Lizares: Lakawon Island surpasses expectations

LAKAWON Island has been tops on my family’s favorite list to spend a day or two whether it be a planned weekend respite or a spontaneous escapade on a glorious sunny day.

We have seen Lakawon over the many, many years from its typhoon ravished condition or its better days. Whichever it is, Victor and Josie Puey always made that trip one of thanksgiving.

Foremost, gratitude for the gift of true friendship; the gift of outstanding nature and most especially a white island haven with azure blue waters and powdery creamish sand to bond and frolic with the family. Even our little one, Iñigo, at the tender age of three already appreciates the pleasures of these gifts.

Last Sunday, although a bit lackadaisical about going on a road trip, the truth was I wanted to finish my Christmas tree and all the elaborate season’s décor that has accumulated over the years. However, a call from a good old family friend, Ponce Rivero, made us decide to take the trip.

Since we are living in the fast food era, gone are the days when a picnic was a grand production. Triple deck sandwiches of cheese pimiento, egg and liver spread were prepared the night before as well as the chocolate cake or brownies which are Nana’s specialties. These were to be devoured for the road trip or as merienda and the chocolate goodies for dessert. For the main course, there has to be mongo, adobo, bangus to grill as well as spare ribs and pork chops. But as said, when impromptu decisions are made, then an impromptu meal suffices. While very much not a fast foodie, they have their merits during these times.

So off to Lakawon we went. There was a beeline to ride the banca to cross the channel.

Lakawon today is being rented by Vladimir Gonzalez on a 50-year lease. Remarkable is an understatement to describe the transformation of the island in the short span of time. Vladi says that even during the conceptualizing of the facilities and amenities to be offered by the resort, it was made sure that guests should reach the island without having their feet wet or buried in inches of mud. So, to the most discriminating and fuzzy, a jetty was constructed to be functional in low or high tides in both coming and leaving the island.

If you are planning a day trip, there are umbrellas, cabanas for twosomes and the family. If you wish to spend a night or two, there are air-conditioned cottages, bamboo houses, and even tents for the more adventurous, which was the case of my cousin Ann and my niece Gab. Lakawon is not merely for vacationers with cars. A bus ride takes you all the way to Cadiz and a tricycle brings you to the pier which again my two relatives opted to perfect their adventure.

Asking Vladi what made him decide on this venture, his quick response was that it was a “no brainer.” Seriously, being a staunch lover of sand and sea, and a frequent guest in Lakawon with his family as well, he knew the thirst of Negrenses for a pleasurable destination for friends, families, and companies. And thinking in terms of a businessman, the proximity of Lakawon was a win-win for day trippers.

That “eureka” thinking did manifest itself that Sunday. Lakawon surpassed its own record of a thousand and a hundred guests for the day. The bancas filled with sun worshippers were coming and going; the umbrellas and cabanas were all occupied; and cottages were fully booked.

Vladi’s dream for Lakawon has no timetable. It will be a work in progress to best serve the needs and wants of his clients. He wants to create something new and not a duplication of other resorts. He has the floating bar which is innovative and exciting.

For one who is very much an advocate of tourism as well as personal joys, I commend Vladi for what he has done for Lakawon and will still be doing. We now have a place to bring our visiting friends who will be equally proud of having journeyed to this beautiful island.

Thank you Vladi!


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