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Beyond Bacolod » 3 Days Amazing Travel Escape to Negros Occidental

There are few places in the Philippines that truly have it all, and Negros Occidental is certainly one of them.

A vast mile-wide sugarcane plantation, unrivalled series of romantic waterfalls and hot springs, unexplored beaches and serene mountains, vibrant local culture and exquisite cuisine. On top of all that, Bacolod and its neighboring cities are far quieter and cleaner than most noisy and polluted Philippine cities.

This is my amazing discovery during our recent trip to Bacolod City, which showed me that there’s actually more to Bacolod City and Negros Occidental than just chicken inasal, sugar and the celebrated Masskara Festival.

Here’s a quick rundown and sneak peek of our Bacolod City tour and other interesting tourist spots that we visited in Negros Occidental. Full post for each destination with all the amazing details will be up soon.    

Exploring the City of Smiles

Bacolod, the gateway City and capital of Negros Occidental Province since 1890 is the perfect jump-off point in exploring Sugarlandia. 

After accomplishing some business matters, we started to explore the City just when the sun is starting to set. The absence of tall buildings makes the villas and mansions of the wealthy sugarcane planters stand out.  Also noticeable is the laid-back life of the city replete with fascinating landscapes.

Cathedral of Bacolod

Cathedral of Bacolod
Cathedral of Bacolod or The Cathedral of San Sebastian 
The presence of an old church or an aged cathedral in any place in the Philippines always signifies rich colonial Spanish history. Its complexity and old grandeur will always instantly tell you the town’s status and heritage. Accordingly, we never missed dropping by at the Cathedral of Bacolod.

Provincial Capitol of Occidental Negros and Lagoon Park

Provincial Capitol of Negros Occidental
Provincial Capitol of Occidental Negros Building
Perfectly situated at Bacolod City’s main thoroughfare and just a few minutes drive from the Cathedral of Bacolod is the imposing Provincial Capitol building of Negros Occidental which was built from 1924 to 1935 in the style of American neoclassical and Beaux-Arts architecture. 

Provincial Capitol Building of Negros Occidental Lagoon Park
Provincial Capitol park and lagoon
In front of it is the refreshing Lagoon Park where we stayed for awhile and had fun feeding fishes.

Bacolod City Government Center
Bacolod City Government Center
Bacolod City Government Center Building in front of large fountain
A few minutes drive along the circumferential road lead us to the Bacolod City Government Center. Its modest, functional and beautiful architecture is very noticeable in the open field. Its location is just perfect against the beautiful landscape complemented by an astonishing wide fountain.

Bacolod Food Trip

Bacolod City Food Trip at Tulahan
Bacolod City Food Trip at Tulahan
One of the fondest memories we had of Bacolod is, of course, the food. I must say that their authentic chicken Inasal definitely tastes more savoury than the commercial chicken inasal in Mang Inasal and other fast-food chains in the Philippines. 
Clams at Aboy's Restaurant in Bacolod City
Exquisite seafood menu at Aboy's Restaurant
Aboy's Restaurant in Bacolod City
Aboy's Restaurant in Bacolod City
Dining at Aboy’s Restaurant is a total blast. However it didn’t stop us foraging for more which lead us to Tulahan (like a Paluto restaurant in Manila) and Manokan Country.

Dropping by at Café Bob’s makes it a perfect pigging out night. This coffee shop along the major city avenue has elegant, avant garde and chic furnishings giving the place an elitist ambiance yet they serve very affordable coffee and pastries making the nearby Starbucks customers trickle.

The Ruins

The Ruins in Silay City
The Ruins at night
Outside Bacolod and just a 20-minute drive from the city is the famous old mansion ruins in the middle of a sugarcane plantation. The famous ruins is a must-visit whenever you go to Bacolod. It showcases what is left of the Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson Ancestral Home, a rich sugar baron. 

Bacolod The Ruins Silay City Cafe
Chilling out at a cafe with The Ruins in the background
There’s a cafe restaurant inside where we sit for awhile after the tiring camwhoring.
Mag-aso Falls in Kabankalan City

Mag-aso Falls in Kabankalan City Negros Occidental
Hidden paradise: Mag-aso Falls in Kabankalan City
After our Bacolod City Tour, we headed to the southern part of Negros going to Kabankalan City. We took a two hours drive south of Bacolod city to take a refreshing waterfalls plunge.

Island Hopping and Beachineering at Sipalay

Beach at Sipalay City Negros Occidental
Local kids playing at Sipalay beach
After the refreshing waterfalls swimming and despite the tsunami scare due to recent earthquakes in Negros, we geared up for another road trip to Sipalay City to discover its amazing beaches, the island’s best kept secret.  

Our road trip ends along the scenic kilometer-wide beach of Punta Ballo. From there, we took a motorized banca to island hop along Nataasan, the Artistic Diving and Beach Resort and other nearby island coves. 

Punta Ballo hidden beaches and Coves Sipalay Negros Occidental
Hidden beaches and island coves of Punta Ballo beach
This is the most memorable part of our trip because after island hopping, while heading back to jump-off, our banca got a serious motor trouble forcing us to get off on a wide and scary isolated beach. It was already dark and we are left behind on dangerous coral rock formations in the middle of nowhere while our bankeros trying furiously to salvage our banca, slowly drifting until out of our sight. No money, no food, no mobile phone.

I’ll tell you how we survived this in a separate post.

Mambukal Hot Spring Resort

Mambukal Hot Spring Resort in Bacolod City
Steaming hot spring in Mambukal
Mambukal Hot Spring and Resort Lagoon
Lagoon for boating at Mambukal Hot Spring and Resort 
Because of a series of unfortunate events that happened to us, we are supposed to cancel this trip to Mambukal Hot Spring in Murcia and just stay at our host’s residence. But of course, it’s more terrible not to scratch our itchy feet, thus a few hours before our flight back to Manila, we did an express tour of the resort and luckily no more misadventures happened. 

And we did it !

This trip to Bacolod City and Negros Occidental might be energy draining but definitely Sugarlandia’s sweet beauty will give you that extra sugar rush.      

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