Located in the province of Negros Occidental is the “City of Smiles”, Bacolod. The city is known for its friendly and hospitable people, its colorful cuisine, and festivals such as the MassKara Festival that is celebrated during October.
Bacolodnons are perhaps the friendliest folks you will ever meet; they will greet you with their warm smiles and hospitability, and feed you with their delicious food. Whether you are planning to visit this urbanized city as a tourist or preparing to invest in property here, we’ve got a list of the must-visit attractions in Bacolod that will appeal to everyone, whatever their interests are.
First we eat, then we do everything else
Bacolod Chicken Inasal
The city’s signature dish is inasal na manok, or barbecue chicken, and it can be found almost everywhere in Bacolod, but the most famous place to enjoy authentic chicken inasal is at Manokan Country. Aida’s and Nena’s Beth at Manokan Country are two of the most popular eateries to have a taste of this rustic chicken dish. For those of you who are trying the chicken inasal for the first time, remember to relish it with fried rice cooked in chicken oil and with the delicious sinamak vinegar dip mixed with refreshing calamansi and spicy fresh chillies.
If you are looking for comfort while "pigging out," you may try air-conditioned eateries such as Chicken House and Chicken Deli.
Seafood lovers rejoice and head to the famous pala-palas littered around the city of Bacolod where you can appreciate Negrense cuisine in all its finery. Pala-palas work the same way dampas do in Manila – you select the seafood of your liking fresh off the racks and it will be cooked according to your preference right away, “on the spot."
One of the more popular Pala-palas in the city is Aboy’s Restaurant, an establishment with humble beginnings that started out in the local market but which later had to move to its current location in Singcang, Liroville Subd, in order to accommodate more patrons.
Desserts at Calea
If you want to experience a sudden sugar rush, you can never go wrong with Calea - the famous cafe for delectable cakes and pastries. Just in front of the L' Fisher Hotel, Calea is the most widely known dessert haven in Bacolod. Their sweets are not only heavenly but reasonably-priced as well. If you have a sweet tooth that needs satisfying, remember to order their bestselling cake -- the white chocolate cheesecake with raspberry sauce.
Silay City Walking Tour
North of Bacolod sits the beautiful Silay City with its preserved historical ancestral houses and heritage sites waiting to be explored by visitors. Here is a list of the sites you must visit as you embark on your tour of Silay:
- San Diego Pro-Cathedral
With a dome that resembles St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the San Diego Pro-Cathedral was built in 1925 by an Italian architect and is the only pro-cathedral outside of Metro Manila.
- Balay Negrense
Also known as the “Victor F. Gaston House”, Balay Negrense is the ancestral mansion of the Gaston family, a notable pioneering family of the sugarcane cultivation industry in the region back in the late 19-century. It was officially inaugurated as a museum in 1990 and has remained as one of the must-visit heritage sites in Silay since.
- Bernardino Jalandoni Museum
Located along Rizal Street, the Bernandino Jalandoni Museum is also known as the “Pink House” for its bright pink exterior building. In 1993, the Jalandoni House was declared a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Institute, making it the first to be acknowledged as such in Silay.
If you want to truly experience the cheerfulness and warmth of local Bacolodnons, make sure to visit during Masskara Festival. This world-famous festival is held annually every October and the festivities go on until the fourth Sunday of the month. Be ready to explore the streets with 20 days days of merry making with parties, endless food, wonderful masquerade costumes, and the infamous "search for the Masskara Queen."
If you happen to visit Bacolod outside of the MassKara Festival period, you can still catch yourself a glimpse and feel of the festival via the Jojo Vito Designs Gallery. Jojo Vito is an award-winning mask designer and his entire collection of colorful masks is on display at the designs gallery. You can also customize your very own mask at the gallery or purchase one of the ready-made masks already on display.
Suntrust’s The Fountain Grove
What better way to live than by living in the City of Smiles?
The Fountain Grove at Talisay and Mandalagan, Bacolod City Negros Occidental is a residential enclave situated inside the North Hill Gateway. It is within close proximity to the Bacolod-Silay Airport, the gateway to an exciting and memorable experience in Bacolod.
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