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Bacolod City

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Bacolod [1] is the capital city of the province of Negros Occidental. Known as the City of Smiles because of its Joei de Vivre, Mardi Gras like festival; the MassKara festival which is a spectacular vivid mix of dance, colour and music, not only it is known as the city of smiles but also the Land of Sweet people and it is also known for its culinary heritage where it is famous for its Chicken Inasal and sweet dessert treats.

Barangays

Bacolod city contains of Barangays(Barangay is abbreviated as Brgy.) however it can be also classified into districts or suburbs.

Early times

The Name Bacolod


The name Bacolod was derived from the Hiligaynon word, "Buklod meaning stonehill, as the city was first set up on a stonehill. Due to Moro (Muslim) raids it was then transferred to the shoreline. The original town is now called Daan-Banwa meaning Old Town.

The settlement was set up by Malayan people from the Taga-Ilog and settled on a stonehill (which where Barangay Granada stands today). Later on the Moros attacked early one morning and within a few hours many people had been killed, women raped and houses torn down or burnt. The people then decided to move a little farther from the place down to the shore making the stonehill a ghost town.

Spanish era

Bacolod was made the provincial capital of Negros in 1894. It was the focal point of conflict between the Spanish and the Negrenses in 1898. The commanding officer of the Spanish forces; Col. Isidro de Castro, surrendered to the Filipino forces, and the signing of the Act of Capitulation was carried out at the house of Don Eusebio Luzuriaga which once stood in front of the City Hall.

American rule and Japanese occupation

On March 1899, American forces, led by Colonel James G. Smith, occupied Bacolod. During American Rule, The Rizal Institute was set up in the city in 1903 providing education to the Bacolodnons. La Consolacion College was then set up on 1919 as a private school. The City of Bacolod was officially created on June 18, 1938. Inclement weather meant that the official inauguration had to be postponed twice. It was finally held on October 19, 1938. Bacolod City was occupied by the Japanese forces on May 21, 1942 but was then liberated by the American forces on May 29, 1945.

Modern era

The small settlement grew and emerged as an urbanized city with a population now around 500,000 and named as one of the two Cleaniest and Greenest Highly Urbanized Cities in the Philippines.

Orientation

Bacolod is one of the 13 cities in the province of Negros Occidental, it is the provincial capital of Negros Occidental and the center of commerce and finance in the province. To the east lies the town of Murcia while to the north lies Talisay city and to the south Bago City and to the west of Bacolod is where Guimaras Strait is located. Bacolod is then divided into Barangays or suburbs which can either be also considered as districts, the suburbs are then divided into subdivisions, actually Barangays are residential areas which consists of a community not less than 100 families.

Climate

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
High(°C) 30 31 32 33 33 32 31 30 31 30 30 30
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Low(°C) 21 22 22 24 25 25 24 23 23 23 23 22
Precipitation (cm) 20 10 15 30 122 257 401 363 340 195 134 65
- - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - -


There are two pronounced seasons in Bacolod; Wet and Dry seasons. Wet Season or the Rainy Season starts from May and continues until January, with heavy rainfall during August and September. The Dry Season starts on February and ends in April, with April being the warmest month of the year while December is the coldest. The province and the whole country experiences droughts during the dry seasons sometimes in extreme conditions.

People

People from Western Visayas are generally called Illongos' even if they don't come from Iloilo, this is because almost all of them speak the same language however people from Capiz, Aklan at Antique have their own languages but still sound like Illongo or Hiligaynon to be exact and most of it is similar to Illongo. The people from Bacolod are called Bacoleños (pronounced as Bah-ko-len-yos), most of them are the descendants of the people of Panay who are of Malay or Southeast Asian descent, the province where Bacolod is located; Negros Occidental was used to be home to many Negros or Aborgines therefore it was called Negros but today the Malay descent population dominates the city while the Chinese descent population forms a minority of the city.

Faith

Majority of the people are Christians, predominantly Catholic, next to Catholicism, the Baptists and the Iglesia ni Kristo(Church of Christ) members as well as Anglicans and Seventh Day Adventist form the next largest groups while there is a growing population of Muslims who migrated from South Cotabato while the Chinese-descent follow the Taoist faith.

Talk

The majority of the people of Negros speak Hiligaynon or Illongo as their first language as it is the predominant language in the province of Negros Occidental, while there are some who can speak Cebuano and Kinaray-a. Tagalog is also understood as well as English. For visitors, communicating with the people wouldn't be that difficult. The Chinese form a minor part of the population who most speak Minnan or Hokkien with a knowledge of Mandarin.

Hiligaynon has more loanwords than Tagalog, while buying, telling time, some verbs, rooms, objects and many other words and phrases are of Spanish origin, however grammatical structure and adjectives are different from Spanish. English is widely spoken in Bacolod.

Get in

By plane

Bacolod is located 45 minutes South of Manila by plane and 30 minutes west of Cebu. Commercial flights are available daily from Manila and Cebu. If flying in to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila you will have to change planes for the 45 minute hop to Bacolod. You will land at the new Bacolod-Silay Airport(ICAO: BCD | IATA: RPVB)[2], which is of international standard. There are buses provided by the airport to the city proper. Contact airport inquiries for details on arrival. If you land from overseas at Mactan-Cebu International Airport you can use Cebu Pacific or PAL Express to Bacolod. Philippine Airlines[3], PAL Express[4], Cebu Pacific[5] and Zest Air[6] serve connections to and from Manila and Cebu. On departing Bacolod, you should pay a terminal fee of ₱200.

The new Bacolod-Silay International airport witnessed the arrival of a charter flight from Kazakhstan on January 2, 2009. This was the first international flight to land in the airport. The Airport plans further expansion to handle more flights, both international and domestic and either cargo or passenger flights.

Getting in and out

By bus: There is a shuttle service from SM City Bacolod to Bacolod-Silay Airport and costs 100 per person, contact the SM management for schedule and more information.

By taxi: Taxis have fixed prices provided by the local government. Below listed are the prices which are for getting out of the airport.

Establishments and notes

Mabuhay Lounge of Philippine Airlines is open to its members in the departure lounge and have some refreshments too. The Departures and Arrivals terminals aren't divided into two, either departing or arriving you can grab a donut, hot dog, coffee or snacks outside the airport. Three Cafes are located inside the departures lounge while two shops selling Pasalubong items and souvenirs are available, Merci Pasalubong is located in the departures lounge while Bong Bong'sis just outside the airport terminal. Maps and brochures are provided by the Department of Tourism of the local government of Bacolod if you don't have one you can pick it up in the arrivals area which is located outside the baggage claim area. A gallery of photos of Negros Occidental is found in the departures lounge.

By bus

Getting to Bacolod by bus from elsewhere in the province is smooth and easy as there is little chance of congestion on the roads. Arriving by bus from other provinces is also possible; you can use the so called RoRo which means Roll-on and Roll-off. Note: During Holy Week, Christmas and New Year, often buses are cramped, delayed and overloaded it's advisable to avoid traveling by bus during the Holy week and the Christmas season.

Prices of bus fares to Bacolod from Silay-Airport
Destination Price
Alijis 450
Ayala 400
Bangga Cory 400
Banago 425
Bata 400
Capitol Heights 425
Donya Juliana 425
Eroreco 400
Fortune Town(e)/Estefania 450
Georgina 400
Goldenfields 450
Granada 575
Greensville 400
Mandalagan 400
Mansilangan 500
Palmas del Mar 475
San Miguel Brewery 450
San Sebastian 425
Sugarland Hotel 450
Sum-ag 425
Taculing 525
Tangub 475
Therese Homes 425
Villa Angela 425
Villamonte 400

Bus terminals

There are two major terminals in Bacolod, both operated, owned and used by Ceres liner.

By boat

Bacolod Seaport serves inter-regional trips from major destinations of Manila and Iloilo. Iloilo seaport is just 45 minutes from Bacolod and is one of the easiest to access because every hour there's a trip.

Puerto Princesa City, Cagayan De Oro City, General Santos City, Dipolog City, Manila, Zamboanga City, Butuan City, Iligan City, Ozamiz City, and Surigao City routes are available. SuperFerry [7] and Negros Navigation[8] serve routes to and from these cities.

Get around

Transportation within the city and to adjacent towns is by taxi or jeepney (local equivalent of a bus). Bus liners as well as rental cars are also available for travel. The city's layout isn't suitable for walking, fortunately, its layout is the most suitable for using cars, arguably Bacolod has one of the best road layouts in the whole country and traffic only happens sometimes and seldom, traffic usually occurs in the CBD and when road reparation is ongoing.

By jeepney

Jeepneys were originally based on US military jeeps that were converted into public transport. This is the fastest and cheapest mode of transportation in the Philippines, an equivalent of the bus. Fares ranges from ₱8-₱10. Most of the Jeepney routes travel to and from Downtown Bacolod. Senior Citizens and Students (Children/Teenagers) can ask for a discount which is around ₱5-8. Most of the jeepney routes' destinations are; Central market and Libertad. Central Market is where the downtown area is located, while Shopping is where San Agustin college, Riverside Hospital and University of St. La Salle is located.

Routes

By car

By the meter!

This is a common trend in the Philippines and is known nationwide, both foreigners and locals are its victims, this is the BY THE METER! crime, some taxi drivers offer a fixed price if you're a foreigner or a local who has the money to pay, this is illegal and don't take the taxi if he offers you a fixed price, threaten him too so that he'll let you pay by the meter. If you encounter a situation like this you can either report it to local officials and some action might be taken. Check if the meter is working, to this day taxis are asked to issue receipts however this isn't applied to most taxis.

Getting around the city by private car or taxi is quick and affordable. There are no problems with traffic jams at all because of the good road layout of the city. Around Bacolod the taxis have a flagdown rate of ₱30 and ₱2.50 for every 300 meters thereafter. Filipinos usually give the change as a tip but it is not mandatory, if the meter states ₱87.50, they typically give the entire 100 bucks.

Taxis:

  • Bee Gees +63-34-4461675
  • Faith Taxi +63-34-4410702
  • San Nicholas Taxi Services +63-34-4343834

Rent-a-car:

  • Nyla Rent-A-Car +63-34-4331049
  • Meca Rent-A-Car +63-34=4440795 .

By tricycles

Tricycles (Rickshaw) is Another alternative to taxis, rickshaws in the city carry no more than 5 passengers and are affordable. Fares depend on the distance of your destination, tricycles are mostly found lurking in the downtown and outside subdivisions. Auto rickshaws are better than manual rickshaws.

Historical sites

There are a number of historical attractions in Bacolod showing the history of the city and the Province of Negros Occidental.

Religious sites

Churches are a big part of life for a Filipino and all have historical, spiritual and religious meaning.

Museums and Galleries

Wildlife and Nature

Do

Fiestas and Events

January/February

March

April

May

October

November

December

Sports

Football is popular throughout Bacolod; thus it is Known as the "Football city of the Philippines". It has been notable for hosting the 23rd Southeast Asian Games Men's football. The Panaad Stadium is used for tournaments and such events. There are three golf clubs in the province of Negros, two located in Bacolod. For bowling, badminton, tennis enthusiasts and people who miss bowling and billiards, you don't have to worry as there are alot of commercial establishments which offer services to those activities. For those who want to try hardcore games, shooting ranges are around the city while for those who want to see and experience the Sabong or Filipino cockerel derbies, there is a stadium where derbies are popularly held. Tai Chi is practiced in Yuan Thong temple. The Capitol Park and Lagoon is popular for joggers and people doing aerobics during the morning.

Resorts and Spa

| style="vertical-align:top;width:50%;" | Sport Facilities:
Golf

Bowling

Lawn Tennis

Badminton

Billiards

Tai Chi

|}

Casinos

Other

People watching is legal and free however if people catch you staring at them for a long time it might be considered rude and suspicious. While Window shopping is a popular hobby for Filipinos, it is free and legal, usually window shopping is conveyed with ice cream or any kind of food you can carry while walking around.

Learn

Bacolod is the seat for many universities in Negros Occidental, ESL (English as Second Language) learning centers are open in the city making it in the toplist for cities for ESL programs along with Manila and Cebu and for the past few year an influx of foreign students who have chosen to study in Bacolod. According to statistics about 93% of the total population is literate.

Colleges

Universities

Buy

Bacolod is famous for its Piaya, Biscocho, squid flakes, Guapple pie and its Pina-Sugbo. Great souvenirs from Bacolod are its sweet delicacies, dried squid or Uga. These are often bought by most Overseas Filipino workers as a Pasalubong; meaning a souvenir. Shell craft, Wood craft and ceramic wares are also good buys. Antique wooden statues of saints are one of the best buys, even though if you're not Catholic or religious, it is good keeping as a collection, antique stores are scattered around the city however they are difficult to spot, Casa Grande Antiques, Requerdos de Bacolod and Sarlee’s are some of the famous antique stores in the city. Hablon; a shimmery fabric produced locally and was popular in the 60s, it still is one of the best buys.

Where to exchange?

Exchange rate


American Dollar $1 - Philippine Peso ₱46
British Pound £1 - ₱72
Euro €1 - ₱62
Japanese Yen ¥1 - ₱0.50

Money exchangers lurk around the streets of Downtown Bacolod (CBD) and are easy to spot, if you walk into those streets some of them will yell "Dollar exchange!" or they'd come forward and ask you, you can spot some major money exchangers with their self owned stalls. If you don't feel safe in exchanging with money exchangers, you can either go to pawnshops or banks for an alternative and safer option. Most money exchangers accept American dollars (USD) and Euros (EUR), before leaving your origin, exchange your money to dollars to avoid difficulty in finding a money exchanger that exchanges your local currency to Philippine pesos but if you don't want to exchange dollars but want to keep your local currency, go exchange your money in major banks to pesos. Tip: Ask the exchange rate first and ask other money exchangers, compare rates and see the highest, go for the highest exchange rate.

Banks

Where to buy, shopping centers and malls

Air conditioned shopping malls are on the rise in Bacolod. If you feel uncomfortable in shopping in the wet and dry Central Public Market, malls are the alternative. Among all mall companies, Lopue's has the most branches as well as the oldest malls in the city.

Big 3 malls, the Big 3 malls consists of the most popular malls in the city as well as the largest malls. The big 3 malls are a one stop shop area where you can buy popular brands and popular fastfood chains and they are owned by the largest mall companies in the country.

Pasalubong Centers are usually like mini-Supermarkets but sell only Pasalubong products such as Piaya, Biscocho, etc. There is an abundance of them in the city.

Eat

Much of the Bacoleño cuisine is shared with the Western Visayan province of Panay. In the modern times, Bacolod has a number of growing Oriental and Western restaurants but still the people maintain their native cuisine. Sud-an is Illongo for Mains while Kan-on is Rice, it also means Will Eat.

Restaurants and cafes

This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Below ₱100
Mid-range ₱100-₱200
Splurge ₱200+

Just like most major developed/developing cities of the Philippines, Bacolod too caters too international cuisine either oriental or western. Most of the restaurants and cafes in Bacolod are located along Lacson St. while most of the inter-continental and fusion cuisine is found in Piazza Sorrento which is also in Lacson St. Mexican, Thai, Italian and European cuisine is catered to people here but people craving for Korean, Japanese and Chinese cuisine don't have to freakout if they're hungry as many restaurants cater East Asian cuisine. Open air restaurants in Bacolod usually serve native Filipino cuisine at a low and affordable price, fastfood chains are usually found dominating the malls like Robinson's, Gaisano Bacolod City and SM City Bacolod. A newly opened branch of Starbucks is found along Lacson St., the first branch in whole of Negros Occidental. Bacolod is an urbanized city meaning there wouldn't be hard time finding classy and high class quality type of food.

Budget

Mid-range

Restaurant below cater some dishes not exceeding ₱300.

Splurge

Restaurant below have some dishes not exceeding ₱500-₱600 or more.

Dietary restrictions

Christians will not find it hard eating in Bacolod however Muslims and Jews will find it difficult, Bacolod being a Christian city, Halal and Kosher options are difficult to find unlike the bustling streets of Metro Manila. Hindus, Vegetarians and Vegans will too find it hard however just request not to put certain things which are restricted for you to consume. A list of vegetarian restaurants is showed below.

Drink

The preferred beer is San Mig Light which is served at almost any restaurant. You might also try Tanduay, a very famous rum. Nice to pair with coke and ice. For native alcohol, the local tuba is made from fermented coconut juice. Great Bacolod sisig can be found at KSL or Kubo Sa Lawn where they serve ice cold SanMig Light.

Bars, Pubs and Nightclubs

Goldenfield commercial Complex has been home to many bars, pubs, nightclubs as well as casinos for the past few years and is considered where the best nightlife comes to life in Bacolod city. Other than Goldenfield, bars and pubs as well as nightclubs are scattered around the bustling city. If you're in Goldenfields you can either barhop, Goldenfields might give you like a mini-town which is just home to restaurants, a water park, clubs and bars. Dress code is applied and compulsory in some bars, pubs and nightclubs, wear casually and not so revealing if you don't wanna end up behind bars, usually dresscodes include; "No Flipflops/Slippers, No Sleeveless shirts".

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under ₱1,000
Mid-range ₱1,000 to ₱1,500
Splurge Over ₱1,500

The following are 2 to 3 star type hotels by Western standards ($25-75):

Budget

Midrange

Splurge

Respect

See Philippine's Respect section for more information

People who are elder than you (old enough to be your elder brother/sister or father/mother) - even if that person is a driver, janitor or maid etc. - you should call them Manong for Males or Manang for females before their common name like; Manong Jeremy or Manang May Ann, Manong can be shorten to Nong and Manang to Nang. If that person is old enough to be your grandfather call them Lolo for males or Lola for females before their common name like; Lolo Isidro or Lola Estrella. Bacolodnons are traditionally liberated when it comes to clothing except Muslims and Iglesia ni Kristo members who both are conservative religious people, wearing shorts in public are OK but no very short ones if you don't want to attract attention and trouble, wearing bikinis in Beaches are OK and you would expect no trouble however you might get attention too.

Contact

Dialing code for the Philippines is +63 while local area code for Bacolod is 34.

By phone

Public phones have never existed and no one knows if they will exist ever. Buying a Sim card is cheap, easy and no hassles, you don't need a verification of any kind and they cost about ₱90 and up per Sim card and are sold by Smart and Globe which are the two largest networks, Talk n Text, Sun Cellular and TM Mobile are other major networks. Sending text abroad cost ₱15/text while sending it within the Philippines cost ₱1/text.

By media

For local news while in Bacolod, buy a copy of the English daily paper, the Visayan Daily Star [9], Sun Star Bacolod[10] and the Negros Daily Bulletin[11] is also avaialble. WiFi hotspots are available in most hotels.

By net

Internet shops outside malls they charge every hour; about ₱15 per hour, while shops in malls charge per minute. Hundreds of internet cafes sprawl all over the city. SM Bacolod City has free WiFi access however be careful because your PC might be snatched but don't worry, malls in Bacolod have security guards in all their entrances and exits.

Internet cafes

Stay Healthy

Eating in Bacolod is safe however avoid eating streetfood which is not as clean as those in Singapore and Taipei and had been criticized by many for its unhygienic practices. If you want to eat streetfood you better buy it inside malls or shopping centers. Tap water comes from springs which is the reason why the city doesn't get water shortages during droughts. Dengue fever is an common issue especially during the summer season, apply mosquito repellent and avoid wearing t-shirts and shorts during the afternoon, wear sleeves and pants instead.

Hospitals

Riverside Medical Center is somewhat the city's most modern and advanced of all hospitals and might also pass western standards however the price of health is expensive here. Public hospitals are crowded while the Sanitarium hospital run by the Seventh Day Adventists is clean and neat, they also sell vegetarian and vegan food.

Pharmacies

Dentist clinics

Clinics are easily found in Bacolod, some are located in malls while most of the hospitals have a dentist.

Restrooms and toilets

Restrooms and public toilets are rare and lack in the city, fortunately restaurants and malls don't charge toilets.

Stay safe

Bacolod is a lot safer compared to Manila. As always common sense is the rule when travelling. Taking the taxi or renting cars or vans daily is better and quicker as most of the crimes in the Philippines today are done in tricycles and jeepneys. However there isn't a 100% Safe place, if travelling, tour in large groups 3-5 might do as there might be people around you, you may never know what they'll do to you. Be careful during the Masskara Festival. Don't display your MP3s, iPhones, iPods, phones, laptops or valuable things that will catch a snatcher's attention, keep it safe inside your bag and put it out when you'll take pictures. Don't bring bags or large purses while in night, just bring your phone and a small wallet that'll fit in your pocket to avoid being a victim of crime. Beggars usually are around the downtown area they inhabit in the plaza area and if they see you look rich, they'd approach you and annoy you asking you for money, ignore them if you have to and just go straight to your destination.

Emergency

Get out

Nearby towns and cities within the province is accessible by land, Panay island is just 45 minutes away using ferry from Bacolod port.

Within the province

Bacolod is the provincial capital of Negros Occidental, just like every capital in the world it is crowded, polluted and everywhere you turn around you see development. Refresh yourself by getting out Bacolod, the nearby municipalities and cities are much quieter and away from the noises and pollution, abundance of beaches and springs are what the province can be proud of. Traffic isn't part of the Negrense's vocabulary, the province has one of the best road plannings in the country meaning getting to other cities wouldn't take your whole life. Buses are the best mode for getting around the province while jeeps are affordable but are not suggested for foreigners, the best thing is to do is to rent a car or a van if you're travelling as a group or family.

Further destinations

Buses are the most comfortable and affordable travelling outside the province however jeepneys are cheaper but not suggested for tourists, second to buses are RoRos and ships, trips are available daily from the main port of Bacolod; Bredco port.

Related Information



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A list of contributors is available at the original article on Wikitravel. Additional modifications may have been made by users at TRAVEL.COM [12].

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