So how does one get started on a tour of this fascinating place? The best time for most would be in early October as that is when the famed Masskara Festival occurs. Here the participants wear oversized multicolored masks painted with smiling faces, and are attired in equally colorful costumes while dancing to the beat of drums and other rhythms.
Yet another fiesta close to the hearts of the people is the Panaad Festival, which begins with a mass of thanks and prayers and culminates in a display of splendid fireworks. St. Joseph is honored in the colorful Sinigayan Festival which has become a big part of tourism in Bacolod, Philippines, while the Pasasalamat and Kali-Kalihan fiestas are also anticipated.Hara Sang Negros 2009 (center) Jellianne Rose Dinorog from Bacolod City with her court First Princess (left) Agnes Marie Therese Chang from Bacolod City and 2nd Princess (right) Michelle Castroverde from La Carlota City - all were crowned as part of the highlight of the city's Sinulog Festival recently.
The popularity of the city is also helped by its lovely beaches. Antulang Beach is famed for its greenish waters, while the Punta Ballo is well loved by tourists for its white sands. The beaches at Sipaway and Sipalay on the other hand, are ideal for scuba diving as they are host to some of the most beautiful underwater scenery in the province. Do not forget to include Tambobo Beach and Isla Puti when you go beach hopping.
If you would rather go diving instead, there are plenty of dive sites that you can explore. Broccoli Reef is the home of a large number of coral reefs and exotic forms of aquatic marine life and fishes, all the while advancing tourism in Bacolod, Philippines; other sites that the intrepid diver will be inclined to explore will be the Sibulan House Reef, Dauin, the El Dorado House Reef, the Coconut Plant Jetty, Polo I and II and the three sites at Calong.
Needless to say, attractions here are not just limited to festivals and its beaches; there are a host of hotspots on land as well. The Patag Valley draws people who love to go trekking and enjoying the many wonders of nature; the Mambukal Resort is not just a place to relax and unwind, but it is also near to some of the scenic nature spots that have been popularizing tourism in Bacolod, Philippines, among them the streams, lakes and mountains nearby.
For history buffs, there is the Holifena Ancestral Home, the Talisay Church, and also the Revolutionary Markers in Magalona which serve as reminders of the battles fought on the land.
There are other places worth seeing and these are the Capitol building, with its striking architecture, the Bacolod Golf and Country Club where you can admire the views of the setting, and Orange Gallery, where artistic works are displayed. You might also want to see the Super Bowling Lanes if you love the game, and of course, when you drop by the city, do not forget to get some chicken inasal, a tasty form of roasted chicken.
With tourism in Bacolod, Philippines reaching heights of success and popularity like never before, is there any wonder that this place has been christened the City of Smiles?
Dubbed as the City of Smiles, Bacolod City is the largest and highly urbanized city in the island of Negros. The city was famous in celebrating their Masskara Festival, an event that puts them in the map for the best festivals in the country. Like with different cities and municipalities, Bacolod City also have its own history. According to the historians, there is small village existed near the mouth of Magsungay river, one of the existing barangay today in Bacolod City. It was a small settlement inhabited by Malayans who belonged to the “Taga-ilog” group.
In 1575 the neighboring settlement of Bogo (now Bago City) was elevated into the status of a small town, and the village of Magsungay was one of the several religious dependencies, and later on was place by the early missionaries under the care and protection of St. Sebastian sometime in the middle of 1700’s. In 1777 a relic of St. Sebastian was donated by a “corrigidor’ named Luis Fernando de Luna for a growing mission and since then, the village was known as “San Sebastian de Magsungay”.
The village of Magsungay was firmly established under the leadership of first “governadorcillo” or “Capitan Municipal” in the name of Bernardo de los Santos but during his leadership the people of Magsungay decided to move a few kilometers inland on the mountainous part which they called “buklod” a word which came the name of Bacolod due to the rampant attacked of Moro Pirates. From there the people established new settlement on this hilly terrain, and Magsungay became the settlement of Bacolod. In the year 1806, the appointed “propitario” of Bacolod Fr. Leon Pedro became the first Parish Priest and from there another young priest from Barcelona Fr. Gonzaga came to envision the construction of San Sebastian Cathedral as the center of religious activities of the city. The people left the hilly terrain where they had started to progress, and eventually the place became known as “Camingawan” which means the place of loneliness.
In 1846, upon the request of Msgr. Romualdo Jimeno, Bishop of Cebu and Negros at the time, Governor-General Narciso Claveria sent to Negros a team of Recollect missionaries headed by Fr. Fernando Cuenca. The following year, 1849, Gov. Valdevieso y Morquecho declared Bacolod as the capital of the whole island of Negros.During the administration of President Manuel L. Quezon on 1938, a bill was passed and approved making Bacolod as a Chartered City, and was the 5th Chartered City under the Commonwealth Government on October 19, 1938 and the late Don Alfredo L. Montelibano appointed as the Chief Executive of Bacolod City. After that, Bacolod City begins to improve and established its own local economy that attracts a lot of investors to invest their business.
Right now the Masskara Festival capital of the Philippines is one of the highly recognized cities to live with.The city is preferably located on a level area, slightly sloping as it extends towards the sea with an average slope of 0.9 percent for the downtown area of main city proper and between 3 to 5 percent for the suburbs. The city’s altitude is 32.8 feet or 10.0 meters above sea level with the city pubic plaza as the point of reference.
The city of smile has two pronounced seasonsjust like with the other neighboring cities around the country. The rainy season that starts from May to January of the year with heavy rains occurring in the month of August and September, while the dry season starts from the month of February until the last week of April. Bacolod City named as capital city of Negros Occidental and considered as one of the highly urbanized city around the region.
The city serves as the gateway to the rich cities and towns of the province. Visitors and tourist can easily take for business and leisure in the city because of the modern in-land transportation.The people of Bacolod used Hiligaynon which also referred to Ilonggo after the neighboring province of Iloilo as a means of communication, while the rest generally speak Filipino- the national language and the others Cebuano. English language was also was used by some Bacolenos.
How to get there
With newly installed New Bacolod-Silay airport that are located 15 kilometers north-east of the city, the airport is capable of handling all weather and landing operation. Philippine Airline, The Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines are among the top airline companies that will bring tourists and visitors in the city of smile.
With the two main national road that are located in the city, Lacson Street to the north and Araneta to the south, accessibility toward this road going to the city was very good because of good traffic plan and no congestion of vehicles that creates a traffic jam that usually creates a major problem of highly-graded cities around the country.
The port of Bacolod is the major door to enter the city of Masskara. Located at the reclamation area, ships and small fast craft just like Wessum Express and Sea Angels have daily trips to Iloilo City and it is approximately 45 minutes of travel from the Port of Iloilo and 18 hours from Manila.
The Masskarra Festival is one of the major tourist attractions of Bacolod City, celebrated every of the year to commemorate the cityhood of Bacolod City. Merry making and dance street competition are among the activities being held during the event. Another major event that being celebrated every year in Bacolod City is the Panaad sa Negros, this time it involves all the cities and municipalities under the banner of Negros Occidental, it happens every April and late May or after the Holy Week. The Panaad Park is the main venue of this famous festival. The Panaad Park also cater some big events in sports just like the 23rd Southeast Asian Games 2005, 2006 Asian Football Qualifiers and our local version of Olympics, the Palarong Pambansa.
Native Delicacies and Products
The Bacolod City is not only famous with their festivals, but the city of smile was also renowned on its native delicacies. The piaya is one of the top home made delicacies of the city, enriched with flour and brown sugar, coated with sesame seeds that really provide a sweet savor for the local and foreign tourists. The BongBong’s Piaya and Barquillos is one of best producer of this product and named as the No. 1 Pasalubong Cecnter in the city. Another alluring product that Bacolod can also be proud of is the “Chicken Inasal”. The unique taste of chicken that being grilled in the stick which can be found in any streets of the city. Chicken House, Mang Inasal and the famed Manokan Country are the best place to stop to find this food product.