From the Editor-in-Chief: » What Makes Bacolod Tick (Part II)
Here are some facts and interesting information tourists may wish to know more about Bacolod:
The City of Bacolod is a major tourism destination in the Province of Negros Occidental in Western Visayas, a cluster of islands at the heart of the Philippine Archipelago. The biggest tourism asset of the city is the friendly and genuinely hospitable people, whose lilting Ilonggo dialect coupled with their winsome smiles have made Bacolod famous as the CITY OF SMILES.
Other than being known as such, Bacolod is also famous as MassKara Festival City because of the world-renown MassKara Festival which the city holds every October, specifically on the 3rd and 4th Sunday of the month where bright colored costumed dancers with with dazzling smiling masks dance and gyrate in the city’s major streets.
Visitors accommodation, excellent professional service, gourmet food and modern facilities have contributed greatly to making tourism a dynamic industry in the city. There has been a rapid growth in visitors’ accommodation over the last 7 years. In 2004 there were only 1,612 rooms. Now in 2011 Bacolod hotel rooms have burgeoned into 2,732 rooms including the l06 room hotel and 58 room inns now in their completion stage.
Bacolod as a tourist destination attracts special kinds of tourists, mostly the business tourists, prospective investors, the educational tour groups, local government units that come to observe/study the city’s practices in good governance which has earned for Bacolod major national, regional and international awards.
The city cashes in on the business potentials it offers to investors such as those in the business process outsourcing (BPO’s), its convention facilities and amenities for business events such as those of the M.I.C.E. or (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions market, the heritage, lifestyle and cuisine it offers especially for the leisure seekers. Being a highly urbanized city, Bacolod serves as a point of entry for the adventure tourists who prefer the outskirts and challenges of natural attractions such as lakes, mountains, rivers or deep sea diving.
Heritage or historical and tourist landmarks of the city includes few old or antillan homes, the l35-year old San Sebastian Cathedral, the modern aesthetically designed churches, the world-class gifts and housewares of the Negros Showroom, gourmet restaurants for the best of Bacolod cuisine and the famous food trademark-the Bacolod chicken “inasal.”
An addition to the attractions of Bacolod as a tourist destination is the BACOLAODIAT which is coined from the word “Bacolod” and the Chinese word “laodiat” for celebration. It is held every Chinese New Year to celebrate the long-time fusion of Chinese and Filipino culture. This is a joint project of the City of Bacolod and the Chinoy Foundation composed of several Chinese organizations in Negros Occidental.
Bacolod is the highly urbanized capital, communication, trade and service center of the Province of Negros Occidental, one of the twin province of Negros Island in the cluster of the Visayan Islands in the heart of the Philippine Archipelago, Bacolod is bounded in the northwest by the cities of Talisay; in the northeast by Silay and Victorias; in the east and southwest by the town of Murcia; in the southwest by the City of Bago; and in the west by the Guimaras Strait. Total land area is 16,171,007 hectares or 161.45 square kilometers excluding straits and bodies of water.
Tour Options outside Bacolod
Whole day tour includes an itinerary to either Silay City and her antillan homes, museums and sugar-based delicacies; to the Hawaiian Philippine Sugar Central to observe how sugar is made or up to Victorias City for the sugar refinery. Southern Option is Bago City for the Japanese OISCA silkworm farm and silk factory; or to ECJ Farms in the municipality of Pontervedra. (By appointment).
Business/Industrial and Educational Tour
Tours to various business, small and medium scale industries, hotels and restaurants, bottling companies and subdivisions maybe arranged for specific students or business groups.
Call Centers(11) and Medical Tradition College
Bottling companies, brewery, distillery and water refilling stations
Candle making, ceramics factory, children’s garments, shell crafts
Food processing and food delicacy-making shops such as piaya factory, electrical and engineering firms
First Class hotels, Restaurants and pensions
Schools, colleges and universities offering courses of interest to the visitors or groups
Agricultural and Gamefowl Breeding Farm Tour
A special-interest tour that will take a visitor to the following:
Agriculture Departments of two universities offering a course in
Organic Farms, Cutflower & Orchid Gardens such as Orchigio, Rene Dofitas’ Bloomington, Maribel Torre’s Garden.
Gamefowl/fighting cock farms
Piggeries and poultry Farms and Feed Mills
Silkworm Farm and Silk Production
Fish Drying in Barangay Banago
Sugar cane farms, rice lands and fish farms outside the city
The Visayas Clonal Nursery, Provincial Plant Nursery and Vermicomposing farm
As the bastion of Catholicism in Negros Occidental, Bacolod City has the 1876 San Sebastian Cathedral and the later Catholic churches of modern architecture with aesthetically design interiors that are both a spiritual oasis and a visual feast. For Catholic pilgrims, a tour to these churches is an experience in finding the true meaning of the Holy Rosary and in deepening their reflection on the Paschal mystery of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For non-Catholics, the tour is a historical, cultural and artistic trip that will enhance their understanding of human faith and religiosity. Pilgrimage is ideal in October, as the Holy Rosary Month and during the Lenten Season to pray the 14 stations or the Way of the Cross. In moving from one church to another, there will be guide for the cultural and historical landmarks of the city.
Churches included in the tour: San Sebastian Cathedral, Sacred Heart/Lupit Church, San Antonio Abad Parish, Queen of Peace, San Nicolas de Tolentino, Barangay Sang Virgen of Santa Clara Chapel, Our Lady of Candles, Church of the Holy Cross, Immaculate Concepcion Church and the Ezequiel Moreno Shrine.
LGU Best Practices and Excellence in Governance Tour
Bacolod City is proud to share with the other local government units certain best practices and excellence in governance that were regional and national award winners such as Most Business-Friendly City; Nest Financially-Managed City; Top ranking Peace and Order Council; Most Child-friendly Anvil Awardee for the MassKara festival and Insumix Feeding and many others. The tour is a combination of an official visit and observation workshop; thus activities include:
Courtesy call on the mayor
Interaction with the local officials.
Project site visits-child friendly barangays, solid waste management.
Insumix Feeding Program (an Anvil Awardee and Regional Excellence in Governance Finalist)
Program on Persons with Disability-A Gawad Apolinario Mabini Awardee
One-stop shop business permit
Processing: Employees Housing Program; Best Peace and Order Council; Most Business-Friendly City Business, Agricultural, Religious, Cultural Tours to be arranged according to the preferences of the group.
BACOLOD- Gateway to Adventure Negros
Bacolod as the capital city of the Province of Negros Occidental is also the gateway to ex eco-tourism tours and adventures in the northern and southern parts of the province. Explore, experience and enjoy the following:
Mt. Kanlaon Volcano climbing, hiking or trailing ( in coordination with the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office and LGU concerned)
SCUBA/ deep sea diving, snorkeling, jet skiing, banana boating or simply lazing in the white sand beaches north and south of the province.
Island hopping and island resort holiday in the northern part (80 kms. away)
SPELUNKING or cave exploration in the caves of the Municipality of Candoni (137 kms. South) and the City of Escalante (102 kms. north)
Mountain Resort hopping at Mambucal Resort 37 kms southeast of Bacolod and Buenos Aires Mountain Resort in Bago City, 21 kms. south.*(tobe continued)