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Bacolod City is the capital of the province of Negros Occidental, dubbed the "Sugarbowl of the Phillippines". Bacolod City provides a gateway to exploring the rest of the province, which is located in the Western Visayas region and produces half of the country's sugar crop. Bacolod is known as a clean, green and friendly city.
Bacolod lies in the northwestern part of Negros Occidental province. It is set in a sprawling 16,000 hectare coastal plain surrounded by sugarcane plantations, prawn farms and rice fields. Bacolod is bounded by the City of Talisay on the north, Mt. Marapara on the east, Guimaras strait on the west and Bago City on the south.
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The MassKara Festival is the city's most popular event, held for a week in October each year. First held in a time of great tragedy in Bacolod, the festival was designed as a cheerful "festival of smiles", reinforcing the city's reputation as the City of Smiles. During the festival, participants wear masks of smiling faces. The name is derived from the English word "mass" and the Spanish word for face, "cara".
Other major Philippine festivals are listed in the Events and Festivals in the Philippines section.
Bacolod has two pronounced seasons, wet and dry. The rainy season starts from May to January of the following year with heavy rains occur during the months of August and September. Dry season starts from the month of February up to the last week of April.
Philippine Airlines runs three flights from Manila each day. Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific Airways also have daily flights from Manila and Cebu. Check the Bacolod City website for a flight schedule.
There are no train services to Bacolod.
Bacolod City is approximately 3 hours from Iloilo City via Dumangas route. From Cebu City via Toledo City-San Carlos City-Salvador Benedicto-Murcia route, It is approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes. And by Cebu City via Tabuelan-Escalante City route, it is approximately 6 hours and 30 minutes.
There are bus trips to Bacolod from the rest of Negros Occidental regularly throughout the day.
Getting around the city by private car or taxi is quick and affordable. There are no problems with traffic jams at all because of the good road layout of the city. Around Bacolod the taxis have a flagdown rate of ₱40 and ₱3.50 for every 300 meters thereafter. Filipinos usually give the change as a tip but it is not mandatory, if the meter states ₱87.50, it's customary to give the entire ₱100.)
Bacolod's most famous culinary export is its barbecue chicken, Bacolod Chicken Inasal.
The Sylvia Manor is a boutique hotel located in the downtown area of Bacolod City near SM City and City Hall. It has 52 guestrooms for leisure and business travelers. The entire property has complimentary free wi-fi access.
There are a number of internet service providers nationwide: PLDT-Smart Communications, Globe Telecoms, BayanTel and Sun Cellular and each have their signal strengths in various locations. Internet access areas of broadband speeds are plentiful in city malls, much less so outside the cities, but are growing at a rapid pace. Internet surfing rates depend primarily on where you surf and the medium used (e.g. WiFi or wired). Internet services offered by hotels and shopping malls are expensive and can go up to ₱200/hour (approximately US$5) but neighbourhood cafes can be as cheap as ₱15/hour (approximately US$0.35).
Public place WiFi services in the Philippines is provided by Airborneaccess.net and WiZ is likely to cost ₱100 (approximately US$2) for up to an hour. But if you want cheaper, there is a internet cafe chain in SM malls called, "Netopia", that has a landline internet connection for around 20P an hour (about 0.46 US). Coffee shops as well as malls usually carry WiFi service some are free to use. Certain areas may also carry free WiFi. The SM chain of malls offer free wifi, so you can sit virtually anywhere in the mall and access free wireless.
See also International Telephone Calls
The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company commonly known as PLDT is the leading telecommunications provider. It is also the largest company in the country. There are three major companies operating GSM 900/1800 networks: Globe, Smart and Sun Cellular. Your home provider at home should have agreements with one of these providers so check with them before leaving home. Roaming may be quite expensive just as elsewhere however, pre-paid SIM cards of these networks are easy to acquire and cost as little as ₱30 and provide a cheaper alternative.
If you don't have a phone to begin with, a complete pre-paid kit with phone and SIM can be purchased for as little as ₱1,500.The usual cost of an international long-distance call to the United States, Europe or other major countries is $0.40 per minute. Local calls range from ₱ 6.50 per minute for prepaid calls.
Due to the wide use of mobile phones, pay phones are increasingly becoming obsolete. Some malls and public places still do have them and they usually come in either the coin or card operated variety. Globe and PLDT are the usual operators. Phone cards are usually sold by shops which sell cellphone pre-paid loads and cards. Note that phone cards of one company can not be used with the other company's card operated phones.
The Philippine Postal Corporation, or PhilPost, is the provides the postal service throughout the Philippines. PhilPost is pretty reliable, but one can hardly call it fast services. It is fine for sending postcards and letters though, both domestically as well as internationally. Prices for sending postcards or letters within the country start at around P7, while most international post costs at least P20. For sending parcels to and from the Philippines it might be wise to use companies like FedEx or UPS. The opening hours of post offices in the Philippines differ from one place to another. Usually, post offices are open from 8:00am to 12 noon and from 1:00pm to 5:00pm on weekdays. And for those that operate on Saturdays, the business hours are from 8:00am to 1:00pm.
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