Bacolod is a highly urbanized city in the Philippines and the capital province of Negros Occidental. It is bounded on the north by the city of Talisay, on the east by the town of Murcia, and on the south by the city of Bago.
It was my dream to visit and see this beautiful city. Why? I had been watching and reading stories about Bacolod City.
I had a very exciting adventure with my dear sister, journalist and photographer, Jojie Alcantara and my cousin, registered nurse, Ahani Joy Tamayo in Bacolod City. I never thought it would be a very memorable stay since that was really the first time that I set my foot on this land. I was right all along to think of going with my sister who was personally invited to the TOURISM WEEK OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL as one of their speakers and took the opportunity to travel to the City of Smiles.
We had an early morning flight to Bacolod City via Cebu Pacific airline. It was just a 45 minute ride by plane that went on smoothly in the air. I had to sleep during the whole duration of the flight and when I woke up we were almost there.
As we arrived, we were given a schedule of the tour to the different tourist spots of Negros Occidental, we were happy all throughout the day. We were very fortunate to have a tour guide from the City Tourism under the supervision of the pretty, young and vibrant, Ms. Cristina “Tin” Mansinares, Provincial Tourism Officer of Negros Occidental. She really took care of us and made sure we are having the best time of our lives, staying comfortably while visiting the tourist spots that we would not like to miss.
We were transported to Lacson street where our hotel, the L’Fisher Hotel is located and we’re booked for two nights. This is right in the heart of the city’s business and commercial center that offers a warm and relaxing atmosphere to suit the local and international visitors in the city.
The L’Fisher hotel has very spacious rooms with fast internet wifi access, offering complete amenities and interior designs in elegant style. A very comfy place to dine in and stay with restaurants, coffee shop, swimming pool, gym and spa.
On our first day, we traveled to Balay Negrense Museum, the ancestral mansion of the late Victor Fernandez Gaston converted into a lifestyle museum. We were able to look at the place from the outside and it seemed a little bit mysterious to me. The architecture and interiors of the house reflects the Spanish and American influences of the time. The bedrooms upstairs are to be seen because they replicate rooms from the past. There are also clothing and accessories shown from the 1900s. This museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The second place we visited was known as the “Taj Mahal of Negros” referring to the Ruins located in the borders of Talisay and Bacolod City. This mansion was owned by Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson for his first wife, Maria Braga, whom he met in his vacations in Hongkong. Maria Braga was a Portuguese from Macau. The remains of the mansion during World War II depicts the story of the family who had intentionally set it on fire to keep the Japanese away. The remains of the mansion were just left abandoned in the midst of a sugarcane plantation for many years but the owners decided to fix it and put a landscape around the ruins. And now, you can dine in at their restaurant that serves Mediterranean food from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and offers a recreational fun activity with their 18-hole Mini-Golf Course.
The food trip was the best part of our stay. We had a snack at Bongbong’s restaurant. We ordered their best sellers which are, lomi and fresh lumpia. The taste was so good.
At night, we had a sumptuous dinner at this restaurant where they serve a delicious Mang Inasal, isaw, bulalo, fresh talaba and chicken liver at Aida’s Chicken Inasal, Bacolod Manukan Country. I was really craving for their mang inasal and indeed my wish was granted. A truly was a satisfying dinner with our friends.
Thanks to our very accommodating and energetic tour guide from City Tourism Office, Raymond Alunan. A cool and very knowledgeable guy who knows a lot about the history of the City including the tourist spots around it. So I considered him as the “Walking History storyteller of Negros Occidental.
On the second day, we went to another place called the Mambukal Mountain Resort in Barangay Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental that offers sightseeing of bats, warm sulfur dipping pool and short trekking to the seven different waterfalls.
You can also visit their Lagoon & Butterfly Garden, inaugurated last December 2007 where they have displayed several stages of the butterfly from eggs to larva, pupa until the last stage of the butterfly’s life cycle before it becomes an adult.
Another interesting place inside is their Japanese Ofuro Pool and Ishiwata Bath House both believed to be good for arthritis, rayuma, skin asthma and other health benefits. A very enjoyable and relaxing experience that can create harmony because you are soaking up the healing nutrients from ancient waters, bubbling up from the Earth’s core of Mt. Kanla-on. Lastly, tourists can stay in a room and choose from among the many types of accommodations like ordinary lodges at P600 per night or cozy rooms at P4,000 per night. Thus, it is important to make reservations ahead of time.
We were also able to visit OISCA in Bago City, a sericulture facility. It was a very interesting facility where you will have knowledge about how these silkworm cocoons were made of. They have a wide array of display of keychains, postcards, dresses, barongs etc. made from silkworm cocoons placed in their showroom.
The night before our dinner, we three (Jojie and Ahani Joy) decided to go to their popular spa center named, Grand Royal Spa & Massage located at the Circumferential Road East Branch, 2-F Villa Angela Arcade. This was highly recommended by our friends and they were right about the spa services they offer. We had a very relaxing body massage after our great adventures on that day.
And of course, our trip will not be complete without going to Bong Bongs Store, the most popular one in the City. They have the best sellers which are Napoleones, Butterscotch, tarts, Barquillos and so many more. The store was just minutes away from the hotel we stayed. We bought a lot of goodies/yummy delicacies for our friends and loved ones back home at all reasonable prices. My most favorite sweets are Pastillas de Mangga and butterscotch and I love to eat all of them in just one sitting because they really taste so good. And before our flight back to Davao City, I made sure I had completely bought all of these.
This trip was the best birthday gift and I am hoping to go back again next year for another exciting adventure in the City of Smiles with my sister dear and cousin.
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