I met up with Paul in Toledo, he drove from Carcar about an hour south of Cebu. Ferry left 0730 AM, and the ferry company recommended we should be there 6AM. Hearing from others who has done the same trip, 45 minutes was more than enough. I had also heard there was a big hassle getting all the papers for bringing a motorbike, so I allowed a couple of fixers assist me. They took care of it in just 10 minutes or so, and I was in a good mood and handed them 100 peso for the job. We left on time for the 2 hours ride across the Tanon Strait to San Carlos. Without a motorbike you can take a fast ferry in 45 minutes.
You can get an aircon lounge for a few peso more, but why bother when it's such a nice day. Plenty of free aircon outside. They sell water, coffee and snacks on board.
Arriving in San Carlos, my rear tire needed some air, so we fixed that at a vulcanizer. There was a parade through town so we had to take some side streets to get on the street to Bacolod.
A good place to stop, is Waddys Place. It's about 17 km after San Carlos, a bit early for the 87 km drive, but most likely your best option. They got a nice view of San Carlos and Cebu Island. You can also spend the night here, for 900 peso.
We were the only customers both on the trip to and from Bacolod.
The road is usually in good condition, and there is not much traffic here. The landscape changed all the time.
No, this is not Bohol's Chocolate hills..!
And this is not the rice terraces in Banaue..
Mountains, some dark clouds but luckily we had no rain across.
Rivers, not sure if thre are any fish here..
And lots of sugar cane fields. Once you get over to the other side, it's pretty flat the last 35 km. The road was the most scenic ride and the tourism department are starting to promote it. Besides being a beautiful ride, they didn't yet have much to offer tourists. There was a resort being build, so maybe in a few months it will be different.
Deducting the breakfast at Waddy's, we spent 2 1/2 hours to Bacolod. That includes some small stops for picture taking. Arriving in Bacolod, we asked our way without too much problems to the pier. There are plenty of ships going to Iloilo, and we only had to wait 20 minutes. The trip took 2 hours 15 minutes, but we got ourself a little shock finding out the ferry didn't dock in Iloilo, but Dumangas. A passanger told us it took 2 hours to get to Iloilo City, which is not fun when you're tired of traveling all day. Maybe a trisikad would take two hours, but we got there in about 30 minutes, so she was dead wrong. Later we found out that there is no roro ferry in Iloilo, so Dumangas is your only option traveling with motorbikes. Without, you could take a fast ferry in 45 minutes. We paid about 300 peso each way per person incl motorbikes.
Arriving in Iloilo in heavy traffic and the city was much bigger than I thought. Flyovers, heavy traffic, almost like driving in Cebu. Not known in Iloilo, we had to ask our way to the hotel, Charter Pension House. It's in a complex of another expensive hotel, with lots of restaurants and even a nice swimming pool we could use for free. 600 peso a night, highly recommended if you're not too picky.
I know I immideately should run around Iloilo looking for places of interest, but when you've started 0630 from home, and traveling until 5PM, you really are not in the mood anymore. So, we just had a swim, some food and drinks and later met up with Per Christian, a very nice Norwegian living in Iloilo. He took us to a restaurant complex later on, and had some nice Thai food at Krua Thai. After the meal we headed straight to bed and decided to make a decision tomorrow whether to continue or not.
Next morning we drove down to the pier in order to find a ferry terminal to bring us to Bacolod. We were tired of driving, and the thought of another 6 hours on the motorbike, then return, was too much. We decided to return to Bacolod and spend the night there. The problem was, we had to go to Dumangas again.
Although we drove from Dumangas, we didn't remember all the turns so we ended up bringing a guy with us. For 200 peso he jumped on my bike and guided us all the way. We'd be lost without him.
In Bacolod, we stayed at the Kundutel, after a tip from Tony at Caesar's. We enjoyed a few cold beers in their pool, and got sunburned.
We spent the evening in an expat bar called George Biker Bar, or something like that. The owner is German and a nice guy. We asked for a good steak house, and he pointed at his menu, 385 incl French Fries and Aioli. The steak must be local, but we gave it a try and it was the BEST steak I ever had in Cebu. He bought it locally, and dry aged it for 10 days, same thing I've done with success before. Absolutely recommended.
After a late breakfast next morning, we headed back to San Carlos and took the ferry over to Cebu Island again.
The trip was very scenic, but I will do a little more planning next time. I love driving a motorbike, but I underestimated how many hours in the sun traveling will make you tired. Better do shorter trips, and more breaks.