Yesterday evening, my parents told me that I will be on a minimum budget on my trip to Bacólod for we just payed a lot of dues and payments recently. For a person who loves the fanciest of food and places, this is a big dilemma. Rather than be discouraged and turn the trip sour, I took this as a challenge rather than as a disappointment. After all, I should already be earning my own trip budget, right? My Dad accompanied me to NAIA Terminal 3 for my early morning flight to Bacólod. A lot of changes have been in place since I last took Cebú Pacific with domestic check ins are regardless of the place of arrival. My last encounter with Terminal 3 was last year when I took AirPhil Express back from Christmas vacation. What I like about Terminal 3 is that it is a fulfillment of my one wish for the Philippines, a mall-like terminal.
From a handful of shops, the terminal is beginning to be filled with more stores. I’ve seen Nike, Sanük, Crocs and even Jollibee on the fastfood side. The looks of the terminal reminds me more of a mall than a airport terminal complex with people sleeping on the floor. One good feedback about this terminal is that it is completely “sleepable” with a number of comfortable corners for one to sleep on. For me though, I did sleep but talked with my Dad and took pictures until it was time for me to enter for boarding. I am a frequent air traveler and for the language of some, a jetsetter who is knowledgeable of a flight’s twist and turns. However, being a writer and traveler, one should be open to new experiences. It is only now that I appreciate an early morning flight with a wonderful window scenery just before sunrise.
I arrived in Bacólod-Silay International Airport with the sun high up in the sky. What I love about this airport is the scenery of sugarcane fields around the airport vicinity,with fresh air blowing on my face. Spoiler though is the fact that Cebú Pacific did not use the aerobridge even if it was available. The only advantage of actually going down on the tarmac is that you’d have a chance to take a picture of the terminal from the frontside. This terminal is one of the newest and most picturesque of all airports recently upgraded. Even when built in over a million capacity, the terminal has already exceeded capacity. In just under three years of operation, the terminal already needs to be expanded. News has it recently that the 2,000m runway will have a 500m extension to accomodate larger aircraft. What for? Bacólod-Silay International Airport is the closest alternative gateway in an event of mishaps in Mactan-Cebú International Airport, the main international gateway in the Visayas. Could it be possible that this is also in the prelude of welcoming international flights? Very much possible especially that foreigners are streaming to the province by the thousands and the tourist rates exceeding a million visitors yearly.
My Low Budget challenge starts here as I wait for a ride going to Bacólod City. I had two options: spend P35 with an airconditioned commuter; or ride a tricycle down to the City Center of Silay (P10), take a jeep to the Bacólod North Terminal (P15) and another jeep to the Mansilingan jeepney waiting area (P8). Thinking that it would be cost and time saving with the aircon one, I went for it but to my surprise that they charged us P50 for going out of the airport even if they picked passengers to the brim on the way near the airport. Even with some setbacks, I love being in my hometown with its calm atmosphere and a sense of being laid back. In the words of a friend who has fallen in love with the metropolitan city, Bacólod is laidback but very much modern with modern facilities and amenities just within arms’ reach.
The Provincial Capitol of Occidental Negros is a welcome sight to behold in the middle of a busy business center. This historical structure has been tagged as the most beautiful provincial capitol of its time that inspired other structures. Even at present, the provincial capitol is an enduring symbol of Negrénses’ culture of artistic beauty and sophistication. Months ago, Ayala Land, Inc. bared plans on building a mall, hotel and convention complex just behind the historic provincial capitol. Also included in the list is revitalizing the Provincial Lagoon from its inspiring state to a mix of historical heritage and modern twists. Whatever thoughts I have on this, it is best to think 0r talk about it in a coffee shop, where the social media in the province had its first roots. I left Manila without having to eat breakfast so I thought of going to a nice coffee shop.
Before being tempted of going to Starbucks in Lacson Street, I reminded myself of my challenge, should be a low budget but good place to feature. I just had something on my mind and so I headed directly to Libertad Market. Along the way, I took a snap of the Bacólod Cathedral, also known as the San Sebastian Cathedral, the spiritual seat of the Roman Catholic Church in Bacólod with the prevailing areas of the Third and Fourth Legislative Districts included. The streets were clear of people except in the areas where schools, colleges and universities are. In fact, most restaurants I know are still closed at that moment. I arrived at my destination. Where it is? Stay tuned for my next article on the weekend-long Bacólod On Low Budget series here in RepúblicaNegrénse.com.