The City of Bacolod is a major tourism destination in the Province of Negros Occidental in Western Visayas, a cluster of islands at the heart of the Philippine Archipelago. The biggest tourism asset of the city is the friendly and genuinely hospitable people, whose lilting Ilonggo dialect coupled with their winsome smiles have made Bacolod famous as the CITY OF SMILES.
Other than being known as such, Bacolod is also famous as MassKara Festival City because of the world-renown MassKara Festival which the city holds every October, specifically on the 3rd and 4th Sunday of the month where bright colored costumed dancers with with dazzling smiling masks dance and gyrate in the city’s major streets.
Visitors accommodation, excellent professional service, gourmet food and modern facilities have contributed greatly to making tourism a dynamic industry in the city. There has been a rapid growth in visitors’ accommodation over the last 7 years. In 2004 there were only 1,612 rooms. Now in 2011 Bacolod hotel rooms have burgeoned into 2,732 rooms including the l06 room hotel and 58 room inns now in their completion stage.
Bacolod as a tourist destination attracts special kinds of tourists, mostly the business tourists, prospective investors, the educational tour groups, local government units that come to observe/study the city’s practices in good governance which has earned for Bacolod major national, regional and international awards.
The city cashes in on the business potentials it offers to investors such as those in the business process outsourcing (BPO’s), its convention facilities and amenities for business events such as those of the M.I.C.E. or (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions market, the heritage, lifestyle and cuisine it offers especially for the leisure seekers. Being a highly urbanized city, Bacolod serves as a point of entry for the adventure tourists who prefer the outskirts and challenges of natural attractions such as lakes, mountains, rivers or deep sea diving.
Heritage or historical and tourist landmarks of the city includes few old or antillan homes, the l35-year old San Sebastian Cathedral, the modern aesthetically designed churches, the world-class gifts and housewares of the Negros Showroom, gourmet restaurants for the best of Bacolod cuisine and the famous food trademark-the Bacolod chicken “inasal.”
An addition to the attractions of Bacolod as a tourist destination is the BACOLAODIAT which is coined from the word “Bacolod” and the Chinese word “laodiat” for celebration. It is held every Chinese New Year to celebrate the long-time fusion of Chinese and Filipino culture. This is a joint project of the City of Bacolod and the Chinoy Foundation compolsed of several Chinese organizations in Negros Occidental.