Bacolod and Iloilo, Cities of Festival

We are now nearly end of our Philippines edition. For the last edition, we are going to talk about Bacolod and Iloilo. Both of them are located in Western Visayas region of Philippines. First we will talk about Bacolod which will be followed by Iloilo.

How to Get There ?

You can visit city of smiles, known for its festival of Masskara Festival, a Mardi Grass festival like via aircraft from Manila for about one hour flight and from Cebu for about 40 minutes flight same as the flight I took. The Bacolod – Silay international airport is located in Silay city of Bacolod which is a bit far from city center. There is airport van to go to the city center for about one hour journey.

Bacolod Silay International Airport

People normally visit Bacolod and surrounding at the time of Masskara festival which takes  around October for each year. During the Masskara festival, you can see people wearing colourful masks and in the city, same the ones that you find in the Venice, Italy.

Bacolod MasksBacolod Masks

Bacolod city is also well known for Korean for studying english  due to its location as well relatively cheap and widely used english before moving to western countries for their further education. For my stay in Bacolod, for my first night in Bacolod, I stay in East View hotel, a 3,5 stars hotel in Bacolod. The first impression when I arrive in the hotel, it looks really good, and luxury, the room itself is so spacious. The security guard who are in the front door really helpful for people staying in the hotel. Only unfortunately, the receptionist is the worst that I see during my entire stay in Philippines. Promising to call back to my room about adapter that I would like to borrow from the hotel, but no call back being done  and typing, no listen attentively while talking with the guest. On the next morning, I am really disappointed at the time I am about to have my breakfast in the restaurant. At early in the morning, most of the buffet breakfast almost gone, and the staff not looking into it and refill quickly until I raise my complaint which afterward they refill the menu. It would be really great experience to stay in the hotel just in case the staff performance could be much better in serving the guests.

East View Hotel

East View Hotel

One of the place that you need to visit while staying in Bacolod is the new government center of the Bacolod. I visited the place in the morning, just walking a bit from the hotel. The interesting part of the new government city center is the pool in front of building which have several statues with colourful paintings.

New Government City of Bacolod

Bacolod City

 The next destination in Bacolod is the Ruins, a mansion which is being burnt intentionally during the world war II to prevent Japanese at that time to use the mansion as headquarter. The mansion was built by Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson for his Portuguese wife from Macau, whom he met in Hongkong during his vacation.

The Ruins

Mariano and Maria

Due to the beautiful of the mansion with the garden, this place frequently being used for taking wedding pictures as well holding special events, wedding, banquet and conference.

The Ruins

The Ruins

The Ruins

The Ruins

To get here, first you have to take the Jeepney stopping in front of Bata (Pepsi bottling plant), a lot of Jeepney pass this place, then you can take tricycle to take you to there. Actually you can walk from the Bata, but based on my experience, not really recommend it. If you want to walk, it is on the east part of the Pepsi bottling plant, after about 600 meters, you will see a cell site of two storeys building on your left. Opposite the building, there is big sign “This is the Way to the ruins”, enter the narrow street to Rose Lawn memorial garden, just follow small red and yellow sign on electrical post and it will guide you to the ruins. You can have your meal or just have a cup of coffee in the afternoon during your visit there.

From the ruins, the next place to see is the Capital Lagoon. Actually in the capital lagoon, not really much to see there, the only I like to see there is the statue below.

Capital Lagoon

Afterward, I went to visit the San Sebastian Cathedral, which initially built by coral by Fr Gonzaga, who then died without completing it and later built by government and priest completely in 1894. Now the coral had been covered by cement.

San Sebastian Cathedral

For the second night, I move my stay to Circle inn Hotel & suites, a three star hotel. I choose the hotel, as the hotel has swimming pool inside. The front office staffs also nice and helpful. The only thing that I don’t like is when I entering the room, it’s a bit smelly, perhaps the room that I got is the old one. Suggest if you stay there, you have the room beside the swimming pool one as it looks really nice and you have access to the pool by just opening your room door.

Circle Inn – Hotel & Suites
Lopez Jaena, Malaspina Street
Bacolod Down town
Philippines, 6100
Phone : +63347099111

Before leaving the city, don’t forget to try delicacy of Bacolod. Bacolod is well known for its Bacolod chicken, a grilled type chicken.  They are also well known for the piyaya, which has filling of ube (yam), caramel and new one I found there, Mango. The other souvenir (pasalubong) from there is biscocho.

After spending two nights in Bacolod, it’s the time to move to Iloilo as my last destination before flying back to Singapore via Manila. There is no much to see in Iloilo, as people normally visit the city at the same time when they go for Bacolod during Masskara festival, or just stay in Iloilo as hotels are full during the festival. People are also visiting the city during Dinagyang festival, which is held every 4th sunday of January. For going to Iloilo, I took the boat from Bacolod which takes about 45 minutes up to 1 hour journey. You can take flight to Iloilo via Iloilo international airport from Davao, Manila and Cebu as well.

For Iloilo, you may see Museo Iloilo. I like the design of the building, but not really much on inside. The museum itself, not really big hence you can see the inside not taking much time.

Museo Iloilo

The other place you need to see is San Jose church.

San Jose Church

During your stay in Iloilo, don’t forget to try their delicacies, Pancit Molo and La Paz Batchoy. La Paz Batchoy basically the noodle soup serving with crispy pork skin on the top of it.

La Paz Batchoy

For the dinner, you can consider of having seafood as the price there is relatively cheap. One of the most popular one is Breakthrough restaurant serving live seafood. One of the seafood I like there is the Oysters, the price there is really cheap. For the dinner with one small lobster, one crab, a bunch of oyster as well small abalone with coconut juice, just cost me 897 pesos (about 27 SGD).

Breakthrough Restaurant

Breakthrough Restaurant
Stay tune for our next post. There will be new interesting and surprised destinations on upcoming posts, so keep look or perhaps you can join Feastntravel Fanpage :  http://www.facebook.com/pages/FeastnTravel/325360634163357 so you will get the update on the new article.

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