Thursday, June 29, 2017

Revisiting Bacolod

I wanted to take a vacation somewhere in the Philippines where I could relax and unwind for a few days but I wanted a place that had a lot of good dining options. I was initially thinking of Tagaytay so that I could just drive there. However, a friend of mine who lives in Bacolod said that I should go there instead and that when I do, he could take me to the Tawhai Floating Bar in Lakawon. I took a quick look at the images of the Tawhai Floating Bar online and that made my decision for me. I was going to Bacolod! (I will be writing about my trip to Lakawon in a separate blog post.)

The Ruins

I stayed at the Circle Inn which was a short taxi ride (or a long walk) away from Lacson Street. I used the Grab app a lot here since it made it very easy to get taxis. (It was my first time to use Grab and I used it quite extensively while in Bacolod.) I went to a lot of the same restaurants I visited in my first trip to Bacolod a couple of years ago. I had batchoy again in 21 (I realized I prefer batchoy without liver), ribs in Byron's, chicken inasal in Aida's Chicken, a few different desserts in Calea, and a few different desserts in Felicia's. I also went to a few new places. I had pasta and cake in Cafe Bob's, which is also where I spent a cozy rainy afternoon reading a book while enjoying coffee. I also wanted to try cansi or kansi, which is like bulalo but with a sour soup, adding a different dimension to the flavor. Sharyn's Cansi House is pretty popular online but it closes relatively early so I had dinner at Eron's Cansi House instead. I also got to have drinks with my friend Bacchus in Brewery in Paseo Verde before we headed to Cocina in The District North Point to meet up with our other friend Dex. My friend Ryan also took me to Portico for drinks on my last night there.

An interesting painting on the wall of Portico

I also decided that I wanted to see the Ruins again. Some call this place the Taj Mahal of Negros because the mansion was built by Don Mariano Lacson as a tribute to his wife Maria Braga. The ideal time to visit this place is in the late afternoon right before sunset and it is recommended to stay there until the sun goes down to see the Ruins lit up but I already did this the last time. As such, I decided I wanted to see it under bright sunlight this time around. It's interesting to note that on my first trip here, the Ruins had no roof but this time around, it does. Looks like they are doing some kind of restoration

Revisiting the Ruins

No trip to Bacolod is complete without bringing pasalubong back to Manila. On my last day, I passed by Bongbong's to get some napoleones and piaya. I also got a box of ensaymada from Felicia's. And when my friend Myna found out that I was in Bacolod, she suggested that I get pili squares from Emma Lacson. Apparently, you have to visit their ancestral house in Silay to buy these goodies so after my trip to the Ruins, I passed by Silay to get a couple of boxes of these pili squares. When I finally got to taste them once I arrived in Manila, I could understand why my friend was recommending them to me. They are pretty good.

Emma Lacson's Pili Squares
120 Rizal Street, Silay City, Negros Occidental (right across BPI Silay)
(034) 495 5047

A couple more things:
  • A taxi ride from the airport to the city center (and vice versa) is about P400. When you book a taxi via Grab, it will indicate that the fare is only about P150 to 250 I think but taxi drivers will ask for P400. I think this is pretty standard since the drivers of both taxis I booked via Grab (to and from the airport) asked for a P400 fare.
  • A taxi ride to the Ruins is about P250. The meter will read about P120-150 but the drivers normally ask for P250 because they generally can't get passengers on their way back to the city from the Ruins.
Room rates at the Circle Inn are about 1300 per night. I also got a relatively inexpensive flight from PAL. I think it cost me around P5000+. All in all, I spent less than P11,000 for 4 nights in Bacolod for airfare and accommodations. Not bad. This trip was both relaxing and invigorating. I am pretty sure I will be going to Bacolod again at some point in the future.

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