Bacolod City, which is also known as the City of Smiles and home to the world-famous MassKara Festival, is the capital of Negros Occidental, the other half of the Negros Island Region in Southern Philippines. We are an hour by plane away from Manila, which is served by several airlines, several times a day. By ship, the trip to Bacolod from the nation’s capital takes approximately 24 hours, but voyages are not daily.
If you are in Bacolod, there are so many things to do aside from just looking at acres of sugarcane. Yes, while our province is still the top producer of sugar in the country, there is more to Bacolod than sugar. So if you have the chance, #visitBacolod and explore the city as well as the neighboring cities and municipalities to the North, the South, and the East.
Photos are not all mine (unless indicated). Photo credits on individual photos and taken from public domains.
The Lacson Ruins
The Lacson Ruins sits on the boundary of the cities of Bacolod and Talisay and is now the poster place for Bacolod and Negros Occidental tourist attractions. What used to be a mansion built as a monument of one husband’s love for his wife, the place was massacred and burned during the war.
But despite the inferno, the foundations of the mansion remain, which could mean two things—the masons of the past built a good quality building or that the foundations of enduring love will never be destroyed. It’s up to you to decide.
At The Lacson Ruins, you can enjoy a guided tour by engaging celebrity tour guides like the famous Roger Lucero, have photo ops all around the place, play a on a large chess board on the ground, dine al fresco as the sun sets, or just hang around till evening. Some people also hold their pre-nuptial photo shoots and garden wedding ceremonies there.
Don’t be fooled by the name. Yeah, the Panaad Park and Stadium is a stadium where international sporting events have been held in the past. So even if you are not into sports but are new to Negros Occidental, this place is the closest to covering the entire province in just one visit.
Around the vast park are different stops that depict the landmarks of each and every city and municipality of Negros Occidental. These are actually pavilion booths that you can go into in order to learn about that particular LGU. You may also buy fresh produce, handicrafts, and other products sold in these stops. Some also serve meals.
These LGU booths become more vibrant and active during the Panaad sa Negros Festival, held annually every April.
The Negros Showroom is where you can find the creations of the Association of Negros Producers. They have two branches—one at the Robinsons Place Bacolod in Mandalagan and another at the Negros Showroom SM City Bacolod. While many of the producers have individual stores and display centers, you will find all of them under one roof at the Showroom.
The Negros Museum
The Negros Museumis the first curatorial museum regarded in the Philippines for showcasing not only precious artifacts and Negros history but also the contemporary works and stories of the local artists. Local artists and artisans sell copies of their commissioned works at the Museum Shop.
The building itself is very historical. It is a neoclassical structure built in 1925 which was formerly the capitol building where the past governors of Negros Occidental held office until the early 1970’s. The Negros Museum is dedicated to encouraging and sustaining a deep sense of pride towards our local culture, history, and art. So if you want to know more about Negros, its history, culture, and people, you should not miss a visit here.
Negros Museum is located at the Former Agricultural Building, Gatuslao Street, Bacolod City. It is also here that you can dine at the Negros Museum Cafe by Chef Guido Nijssen (Read related story: A Lovely Dinner at Museum Cafe.
For information, call (034) 433 4764 or 7085080. They are open from Monday to Saturday, 9AM to 6PM. Please find additional information below:
The Negros Museum guided tour schedule:
Monday to Saturday
10am | 11am | 1:30pm | 2:30pm | 3:30pm
General Admission – Php 100.00
Senior Citizens – Php 80.00
Students and Children – Php 70.00
Note: Group tours of more than 20 persons should inform the Museum staff in advance for proper accommodations.
The 6-hectare property that is May’s Organic Garden and Restaurant is an organic demo farm, a garden resort, with an organic store and restaurant in one. It is one of the homegrown Bacolod restaurants serving certified organic food. It is picturesque and so lovely that going there is like being transported to the land of fairies. It is within Bacolod City, so it only takes about a 20-minute drive to get there.
There are a couple of pools for swimming, a lake for boating, a pond for fishing, space for horseback riding, and plenty of cozy nooks to just sit down, unwind, and enjoy nature. Plus, they have amenities for overnight stays, seminars, conventions, as well as big functions like birthday parties and weddings. Visit them at Sitio Aning, Pahanocoy, Bacolod City. You wouldn’t miss it. Tel. No. (034) 431 3800.
High up in the mountainous area of Talisay City is the Guerrero Farm and Nature Park. Located at Sitio Mambucano, Brgy. Cabatangan, Talisay, the place grows practically all kinds of ornamental plants, succulents, herbs, and fruit trees. You may visit them during the day for some swimming fun or trekking or you may spend several nights there for retreats and seminars.
Enjoy crisp fresh mountain air, magnificent mountain view, frolicking on flowing spring water, strolling around a magnificent cactus garden, chasing butterflies, or just eating home-cooked native foods (prior reservation necessary). They have a quaint chapel, too for a nature-tripping wedding. For information and reservations, call Tel. No. (034) 434-4368.
Mambucal Mountain Resort is run by the provincial government of Negros Occidental. Located in Brgy. Minoyan, Murcia, it is famous for its seven falls that will take a lot of trekking on the mountain in order to reach. But you get a certain pride if you reach the top most falls. There are times of the year though that they close off trekking to the waterfalls for safety reasons.
Aside from the waterfalls, you can enjoy swimming in pools filled with natural spring water or taking therapeutic dips in naturally hot pools filled with sulfuric water. After that all that, you can relax and take a break at The Blade Spa. There are day and overnight cottages available for rent. Entrance, swimming, and dipping fees are separate. For inquiries and reservations, call Telephone Nos. +63-34 4730610, 7090990, or 4338516.
Bantug Lake Ranch is another nature park located at Granada Alangilan Road, east of Bacolod. It is nice to have family picnics here, go on horseback riding, boating, or fishing. Garden weddings and birthday parties may also be held here. They are open from Monday to Sunday at 8:00 am until 6:00 pm. For more inquiries, you may call (034) 213 1916 or send them an email at email@example.com.
The Eltoro Zoo is located along the highway of La Castellana, a municipality in southern Negros Occidental. It is a privately owned zoo and aquarium that provides eco tours to visiting guests. They also have a breeding area and an extensive collection of animals ranging from birds, mammals, fishes, and reptiles that animal lovers will surely appreciate.
Young children and students will surely appreciate learning about the animals and seeing them up close. It is like a real jungle out here except for the cages!
Eltoro Zoo de La Castellana is located at Gomez St., Brgy. Robles, La Castellana, Negros Occidental. They are open daily from 9am to 5pm. No noon breaks. For field trip bookings, you may contact (034) 485-0121, 473-9073, (0947) 4650177, or (0933) 9733742.
Farmville de Bago
Farmville de Bago offers guests the experience of learning more about life at the farm as well as interacting with different types of farm animals. Camels, Donkeys, Shetland Ponies, and Different Types of Birds and Feathered Friends welcome guests with friendly gestures, seeking to be pampered. The tour around the farm includes a caretella ride, egg-picking from the poultry house, and feeding the different types of tamed birds. Farmville de Bago serves as a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
It is located at Brgy. Atipuluan, Bago City, Negros Occidental, approximately 22 kms. via Sum-ag Abuanan Road and 29 kms. via Murcia Cansilayan Road, both roughly 30 minutes drive from Bacolod City. They are open daily, from 7am-6pm. Entrance Fee is Php200/pax for all ages, inclusive of a one-round caratella ride, a farm tour, and animal interaction and feeding.
Since Farmville De Bago prioritizes biosecurity of the farm animals, it is advisable to make an appointment ahead of your scheduled visit. For more information, contact +639173222440 (Globe); +639173013440 (Globe); +639228282991 (Sun); +639228813354 (Sun); or +639228887879 (Sun).
Rapha Valley is perhaps the only wellness destination in the province of Negros Occidental. Named after one of God’s names, Jehovah Rapha, which literally means “The Lord heals”, Rapha Valley promotes rural tourism, enjoying nature, and most of all healthy eating.
It is owned by Dr. Albert Jo, a medical doctor who is now an advocate for natural healing, and his wife Marilou. They are open on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, from 9am to 7pm. But if you want to visit there during the weekdays, prior reservations are needed. You may contact them through Mobile No. +63 921 613 7928.
Happy Horse Farms is primarily a riding school, a place where people can learn about good horsemanship, foster a love for nature and the outdoors, and proper care and respect for animals. Their equine services range from stabling, horse training, English riding lessons, trail rides, pony rides, and riding clinics with top riders from Manila.
They also have carabao rides and animal feeding sessions of goats, rabbits and guinea pigs at their neighbor’s Fun Farm property. Currently, their facilities include an outdoor arena, ten stables, two paddocks, and a locker cabana where guests and riders can freshen up. The management needs to provide the utmost comfort for their horses, hence they facilities.
The Happy Horse Farms has twelve horses in their roster. Some of them have already experienced competitions in Manila while some are still in training. Anyone can come and visit their place, however, they do require advanced bookings. Their horses have strict regimens and their days need to be planned ahead. If you wish to visit and just have a look around, this is possible for a minimal fee of P75.00.
The management cannot guarantee that all services will be available for walk-in visitors. HHF is located at Baranggay Virhen, Talisay City, Negros Occidental. For more information, please call Mobile 0917.8832337.
Addendum: When in Bacolod City, don’t miss a photo op with our historical Provincial Capitol Building, Capitol Lagoon, San Sebastian Cathedral and also our beautiful New Government Center (aka People’s House).
San Sebastian Cathedral of Bacolod
Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol
For Bacolod and Negros Occidental Tours, you may contact:
Tour Organizer: Viaje Negrense
Tel. No.: 034-4761153 or 7081462
Or these DOT-Accredited tour guides:
MARIA CARMEN J. DABAO
LEAH JEAN B. GAZO
JENNYLIND D. CORDERO
ARTURO L. LACSON
Maria Sigrid D. Lo is a multi-awarded Bacolod lifestyle blogger and social media advocate. It is her desire to make the city known to the world through her online presence. She promotes Bacolod restaurants, food tourism, social media etiquette, breastfeeding, and a greener Bacolod City in her blogs and talks. She loves taking photos, mostly of her children and of food. She is a proud member of the Negrense Blogging Society Inc. (NBSI) or the #NegrosBloggers.