Bacolod City

Hey there! Ever heard about a place where the sun kisses the sugarcane fields and the vibe is sweeter than the locally grown mangoes? Yeah, we’re talking about Bacolod City! Nestled in the heart of the Philippines’ sugar bowl, Negros Occidental, this city is a hidden gem that’s all about warmth, smiles, and a whole lot of sweetness.

Bacolod City, a name that rolls off the tongue as smoothly as the famous piaya, a local delicacy, melts in your mouth. It’s not just a city, it’s a lifestyle! A lifestyle that’s as chill as the breezes off the Guimaras Strait. Can you imagine? Picturing it already, aren’t you? Well, hang tight, ’cause there’s so much more where that came from!

The streets here echo with laughter, the aroma of freshly cooked chicken inasal tickles your senses, and the vibrant colors of the MassKara Festival paint the town in shades of joy. But hey, don’t just take my word for it. Why not pack a bag, grab a maskara, and join the party? What do you say?

San Sebastian Cathedral, Rizal Street, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
By Patrickroque01 – Taken using my own camera, CC BY-SA 4.0

History of Bacolod City

In the early 18th century, Spanish missionaries first established Bacolod as a small settlement. The name “Bacolod” stems from the Hiligaynon word ‘bakolod,’ meaning ‘stonehill,’ as the settlement sat on a stony, hilly area. Over time, the peaceful settlement became a popular refuge for individuals fleeing the chaos of the Moro raids.

By 1849, Governor-General Clavería’s decree led to the official establishment of Bacolod as a town. The town started to prosper under the leadership of the first gobernadorcillo, Bernabe de Luzuriaga. Following the increase in population and economic activities, Bacolod transitioned from a town into a city on October 19, 1938, under Commonwealth Act No. 404.

World War II

World War II saw Bacolod City as a hotbed of resistance against the Japanese occupation. The local guerilla fighters played a crucial role in defending their homeland and helping in the eventual liberation of Negros Island.

In the post-war era, Bacolod City began to rebuild and grow. The city’s economy largely depended on sugar production, earning the title of “Sugar Bowl of the Philippines.” However, the 1980s global sugar crisis hit Bacolod’s economy hard, forcing the city to diversify its industries and explore other economic opportunities.

This challenge sparked a period of transformation for Bacolod City. The city began to invest in information technology and business process outsourcing (BPO), which brought in a new wave of economic growth. Bacolod City is now recognized as a top BPO destination in the country.

Despite the leaps in technological advancement, Bacolod City has never lost touch with its roots. Every October, the city comes alive with the vibrant colors and infectious energy of the MassKara Festival. This event birthed during the darkest days of the sugar crisis, serves as a symbol of the city’s resilience and unwavering spirit. The smiling masks worn by the performers during the festival embody the warmth and friendliness of the Bacolodnons, truly making Bacolod the “City of Smiles.”

Activities and Festivals

Bacolod City offers a diverse range of activities and festivals that cater to different interests. The city is famous for its vibrant nightlife, with a multitude of bars and restaurants offering live music and entertainment.

One of the highlights of Bacolod City is its annual festivals. The MassKara Festival, held in October, is a grand celebration of the city’s culture and heritage. The festival features colorful street dances, parades, and music performances. Other notable festivals include the Bacolod Food Festival, the Panaad sa Negros Festival, and the Christmas Festival.

What To Eat in Bacolod City?

Firstly, let’s talk about the most iconic dish from Bacolod – the Chicken Inasal. This savory, marinated grilled chicken dish is a must-try for all visitors. Locals marinate the chicken in a blend of calamansi, pepper, vinegar, and annatto, then grill it to perfection. The result? A mouthwatering, smoky, and tangy delight that is uniquely Bacolod.

Next, we must mention the sweet treats Bacolod is famous for. The city is known as the “Sugar Bowl of the Philippines,” after all! Take, for instance, the Piaya. This flat, sweet bread filled with muscovado sugar is a simple yet deliciously satisfying snack. Each bite gives a delightful crunch and a burst of sweetness that perfectly complements a cup of coffee.

And then, there’s the Napoleones. This pastry is an exquisite treat that truly reflects the city’s love for sweets. It’s a layered puff pastry filled with custard cream and topped with a glaze of white sugar. It’s quite similar to the French mille-feuille but with a distinctively Bacolodnon touch.

Let’s not forget about Kansi, a sour soup dish that is Bacolod’s answer to the Filipino favorite, Sinigang. But unlike Sinigang, Kansi uses batwan fruit for its souring agent and includes jackfruit to balance the flavors. It’s a comforting bowl of soup that stands out in Bacolod’s culinary landscape.

Lastly, there’s the Guapple Pie. As the name suggests, it’s an apple pie, but with a twist. Instead of apples, this pie uses guavas, giving it a uniquely tropical flavor profile. The guava’s tanginess combined with the sweetness of the pie makes it a dessert that’s uniquely Bacolod.

Tourist Spots in Bacolod City

One of the most popular tourist spots in Bacolod is the San Sebastian Cathedral. This magnificent structure is the oldest church in the city and is a testament to its rich history. The cathedral is a stunning example of Baroque architecture and is a must-see for any visitor to Bacolod.

Another popular tourist spot is the Capitol Park and Lagoon. This sprawling park is home to a variety of attractions, including a lagoon, a playground, and a museum. The park is a great place to relax and take in the beauty of the city.

For those looking for a more natural experience, the Mambukal Mountain Resort is a great option. This resort is located in the foothills of Mount Kanlaon and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The resort also has a variety of activities on offer, including hiking, swimming, and zip-lining.

Also Read: Tourist Spots in Bacoor City


From the sweet serenity of the sugarcane fields to the energetic rhythm of the MassKara Festival, Bacolod City truly is the ‘City of Smiles’. It’s where the heart meets the home, it’s where the sun meets the sea, and it’s where you meet the real essence of Filipino hospitality.

But remember, Bacolod is not just a destination, it’s an experience, a sweet memory waiting to be made. So, ready to make some memories? Ready for a taste of the sweet life in the city of smiles? Ready for Bacolod? Let’s go, folks! Bacolod is waiting, and trust me, it’s worth the wait!

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