When people think of Bacolod City in Negros Occidental, it’s usually the colorful Masskara Festival, one of the most popular festivals in the Philippines, that comes to mind, aside from Calea cakes and the super tasty grilled chicken (inasal) in Manokan Country.
Negros Occ, of course, is more than just Bacolod City. Next time you go, I would recommend checking out another destination: Lakawon Island in the city of Cadiz, roughly an hour or so from Bacolod.
A mere 15-20 minute boat ride from the port of Brgy. Cadiz Viejo in Cadiz City, Lakawon Island used to be an alternative to the much-pricier Boracay. Locals I’ve talked to said that there was nothing much there before, just the sand, the sea, and some beach huts.
Nowadays, of course, Lakawon is much more developed (and pricier). Accommodation options range from bamboo cottages for day trippers and bamboo huts for budget travelers, to even air-conditioned suites for those who want a comfortable stay on the island.
They have a bar and restaurant, too, as well as souvenir stands, and in keeping with the times, several places that are Instagrammable.
Important: Lakawon is a cashless beach resort, so you need to buy and load a cash card when you arrive on the island. Only the card is accepted for all purchases including drinks.
A unique service that Lakawon Island Resort has that other beach resorts don’t is the TawHai Floating Bar, dubbed as Asia’s largest floating bar, and any party person’s idea of heaven. Indeed, what’s better than to relax on a bean bag on a ship-like structure, watching the sun set with a drink in your hand?
I visited Lakawon Resort recently during the launch of Vianellas footwear, and I must say that I wish I’d visited sooner. It certainly lives up to its reputation!
If you’re still wondering whether it’s worth it to go, I can give you five reasons why you should visit Lakawon Island.
1. Lakawon Island is close to Bacolod City.
There are a lot of beach resorts in the Philippines that are very nice but hard to get to. Lakawon Island is certainly not one of them! It’s very easy to visit Lakawon; you can even go there on a day trip and still enjoy yourself.
If you’re taking the bus from Bacolod City, you will reach Lakawon in less than 2 hours. There are pump boats that leave the port at Cadiz Viejo regularly, and the last boat that leaves for the mainland is at 5pm (depending on the weather, of course). Plenty of time for enjoying yourself at the beach.
If you have several days to spend in Bacolod, definitely allot one day to spend in Lakawon.
2. It has a beautiful beach with lots of Instagrammable places.
On the lookout for Instagrammable spots? Lakawon certainly has a lot of it. The long coastline alone is very pretty, and they have a paraw sailing boat that would serve as a nice backdrop for all your photos. Yes, you can rent it, too, for P200/person/hour, minimum of 5 people.
Even if you’re not interested in social media, you will still enjoy all that the island has to offer. You can go swimming, boating, snorkeling, or banana boat riding. Or you can just chill by the beach while sipping on a fruit shake, or have a massage. They have kayaks, too, if you prefer that, as well as paddle boards.
On a budget? Lakawon Island has free things to do as well. Play catch with a frisbee or organize a beach volleyball with friends. You can borrow what you need for free.
3. It is affordable to visit Lakawon Beach Resort.
While the resort is no longer as cheap as it had been before it underwent extensive development, it’s still affordable to visit Lakawon. A sample budget could be as follows:
- Air-conditioned bus from Bacolod City to Cadiz + tricycle to port (return) — P238 (note that each tricycle ride costs P120, so share it with up to 4 other people to get the lowest rate)
- Lakawon Island Entrance Fee + Terminal Fee + Boat Ride (return) — P310
- Cottage — P100PHP (if there’s 6 of you to share, as beach cottages cost P600)
- TawHai Floating Bar entrance fee with drinks — P250
- Corkage Fee (if you’re bringing food and drinks to the island, which I recommend!) — P50
All in all, if you don’t buy food on the island, you’ll spend less than P1,000 on your day trip.
If you want to stay overnight, like we did, Lakawon has several options for you to choose from, from the most expensive condo suites good for 6 people (A/C, cable TV, breakfast) at almost P2,000 per head, to the most economical dorm-type A/C room good for 8 people for around P600 per head.
If you want something more rustic, they have bamboo huts, too, that are non-airconditioned at P625 per person.
4. You can enjoy Asia’s largest floating bar, TawHai.
You need to pay an entrance fee to get onto TawHai, but it does come already with complimentary drinks. There’s a free “shuttle” that will take you from the walkway to the floating bar; whenever you want to go, just stand there and the boat will pick you up.
You can buy drinks at the bar, of course (make sure to bring your Lakawon cash card, as they don’t accept cash), or just nurse your complimentary one. Grab a bean bag, strike a pose, or jump off into the water (life vest mandatory). You can do whatever you want on TawHai.
5. Lakawon hosts sports and music events.
At the time of the Vianellas launch that we attended (organized by 367 Collective Events & Activation), there was also another event held that weekend, the Lakawon Beach Festival featuring several known musicians and DJs.
What’s great about Lakawon is that music events are usually held on the other side of the island, around a 10-minute walk. So if you’re staying overnight and don’t feel like joining the crowd, you can stay in your room and not be disturbed by the music.
Interested in joining swimming and other sports events? They host them, too, like the H20 Man Marathon Swim last April 2018, and the first Lakawon Habagat Open in August 2018.
Lakawon Island Resort is just one of the many Negros tourist spots that deserve to be better known. Definitely visit when you have the chance!
Have you been to Negros? Would you go to Lakawon?
Featured photo grabbed from Lakawon Island Resort’s Facebook page.