Backpacking Philippines,  Festivals and Events,  Philippines,  Travel Guides,  Visayas


Negros Occidental is a wide palette of great wonders of the land and the seas. It is more than just that sough-after flamboyant dance and parade at the streets of Bacolod City held annually or an architecture that tells a story of an undying love. The province lets you take a walk down the rustic and dainty streets of a city, sip a cup of its native coffee in a cafe nestled on a mountain side, chase waterfalls, dive into ship wrecks or protected marine sanctuary, explore its terrestrial natural resources, bask in the sun in its pristine beaches and god knows what other wonders Negros Occidental has that I failed to mention.

Aside from the countless promising scenes, Negros Occidental is a humble abode to Negrenses who truly live up to what the place has been dubbed as – the City of Smiles. Their smiles are never scarce. My solo backpacking adventure in the province is among my most favorite trips not only because of the endless surprises that unfolded one after the other right before my very eyes but also because of its people who made me felt so secured as if I was just at home.

About Negros Occidental

Negros Occidental is situated at the Western Visayas region. It is among the biggest provinces in the country and is seated in one of the largest islands of the Philippine archipelago. It is popularly known as the Sugar Capital of the Philippines and the home of the Masskara Festival held annually in the ‘City of Smiles’, Bacolod City.

a girl at the middle of two persons in coloeful masks and costumes
Masskara Festival, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental

Languages Spoken in Negros Occidental

Cebuano, Ilonggo, Hiligaynon and Tagalog are among the languages that are widely spoken in the province. A lot of Negrense can also speak and understand the English language as well making it easy for foreign tourists to interact with the locals.

Best Time to Visit Negros Occidental

The province can be visited all year round but if you want to experience the most vibrant and festive event in it, then have your flights booked on the last week of October. It’s usually a week-long one but the best and most spectacular events happen on the first and the last day. Also, be considerate of the seasons in the Philippines as well especially if you intend to travel by sea.

The grand street dance during the Masskara Festival

How to Get There

By Air

From Manila or Clark Airport

There are several commercial flights daily from Manila and Clark to Bacolod-Silay Airport. The trip usually takes more or less than an hour.

By Land

From Dumaguete City

Take a Ceres bus from Dumaguete City to Bacolod City. The trip takes 6 hours with fare randing from Php 290.00 to Php 380.00 depending on the type of bus (air-conditioned or non air-conditioned).

By Sea

1. From Manila

2Go Travel vessels bound for Bacolod City sails almost on a daily basis departing from the Port of Manila. The sea travel takes 20 to 22 hours depending on the sea condition. Fare ranges from Php 2,300.00 to Php 5,900.00 depending on the type of accommodation.

2. From Cebu

Option A: Toledo City to San Carlos City, Negros Occidental
There are several trips daily from Toledo City, Cebu going to San Carlos City, Negros Occidental via Tanon Strait. First trip usually departs from the wharf at 7:00 AM and the last is at around 10:00 PM.

Option B: Tabuelan, Cebu to Escalante, Negros Occidental
Unlike the Toledo-San Carlos route, the Ro-Ro from Tabuelan usually sails once a day only since there are only few of it. The sea travel usually takes two hours.

3. From Ilo-ilo

There are several trips daily from Ilo-ilo to Bredco or Banago Port in Bacolod City. The trip takes around two hours and fare ranges from Php 250.00 to Php 395.00 depending on the type of accommodation.

Getting Around

Among the main means to go around the province is through by bus or taxi. You may also opt to rent a self-drive motorbike or car to conveniently go around the province via Book2Wheel. This website allows tourists or travelers to book their desired ride in advance, anytime and anywhere. Click the photo, sign up and book via the photo below to get 10% discount. You may also use my unique code “Queen-Cebu” to get an additional 25% off.

Places to Visit in Negros Occidental

1. Lakawon Island, Cadiz Viejo

The Iconic wharf of Lakawon Island in Cadiz Viejo, Negros Occidental

Read the detailed travel guide and review: Lakawon Island Resorts and Spa: Is it Worth the Hype? A Review and Guide

2. Danjugan Island, Cauayan

a golden sunset at the back of a nipa hut
Danjugan Island, Cauayan, Negros Occidental

Read the detailed travel guide to Danjugan Island: Everything that You Need to Know About Danjugan Island: Budget, Itinerary, Where to Stay and More!

3. Sipalay City

a girl at the edge of the pool overlooking a lake with islets
Perth Paradise Resort, Sipalay City, Negros Occidental

Read the detailed travel guide to Sipalay City: 2020 Travel Guide to Sipalay: A Laid-back City in Southern Negros Occidental

4. Don Salvador Benedicto

a girl sitting under a bougainvillea tree with pinkish purple flowers
Jomax Peak, Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental

Where to Stay in Don Salvador Benedicto: The Villa: Your Next AirBnB Target in Don Salvador Benedicto

5. The Lacson Ruins, Talisay City

The Lacson Ruins, The Taj Majal of the Philippines

6. Balay Negrense

Inside Victor Fernandez Gaston Ancestral House which is also known as Balay Negrense located at Silay City

7. Duyan Cafe in Silay City

The view at Duyan Cafe, Silay City, Negros Occidental

Read more about Duyan Cafe: Coffee with a View at Duyan Cafe, Silay City

8. Campuestohan Highland Resort, Talisay City

Things to Do in Negros Occidental

  1. Visit the Taj Majal of the Philippines found in Talisay City, the Lacson Ruins.
  2. Walk down the quaint, rustic and dainty streets of the little Paris, Silay City.
  3. Take a sip of Negros Occidental’s native coffee at a cafe nestled on the mountain side of Don Salvador Benedict.
  4. Go skybiking and take photos with the Teepee houses at Campuestohan in Talisay City.
  5. Ride the waves at the beach in Sipalay City.
  6. Go snorkeling or freediving in the protected reefs of Danjugan Island in Cauayan.
  7. Chill at the biggest floating bar in Asia, the Tawhai floating bar in Lakawon Island.
  8. Try Bacolod Inasal at Manokan Country.
  9. Chase the waterfalls around Mt. Kanlaon.
  10. Celebrate one of the grandest festivals in the country, the Masskara Festival.

Negros Occidental Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Bacolod City and Talisay City

8:00 AM – Silay Airport
8:30 AM – Balay Negrense
9:30 AM – The Ruins
11:00 AM – Lunch at Manokan Country
12:00 PM – Provincial Capitol Grounds and Park
1:00 PM – Campuestohan Highland Resort
6:00 PM – Bacolod City/ Check in
7:00 PM – Dinner at C’s
8:00 PM – Back to Accommodation

Day 2: Lakawon Island

6:00 AM – Breakfast
7:30 AM – North Bus Terminal
9:30 AM – Burgos Public Market, Cadiz Viejo
9:45 AM – Port/ Jump Off to Lakawon Island
10:00 AM – Lakawon Island
12:00 NN – Lunch
4:00 PM – Wash Up/ Pac Up
5:00 PM – Back to Port
5:30 PM – Burgos Public Market
7:30 PM – Bacolod City/ Dinner
9:00 PM – Back to accommodation

Day 3: Sipalay City

3:00 AM – Early Check out/ South Bus Terminal
8:00 AM – Arrival at Sipalay/ Breakfast
9:00 AM – Meet the Tour Guide/ Start Tour
Places to visit:
Tinagong Dagat
Perth Paradise Resort
C View Resort
Sipalay Public Beach and Rock Formations

7:00 PM – Dinner
8:00 PM – Check in

Day 4: Danjugan Island

6:00 AM – Breakfast
6:30 AM – Bus Terminal
8:30 AM – Quadro de King Remollos
9:00 AM – Danjugan Island/ Orientation/ Snack
10:00 AM – Start Tour
12:00 NN – Lunch
1:30 Pm – Snorkeling/ Freediving at Typhoon Beack
3:00 PM – Kayaking at Moray Lagoon
4:30 PM – Wash up/ pack up
5:30 PM – Brgy. Bulata/ Quadro de King Remollos
10:00 PM – Bacolod City/ Check in

Day 5: Mambukal Resort with Don Salvador Benedicto

7:00 AM – Breakfast
9:30 AM – Mambukal Resort
12:00 NN – Lunch
1:00 PM – Cafe La Guada
2:30 PM – Jomax Peak
4:00 PM – Bus Terminal
6:00 PM – Bacolod City
7:00 PM – Silay Airport

Tinagong Dagat, Sipalay City, Negros Occidental

Negros Occidental Sample Budget

DAY 1: Silay and Bacolod City Tour

Cab to Balay Negrense – Php 100.00
Balay Negrense Entrance Fee – Php 60.00
Cab to the Ruins – Php 100.00
The Ruins Entrance Fee – Php 100.00
Cab to Bacolod City – Php 100.00
Lunch at Manokan Country – Php 150.00
Campuestohan Highland Resort – Php 200.00
Fare to Campuestohan Highland Resort from Bacolod City (v.v.) – Php 200.00
Dinner – Php 100.00
Accommodation – Php 800.00
DAY 1 TOTAL: Php 1,910.00

DAY 2: Lakawon Island

Bus fare (Bacolod to Cadiz Viejo) – 105php
Tricycle fare – 150php/ 2 pax
Day Tour fee – 350php
Food – 300 php
Tawhai Floating Bar admission fee – 285php
Tricycle fare – 150php/2 pax
Bus fare (Cadiz Viejo at Bacolod) – 105php
Dinner – Php 100.00
Accommodation – Php 800.00
DAY 2 TOTAL – Php 2,195.00

DAY 3: Sipalay City

Bus fare (Bacolod Cit to Sipalay City) – Php 250.00
Tricycle tour – Php 500.00
Perth Paradise Resort Entrance fee – Php 80.00
Pool Use – Php 100.00
Lunch – Php 100.00
Tinagong Dagat Entrance Fee – Php 20.00
C-View Resort Entrance Fee – Php 10.00
Dinner – Php 100.00
Accommodation – Php 500.00
DAY 3 TOTAL – Php 1,560.00

DAY 4: Danjugan Island

Bus Fare (Sipalay to Crossing Remollos) – P 50.00
Day Tour Fee – P 1,950.00
Bus/ van fare – (Bulata to Bacolod) – P 250.00
Accommodation – Php 800.00
TOTAL: P 3,050.00

DAY 5: Kanlaon’s 7 Falls with Don Salvador Benedicto

Bacolod City to Libertad fare – Php 10.00
Libertad to Mambukal fare – Php 40.00
Mambukal Resort Entrance Fee – Php 50.00
Guide fee to Mambukal’s 7 falls – Php 300.00
Lunch – Php 200.00
Mambukal Resort to Intersection fare – Php 10.00
Bus to Don Salvador Benedicto – Php 70.00
La Guada to Jomax Peak fare – Php 15.00
Coffee – Php 200.00
Don Salvador to Bacolod bus fare – Php 92.00
Bacolod City to Silay Airport – Php 150.00
DAY 5 TOTAL: Php 1,137.00

TOTAL BUDGET FOR 5 Days 4 Nights in Negros Occidental – Php 9, 852.00
Take note: Other fees such as airfare and pasalubong are not included in this suggested budget.

The Teepee Houses in Campuestohan Highland Resort in Talisay City, Negros Occidental

Useful Tips in Traveling to Negros Occidental

  1. When planning to visit Negros Occidental during the Masskara Festival, make sure to book your accommodations several months before the trip.
  2. Getting around is easy since commuting is pretty convenient in the province. However, if you intend to visit several attractions located in different towns and cities, you are traveling in small groups and you want to take your time in each place, it would be best to rent a motorcycle or a car. Rates for self-drive motorcycle starts at Php 500.00 while the car rental starts at Php 1,500.00 per day. Gas is not included.
  3. There are several banks and ATM only at the city and town proper but always bring cash especially when visiting the attractions.
  4. Always take note of the ferry schedule especially if you intend to travel by sea.

Anne Elizabeth Gumiran, also known as Queenie, is a 20-something, full-time public school teacher, a part-time travel blogger and a freediver. She started putting her stories of adventures and misadventures into words and pictures in 2017 and continues to do so as she shares her advocacy, Sustainable Traveling.

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