Dubbed as the City of Smiles, there are so many things you’ll enjoy when visiting or staying in the city of Bacolod-the capital of Negros Occidental. It has a thriving economy as it’s the Sugar Capital or the Sugarlandia of the country. The vast sugarcane plantations have been giving wealth to many Negrense (people of Negros).
Besides these sweet facts, Bacolod being the biggest city in the Western Visayas, is also home to many historical sites, famous for its Maskara Festival, and many tourist spots that also contribute to its booming economy.
If you plan to have a vacation in the city, here are the top tourist spots you must see and explore.
The Ruins was once a mansion of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson, a sugar baron. Its remnant from burning during WWII became a major tourist attraction because of its incredible architecture.
Don Mariano had the mansion built in honor of his beloved wife, Maria. To show his steadfast love for Maria, he had every post molded with their initials. You’ll see the two letter M, facing each other, that stands for Mariano and Maria. The Ruins is in Talisay, Bacolod is referred to as the Taj Mahal of the Philippines.
History is essential to every province or city. If you want to know more about the history of the province and Bacolod, don’t miss visiting the Negros Museum. Here you’ll find antique ancient artifacts and many local artists’ recent contemporary works represented the stories describing Negros Islands and the events during their times.
Balay Negrense showcases the lifestyle of a late 19th-century Negrense sugar baron, Balay Negrense or Victor Fernandez Gaston Ancestral House, an antique museum in Silay City, and another tourist spot worth visiting. Yves Leopold Germain Gaston, the father of Victor, was credited as one of the pioneers of sugarcane cultivation in the province.
POPE JOHN PAUL II TOWER
This sacred landmark in the city was dedicated to Saint Pope John Paul II, who visited the city and held a mass on Feb 20, 1981. This tower stands at the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. reclaimed area, and wherein the entrance features an eight-foot sculpture of the pope.
The tower also contains several Papal memorabilia, including his Papal Throne and various photos of the pope’s visit. From the deck, you can see a section that sports a beautiful view of the Bacolod skyline.
SAN SEBASTIAN CATHEDRAL
This architecture is a late 19th-century church in Bacolod and is considered an important historical marker by the Philippine Historical Committee. It is one of the most-visited Bacolod beautiful spots. The church was opened to the public in 1882 and now holds the Bishop’s Palace within its grounds.
BERNARDINO JALANDONI MUSEUM
People also call this museum the “Pink House,” which houses the memorabilia of the Jalandonis that shows the history of Silaynons or the people of Silay city. Parts of its structure came from Mindoro, while others were from Germany.
Besides historical and cultural places in Bacolod, the city also features the best beaches, including this famous Lakawon Island. This 13-hectare banana-shaped island is renowned for its pristine white beach and crystal-clear blue water. It also has Asia’s biggest floating bar.
Commune with nature and enjoy the relaxing views away from the city at this government-owned resort that takes you to a paradise.
You can enjoy various activities like boating and swimming in the hot spring; they have a weekend food market. It also features “Kaon ta sa Suba,” a sumptuous native lunch buffet while dipping your feet in the calm waters of the river with friends or families. Undeniably, Mambukal Mountain Resort is one of the best Bacolod tourist spots.
PULANG TUBIG FALLS
Both local and foreign travelers love this 262-ft. waterfall. It was said that a Japanese headquarters sat atop the mountain, and during the war, the blood of Japanese soldiers flowed through the falls, making it red. Pulang Tubig Falls is in Silay City.
CAMPUESTOHAN HIGHLANDS RESORT
If you are on vacation with your family or friends, Campuestuhan Highlands Resort is a must-visit destination in Talisay, Negros.
This is an excellent place to unwind, enjoy and relax as it offers various activities for everyone. There are playgrounds and a pool for the kids, a spa and a coffee shop for the adults and the elderly, and extreme activities like zipline and a sky bicycle for anyone wanting an adrenaline rush.