White beaches in the Phillippines are all the rage. And rightfully so. These are some of the best beaches in Bacolod that are highly Instagrammable and great destinations for things to do in the Phillippines.
The most well-known area for beach living in the Phillippines is Boracay. Welcome to Negros Occidental, where rugged mountains mesh with unspoiled beaches and stunning coral gardens echo the vibrancy of urban city life.
When it comes to Western Visayas, the Negros region is just as hip as our famed Boracay. To understand the Negros region, a short geography lesson is needed. Think of Negros in north and south terms when traveling but politically, the separation is different.
The region is split into two provinces divided by a central mountain range: Negros Occidental to the west and Negros Oriental to the east. Both the east and west have their fair share of gorgeous beaches, but the former is where we’ll be zoning in.
THE CITY OF SMILES
For beaches and tropical paradise, head to Negros Occidental. Its capital, Bacolod, is dubbed as the City of Smiles for its gregarious locals. For first time travelers, Bacolod’s appeal might be hard to see at first glance. It’s clogged with traffic and choked with people.
Save for a few highlights and attractions, things to explore are scarce but dig deeper and the city’s charm will surely unravel.
The capital was once a major hub of the country’s booming sugar industry, but today it generates local buzz for its delicious food and its convenience as a transport hub.
Bacolod is the home of the Philippines’ favorite chicken inasal (barbecued chicken marinated in calamansi, pepper, and coconut vinegar), as well as the location of the nationally famous Masskara Festival, held every fourth Sunday of October.
The capital boasts a few historic areas, several top-notch restaurants, and accessibility to Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park. If you take some time to reach its sprawling shore, you’ll be gifted with pristine beaches – most of which are unvisited and away from the crowds of more popular beach spots in the country.
Gorgeous coves, turquoise waters, sprawling sandbars, and jungle-fringed islands – for anyone with a taste for the tropical, Bacolod and Negros Occidental is a pure paradise.
For locals, beach living in Bacolod offers the beauty of the sea with the serenity of being in a remote location. Many expats have made these shores their home, and with good reason: beaches here are some of the best in the country.
Beaches in Bacolod are remarkably beautiful and unspoiled, but they’re not all that many. For more options, this list includes nearby beaches in the Negros Occidental region, all of which are accessible within a 5-hour drive.
BEST TIME TO VISIT BACOLOD BEACHES
It’s easier to explore Bacolod, check out its cultural sights, and jump from beach to beach when the skies are clear, so the best time to visit Bacolod would be around December to May.
It can get pretty hot during these months, so do not forget to lug around some refreshments, an umbrella, and lightweight clothing made for hot weather.
Throngs of tourists flock to the city to partake in the MassKara Festival celebrations, held every fourth Sunday of October. If you’re in it for the festivities, plan a visit around this time. If you’re looking for solitude, definitely avoid it.
Flights and hotels skyrocket during the festival month, so book earlier if you want to save.
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MAP OF BACOLOD CITY
Check out these different beaches and locations of Bacolod city worth visiting on your trip.
BEST BEACHES IN BACOLOD
A plethora of beaches, each with its draws, surround Bacolod. It’s all a matter of figuring out what you want to do and what you want to see.
No matter where you end up, you’re guaranteed to be on some of the best beaches in the Philippines.
Driving distance from Bacolod: 1 hour
Bound by the Visayan Sea to the north and surrounded by cities like Silay, Victorias, and Manapla, Cadiz is a 2nd class city that thrives on both agricultural and aquatic resources.
A large chunk of Cadiz is rural, an indication of the city’s leaning towards farming. Apart from having some of the best beaches in Bacolod, Cadiz is known for other things.
During January, the city is flocked by travelers who attend its most popular week-long event: the Dinagsa Festival – a street party that honors its patron saint.
There are a variety of local delicacies to try, but dried fish is where Cadiz Is great at.
Visit the city’s most popular white beach. Lakawon Island is a stunning white sand beach located around 3km from Cadiz city.
Here, Lakawon Island Resort, one of the best beach resorts near Bacolod City, manages your stay. For active travelers, there is a lot to do.
You can go snorkeling, ride a banana boat, pitch a tent for beach camping, or hobnob with fellow beach bodies at Asia’s largest floating bar – the TawHai Floating Bar.
If you’re itching to explore marine life, there are scuba diving packages available that include scuba lessons as well.
Where to stay?
- Best Luxury Hotel: Park Inn By Radisson Bacolod
- Best Mid-Range Hotel: Lakawon Island Resort
- Best Budget Hotel: Windy Willows Highlanders
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Driving distance from Bacolod:: 2 hours
With a tourism slogan that reads: “Sagay City: where love for nature begins”, this summer destination in Negros Occidental has embraced a new eco-tourism branding.
Around 32,000 hectares of the city’s marine territory were put under protection by the Philippine government in 1995 and was then named Sagay Marine Reserve.
Today, Sagay’s islands and waters are teeming with life. If you’re looking for the best things to do in Bacolod, a stop at Sagay city will leave plenty to include in your itinerary.
See a thriving marine reserve. Sagay’s sprawling marine reserve includes Maca Reef, Carbin Reef, Maca Shoal, and Panal Reef.
There are over 500 hectares of mangroves (100 hectares of which are reforested), 33 mangrove species, 100 seagrass species, 60 genera of soft and hard corals, 4 marine turtle species, and 5 species of sea cows.
Snorkel at Carbin Reef. With a gorgeous sand bar and crystal clear turquoise waters, Carbin Reef is one of the best white beaches in Bacolod. You don’t need to dive into the waters to spy on marine life, just snorkeling will grant you impressive views of corals and gigantic clamshells.
TIP: underwater currents can be strong, so we advise that you get a guide if you intend to snorkel.
Try out the catch of the day. After you’re done exploring the reefs, go grab something to eat on Molocaboc Island, a fishing community in Sagay.
Thick mangrove forests and thriving marine life guarantee a fresh catch. Visit nearby carinderias and try out the catch of the day. Check out these hot springs near Manila.
Where to stay?
- Best Luxury Hotel: La Vista highlands Mountain Resort
- Best Mid-Range Hotel: Acacia Hotel Bacolod
- Best Budget Hotel: Mahogany Tourist Inn
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Driving distance from Bacolod: 3 hours from Bacolod
Located in the southern area of Negros Occidental, Cauayan draws in tourists because of its picturesque beaches, most particularly Punta Bulata.
This stunning white beach features a gorgeous stretch of white sand, crystal clear shallow waters, bountiful marine life, and a breathtaking view of the Sulu Sea.
It’s a 20-minute boat ride from Danjugan Island Marine Reserve and a 20-minute drive from Sipalay. Snorkel or dive into its waters and marvel at pristine coral reefs, bountiful marine life, and a WWII shipwreck surrounded by vibrant fish.
The resort offers several dive sites in both Cauayan and Sipalay where you can explore caves, reefs, try sheer wall diving, go critter hunting, explore an abandoned pier, or try fluro night diving. Scared of deep waters?
The resort offers kayak and fishing tours as well.
Where to stay?
- Best Luxury Hotel: Punta Bulayta White Beach Resort & Spa
- Best Mid-Range Hotel: Jamont Hotel
- Best Budget Hotel: Gold Berry Lite Hotel
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4. Danjugan Island
Driving distance from Bacolod: 5 hours
Looking for the best beaches in Bacolod? Danjugan is a 43-hectare swath of protected rainforest privately managed by the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation.
This gorgeous paradise was on the brink of destruction during the 1990s, but with thorough conservation efforts, it was protected and brought back to life. Fishing is not allowed here and everything runs on solar-powered energy.
A note for first-timers: visits are pre-arranged and all tourists must go through a short briefing to learn about the island’s history and its do’s and don’ts.
Appreciate wildlife. Danjugan Island is a wildlife-lovers dream. On land and air, there are around 72 species of birds including Tabon scrub fowls and sea eagles, 10 species of bats, and various species of snakes and coconut crabs.
As a marine reserve, the waters thrive with life. Around 244 species of corals provide shelter to around 579 species of fish. You don’t need to dive to see them; the waters are so clear you can spy on creatures and corals while you’re snorkeling.
Once you’re done exploring the underseas, there are plenty of other places to go to. Traipse around the island to find five lagoons, all of which are very easy to explore and harbor a plethora of fish and corals.
Where to stay?
- Best Luxury Hotel: Punta Bulayta White Beach Resort & Spa
- Best Mid-Range Hotel: Takatuka Beach Resort
- Best Budget Hotel: Nabulao Beach and Dive Resort
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Driving distance from Bacolod: 4 hours
With stunning topography and a variety of gorgeous natural attractions, Sipalay is a destination for sun-lovers and anyone looking for the perfect Instagram shot. The city, a mixture of urban skyscrapers and verdant forests, lies on the southern part of Negros Occidental.
Here, a variety of natural attractions beckon travelers to constantly explore. Pristine beaches, springs, rivers, caves, waterfalls, and limestone islets elevate Sipalay to be one of the most popular destinations in Negros Occidental.
Go Beach-hopping. When it comes to beaches, Sipalay does not disappoint. Home to vibrant reefs and a plethora of marine animals, Sipalay’s waters lure in a throng of divers and snorkelers during the summer months.
If you’re aiming to beach hop, there are plenty to choose from: Punta Ballo Beach, Campomanes Beach, Nuahang Beach, Miami Beach, and one of the most popular beaches in Bacolod: Sugar Beach.
Try diving. You’ll find a variety of island hopping operators in the area with their menu of islands to visit – a great thing to consider when you’re pressed for time.
Freedivers and snorkelers will find 44 dive sites around Sipalay managed by various dive operators. There are other hidden coves and beaches if you take your time to tread the road less traveled.
Where to stay?
- Best Luxury Hotel: Easy Diving and Beach Resort
- Best Mid-Range Hotel: Big Bamboo Beach Resort Sipalay
- Best Budget Hotel: C View Resort
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Driving distance from Bacolod:: 4 hours
For travelers visiting Negros Occidental, Hinoba-an is a lesser-known and less frequented destination. Tourists most often pick Sipalay, its next-door neighbor, for beach-hopping and water adventures.
Unpopular as it may seem, the sights and attractions are worth the visit. And since you’re away from the usual throngs of people, you can have most of the beaches all to yourself!
Explore the Obong Caves. Hinoba-an town features two caves with distinctive features.
One is wet while the other is dry. Both caves face the Sulu Sea and were once the hideout of Captain Jesus Villamor, a decorated Filipino officer who assisted General Douglas MacArthur in Australia during World War II.
Today, the Obong Caves are popular for snorkeling and scuba diving, as they provide spectacular underwater sceneries.
Sunbathe on your choice of beaches. Pook beach is a palm-fringed escape that offers a variety of beach-front hotels surrounded by paradise-like environs. Here, you can enjoy a phenomenal sunset and explore the crystal clear Sulu sea where you can take a dip or kayak.
Asia beach and its neighboring fish port offer breathtaking coral reefs and a host of marine life. Bolila Island is another popular option.
With an elevation of 7 meters, this island is surrounded by marine sanctuaries, making it a popular spot for snorkeling, swimming, and diving.
The city of Bacolod may be too gritty for travelers looking for a break away from urban life, but if you venture to the edges where the shore meets the sea, you’re in for a spectacular treat.
Stunning beaches, gorgeous protected reserves, and abundant wildlife promise an unforgettable vacation for adventurers looking for a tropical paradise.
What are your favorite beaches in Bacolod? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
Where to stay?
- Best Luxury Hotel: Nabulao Beach and Dive Resort
- Best Mid-Range Hotel: Buenaventura Beachresort
- Best Budget Hotel: Brazaville Beach Resort