If you only have 3 days, i do not suggest you go to guimaras from Bacolod. It is much too inconvenient.
day1: visit the Kapitolyo, the Capitol Lagoon across the Kapitolyo, the Negros museum inside the Kapitolyo. Have lunch or dinner at Imay's - local cuisine with seafood aplenty. If you have time, visit the Plaza and the San Sebastian Cathedral. Dinner at Manokan Country near the plaza.
day2: Go to Mambukal to try out the hot springs. bring bathing suit and hiking shoes if you want to climb the 7 falls. Dinner at Chicken House for the best chicken inasal. Drop by the ANP Showroom across PNB along Lacson St. for world class local products.
day3: drop by Silay City before you board your flight. Try to visit Balay Negrense to see how Negrense lived at the turn of the century.
There are no nice beach resorts in Bacolod. The closest is in Cadiz, an hour and a half away- Lakawon Island. white sand and secluded.
One thing nice about the Masskara Festival, the organizers are quite tolerant of tourists having pictures with the street dancers while the parade is going on. As long as the dancers are NOT performing at the judging areas, and as long as you don't get in the way of their street dance, you can approach them to have your souvenir picture. Better yet, ask permission from the marshals first (the ones at the sides of the street dancers, those in charge of cordoning the dancing area), and they will instruct the dancers to pose with you. If you are a VTer, you can even request them to hold the VT Flag, as they did for me. See my Travelogue on this.
Along the circumferential road east of Bacolod is the New Government Center (NGC), considered the newest landmark in the City. Its presence along the Circumferential Road is said to have pump-primed the sprouting of business establishments (hotels, restaurants, private offices, banks, call centers, supermarket, etc) in the surrounding areas. This opened new jeepney and tricycle routes, making it accessible to locals and tourists. Infront of the new City Hall is a big pond with a beautiful fountain in the middle. In the evenings, the place is transformed into a night spot. When we went there, I saw families having snacks in the benches while watching the colorful lights of the fountain. There were health buffs jogging around the NGC; photography hobbyists practicing shooting; lovers strolling in the beautifully landscaped park; teenagers practicing a dance; tourists taking souvenir shots. In a way, I thought it was like the Provincial Capitol Lagoon and Manila’s Luneta or Rizal Park where people loved to spend their time.
During the 2011 Masskara Festival season, a much bigger crowd went to the NGC especially in the evenings to view the colorful floating installations in the pond. Hubby and I went there in the morning for a photo shoot, and returned in the evening with VTers Buena, Paolo and Denver. The multi-colored lighting on the fountain and the brightly lit floating installations added drama to the ambiance.
A brainchild of La Consolacion College (LCC), the Giant Puppet Parade immediately drew wows from the crowd. The students of LCC Fine Arts, Interior Design and Architecture competed in making the giant puppets. It is unfortunate that I wasn’t able to witness the parade from the Capitol Lagoon to the City Plaza. (We were in Silay City.) Good thing, I had the chance to see the giant puppets when they joined the parade of the Barangay street dancers. With the nice acceptance of the crowd, I won’t be surprised if there will be another Giant Puppet Parade in next year’s Masskara Festival. I will surely make time for it.
I thought the Masskara Village was the only exhibit at Robinson’s Place. As hubby and I went up to the 3rd level of Robinson’s Place to look for restaurants, we discovered the Masskara Festival Mask & Costume Display. On exhibit were the masks and costumes to be used by participating schools and barangays in the 2011 Masskara Street Dancing Competition. Each group had a pair of mannequins wearing their masks and costumes. My eyes feasted on the colorful and intricate masks and costumes, just looking at them heightened my expectations of the Masskara Street Dancing Competition.
(Note: For next year's display, watch for announcements re: venue. Last year, it was in another mall so next year, they might change venue again.)
The Maskara Village is an annual event organized by ABS-CBN. The event kicks off with a mask-making contest participated in by designers/artists from the different cities and municipalities of Negros Occidental. Then, all the handcrafted masks are displayed in the Masskara Village. I missed it to see the exhibit last year because I didn’t know about it. Fortunately, a friend tipped me on this year’s exhibit so I didn’t miss it this time. Soon after we checked in at our hotel, hubby and I hurried to Robinson’s Place Bacolod and headed to the 2nd level where the Masskara Village was set up. I marveled at the creativity put in by the artists in fabricating the masks; they were all so beautiful! See my travelogue for photos of displayed masks.
(NOTE: Last year, the venue was in another mall so next year, watch for announcements where it will be held.)
Beforehand, I read that ANP Showroom sold "the best Negrense handicraft and products such as houseware, decorative objects, garments, gift items....furniture to furnishings, ceramics, scented candles, pottery, novelties, ladies/children's garments, fashion accessories, souvenir t-shirts as well as indigenous food and pasalubongs". When I went there, I was so impressed by the Associated Negros Producers' Showroom. It is indeed a one-stop trade house that showcase arts and crafts and almost everything produced by Negros Island. You need not go to so many places, spending time and transportation fare. The place is air-conditioned, the staff are all polite, friendly and efficient, patient enough to get our t-shirt sizes, and well informed enough to answer our questions re: the pasalubong items. They will even go to the extent of securing the items you want that are not available on your visit, like the Napoleones that they ordered for us, then they texted my husband to let him know the goods are available for pick-up.
When we returned to Bacolod City for the 2011 Masskara Festival, we didn't bother to shop for pasalubongs elsewhere. We went to the Associated Negros Producers' Showroom and found everything we needed and wanted there. It is nice to see that their customer service is still the same. Service was fast, and the staff assisted us with a smile ;)
Regular Working Hours: 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM Monday to Sunday
Masskara Season: 9:00 AM to 1:00 AM Friday & Saturday
9:00 AM to 9:00 PM Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday
Sunsets are always amazing. The beauty of the sun setting in while darkness envelopes. I think it's the most special time of the day and makes one ponder on life and alike...
There are beaches 15-20 minutes south of Bacolod where one can have a glimpse of the nice sunset. The beach thought isn't that good and it has black sand... But the sole feeling of being on a beach at sunset is priceless...
On downtown area, you can usually find street foods sold in cart. From peanuts, to popcorn, balut and stuff. ;) During Masskara, more of them are visible on the streets. So if you want to have an adventure with street food, go have some. ;) Not all of them are guaranteed 100% clean though, so choose the food you want to try as well.
During Masskara, a row of food stalls are in the public plaza, serving beer, soda, barbeque. Some even have karaoke/videoke... It's a place where the locals go to hang out. But be sure to look after yourself and things there.
Every year, the City celebrates its Charter Day on Oct. 19 and a Masskara Festival is held. People would flock in the city to witness the street dancing contest and all the merry-making organized. The highlight is usually the weekend before Oct. 19.
Palmas del Mar is a resort hidden near the sea shore area of Bacolod. If you want a more relaxing place to stay or just visit for a day trip/outing then Palmas is the places to be. They have nice rooms, cottages and swimming pools. They also have billiard and table tennis tables. The place also holds garden weddings, garden parties or functions.
The ambience is great, more peaceful part of the City and a good view of the beach.
Mambukal is a 45-minute drive from Bacolod City located at the town called Murcia. The Mountain Resort is managed by the provincial government and considered to be a protected area. Mambukal is home to the 7 waterfalls, plenty of bats, hot sulfur spring, swimming pools, butterfly garden, the mini-lake, wild flowers and trees. Room hotels/lodging rooms are offered for an overnight stay. There are also cottages available for day visit.
Since I was a kid, Mambukal has been the place where we hang out and have fun, either with family and friends. It always feel nice to commune with nature while you relax and enjoy. I love the Hot sulfur spring a lot and i recommend one should try it for a soothing feeling and its health benefits. One should not also miss hiking the the 1st up to the 7th waterfalls. It is somewhat a test of endurance yet a fulfilling thing to do.
The best time to go to Mambukal is on the 3rd weekend of June since the Mudpack Festival is celebrated during that time. Be sure to have early bookings though since plenty of people go there to enjoy the festivity.
When you see the map of the Philippines, notice the island that look like a sock. That's Negros. Negros is divided into 2 provinces - Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. The Capital City of Negros Occidental is Bacolod and Dumaguete for Oriental.
So if you are in Bacolod and in the mood for road tripping and adventure, try touring the island! From Bacolod, you could travel south to Dumaguete City passing by coastal towns and mountains. An overnight stay in Dumaguete sounds like a nice plan, then from there, you could go to San Carlos City. Then from San Carlos, back to Bacolod via Don Salvador Benedicto and appreciate a great scenery.
It can be a tiring trip of 3 days but the experience and scenery is worth it.
After a tiring day of sightseeing or just for a relaxing feeling, try having a massage.
My mom and I would usually go to a spa and it's always a nice bonding moment for us.
We often go to Bacolod Spa. Their service and masseurs are good and it's always a great experience. There are different kinds of massage to choose from like thai, swedish, etc... they also have foot spa, reflexology and even facial service. The price ranges to P250-500 or it depends on the services you will avail.
52 San Sebastian Street, ex. Bacolod Executive Inn, Bacolod, 6100, Philippines
Good for: Families
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