Lakawon Island: Why or Why Not?

The white sands of Lakawon Island
Seeing photos and drone shots of this supposedly pristine island was quite intriguing so we made sure to include it in our travel plans for the year. Is it yay or nay? Let me share with you our experience on a not-so-recent visit to Lakawon Island.

Lakawon is a private island resort in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental. To go here from Manila, one must take a short flight to Bacolod and from the airport proceed to the junction on Rizal Street (where El Ideal Bakery and the shuttle van terminal going to the airport is located). From there, board a bus bound to Cadiz City and alight at the Martesan Terminal. Ride a tricycle going to the island's reception office from the terminal. This is where you can arrange your boat trip to the island. If budget is not an issue, take the Airjuan Seaplane instead so you hit the shores straight and fast.

Sashaying on the wood bridge
The reception seems a bit far from what you would expect from an island resort that labels itself as "luxury" and from an establishment that charges as high as Php 11,000 per night. It was a small office where the staff would ask you to self-check in via a computer kiosk. It's kinda unusual for a luxury resort to give its guests the task and hassle of "checking in" when the staff could have done it faster and more efficient. What about those guests who are not tech savvy? I'm sure not all of their guests are well-adept to technology, right? Also, the staff themselves are confused with their own processes, so we had to go back and forth from one window to another before we finally got our boarding pass. Everything, at least at the time of our visit, seemed unorganized. To me, the vibe is cold and unwelcoming.

The boats they provide though are in good shape and you could see that the staff aboard the boat are well-trained. The short boat ride can get bumpy midway so be prepared to get wet!

Arriving at the resort, a marshall leads the guests to either the reception area for those staying overnight or the respective huts or cabanas for those on a day trip. We opted to stay overnight so we could enjoy and relax our mini escape. We got the cheapest room category, which is a non-airconditioned hut located on the other side of the island away from the modern hotel building and the day tour crowd. Our room has its own private, albeit detached, toilet and bath. Upon settling in our hut, at first we thought it is perfect because since it's on the other end of the island, we figured it would be quieter and more conducive for the much-awaited rest we were looking forward to. Heck, we're wrong.

Our hut
Come midday, guests are also starting to arrive on this side of the island. I don't mind having neighbors, but I do mind having loud and inconsiderate ones. Case in point, the other guests who arrived started their drinking session right away so by mid-afternoon they were all starting to sing aloud like your Titos singing My Way after a case or two of Pale Pilsen and gin on the rocks. They were like this until about freakin' four in the morning. Another problem was that while our bathroom is supposed to be our own private one, we caught a lady using it and so when she got out of the cube, we told her it's ours and it's not public. She apologized and went away. Maybe it's not a good idea not to have an en suite bathroom in this island. Bottomline, if you are staying overnight on this island and you wish to have a good night's sleep, splurge and get a suite! Be ready to shell out Php 5,000 or more per night. But you know, sleep is priceless. =)

Food on the island is not a problem as it has its own canteen where you can dine all day. The prices might turn you off at first because it sounds expensive but the servings are huge and are good to share. Quality-wise, I must say it's inconsistent but decent.

Bridging the gap =)

Lakawon Island's vibe is very young and hip. I could visualize it like a mini Boracay or Puerto Galera in the making, only, it is solely owned. If you want to chill out, maybe stay here on weekdays but if you are a party animal, weekends here could be fun. It also has a huge floating bar called Tawhai perfect for sunset cocktails.

The fine ecru sand and the azure waters lend the island an illusion of tranquility. Yes, just an illusion.

So is it a yay or nay for Lakawon Island? Yay for the beautiful beach and the generous portions of food in the canteen but nay for ambience especially if what you are looking for is something luxurious and serene. I find it overpriced for the kind of experience it offers. It is nice to check it out once or twice but not the type you would be eager to return to again and again.

After a night spent in Lakawon Island, we headed back to Bacolod for our flight back to Manila. Since we still have time, we went on a side trip to The Ruins, a popular landmark in Talisay City. The place is very regal and romantic that you wouldn't even think it was built in line with a tragic not-so-happy-ending love story.

On my way out of the ladies' room I heard a familiar voice and followed it right away. I was right, it was the voice of ex-PBB housemate, Roger Lucero. Roger was, and still is, a tour guide at The Ruins prior to joining the reality show. He became famous on social media for being a witty guide. He was so nice and humble in person.

Fan mode on!

Before heading to the airport, we went for a quick lunch at Chika-An and a longer dessert and coffee time at Calea. Chika-An's sinuglaw (sugba at kinilaw) is a generous portion of grilled pork belly and fresh tanigue cubes. The baked scallops are fresh as if it just jumped out of the sea, slathered itself in creamy butter and cheese, and pak, ganern. Namit gid!

A witty representation of a typical Pinoy handaan. Sinong guilty? =)

Chika-An's sinuglaw and baked scallops
The sweet offering in Calea is another story. This little nook on the ground floor of Robinson's Place in Bacolod is always jam-packed for a reason--their desserts are divine! We had the famous pecan pie served a la mode and the equally popular salted caramel cheesecake. Both were oh-so-good that we would have wanted to bring home some have we had enough carry on baggage space. Prices are very reasonable.

From top: Pecan Pie and Salted Caramel Cheesecake
That wraps up our weekend in Negros Occidental. While Lakawon Island did not appeal stellar to us, it might be the other way to you, our dear readers. Go check it out for yourselves and would love to hear your personal experiences about it. There's always a room for improvement for everything and for everyone, right?

Enjoy the rest of the holidays!


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