Cebu To Bacolod Road Trip [Travel Report]

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Last December, we decided to spend some holiday in Bacolod. And the family went on another road trip again from Cebu to Bacolod. We were excited for this trip because of several reasons: food, de-stressing, road tripping itself – and DINOSAURS. If you want to know how to get from Cebu to Bacolod via Toledo and all about our time in Bacolod, read on!

If you’ve followed me on social media, you’ll know how much of a dinosaur lover Kai is. We know it’s a phase but it’s definitely a phase I’m enjoying more than the time he loved solar system. Dinosaurs are fascinating and I hope to write more about this, but in the meantime, I was and am still excited to share about his dinosaur adventure in Negros, particularly in Campuestohan Highland Resort. 

I’ll reserve the Dino Park experience in a separate post but here, you’ll find our travel report on our Cebu to Bacolod Family Road Trip.

Preparing For Cebu to Bacolod Road Trip  

Following our long road trip as a family in Dumaguete, we decided to head to Bacolod. We’ve been holding off on this trip because of typhoons. From October to December, there had been typhoons in the country so it’s hard to just travel easily without worrying.

We actually almost crossed the island to get to Negros in November but we had to postpone it because of the strong waves we observed at the ferry port. The coastguard may have given the go signal for destinations but we didn’t want to take the risk with our kid.

December had been busy but we managed to book a Saturday for our road trip to Bacolod. Initially, I was hesitant because 1) there’s another coming typhoon (on the day we’re going to leave from Bacolod) 2)I don’t want to stress out on holiday preparations. 

In the end, we did go for that road trip. And I’m glad we did.

Before you go…

Make sure the car is in tip-top condition to go for a long ride. Make sure you recently change the engine oil or had engine check-up, coolant is on the right level, tires are in good condition for long rides, and filled up gasoline.

Always remember to keep a tire gauge with you.

What To Bring?

It’s always the essentials for me. But don’t forget to bring the following:

  • Floaties for the pools
  • reusable water bottle (minimize plastic bottle use)
  • blanket scarf or blanket because it gets cold inside the car during long travels
  • sunblock – because you’ll be under the sun for a long time when you go explore Campuestohan
  • dry bag – when you go to Campuestohan and need to keep your things dry

What’s The Best Time to Leave On a Road Trip

Each time we go on a road trip, we always take the earliest departure. Coming from Lapu-Lapu, we know how bad traffic can get, so we always do our best to leave really early, around 4 or 5 a.m. Going on early drive is also super fun because there’s not a lot of cars during this time.

Cebu to Bacolod via Toledo, San Carlos and Don Salvador

We’ve gone this route many times before, during our Motorcycle adventures as a couple pre-Kai days. We always wish we had documented it better those times, but oh well. Anyway, the route you’re going to take when you go on a Cebu to Bacolod Road trip is via Toledo-San Carlos-Don Salvador.

Driving to Toledo Wharf will take you 2.5 hours tops – well, if you’re coming from Lapu-Lapu like us. If you’re from Cebu City, it should take you 1.5 hours.

The road ahead can be winding and a bit steep with a bit of road construction going on. When we drove by in November, road construction was ongoing and when we returned a month after, it hasn’t been completed. So I don’t know about its status at the time of this writing.

Cebu to Bacolod via Toledo – Ferry Schedule and Tickets 2020

Via Fastcat

We took this option as it had the earliest departure time of 4:30 a.m. I don’t know what happened then and why we weren’t able to get a ticket for that time, but we got on the 6:30 a.m. ferry instead. Kai was still asleep so it’s all good.

In our case, we paid 1,800 for sedan and two paid passengers (one free passenger). Below are the rates for passengers and vehicles bound for San Carlos from Toledo (As of Feb. 3,2020). Note that we paid lower because there was a discount that time.

It’s 8:30 in the morning when we reached San Carlos. It was a cool morning and a peaceful one. Ah. Love the vibe of the provincial life. Kai was already awake by then and we had this music on – just the perfect timing for Christmas, which was just 4 days away.

schedule for san-carlos to toledo and vice versa via FastCat ferry
Image source: Fast Cat official
passenger rates for toledo to san carlos via fast cat ferry | Cebu to Bacolod Road Trip
Image Source: Fast Cat Official
Fast Cat ferry freight rates | Cebu to Bacolod Road Trip
Image source: Fast Cat Official

Toledo to San Carlos

We didn’t make frequent stops along the way – after all, there’s nothing to stop for. I mean it’s all farm fields and lush forest all around us as we make our way to Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB)- exactly why I love Negros. We’re reserving our stops for DSB.

In the meantime, here are some green photos!

Don Salvador Benedicto Highway

This is definitely the much-loved DSB. We loved to stop here during our motorcycle days. It’s got a cool weather up here and getting here is an adventure, considering the really steep and winding roads. There are several resort stops but we didn’t bother stopping by.

I don’t know for now what those resorts can offer. But we did stop by for photos in some of them.

As we continued with our journey, more of these green scenes welcome you. Oh how I love Negros.

Oh, we didn’t have breakfast, yeah? But that’s because we brought food! Yep, I cooked adobo pork the night before we traveled and also brought bread and a choco spread, because I know when my boys go hungry. So we’re good for breakfast.

Hello Bacolod City!

Did I just miss taking a “Welcome to Bacolod” sign? Ugh! I hate when that happens. 

Oh well, we reached the city by 11 am something, perfect time to go for lunch!

And on to lunch! 

The famous and pricey Kansi from Sharyn’s. That was a delightful expensive meal and our cravings were satisfied. We’ll talk more about the Kansi later on.

Where to Stay in Bacolod 

There are many hotels in Bacolod that offer affordable room rates – it’s so affordable, I was surprised and so impressed. There we were again with a not-so organized travel because we didn’t know where to stay. 

We simply Googled hotels in Bacolod and we found many on the list, taking 15 minutes to browse for prices and reviews. In the end, we chose Bell Hotel and we couldn’t be any more impressed.

For a price of Php 1,800, we were able to book a hotel to stay in for two nights with free breakfast. Good deal? I say “awesome deal!” And we’re located in the city center with malls situated only minutes away and the famous Batchoy house only a walking distance away.

Welcome to Bell Hotel!

Overall, our stay in Bell hotel was superb. We love the ambiance, we love our room, we love how the staff is so friendly. The food served at the breakfast buffet was delicious!

Whenever you plan to visit Bacolod, don’t forget to consider Bell Hotel as your choice of hotel. I highly recommend it – affordable, friendly staff, and pleasant rooms. We plan to visit Bacolod again and we already know we’re going to stay here.

Our free breakfast buffet in Bell Hotel

What to do in Bacolod: Eat, Eat!

When in Bacolod, don’t forget to eat. It’s a great place for food trips. We love Bacolod for that reason. And when it comes to food –  don’t ever miss out on eating at The Super Batchoy House. If you love Batchoy – head to Bacolod (or Iloilo) – not in Cebu! Hahaha

Ilonggo batchoy is the bomb because this is where the noodle soup originated from – La Paz, Iloilo.

So, just a walking distance from Bell Hotel is Super Batchoy House – I guess I felt we were lucky that time. Here are photos of the batchoy and the menu:

Also, don’t forget to stop by Manokan Country for barbecues or inasal.  There are plenty of options but we ate at Aida’s Chicken and it’s great service and awesome food there, so go check them out.

And then there’s the famous Sharyn’s Kansi. Yessss… really, I wasn’t too happy about this food. I mean a bowl of Kansi costs P500 pesos. Wth?? This is what happens when your partner watches too much of Erwann Heusaff’s food blog. Come on mehn!

I understand it’s a delicacy and it’s a famous recipe in Bacolod, but really, I had Kansi before in Bacolod from other food shops and that tasted more than good enough but for a much lower price. And what’s more shocking is that we ended up eating at this restaurant twice. 

If you want Kansi experience, well maybe yes we’d recommend Sharyn. Don’t forget to order the beef tapa as well.

What to do in Bacolod: Visit The Ruins

When we went to The Ruins, it was closed. But it’s not like it’s our first time. We’ve been there before during pre-Kai days. If you like to take beautiful Instagrammable photos, then The Ruins is a great place. Personally, we don’t feel safe with a kid there because you have to get up the building, which doesn’t have protective railings.

The Ruins in Bacolod | Cebu to Bacolod Travel Report Road Trip

Other things to do in Bacolod

Obviously, we didn’t do enough research before going to Bacolod. We just wanted to take Kai to campuestohan and also eat batchoy. But there are so many awesome things to do in Bacolod. Check out the places you can visit in the list below:

  • Magikland
  • Villa Iska Beach Resort
  • Vintage Glasses Museum
  • Balay ni Tana Dicang
  • Negros Forests and Ecological Park
  • Pulang-Tubig Waterfalls

That’s it for this travel report on our Cebu to Bacolod road trip. Bacolod is definitely a wonderful place for the family. We know we’ll always come back here.

I’ll be back with our Campuestohan Highland Resort experience.

Campuestohan highland resort entrance
Blog post coming soon.