TawHai Floating Bar in Lakawon Island

Living in a country with 7,107 islands, I have always been grateful for having innumerable places to discover. Each place, regardless of which island it is, has a certain magic that will undoubtedly remind one of how beautiful the planet is. This is one of the reasons why I have not emigrated despite many opportunities to. Friends from Bacolod who know how much of a beach bum I am have been recommending the island of Lakawon. It was only right that when I had a free day from work while in Bacolod, I grabbed the chance to go.

“Lakawon” comes from the Cebuano word Lakaw meaning “to walk”. It has been said that this is due to the fact that during low tide, one can simply walk to the island from the main island. The island is 32 acres of white sand 63 kilometers from Bacolod which roughly should take an hour and a half drive due to the single-lane roads. We left Bacolod at 8:00 am and my friend drives like she’s driving an ambulance so we got to Cadiz port in 45 minutes. You can also get to Cadiz port by taking a Ceres Liner bus in Bacolod headed to Crossing Burgos in Cadiz Viejo. From Crossing Burgos, you can reach the port by taking a tricycle. From the port, there is a desk for registration where one can get a boat. The fare is Php 250 per person for the public boat. You will then have to walk down the “boardwalk” to get on the boat.

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Having lost my father in a family trip to the beach due to irresponsible tourism management, I was particularly happy that the number of passengers per boat is regulated and all passengers are required to wear a life vest for the duration of the 30-minute boat ride to the island.

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We went on a Sunday and I was delighted to see the light crowd on the sea shore. There’s nothing more devastating in a trip to the beach than people occupying every square meter of the sand, right? The island has a relatively new attraction which is the TawHai Floating Bar and that was our main destination. The experience is optional and, of course, we went for it for an entrance fee of Php 250. You will have to buy the ticket at the little office near the gazebo once you reach the island. Once all is set, you will take a mini speedboat to TawHai.

Upon reaching the bar or the boat (boat bar?), you will be greeted with a party vibe. I can imagine that they were playing the Mood Booster playlist on Spotify. The edges of the deck are filled with day beds and the bar is right in the middle of the boat. On the second floor, there is a long table in the middle and more day beds. We parked ourselves at the long table. There is also a room on the second floor where the lavatory is. It was windy when we went and the rocking of the boat was enough to make me dizzy but it wasn’t long before we opened the bottle of Gran Matador brandy that we brought with us. When out at sea, a midday buzz is a requirement.

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The staff is incredibly warm and accommodating. Not surprising as hospitality is a striking trait of Filipinos and even more so of Ilonggos. Ilonggos are the inhabitants of the Negros region where Lakawon is. We asked for ice and some water to mix the iced tea powder we brought and they heeded. It was disappointing that they do not serve food on the boat anymore. You are free to bring your own, though. Good thing, then, that we brought the ever-reliable adobo and some rice. (Adobo is a signature Pinoy dish made with chicken or pork, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, and whatever special ingredient slow cooked to perfection)

There wasn’t much more to do on the boat but chat, laugh, take photos, and just enjoy each other’s company. Il bel far niente. The music was also inviting one to dance so we did. When the alcohol kicked in and my friends started to muster some audacity, we decided to have some more fun by jumping out of the second floor to the open sea. As always, I went first – without a life vest. I’ve had a knack out of jumping into waters this year. There are life savers tied to the boat, waiting for your drop. A friend who later saw the photos commented if you’re supposed to jump into the holes. I honestly did not think of that but I thought it was an awesome idea for when I come back. The height was really nothing compared to the 40-foot jump in Cebu. What surprised me, though, was the sea current. It was strong and I had to swim fast and hard so as not to be carried out further into the sea. It was only when I was in the water that I realized the purpose of the life savers. I jumped a couple more times to encourage my friends to go and until I could feel my arms wearing out.

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When we got too tired, we got some Red Horse and chilled some more on the day bed on the first floor. It brought such a peaceful feeling with my feet dangling on the edge, the wind on my face, a beer in my hand, and the vast horizon in front of me. It was one of those moments that we really live for.

Just when I thought that I could stay there forever, my friend reminded me that we had to catch the 5:00pm boat back to the main island so we reluctantly packed up by 4:00pm and took the speedboat back. There are shower rooms in Lakawon where you can wash the seawater off but knowing that we’ll be back in Bacolod in no time, I decided to spend the time waiting for the boat walking on the fine white sand.  There is a restaurant so should you not come prepared with adobo as we were, you don’t have to worry about starving. You can also stay the night if you prefer. I definitely am when I return.

For more information, visit their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/lakawonislandresorts

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