HOW TO GET TO BACOLOD CITY FROM SILAY? See related post: NEGROS OCCIDENTAL: Silay City Heritage Houses
A. BACOLOD CITY: MassKara Festival is held every fourth week of October to commemorate the rich culture of Negros. It started in 1980 during a period of crisis yet the Negrenses decided to carry on an optimistic outlook in life and put on smiles. Since then it was called the “City of Smiles”. Like in any festival in the Philippines, the program include dancers in costume and colorful face masks. They could be hand-painted, beaded, adorned with various ornaments and even feathered.
WHERE TO EAT?
- MANOKAN COUNTRY IN BACOLOD is my favorite “chicken inasal” place. Inasal is roasted chicken marinated in calamansi and secret ingredients. I have tried various versions already but whenever I set foot in Bacolod, this place is where I head first. Aside from being affordable, the meat is flavorful, tender and juicy; grilled perfectly. Don’t forget to drizzle annatto oil on your rice and create a dip of chilli, kalamansi/lemon and soy sauce. Annatto oil/Achioto oil/Atsuete is a common ingredient in Latin America. It is red-orange in color, gives a good grease and enticing appearance to grilled dishes. It is also known as the “poorman’s saffron”. Apart from ordinary oil, annatto is an antioxidant and bowel cleanser so you can enjoy it freely! To be specific Nena’s Beth is the best place in Manokan Country.
B. TALISAY CITY: Perhaps the most popular tourist destination here is The CAMPUESTOHAN HIGHLAND RESORT. Located on a higher part of Negros, its climate is comparable to tagaytay or little Baguio in Summer. Mt. Makawili is visible on this 5-hectar-resort. Enrance Fee is 150Php/head for a day with free use of swimming pool and playground. The Indian Village is the perfect place for family overnight. Canopy tents and log cabins can be rented for a day trip or overnight. Price ranges between 2,500 to 5,000Php for a small group. For specific rates and updated activities check out their website.
HOW TO GET THERE:
- Via car, From Lopues East/McDonald’s east head to the road that leads to the mountains. When you reach barangay Granada follow the signage and take a turn. It won’t be difficult to find as there are stores and vehicles parked outside.
- Via Tricycle: All you have to do is haggle for a reasonable price and even rent it out roundtrip.
- There is a shuttle on weekends that travels to the resort at 100Php/head. From Lopeus East/Jollibee East.
C. CADIZ CITY: LAKAWON ISLAND is the biggest floating bar in Asia located off the coast of Cadiz. Though it is a party bar, I think it is perfect for an afternoon nap or siesta. Afterall,“TAWHAI” means relax.
TAWHAI FLOATING BAR (285Php/head) is best enjoyed in the afternoon where you can take a nap and witness sunset. Check out their website for roomrates.
HOW TO GET TO THE ISLAND: Take a taxi to the Bus terminal. Ride a bus heading to Cadiz City and get off at Barangay Burgos terminal. If you are planning a day trip, travel early because boats are between 7:00AM to 5:00PM only. Take a tricycle (120/6persons capacity) going to the Lakawon Port/ Cadiz Viejo Port. Register at the windows and get your boat ticket for 310 Php/head.
D. TALISAY CITY: Your stay will never be complete without visiting the “Taj Mahal of the Philippines”. It was built in the 1900s by Negros’ sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson in memory of his Portuguese wife Maria Braga Lacson who died by giving birth to their 11th child. It is dark in color because it was intentionally burnt by the guerillas in World War II. That is because they were trying to prevent the Japanese from using it as a headquarters. The ruins of this Italian architecture has been preserved up to this day. General admission fee is 100Php, 50 for students and 20 children. From the City center, taxi meter will read around 150 Php but you may haggle and rent it roundtrip for less hassle as there aren’t much tricycles heading back to the city.
Going in the morning or afternoon will be the best time for photo ops. However, the sunset or night visit creates a more romantic vibe. The downside would be the photobombers. They’re open everyday between 8:00AM-8:00PM.
TIPS: Look for the glass table and set your camera there for a mirror effect shot. Dont miss the sugarcane juice being sold at the side of The Ruins!
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT:
- Before heading home, I encourage you to drop by THE NEGROS MUSEUM then buy pasalubong/souvenirs. The museum displays the historical Negrense lifestyle and art. The Negros Museum is open from 10:00am-8:00pm, Tuesdays to Sundays at the Former Agricultural Building (historic neoclassical capitol building built in 1925) along Gatuslao Street, Bacolod City. General admision fee in Pesos is 50, 40 for Senior and 20 for students/children. The Provincial Capitol Building of Negros Occidental and the Hall of Justice are the perfect landmarks at the city. Take a 5-10 minute-walk to reach it.
- There is a baroque style 19th century church at the city center. From here, you may check out nearby pasalubong stores by foot.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE TRIP: Do not forget to try the city’s authentic “Kansi”. For dinner, I had native chicken inasal, calamares, gambas and the sumptuous kansi! KANSI is an Ilonggo dish that is popular in Negros. It is a sour bone marrow soup with extra tender beef that is like a fusion of Filipino viands: Bulalo and Sinigang.
“All you need is the plan, the roadmap, and the courage to press on to your destination.”