If you are in Bacolod, and if ever Im free, I'd be happy to show you my Hometown. I grew up in a town at the foot of Mt. Canlaon called La Castellana. It is just an hour and a half ride from Bacolod. There, the scenery is nice where plantations of sugar cane, rice field and mountains are abundant on the roadside.
We also have lots of springs and waterfalls nearby my hometown.
You can stay at home for free and we'll treat you not just a visitor, but part of the family. ;)
The newly-built Government Center of Bacolod City just opened its operation a couple of years ago for the public. The old City Hall was located in downtown area and can not cater all the government operations anymore so it was moved to a more spacious place with a new bigger building.
Many locals go to the New City Hall to exercise and do walking every morning, and at night, it is a good place to hang out and just relax.
The St. Sebastian Cathedral stands tall in "downtown" Bacolod. It is situated at the Center of the City and marks the end of Araneta St. which goes straight from neighboring City called Bago.
It is one of the oldest churches in the province, built by the Spaniards. It holds masses everyday and is usually too crowded every Sunday where an hourly mass is held.
For Catholics, it is a good place to visit and pray, thanking God for the safe travel and all His blessings.
The Ruins, the so-called Taj Mahal of Negros: one of a must-see places in the City.
It was a mansion of the rich Sugar Baron in Negros named Don Mariano Ledesma-Lacson built in the early 1900's in honor of his Portuguese wife, Maria Braga. During the World War II, the Japanese intended to make the mansion their Headquarters but the Americans burnt it with the owner's consent in order that the Japanese won't be able to make use of it.
It used to be an abandoned place, in the middle of the sugar cane fields, remote from "civilization". It is located near my friend's house and we used to visit it when we were in high school, around 15 years ago. In 2007, the grandson of the Late Don Mariano Lacson decided to restore the building and named it The Ruins. They opened it to the public as part of Bacolod's Landmark (though the place is officially part of Talisay City, a city next to Bacolod). From then on, The Ruins is a venue of History and a good place for special occasions and for photoshoot.
Mambukal is 35 min away from the city and is worth a visit. It has a dipping pool whose source are from the hot springs that abound nearby. Very refreshing. The hubby and I tried it and he swears the aches in his joints went away. After the dip we climbed up to see several falls. We only got up to the 3rd. Then we had lunch. There are several food stalls in the main area with good grilled porkchops, chicken and fishes. The rest rooms are clean if a bit wet owing to the fact that its located besides the pool. (which is clean too)
You can stay overnight as there are several airconditioned cottages.
For the more adventurous, there is a "Slide for Life" (zipline), a canopy walk among tall trees and Rock Climbing. There is also a clean comfy spa as well as a boating lagoon and a butterfly garden.
After lunch we walked about just taking in the mountain air and the great view of nature. We also splashed around in the mini-falls. I simply love hopping from rock to rock with cool water gushing about my legs.
When we ate at the Chicken House North, I saw the Orange Gallery which is known to showcase the artworks of local artists. Their exhibits vary every year, but there are also mainstay exhibits. At the Orange Gallery, they allow artists and other participants/guests to discuss the works on display. Art enthusiasts will surely enjoy taking a trip there.
San Sebastian Cathedral, one of the century-old churches in Negros Occidental is considered one of Bacolod's great architectural landmarks. Built in 1876 by a Recollect Friar, Fr. Mauricio Ferrero,, the Cathedral has accumulated a lot of very interesting stories behind its history.
After your prayers inside the Cathedral, find time to examine its majestic structure. Do you know that the structure was not made of ordinary river stones and cement? It's amazing! The Cathedral's structure is composed primarily of coral stones mined from the deposits of Guimaras, brought to Bacolod by barge and" lorchas". The wooden elements that you see came from hardwood cut in Paragua, now known as Palawan.
When we went to the Provincial Capitol Park, I wondered what was the sculpture erected at the east entrance of the Capitol Park & Lagoon. It was such a beautiful fine piece of art. The marker below identified the sculpture as "Ang paghimud-os " meaning "The Struggle". One of the country's noted sculptor, Eduardo Castrillo created this magnificent work of art.
Before, I wondered what was so special about the Centennial Bells to be listed in the suggested DIY City Tour. Reading the marker below one of the bells, I understood. In 1976, the 100th year anniversary of the Cathedral, two bells were brought down from their belfry and mounted on a special commemorative centennial wall at the right side of the churchyard. The two bells were thereafter called the CENTENNIAL BELLS.
Considered one of Bacolod City's architectural landmarks, the Bishop's Palace was built by Fr. Julian Gonzaga about 50 years earlier (or 46 years to be exact) than the San Sebastian Cathedral. This is because construction of the Bishop's Palace started in 1830, while the structure of the Cathedral began in 1876, The construction took a slow pace, and was finished only in the 1890's. It is worth noting that the the Spanish military and civic officials sought refuge in the Palacio Episcopal during and after the revolution of 1898.
The first time we went to the Provincial Capitol Bldg., I had wanted to go to the Negros Museum, but it was still closed. I learned that it is open only from 10:00 A. to 6:00 PM, Tuesday to Sunday. Then, on another day, our car passed by the Negros Museum, but we didn't bother to stop and go inside as there were more places and more people that we had scheduled to see that day.
I was told that Negros Museum, unlike other historical and humanities museums that collect antiques, it collects archival stories about the people of Negros Occidental. Showcased are important historical events pivotal to making Negros "The Sugar Bowl of the Philippines". Therefore, people sometimes refer to the museum as "The Sugar Museum'".
Just across the Capitol Building is the Provincial Park and Lagoon. Locals go there to stroll in the park, feed the fishes in the lagoon, exercise (jogging/aerobics), practice dance or school activities, or simply spend time with their loved ones. Tourist go there usually for photography.
Two of Bacolod's famous landmarks can be found at the north and south ends of the rectangular lagoon. There stand the statues of a woman and female water buffalo on the north end, and a man and a male water buffalo on the southend of the lagoon. It is said that an Italian artist created the massive sculptural work on the woman standing beside the female water buffalo. Soon, a Negrense artist schooled at the College of Fine Arts of the University of the Philippines created a similar sculpture, that of a man and male water buffalo.
Trivia: I learned from our driver that fishes at the lagoon are fed to the prisoners:))
The Provincial Capitol Building in Bacolod City is the official seat of the provincial government of Negros Occidental. Tourists seek it to appreciate the massive structure of Romanesque neoclassical architectural design. To those interested in history, it is amusing to know that the building served as the Japanese Imperial Army's headquarters during the World War II.
I thought the word MASSKARA was misspelled, thinking it should have been spelled MASKARA, but it was really meant to be MASSKARA. MassKara is derived from the two words MASS, meaning "many" or "multitude" and KARA, a Spanish word meaning "face". Put together, MASKARA means "a mass or multitude of smiling faces".
Masskara Festival is a celebration/expression/manifestation of Bacolenos' thanksgiving "for the abundance of blessings life brings them". It was conceived 31 years ago. Borne out of the city's woes in the 1980s (the Don Juan tragedy where about 700 Negrenses, including affluent families sank with the ship and perished; and economic dislocation when the prices of sugar in the world market hit an all-time low, thus affecting most of the Negrenses, including Bacolenos who relied in the sugar industry.
Amidst all these unfortunate tragic events, the local government joined hands with the city’s artists and civic groups, and decided to hold a festival of smiles that will hold true the city's nickname at that time as the City of Smiles. They believed that such a festival would be a good opportunity to perk up the residents out of the depressing atmosphere. The first festival was both an affirmation and declaration by the Bacolenos that notwithstanding any crisis, Bacolod City could "pull through, survive, and in the end, triumph".
Masskara festival is held every October, culminating on the the weekend nearest October 19, which is the Charter anniversary of Bacolod City. We visited the city for their 31st MassKara Festival.
Aside from the Street Dance competition, another highlight of the Masskara festival is the Electric MassKara at the Tourism Strip in Lacson Street. Every year, for two nights before the street dance competition (Note: this year it was from October 15 to 16, starting at 8PM), Lacson St. (from the 5th St. to North Drive) is converted into a Tourism Strip.
Before, I had the misconception that the Electric MassKara would be a presentation of dancing neon lights. On the contrary, it was much more! There was a float parade where dancers wearing intricate headgear, masks and colorfully lighted costumes performed on the ledge, wowing the audience and the panel of judges. As dancers swayed and gyrated to the beat of festival music, many people in the crowd screamed with excitement. The atmosphere at the Tourist Strip then became ala- mardi gras, with all the merriment, dancing, glitter and color.
52 San Sebastian Street, ex. Bacolod Executive Inn, Bacolod, 6100, Philippines
Good for: Families
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