Negros Occidental, Philippines
In the Visayas region of the Philippines you will find the beautiful province of Negros Occidental which is home to Bacolod City as well as the neighboring cities of Talisay, Sagay, Silay, and Don Salvador Benedicto among others. Rich in history, culture and all things sweet, it's easy to see why so many have fallen in love with this region of the country. Historically one of the wealthiest provinces in the Philippines' colonial past due to its position as the country's top producer of sugar, life in Negros is presently still largely dependent on the overall state of the sugar industry. When visiting Negros Occidental's capital and main hub of Bacolod, it will become evident to visitors just how much sugar plays in to the smells and tastes of the city. Long heralded as a foodie town, the delicacies and cuisine of Bacolod and Negros in general is legendary. Grilled delights like the famous inasal, unique and tasty stews like kansi and KBL (kadyos, baboy, langka), and of course the many sweet dessert offerings from Calea, Felicia's and Pendy's are only a fraction of the options you can choose from when making your way through your Ilonggo food journey. It's impossible to eat your way through in just a few days because aside from the established cafes and eateries that have been operating for years, there are always new and exciting restaurants making waves in the culinary community.
Aside from all the famous food and drinks Bacolod has to offer, there are plenty of activities available for those looking for a dose of history. Mansions once owned by sugar barons and wealthy families have been converted to museums and have been made available to the public so travelers can get an idea of how Negrense life was like in Bacolod and nearby cities of Silay and Talisay. For travelers looking for adventure, the province is also rich in picturesque mountains, hot springs, sweeping sugarcane fields, beaches and waterfalls just waiting to be explored. The closeness of all these sights are something visitors will appreciate, most of which are accessible by land in about 1-2 hours from Bacolod.
Last but not least, it must be mentioned that the Negrense people are warm and inviting to visitors. Dubbed as "the city of smiles" its not rare to see locals flashing smiles that are as sweet as their staple industry. Always helpful and eager to offer advice for your next meal or next destination, the Ilonggo locals are some of the friendliest and indeed the sweetest people you will ever meet.
Travelers looking for their next destination would be wise to visit Bacolod and the rest of beautiful Negros, but with so much to see, taste and explore, they may want to hold off buying a return flight until they've thoroughly experienced everything Sugarland has to offer. And like so many others before, It also wouldn't be a surprise to find these travelers making Bacolod their second home.
The main airport of Negros Occidental, it’s the best take-off point for exploring the Negros region.
Silay was considered the Paris of Negros due to its beautiful architecture. Century-old houses that showcase the lifestyle of sugar barons in the 19th century stand until now and some have been restored and converted into museums. A visit to at least one ancestral house is a "must do".
Balay ni Tana Dicang
Owned by the Lizares family, Balay ni Tana Dicang in Talisay City is one of the oldest and most well-kept ancestral houses still standing. Most of the things inside the house are original items belonging to the family. An entrance fee of Php 100 is collected upon entrance.
This is the mostly visited Ancestral house in Silay. There is an entrance fee of 60 Pesos per person and a tour guide is assigned per group.This is definitely one of the ancestral homes worth visiting due to how well preserved the property is and how informative the tours are.
Established in 1920, this almost-a-century-old bakeshop in Silay is still popular and always packed with people. Not just a bakery, they also serve favorite Ilonggo dishes and more. They also have racks of various pastries and cookies for last minute snacks and souvenirs. They are famous for their guapple pie and chorizo. A great place for an afternoon snack.
Punong Gary's Place
A hacienda that was converted and opened to the public and now serves food prepared by Chef Joey Benin. Better to make a visit for lunch so you can see the surroundings and walk around the different areas of the interesting property. The location is beautiful and peaceful - just take in the sights and quietness. Make sure you make a reservation because they are strict with the no walk-in policy.
Originally owned by the family of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson and Maria Braga Lacson, whats left of the mansion now stands as a remembrance of a foregone era. Today, The Ruins serves as a backdrop to many of Negros’ weddings and special events. Always popular to tourists and visitors seeking a stunning backdrop for their social media feeds. There's a cafe within the ruins that serves pastries and some refreshing beverages.
The District - North Point
An Ayala mall featuring popular local and foreign brands, good restaurants, the best homegrown concepts, and an assortment of services.
This restaurant serves continental food that is top-quality and well-portioned. We’ve tried their Kitayama wagyu beef porterhouse, French onion soup and Ceasar salad and it didn’t disappoint! The service is pretty good especially with the attentive and efficient staff.
This place is worth a visit to get your favorite souvenirs and pasalubongs. From local delicacies to furniture, they have it here. What’s nice about this showroom is all products are made by local artists and entrepreneurs.
This hole-in-a-wall restaurant serves very affordable, authentic and great-tasting batchoy.
A complex composed of bars, restaurants and cafes.
Whether it’s for Sunday brunch or a Friday night out, this restaurant has a laid back vibe where you can wine and dine with family and friends.It’s also good for an after dinner drink as they serve a great selection of wines, cocktails and beers until midnight. Our favorites were the beef salpicao, shrimp gambas and the txistorra pasta! Don’t miss this place when you’re in town.
Anne Co Cakes
Coffee, pastries and art! It’s a treat to see Anne Co’s husband, Charlie Co’s art on display in their cafes while you’re having your favorite dessert and coffee. Make sure to try their best seller Senorita!
Make sure to include this in your food trip list when visiting Bacolod. They serve home cooked delicious Negrense dishes like KBL and sizzling kansi. Both ambience and food are comforting.The best part is that the prices are very affordable, perfect for budget-conscious travelers.
One of the most popular chicken inasal restaurants in Negros. In our opinion, Chicken House serves the best inasal, atay, baticolon and chicken skin. It’s the perfect combination of soy sauce, calamansi, lemongrass, the famous chicken oil and smoked flavor that gives it a unique distinction and makes it among best inasal restaurants.
You won’t be able to resist an extra order of garlic rice!
Centrally located in Lacson street, 21 Restaurant is one of the pioneer restaurants in Bacolod City, which is a favorite among both local residents and tourists alike. They have a good menu selection with a mix of the local and continental fare. Go here for an afternoon snack, and you’ll see their batchoy on almost every table.
Pala-Pala Seafood Market
Go here if you want some freshly caught seafood! You can buy seafood straight from the market and they will cook it for you.
Cakes, cakes and more cakes! Bacolod is known for their sugary sweet desserts and Calea is the best of what Bacolod has to offer. A dessert haven for those with sweet tooths, they offer a variety of cake options - chiffon, cheesecakes, ice cream cakes and more! From brunch til 11pm this place is usually packed. There are so many “best sellers” that you can actually spend your whole trip going back and trying out cake after cake.
Bob's is very well known in Bacolod and is always recommended by the locals. They have been in business for almost 50 years and their food is excellent! They have a wide-ranging menu selection that makes it difficult to choose but we definitely recommend their sate babe, lumpiang ubod and fruit punch. And don't miss their Mongolian BBQ buffet. They have a great crew that treats every customer like a regular. You’ll see a lot of families dining here; if you love eating with your family then Bob's is the place to be.
If you love a fluffy, rich and cheesy ensaymada – Felicia’s offers one of the best ensaymadas in town. Great paired with their thick tablea tsokolate! Perfect if you want a less crowded place to have coffee and pastries. They also serve great steaks and other entrees.
One of the best cafes in the city, they serve great coffee, sumptuous dishes, yummy pizzas and sandwiches. A great place to hang-out with friends.
Mila's Pastries and Snack
Originally from Hinigaran, they now have a branch in Bacolod City. Instead of buying the usual pasalubongs at the airport, try to bring home some of Mila’s famous potato cake, bibingka and their super yummy custardy buko pie! Highly recommended!
Don Salvador Benedicto
These bed and breakfast inns will definitely make your stay in Don Salvador Benedicto relaxing and peaceful. An added bonus is the beautiful unobstructed view of Mt. Kanlaon.
About a 2-hour drive from Bacolod City, and around 20 mins via pumpboat from the dock at Sagay, Carbin Reef is a beautiful white sandbar that’s worth visiting for a quick daytrip. From the port, you can rent a boat for around PHP 1,000 – 2000. It has a marine sanctuary with giant clams, and other colorful marine life.There are a few shade structures available for rent to hang out in and eat. You’ll need to bring your own food and drinks as there aren't any for sale. Make sure to come early because it tends to get really hot in the afternoon. Be sure to clean up your own mess because the local government is very strict in keeping it clean.
Don’t leave Negros without trying these Negrense dishes - chicken inasal,kansi, KBL, batchoy and laswa.
Photos property of Lívph