Bacolod (part 1): The City of Smiles.

Last week, my mom and godmother decided to visit their friend Father Cachero, who got assigned as president of University of Negros Occidental-Recolectos (UNO-R), a university in Bacolod.  Since I really didn't want the summer to end just yet, I decided to tag along.

Day 1

As always, I researched on our destination while downing coffee (this time iced because it was so hot outside!)  before our flight. Apparently, the best things to do in Bacolod are eat, eat, and eat!  This was likewise confirmed via Facebook by friends who've been to the city as well.

"Bacolod City is the capital and largest city of the province of Negros Occidental. Having a total of 499,497 inhabitants as of August 1, 2007, it is the most populous city in the Western Visayas Region.  It is notable for its world famous MassKara Festival held during October. Known for being a relatively friendly city, it bears the nickname 'City of Smiles'."

The Sugarland Hotel

The flight from Manila to Bacolod was quick, around an hour and 10 minutes.  As soon as we landed, we went straight to the hotel before having dinner.

We stayed in a place called The Sugarland Hotel.

The place wasn't really huge, only around 3 to 4 floors, but i liked it that way.  The lobby is really nice and well-designed.  There's also a small pool at the breakfast area.

This is the room shared by me and my mom.  Aside from the two beds, there was a table for eating, a dresser table, a television set with cable, and a medium-sized cabinet.  The bathroom was clean though there were a few insects on the roof (just little bugs but not roaches).

Resto Grill sa Baybay

We stayed long enough just to freshen up and settle in before heading to this seafood place along the shore called Resto Grill sa Baybay.

We got there just when the sun was setting.  It was so beautiful!  Too bad my camera couldn't capture the sunset exactly the way I saw it.

Clockwise: chopsuey (mixed vegetables), clam-like seafood they call Angelfish, view of the sunset, buko juice (coconut)

Clockwise: table setting, soup inside a buko shell, shrimps, squid.

Cafe Bob's

I thought we were calling it a night after eating so much but i was wrong.  We were in Bacolod.  Hence, we had to eat, eat, eat!  So after dinner, we went to Cafe Bob's for cake and tea.

Cafe Bob's is located at 21 Lacson Street.  The place was packed!  There was the main dining area in the middle, a hangout area at the side, an outside area for smoking, a small division for ice cream lovers, and another division for pizza and deli lovers.  But almost of all of the tables were taken. 

I wanted to try all of their cakes!  My mom ordered the Mango Tart while I got a piece of Blueberry Cheesecake.

I saw a Starbucks nearby but it was almost empty.  Everyone was at Cafe Bobs!

Day 2

Negros Showroom

Today we had a full day to go around the city and explore.  We started early and went to visit the Negros Showroom first which was also located along Lacson Street, specifically at the ground floor level of Lourdes C Building.

"The ANP maintains the Negros Showroom, which has been declared by the Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotions as the No. 1 trade house in the Philippines. The Negros Showroom displays the products of the ANP member-producers and serves as their business center."

There were various products available inside, from bags to accessories to masks. They even had a furniture exhibit on the upper floor.  Too bad i couldn't show you the products since they prohibited taking of photos of the showroom.  I only got to sneak a shot of an interesting piaya purse by the counter.


After the showroom, we were taken to a monastery located along the sea shore. I found it interesting that the monastery was near a beach.

I forgot the name of the monastery but maybe someone can help me identify what it is?  Their patron saint greeted us upon entering the gate.

I've always enjoyed going to churches for as long as I can remember.  Churches make me feel light and safe.  Do any of you follow the tradition of praying for 3 wishes whenever entering a church for the first time?

Aboy's Restaurant

It was already around noon when we were done with exploring so we went directly to Aboy's Restaurant for lunch.  Like I said, to go to bacolod is to eat, eat and eat.

The restaurant is really big.  They had a garden, an outside dining area and a covered air-conditioned dining area.  We chose the covered area because it was too hot to stay outside.

"Aboy's Restaurant started in February 1992 as a small eatery near Burgos Public Market in Bacolod city. Aboy’s Restaurant initially catered to the offices surrounding the area and representatives of pharmaceutical companies based in the city. Serving mainly regular household recipes and grilled seafood, the restaurant slowly increased its clientele as news of its quality food and reasonable pricing spread among the residents of the city."

Aboy's offers a lunch buffet but we chose to go ala carte instead and ordered mostly seafood since the restaurant was most known for that.  We got bangus sisig, kilawin, ensalada, squid, tuna belly and clam soup.

I thought we ordered too much but after an hour, we finished everything!  Think we have no more room for dessert?  Well, think again ;)

Aboy's had a Fruits in Ice Cream stand outside. So, that's what we had for dessert. It was innovative how they used the kitchen board to carry cones of ice cream.

Balay Negrense

After lunch, we headed over to see old ancestral houses in Silay City, which was around a 20-minute drive from Bacolod City.

"The Balay Negrense ("Negrense House") is a museum in Silay City, Negros Occidental int he Philippines, showcasing the lifestyle of a late 19th-century Negrense sugar baron. It is notable for being the first museum to be established in the province of Negros Occidental."

"The Balay Negrense was originally the ancestral house of Victor F. Gaston, a son of Yves Leopold Germain Gaston and Prudencia Fernandez. The elder Gaston is credited as one of the pioneers of sugarcane  cultivation in this portion of the Philippine archipelago. A native of Normandy in France, he married a Filipina from Batangas where he initially began experimenting with sugar production before relocating to Negros."

They charge minimal fees for entering the house:  

P40/$1 for adults and Negros residents
P35/$.75 for senior citizens
P20/$.5 for students and children.

Balay Negrense has two floors.  The first floor was spacious with a lobby, two receiving areas and a piano area.  There is also a lower level that served as an entrance to the basement.  On the other hand, the second floor consisted of another receiving area, the bedrooms, the kitchen and the dining area.

People during the olden times were really small!  The beds and the furniture were so little and short.  I tried taking a scary shot of a room with me in the background.

The Ruins

After Bahay Negrense, we went to this place called The Ruins.  According to historical buffs, this was the biggest residence in the area during its time.

Outside the ruins lay a big lush garden and an 18-hole mini golf course while the inside was converted into a restaurant that served mediterranean food. 


We had a full day exploring different parts of Bacolod so we felt it would a perfect way to end by eating authentic chicken inasal from Manukan.  Manukan is made up of different alleys of restaurants all serving chicken inasal.  

The place was so casual.. no a/c, no utensils!  I usually don't use my hands when eating since I hate getting my hands dirty.  Some kind of pet peeve.  But like the say, 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do!' so...


I loved it! I had 2 big chicken parts and almost 3 cups of rice!  Of course, our day wouldn't be complete without cake and tea so we headed over to Calea after we all had our fill of chicken.

The cakes in Calea were just as tasty as those in Cafe Bob's but much cheaper.  Slices were only around 50 to 80 pesos ($1-$1.50).  Can you believe it?  However, Calea is much smaller than Cafe Bob's and harder to go to since it's located in a small alley near Lacson Street with limited parking.

And that was how I spent my first two days in Bacolod --- proving that all there is to do is eat, eat, eat!  As for the remaining two days, I'll tell you all about it in my next post.

The Bacolod Series
Trip Date: June 2010

The Sugarland Hotel, Resto sa Baybay, Cafe Bob's, Negros Showroom, 
Monastery, Aboy's Showroom, Balay Negrense, The Ruins, Manukan, Calea

Bob's Restaurant, Mambukal Hot Springs, Town Plaza, Bongbong's Pasalubong, 
Pope John Paul II Monument and Tower, Bar 21, Cafe Bob's, 
Ripples at L'Fisher Hotel, Bob's Restaurant


  1. Joei!! So good to see you back!! You've been quite on a break from teh blogospeher lately, weren't you? ;) But it looks like you were having a lot of fun! Lots of things to see, visit and eat! lol I like this cute little round desserts - they look very inviting!

    You're right on spot with your comment on my most recent post too :) Made me happy you view the whoel friendship thing just the way I do! Me and that "mutual female friend" kind of still keep in touch and we've recently met up for coffee, but of course it's not what it used to be, I can't share any personal info with her any more. She's been sayign sorry ever since the whoelt hign happened, so I decided against cutting her out completely but we're more of casual acquaintances now.

    Ohm and I'm having a contest at my blog and today is the last day to enter, so you still have a chance, I would love to hear your story :) Here's the link:

  2. Your message helped me through a rough patch, Joei ... I cannot thank you enough!

    I miss you and your blog!

  3. Ah, you look absolutely lovely - I'm so glad to see you return to the world of blogging. Cafe Bob's sounds amazing - look at all those scrummy treats!! :)

  4. julia. i have so many stories to tell but for some reason, i'm having this blogger's block that i can't get rid of!

    i missed visiting your blog. maybe even with the blogger's block, i should make it a point to visit. who knows? that may be the answer to my 'problem' ;)

    nina. welcome back nina! we missed you and your blog. things are never better when we lose someone especially a family member (i know that firsthand, too) but always stay strong... and don't forget to pray :)

  5. erika. i hope to get rid of this blogger's block that i've been experience lately :( and yes, cafe bob's is great. love their cakes!

    leia. glad to see you have your own blog! it's soooo pretty :) i'll add it to my links now.

  6. I've added you to my links as well, doll! <3

  7. leia. great! accepted your twitter request and followed you as well ;)

  8. you look so fab in that blue outfit with pearl necklaces dangling on your neck.

    anyway, the food looks exquisite. looks like you had lots of fun and an extremely wonderful gastronomic experience.

  9. Glad you had a good time and the city looks so beautiful.

  10. hello Joei, you had yourselves a feast, you deserved it I am sure.

    Thanks for leaving a thought on my last post, love hearing from you.

    Hope your week is going well.

  11. calea and cafe bob's! i love those two places. cheap and delish pastries and coffee ;)

    btw, i just have to ask, did you pour the chicken oil over your rice? ;)

  12. erlyn. thank you! and yes, the food was great :)

    sherin. want to go back in october during their annual festival. i bet there's more food then ;)

  13. colin. thanks for dropping by! :)

    koryn. of course mother! aahhh im craving for chicken inasal now :))

  14. wow joie! that looks so much fun. i'm sure you had one helluva time. i honestly stared the food photos hoping they come to life. sarap!


    PS: My friend and I started a new blog about NYC. There's so much more about this city beyond Carrie Bradshaw's Manolos. You might wanna visit this blog too (and feel free to follow!) :)

  15. great post !
    you seem to be having a great time !

  16. Great to have you back Joie!

    Dami food but i am missing most the piyaya =)

    Like you i also believe in making a wish on my first visit to a church. Pero isang wish lang ang lama ko - dapat pala tatlo hihihih

    i hope to visit Bacolod someday!!

    Ps. lovin' the pearls!

  17. first time here. it has been ages since i last visited bacolod (i am from iloilo but currently living in Korea) and it's so nice seeing it in pictures.

  18. The ice cream looks delicious :D

    XOXO, C.

  19. city of smiles?
    very nice trip joei!
    i wish i could go there ..

  20. betz. sure! i'll visit the blog now :)

    michelle. thanks! :)

  21. kero. thanks! if only i can send you over some piaya ;)

    wendy. hi there! thanks for visiting :) oh wow! i'd love to go to korea someday. will visit your blog now!

  22. c. and the cakes, too! ;)

    meilinda. yes, that's what they call it. the city of smiles :)

  23. Oh. And I love how you're eating so much there! *drools*

  24. It's funny how I spent 4 years studying in Iloilo yet I never got to visit Bacolod which is less than an hour away via ferry. One of these days I guess.

  25. Glad to have you back joei!

    Merci beaucoup for your wonderful comment darling, it really means a lot - je suis très désolée for the late reply!

    Have a lovely weekend dearest =]

    Stay safe and chic ma chérie,
    English Rose x

  26. What a lovely place! Wish I got to travel as much as you did...

  27. james. oh wow! you should go visit bacolod soon. and yes, i love eating! i think my blog's 45% food, 45% travel and 5% everything else ;)

    english rose. i missed your blog as well :)

  28. saraJ. no, i just felt the blog entry was too long so i decided to cut my entries in half ;)

    mj. i used to travel more before. now, not so much :)

  29. just came back from Bacolod, I surely miss inasal with garlic rice. i love the strawberry muffins from Bob's and Calea's cakes are to die for!

  30. i fell in love with the ruins when I saw it. :)


Thank you for the love!

I enjoy meeting fellow bloggers and readers from all over so feel free to comment and I'll get back to you as soon as I can :)

♥ joei