A Weekend Get-Away to Lakawon Island and Bacolod

Any reason to go is a reason.

Well, sometimes I just have to. But this time, it was valid. I was just totally drained mentally, coupled with disturbing dreams of proving Geometry and a howling Oreo at 3.am. When my overactive imagination ventured into the land of monsters plus angles congruency,  I knew it was time to take a break, even just for the weekend.

Bacolod would probably be far from my list of places to visit. Regarding tourism, there isn’t much that I am interested in. But there is certainly a redeeming side; a nearby small beach island, Lakawon, and food. It also had the cheapest flight that weekend. A and I decided, it was not so much the place this time but rather just to be away from Cebu. I also wanted to check this new floating bar, Tawhai, and it happens to be located on the island too.

Upon arrival in Bacolod, we left our things in the hotel and headed out to the New Bacolod North Bus Terminal, where we boarded an A/C bus heading to Cadiz. We asked the conductor that we wanted to get off at the corner of Martesan. From there we rode a  tricycle to Viejo port, our jump-off point to the island. We paid the necessary payments for the boat and the entrance fee to the island. The list of prices and fees are listed down.

Lakawon Island

 

Upon arrival at the island, we were ushered to the reception area where at first, we opted to pay only for the entrance to the floating bar. We planned to do some swimming before boarding the bar, but it was low tide and even when we walked a bit far, it was nearly impossible for us to swim, so we ended up lying down just to wet ourselves.

We waited for the water to rise but it took its time. So I set aside my miserly ways and paid for the open cottage. While paying, we asked permission to use some of the bean/banana bags lying around that no one seemed to be using. The girl without hesitation said yes. I signaled to A that it was okay to get the two bean bags, but he was stopped by the security. They made their way to the reception area, probably to clarify, where the woman at the reception again, gave us the permission but the guy on the other reception table interrupted and vehemently stated that it is it not allowed.

Well, it was not much of a problem, we had our cottage, after all. However, when we walked out of there, he wasn’t finished with his ramblings, and condescendingly repeated twice, in a singsong voice, his parting shot that, “The beanbags should remain where they are, at our line of sight.”

I didn’t really see the point why it has to be repeated, after all, we did not even insist. So it was not allowed, then it was not allowed. That was all right with us. I just found that a bit rude and annoying.

A simple “No” would have sufficed. I could understand, the guy probably thought we would drag the bean/banana bags all the way to Bacolod, and heaven forbids all the way to Cebu. And of course, carrying these bags all the way to our cottage would probably ruin them as opposed to “keep them intact” by keeping them in their line of sight. Their line of view, definitely ensures that no one will be using them. First, it was scorching hot. Even I, who love the sun, could not stay there for more than five minutes. I understand the reasoning behind, though. If no one uses them, they will maintain their quality, after all, most of them were laid out in the open, under the heat of the sun probably rained on from time to time. I’m sure they would last for a long time. Okay, enough with the scathing sarcasm.

But I must say, the bean bags certainly look colorful. I like them. In fact, we were thinking of getting some (of course not from the island), buy, I meant.

The people at the bar and the restaurant were helpful and polite. Don’t get me wrong, some people at the reception area when we first arrived were also oozing friendliness. So it was one of those, “don’t let one bad apple ruin the whole barrel” adage.

Tawhai floating Bar

It is certainly something fresh. If you’re not scared, or if you know how to swim, jumping off from the boat is an exciting option. Other than that, there is nothing much to do except to chill and have a glass of juice or a glass of margarita. I was just a bit miffed I did not carry a book. I suggest you bring something to do or bring a book. A, on the other hand, was having a fun time diving into the water and teasing me by dancing in there. Note: I must learn how to swim. I am missing a lot.

Somebody asked me in IG to rate Lakawon. I suck at rating something, besides, liking an island is subjective, and it depends on what exactly you like. I’ve been to a lot of the islands in the Philippines, and comparing Lakawon to them would be unfair. So I would let the pictures speak for the place, and they are unfiltered.

For me, Lakawon has its particular allure. I’ve enjoyed some parts, but like any other islands, there is always room for improvement.

The island due to some construction was quite noisy. And during low tide, it’s nearly impossible to swim, since the water is just below the knee-deep unless you crawl. But at high tide, there would probably be no problem. It has its potential once all the constructions are done. Although the water is green and not blue, it is clear. It didn’t seem to bother many people that they could not swim. Some were just there taking some pictures and just plain having an excellent time with friends. But I wanted to swim or waddle, so I was a bit disappointed. All in all, though, I’m glad I went there.

  • Pass here

                                    Cost of Traveling for Lakawon (Per Person) as of Oct 8, 2016

A/C bus (one way)  to Martesan P95
Tricycle     (minimum)  P30-P40
Pumpboat (Roundtrip), entrance fee and others P270  but we paid P320 because our boat carried only six people
Entrance to Tawhai Floating Bar (plus one complimentary drink)  P250
Open cottage (not  needed, just stay at the bar) P600

Bacolod

Bacolod looked familiar, with all the sugarcane along the road, it felt like being in Negros Oriental. Some similarities but there are also a lot of differences. Bacolod is much more productive than my hometown. A said, it reminds him of Cebu but the less busy counterpart, with kinder taxi drivers and bigger vehicles. Yes, taxis. We tried to find a place to rent a motorcycle but there is none, plus renting a car is too expensive. There are plenty of jeepneys available. However, I had to compromise.

A is not into jeepneys. Upon checking trip advisor for places to see in Bacolod, I haven’t seen much that caught my fancy. I’m not really into water parks or museums. But I was interested to see The Ruins and of course to sample the food that Bacolod has to offer.

The Ruins

We used Grab Taxi going to The Ruins, where the driver asked us to pay P300. We refused and asked him to used the meter. He grumbled a bit, but not much. The meter only cost us around P180. We did not ask him to wait. We were not certain if we made the right decision. It was hard to find a taxi for sure around that area. A told me, not to worry, that we would be able to go back in time for our flight. It probably would take us 4 hours of walking. That worried me for a bit. But alas, no problem, there are plenty of tricycles, waiting outside, that will take you to the terminal for P50 each.

Food

For the food, you must check the Pala-Pala market where you can buy raw seafood. Then, choose among the small restaurants along the side of the road, to cook what you buy, in any recipe you want. Don’t also forget to check out the Manokan country with their barbecued native chicken and the chicken oil that you pour over your rice. It was a pleasant, delicious surprise.

I’m afraid that we didn’t do a lot in Bacolod. Some parts of our days and nights in Bacolod were spent doing things that we are too busy to do in Cebu together: chill in a coffee shop, underhandedly convince A to ride a jeepney and watch a movie.

  • At the entrance

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