Ceres-Negros supporter and Ultras Filipinas member, Jan Eleven Gozon, also provided inputs in this writeup.
Bacolod has a lot to offer for a generic tourist, there are The Ruins, Capitol Park and New Government Center as some points of interest. For a gastronomic experience, one can check out bakeshops and cafes like Calea, and food havens like Manokan Country, Diotay’s eatery, and many others. But here are the places to not miss out in Bacolod if you are a BIG football fan.
NOTE: This is not a paid promotion or advertisement of sorts but a fan service for football followers who happen to be in Bacolod – The City of Smiles – and want to have a football-centric tour of the city that is outside the realm of the usual tourist activities.
For pickup games [natural pitch]: Sta. Maria Football Field
Itching to play on the pitch with your mates? Then head over to Sta. Maria Football field in nearby Talisay City which has a natural grass surface. With its location just beside The Ruins, which is a very famous [never-miss] tourist attraction and along the way to Bacolod-Silay airport, it’s a very convenient spot to have that game of football.
Sta. Maria Football Field is located in Talisay, Negros Occidental beside The Ruins. Book a ride via Grab to reach the place.
Pickup games [Futsal]: Juan Multipurpose Gym
If one prefers the convenience and much better practicality [for tourists] of a futsal game instead, one can go to go to Juan Multipurpose Gym. Located right along Lacson Street, it is conveniently located in the commercial area where several hotels are located.
Juan Multipurpose Gym is at 22 Lacson Street Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.
A football themed cafe? Head to “El Fanatico”
When it comes to a football-themed cafe, there is only one place to visit in Bacolod: El Fanatico Coffee Shack. Founded and owned by Ceres-Negros’ super-fan, Jan Gozon, the place just lives and breathes football with a bunch of memorabilia displayed from different clubs, both local and abroad. Of course, their coffee there is a must try to perk you up throughout the day.
If you feel like it and are in a generous mood, you may bring extra club or country memorabilia to be given as token to Jan, which he will happily add to the display as part of the ever growing represented clubs and national teams in the cafe’s walls.
El Fanatico is located at Block 5, Brgy. Bata, Bacolod City. You may checkout their Facebook page for store hours and other updates for the day. It can also be reached by booking a ride via Grab.
Enjoy good food while watching your favorite club? Hat Trick Sports Grill
You still have a day or two left in Bacolod and it will coincide with a crucial match of your beloved club? Worry not, because there’s Hat Trick Sports Grill – the only place to go to in Bacolod to enjoy football with food. Whether it’s La Liga, Premier League, the Champions League, or the FIFA World Cup, if there’s a big match, Hat Trick will most likely have that on their screens!
Hat Trick Sports Grill is located at The Marketplace, Circumferential Road Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
Watch a big match: Panaad Park and Stadium
If you are a football fan and visiting Bacolod, there’s no doubt the main reason why you are in the city – to catch the big match in Panaad Stadium. The home of Ceres-Negros FC, and even The Azkals, Panaad has seen many monumental matches in football and it has already become an iconic and historic site in the “City of Smiles” due to the international footballing events that it hosted [AFC Cup, AFC Champions League qualifiers and AFF Suzuki Cup].
Panaad Park and Stadium is located at Panaad Access Road, Bacolod, 6100 Negros Occidental.
Whether you are in Bacolod as a home fan, or a visiting away supporter, the places mentioned are definitely some that must not be missed in the city as a football fan for a unique experience in a country where the sport is still in its growing phase.
Photo credits: Rommel Baylon Concepcion, El Fanatico Coffee Shack, Hat Trick Sports Grill, Juan Multipurpose Gym