Negros Occidental · Philippines · Travel Tales

Things to do in Bacolod City

Souvenirs from the Bacolod City plaza
Souvenirs from the Bacolod City plaza

I was in Bacolod City for the MassKara weekend this year. It was just a couple of days — the teacher in me could not even bring myself to take a day off on a Friday! Nonetheless, I was able to jam-pack one Saturday with several activities, so that the next day could be devoted to watching the streetdance competition.

Here are the things you could do in Bacolod and its surrounding towns, all in one day:

Walk around Silay City

We arrived early in the morning on a Saturday, so we had some time to walk around Silay City. One good thing was that it was not even 7am and there was a slight cooling breeze. However, this also meant that we could not go into any museum.

San Diego Pro-Cathedral in Silay
San Diego Pro-Cathedral in Silay

You could just walk around the area around the plaza and cathedral and see the ancestral homes of sugar barons here and there. I chanced upon the Balay Negrense without having to consult Google maps.

Balay Negrense
Victor Fernandez Gaston Ancestral House, also known as Balay Negrense
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A monument to a pharmacy on Cinco de Noviembre street. This is where revolutionaries held their meetings to overthrow the Spanish colonial forces

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One of the heritage houses, the Cesar Lacson Locsin Ancestral House, is now also known as the El Ideal Bakery. We had breakfast here. I ordered arroz caldo and coffee and helped myself with generous helpings of muscovado sugar. Yum.

El Ideal Bakery
El Ideal Bakery

Visit San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod

After Silay, we headed to Bacolod. The first thing to see was the Bacolod cathedral. Lately it became (in)famous for its huge poster denouncing pro-RH bill senators and calling them “Team Patay”. Ah, well.

San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City
San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City

I always love photographing church interiors, especially from the back. And this cathedral is so grand and gorgeous.

Interior of San Sebastian Cathedral
Interior of San Sebastian Cathedral

Eat chicken inasal at Manokan Country

Manokan Country is a series of seemingly old and dusty restaurants on a street near SM Bacolod. There were so many choices, so I decided to go in where there were a lot of people: Aida’s.

We had to wait for 30 minutes for our order and we were getting grumpier by the minute, so there was really no time to take fancy pictures of the chicken once our order arrived. I gobbled up the food (we had to use our bare hands for everything); then, about five minutes later, I realized how good the food was.

It was so good we didn’t care about the long wait. We went back the next day and I finally had an Instagram photo of my very flavorful chicken breast and artery-clogging fried rice:

Yum. I'd go back to Bacolod just for this.
So damn good. I’d go back to Bacolod just for this.

See The Ruins in Talisay City

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Toward sundown, we went to Talisay, which is just north of Bacolod, to see the famous Ruins. It’s an old house which got burned decades back, and all that’s left is its stone pillars and arches. It’s beautiful especially at sundown.

The Ruins
The Ruins

There were so many people, though. I’d assumed there would only be a few since all of the pictures I’d seen of it showed empty lawns.

Eat dessert at Calea

For dinner, since we were still full of chicken inasal, we went to Lacson Street where the Electric MassKara parade was going to be held. I took the chance to go through the partygoers there and find this famous bakeshop called Calea. People from Bacolod I’ve met were always raving about it, so I decided to pay a visit.

Damn but I really miss Bacolod.
Calea cakes

I tried the Oreo cheesecake, which was baked (and not frozen, so plus points for that) and was not too sweet (which I also loved). I wasn’t able to try the other flavors, though.

See the Lagoon

One bad thing about being there in Bacolod on a MassKara weekend is that there just are so many people — I think I nearly fainted while being squeezed from all sides by the Lacson Street crowd — and so much trash. The Lagoon may have been pretty, with the new City Hall as its backdrop, but that weekend wasn’t the case.

We waited there for the Electric MassKara parade, but it rained hard for about an hour. I got to see the parade only from afar.

There were no regrets waiting for that parade, though. Seriously, if there’s anything I regret about Bacolod, it’s that I didn’t eat enough.

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