The whole beach stretch between Bacong and zamboanguita is completely littered with resorts whi8ch at time of writing 9April 2012) are suffering their worst season for many years. As you might expect, some are considerably better than others. Purely for the purposes of VT tips, I am trying to visit as many of them as I can. It is obviously nothing to do with sitting in a lovely shaded bar with an immaculate beach, great service, a scenic view out over the Bohol Sea to Siquijor and a cold beer. Honestly, it is hard work but somebody has to do it!
The Pura Vida is one such resort and a friend of mine whose wife works there as a dive instructor had suggested I pop in for a beer some day so I did. I should say that I shall make my tip as factual as I possibly can. I know people associated with many resorts here, it is inevitable after a few months but I always try to be objective.
I went off the National Highway down the obligatory unpaved road, although in fairness this one is shorter and in better condition than most and came to the resort. My instant impression was that this was very much a dive centred resort. Like resorts in general, dive schools are having a bad time. I have heard of high end 100,000 peso packages going for 38,000. It is a good time to dive here. Judging be the divers who piled off the two boats for lunch there seems to be no shortage of business here and their diveplan showed a good number of dives. Might be an idea for another day.
I wandered up to the bar and was greeted by one of the very friendly English speaking staff. The beer, suitably cold, was duly served and I sat and had a chat with my friend in the pleasant surroundings you can see in the photos. I did not peruse the menu, although people say it is good if pricy by local standards.
I know this pace is slightly high end as regards accomodation although there are deals available if you are diving. I am told it can actually be quite hard to get a room if you are not. Be aware that you may not always be able to use the pool as they conduct beginners dive classes there sometimes. If you are not diving it is still a pleasant place to go for a drink.
I have mentioned in other thips that I do not think the beaches along the stretch of National Highway South from Dumaguete City through Bacon, San Miguel and Dauin are that good. I am not much of a fan of sea swimming anyway but if you fancy an alternative, there are plenty of resorts offering pool facilities to non-residents and Drill Shack is one of them.
I have to say that I have not swum in this pool but I have it on good authority that it is seawater and I have heard doubts expressed as to it's filtration system. As always, I shall present the facts as I have them and let the reader decide. There is a small fee for non-residents to use the pool.
What I can tell you is that the Drill Shack is a pleasant place to have a drink and I believe they also do food here. There are rooms available and some good deals for long term rentals. This is particularly true at time of writing (March 2012) as the season has been very poor along here. I know a couple of people who live here and are happy with it.
I do not wish to provoke a controversy here regarding animal cruelty, I am merely providing what I believe to be factual information about something the reader may or may not want to do in Dauin.
If you have read anything at all about the Philippines you will know about cock-fighting. In terms of popularity, it is up there with basketball, the other national sporting passion. If you are unaware, it works like this. Two cockerels are fitted with razor like leg sheaths and then goaded into fighting with each other, if not to the death then pretty close. Many Westerners are appalled by this, equating it with bear-baiting and dog-fighting etc. I have spoken to many Philippinos about this and they genuinely do not see what the fuss is. It is a huge part of Philippino culture and I am loath ro moralise. I suppose in a country where children regularly die for want of 200 pesos worth of medication, it is not seen as such a big deal.
The major purpose of the cockfighting is gambling which can be huge. I have it on very good authority that there is one guy outside the cockpit who has all the proper papers and buys mopeds off gamblers looking for stake money. In a place where the moped is your most valuable possession and often essential for work etc., this is gambling on a serious level.
Dauin is a fairly small place, a satellite of the much larger Dumaguete Citynearby so I was surprised to see that the Dauin cockpit is at least as big as Dumaguete's and certainly a more modern and substantial construction. I visited during a midweek daytime when it was closed although the security guard allowed me in to take the photo, albeit his expression clearly indicated he thought I was mad.
I have not been myself but I have made enquries locally and, should you wish to visit, it is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings with admission at 30 pesos.
As the title says, I have given you the information, you decide.
Washington Street, District 3, DAUIN, Philippines,
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
I shall write at greater length about the simply abysmal driving conditions in the Philippines in a general Philippines tip at a later date, assuming I survive the roads that long, but this is a tip specific to Bacong / Dauin and the National Highway there.
The local youth have a practice of racing small but very souped-up motorbikes along a particular stretch of this road. They race from Dauin towards Bacong and the finish line is the tree at the disused filling station opposite La Fiesta (Baboy's Place). You would think that two small bikes would not present much of a hazard but some of these things are capable of 140kph. There is some serious betting involved and preofessional riders, extremely light guys drive these things like complete maniacs. I have seen it myself and it is frightening, they will happily take both sides of the road approaching the finish. Remember this is a very busy Highway with trucks, buses and all sorts on it. there is considerable anecdotal evidence that most of the riders are on shebu (methamphetimine, a powerful and illegal drug) which gives them the courage to drive in such a fashion.
Everything appears to be organised on mobile (cell) phones and lookouts are posted against the occasional visit of the local police when they scatter in every direction, it is something to watch. Sunday afternoon is the normal time for this madness and crowds of literally hundreds turn up to line the "track", although I have seen occasional night races which are doubly dangerous. They are not common, thankfully.
Apologies for the photo which was taken surreptitiously and at a distance. An American guy I know was physically threatened by a group of Philippinos for taking photos. As it happens, he is just a bike buff and wanted some action shots but the locals didn't seem to appreciate that.
I am told there is another stretch of road near Siaton that is similarly used but I have not seen that myself.
Drivng this road at any time in any conditions is dangerous enough but when these drug-addled idiots are flying at such speeds it is a potential deathtrap. Be warned.
This tip is cross-posted in the Bacong page as it affects both municipalities.