Travel Tipid Tricks: Exploring Guimaras on a Budget

The famous landmark of Guimaras, located in Jordan Capitol Ground provides a background for selfies and groupies.

They say that unplanned travel adventures are the most memorable and happiest. That was what
exactly happened when South Bacolod General Hospital and Medical Center, Inc. (SBGHMCI) -
Accounting Section ventured into a road  trip to the province of Guimaras with few days of preparation
and limited resources for their annual summer activity. This yearly time-off from office works is part of
the hospital’s program to promote work-life balance of the employees.

Traveling on a budget allowed travel hunters to find ways to get the most out of their hard-earned
money. Sharing of expenses, getting the lowest prices for an item, haggling and planning make a
difference in saving that extra pesos which could be used to buy pasalubongs for their loved
ones back home.

Here are five travel tricks from SBGH Accounting personnel, which may help your summer outing
in Guimaras extra memorable without the guilt of having to spend on unbudgeted expenses.

Taking the Bacolod-Iloilo-Guimaras route is long and expensive.  Considering the limited time and
budget, the team took the Pulupandan route which saves us a few hundred pesos and around three
hours travel time. Haggling or “ayo” is important when it comes to expenses. The group hired a van
that would fetch us from the port to the hotel and some side-trips along the way, which cost
P 1,000.00. However, the team wanted to visit as many tourist spots as possible, so we haggled to
add another P 1,000.00 for the extra stop-over. The standard van rental rate is P3,500.00 for a day
tour, but we got it for P 2,000.00, saving us P 1,000.00 on transportation.

Resort Accommodation
It always pays to make advance reservation because one can get his preferred room arrangement as a large chunk of our budget went to the resort expenses. The team made the resort reservation about three weeks before our scheduled trip and fortunately, the large room which can accommodate 8-10 persons is still available.  This air conditioned room and the extra foams made our weary souls rested enough for the long road travel the day before. Aside from getting the best price for the shared room, it allowed us to have long conversations with our work mates and gave us a glimpse of each other’s personal life. A room for two persons was also occupied for our couple-companion, which was charged to their personal account, since this is not part of the team’s budget.

Tourist Sites
Guimaras offers so many places to visit - from their famed beach resorts, historical monuments or old churches, or you may opt to try their world’s famous mangoes. Wherever you may want to visit or whatever you want to do, it is always advisable to plan your itinerary ahead of time.
  1. San Lorenzo Wind Farm. To make the most of our time, from the port, we proceeded to the town of San Lorenzo, the home of the famous San Lorenzo Windmill. These giant windmills, about 27 of them, produce renewable energy and are serving the electricity needs of the towns and its neighbors.  We made a lot of selfies and groupies here with the huge machine as the backdrop.
    The San Lorenzo Windmill Farm in Valencia is slowly becoming a must-see place while in Guimaras.
  2. Manggahan Festival.  Our second stop was in Jordan Capitol Ground, the host of the Manggahan Festival. We saw an agro fair exhibit and plenty of mangoes arranged beautifully, which tempted this writer and his wife to go back in the afternoon to partake of their Mangoes-All-U-Can, wherein you can binge on mangoes - ripe or not (with bagoong on the side) with bare hands for P120.00. This was this blogger’s favorite part.
    The world-famous mangoes are arranged beautifully.

    The Mango-Eat-All -You-Can is one of the highlights of the Manggahan Festival.
  3. Guisi Lighthouse.  Next, the group visited the Guisi Lighthouse. These are the ruins of the famous lighthouse which guides navigators at night time during the Spanish era. Situated on the hilly portion, one can see the vastness of crystal clear blue waters of the sea. Going down a man-made stair of about 100 steps, tourists can take a dip in the cool waters of Guisi Beach Resort nearby.
    This signage allows visitors to know the historical significance of the Guisi Lighthouse
  4. Alobijod Cove Resort and Raymen Beach Resort. Our last stopover was in Alobijod Cove Resort and Raymen Beach Resort. Next to each other, both resorts offer rooms at affordable prices without sacrificing the basic amenities of a standard hotel.  The beachfront is breathtaking with a very nice view of the sunrise and sunset and white powdery sand. If you do not want to get a tan, ideal swimming time is between 4 PM to night time and from sunrise to around 9 AM.
    Raymen Beach Resort has various airconditioned rooms and amenities suited to the needs of its visitors.
  5. Island Hopping.   Some members of the group went island hopping. These islands can be accessed by small pumpboat for a minimal fee and are best for exclusive swimming, snorkeling and even cliff diving. Some islands waiting to be discovered are Ave Maria Islet, Tatlong Pulo Beach, Buho Ramirez Cave, Taklong Island and a lot more.
  6. Trappist Monastery and Gift Shop. Before heading home, the SBGH personnel dropped by the Trappist Monastery and gift shop. The monastery is a quiet place to reflect and say a prayer or maybe light a candle. If you are lucky, you may find the monks at the monastery during their scheduled prayer. This writer was told that visitors were not allowed to talk to the monks.The group bought some delicacies and trinkets from the gift shop. Tourists may find all the food stuff the whole of Guimaras offers plus all kinds of products made from mangoes – piayaya, dried mangoes, mango jam, mango crinckles, mangoscoth (variation of butter scotch), etc.  The shop also sells religious and novelty items, perfect as pasalubong.
    This haven for the weary souls is ideal for retreats and teambuilding activities

Every traveler's mantra is - travel light. Nevertheless, one should make an exception if one is traveling on a budget. Bringing food stuff and pre-cooked meals is practical ways to reduce costs. It is also wise to eat in the resort’s canteen or buys meat or fish for grilling. This recipe does not require complicated preparation and utilizes few ingredients. Plus, spending in front of the grille with team members allows for endless bonding moments, which rarely happens in the office.

Small but Terrible
Guimaras is a small province comprising five towns. However, it should not be underestimated when it comes to its tourist attractions. It is not only the world-famous mangoes but the pristine clear waters of its beaches, uncrowded islands and the friendly and charming smiles of the people that will make your travel extra special.
We are just a pebble in the ocean called life.

The SBGH Accounting personnel went home energized and just like Guimaras, it promises to continue to bring smiles to the people in the workplace.

Experience Gastronomic Delight and Nature's Beauty at Balsa River Cruise and Floating Restaurant

If you are a tourist and have traveled to Bohol City, I guess you never missed eating your lunch or dinner while traversing Loboc River on a boat.  Well, there is a local version of this rdining innovation, they aptly called it, the Balsa River Cruise. The idea is the same - to serve unlimited food to customer while riding an improvised boat (“boat” in local dialect means “balsa”), but the sights of lush greeneries, birds and the clean waters of Ilog River are what make this place different.

Advanced Booking is Required
Tourists are required to book in advance because the boat can accommodate around 50 passengers. They do not allow walk-ins probably because they will prepare food for those with confirmed bookings to avoid unnecessary food wastage. Two Booking booths are available, one is at the take-off station in Malabong, Ilog and another one in Kabankalan City.  One may also book online by visiting their FB Page -

Accessible and Clean Location
The place is a 10-minute drive away from Kabankalan City, whether by private car or tricycle, the only public vehicle plying this route.  It has a spacious and clean waiting area with a 50-meter Led TV set to keep the guests from not getting impatient while waiting for their scheduled trip.  It serves light snacks to go with the TV entertainment.

This picturesque view greets tourists upon entry to the lounge area

Wide Selection of Seafood and Native Delicacies
Diners are served with around 7 to 10 kinds of seafood such as garlic  shrimp dunked in sweet sauce, steamed crab,and talaba, steak bangus, adobong pusit, chicken and pork adobo, fish kinilaw and jackfruit ensalada.  They also serve pancit guisado, native products such as maja blanca, camote delight, suman and others. Drinks and coffee are overflowing too.

All -you-can-eat seafood and meat dishes are served  generously.

Fruits and native delicacies are plenty

The buffet table is strategically placed on the center aisle to facilitate smooth flow of foot traffic

Live Acoustic Music
While eating and cruising along the river, guests are treated to a local acoustic band which sings soft music that will make you love your spouse more.  The singers accommodate request for songs, or they may even sing birthday songs for birthday celebrants.

Amazing Sights along the River Banks
The beautiful scenery makes tourists  feel refreshed and relaxed. There are plenty of lush vegetation along the riverbank which protect the area from soil erosion and balance the ecosystem.

There are birds of different species flying above or near the river bank. I learned that the river is becoming a breeding ground for some of the birds.  This is a rare sight for someone who is living in the city who have limited open spaces and green initiatives are placed on the sidelight.

The boat ride takes around 1 to 2 hours, covering around 7 kilometers of the river with clean water.  The river bank is devoid of any waste materials, and birds make food by catching fish.

If you are  good in finding the right angle, there are nice views that you can photograph inside the “balsa” with the clouds or water as the backdrop.

A refreshing view for someone who lives in the concrete jungle, we call home.

This Ilog river is home to some bird species, balancing the ecosystem in the area.

Friendly Staff
The boat ride experience is never complete without the friendly and helpful staff.  They make you feel really important and they have what you need in an instant, such as toothpick, extra glass, etc.

Our Balsa River Cruise Experience is one for the book.  It allows me and wife to enjoy good food, while listening to soft music and at the same time appreciate how generous God is by gifting us with these blessings.

The couple enjoying good food, mellow music and wonderful sights.

You may book your reservation online at telephone no. 09101886420 for P450.00 per pax (roughly around USD$ 9.00)

KKD: The Best Hang-out Place in Silay City

KKD's signature burger will never fail you when your are particular about taste and serving portion.
This photo was grabbed from the cafe's  Facebook page. 
Silay City is home to many of our favorite food and delicacies.  When we think of fresh lumpia or panyo-panyo, what comes to mind is Silay City.  Aside from food, they are also known for having the most number of heritage houses declared by UNESCO.  They even earned the title, Paris of Negros because of the centuries-old houses that are scattered around the city.  It is always an experience visiting Silay City because of its food and of the warmth people you meet while having coffee in El Ideal or helping yourself with  a meat dish beautifully presented by Cafe 1965

And so, one lazy weekend afternoon, we hied off to the south to discover something new to spend our early dinner with.  I suggested to my  wife and daughters that we should try KKD, short for Kapehan sa Kilid Dalan.  For the non-Ilonggos, the term means Street Coffee Place.  I’d been reading reviews about the place, mostly positive ones. This is the best time to prove to myself that indeed, KKD has  come a long way in levelling up their food offerings and customer service.

We arrived with few tables remaining.  We settled near the stage, presumably, on some nights local singers serenade guests, providing a backdrop for informal or intimate conversations with friends or family.   A few minutes, the waiter got our orders of set meals, which ranges from 90 pesos to 120 pesos, spicy chicken wings (we requested to make the dish not so spicy), nachos and smoothies. They served a generous amount of rice for every set meal, they let you forget that you are on diet.

The cheesy and almost dripping nachos are perfect with smoothies.
While we were about to finish our food, two local singers arrived and after sometime, we were treated to a repertoire of mellow music.  We listened for some songs while my kids finished their smoothies.

French fries with cheesy dip and equally cheesy nachos are something to look forward to the  next time we visit Kapehan sa Kilid Dalan

We went home with a full stomach, with the energy to face another week of work and a positive attitude that no matter what happens our God will see us through.  

And by the way,  I will have reasons now to always go back to KKD because of the food, nice ambiance and the hospitable staff.

Firework Display 2019: Talisay City New Year Countdown

The medley of colors and the dancing of lights during a firework display are eagerly awaited by spectators.
For Filipino families, aside from an extended celebration of Christmas, spending the New Year with loved ones is eagerly awaited by everyone.  To add a more festive mode of the yearly celebration, every January 1, Talisaynons are treated to a spectacular heavenly sights.

For almost 30 minutes, Talisaynons and spectators from neighboring cities from the north and south were treated to a dance of lights in different colors, some in silver, red, green or orange.  As soon as the countdown began, spectators clapped, made sounds to signal that a showdown is about to happen.

Talisaynons and visitors from neighboring Bacolod and Silay took their places to ensure a perfect angle for the heavenly sight.

The first feature was an explosion of three different colors.  The explosive soared up the black sky and when it reached the highest height, it exploded into a chandelier-like spectacle in silver, then in red and finally in yellow.  There were plenty of variations, which the crowd met with amazement.

This heavenly spectacle lights up the Talisay skyline every new year

When God made all the colors beautifully blended with each other
It was as if the angels with silver sword performed in the grandest show in heaven with the stars as the backdrop, a fitting homage to what the year, 2018 had been and what awaits us in 2019. The sounds were used to drive the demon haunting us in 2018, while we excitedly face our fate in 2019 with sounds to inspire us.  The vibrant colors may symbolize our positive outlook which may guarantee a fruitful year ahead. 

Photo credit:  Ciara Alyssa P. Hinolan

Brewedery Cafe: The New Eat Place in Talisay City

This mouth-watering shake is unusually served this way - dripping portion of the shake as well as the icing is purposely scattered to give it a unique twist in serving.

Talisay City is fast becoming the center of economic activities recently.  If one is travelling from the north going to Bacolod City, one will notice two new buildings - the newly opened Toyota Bacolod and the ongoing construction of the Hino Motors building along the national road of Talisay City.

There is also an ongoing land development along the Silay-Bacolod Airport road, which falls within the boundary of Talisay City.   Big land developers are ensuring their presence in the real estate business which shows how promising the business climate, specifically in the real estate business is in Talisay City.

In the local business scene, we saw many restaurants or cafes opening their doors to Talisaynons and the recent addition is the new hangout place called Brewedery Cafe, located near San Nicolas de Tolentino Church, fronting Little Angel Kindergarten.  True-blooded Talisaynons will not miss this place because this child’s place is one of the best private pre-schools in the city.

Being on extended holidays and with nothing productive to do, me, my wife and the youngest daughter decided to try and find out what is on their menu.  I ordered their giant burger paired with plain native coffee while my daughter ate cheesy bacon fries and sipped strawberry milkshake.  My beloved wifey just  enjoyed seeing us finishing our meal since she is on a diet.

Hamburger and french fries always go together

The nachos are a combination of sweet and sour dish with a tangy flavor, it makes you ask for more.
The ambiance is instagrammable, the feel is very millennial.  There is a second storey for couple or family who just want a more intimate conversation.

I was interested in the cafe’s name.  According to the owner and the cook at the same time, brewedery is a play on the ilonggo term, “bro diri”, loosely translated as “brother here” or “brother, come here”. I was also told that they do not use artificial seasoning and their sauces came from original recipe, which is their marketing advantage.

The homey vibes and simple furnishings make one truly feel at home.

What can I say about the place? Brewedery Cafe is worth the try.  The prices are very affordable.  I got the plain native coffee for P12.00, a far cry from the same coffee but five times the price of high-end coffee shops in Bacolod City.    The serving is very generous.  I finished only half of the giant burger.

The owner is very hands-on - he ensures that orders arrived on time and make short conversation with the customers.  

Millennials, like my daughter, finds all angles of the place picture-worthy.  They have inspiring quotes, some taken from bible verses that were made into giant posters.  The over-all theme color is pastel, which is vibrant and creates a positive mood.

Interesting qoutes and fixtures are seen inside the cafe.

Indeed, visiting Brewedery Cafe made us productive after all. For information and upcoming events and promos, please visit

Disclaimer:  This is a personal review about Brewedery Cafe and no monetary consideration was involved.

My 2019 Wishlist

As we ushered 2019, let me share with you my personal wishlists based on various experiences I had in 2018 and even in the past years.  I may not guarantee that I will achieve all but with the help of my family, friends, and God, I will be able to achieve at least fifty-percent of what the list contains.

 No to fake news

The proliferation of fake news had made some media outlets became the guardians of genuine and credible new sources.  I hope that we should not become victims of fake news by discriminating enough not to share data and information that are too good to be true.

 Social awareness

The social reality that we live in is alarming in terms of the number of people affected.  We still see a lot of children on the street, garbage uncollected, sudden change of weather, etc.  Now, if we care enough, I guess we need to somehow start from ourselves by using less plastic and recycle more.   I guess, we need to be involved in social projects that promote the welfare of the poor, and the uneducated.

Healthy lifestyle

Modern technology and fast food restaurants have somehow made our way of living less stressful.  But coupled with the instant access to these modern amenities is our health problems.  I promise that 2019 would be a health and fitness year for me.

I guess, each one of us has his/her annual resolution, may it be written physically or in our minds only.  We may not achieve all in our list but the most important thing is, we are able to take time to analyze what transpired in 2018 and promised not to do the things that created negative impacts in our life.

Lakawon Island Resort and Spa: A dog-friendly Paradise

We always love to travel, discover new places, eat at new local restaurants, see places we have never been.  We observe people, notice their way of life, enjoy the new sights, get to know friendly people and even invent stories based on their looks, clothing and what they are doing.  Traveling is enriching, soul-searching and family bonding all roll into one.

Last summer, we had the chance to spend 3 days of fun, sun, sand, tan, ran and bond at Lakawon Island Resort and Spa, which is located in Cadiz City, situated in the northern part of Negros Occidental, Philippines.  After a 4-hour drive from our place, we were greeted with very hospitable and friendly staff and of course, we got the chance to see the island from where we were standing.  We had a glimpse of what is in store for us.

We were excited to ride on the small pump boat, capable of carrying around 20 passengers., so we can immediately go to the island.  What was more exciting was, we brought with us our two cute dogs, Labrador name Sky and furry one, Bolt, a two-year-old Shih Tzu.    At first, I was a bit alarmed seeing the Labrador afraid of getting the motorboat.  But, with my prodding and pushing, she stepped on the banca hesitantly. it was a smooth sailing ride for about 15 mins and lo and behold, we were in Lakawon island.

To us, next to Boracay, Lakawon island has the whitest and powdery sand with crystal clear blue water.  We settled with a hotel-like cottage on the beach front, actually a few steps away from the shoreline so it was easy for us to go back and forth from the beach to the cottage and vice-versa.

On the first day, we stayed on the cottage to take a rest, ate our lunch and walked along the shoreline.  Before we knew it was already dark and so it was dinner time.  My daughter and I grilled the spicy spareribs prepared the night before and while grilling, I sipped a bottle of iced San Mig light, enough to quench my thirst and to while away the time attending to our chore.  And so, we helped ourselves with the grilled meat, rice, some watermelon, and drinks.  To easily digest what we put in our full stomach, we leisurely walk along the beach front with the sound of the waves in the background and the cool breeze rushing on our faces.

The second day was the most enjoyable part of the trip.  We had the whole day, swimming, lazing around the sun, taking pictures here and there and watching people clean the shoreline.  We had a buffet breakfast in the morning and seafood fare for lunch and dinner in an open sky in the evening.

We are so glad that Lakawon is a dog-friendly resort.  Sky and Bolt roamed freely within the premises of our hotel and they slept with us inside the room, just like at home.  They also swam with us and they enjoyed the water very much.

It was bye, bye time on the third day.  But we got up early to take the last dip of the Lakawon waters.  While it was a bumpy ride on the pump boat going back to the main island, we are thankful that we docked in safely.

Travels make us see the beauty beyond.  Travel is enriching and liberating.  Truly, our Lakawon adventure is one that we will reminisce so long as we have summers in our lives.

You may view the resort website at this link>>

Travel Tipid Tricks: Exploring Guimaras on a Budget

The famous landmark of Guimaras, located in Jordan Capitol Ground provides a background for selfies and groupies. They say that unp...