Run & Learn – Bacolod

Japan Foundation has made a set of guides to southeast Asia called Run & Learn which includes a guide to The Philippines. I was fortunate enough to be asked to photograph the section for the city of Bacolod.

Run and Learn Cover

It was my first time in the city, but I’ve heard so many great things about it. Here are some of the places we featured:

1. Daku Balay. It has an art deco design with details of a majestic boat.

Run&Learn_Bacolod_daku_balay_jarconcengco_04Run&Learn_Bacolod_balay_daku_jarconcengco_06  Run&Learn_Bacolod_balay_daku_jarconcengco_08

The builder came from humble beginnings as a sugarcane farmer and he etched his story on the walls:Run&Learn_Bacolod_daku_balay_jarconcengco_01

This BTS shot was taken by Agnes (thank you!):


Little unexpected details like this were scattered around:Run&Learn_Bacolod_daku_balay_jarconcengco_03

The granddaughter of the builder, Lilia Villanueva, now takes care of the property. Run&Learn_Bacolod_balay_daku_jarconcengco_07

2. Fresh Start Organic & Natural Store & Café – known for their smoothies and homemade piaya.Run&Learn_Bacolod_fresh_start_jarconcengco_02Run&Learn_Bacolod_fresh_start_jarconcengco_03Run&Learn_Bacolod_fresh_start_jarconcengco_04

Piaya is usually a flatbread filled with muscovado sugar. Fresh start has several interesting types of fillings.


This smoothie has moringa (malunggay) leaves in it making it fresh and healthy.


They also sell organic products you can take home.


3. Art District and Gallery Orange – A popular hangout for the youth and artists. You can find art in every corner here. It’s pretty lively at night.

Run&Learn_Bacolod_gallery_orange_jarconcengco_01 Run&Learn_Bacolod_gallery_orange_jarconcengco_02 Run&Learn_Bacolod_gallery_orange_jarconcengco_07Run&Learn_Bacolod_gallery_orange_jarconcengco_05Run&Learn_Bacolod_gallery_orange_jarconcengco_06Run&Learn_Bacolod_gallery_orange_jarconcengco_03 Run&Learn_Bacolod_gallery_orange_jarconcengco_04

4. House of Frida – Found near the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod is a fresh art gallery.Run&Learn_Bacolod_house_of_frida_jarconcengco_01

5. Manokan Country – Stalls and stalls selling what Bacolod is known for: Chicken Insasal. Run&Learn_Bacolod_manokan_country_jarconcengco_01 Run&Learn_Bacolod_manokan_country_jarconcengco_02 Run&Learn_Bacolod_manokan_country_jarconcengco_03 Run&Learn_Bacolod_manokan_country_jarconcengco_04

6. Museo Negrense – a museum inside the University that holds some of the oldest religious items in the region. They also have an extensive collection of textiles from all over the world.

Run&Learn_Bacolod_museo_negrense_jarconcengco_01 Run&Learn_Bacolod_museo_negrense_jarconcengco_02 Run&Learn_Bacolod_museo_negrense_jarconcengco_03 Run&Learn_Bacolod_museo_negrense_jarconcengco_04 Run&Learn_Bacolod_museo_negrense_jarconcengco_05

7. Negros Farmers Weekend Market – Local farmers sell their harvests and sell food. There’s a retired couple that sell takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and ramen. Even some of the Bacolod natives I was with didn’t know about this market.

These are takoyaki balls:


The Japanese pancake filled with cabbage – okonimiyaki.Run&Learn_Bacolod_negros_famers_weekend_market_jarconcengco_02 Run&Learn_Bacolod_negros_famers_weekend_market_jarconcengco_03

The retired Japanese couple who have settled in Bacolod: Run&Learn_Bacolod_negros_famers_weekend_market_jarconcengco_04 Run&Learn_Bacolod_negros_famers_weekend_market_jarconcengco_05 Run&Learn_Bacolod_negros_famers_weekend_market_jarconcengco_06

8. 21 Restaurant – This restaurant serves Bacolod’s version of Batchoy which shouldn’t be missed. Locals love eating it in the afternoon as a snack before dinner. Word has it that the restaurant runs out of this when dinnertime arrives.


9. Chapel of St. Joseph the Worker – This chapel in the north of Bacolod has a mural by Ossorio depicting a Christ like no other. In the airport and in some books, I see that they also refer to this place as The Church of the Angry Christ.


10. The Ruins – An iconic landmark of Bacolod (even though it is often argued to be located in Talisay) which has a rich history. It has a different aura in the evening so it’s advisable to see it right before sunset so you can stay and see it transform.

Run&Learn_Bacolod_the_ruins_jarconcengco_01 Run&Learn_Bacolod_the_ruins_jarconcengco_02 Run&Learn_Bacolod_the_ruins_jarconcengco_03

Me with Raymund Javellana who runs his ancestral home The Ruins. IMG_8513

A big thank you to Japan Foundation for the opportunity and the city of Bacolod for the smiles!

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