Life is Good in Bacolod. As people from all walks of life celebrates the Masskara fever, here we are exploring the best places to visit and must eat in Bacolod on a shoestring budget.
It’s October again and the grandest event that happens this month is of course the Masskara Festival in Bacolod. So what does it take to enjoy Bacolod City aside from the much anticipated Masskara Festival?
The Negrenses’ unique hospitality goes beyond as all celebrates the festival of smiles. But the key to explore Bacolod is to travel light. Dress in a bright colors to mirror the colorful festival feel and leave your flip flops or sandals and slip on a comfy pair of shoes instead as you will walk a lot as party is every where from sun set to sun down.
From airport, head directly to Silay City via tricycle for Php25 or ride a GT Express from airport Php50.
Silay City reminds me of Vigan, Candelaria in Quezon, and Taal where boasts a well-preserved heritage and ancestral houses like Balay Negrense, Cinco De Noviembre, Delfin Ledesma Heritage House, and Bernardo Jalandoni Museum, that had been played as a secret places to plan a successful revolt against the Spanish occupation during the 1890’s.
Head for a quick merienda at the El Ideal Bakery, the oldest bakeshop in the city, offers a delicious pastries such as Coco Pie slice for Php43, Puto Lanson for Php13, and other local delicacies and the best La Paz Batchoy with Egg for Php80.
From Silay City we hailed a jeepney bound Silay-Bacolod for Php10 and alight towards Pepsi plant in Bata and hailed a tricycle for Php50 to visit The Ruins (Don Lacson Mansions) located at the heart of the extensive sugar plantation in Talisay City.
The Ruins is dubbed as the Taj Mahal of Negros as it is built by a well known sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson in memory of his beloved wife who died after giving birth to their youngest child. Burned during World War 2 to prevent Japanese soldiers from utilizing it as their headquarters, and only remain now is the skeletal structure of the ones grandest mansions of Don Lacson. For only Php60 entrance fee, one can enjoy picturesque view of the entire mansion and stroll on their well preserved garden where it is also famous for wedding receptions. Going to the Ruins is better during sun set as the view is more breath taking. Enjoy and savor your appetite for Ham and Cheese Pizza at the Café’ inside The Ruins for only Php135 and a pineapple shake for Php100.
Try visiting the new Government Center of Bacolod or Bacolod City hall located at circumferential road.
Tired and still having feeling of mix exhaustion and jet log, we decided to head to Bacolod City to leave our things at Citi Grand Inn for Php995 and took a snap.
Budget Spending for Day 1: Php1,536
Set aside your second day in Bacolod City by sipping the hot soup for breakfast at the best Bachoy in town Deco’s or Teds for Php73. Then go to the Libertad Terminal and board the minibus towards the government-managed Manbukal Hot Spring (Php50) located at the foothills of Mt Kanlaon.
The scenic is so wonderful as the view of Mt Kanlaon surrounded by a wide array of sugar cane fields. Entrance to Mambukal Resort is Php50 and proceed right away to the waterfalls. It is somewhat an easy trek as you will pass by from one falls to another since the resorts is known to have seven waterfalls. Enjoy your lunch of chicken Inasal for Php80 or Grilled Pork Belly for Php120 inside the resorts where an array of concessionaires to choose from.
After lunch, head back immediately to Bacolod City as the Masskara Street Dancing Competition is about to begin at 2pm. Saturday and Sunday afternoon introduces you to the top draw of the Masskara Festival’s Street Dancing. If you want to claim a spot, get to Araneta Street early.
Crowds keep on increasing as the colorful masked dancers is about to get close encounters with the crowd to the beat of modern dance rhythm, every one is enjoying the fun.
Try to have a food adventure at Bob’s located between San Agustin and 21st street. Try Sizzling Sisig (Php128). Then plan to have a tasteful treat of sugar and pastries for dessert, head on to Calea in front of L’Fisher Hotel, the famous pastries shop in Bacolod and have a taste of their best selling imported chocolate cake slice worth Php85.
Budget Spending for Day 2: Php1,540
Though we were tired from the first day we set foot in Bacolod, nothing can stop us from trying different delicacies as Bacolod is known to be one of the pastries and culinary capital of the Philippines.
Enjoy the Sunday morning mass at San Sebastian Cathedral (Bacolod Cathedral) then ride a jeep towards Bata for Php7.50 and alight at the C’s Café by L’Fisher Hotel for breakfast. Sagay Smoked Bacon with scrambled egg for Php130 is a must.
Walk towards Negros Capitol Building located majestically in the middle of the park with lush trees and a huge man made lagoon filled with fishes. Enjoy a sound of lively music blaring from the park while making a piece of your experience in your own blog.
Have lunch at the Seafood Pala Pala, a fish market near the Lagoon. If you don’t like seafood, then head on to Sweet Greens Deli Café located at Lacson corner 9th Street to try their Lechon Sisig ni Carla (Php120) and fresh Calamansi Juice (Php40).
Given that you just had three days to travel around, found yourselves shopping for treats to bring home souvenir, a stop at Merci Pasalubong, the largest souvenir retail chain in Negros Island and take home the all time favorite Napoleones, Barquillos, and Piaya. You can also visit other souvenir retail outlets such as Virgie’s Pasalubong and BongBongs Pasalubong Center located at any major shopping malls across the City.
Your trip to the festival won’t be complete without taking home a unique mask. Pick-up a whimsical design by a Negros-based artist such as Jojo Vito at the ANP Negros Showroom (Tel No +63 034 4338833).
Budget Spending for Day 3: Php777.50
According to Smile Magazine (Cebu Pacific in flight magazine for October) The Masskara Festival is all about celebrating life. There is always something to do, and everywhere you turn there is a parade or party in full swing. As the locals say; “ Don’t just stay in the same spot-a lot of fun comes from hopping from one event to another.”