After an overnight trip in Balesin, our next stop was Lakawon.
Lakawon is an island off the coast of Cadiz in the northern portion of Negros Occidental. I always had to remind myself that it is not in Bacolod, and that Bacolod-Silay Airport is just the quickest way to get to the island.
With almost no sleep at all, we traveled from Manila to Bacolod on the earliest flight of Cebu Pacific, which is 4am. Wait. Have I mentioned that this is the first time that Darel and I traveled alone together in our 3 year relationship? Yup! All our previous trips are always either with friends or family.
I love early morning flights except for the waking up early part. Haha. We left Manila with a good weather on June 3, which was before the stressful heavy rain episodes experienced in the city for a couple of weeks.
This guy asked for a blanket on a local flight. Hahaha! Uhm, backpacking local lang po tayo sir ano? Like an hour and a half hours lang. Haha. But it was really cold inside the plane. Actually, nasakin kasi talaga jacket nya. :p
We arrived in Bacolod-Silay Airport at sunrise, and because we had no arranged transpo to get to Lakawon, we had to brave the commute going there (As if it’s still new to me. Haha! I’ve been doing that for the past 2 yrs of backpacking trips). We hopped in a van (50php each — there’s a terminal at the airport) and asked the driver to drop us where we can ride a bus headed to Martesan Terminal. It didn’t take long for us to be dropped off at the hi-way where there’s another van going somewhere in Northern Negros. For 100 pesos each and an estimated time of 30 minutes, we arrived at Martesan Terminal and took a tricycle (120php) to Cadiz Viejo Port.
It was a 10-15 minutes travel to get to the port. I can feel the cold wind on my face while watching the fields and mountain on the side of the road. It made me realize that we are indeed in the province.
There’s a Lakawon satellite office right beside the Cadiz Viejo Tricycle Terminal. And let me tell you that it is the most organized boat transfer I’ve experienced to get to another “small” island.
Here’s a photo of Darel filling up the details needed (in a computer — good job for making use of technology haha), and a ticket will be printed before paying at the cashier.
You will also be given a cash card which you need to load up (you can keep it even after you check-out) and was reminded that refunds for the unused amount in the card are only possible in the island office. So if you forgot to have a refund before leaving the island, the satellite office can’t do that for you. We decided to put in a small amount first and just reloaded in the island.
The boat ride comes on a first-come, first-served basis where the queuing number will be given upon payment. We were way early than what we anticipated and were surprised by the number of people who came shortly before we left the port. Kung sabagay, Sunday din kasi.
The island is just a couple of minutes away. In fact, you can already see it from the port.
We have already booked a room (a kubo actually) the day before on their website. Tip: It’s cheaper when you book online compared to if you just walk-in. We chose the bamboo huts because it’s the cheapest (1,500php per night) and there’s no better way to start a backpacking trip (after Balesin HAHA) than living the kubo life.
The bamboo hut is a legit kubo! It’s elevated and purely made out of bamboos. You have your own private bathroom outside BUT beside the hut. Hahaha. Challenge accepted.
Lakawon is the home of the famous Tawhai Floating Bar, where for only 250php, you can enjoy lounging on the big boat and get a complimentary drink. Btw, the floating bar pass is good for the whole duration of your stay in the island.
Tawhai opens at 10am until 5pm on weekdays, and up to 8pm on weekends. Actually, sometimes they do extend, depending if there are still guests on board (as long as they are checked-in at the resort). They have small boats that make rounds transferring guests from thd island to Tawhai and vice versa, so you can come and leave anytime you wish.
So what are the things you can do in the famous Tawhai Floating Bar? Well, they have lounge beds facing the sea which is a perfect spot to read a book, take a nap, or just to simply chill. They have outlets by the way, so you can charge your battery empty gadgets!
There are huge colorful bean bags too plus they have regular tables and chairs near the bar in case the sun’s too hot and you want to move inside a bit.
They do have these sunshades over the lounge beds but sometimes it’s just too hot to stay under it. That’s why you shouldn’t forget to wear sunscreen! We had a lot of Beach Hut sunblock left from our wedding favors so we decided to bring some of it with us. :p
Tawhai doesn’t move by the way, meaning it just stays in one place all throughout the day. I initially thought that it moves around the whole island while you’re on it. Haha!
We spent the whole day there as we took a lot of photos, read, eat, and drink. Oooh! They have toilets and it’s surprisingly clean. They have a water activity too, which I don’t know the name. Hahaha. Just look at what it’s like in the photo. Darel tried jumping off the boat (all the way from the second level). You can also swim in the middle of the sea. No worries because they have life jackets since the waves get pretty strong sometimes.
We got off Tawhai around 3pm that day because we wanted to experience the beach side area, and since the daytour guests are already starting to leave. However, it turned out that it wasn’t really a good idea because there’s quite a number of jellyfish in the water, which reminds me to tell you that I got stung while swimming near the Tawhai. So we just decided to take photos under the long bridge. Hahaha.
It was almost sunset when we ran out of things to do. We even went back to our bamboo hut to take a nap because we still didn’t have enough sleep since Balesin. So we decided to go back to Tawhai and just admire the sun as it temporarily bid goodbye.
Sleeping in the kubo was one of the first challenges we had in this trip because one, the bathroom is outside (hassle magwiwi ng madaling araw haha), and two, it’s a bit scary to spend the night with only a somewhat similar to a bicycle chain locks the door. I have to admire my husband for making sure na hindi kami mapapasok dun at mananakawan. Hahaha.
I also woke up a few times in the middle of the night thinking that it’s morning already. Ang aga kasi namin matulog. Pano, mga 8 or 9pm wala ka na magawa. Haha. Medyo nakaka-praning din to hear random footsteps outside. Hahaha. Pero feeling ko security yun. :p
We only had one goal the next morning, and that was to stay in Tawhai for the whole day after breakfast. Haha! Even though there’s only few people on the island (probably because it’s Monday), we know that we cannot enjoy the beach (boo, jellyfish).
A little FYI, Lakawon has a clinic so in case of emergencies, they are ready to assist. They also have a souvenir shop where they carry the brand Vianellas. I bought 2 swimwears because I feel like I “under” packed on this area. Hahaha.
They have cottages too which actually has a fee, but since few people are in the island that day, we were able to use it for free. What a good breakfast place!
We were also expecting few people in Tawhai so we were ready with our fully charged phones, charger, the book we brought for the entire 25 day trip, and more sunblock. We had no plans of getting off the boat early. Haha!
We tried to stay again in one of the lounge beds but realized that it’s just too hot to endure the sun for the day. That’s why we decided to explore the second level of the boat.
Since the bar is on the lower floor, it’s pretty quiet when you go up.
It was already late afternoon when we craved for pizza, so we went back to the island and had one of the best pizzas I’ve ever tasted. Hahaha.
We waited for the sunset by the beach before heading back to our kubo (and sleep early!), and it was so pretty! It was pink, and purple, and blue, and orange — too amazing to describe.
Before we ended the day, I began thinking, 2 nights is more than enough to experience Lakawon. You can actually enjoy the island overnight (if you arrive early like we did), and besides, there’s nothing much to do in the island for couples like us, except for the Tawhai (they do offer various water activities but it would be more fun if done in groups). But then, it was a good reminder that there’s always a first time for everything, ‘cos apparently it was my first time to do backpacking without jam-packed schedule. Walang hinahabol na oras, walang strict itinerary na dapat masunod. It’s actually good to experience travelling like this with no rush and just live life slowly, thanking God for every single thing. ♥
Ending this post with my favorite photos from this trip!
P.S. Two years ago I was in Bacolod for 36 hours. This time, I was there for less than 24 hours. What makes it interesting is that I’m with my husband now. So wait for it!