Negros Occidental, or also known as the “Sugar Capital of the Philippines”, is known for its historical structure “The Ruins”. However, aside from the “Taj Mahal of Negros” in Talisay City, Negros Occidental is also fast becoming a tourist destination because of the abundance of beautiful and untouched beaches in the province.
One tourist attraction in the city of Cadiz, Negros Occidental, which is always frequented by locals and foreigners alike, is the 16-hectare banana-shaped island called Lakawon Island Resort and Spa. If you are looking for an exclusive and perfect place to unwind without breaking your budget, then Lakawon will not disappoint. The place is still undergoing few constructions (as of 2018) so you might find the resort a little lacking compared to Boracay or other exclusive resorts, but this island is very promising, although I find the abundance of jelly fishes really bothering. Good thing the Tawhai Floating Bar made up for it.
HOW TO GET THERE:
I. Fly from Manila to Bacolod or wherever you starting point is. From Bacolod Silay Airport, you may ride a taxi or van and ask to be dropped off to Ceres Bus North Terminal.
II. Upon reaching the bus terminal, inquire at the information counter what bus route can you ride to go to Lakawon. Bus signage is usually Cadiz. Travel time usually takes 1-1.5 hours.
III. Ask the conductor to drop you off at Burgos Public Market.
IV. Ride a tricycle to Cadiz Viejo Port.
V. Register and pay the entrance fee.
VI. Wait for your name or your group’s name to be called before boarding the outrigger boat to Lakawon Island. Travel time is roughly 15 minutes.
Lakawon Island has different types of accommodation depending on one’s budget. Prices can go from Php2,500 per night for the tropical bamboo house up to Php11,580 per night for the condo suite or barkada suite.
In my opinion, Pearl’s Place is worth the money. Not too expensive but rooms are still new and clean, although you must share bathroom with other Pearl’s Place guests. Don’t worry, they have 10 T&B. Price of room is just Php3,500, good for 4 people. Not bad, right?
For day tours, Lakawon has big cottages, canopy tents and umbrella huts for rent. I have issues with these cottages though, they are too many and scattered in front of the beach, I hope they are all just located in one area because they somehow block the view, especially for the Premiere Suite guests.
For the complete list of Lakawon Island’s accommodation and updated rates, you may check out their official website.
Airfare: Approximately Php5,000 (round trip)
Van or Taxi to Ceres North Bus Terminal: Php 150/per head for the van and Php400 for the taxi (you can haggle if you want). If you want more comfort and have the budget, you can opt for a Grab Car, approximate cost is almost Php1,500 from Silay Airport to Cadiz Port.
Bus to Cadiz, Viejo: Php105 per head
Tricycle to Cadiz Port: Php120 (special trip or good for 5-6 persons)
Entrance Fee: Php340 (inclusive of terminal fee and roundtrip boat transfer)
Accommodation: Php7,000 for two nights (if you are going to stay at Pearl’s Place)
Tawhai Floating Bar: Php285 (unlimited for the whole duration of your stay if you are an in-house guest)
Meal: Php 2,000 (good for 3 days and 2 nights)
TOTAL BUDGET: Php8,000 is a very safe budget per head for two people (exclusive of the airfare). You can cut down the budget if you travel in big group.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
There’s a corkage fee. Lakawon is an exclusive island and has its own restaurants and food stalls where you can buy food, thus bringing outside food is strictly prohibited, lest you want to pay for the corkage fee.
Beware of the Jellies. Like what I mentioned, there’s an abundance of black jellyfishes in Lakawon Island. In fact, you will already be greeted by some at the Cadiz Viejo Port. Having said that, please be mindful of the water when taking a dip and always keep an eye on your kids. There’s a sort of mini sandbar formation at the beach so better if you just let your kids play there.
Can get crowded during daytime. Even though the island is exclusive, the place is open for day tours so expect influx of visitors, especially during day time. However, day tour is only until 5:00PM so you can have the exclusivity feel of the island in the evening. This was also the reason why we opted to just stay at Tawhai Floating Bar almost everyday to avoid the big crowd.
Eat early. Not sure if the resort can really accommodate all guests when it comes to food, but based on experience, it’s better to eat your breakfast, lunch, or dinner earlier so you won’t have to deal with just (sometimes cold) leftovers. Yup! It’s like a cafeteria style of dining. Pick whatever’s left, unless you want to wait for newly-cooked meals, which will take a while.
WHAT I LOVE:
Tawhai Floating Bar. Need I say more? 90% of our time (except when we were sleeping) were just spent lounging in Lakawon’s Floating Bar. Love their cozy bean bags, hammocks, and day beds. Food and drinks were also affordable so you can really just spend your whole day in the bar upon waking up. The deep water is more swimmable compared to Lakawon’s shore. Water is also infested by black jellyfishes but there were few attendants who give warning to swimmers to get out of the water when they spot a jellyfish coming near the floating bar.
Swings. Shallow I know, but I love swings…and there are lots of it at Lakawon Island! It’s nice to just relax in their swings while feeling the cool night breeze.
Cash Card. Their registration is already computerized which is really nice, but what I really find very efficient is their reloadable cash card. Less hassle of bringing cash with you. Nope! They don’t accept cash transactions so make sure to load enough. Don’t worry, unused credit is refundable at the island’s reception area.
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED:
- I know the island is still undergoing lots of renovations (as of 2018) but I do hope that include a big swimming pool. Since Lakawon’s water is almost never swimmable because of the jellies, hopefully guests do have an option to go for the pool instead. I would not want the resort’s staff to scare away, worst, kill the jellies because the water is their home, it belongs to them, so might as well give guests an alternative instead.
- Their tropical bamboo huts look very cozy but the interior (fan and mattresses) was very worn out already. Windows only have curtains to conceal the inside of the nipa hut, thus, uninvited mosquitoes and unwanted critters can easily go inside. Maybe they could at least improve the huts without sacrificing the tropical feel. We actually booked the nipa hut for our 3 days and 2 nights stay but I don’t think we can stand the insects, especially the mosquitoes (they love me) so we just upgraded to Pearl’s Place.
All in all, Lakawon Island Resort and Spa is still worth the try. I won’t mind going back there again, especially if the island’s amenities are already complete (pool and spa). For some, an overnight stay may not be worth it since day tour is feasible, but if you are someone who wants some sun, relaxation and unwinding, an overnight stay or more won’t hurt.
Never mind the jellies as long as there’s the Tawhai Floating Bar with their cozy bean bags, hammocks, and colorful margaritas, then I’m good already. ^_^