Note: all images in this blog post were taken using Huawei P9’s Leica dual-lens camera.
LAKAWON ISLAND AND TAWHAI FLOATING BAR
Negros is becoming known to be an island filled with adventure; from Lakawon Island, in the north to Dumaguete in the south, from Danjugan and Sipalay in west to Manjuyod in the east. Plus lakes, waterfalls, caves, a sulfur hot spring, a couple of volcanoes and a great quantity of well-maintained ancestral homes, one can never run out of things to do and places to see in Negros. After circling around the island, head to Lakawon in Cadiz City, an hour north of Bacolod City; sit back, relax, grab a drink in Taw Hai floating bar and watch the sun set over Visayan Sea.
HOW TO GET THERE
- Book a flight to Bacolod-Silay Airport. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines fly daily to Bacolod City. Travel time: 1 hour and 15 minutes. You may also use your GetGo points to fly for free.
- Ride a bus in Bacolod North Bus Terminal bound for Cadiz, tell the conductor you’re headed to Lakawon. Travel time: 1.5-2 hours
- Ride a tricycle or habal-habal from the main road to the port. Travel time: 15 minutes
- Pay the necessary fees in the port and ride a boat to the island. Travel time: 30-40 minutes
WHERE TO STAY
Lakawon Island is a tiny island resort with bamboo huts, air-conditioned rooms and a spa. It has a bar and restaurant by the beach, but the island’s highlight (and the reason why Lakawon is different from other destinations in Negros) is the famous Taw Hai Floating Bar. Dubbed as the biggest floating bar in Asia, Taw Hai is a floating picture-perfect wooden structure in the middle of the sea.
While people often visit the small island for day-trips, Lakawon Island Resort offers a quiet retreat for those who prefer to stay longer. Just don’t forget to bring extra cash as room rates are quite steep (albeit reasonable for an island resort).
Lakawon Island is located off the coast of Cadiz, Negros Island, making it the closest island escape you can have from Bacolod City without crossing the Straight of Guimaras. Lakawon Island is just 1-2 hours away from Bacolod City, perfect for a day-trip adventure.
Lakawon Island Resort made visiting the island more convenient. Upon arrival in Cadiz Viejo Port, entrance and terminal fees will be collected: P100 and P20, respectively. The resort also charges P50/person corkage fee for food and drinks brought in the island to address the waste disposal. Round-trip boat rates range from P1,000 to P1,500, depending on number of passengers and availability of boats. Boat schedule is 6AM to 5PM.
The island looks like a stark contrast of the port’s muddy water and dark sand from afar.
Upon arrival in Lakawon, bamboo houses, family cottages and umbrella huts are available for daytour guests. Rental costs P2,500, P1,200 and P600, respectively. The resort’s restaurant is also near this area so other guests prefer to stay here.
The center-piece of this beautiful island, however, is a hundred meter from the shore. Taw Hai Floating Bar makes a pretty sight from the island’s port. For P250 with one complimentary drink, guests will be transported via a pump boat to the floating bar.
Taw Hai is a huge wooden boat floating off the coast of Lakawon Island. Note: it’s actually just floating, not moving around the island.The words Taw Hai mean relaxed in the local dialect.
The front part of the boat is decked with hammocks and cozy day-beds. The middle part consists of the boat’s bar, kitchen and rest rooms. Around the bar are tables and equally comfy chairs. The back part has the equipment and a huge staircase leading to the second floor. You’ll find more daybeds in the second floor.
What makes Taw Hai an experience on its own is its relaxing ambiance; an isolated bar in the middle of the sea gives you a feeling of paradise, with alcohol in hand. Played non-stop are deep house sunset mixes, perfectly setting the tropical mood. If you’re looking for adrenaline, feel free to jump from the second level of the boat. But otherwise, feel free to lounge around, sit back with your feet up; it’s not called tawhai for nothing.
- Transportation: Bus from Bacolod City to Cadiz Viejo P60/one-way. Habal-habal from highway to port P50-75/head. Entrance fee P100. Terminal fee P20. Boat to Lakawon Island P150-200/head. Entrance fee to Taw Hai with one free drink P250.
- Lakawon Island can be explored in 1 day. Come in early to make the most out of your day. Day tour visitors need to leave the island at 5PM.
- Explore the island before settling in Taw Hai. If you’re into sun bathing, there are plenty of spots perfect for wading around the island.
- Taw Hai can get crowded during peak season. Come early or choose to go during off-peak. Just check the weather before leaving Bacolod City.
- If you can, stay until sun set when the last boat for day tour visitors leave.