I should start this tip with a bit of an explanation and disclosure in the interests of fair reporting. I have always tried to make my VT tips fair and unbiased and I hope I have succeeded in this. I am actually writing this tip in the place I am writing about. I have been here about two weeks now having intended to stay a couple of days, and have become quite friendly with the owners. I have also written a very negative review on another resort where I stayed which is literally across the road. These facts are not connected. I am receiving no inducement to write this tip and am paying the going rate here for accomodation, food and drink. Both tips are genuine opinions of the respective establishment.
I came upon this place completely by accident whilst looking for a drink and a meal and was slightly put off by the large "For Sale" sign outside and thinkng it must be a failed business. Bacong is not overly subscribed with restaurants, so I went in anyway. To make a long story short, La Fiesta was built by two Swedish guys and a local work crew and has only been open a few months. It was intended to be built for immediate sale but now one of the brothers has decided he likes it so much here he is going to run it as a business. And there is much here to like.
La Fiesta is billed as a restobar (restaurant / bar) although in effect the excellent breakfasts are the only food on offer. The pancakes and bacon at 150 pesos is very tasty. Snacks like toasted sandwiches are available but in the evening there is an option which I rather like. The staff eat about 1800 or 1900 and if you have asked they will put your name in the pot. Whilst there is no choice I love it as I get to eat real Philippino food. Lisa the housekeeper normally cooks and her chicken curry is outstanding.
This is, however, an accomodation tip so let me address that.
The accomodation is in the form of five double bed nipa huts. If you do not know what a nipa hut is, it is the traditional bamboo structure used in the Philippines and I absolutely love them. Apart from the aesthetics and, let's be honest, there is something very appealing for a British traveller in sleeping in a bamboo hut, they are completely practical. I dislike air-conditioning as it affects my throat and there is a fan in this room but I never need to use it. The room affords just enough through breeze to be comfortable. There is cable TV in the rooms and the bed is just right for me, I sleep like a baby here.
The bathing facilities are communal with no hot water in spotless wetrooms. In truth, hot water is not required here due to the climate. The owner is considering putting in a swimming pool on the site but this may take some time.
There is night security here and I feel completely safe even though it is a fairly out of the way place. The staff are delightful and always ready to help you. There is a 125 motorcycle for rent at 200 pesos per day but you need to know how to ride a bike, it is not an automatic scooter. The room rate is 500 pesos per night which is good value for me but would be excellent value for a couple.
As I said at the outset, I hope this tip has been balanced and will be read as such.
Update 8th March, 2012.
I do like to keep my tips up to date where possible, so I will add here that as of a few days prior to writing a limited menu of burgers and French fries is being offered. Please see my restaurant tip for full details.
The menu is much expanded and I will deal with it in the restaurant section.
I can also now report that Mac, the owner, offers a long-term occupancy rate of 4500 pesos a month for rentals of that duration which makes it exceptional value at about £2 per day ($3US approximately).
Nothing unique, just an extremely comfortable and friendly place to stay.
I arrived in Bacong after a long day travelling and just after dark. I had booked three nights in the Dumaguete Sprngs Beach Resort online. The first thing to note is that there are two Dumaguete Springs, one in the Sibulan area of Dumaguete itself and this one which is about 12 kilometres out of town. It is only just in Bacong, a few hundred metres further and it would be classified as Dauin. I was aware of where it was but I believe people have booked here thinking it was the similarly named place in Dumaguete proper. I do not know if the establishments are linked.
Passing the quite flash entrance, the trike driver took me along a poorly paved pitch black road to the resort proper. This, with the resident dogs, was to prove somewhat of a challenge for walking at night. Paying off the (overpriced) trike, I was greeted by a pleasant lady and had a brief look round. The first thing that struck me was that, just after sunset when you would expect people to be having a drink, or sitting by the pool or eating or whatever, it was completely deserted. I subsequently ascertained that there were only one other couple staying that night (I never saw them) and I was the only resident the succeeding night. The pool looked nice lit up as did the main building.
I was shown to my cabin on the beach (of which more later) and all seemed good. I had a fan room as I do not like aircon. The cabin was a nipa (traditional bamboo) construction with a block bathroom attached, cable TV and a fridge which obviously had not been used for months as it smelt, well, like a fridge that hasn't been used for months. There was warm, water from an electric shower. At that point I had not discovered the rodent droppings in the wardrobe so I was happy enough.
Washed and changed, I ventured to the bar area for a beer. The first thing I noticed was that the prices were hiked compared to other places in the area. I would expect to pay a slight premium but there are other resorts nearby more competitively priced. After a couple of beers, chatting to the lady and watching some incomprehensible local "agony aunt" show, I had had enough and decided to head up into the village for a look round. Had I someone to play with I might have considered a game of pool but the table was covered and being used to store laundry. If you do not have transport you would be reliant on them getting you a taxi, no doubt at a premium again. The road was pitch black, as I said, and the three dogs in the neighbouring establishment had to be politely persuaded not to attack me. Not a fun walk at all.
Next morning, a friendly member of staff brought me coffee to the verandah. The mepty cup was still there two days later. After coffee, I had a chance to look around a bit more. The beach is nothing to write home about. It has dark sand and at high tide is only a few metres wide. At low tide the green slimy rocks are uncovered indicating why you would not want to be swimmng there at high tide. I also discovered the jacuzzi (additional fee) but it was empty with a load of gunge in the bottom. Had I wanted to use the wifi, that costs 50 pesos per hour or 150 per day. As I was paying 1950 pesos a night, I would have thought it would have been free. It certainly was in other less expensive places even in Manila.
I ate once here and shall provide a seperate restaurant tip on that. As the title of this tip suggests, I did not like this place when I arrived and I did not like it when I left. I am sorry I had booked three nights here. I am told it is run by an Austrian man who is never there as he runs other businesses. Perhaps it is time he had a look round this one. Readers of my other pages will know that I do not like to write totally negative tips but I have no option here.
There was nothing unique about this place, it was distinctly average.
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