BACOLOD CITY, known as the City of Smiles, is one of the highly urbanized cities in the Philippines today. It is the capital city of Negros Occidental Province and the second most popular city in Visayas next to Cebu City.
‘Bacolod’ was derived from the Ilonggo word “bakolod” which means stone hill, since the settlement was founded on a stone hill area, now the district of Granada, in 1770. In 1894, Bacolod was officially made the capital of the Province of Negros by the order of Governor General Claveria. It was officially called the City of Bacolod when Municipality of Bacolod was converted to a city in 1938.
The city is notable for its MassKara Festival, which is held during the third week of October or on the closest weekend to October 19. The word MassKara was coined from the word mass, which means a crowd of people, and the Spanish word cara, which means face. People celebrate the MassKara Festival by wearing smiling-faced masks, bright-colored costumes and accessories while dancing and parading on the streets of Bacolod. The festival carries a message about being happy despite the struggles in life.
Aside from being warm and friendly, people of Bacolod City are also known for their sweet way of talking or speaking in an indescribable melodious tone. They love entertaining guests and enjoy conversations over food and/or dessert of drinks . They also love to eat grilled foods or inasal with the following condiments: “sinamak” (a mixture of vinegar, sliced ginger, onion, garlic and chilli), soy sauce and calamansi. You can usually find these condiments readily prepared on the tables of native restaurants.
When it comes to tourism, Bacolod City has a lot to offer with its remarkable historic scenery and attractions. One of which is the Bacolod Public Plaza, which is located just across the San Sebastian Cathedral. It is a popular venue to hang out with family and friends and a perfect spot to visit during MassKara Festival in October.
Another place you may want to visit is the Capitol Park and Lagoon. You may enjoy the beautiful scenic view of the capitol across the lagoon and it has a wide space for jogging or running.
If you want a place of solemnity and worship, the San Sebastian Cathedral is perfect for you. Built in the 19th century, it is one of the most visited and astonishing historical places in Bacolod City. The church’s infrastructure and wall and ceiling paintings allow tourists to revel in its beauty.
Another must-visit place in Bacolod is the Laguerta Home of the Vintage Glasses Museum. It offers a unique experience with its exhibit of different glasses of different sizes, colors and shapes- from bowls and plates to mugs and drinking glasses.
Bacolod is also a perfect place to eat out. One of the most popular restaurants in the city is the Masskara Chicken Inasal. It does not only serve Bacolod’s famous inasal but a variety of local dishes as well. Another famous restaurant is the Hyksos Pala-Pala Seafood Restaurant, where you can choose your seafood fresh from a variety of fishes, scallops, shrimps and squids. What’s unique in this restaurant is that you get to choose how you want your seafood to be cooked. Locals and tourists patronize this restaurant because of its best-tasting dishes and the unique experience if offers. After a good meal, you may have dessert at Calea Pastries and Coffee which is known as the “cake heaven” of Bacolod where mouth-watering desserts and cakes are served.
Known for its luscious pastry pasalubongs, locals and tourists cannot resist bringing home the must-buy sweet treats from Bacolod City. Your Bacolod trip wouldn’t be complete without taking home a pack of piaya. It is a round-shaped local delicacy made from muscovado sugar filled with ube jam. Another famous pasalubong is the butterscotch cake, which is comparable to brownies but with lighter texture. It is made from butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Topped with nuts, this sure is ideal for a tasty pasalubong treat.
Napoleones is also one of the most popular pasalubong treats from Bacolod. It is a box-shaped pastry made of thin layers of dough glazed with white sugar. It’s an excellent choice when you want something you can pair with coffee. Another must-buy pastry from Bacolod is the mango tart, which has a shape like that of empanadas. It has a flaky crust with a chewy inside and you can taste the natural sweetness from the fresh mango jam. This is perfect when served hot from the oven. Another famous confectionery from the city of smiles is the caramel tart. This luscious tart topped with hardened white sugar is an excellent take home for your loved ones after your Bacolod trip!
With its fast growing economy and best tourism experience, Bacolod City, indeed, is a place everyone would love not just to visit but to live in!