City of Smiles and Mango Capital of the Philippines: Bacolod and Guimaras

Again, a spontaneous booking by my good friend Mariz prompted this trip. Since she’s been to most places in the country already, we opted to go somewhere we haven’t all been – Bacolod, the City of Smiles.

I tried to ask some Ilonggo friends (Bacolod natives) what we can do there and the winning reply would be to EAT! Well, that would be lovely, but of course we wanted to do so much more. Good thing we found out that we can reach Guimaras via Bacolod for some beach bumming. So that’s what we did. Hit two birds with one stone. 🙂 

Here’s our trip itinerary for 3 days/2 nights:

Day 1

1:35pm – Airport

3:35pm – Departure – Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3

4:40pm – Arrival – Silay International Airport

6:00pm – Check-in: Bascon Hotel  (Address: Gonzaga-Locsin Streets, Bacolod City)

7:00pm – Dinner: Manukan Country of Bacolod (Near SM Bacolod) 

9:00pm: – Coffee at a nearby bar/cafe 

Day 2

5:30am – Wake up!

7:00am – Breakfast 

8:00am – Cab to Banago (Bacolod Port)

8:30am – Ferry to Iloilo – Fastcraft (45 mins- Weesam Express or Ocean Jet)

9:30am – Pedicab to Ortiz Wharf and the Ferry to Jordan Guimaras

10:00am – Arrival in Guimaras – Alubihod Bay in Poblacion. Tourists will be required to log-in at the Local Tourism desk, will be given a map and a quick briefing on spots you can visit in Guimaras – very helpful!)

11:00am – Early Lunch at a local restaurant

12-3pm – Island Tour: Navalas Church / Roca Encantadia (the ancestral home of the Lopezes) / Trappist Monastery / Guisi Lighthouse and Ruins

3:00pm – Check-in Rhaymen Beach Resort

3-5pm – Island Hopping – Natago Island, Baras Cave, Ave Maria Island

Day 3

5:00am – Wake up!

6:00am – Breakfast

7:00am – Leave resort and go to Alubihod Bay – Take Ferry to Ortiz Wharf (Iloilo)

-Then Ferry from Iloilo to Banago Port (Bacolod)

10:00am – Arrival in Bacolod

11;00am – The Ruins (more)

2:00PM – Balay Negrense   (more)

3:10pm – Airport

5:10pm – Departure

I wouldn’t really recommend the hotel where we stayed in Bacolod, it was creepy beyond creepy with footsteps and water leaking at 3am. So try to look for other cheap hotels, there are a lot 🙂 

Again, our IT looks hella packed jumping from one boat to the next but we live and thrive in those amazing race moments. Cheers to being young and agile. The boats leave the ports on time, usually every hour or two so be there 20-30 minutes before the hour turns to give you time to buy tickets and so you won’t have to run for your lives like we did. Yes, I was running with 11 kilos of Guimaras mangoes on my back since my 2 friends are tiny and I’m supposed to be the big girl. Haha! 🙂

Bacolod, well it has made a name of it’s own already for bringing us with delectable goodies satisfying our sweet tooth and delighting us with the crowd favorite, Chicken Inasal. The Ruins and Balay Negrense are also worth visiting for history freaks like me.

Guimaras, on the other hand, has a charm of its own, adding up to that is how it has risen from the oil spill tragedy a few years back. For ease of travel, we rented a multicab driven by our really nice and helpful kuya Nonong (mobile no: +639206146709 in case you want to contact him). Oh and by the way, do not leave without trying what we boast to be the sweetest mangoes in the world. 

Okay, enough stories, now the numbers airfare and food excluded. Being budget travelers that we are, we spent as conscientiously as possible:

Terminal Fee – Php400

Cab from Bacolod Airport to Downtown – Php400

Bacolod: Bascon Hotel – Php1000/night for 3 pax (no breakfast)

Cab to Banago Port – Php70

Weesam Ferry to Iloilo – Php480 round trip

Pedicab to Ortiz Wharf – Php 7/pax

JBC Ferry to Guimaras – Php13/pax

Roca Encantadia Entrance – Php50 (not worth it though ‘coz we went a time they were renovating so better ask before you go) 

Guisi Lighthouse – Php10/pax

Multicab Rental – Php2200 (includes Port-Resort roundtrip transfer/ Island Tour)

Guimaras: Rhaymen Beach Resort (+639185207271) – P730/night for 3 pax (no breakfast) 

Island Hopping Fee – Php550 for 2 hours

Cab Rental for Bacolod Tour (The Ruins and Balay) – Php700

The Ruins Entrance Fee – Php50

Balay Negrense Entrance Fee – Php40

Before you go, be sure to grab some “pasalubong” from Calea’s or Bongbongs 🙂

Some photos of the nice places we’ve visited:

Navalas Church Bell Tower

View from Guisi Lighthouse

Ask your boatman to dock in Baras Cave

The Ruins

That’s it. Go and enjoy!


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