The Piaya Chronicles: Touring the City of Smiles, Bacolod City

Bacolod: the City of Smiles.  One need not go far and wide to validate this claim, and there’s more to Negros Occidental’s capital than the Masskara Festival.

Being in a Masskara Festival season it’s expected that hotel rates are at their peak, but accommodations in Bacolod are still very reasonable and chances are there’s one for every budget.  As tourists looking for the most accessible and comfortable stay with reasonable rates, we opted for MO2 Westown Hotel along Luzuriaga St. near SM City Bacolod, just a few meters away from Araneta Ave. where the Masskara Festival parade passes.  At ₱2,800 per night with complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi access, I can’t complain:

Our beds

With a nice LCD TV

Complimentary breakfast: small servings which in our case is better because we can try out more varieties of food!

The interesting elevator panel of our hotel

The lobby

Bacolod Cathedral

Like any other old city in the Philippines, Bacolod does have a church in its center.  Bacolod Cathedral is relatively young compared to other Cathedrals in other capital cities but it is just as impressive.  One of the unique features of this Cathedral is its preference with gold.

Cathedral of Bacolod, also known as San Sebastian Cathedral

Historical marker

Look at the columns’ “golden touch”

The Altar

View from the Altar

The Centennial Belfry outside the Cathedral: the large bell weighs 1,543.5 kgs circa 1866, while the small one weighs 761 kgs circa 1890

Another view of the Cathedral

Provincial Capitol of Negros Occidental

The Provincial Capitol of Negros Occidental is one of the best looking government buildings I’ve seen in the Philippines.  The level of details is just impeccable.  In front of it is a park which for me is reminiscent of Manila’s Rizal Park.  Like Manila’s, the park is also where the Kilometer Zero of the province is located.

The Provincial Capitol of Negros Occidental, designed by architect Juan Arellano in 1927 and completed in 1933

One of the sculptures surrounding the provincial capitol lagoon

War memorial at the plaza

Paghimud-os by the artist Eduardo S. Castrillo, across the Capitol. Behind it is...

…the kilometer zero marker (which apparently not many locals knew of its location)

The Capitol at night

Night shot of the lagoon where tilapias abound


There are many more interesting places around the city but I can only present in photos these two: SM City Bacolod which you can’t miss when you’re downtown, and the traditional-looking Negros Occidental Museum near the Capitol (which is closed every Monday so we weren’t able to enter).

Negros Occidental Museum near the Capitol

The bridgeway of SM City Bacolod: reminiscent of the old “Megastrip” of SM Megamall

The Piaya Chronicles:

2 Responses to “The Piaya Chronicles: Touring the City of Smiles, Bacolod City”

  1. 2013-10-09 at 10:10 AM

    There’s only one Kilometer 0 in the country of course. I wonder why they made such marker. Im hoping to visit the place this month, any idea how much is the taxi fare from airport? Or is there a smarter way? Thanks. Nice blog

    • 2013-10-09 at 8:22 PM

      Actually Kilometer 0 markers are pretty common as many major islands in the Philippines have them for distance reference. 🙂

      By our experience, from Silay City there are taxis (some charge ₱500 but actual fare is much less than that) but you may use the airport shuttle or even tricycles. You can read the details here.

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