If a local cons you into visiting my city, make sure you remember a few things...
There isn't much to do here except hang out with the locals. If you're looking for the flavor of laid back Visayan lifestyle, you're in the right place. There are no filipinos more laid back than the Ilonggos of Bacolod.
The best fun in the city can be found in the company of the the people who live here and the way we entertain our guests...with delicious feasts.
If you're with knowledgeable locals, insist on being driven out of the city to discover more of the island of Negros.
Be prepared on getting bored if you're a party person.
If you're taking public transportation, always know where your wallet is. Several instances of pickpockets in full jeepneys. They will usually distract you with a mock fight or a fallen coin. Also be careful of tricycle drivers at night (past 9pm) in dark areas.
Generally the place with a lot of beggars is the downtown area, most especially the plaza. I go to school at a college just in front of the plaza and the place is swarming with beggars. Walking along the sidewalk, three or four would approach you with their hands held out asking for money.
the resort is on an active volcano. You will often see signs warning of boiling mud and in fact, you will see steam coming from the ground. Do not step in the boiling mud! And furthmore, at night stick to the paved paths because it's very easy to mistakenly step in the mud otherwise.
You would have to be careful about creepy looking guys especially during the Masskara festival. You never know what they're going to do to you. Its best to travel in large groups and keep whatever you are bringing at close hand.
If walking the streets downtown, you will surely be approached by one or more (usually children) with their hands out, wanting some money. I was keeping some fruits in my bag and handing that to them instead of money. It was usually greated with a thanks, sometimes a frown. You really don't know where the money is going if you give it out, maybe not food.
Lately I've been the unfortunate victim of snatchers. Yes, people..you can never be too careful. I urge you not to show your valuables(meaning cellphones, laptops, mp3 players and digital cameras). This is especially directed to those who would be adventurous enough to ride public transports(like jeepneys and tricylcles) because I've lost two cellphones riding these. And for those nocturnal folks who love to party, it would be best not to bring bags. Just bring your cellphones, handkerchiefs and money(stow it all in your pockets). Never, and I say NEVER let your cellphone, mp3 player or cellphone dangle from your wrist or neck--I lost my digital camera while it was hanging on my wrist.
I hope this helps--coming from a local like me--because tourists would be likely targets too.
Yeah the shots are really expensive and don't worry about being concerned about the prices, they are very expensive.
Having said that, the ones that I would be concerned about getting are the hepatitis series and the dengue fever immunizations. Hepatitis you can catch anywhere, even in the states. You are at risk anytime that you eat out, again, anywhere. Dengue fever has a history of being a problem in the Philippines, even in Manila. Anywhere there may be standing water there can be a problem. In Manila they were having a problem with the flower pots that lines the blvd and streets that had water in them. Unless you are going into an area that has recently been flooded I would be too concerned about Typhoid, but just because it has not flooded doesn't mean that you will not catch it. As far as the web sites go, of course they are going to tell you to get the immunizations. And now I am probably sounding a bit ambiguous myself about this. So I will stand by what I said at the beginning, Hepatitis and the dengue fever would be my two concerns. Also, not sure what you accomdations will be like but make sure that you have mosquito netting if you are not in an AC room and hotel that is clean. Also add small bottles of bug juice to your packing list or buy it there, but you are probably better buying it stateside. Remember that the hepatitis series takes 6-8 months to get.
Good luck and have fun
As we hiked seven falls, we came upon some locals bathing (as in taking a bath with soap) and also some swimming in a pool that was right at the edge of the falls, I'm talking about a foot or two from the edge. They boys didn't have a worry in the world as they know the falls like the back of their hand, but don't try this yourself. It's a long, rocky fall.
In addition to swimming at the edge of the falls, these locals will also scale the rocks and dive into the pool below. It's amazing to watch how quickly they climb the slippery rocks. I suspect if I tried this I would get about 1 foot up the face of the rock before smashing my skull, face, and neck on the hard rock and plunging down the falls.
The Philippines doesn't have much to offer in the way of decent coffee. Occasionally you will see a Starbucks but otherwise, prepare for severe withdrawal. Without a doubt, the WORST coffee experiance of my life happened at Jean's Place at the Mambukal Resort. I ordered a coffee and as I was about to take my first sip, my father in law informed me that not only was this instant coffee, but it was 3-way instant, which already has cream and sugar included. I cannot describe how god awful this is and I am sure that it is somehow the work of the devil.
Yesterday, I hopped on a jeepney at Robinsons Mall, Bata Libertad to get to the SM Mall. 3/4 of the way there, these two well dressed Filipinos with backpacks board the jeepney, young men. The one sits beside me and pulls out his coins, the coins hit the floor and I automatically start to lean forward to pick them up, then I realise, I have read about this, and I quickly sit back and keep my hands on my pockets. The guy shoots a glance at my right pocket and I catch his look, but he does not see me notice it. The very FIRST thing he did was to apologise to me in ENGLISH, after I noticed the locals do not speak to foreigners on the jeepneys. I said nothing. I immediately want to switch seats but another Filipino has already climbed aboard and taken the seat directly across from me and is studiously reading his text and ignoring me. He too, is well dressed. Later, I realise, the third guy was very likely back up for the first two. I am stunned, how did the first guy know I was there to immediately climb aboard and sit down right next to me? Perhaps the jeepney driver was in on it? Or there was a 4th person at work? Whatever the case may be, I was clearly targeted from the point of origin at Robinsons mall.
We were forewarned many times by many people: "Beware of pickpockets!" Since the rise of popularity of the Masskara Festival, so many people go to watch the parade and street dance. You'll literally be swamped by people in the crowd. For your own safety and security, avoid wearing expensive jewelry and keep your wallet and valuables (like cellphone, ATM cards in a secret place unnoticed by people beside you. Keep your cellphone in silent mode. If you are expecting a call (like from someone you'll meet), go inside a safe place (like a store) away from the crowd before you check on your cellphone. If there is nowhere to go for a discreet phonecall, position yourself near a policeman or festival marshal. BUT THE BEST is really to avoid using your mobile phone because there have been a lot of pickpocketing in the past festivals.
52 San Sebastian Street, ex. Bacolod Executive Inn, Bacolod, 6100, Philippines
Good for: Families
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