Explore Negros Occidental Over The Weekend: Lakawon Island + Talisay + Bacolod

I always look forward to weekends because it’s that time of the week where I get a break from work. In a year, we have a total of 52 weekends. So regardless of how many vacation leaves (and sick leaves ehem) you have in a year at work, you have no reason to say you’ve got no time to travel around. Now you’re here and that’s great because you’re about to read how we got to spend a weekend in Negros Occidental and explore Lakawon Island, Talisay and Bacolod City. And by now, at least I know you’re planning for some adventure. Am I right? So let’s get this introduction to its end. Shall we?

LAKAWON ISLAND

Almost a month ago, we went backpacking in Negros Occidental. We arrived in Bacolod-Silay Airport early morning of Saturday and head on straight to Cadiz port. It was about an hour ride from Silay to Cadiz City. From Cadiz port, we secured a boat ride to Lakawon Island.

It only took us about 10-15 minutes to get ourselves from Cadiz port to this paradise island north of Negros Occidental.

The island resort was indeed a beauty. But honestly speaking, some parts of the resort are still under construction (as of July 2017). Nevertheless, I still recommend it to anyone who wanted to go backpacking in Negros Occidental.

There’s nothing much you can do in Lakawon Island. To some, that might sound boring but for me it’s something I prefer or rather something I need. We’ve been doing a lot everyday at work so why not spend your vacation away from all those? Yes? Great. Now we’re on the same page. So I suggest you either bring a book or anything that you think will help you kill time. Or maybe you could take a bunch of snaps for your IG feed? Ha! I knew you’ve been dying to do that. Tee-hee!

TAWHAI FLOATING BAR

If you’re in the mood for some cocktails and liquor, you might want to spend your afternoon in Tawhai Floating Bar.

You can order food too if you prefer not to drink. It’s a great time to spend a lazy afternoon just enjoying the view from the cushion deck or whatever it’s called.

Additional Fee: Php 250 / head (exclusive of drinks and food)

As of August 27, 2017: Tawhai Floating Bar will be unavailable during the month of September due to maintenance and improvements.

(Source: Lakawon Island website)

SUNSET BAR

In case you opt not to include Tawhai Floating Bar in your expenses, don’t worry because Lakawon Island has its own restaurant offering an extensive menu from grilled pork belly, fresh shrimps and crabs, cool fruit shakes and soft Italian gelato, to native-influenced specialties like “Inasal” or popularly known as Chicken Bacolod.

Price Range: Php 150 – Php 500 / dish

Operating Hours:

Mondays to Thursdays: 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Fridays to Sundays: 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM

HOW TO GET THERE

From Bacolod – Silay Airport, you can arrange a ride with the van operators to take you directly to Cadiz port which will approximately cost you Php 333 / head. Since we met 4 other passengers who were bound to Lakawon Island, we divided the arranged cost of Php 2,000 among us six. Your other option is to go to North Bus Terminal in Bacolod City via van from Bacolod – Silay Airport which will cost you Php 150 / head. Then from Bacolod North Bus Terminal, ride a bus to Cadiz City for Php 95 / head. Tell the bus driver or the conductor to drop you off Martesan Terminal and then from there ride a tricycle to Cadiz portwhich will cost you about Php 50 – 70 / head. From Cadiz port, you just have to pay Php 270 inclusive of a roundtrip boat ride (Php 150 / head) to and from Lakawon Island, terminal fee (Php 20) and entrance fee (overnight – Php 100) to Lakawon Island.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

  • Reserve your accomodation in Lakawon Island via their website.
  • There are limited lights in Lakawon Island so it would be a bit dark when the sun goes down. If you’re going to avail an entrance ticket to Tawhai Floating Bar, I’d recommend you go back right after the watching the sunset while the sky is still recovering from the daylight.
  • Going back from Cadiz City to Bacolod City is easy because there are a lot of vans waiting for passengers in Cadiz port. One-way fare to Bacolod City is just Php 150.

TALISAY CITY

The next day, we head back to the main island of Negros and visited The Ruins in the city of Talisay, Negros Occidental.

THE RUINS

The Ruins is the most prominent landmark in Negros Occidental. Having said that, tourists visiting the province should not miss the chance to visit this so-called“Taj Mahal of Negros”.

Just like how the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built Taj Mahal for his third wife Mumtaz Mahal, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson built The Ruins for his beloved wife Maria Braga. Technically, it was not The Ruins as it is today. It was a mansion built in memory of Maria after she died giving birth to her 11th child with Mariano. Then in World War II, it was destroyed leaving the place in its annihilated state. Eventually, it gained many visitors and had been the most iconic landmark of the province.

If you’ve been watching travel documentaries or tv shows where they guest personalities to take part in an episode or two, you might probably have seen Kuya Roger at least once. He’s that famous tour guide in Negros that showcase the history behind The Ruins with humor and dedication. Say hello to Kuya Roger when you see him there!

HOW TO GET THERE

The easiest way to get to The Ruins is to take a cab. From Bacolod City, you would probably pay about Php 150 – Php 300. Another option you have is to make your way to Ruins Campuestuhan Terminal near Pepsi Cola Products Philippine Inc. along Lacson St. cor. Circumferencial Road. From there, ride a tricycle and only pay about Php 10 / head. The best option you have is to avail van tour package from Travel Operators. We got ours from the travel operator in Go Hotel (near Robinson’s) for only Php 50 / head (roundtrip to/from The Ruins).

OTHER PLACES TO VISIT IN TALISAY CITY

  • Campuestohan Highland Resort
  • Balay ni Tana Dicang
  • Aniceto Lacson Ancestral House

BACOLOD CITY

Since we were in a hurry to catch our flight at 7PM that same day, we went straight to Manokan Country in Bacolod City. If it’s only your first time to hear about Bacolod, let me tell you that this city was known for it’s grilled chicken dish or popularly known as Inasal. So I recommend that you must at least eat their specialty like a local!

WHERE TO EAT: AIDA’S

Among the carinderias in Manokan Country, I’d say Aida’s is the most crowded eatery. It might be because of its yellow walls giving a lively ambiance compared to its neighbors. Don’t get me wrong though. You still can try and see what the others have prepared for you. 😉

Verdict: 9/10 – Food? YUM!!! But due to many customers, they have slow service. Our order took them at least 20 minutes to prepare. But if you don’t mind that, I’m sure it will be worth a visit!

HOW TO GET THERE

Manokan country is near SM City Bacolod and the following jeepney routes pass by SM: Bata – Libertad, Mandalagan – Libertad and Banago – Libertad. Regular jeepney fare is Php 8. Just tell the driver to drop you off either in SM City or Manokan Country.

WHERE TO EAT: WEEGO’S BISTRO

Another restaurant I would recommend for you to visit is Weego’s Bistro.

It’s simply a perfect place for artsypeeps out there. Millenials, I know you want that ig post this weekend! So what are you waiting for?

HOW TO GET THERE

Make your way to Go Hotel Bacolod near Robinson’s along Lacson St. and you’ll find Weego’s Bistro on the left side of the reception area. Almost all jeepneys in Bacolod pass by Lacson St. So it’s easy to find your way there. If you’re on a budget, avoid taking cabs.

OTHER PLACES TO VISIT IN BACOLOD CITY

  • Pope John Paul II Tower
  • Bacolod Baywalk
  • San Sebastian Cathedral
  • Capitol Park and Lagoon
  • Negros Museum

WHERE TO BUY PASALUBONG: CALEA’S

A week before that weekend we went to Negros, I got to hear about Calea’s. I was having breakfast with my colleagues at work and they happened to mention about this one of a kind bakeshop in Bacolod. So when we were about to go back to Bacolod-Silay airport, we went to Robinson’s and bought two cheescakes in Calea’s.

Verdict: 10/10 – We bought the whole size cheesecake for only Php 900+ and it’s explicitly delicious for its price. If only we have additional baggage, we should’ve bought more than two!

SUGGESTED ITINERARY

Since we only had 2 Days and 1 Night spent in the province of Negros Occidental, we divided our time between visiting Lakawon Island in one day and exploring the nearby cities on the next day. But for those with an additional day to spend, I have a suggested itinerary for you. Here it goes!

ESTIMATED BUDGET BREAKDOWN

Thank you for reading and I hope this would help you in a way or another.

Enjoy Negros Occidental when you get there!

Happy Travelling!

P.S. Leave no trace but memories.

With Love,

Danica


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