Sipalay City: The Jewel of the Sugar Island

July 09, 2015 Travel

It's hard to imagine how a place this beautiful has been kept off the tourism radar. However, it is also probably what keeps this place pristine.

Welcome to Sipalay City, one of Negros Occidental's best-kept tourism destinations. It is perhaps one of the most overlooked vacation spots in the country. Still, the chances of it becoming one of those spots where the number of visitors keeps going up are very likely. It is hard to keep something this beautiful unnoticed.

Sipalay City is almost a five-hour drive south of Bacolod City by public utility vehicle and probably over three hours by private car. Roads are asphalted, and there are Ceres buses plying the route. Private vans are also available.

There are no taxicabs in Sipalay City, and tricycles are the best option for transport within Sipalay City. These three-wheelers, though, can take you to Sipalay's hidden gems.

Here are the spots we explored during our recent Sipalay City weekend getaway:

1) Tinagong Dagat

The first place we explored is Tinagong Dagat, which translates to hidden sea.

This place is mesmerizingly beautiful. Guests pay a minimal entrance fee that allows access to two islets, which house several cottages, a swimming pool, a restaurant, and a view deck. Guests cross wooden footbridges to get there, providing a good view of the old-growth mangroves at the shorelines and patches of seagrass beds.

Be sure to climb the view deck. It may be exhausting, especially with the uneven steps, but it would surely be worth it. The view from the deck is amazing—almost 360 degrees of beauty.

The bridge to the first islet

Tinagong Dagat

From the viewdeck

2) Punta Ballo Beach

After exploring Tinagong Dagat, we decided to head next to our resort located at Punta Ballo Beach for our much-needed rest and relaxation. We stayed at Artistic Diving, which the owners claim to be the very first resort at the beach.

This beach is blessed with fine cream-colored sand that's also good for frolicking and taking pictures.

Tip: Pack some insect repellants.  It is very expensive at the resort.

Artistic Resort's pool

The beach

Punta Ballo Beach

Punta Ballo Beach

3) Campomanes Bay

On our second day, we rented a boat for an exploration of Campomanes Bay.

We paid P 1,000.00 for a tour of Maasin Cave, Campomanes Bay Beach, and one of Sipalay City's marine sanctuaries. I had a refreshing morning dip at the sanctuary, which required a fee of P 50.00 per head.

Our boat

Maasin Cave

Maasin Cave

The islets near Campomanes Bay

Campomanes Beach

Marine Sanctuary

Marine Sanctuary

4) Perth Resort

For another picture-perfect moment, drop by Perth Resort.

We rented a tricycle to take us from Artistic Diving to Perth Resort, to the jump-off to Sugar Beach, then to the bus station for P 500.00.

The best view at Perth is at its view deck, which is up more than a hundred steps. The pool is actually one of the most photographed spots in the whole Sipalay City.

I did wish to have my picture while swimming there, but we only had time for one beer because we still had one last stop on our itinerary.

Tip: order first at the restaurant at the ground floor before going up.  There are no drinks or snacks available at the poolside.  We were just lucky one of the resort's attendant agreed to get us beer from downstairs.  

Fantastic view from the view deck of Perth

5) Sugar Beach

Formerly called Langub Beach, Sugar Beach is another long stretch of sugary, light brown sand. The beach is about a 20-minute boat ride from town proper.

There are lots of overnight options here, but Takatuka Beach is the most extraordinary of them all. Each of the resort's rooms and cottages is individually designed and themed. The restaurant is also interesting, offering delights not just for the tummy but also for the eyes. This is exactly how I want my beach resort to be. It's hard to find a favorite spot here because each nook is bursting with creativity.

I am so glad we decided to have our late lunch here. Even our table set-up was interesting. And the food was superb.

The boat ride is scenic

That's Takatuka Resort ahead


The bar of Takatuka

Some of the recreational facilities of the resort

That was our one-weekend Sipalay City adventure. I wish to come back to see more of Sipalay City, to stay at Takatuka Beach, and, of course, to eat and drink more.

Let's just hope Sipalay City retains its natural beauty and calmness.

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