NEGROS ISLAND: Bacolod,Talisay and Cadiz City

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.

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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.
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From left to right: Pecho, paa, corazon, isaw(small intestine), longganiza, isol(chicken ass),pusit

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chicken wings are the best!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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The Indian Village accommodations

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3rd photo: The Bonita Hut is my favorite! It is like a Hobbit’s house. Packages include airconditioned rooms and free breakfast. Such a great deal with this ambiance!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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  • There is a baroque style 19th century church at the city center. From here, you may check out nearby pasalubong stores by foot.

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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.

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“All you need is the plan, the roadmap, and the courage to press on to your destination.”

-Earl Nightingale

 

 

 

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NEGROS OCCIDENTAL: Silay City Heritage Houses

REASONS TO VISIT SILAY CITY?

  • It is referred to as the “Paris of Negros” and “seat of arts, culture and ecotourism” due to the numerous preserved heritage houses, artists, cultural shows and its rich history. No wonder it was acknowledged by the Department of Tourism (DOT) as one of the top travel destinations in the Philippines.
  • 31 Ancestral Houses are declared by the National Historical Institute as cultural landmarks.
  • The world’s oldest Steam Locomotives(train) is at Hawaiian Philippines Co. a.k.a. “Iron Dinosaurs” are found and can be rented here (15,000/day).
  • Home of Kansilay Festival (A legend: the heroism of Princess Kansilay and her love story with Lawaan) and Adobo Festival (November 5: people showcase various versions of Adobo).

HOW TO GET THERE?

Silay City is more than 25 minutes away from Bacolod City and vice versa, hence the traffic. Exploring Silay is best done via pedicab or trike. Ancestral houses can be reached by foot if you are a walker like me.

If you are heading to Bacolod City: I personally prefer to take a taxi though it may cost more (200-250Php) due to the distance. However, you may take a shuttle van service (150Php) from Silay International Airport with drop off points at nearby hotels within the city, Robinson’s, SM or Bus terminals. From Bacolod City, Robinson’s is a major pick up point going to Silay.

MUST VISIT ANCESTRAL HOUSES:

Silay is like a Museum City with a laid back ambiance and Spanish feel. It is like Marinduque and Ilocos wherein you can see well-preserved ancestral houses mostly turned into a museum or cafe.

A. BALAY NEGRENSE or Victor Fernandez Gaston Ancestral House: It is the first museum in Negros Occidental. The house was owned by Victor Gaston, son of Frenchman Yves Leopold Germain Gaston. Before sugarcane became a staple crop, he discovered Negros’ fertile land and was the first to bring an iron mill for sugarcane production and produce quality sugar. He was regarded as the “Father of the Sugar Industry.”

This literal “house of stone” (bahay na bato) housed his 12 children and was later on donated to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) repaired and opened for public viewing. This Neo-Renaissance architecture was built in 1897.  Entrance fee is 60/adults, 40/students or seniors and 20 /children. Open between 9:00-5:30 PM and closed on Mondays at Barangay III, Cinco De Noviembre Street.

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B. BERNARDINO JALANDONI HOUSE/MUSEUM: This is called the “Pink House” probably because of the notable color. Don Bernardino Jalandoni and Doña Ysabel Lopez Ledesma were the original owners but now in the care of Silay Heritage Foundation, Inc. It is walking distance from the Church of San Diego de Alcala. Nowadays, this 1908 house is a common venue for cultural and artistic events. It is located at Brgy II, Rizal Street open between Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

C. SOLEDAD AND MARIA MONTELIBANO LACSON ANCESTRAL HOUSE: This landmark is owned by the family of Montelibano Lacson sisters: Soledad and Maria. According to history, it was where General Lacson and revolutionary leaders constantly secretly meet and where they first raised the Philippine flag. It is just at the corner of Rizal Street stop light.

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D. MARIA LEDESMA GOLEZ HERITAGE HOUSE: The house was restored in 1992 and is being used by Silay Branch of Republic Commercial Banking Corporation in 1992. Today it serves as a bank and shops building.

There is a popular backpacker’s inn across the road and an old cafe on the ground floor. It would be a perfect homestay if you are planning a day at Silay then head to Bacolod.

E. HOFILEÑA ANCESTRAL HOUSE: This beautiful home was built in 1934 by Hofileña for his 12 children and former Miss Silay wife. These days, it serves as a museum exhibiting the work of popular Philippine artists, antiques and private collection of Ramon H. Hofileña. The world’s smallest dolls are found in their collection too.

F. BALAI VERDE or Angel Araneta Ledesma Ancestral House: This 1933 “Green House” is an American clapboard-Colonial plantation architectural combination. It was later on sold to the local government. Currently it serves as the Office of Culture, Arts and Tourism of the City of Silay. It is located along Plaridel Street near The City Hall and San Diego Pro-Cathedral.

G. EL IDEAL BAKERY or Cesar Lacson Locsin Heritage House: This is the oldest 2-storey-home or “bahay na bato” in Silay. The ground floor is concrete while the upper floor is classic wood with metal grills and glass windows. Silay’s original bakery was established in 1920’s located at 118 Rizal Street. They serve home-made pastries and Filipino-Spanish viands. Their guapple pie is a must!

Foodtrip at Silay

Left Corner: Cubana, porkchop, empanada and cassava at El Ideal bakery and Restaurant. Right Corner: ison, atay, corazon, pakpak and sizzling gambas with egg at Silay Food Park

H. GENEROSO GAMBOA ANCESTRAL TWIN HOUSE: A very interesting twin house wherein the other is painted while the one next to it retained its original wood finish.

I. JOSE LEDESMA ANCESTRAL HOME: This 1917 house has a beautiful entrance of two. The flights of stairs connects in the middle of the veranda.

J. DR. JOSE CORTEZA LOCSIN ANCESTRAL HOUSE: He graduated at University of Sto Tomas with a degree in Medicine at 21 years old and also became the President of the Philippine Medical Association in 1938. He was elected in various government positions and is considered the “Father of the Filipino First” policy. His Art-Deco architectural house has 3 prominent elongated arcs in each floor facing the entrance.

Other additions are: LEANDRO DELA RAMA LOCSIN ANCESTRAL HOMEHOUSE OF RENE AND JESSICA VELEZ DIMACALI and you may visit SAN DIEGO DE ALCALA PRO-CATHEDRAL, a Romanesque design by architect Lucio Bernasconi.

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“A mind that is streched by A NEW EXPERIENCE can never go back to its old dimensions.”

-Oliver Wendell Holmes