Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dumaguete-Syquijor, So Many Things to do So Little Time

I started using the foursquare application as soon I had my first Iphone more than two years ago.  What's good about it is that you can look back at your travels based on your check-ins.  It gives me the opportunity to blog about places we have been to in the past, even before this blog was created.

We are always in the look out for promo fares, and this round trip ticket to Dumaguete February of last year costs us 700php for 2 persons.  Since promo fares don't usually include weekends, we scheduled our trip on a Thursday leaving Dumaguete on a Saturday.

We were at NAIA 3 around 3AM and in less than 3 hours we were at Dumaguete Airport.  We always travel light, and have no need to check-in baggage.  It’s more convenient since you literally just walk in and out of the airport.  Just make sure your familiar with the airport regulations on hand carry items.  I remember the time when we have to empty out a can of body spray to ourselves since the bottle has a mark that says flammable.   You can actually smell us from a distance, but it’s better than letting it go to waste.  We were the best smelling passengers on the plane.

Upon arrival, we were on the look out for a place to stay.  Regional airport usually has a tourism desk that has brochures of accommodations that fits your budget.  We chose Coco Grande Hotel for their reasonable rate and the convenience of their transport service waiting outside.  If you don’t have an advance booking, just approach the sign bearers waiting for guests outside the airport.  When we arrived at the hotel, we still have to wait for their checkout time, since we didn’t have reservations.  While waiting at the reception, I saw the picture of Coco Grove behind the counter.  Little did I know that they were the same owner of this Syquijor Resort.

So, instead of waiting for another 3 hours for a free room, why not use the time to visit the island.  Since it was a weekday, we were fortunate that a free room was available at the resort.  The front desk arranged our transfer to the port and the overnight booking.  By 10AM, we were at the port of Dumaguete en-route to the Mystic Island of Syquijor.

We arrive at the port of Syquijor just before lunch.  A Tourist Jeepney and a Man in Hawaiian shirt holding a sign that bears our name picked us up.  We had lunch while waiting for the check-in time.  We also took the opportunity to explore the resort facilities.  The resort is fronting a white sand beach with hammocks and cabanas the entire stretch.  What was memorable was the staff.  They were the most accommodating and call you by your first name.  They even remember small details like, how do you like your drink and your usual condiments.  

We spent the entire afternoon taking advantage of the resort amenities like the swimming pools and bar. We lazed at the hammock while sipping on glass of Pina Colada.  

We were the only local guests that time.  Our foreigner counterpart would dress up for dinner while we were in shorts and tank tops.  After dinner we went to bar and played a few rounds of table hockey.  We retired early so we can still explore the island the next morning.

After breakfast, we rented a motorbike and ride around the coastal road around town.  Since my GPS was not working, we went the opposite direction instead of passing the town of Lazi where the church and monastery is located.  Nevertheless, the sights on the opposite route did not disappoint us.  We rode the motorbike until our butts and legs hurt forcing us to return for checkout.  Our return boat ride ticket was pre-arranged at the front desk the day before as well as our transport service to the port.  At 4PM, we were back in Dumaguete.

Since we spent a great deal of our vacation money in Syquijor, we went to look for a cheaper accommodation on the bayside of Dumaguete.  The most reasonable we found was Honeycomb Tourist Inn.  We chose this place since its walking distance to the center of Town and the Plaza. 

CafĂ© Antonio is a must visit for late snacks of Pizza and Pasta.  The Restaurant/Cafe is old ancestral house converted into a restaurant.  Their menu is a mix of Filipino, Mexican and Jamaican fusion.

Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves of a massage at Buddy and Sole a few corners away.  We cannot resist the 2-hour treatment package for less than 500 pesos.  After the massage, we went back to the inn to prepare on exploring the nightlife of the city.  The trending place in foursquare is Hayahay Treehouse and Viewdeck.   We tried to walk our way but the roads were getting darker as we passed the port area so we flagged a tricycle to take us to the place.  It was a Friday night and the place was packed with tourist and locales.  Getting a seat was so difficult that we transferred to the bar beside it, El Camino Blanco.  The place is less rowdy and more relaxed at the porch. It has a dance floor inside that we did not get to see.  After a few rounds of beer, we headed back to the Inn.  Just before retiring for the night, we had a bowl of Lugaw, at Hoy Lugaw.  It’s a popular after party place.  I find the inverted pots as seats interesting. 

After a few hours of sleep, we woke up early to avail of the complimentary breakfast since our flight was at 8:30AM.  We literally opened their restaurant.  While waiting I took early morning pictures of the boulevard.  At 7:30AM we were back at the Dumaguete airport, and arrived in Manila by 10AM.  Don't forget to bring home their famous Sans Rival and Sylvanas.

Just when we thought our vacation was over, we went to a Thai Restaurant in Rockwell for Lunch, watched Zsa Zsa Zaturnah at CCP and had a late dinner at Igmaan Paluto Restaurant in Seaside, Macapagal.  It was one memorable weekend.

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