Recently, I had the opportunity to go back to Sagay to visit my family. It was just a quick visit as I can not have a longer leave from work. We originally planned to travel to Singapore and Thailand but I changed my mind and went back to the Philippines instead.
I stayed in Sagay for only a few days and sadly, I didn’t have the chance to see the improvements of the whole city. The old market is now improved and is called Sagay Market Mall, if my memory serves me right. There is a Lopue’s Value Store just a short walk from the new public market.
I checked out the new Villa Salvacion subdivision and inquired of their house prices. I like the location of Villa Salvacion as it is not far from the market, bus terminal and everything else.
The only chance I had was a quick stroll to the city plaza where the steam train Siete is on display. I took a few shots but as it was dark (at night), the pictures didn’t really turn out well, as shown.
It has been almost a month since we got back from our holidays in the Philippines. Happy to be back in the cold weather of Melbourne after the searing heat in the Philippines.
Our first week was spent in Cebu doing shopping and sight seeing. My brother drove us around Cebu City and Mactan. We went to the (Chinese) Taoist Temple and also visited Magellan’s Cross and Fort San Pedro. On a clear day, there is a good aerial view of the city from the temple. Fort San Pedro, a monument of Cebu’s turbulent past, served different purposes in the island’s colourful history. But visiting the place at dusk, the museum-park is one big dating place for the teenage locals. In every corner, every nook and every canyon, there is a pair. We jokingly looked for our own canyon and gamely posed for a picture.
In Mactan, we just missed the re-enactment of the landing of Magellan in Cebu. It was the 487th anniversary of the Magellan’s demise. Manny Pacquiao played the role of Lapu-lapu and Dennis Trillo as Magellan. We later saw it on TV.
We also went to a lot of restaurants in Cebu -the Golden Cowrie, Chika-an, Cafe Laguna, Krua Thai to name a few. We enjoyed eating out but I have one complaint, a lot of food from the restaurants are cooked in oil, either deep fried or at least sauteed. I’m no big fan of oily food. There was another restaurant on the hills that we went to but the name escapes me right now.
Shane went crazy over shopping and spent over $700 in clothes. I was shy by about two hundred.
And finally, I had my impacted (wisdom) tooth extracted, for just a fraction of what I would pay here. We only paid Php3500 for cleaning (Shane and I) and three fillings for me plus another Php7k for my surgery + extraction including antibiotics and pain killers. The dentist, Dr David Alesna, President of Cebu Dental Association, was very thorough and has the gentlest hand ever. My last experience with a male dentist was awful but that was all forgotten now. I didn’t feel any pain at all during the surgical procedure. His hands were so light I called them angel’s hands. The best thing about it is that he still gave me a Php500 discount after all the hard work. I wouldn’t think twice about recommending Dr Alesna to everyone.
Our high school reunion was a success. We had a lot of fun. I was so happy to see my classmates and friends after so many years. Though the heat was unbearable, (and me with swollen gums) we still enjoyed the occasion. It rained a bit on the second day but it only made the humidity worse. Even when just sitting in the shade, Shane sweated like he just did aerobic exercises.
Still, this did not deter him from playing golf after seeing the Victorias Executive Golf Club. One of my classmates has a friend whose family lives in Victorias Milling Company compound. She took us there to attend a house blessing and to see a bit of the place too. It was also my first time to see the sugar refinery. It is in this place where the Church of the Angry Christ is located.
I was hoping not to get sick but the quick transition from the heat to the cool aircon either in the car or hotel room made us both crook. Swollen tonsils and cough. I got worse on the day we played golf and was only able to play the front nine.
The weather cooled down a bit when we drove for Dumaguete due to an impending tropical cyclone. While everyone was complaining about the rain, we were happy and actually welcoming the cool change, until the typhoon actually came and caused flood displacing people from their houses. We were lucky to have missed the heavy downpour in Dumaguete. We might not have made it to Bohol in time had we stayed there a day longer.
Alona Palm Beach Resort in Panglao Island, Bohol was very nice. The 8-hectare luxurious resort has only 12 villas which means a lot of views of either the sea or the garden. All villas are huge and tastefully fitted and decorated. The mini-golf was so-so. (Where we live here in Melbourne, we are surrounded by golf and mini-golf courses). But I think the infinity pool was cool and the outdoor chess board was awesome. It is located beside the pool bar. We played three times. I won twice.
As the sea became rough, we weren’t able to enjoy the beach much. But just the same, we walked along the beach in the rain. I enjoyed every drop of it. I don’t get to enjoy that here in Melbourne. First, because it doesn’t rain much here now and second, when it does, it is usually cold.
The gods must have smiled at us on the day we decided to take the day tour of Bohol. The sun was up and the skies are clear. We took a lot of photos but I have yet to upload them on Picassa. Soon.
A bit of trivia: Alona beach was named after the late Philippine cinema actress Alona Alegre when in the seventies she shot a scene for a film where she was seen naked running along the beach.
After over a week of relaxing in Bohol we headed back to Cebu for the last dew days of our holidays. We chose to stay in Mactan Island to cut back on airport travel time. The closest hotel to the airport was the Waterfront Hotel but I didn’t like the idea of a casino in it as it would be busy and might be noisy at night so we stayed a bit farther in Hilton Hotel in Punta Engano, about 20 minutes drive from the airport. The room was not as nice as the villa in Alona Palm Beach but then Alona was more expensive. I liked the toiletries though, from Crabtree and Evelyn. And the housekeeping staff check on the room every few hours and they happily provide extra stuff like bottled water, toiletries and towels if you ask nicely. There was a stuffed toy in the bed, Nemo. I thought it was complimentary. Uhuh… I could take it home, for an extra Php500 pesos. Boring.
The hotel has its own private beach. A very small one and man-made at that. it is nice on a dry and sunny day but I think it is best at night when it is converted as an outdoor dining area. The hotel restaurant would place a few tables and bean bags in the beach and use candles for lighting. On a cool night, it is very relaxing and can be romantic too with the candlelights.
Holidays, I could use another one right now.
Currently in transit at Changi Airport Singapore on the way to Cebu, Philippines for a three week holiday. Going to attend a high school grand alumni homecoming. Will also be seeing places around Cebu and will visit Panglao Island in Bohol for five days. Will also do a bit of side trip to San Carlos City and Dumaguete City, both in Negros Island.
Left Melbourne on a nice and cool weather at around 20 degrees. The heat and humidity here in Singapore was a bit of a shock to our system. A few minutes in the Sunflower Garden at Terminla 2 and I was already feeling sticky.
The last time I came back to the Philippines, i got sick. The heat was just too much. Transition from hot to cool/cold weather seems a bit easier on the body than the other way around.
Hope I acclimatise quickly and not get sick. Can’t afford. I’m going back to see friends I haven’t seen for some twenty years so this is no time to get sick. No way.
Another hidden treasure of the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines is the Lakawon Island. This one is very special to me.
Lakawon is a 15-hectare banana shaped island about 3 kms off Cadiz City. The island is not very popular among Pinoys outside the province. Even I only came to know about it when I asked my sister-in-law of places to go when Shane would come to the Philippines for the first time. That was in 2003.
The island has a resort managed by the family-owner. Unlike Boracay, Lakawon Island Resort is UNcommercialised and the owner wants it just that. If you want peace and quiet in your holidays, this is where you go. If you want glamour and parties at night, you go to Boracay.
In 2003, there were only a few cottages, air con and non-aircon. There was not much activities to do in the island except swimming and some related water activities (like banana boating and wind-surfing). There’s not much recreational facilities. The resort is purely for unwinding and relaxation. The rooms have no TV sets and radios. No electricity during the day. A generator provides power in the nights which starts at dusk and turns off at daybreak. Incidentally, we have perfect mobile phone reception so we still have communications outside the island. The island is not too far away from the mainland that cellsite coverage still reaches it. Note that it has been almost five years since our trip there so this may have changed now.
Getting there : The access to the island is via Barangay Cadiz Viejo. A motor boat owned by the resort usually takes visitors to the island. The ride is about 30 minutes.
From Bacolod City, travel by private car will take just over an hour. There are also buses plying the Northern Negros which stops at Cadiz Viejo.
So why is this place very special to me? Because this is where Shane kneeled (while I was yelling at him for immersing his fresh shorts in the water) and popped the question, “Will you
kill marry me?”
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