Bacolod

Bacolod is the capital city of the province of Negros Occidental in the Philippines. It is known as the City of Smiles because of its MassKara Festival, a Mardi Gras-like festival and a spectacular vivid mix of dance, color and music. Bacolod is also known as the Land of Sweet People, and is known for its culinary heritage, including its inasal (a kind of roast chicken on skewers) and sweet dessert treats.

Understand

Masskara

History

The name Bacolod

The name Bacolod was derived from the Hiligaynon word, Buklod meaning stonehill, as the city was first set up on a stonehill. Due to Moro (Muslim) raids it was then transferred to the shoreline. The original town is now called Daan-Banwa meaning Old Town.

Provincial Capitol Building.

The settlement was set up by Malayan people from the Taga-Ilog and settled on a stonehill (which where Barangay Granada stands today). Later on the Moros attacked early one morning and within a few hours many people had been killed, women raped and houses torn down or burnt. The people then decided to move a little farther from the place down to the shore making the stonehill a ghost town.

Bacolod was made the provincial capital of Negros in 1894. It was the focal point of conflict between the Spanish and the Negrenses in 1898. The commanding officer of the Spanish forces; Col. Isidro de Castro, surrendered to the Filipino forces, and the signing of the Act of Capitulation was carried out at the house of Don Eusebio Luzuriaga which once stood in front of the City Hall.

On March 1899, American forces, led by Colonel James G. Smith, occupied Bacolod. During American Rule, The Rizal Institute was set up in the city in 1903 providing education to the Bacolodnons. La Consolacion College was then founded on 1919 by Augustinian Sisters as a private school. The City of Bacolod was officially declared as an official city on June 18, 1938. Inclement weather meant that the official inauguration had to be postponed twice. It was finally held on October 19, 1938; today the first two weeks of October is celebrated as Masskara and October 19 as Charter Day celebration declared a holiday. Bacolod was occupied by the Japanese forces on May 21, 1942 but was then liberated by the American forces on May 29, 1945.

The small settlement grew and emerged as an urbanized city with a population now around 500,000 and named as one of the two Cleaniest and Greenest Highly Urbanized Cities in the Philippines, it also recognized as the most Business and child friendly city as well as Best in disaster risk management and has been appointed by the European Union as the pilot city for democratic Local governance for Southeast Asia in the Philippines.

Orientation


Bacolod is one of the 13 cities in the province of Negros Occidental, it is the provincial capital of Negros Occidental and the center of governance, power, finance, commerce and education in the province. To the east lies the town of Murcia while to the north lies Talisay city and to the south Bago City and to the west of Bacolod is where Guimaras Strait is located. Bacolod is then divided into Barangays or suburbs which can either be also considered as districts, the suburbs are then divided into subdivisions, actually Barangays are residential areas which consists of a community not less than 100 families and might somehow be easily related to the western concept of sub-urbs.

Bacolod contains of Barangays (Barangay is abbreviated as Brgy.) however it can be also classified into districts or suburbs.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 30 31 32 33 33 32 31 30 31 30 30 30
Nightly lows (°C) 21 22 22 24 25 25 24 23 23 23 23 22
Precipitation (mm) 20 10 15 30 122 257 401 363 340 195 134 65

Bacolod has two pronounced seasons; Wet and Dry seasons. Wet Season starts from May and continues until January, with heavy rainfall during August and September. Bacolodnons would pack their bags with umbrellas before leaving their homes and some would even bathe themselves in moisturizer! Perspiration with humidity levels high would just make you feel uncomfortable, the city's clogged and small sidewalk streets would add up to the heat. Low laying barangays as well as surrounding cities experience floods in the wet season, usually classes are suspended when such news arrives the city government. Another reason to not travel in the city during this season is that some of its streets would have puddles and sometimes a flood would appear in the middle of the city when it rains cats and dogs when the canals are clogged up. It may be bad news for travelers but for the industry, it's jackpot! However by October–January the skies clear up and rainshowers are isolated and would not last long, the weather is changing starting on October as it prepares for summer, the sun is high and the skies cloudy.

The Dry Season starts on February and ends in April, with April being the warmest month of the year while December is the coolest. The province and the whole country experiences droughts during the dry seasons sometimes in extreme conditions. It is sometimes not a good thing to travel on a dry season especially when everyone foresees there would be water shortage or electricity shortage but the chances are low. Bacolodnons would retreat themselves inside their homes with an electric fan infront of them and a glass of cool juice, others would go to nearby islands for a getaway.

People

This sugar-loving people are no sugar-coated people, most of the Bacolodnons or Bacoleños are Malay-descent and there is a minority of Chinese and European-descent families who have dominated the local sugar industry. In contrast to the past the generation of Bacolodnons in this present day is composed of those who are highly educated and independent and somehow liberal on the side and a conservative on the other. Bacolod is now a diverse community with the Malay, Chinese, Indian, European-descent and those who have migrated from nearby cities, islands as far as Mindanao and with a growing community of those who seek cheaper education from nearby foreign shores all contributing to a pillar of the city's growing economy. Another reason why the city was called City of Smiles is that its people hid their worries, fear and doubt in an economic crisis in the sugar industry in the earlier times and till now they still try their best to put up their smiles and that's another story how the local MassKara Festival was created with the concept of Happy Bacolodnons in dark times, often the Filipinos of the other island perceive Bacolodnons as people who speak with sweet words.

The city began from a town with Negritos, Negros or aborigines and that's where the province where Bacolod is located got its name from and slowly and slowly the population began a mix of Malay-descent and the Mestizos later began a majority in the population. Present day Bacolodnons may have a great gap from those of the earlier generations of the Spanish and American era, the Bacolodnon today tries to be in trend despite the fact that it doesn't have that many high couture stores as Manila and Cebu does and the benefit of the new generation is that they have easier access to education therefore new professionals are created.

Foreigners since then have migrated to Bacolod, Indians have established their own businesses in the city and now have their multiple branches selling home appliances, electronics, watches etc. while the Chinese have also dominated the business arena since then especially in the field of electronics. The Koreans recently have discovered the Philippines not as a tourist destination but as a point of stop to learn English at a very cheap price before they set foot at the Western lands, not only Koreans but other Asians too come for cheap education in the country and if it comes to learning English Bacolod is renowned for its institutions offering those kind of services. The people who have migrated from Mindanao come to Bacolod to seek greener pasture along with them they bring their faith, Islam, such as that a small mosque has been constructed and recently a small Madrasah has opened. Oversease Filipino Workers (OFWs) have come back home with their foreign spouses and had settled down in the city which had slowly contributed to another Mestizo minority.

Bacolodnons love their Mayor and the Governor of the province because of much improvement they had done and investment they had attracted from foreigners that had led to Bacolod as a highly urbanized center. Long before the people had been strong supporters of the former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and all her allies but since she stepped down the people have divided in who they will support. Majority of the province's representatives are Pro-Life voting against a bill that would dramatically change the country's healthcare system according to those in favor of it. Just like other Filipinos, Bacolodnons are Christian deep inside and they raise their children with the Christian faith, they might have a conservative side yet they see to it they exercise their liberty correctly. The rich-poor divides are not that talked about in the city, there is a rise in number in those who could afford to stay in subdivisions, buy a decent car and have their own houses yet there is still a problem about illegal settlers in the city, the growing economy had attracted people from nearby towns end up as illegal settlers due to tight budgets.

Religion

Majority of the people are Christians, predominantly Catholic, next to Catholicism, the Baptists and the Iglesia ni Kristo(Church of Christ) members as well as Anglicans and Seventh Day Adventist form the next largest groups while there is a growing population of Muslims who migrated from South Cotabato while the Chinese-descent follow the Taoist faith.

Working Hours

Commercial establishments and offices in Bacolod open as early as 7:00 and close as late as 22:00 however the regular working hours that applies to all commercial establishments and offices is 8:00/9:00-18:00/19:00. Malls open up till 21:00/22:00, in case of midnight sales they open up till 2:00. Holidays such as Christmas limit working hours, during Holy Week business stops for a while making the Central Business District almost like a ghost town except for a few shops which open because they're non-Christians and this starts from Maundy Thursday till Black Saturday with Good Friday being the day with most of the establishments closed.

Talk

The majority of the people of Negros speak Hiligaynon or Illongo as their first language as it is the predominant language in the province of Negros Occidental, while there are some who can speak Cebuano and Kinaray-a. Tagalog is also understood as well as English. For visitors, communicating with the people wouldn't be that difficult. The Chinese form a minor part of the population who most speak Minnan or Hokkien with a knowledge of Mandarin. A significant minority of people who migrated from the islands Mindanao primarily from Cotabato speak in their native dialects but usually they have also common knowledge of speaking in Hiligaynon and somehow Cebuano. As for the international community, Korean is spoken by Koreans who have migrated to the Philippines either for business, marriage or usually for education and vacation,Hindi and other Indian languages are spoken around the corner by Indian businessmen in Downtown Bacolod. Japanese is not that usually heard around the corner but Japanese education is available to the locals recently, there is a small number of Filipinos who speaks Japanese and these are those who had worked in Japan or who had married Japanese. But no worries! English is widely understood and spoken by the locals event the street vendors they know a handful of English phrases that will help you find your way in the city.

Hiligaynon has more loanwords than Tagalog, while buying, telling time, some verbs, rooms, objects and many other words and phrases are of Spanish origin, however grammatical structure and adjectives are different from Spanish.

Get in

By plane

Bacolod's airport is not located within the city but just within the Metropolitan Area of Bacolod in the City of Silay. Bacolod-Silay International Airport(IATA: RPVB). The city is 60 minutes from Manila and 30 minutes from Cebu by plane.

The terminal fee at Bacolod airport is ₱200 and is collected for all departing passengers.

For arriving passengers who want supplemental guides to the city or free maps, the Department of Tourism and the Local Government has a desk in the arrivals area where you can grab free maps or have a dose of information from the people over the desk. Hotels, resorts and car rental companies have kiosks in the arrival areas where you can easily book a room and just head to your hotel room without any hassle.

There are minivans leaving for the airport at SM City Bacolod, Bacolod Provincial Hospital, Old Bacolod Airport and Victoria Arcade/Lopue's East/SaveMore Supermarket, the regular fare per person is ₱100. It is not suggested to take a taxi to the airport, it will just cost more than the regular fare vans offer.

you can get a Mini Van going to the Bacolod airport from most places to stay in down town Bacolod. just ask you hotel to phone/text the van for you. the cost is p 150 per person hotel to airport. if you get on the Mini van from outside the SM mall the fare is p 100 per person.

By bus

Getting to Bacolod by bus from elsewhere in the province is smooth and easy as there is little chance of congestion on the roads. Arriving by bus from other provinces is also possible; you can use the so-called RoRo which means Roll-on and Roll-off. Note: During Holy Week, Christmas and New Year, often buses are cramped, delayed and overloaded it's advisable to avoid traveling by bus during the Holy week and the Christmas season.

Prices of bus fares to Bacolod from Silay-Airport
Destination Price
Alijis 450
Ayala 400
Bangga Cory 400
Banago 425
Bata 400
Capitol Heights 425
Donya Juliana 425
Eroreco 400
Fortune Town(e)/Estefania 450
Georgina 400
Goldenfields 450
Granada 575
Greensville 400
Mandalagan 400
Mansilangan 500
Palmas del Mar 475
San Miguel Brewery 450
San Sebastian 425
Sugarland Hotel 450
Sum-ag 425
Taculing 525
Tangub 475
Therese Homes 425
Villa Angela 425
Villamonte 400

Bus terminals

There are two major terminals in Bacolod, both operated, owned and used by Ceres liner.

By boat

Bacolod Seaport or Bredco Port serves inter-regional trips from major destinations such Manila and Iloilo. Iloilo seaport is just 45 minutes from Bacolod and is one of the easiest to access because every hour there's a trip.

By jeep

Jeepney routes from nearby cities are available, routes from Silay, Talisay and other numerous towns and cities are available, jeepneys are more affordable than taxis.

Get around

Transportation within the city and to adjacent towns is by taxi or jeepney (local equivalent of a bus). Bus liners as well as rental cars are also available for travel. The city's road layout ease the traffic in the city yet traffic jams have increased since the city's economic progress, traffic jams are common during rush hours especially during the evening from 5PM to 6PM where commuters are mostly students and employees going home, traffic jams tend to become slower and a lot worse during the approaching days of New Year, Christmas and during the major festival of Masskara. If you are in a hurry, the streets of Bacolod are not suitable for running as it is crowded, it is suggested that you instead walk in the area where jeepneys park but you must be caution. Vehicular accidents are common throughout the city, driving after drinking is not recommended as this is the main reason why vehicular accidents happen in the city, second the reason why vehicular accidents happen is because of the weak implementation of traffic rules and regulations as well as the disobedience of common drivers. Jaywalking is illegal in Bacolod and has recently been strictly implemented to control traffic; pedestrian lanes may be faint in the streets of Downtown Bacolod and may be difficult to spot, violators may be fined while those who violate traffic rules in Araneta Avenue in Downtown Bacolod will also be fined; lanes are separated for public utility jeepneys and private vehicles.

By jeepney

While back in the sprawling urbanized cities of the world buses dominate, the city's roads are dominated by jeepneys just like any other urban area in the Philippines. This mode of transport was introduced probably during or after the American era wherein it replaced the trams, these Kings of the Roads were originally US military jeeps which were later converted and improved. Whether your like it or not this is the cheapest and the fastest mode of transportation in the city and much like an equivalent of the bus. Some might find the jeepney uncomfortable as it is designed for a typical 5 foot Filipino yet the experience of riding a mode of transport that you can't see in any other place on earth is memorable. A regular passenger pays ₱8 and you will have to add around ₱1 for succeeding kilometers while senior citizens and students pay ₱6.40 and below ₱1 for succeeding kilometers, children get the fare for free if you let them sit on your lap, the rising costs of gas has contributed to slowly rising fares in public transport and you might encounter a strike on gas prices which might disrupt public transportation services. But sometimes passengers get offended at jeepney drivers due to parking at the loading areas for long periods of time, stopping at every intersection and the change given to your fare is less than the expected so here's the tip always pay the exact amount of money when you're going to ride a jeepney, another concern for some people is that jeepney drivers fail to comply to laws in helping reducing air pollution such as that the smoke produced from jeepneys has created smogs in highways and busy roads of the city. It's illegal in the city for a driver to smoke inside a vehicle, it is suggested that you either reprimand the driver or just get off the jeepney.

Jeepneys stop at major economic centers of the city

Routes

By car

By the meter!

This is a common trend in the Philippines and is known nationwide, both foreigners and locals are its victims; some taxi drivers offer a fixed price if you're a foreigner or a local who has the money to pay. This is illegal. Don't take the taxi if he offers you a fixed price; threaten him too so that he'll let you pay by the meter. If you encounter a situation like this you can report it to local officials and some action might be taken. Check if the meter is working.Fixed prices for a trip from Silay Airport are OK, but do ask the driver how much is it or if it is by the meter.

Getting around the city by private car or taxi is quick and affordable. There are no problems with traffic jams at all because of the good road layout of the city. Around Bacolod the taxis have a flagdown rate of ₱30 and ₱2.50 for every 300 meters thereafter. Filipinos usually give the change as a tip but it is not mandatory, if the meter states ₱87.50, they typically give the entire 100 bucks.

Taxis

RMC Taxi. Dona Juliana Heights Subd., +63 344348084, +63 9194339360

Rent-a-car

By tricycles

Tricycles (Rickshaw) is Another alternative to taxis, rickshaws in the city carry no more than 5 passengers and are affordable. Fares depend on the distance of your destination, tricycles are mostly found lurking in the downtown and outside subdivisions. Auto rickshaws are better than manual rickshaws.

See

Historical sites

Ang Paghimud-os in Provincial Capitol Lagoon

There are a number of historical attractions in Bacolod showing the history of the city and the Province of Negros Occidental.

The Man and Carabao statue in the Provincial Lagoon

Religious sites

Churches are a big part of life for a Filipino and all have historical, spiritual and religious meaning.

San Sebastian Cathedral

Museums and Galleries

Negros Museum Building.

Wildlife and nature

Rebuilding Bacolod's nature

You might be wondering why beaches located in Bacolod aren't included in this travel guide, it is because it's not that scenic as you think it is; Bacolod's beaches in Punta Taytay should had boast itself with dark sand beaches but its beauty had been destroyed by pollution; rubbish and garbage float possibly from rivers and streams from the city to the shores of the beaches and had mixed with grains of sands. Centuries ago the whole island of Negros was covered with lush green tropical rainforests but now there is no such sight to see of it. Streets are clogged up with smoke from Jeepneys. River banks and sides of streams are inhabited by illegal settlers but hopefully the City Government is slowly relocating illegal settlers to develop land nearby SM City Bacolod while projects in mangrove plantations by schools, universities and colleges have been reported to be successful and strategic planning in handling traffic has been implemented such as that Araneta Avenue's end, located at Downtown Bacolod, has unclogged traffic through organization of vehicles. Though Bacolod has been rewarded clean and green there are still gaping holes for it to solve to really make use of the citations and awards it has received.

Do

Fiestas and Events

Masskara
Lanterns are lighted around the city during Bacolaodiat; Chinese New Year.

January/February

March/April

October

Sports

Football is popular throughout Bacolod; thus it is known as the football city of the Philippines. It has been notable for hosting the 23rd Southeast Asian Games Men's football. The Panaad Stadium is used for tournaments and such events. There are three golf clubs in the province of Negros, two located in Bacolod. For bowling, badminton, tennis enthusiasts and people who miss bowling and billiards, you don't have to worry as there are a lot of commercial establishments which offer services to those activities. For those who want to try hardcore games, shooting ranges are around the city while for those who want to see and experience the Sabong or Filipino cockerel derbies, there is a stadium where derbies are popularly held. Tai Chi is practiced in Yuan Thong temple. The Capitol Park and Lagoon is popular for joggers and people doing aerobics during the morning.

Golf

Bowling

Lawn Tennis

Badminton

Billiards

Araneta St, Singcang.

Tai Chi

Resorts and Spa

Casinos

Learn

Bacolod is the seat for many universities in Negros Occidental, ESL (English as Second Language) learning centers are open in the city making it in the toplist for cities for ESL programs along with Manila and Cebu and for the past few year an influx of foreign students who have chosen to study in Bacolod. According to statistics about 93% of the total population is literate.

Colleges

La Consolacion College Bacolod and the San Sebastian Cathedral at its side.

Universities

Buy

888 Chinatown Square Mall is famous for being a budget mall in Bacolod.

Bacolod is famous for its Piaya, Biscocho, squid flakes, Guapple pie and its Pina-Sugbo. Great souvenirs from Bacolod are its sweet delicacies, dried squid or Uga. These are often bought by most Overseas Filipino workers as a Pasalubong; meaning a souvenir. Shell craft, Wood craft and ceramic wares are also good buys. Antique wooden statues of saints are one of the best buys, even though if you're not Catholic or religious, it is good keeping as a collection, antique stores are scattered around the city however they are difficult to spot, Casa Grande Antiques, Requerdos de Bacolod and Sarlee’s are some of the famous antique stores in the city. Hablon; a shimmery fabric produced locally and was popular in the 60s, it still is one of the best buys.

Where to exchange?

Exchange rate


US Dollar $1 - ₱47.00
British Pound £1 - ₱70.00
Euro €1 - ₱50.00

Money exchangers lurk around the streets of Downtown Bacolod (CBD) and are easy to spot, if you walk into those streets some of them will yell "Dollar exchange!" or they'd come forward and ask you, you can spot some major money exchangers with their self owned stalls. If you don't feel safe in exchanging with money exchangers, you can either go to pawnshops or banks for an alternative and safer option. Most money exchangers accept American dollars (USD) and Euros (EUR), before leaving your origin, exchange your money to dollars to avoid difficulty in finding a money exchanger that exchanges your local currency to Philippine pesos but if you don't want to exchange dollars but want to keep your local currency, go exchange your money in major banks to pesos. Tip: Ask the exchange rate first and ask other money exchangers, compare rates and see the highest, go for the highest exchange rate.

Banks

Development Bank of the Philippines, Bacolod branch.

Shopping centers and malls

Robinson's Place Bacolod

From air-conditioned big malls to hot small shops to the all time busy Central Market and to the street vendors in congested roads, shopping is everywhere. The Downtown area, Shopping and Libertad are notable for their shopping treats and havens and all three are the major points for jeepney routes. Among all mall companies, Lopue's has the most branches as well as the oldest malls in the city.

Lacson St.

Lacson can be described as Bacolod's counterpart of Singapore's Orchard Road, not because of the malls present in the street but because of the fine dining restaurants found here, numerous boutique stores, a line of vintage and antique home decor stores.

Other

Big 3 malls, the Big 3 malls consists of the most popular malls in the city as well as the largest malls. The big 3 malls are a one stop shop area where you can buy popular brands and popular fast food chains and they are owned by the largest mall companies in the country.

Pasalubong Centers are usually like mini-supermarkets but sell only Pasalubong products such as Piaya, Biscocho, etc. as well as snacks and drinks. There is an abundance of them in the city.

Eat

Much of the Bacoleño cuisine is shared with the Western Visayan province of Panay, its sugar industry has molded its people's identity and along with it their cuisine. In the modern times, Bacolod has a number of growing Oriental and Western restaurants but still the people maintain their native cuisine. Sud-an is Illongo for Mains while Kan-on is Rice, it also means Will Eat.

Restaurants and cafes

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Below ₱70
Mid-range ₱70-₱200
Splurge ₱200+

Just like most major developed/developing cities of the Philippines, Bacolod too caters too international cuisine either oriental or western. Most of the restaurants and cafes in Bacolod are located along Lacson St. while most of the inter-continental and fusion cuisine is found in Piazza Sorrento which is also in Lacson St. Mexican, Thai, Italian and European cuisine is catered to people here but people craving for Korean, Japanese and Chinese cuisine don't have to freakout if they're hungry as many restaurants cater East Asian cuisine. Open air restaurants in Bacolod usually serve native Filipino cuisine at a low and affordable price, fast food chains are usually found dominating the malls like Robinson's, Gaisano Bacolod and SM City Bacolod. A branch of Starbucks is found along Lacson St., the first branch in whole of Negros Occidental. Bacolod is an urbanized city meaning there wouldn't be hard time finding classy and high class quality type of food.

Budget

A Man selects fish for his dish in the Pala-pala market

Mid-range

Splurge

Restaurant below have some dishes not exceeding ₱500-₱600 or more.

Dietary restrictions

Christians will not find it hard eating in Bacolod however Muslims and Jews will find it difficult, Bacolod being a Christian city, Halal and Kosher options are difficult to find unlike the bustling streets of Metro Manila. Hindus, Vegetarians and Vegans will too find it hard however just request not to put certain things which are restricted for you to consume. A list of vegetarian restaurants is showed below.

Drink

The preferred beer is San Mig Light which is served at almost any restaurant. You might also try Tanduay, a very famous rum. Nice to pair with coke and ice. For native alcohol, the local tuba is made from fermented coconut juice. Great Bacolod sisig can be found at KSL or Kubo Sa Lawn where they serve ice cold SanMig Light.

Bars, pubs and nightclubs

Goldenfield Commercial Complex has been home to many bars, pubs, nightclubs as well as casinos for the past few years and is considered where the best nightlife comes to life in Bacolod. Other than Goldenfield, bars and pubs as well as nightclubs are scattered around the bustling city. If you're in Goldenfields you can either barhop, Goldenfields might give you like a mini-town which is just home to restaurants, a water park, clubs and bars. A dress code is applied and compulsory in some bars, pubs and nightclubs. Wear casually and not so revealing if you don't want to end up behind bars; no flipflops/slippers and no sleeveless shirts.

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under ₱1000
Mid-range ₱1000 to ₱2,000
Splurge Over ₱2,000

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Esperanza Diola St. ₱1,400-₱4,500.

Stay safe

Bacolod is a lot safer compared to Manila. As always common sense is the rule when travelling. Taking the taxi or renting cars or vans daily is better and quicker as most of the crimes in the Philippines today are done in tricycles and jeepneys. However there isn't a 100% Safe place, if travelling, tour in large groups 3-5 might do as there might be people around you, you may never know what they'll do to you. Be careful during the Masskara Festival. Don't display your MP3s, iPhones, iPods, phones, laptops or valuable things that will catch a snatcher's attention, keep it safe inside your bag and put it out when you'll take pictures. Don't bring bags or large purses while in night, just bring your phone and a small wallet that'll fit in your pocket to avoid being a victim of crime. Beggars usually are around the downtown area they inhabit in the plaza area and if they see you look rich, they'd approach you and annoy you asking you for money, ignore them if you have to and just go straight to your destination. Pickpockets are common in the CBD while house burglaries are common in residential areas, children involved in sniffing glue are dangerous so it's very important to have someone accompany you while walking during the night or either try to avoid dark and areas where there are fewer people.

Emergency

Stay healthy

Tap Water is not safe for drinking though considered potable, the water supplies sometimes get dirty when Bacolod City Water District cleans up their pipes and the safety of tap water is somehow questionable, and no one really enjoys the pleasure of drinking it due to its cough syrup-like taste. Luckily water supplies during nationwide droughts are not affected as unlike other big cities, Bacolod pumps water from springs. Street Food is not as safe as those in Singapore and Taipei, the standards for street food is not properly imposed. There are few cases but not that rampant of being sick after eating street food. The quality of street food somehow is tolerated by health officials and citizens alike. Luckily street food is now on mainstream inside malls offering tourists and citizens alike to be assured of the hygienic standards. Dengue fever is a common issue especially during the summer season, apply mosquito repellent and avoid wearing T-shirts and shorts during the afternoon, wear sleeves and pants instead.

Hospitals

Private Hospitals are given a passing rate in the city, most of them can cater to almost every patient's need. During summer, hospital beds are fully booked as dengue fever cases rise up to skyrocketing levels.

Pharmacies

The system of buying in pharmacies in the Philippines is much compared to the rest of the world, Filipinos give much importance to health that often pharmacies are crowded and pharmacies have become one of the few investments people put up for business. The hospital with most pharmacies surrounding its compound is the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital.

Dentist clinics

Clinics are easily found in Bacolod, some are located in malls while most of the hospitals have a dentist.

Restrooms and toilets

Almost every commercial establishment, office and church in the city has a functional toilet however public toilets are often neglected around the city, an accessible toilet is available at the public plaza but one must have to pay before accessing the toilet, and the valid reason for such payment is for repairs and maintenance which gives us a hint that the city government doesn't even fund on its simplest amenities like toilets.

Respect

See the Respect section of the Philippines article for more information

People who are elder than you (old enough to be your elder brother/sister or father/mother) - even if that person is a driver, janitor or maid etc. - you should call them Manong for Males or Manang for females before their common name like; Manong Jeremy or Manang May Ann, Manong can be shorten to Nong and Manang to Nang. If that person is old enough to be your grandfather call them Lolo for males or Lola for females before their common name like; Lolo Isidro or Lola Estrella.

Bacolodnons are traditionally liberal when it comes to clothing, except Muslims and Iglesia ni Kristo members who both are conservative religious people. Wearing shorts in public are OK but no very short ones if you don't want to attract attention and trouble, wearing bikini on beaches is OK and you would expect no trouble however you might get attention too. When inside churches, everyone is expected to be cautious of their actions as such actions might attract attention and negative perception towards tourists.

Connect

Dialing code for the Philippines is +63 while local area code for Bacolod is 34.

By phone

PayPhones provided by PLDT are available in some of the city center's nooks and corners however if you don't find any payphone around, ask any tiangge to lend you a phone which each call costs ₱5/Domestic Call, rates for international calls vary. Buying a Sim card is cheap, easy and no hassles, you don't need a verification of any kind and from ₱10 you can get a sim pack and are sold by Smart and Globe which are the two largest networks, Talk n Text, Sun Cellular and TM Mobile are other major networks. Sending text abroad cost ₱15/text while sending it within the Philippines cost ₱1/text.

By net

Internet cafes charge ₱10.00 to ₱25.00 per hour, they are common throughout the city with small cafes opening up in local barangays and big commercial ones in the Central Business District. Head up to Downtown Bacolod if you need to surf for a while, these cafes can be found in almost every corner of the street and provides as modern recreational centers and hangout places for the youth. SM City Bacolod, Robinson's Place Bacolod and 888 Chinatown Square are the malls which provide free WiFi access to its customers, Jollibee and McDonald's have recently also joined the trend providing WiFi access to its customers. Most hotels provide free WiFi access to its customers.

Internet cafes

Cope

Newspapers and Publications

Much of the local news in Bacolod is available in English which also applies to major national newspapers, minor tabloid newspapers are printed in Filipino and Hiligaynon. The Visayan Daily Star , Sun Star Bacolod and the Negros Daily Bulletin is also available.

Radio

Almost all of the radio stations air in the local language; Hiligaynon, with some of the FM Radio jockeys using a mix of Hiligaynon and Tagalog, as well as Taglish, in contrast to FM Jockeys; AM Radio jockeys speak in pure and fluent Hiligaynon as the audiences catered by AM Radio are usually senior citizens and residents who come from nearby town wherein speaking of fluent Hiligaynon is encouraged. AM Radio stations air current affairs programs, radio telenovelas, news and Hiligaynon songs usually old ones. FM Radio stations on the other hand air modern day English and local songs from any genre with shows hosted by Radio jockeys who use the usual Filipino slapstick jokes, the FM Radio is unfortunately bombarded by advertisements as it is one of the cheapest forms of media to market products in the country with the only safe time to listen to almost ad-free music is during the hours after 10PM. Some of the radio stations go off at midnight after airing the last tunes of the Lupang Hinirang.

FM

Television

Religious Services

Christian Denominations especially Roman Catholics, Baptists, Adventists and the Iglesia ni Kristo members won't find difficulty in finding religious services in the city.

Go next

Nearby towns and cities within the province are accessible by land. The island of Panay is just 45 minutes by ferry from the port of Bacolod.

Within the province

Bacolod is the provincial capital of Negros Occidental, and just like every capital, it is crowded and very developed. Refresh yourself by getting out of Bacolod to the quieter municipalities that surround it; there is an abundance of beaches and hot springs. Don't expect any traffic jams as the condition of the roads in the province is among the best of the country. Buses are the easiest way of getting around the province; jeeps are affordable, but are not suggested for foreigners. If you're traveling as a group or family, you can rent a car or a van.

Further destinations

Buses are the most comfortable and affordable ways of travelling outside the province; Jeepneys are cheaper, but not suggested for tourists. Second to buses are RoRos and ships, trips are available daily from Bredco Port, the main port of Bacolod.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 31, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.