Because of AirPhil Express‘s promo fares a few months ago, I availed of a roundtrip ticket to the City of Smiles, Bacolod City. Having been a student for years at the University of the Philippines in Iloilo City, I was ashamed that I had never gone to Bacolod, which back then was only 2 hours away by ferry. So I finally took it upon myself to relieve me of my shame and finally visit Bacolod City. And how delightful it had been…
Bacolod City is the capital of Negros Occidental. Historically, both Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental were referred to by the Spanish as the island of Negros, because of the many dark-skinned people they saw upon their arrival. No Jamie Foxx, the restaurant Flavors of Negros wasn’t being racist at all. Blame it on our Spanish colonial masters for naming the islands as such.
I stayed at the Circle Inn, a beautiful hotel with wonderful service at equally wonderful rates. My room was big, comfortable and had all the standard creature comforts, all for P1,450 a night. I will stay at this hotel again when I travel back to Bacolod City. Most hotels have bad or OK food when you order room service, but Circle Inn’s room service is prompt, cheap and the cuisine is very good. Most of the food items in their menus are priced between P150 to P200, very reasonable considering the large portions.
What I loved so much about Bacolod is that their restaurants are of “Greenbelt Makati” caliber. Sorry for the comparison, but in the Philippines, Greenbelt in Makati is the bastion of luxury living, including condominiums and restaurants. I have chosen this as my personal benchmark of world-class quality. Balay Quince, for instance, is a very modern building and houses some of the best eateries in the city. Must visit.
Pala-pala is synonymous with abundant seafood thus I decided to have dinner here. However, I decided to go to the new Pala-pala where there are air-conditioned dining rooms. Our bill, which amounted to P580 pesos, was astounding considering we had what could have been the most expensive seafood dinner had we been in Manila. But of course, we weren’t. This was Bacolod.
Remember this when in Bacolod.
These are really big fishes.
The scallops before.
The scallops after butter and garlic had their way with it. All for P160.
KBL or Kadios Baboy Langka. A homegrown recipe of Hiligaynon origins. Kadios is pigeon peas. The broth transported me back to my childhood.
This is Bisugo cooked in some soy sauce and spices. My friend didn’t know what to order and was not very adventurous, being from Laguna. He was wowed nonetheless. P100 only.
The sweetest around. One piece was P25. We had…several.
This cake is not from Pala-pala anymore but it is worth mentioning. It is Felicia’s NSA Chocolate Cake (No sugar added). It is as big as an old computer mouse with the roller ball. At P85, this is the one cake that I managed to down without guilt and worry. I was bowled over with this chocolate cake, the taste of which I have never known before. This alone is reason enough for me to return. I suggest you visit Bacolod when you can. I flew AirPhil Express and the flight back (2P 913) was the smoothest I have ever had in the last 5 years. I actually fell asleep during the landing. Never happened to me before on a domestic flight.
Come to the city of smiles, Bacolod. It won’t take a huge bite out of your budget to visit this place for a weekend. Beware, you might want to stay longer.