23-hectare expanse.
Its claim to fame is its beautiful spring that flows down to seven waterfalls (hence its nickname, Seven Waterfalls). It’s a good trek if you want to see all seven!
There’s also a boating lagoon, a hot spring, and other water activities. You can even camp here overnight by renting a cottage.
To get here, hail a jeep going to Libertad. This will take you to the bus station that services the Mambukal area. Take the bus, and alight directly at the resort. You can also join a day tour of Mambukal Resort.
The travel time takes about an hour from the city center, and it’s one of the Bacolod tourist spots perfect for the outdoor lover.
6. Eat at Manokan Country
This is a small cluster of eateries located at the parking lot of SM Bacolod, so it’s very easy to find (just follow the directions from the airport).
It’s also affordable. There are chicken parts too, such as intestines and chicken butt. By default, the stalls here don’t provide utensils due to the traditional way that the now-nationally famous inasal is eaten.
7. Go on a Day Trip to Silay
Silay is a neighboring city to the north and is actually the first stop towards your Bacolod visit if you’re coming from Manila.
Silay is just as good as Bacolod when it comes to historical markers, and you can go on a walking tour here! In fact, Silay is hailed as the country’s second “Museum City” after Vigan.
Check out El Ideal Bakery, which is the oldest bakeshop in Silay (don’t miss the local delicacies!). Balay Negrense, or the Victor Gaston House, contains artifacts from Silay’s heyday as the primary economic city of the Negros Region.
There’s also the Bernardino Jalandoni Museum and the San Diego Pro-Cathedral.
Check out the Cinco de Noviembre Marker too, which commemorates how the Negrenses bluffed their way into freedom during the Philippine Revolution.
For an interesting take on the country’s history, try a heritage excursion in Silay.
It’s true that the Negros region is a very multifaceted area, and this is best embodied by Bacolod and its warm and charming vibe.
7. Play a round of golf at Negros Occidental Golf & Country Club
Photo by Negros Occidental Golf & Country Club
Located just 4.4 kilometers away from The Ruins, Negros Occidental Golf & Country Club is the perfect detour for both beginner and experienced golfers. Formerly called the Marapara Golf & Country Club, this 45-hectare property is home to an 18-hole golf course that was designed by local golfing icon Luis Fernando “Golem” Silverio, the first Asian to play at The Masters.
While the country club has memberships, it accepts walk-in guests for a fee. For a hassle-free experience, book stay-and-play golf packages with Guide to the Philippines. This already comes with accommodations, transfers, and entrance fees.
Inexperienced golfers can have casual play here, while advanced golfers will enjoy the challenge provided by the water and bunker hazards, the tall trees, tricky sloping greens, and the sometimes strong winds.
Non-golfers can enjoy the clubhouse, which has a restaurant and a view of the 18th-hole green.
It’s not the first on the tourist radar, but seeing the tourist spots in Bacolod is well worth anyone’s while! Start planning your trip by checking out Bacolod tours and browsing our list of the best hotels in Bacolod City. You can also explore nearby Visayas provinces, check out our Bacolod Guimaras Iloilo itinerary to learn more.
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