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Bacolod: The City of Smiles and the Best Place to Live in the Philippines

Bacolod has been acclaimed as the Cleanest and Greenest and the Most Livable City in the Philippines. It is the capital of the province of Negros Occidental, the Sugarbowl of the Philippines. Bacolod City serves as the entrance to the sugar-rich cities and towns of the province. Visitor facilities abound, and modern means of in-land transport can take guests for business or leisure to any point in the island of Negro

by Jhaypee Guia on August 03, 2012
Bacolod: The City of Smiles and the Best Place to Live in the Philippines

Bacolod Government Center

Bacolod has been acclaimed as the Cleanest and Greenest and the Most Livable City in the Philippines. It is the capital of the province of Negros Occidental, the Sugarbowl of the Philippines. Bacolod City serves as the entrance to the sugar-rich cities and towns of the province. Visitor facilities abound, and modern means of in-land transport can take guests for business or leisure to any point in the island of Negros.

Bacolod will charm you with the genuine warmth and hospitality of her people in harmony with their lilting melodious accent. The Bacoleños will delight you with food and cuisine that is as vigorous yet as subtle as the legendary Ilonggo gentility and taste for the good life. Bacolod, with her warmth, culture and beauty, earned her spot as a tourist attraction and does add up to the growing tourism in the Philippines.

Bacolod is a highly-urbanized Philippine city. It is the capital of the province of Negros Occidental. Having a total of 511,820 inhabitants according to the 2010 census, it is the most populous city in the Western Visayas Region and the 17th most populous city of the Philippines. It is part of a metropolitan area called Metro Bacolod, which includes the cities of Silay and Talisay. It is notable for its famous MassKara Festival held during the 3rd week of October. Known for being a relatively friendly city, it bears the nickname "City of Smiles." Bacolod City recently ranked no. 1 in a survey by MoneySense Magazine as the "Best Place to Live in the Philippines". Bacolod ranks 3rd among the top ten "Next Wave Cities" of the Philippines for the best location for business process outsourcing and offshoring according to the 2010 report of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology.


Bacólod is derived from bakólod (Old Spelling: bacólod), the Old Hiligaynon or Old Ilonggo (Old Spelling: Ylongo and Ilongo) word for a "hill, mound, rise, hillock, down, any small eminence or elevation", since the resettlement was founded on a stony, hilly area, now the barangay of Granada. It was officially called Ciudad de Bacólod (City of Bacolod) when Municipalidad de Bacólod (Municipality of Bacolod) was converted into a city in 1938.

Places of Interest

In front of the Bacolod City Hall, the former site of the old City Hall where the formal signing of the Spanish surrender to the local forces by Gen. Aniceto Lacson tool place.  Col. Isidro Castro, Spanish governor of Negros, signed in behalf of he Spanish forces on November 7, 1898.    

  • The New Government Center

At present a sight to behold, rising from out of the open space of fresh greenery, catching the attention of passersby who sometimes call it  the White House. The building stands proudly along the eastern part of the Circumferential Road, and can be approached from all the four direction entrances to the city. The total land area is 50,000 sq.meters. Constructed December 28, 2006 completed on August 8, 2008.

  • Pope John Paul II Tower

Located at the Bacolod Reclamation Area.  Inaugurated on February 18,2010 a 7-storey tower with the statue of Pope John Paul II. A reminder of the historic visit of the Pope to Bacolod City on Feb.20, 1981. It houses the Pope’s memorabilia. A symbol and reminder of the people’s love, devotion and loyalty to the church and to the successor of St. Peter.

The only school-based museum in Bacolod City that was born out of a dream to preserve vital documents, photographs, cultural articrafts and the history of Negros.  The museum can accommodate 40 visitors at one time.  Large groups are requested to call the Museum at least 48 hours before the visit.

  • Dizon-Ramos Museum

Housed in the ancestral home of Raymundo L. Dizon and Hermelinda V. Ramos, the house, which was built in 1950, was converted into a museum in 2007.  It houses the collection of pictorial reproduction, artworks by famous artists, and personal collections of the children. The Museum located at Lacson-Burgos Sts. Is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10AM to 4PM. Entrance fee Php10 for students with IDs, Php30 for adults.  Group of more than 10 persons should make a prior appointment through Tel. #(034) 434-8512.

  • AID Foundation Techno Park

An ideal place for a group field trip, “lakbay aral”, or when you are in search of renewable energy and organic farming systems. The park showcases the technologies of the Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. (AIDFI). It has a learning center which can accommodate up to 80 people, and is equipped with visual and audio facilities. The center can also be rented for trainings and conferences. Located along Murcia Road, Mansilingan. Open from Monday to Saturday.

  • Bells of San Sebastian

The centennial bells of San Sebastian Cathedral were brought down from their places in the belfry and mounted at the right side of the churchyard in 1976, the 100th year anniversary of the Cathedral.

  • San Sebastian Cathedral

Built in 1876 upon the initiative of Fr. Mauricio Ferrero, a Recollect friar. It became a cathedral in 1933 iand s one of the century-old churches found in Negros Occidental.     

The Negros Museum is a unique historical and humanities museum in that in does not collect antiques but stories about the people of Negros Occidental. It showcases important historical events which made Negros 'The Sugarbowl of the Philippines". Thus, the museum is sometimes referred to as 'The Sugar Museum'. Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 A. to 6:00 PM.

  • Palacio Episcopal

Older than the San Sebastian Cathedral by approximately 50 years, the Bishop's Palace was built by Fr. Julian Gonzaga but was eventually finished only in the 1890's. During  and after the revolution of 1898, the Palacio served as a refuge for the Spanish military and civic officials.          

Right at the center of Bacolod Public Plaza, the bandstand was constructed in 1927 to complement the weekend cultural activities of the early Bacole’os, and the names of world-famous composers like Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Wagner circle the sides of the roofing, attesting to the early Bacolodnon's familiarity with European culture.

  • Yulo's Park

The park is the site of the ancestral home of the prominent Yulo family. The Yulo's  belong to a clan of politicians that helped shape the status of Negros Occidental to the premier province of the south. The park used to be the center for social and recreational affairs in Bacolod at the turn of the century.

  • Negros Occidental High School Alumni Promide

Fronting the Negros Occidental High School along Araneta Street., the promenade used to be a sidewalk renovated and beautified by the city to honor the school alumni who are now prominent civic and government leaders.

  • Barangay sang Virgen Chapel

The Sta. Clara Subdivision chapel features a unique mural mosaic measuring 9 ft. x 21 ft. of the lady of the Barangay Sang Virgen done on a collage of 95,000 pieces of shells of various sizes, shades and colors.     

  • San Antonio Abad Church

This crown-shaped church features stations of the cross done by Bacolod's top artists. It also features an altar sculpture, "The Risen Christ," done by a national Artist, Solomon Saprid.

  • Rizal Centennial Park

Fronting the Rizal Elementary School along Araneta Street, tit is the city's contribution to the Centennial Celebration. Inaugurated in December 30, 1996, the park is the tribute of Bacolod to the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, and provides an oasis for many city commutes, students and professionals during early morning and late afternoons.

  • Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club, Inc.

Golf is one of the most popular sports attractions in Bacolod today as a local golf course, the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club, Inc., provides challenging 18-hole adventures for amateur and professional golfers, with panoramic views of scenic Mounts Marapara and Patag.     

     * Negros Forest Ecological Foundation & Biodiversity Center

A breeding and rescue center for endangered and endemic animals found in Negros Island as well as other places in the Philippines, like the Visayan spotted deer, Luzon bleeding heart pigeon, Philippine Visayan Tarictic hornbill, Philippine hawk-eagle, monitor lizard, Philippine serpent eagle and the sailfin lizard.

  • Bacolod Western Visayas Clonal Nursery

The Bacolod Western Visayas Clonal Nursery lies on a one-hectare flat and gently rolling grassland terrain located 2.5 kms. away from Barangay Alangilan, which is about 17 kms. from the city proper of Bacolod. The only one of its kind in the Province of Negros Occidental, this nursery has been put up in order to provide continuous supply of quality planting stocks for the reforestation and greening program of the city. It has an orchard of hedge plants for vegetative propagation, a nursery for seeds and planting stocks; a hardening shed and a potting area for rooted cuttings to pots. Visits to the nursery is by appointment through the City Environment Office; the City Mayor's Office or the City Tourism Office.

  • The ANP Showroom

Considered as the country's number one trade house and pasalubong center, the Showroom is an alternative giftshop that houses arts and crafts that Negros island had to offer, from furniture to furnishings, ceramics, scented candles, pottery, novelties, ladies/children's garments, fashion accessories, souvenir t-shirts as well as indigenous foods. Open from 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM.

  • Recuerdos de Bacolod

"Recuerdos" (souvenirs) is known for its collection of excavated items and heirlooms, wooden saints, furniture and pottery pieces as early as the 7th and 9th century. These antique items were taken mostly from Bohol and Panay.

  • Panaad Park and Stadium

Located in Barangay Mansilingan near the boundary of Barangay Alijis, this 25-hectare sports complex and park is known to be one of the best in the country and has already been host to a lot of national sport sevents. It has a rubberized oval track, an Olympic-size swimming pool and other sports facilities. Its unique feature is the replica of the landmarks of the 13 cities and municipalities of Negros Occidental.       

  • Fort San Juan

Was constructed in 1888 mainly though the initiative of Don Ramon Pastor, the governadorcillo at the time and with the cooperation of Recollect Friar, Fray Mauricio Ferrefo, who designated and constructed the Fort San Juan, with Fernando Cuenca, also built the San Sebastian Cathedral. The Fort served as the jail for prisoners during the Spanish era. After the Negros Revolution in 1898, thirty six Spanish friars were ordered ncarcerated. Today, the fort serves as the Provincial Jail.

  • Provincial Building

An imposing structure of Romanesque neoclassical architectural design, is the official seat of the government of the Province of Negros Occidental. It served as the headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.     

  • Paghimud-os Provincial Capitol Park

"Ang paghimud-os " which literally means "The Struggle" is a fine sculpture erected at the east entrance of the Capitol Lagoon Park. This magnificent work of art was done by one of the country's noted sculptor, Eduardo Castrillo.

 It is located In front of the Capitol Building. To the north and south ends of the rectangular lagoon stand the statues of a woman and female water buffalo and a man and a male water buffalo, respectively. The woman standing beside the female water buffalo is a massive sculptural work said to have been done by an Italian artist whose work has never been duplicated until a Negrense artist who finished Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines duplicated the Italian's work of art by coming out with a man and male water buffalo. Presently, the lagoon grounds is a favorite jogging area of Bacolod residents. 

MassKara Festival  

The MassKara Festival is a festival held each year in Bacolod City, the capital of Negros Occidental province in the Philippines every third weekend of October nearest October 19, the city's Charter Inauguration Anniversary.

List of Accommodations


First Class

  • L'Fisher Hotel - 4th Lacson Street, Bacolod City
  • Hotel PAGCOR - Magsaysay Avenue, Bacolod City
  • Luxur Place - Magsaysay Avenue, Bacolod City
  • Eastview Hotel - Carlos Hilado Circumferential Road Corner
  • Grand Regal Hotel - Araneta St., Singcang, Bacolod City


  • Bascon Hotel -  Gonzaga  Locsin Streets, Bacolod City
  • Check Inn Hotel - Ponce Building, Luzuriaga St, Bacolod City
  • Northwest Inn - JB Corner, Rizal-Mabino Sts

Tourist Inns

  • Bacolod King's Hotel - San Sebastian-Gatuslao Street
  • Belle's Pension - 17th Lacson St., Bacolod City
  • Casa Marabella - Ylac Avenue, Villamonte
  • G&J Horizon - Locsin-Libertad, Bacolod City
  • Pearl Manor - North Drive - Lacson St., Bacolod City
  • Regency Plaza Inn - Lacson Extension, Bacolod City
  • Traveller's Inn - BS Aquino Drive- Lacson St., Bacolod City


By air

The city is only 55 minutes from Manila, serviced by the country’s 3 major airlines: Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines, with four round trip flights daily.

From Cebu City, Bacolod is only 30 minutes away, with 3 round trips daily through Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.

The New Bacolod-Silay Airport of International Standard is 20 minutes to and from the Bacolod downtown.

By sea

Bacolod is normally a 20-hour cruise to and from Manila aboard world-class vessels; 55 minutes to and from Iloilo on fast seacrafts.  The Banago and BREDCO ports are the vessels entry point.

By sea and land

The 18-hour travel time to and from Manila via land and sea transport is now possible through RORO (Roll On Roll Off) vessels traversing through the Strong Republic Nautical Highway using the ports of Iloilo, Caticlan in Aklan, Roxas in Mindoro and Batangas in the Province of Batangas.

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