Cruising Sipaway: Exploring the Island on Two Wheels

May 21, 2013 Biking

Exploring on foot is undoubtedly the best way to experience the surroundings, but two wheels provide a fantastic alternative. While it may be a bit tiring and limit the coverage of areas, the experience is tangible and uniquely immersive. Plus, it's a healthy and environmentally friendly option.

After our overnight stay at Whispering Palms, we decided to tour the island on two wheels, taking advantage of the free bike rentals they offered. Woohoo!

Geographically known as Refugio Island, Sipaway is situated between the islands of Negros and Cebu, with Refugio Pass to its west and Tanon Strait to its right. It's just a 10-15 minute boat ride from the port of San Carlos City, my mom's hometown.

The island spans only around 7 kilometers, making it feasible to explore from tip to tip on a bike.

Our starting point, of course, is Whispering Palms.

The resort is truly incredible. Although primarily a diving resort, even non-divers like me can find a multitude of enjoyable activities. Boasting its own mini zoo, a serene mangrove forest, a well-equipped gym, and a dedicated massage area, the resort caters to a variety of interests. For those seeking a leisurely day, hammocks are thoughtfully placed in each room, and hooks installed on trees make it easy for everyone to hang on hammocks. However, the highlight, in my opinion, is the lively happy hour, drawing everyone together at the bar.

The hotel manager, Stefan, lent us a map, albeit in German. With his assistance, he translated and recommended various places for us to explore. Following the map, we embarked on another tour of the island, with my first stop being the balete tree.

The tree was hard to miss, adorned with colorful tiles, and situated within a school compound. Recognized as a century-old landmark, the Balete tree is often mentioned in various tourism brochures as one of the island's attractions. 

Following our visit to the tree, we set out in search of food, gaining a glimpse of the island's simple, laid-back lifestyle along the way.

We made several stops at local carinderias to try the native cuisine, but none appealed to our tastes. Despite our efforts to find the recommended local spots, we couldn't locate them. 

So we just decided to wait until we reached San Carlos City for lunch, as we were thoroughly enjoying our biking adventure. 

Sipaway is renowned for its pristine, untouched beaches, with Ermita and San Juan being among the more popular ones. 

map from

San Juan and Ermita are residential areas known for their stunning white sand beaches. I cherish memories of the clear, knee-deep waters of San Juan, with starfish dotting the landscape. One memorable afternoon was spent with my relatives, sitting in the water and exchanging stories.

Ermita is the more developed beach, featuring resorts and cottages for day trippers. This side is ideal for swimming and even offers snorkeling opportunities.

It's always a delight to explore the lesser-known coasts. During our adventure, we stumbled upon these hidden gems.

Exploring the island's hidden spots, enjoying picnics, and glimpses of island life – our adventure on two wheels was a memorable exercise. 

Grateful for the friendly locals who helped us find our way. After biking, we returned our bikes and took a tricycle back to Baybay, the main port of the island.

Yet another memorable visit to Sipaway. The island's simplicity and natural beauty always leave me longing for the next adventure

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