Why is Sipalay my favourite place in Negros?
Sipalay remains, to this day, arguably one the best places in the Philippines. The landscape is one of the most diverse I have seen in the Philippines. It showcases white sand beaches, limestone karsts, turquoise blue water, lagoons, tributaries, islets, mangroves, limestone islets, caves (above and underground) and most notably, very friendly locals.
Sipalay is a fourth class city with a population of about 70,000 people. It is broken up into seventeen Barangays, which are basically just small villages. The people there are so friendly and laid back. As they don’t get to see many foreigners, they are very hospitable when they do see one.
The best of Negros – Sugar City
The downtown area in Barangay I is known as Poblacion. This is a lively area with several restaurant cum karaoke bars known as Sipalay Food Park. It’s so relaxing to sit there having a meal with a couple of quiet drinks. The view overlooking the Sulu Sea and the accompanying sunsets is epic. You score bonus points with the locals if you know a few karaoke songs too! Sugar beach Sipalay is also a great local beach and is a popular attraction with the locals.
Sipalay City hotels and Sipalay City Resorts are few and far between. In fact, Poblacion is not really geared up for foreigners. There isn’t a lot of decent accommodation, and the food is very much local standard. They don’t even have a McDonald’s or Jollibee there! However, there is plenty of fresh seafood and street barbecues for those that wish to partake of the local fair. With all the awesome natural surroundings, who cares anyway!
Punta Ballo is easily my favourite place. It is right on the Sulu Sea, with a one-kilometer long white sand beach. There are a number of rugged limestone cliffs with great ocean views. The sunsets here are some of the most amazing sunsets you will ever see.
Hidden gem for scuba diving
There are a few foreign-owned Dive Resorts in this area on the coast. Being foreign owned, they have comfortable accommodation and great food. Then there is the beach which is ideal for swimming and snorkeling and of course, scuba diving.
Although there are a few foreign tourists around this area, it still remains very much “undiscovered”. It really is one of the best Philippines destinations. Hopefully, it will be a long time before people catch on and take away what makes this place so amazing.
SIPALAY FAST FACTS:
Philippine Airlines (PAL) fly to Bacolod from Manila daily five times a day with the flight taking approximately one hour, and they also fly to Dumaguete from Manila twice daily with the flight taking just over one hour.
Ceres Bus Lines depart from Bacolod and Dumaguete and pass through Sipalay City, departing hourly. Fare one way is less than P300 and takes about 5 hours from Bacolod and Dumaguete, as Sipalay is almost exactly in between these two cities.