Bacolod City is the capital province of Negros Occidental. Pegged as the city of smiles, Bacolod is home of the famous annual Maskarra Festival held every October. If you are travelling Negros Occidental, make sure to visit Bacolod and its nearby cities as the region is not only popular for warm and friendly people but is also rich in culture and heritage.
Having a limited time backpacking could be challenging. Well, this happened during my Bacolod trip. I had to tour around the area from morning until early afternoon as I had to be in Dumaguete the same day. Coming from Iloilo City, I took the earliest possible fastcraft from Iloilo to Bacolod. I arrived in Bacolod port at around 8:30 AM. (related: How to get to Bacolod from Iloilo)
8:30 AM – From Bacolod Port to Nowhere
I was clueless which way to go when I arrived in Bacolod port. I just rode one of the jeepneys waiting in the port and made sure that it was headed to the city proper. While in the jeepney, I started googling and checking tripadvisor for tourist attractions in Bacolod and nearby cities. I was lucky enough to have seated to very welcoming and friendly locals. They gave me tips on what to visit and where to go in Bacolod. It happens that the nearest tourist spot from the port is the famous “Lacson Ruins” in Talisay City.
As instructed by one of the locals, I disembarked in Bacolod north bus terminal (Ceres Terminal) in Lacson street and took a cab instead of tricycle. A special tricycle trip from the main road to the site of Lacson Ruins would be more expensive than taking a cab. I hailed a cab from Bacolod north bus terminal and arranged a two-way trip from the terminal to Lacson Ruins. 300 Php was not bad for a two-way trip considering that the taxi driver will have to wait for me while touring Lacson Ruins. Note that the ruins is quite far from the main road and there are rarely taxis or tricycles that would bring you back to the main road.
9 AM – Lacson Ruins in Talisay City
I was very excited to check-out the Lacson Ruins as it is one of the most photographed tourist destination in Negros Occidental. I asked the taxi driver to come with me inside Lacson Ruins since he hasn’t been inside the complex. Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him outside the parking area while I’m touring around the vicinity of Lacson Ruins. Luckily, the attendant was very nice that he let my taxi driver in for free. I also paid the discounted rate of 50 Php for PWD instead of a 100 Php regular rate.
Lacson Ruins or also known as The Ruins is said to be the Taj Majal of Negros and os one among the 12 fascinating ruins in the world. The ruins is said to be the remains of the burnt mansion of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson. It was built-in 1920s and was burnt in 1942.
Talisay City to Silay City
Right after touring and taking photos around Lacson Ruins, we headed back to Bacolod north bus terminal. The driver was offering to bring me to Hofilena Museum in Silay city. I refused the offer since it would cost me additional 300 Pesos. Since he dropped me off in the bus terminal, I just asked few locals which bus should I take going to Silay City.
I paid for a 12 Php fare, hopped into the bus and asked the fare collector to drop me off near Hofilena Museum.
The bus dropped-me off in along Rizal street just across an old Spanish architecture building of El Ideal bakery in Silay City. Using google maps, I walked to Hofilena museum which is just three blocks away from El Ideal.
10 AM – Hofilena Museum in Silay City
Hofilena museum is located along Cinco de Noviembre street. Hofilena ancestral house is said to be the 1st house in Silay city to be opened to the public in 1962. It is also the first house in Silay, still inhabited, to be declared as a museum in 1980s.
Hofilena museum is said to be the home of one of the Philippines’ fine art collections such as antiques owned by the Hofilena family.
10:30 AM – Stroll the street of Cinco de Noviembre, Silay City
Since I was already in Cinco de Noiembre street, I decided to stroll along the street. It was fascinating to see that most of the houses are preserved making Silay city a must visit destination for architecture and heritage enthusiasts.
Cinco de Noviembre (5th of November) street was named as such because it is was in November 5, 1898 on the exact place where locals rose in revolt against Spanish.
11.00 AM – Balay Negrense
Also located in Cinco de November street, Balay Negrense is also known as Victor Gaston Ancestral home. This mansion was built using baling hardwood in 1898 and is said to have the most beautiful exterior of any house in Silay.
Balay Negrense entrance fee is 60 Php for adults and 30 Php for children. I paid a 45 Php discounted rate for PWD/senior citizen.
After touring inside Balangay Negrense, I further wandered around Cinco de November and nearby streets. If you are into architecture, culture and heritage, walking around Silay would truly be a delight.
Silly City has 29 heritage houses which are considered today as Negros Occidental’s architectural landmarks.
11:30 AM – Benita Jara Ancestral House, Silay City Hall and Church of San Diego de Alcala
I was ready to head back to Bacolod City and passed by several landmarks.
Church of San Diego Alcala was built-in 1925 with the donation of Don Jose de Ledesma. The Italian architech Lucio Bernasconi is benind beautiful architectural design of Church of San Diego de Alcala.
After checking out the beautiful architecture of old houses and landmarks in Silay City, I took a Jeepney headed to Silay terminal which is just across the Bacolod north bus terminal. From there, I rode a jeepney bound SM Bacolod.
12:30 PM – Manokan Country in Bacolod City
Just across SM Bacolod is Manokan County. If you are a foodie traveller, do not dare to miss eating at Manokan Country. This food complex is the best place to fulfill your Bacolod gastronomic adventures. Manokan Country has a wide array open-air restaurants serving Bacolod Insal.
I visited one of the many restaurants in Monokan Country. For my full review visit Where to Eat in Bacolod City – Manokan Country.
1:30 PM – Rest at SM Bacolod
Right after a sumptuous authentic Bacolod inasal meal, I decided to go to SM Bacold to freshen up and relax. After resting in a coffee shop for about an hour, I hailed a cab and headed to Bacolod South bus terminal where I’ll take a bus going to Dumaguete.
Overall, I enjoyed my short trip to Negros Occidental. I should say that the highlight of my trip was seeing the beautiful architecture of houses in Silay City. Having the authentic Bacolod inasal was also great. I know that there are many tourist attractions in Negros Occidental and I’d definitely return to the province. The next time I visit, I’ll make sure to stay longer and not just wander around the province in 6 hours.