Expat In Bacolod

Stephen Bentley - Writer

Category: Travel and Beaches (page 1 of 4)

California Coral Beach Resort, Guimaras

This post was intended to be about Guimaras. However, seeing ninety-nine percent of our time was spent at the wonderful California Coral Beach Resort at Nueva Valencia, Guimaras, then it seemed right to me to blog mainly about the resort. Firstly, a little about Guimaras. It’s a gem of a small island situated between the two larger islands of Negros and Panay. Here is what one Philippines website has to say about the island: ABOUT GUIMARAS PROVINCE Guimaras Island varies from level to steeply sloping, with land elevation ranging from 0 to nearly 300 meters above sea level.  Mt. Dinulman, located in Millan, Sibunag, has the highest elevation of 267 meters above mean sea level. A great part of the island’s land area is above… Read More

Two Best Negros Island Beach Resorts

Want to know where the two best Negros Island beach resorts are?  Zabrina and I happened to stay at both only last week. Takutaka Lodge Beach and Dive Resort and Bugana Beach and Dive Resort are both close to Sipalay some 4 hours drive or so south from Bacolod City. In my opinion they surpass any other resort on the island and have to be in the top ten in the whole of the 7,100 islands in the Philippines. There is a connection between the two resorts. Let me call it the Swiss connection. Karl is the male half of the Takatuka team running that resort with his partner Cathy. Both are Swiss although I am led to believe Karl was born in Germany. Karl’s… Read More

Car Dashcams and Idiot Drivers

Car dashcams are a real answer to the problems caused by idiot drivers. That applies whether it is here in Bacolod or anywhere in the world. Those of you who have followed this blog for any length of time will know I have had plenty to say about idiot drivers in Bacolod. I even wrote a book about it 🙂 So why should you consider the installation of  a car dashcam? This is what one review site had to say: A dash cam can protect your finances, your time, and your personal property in a number of ways: It can scare off dishonest people who try to take advantage of you; it can provide evidence that’s far more reliable than eyewitness testimony; it can accelerate… Read More

Top 10 Most Beautiful Beach Resorts in Negros Occidental

A travel blog recently posted an article with a list of the most beautiful beach resorts in Negros Occidental. TravelNegros.com listed 10 such resorts and it was incredible that Takatuka Lodge and Dive Resort, Sugar Beach, Sipalay didn’t figure in the top ten. I have written about Takatuka before. I confess that I haven’t been to all of the ten resorts featured in that travel blog but I have been to two or three including their #1 pick, Whispering Palms Beach Resort, Sipaway Island, San Carlos City. That is what is so baffling about the omission of Takatuka. Whispering Palms (WP) is okay and no higher than okay. For a start, the beach there is a bit of a joke at low tide and certainly… Read More

Home Away Relaxation

There is something about the ‘home away’ style vacation that I like. Possibly that stems from the many years of working and traveling, forced to stay in ‘plastic hotels.’  It was novel at first but soon became tiresome. These days I much prefer a vacation trip staying in accommodation that feels like a home. Just as it happens I have discovered all about Home Away Asia. It is an outfit specializing in the type of places I like to stay at – a ‘home from home.’ In fact, they have a promo at the moment.  Use promo code SUMMER50 and enjoy $50 off $500 spent on your holiday accommodation with HomeAway. Expires 15-Aug Recently I decided to use them for an up and coming trip… Read More

Bantayan Island, Cebu: FavFotoFriday

It’s just over a year ago now that Zabrina and I had a trip to Bantayan Island, Cebu. We stayed at a resort in Santa Fe but decided to tour the island one day on a small motorbike. That is one of the things I love about the Philippines – a lack of over-regulation. To rent a motorbike back in the UK is a pain. First off, you need to find a dealer that rents bikes out. Second, you need to show your license. Third, they will ask for a huge deposit. In Bantayan, we asked the resort chef where we could rent a bike for the day. “No problem” he answered, pointing towards his own bike. For 200 pesos (about £3) we had his… Read More

Dirty Kitchen Dirty Ice Cream

Dirty Kitchen! Is that Where you Eat Dirty Ice Cream? Any foreigner new to the Philippines whether tourist or not will soon hear the terms ‘dirty kitchen’ and ‘dirty ice cream.’ It was during my house hunting that I first heard ‘dirty kitchen.’ I was genuinely puzzled. The words were uttered with pride and an inner satisfaction which added to my puzzlement. How on earth could someone be proud of a ‘dirty kitchen’? It conjured up images of cockroaches and rat infestation in my western head. Thank goodness I could not have been any further wide of the mark. A ‘dirty kitchen’ is such a great idea. It is practical too. I’m sure its origins lie in the days when all cooking was done on… Read More

Dumaguete Road Trip, Philippines

Zabrina and I recently took a road trip to Dumaguete in Negros Oriental, Philippines. I have previously written a lot about my driving experiences here. I was even inspired to write a book about those experiences,  How To Drive Like An Idiot In Bacolod. The book is available on Amazon for those of you who are fans of Kindle. It is available for download here in both PDF and ePub formats – [purchase_link id=”2499″ style=”button” color=”green” text=”PDF version” direct=”true”]   [purchase_link id=”2517″ style=”button” color=”red” text=”ePub version” direct=”true”] Please see the foot of this post to read the latest review of the book on Amazon. We enjoyed Dumaguete enormously. It reminds me of certain seaside towns in England with its boulevard. The ornate street lights all… Read More

Lakawon – Why Bother With Boracay?

Lakawon is a small white sand beach island just off the northern tip of Negros Occidental, Philippines. It makes for a wonderful day out and is popular with  Filipinos, resident foreigners and foreign tourists. But beware – here is a link to the high tide table at maputils.com. It is essential reading before you go. Why? There is a 20-minute banca ride across to the island. As long as it is not low tide then these boats have sufficient draft to drop anchor either close to the beach or at the  finger jetty at Cadiz Viejo. If it is low tide then you are forced to clamber into small boat to transfer to the larger banca. If like me, you have mobility issues, then it is a… Read More

Road Trip Philippines

This short video of our last road trip in the Philippines is for the benefit of would-be expats, those who are thinking of moving to this wonderful country. It is also a demonstration that driving here can be a pleasure. Just beware of the idiot drivers. It gives expats, tourists and even Filipinos who don’t know Negros,  a little taste of what to expect. It is a beautiful country! I hope you enjoy the video, most ably shot and produced by Zabrina. She is the good looking one sat next to me in our car 🙂   That was the short version – my mistake! Below is the original 1m 45s version – All of this and the road trip makes me want to save the… Read More

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