The City of Smiles, the land of opportunities
If you’re looking for happiness in the Philippines, many would immediately direct you to the land of Bacolod. Known as the “City of Smiles,” this northwestern city on the island of Negros is famous for its cheerful people, mouthwatering delicacies and colorful MassKara Festival. This sunny Visayan city is also a tourist’s haven because of its historical landmarks and natural wonders. A trip to this place would almost always be one that you’ll enjoy immensely.
In recent years, the people of Bacolod have been blessed with more reasons to smile about. While the city continues to preserve many of its heritage structures and natural sceneries, Bacolod has gradually become more urbanized and progressive. It is an emerging powerhouse in terms of economic activities. Besides tourism and festivals, the City of Smiles now has a lot more to offer its people.
If you’re thinking of relocating to the Visayas in the near future, here are some more reasons why Bacolod ought to be on the top of your list of possible home sites.
A healthy mix of old and new
Negros Island is known for its majestic heritage houses and buildings. Bacolod, its largest settlement, offers a multitude of these. Some of the more popular ones are the Gaston Ancestral House, the San Sebastian Cathedral and The Ruins in the adjacent city of Talisay. A walk through the city markets and plazas would also provide you with eye-catching visuals of Art Deco buildings, such as the Daku Balay house built in 1936. These built structures from long ago are mostly well-maintained and preserved, giving the city a historically rich character.
The city, however, also has its offerings of new developments. Its local government has four mega-projects planned in the next few years. These are the Bacolod City Coliseum, the Masskara Museum-Auditorium, the Bacolod City Southbound Terminal and the Bacolod Negros Occidental Economic Highway. While construction of these projects have been pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia ensures that these landmarks will certainly proceed.
This healthy mix of new and old structures provides varied surroundings in Bacolod. While the city pays homage to its vibrant past, new projects help make it move toward a progressive future.
Haven of BPO companies
Last year in July, Bacolod was declared among the top “Center of Excellence” for information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). It has held this accolade since 2013, a testament to the city’s consistent delivery of quality in terms of manpower and infrastructure.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this distinction provides a ray of hope for the city. It assures citizens and investors that the city continues to do its best to serve businesses well, despite the challenges of COVID-19. Currently, 20 BPO companies provide 35,000 jobs in the city and are part of the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for Information and Communications Technology (BNEFIT). This group helps push the development of talent in the city, as it continuously offers training workshops in creative industries such as animation and game development.
Effective greening program
For those who value the balance between a healthy environment and an urban lifestyle, Bacolod is your ideal home. Amid its urbanization projects, the city launched a five-year Urban Greening Program in 2018. This government-led initiative aims to convert idle lands in various barangays in the area into seedling nurseries, aquaculture sites and other green spaces. Moreover, the project aims to plant a million new trees, to establish a park in all 61 barangays of Bacolod, and to plant different flora in riverbanks and roads in the city.
Recently, the project has caught the eye of the World Bank (WB) Group. The WB pledged to provide technical assistance to ensure the project’s completion as part of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery program. With this partnership, Bacolod will be enabled to implement more sustainable practices to ensure the healthy growth of the city following green design principles.
A bright future in Bacolod
If you’re looking to resettle outside Metro Manila and start anew, Bacolod is the place to be. The city offers rich culture, new developments, numerous job opportunities and a green environment. It is an ideal place to start a new career or even a new family.
Head on to Bacolod to see the wonders the city has in store for you. You’ll definitely find happiness in the City of Smiles—if not in its offerings of a better life, at least in its tantalizing plate of chicken inasal.
Ninya Regalado, Ceslou and NegrosSniper via Wikimedia Commons, www.nicp.org.ph, https://dnx.news, www.bacolodcity.gov.ph