Speeding up at 80 kilometers per hour with my right foot set on the gas pedal, I can already envisage the white powdery sand and dazzling emerald green water of the renowned paradise of Sipalay in the province of Negros Occidental.
Sipalay City is a popular destination for both local and foreign tourists of the Sugar Island because of its natural beauty and quaint charm. It also boasts beautiful resorts and beaches making it a perfect place to be in for a relaxing retreat.
How To Get There
This jewel in the coast of Negros is about 177 kilometers away from Bacolod City and 161 kilometers from Dumaguete City which can be driven for almost 4 hours from any of these starting points.
Since we are traveling with kids and infant, we prefer a journey with comfort so we rented a 7-seater MPV for PHP 1,500 (USD 30) per day with no mileage restriction but exclusive of the driver and gasoline. I don’t mind not having a driver since I prefer to drive the unfamiliar roads of Negros by myself and I only spent another PHP 1,500 (USD 30) for the fuel to cover our entire trip from Bacolod.
If you are coming from Manila, you can either fly to Bacolod or Dumaguete. From Bacolod, you can take a Ceres Bus from their southbound terminal with options of boarding on an ordinary, air-conditioned or tourist bus. Bus fares range from PHP 180 to PHP 253 (USD 3.50 to USD 5) with travel time of 5 to 6 hours.
From Dumaguete, there is only 1 direct trip daily to Sipalay from Ceres Terminal which departs between 12pm to 1pm for PHP 280 (USD 5.50) with travel time of 4 to 5 hours. If ever you missed this bus, you can also hop on the bus to Hinobaan then transfer to a bus to Sipalay for PHP 222 (USD 4.50) all in all. Once you’ve arrived in Sipalay bus terminal, you can take a tricycle to your hotel for PHP 100 (USD 2) per passenger.
For travelers who are not tight in their budget, there is now a new and faster option to reach Sipalay City. Air Juan offers four flights weekly to Sipalay from Cebu every Wednesday and Sunday and from Iloilo every Monday and Thursday. Coming from Puerto Princesa, Air Juan flies to Sipalay as well with 2 stopovers via Cuyo Island and Iloilo every Monday and Thursday.
Where Did We Stay
Sipalay has a lot of fascinating resorts but what attracted me the most is Perth Paradise Island Resort which became popular because of its infinity pool with an awe-inspiring and picturesque view at the background perfect for Instagram photos.
From the main road to the resort, you have to traverse almost a kilometer long of gravelly road which nearly made me think twice if this place is worth to stay. When we reached the entrance, I never expected that behind the resort’s gate is an astounding work of art of Mother Nature.
We opted to take the Family Room for a night and we were not disappointed with our chosen accommodation. It’s clean, fresh and comfortable to stay. It also has a dirty kitchen equipped with refrigerator and gas stove where you can cook and prepare your own food. The room has a cool air-conditioning unit and LED TV with a satellite dish to access local and cable channels.
The location of the rooms and the infinity pool is quite challenging to reach as you have to climb over 100 stair-steps. However, there are benches in between the steps to rest and catch your breath.
Perth Paradise itself is not a huge resort but it offers one of the best views in Sipalay. The infinity pool is not as big as I expected but it is good enough to spend several hours of relaxation and take instagrammable photos to share. Though this resort has no beachfront, it has a lagoon with emerald green water where you can swim and definitely enjoy nature at its best.
Perth Paradise Room and Services Rates
Family Room (for 6-8 pax) – PHP 4,000 (USD 80)
- 2 Matrimonial beds, 2 extra beds
- PHP 200 (USD 4) for additional bed per pax
Standard Room (for 4-6 pax) – PHP 2,500 (USD 50)
- 2 single beds or 1 Matrimonial bed
- PHP 200 (USD 4) for additional bed per pax
Cabana Room (for 1-2 pax) – PHP 1,300 (USD 26)
- With fan only
Entrance Fee for Walk-in – PHP 80 (USD 1.60)
Cottages for Walk-in – PHP 500 (USD 10)
- With Electricity
Infinity Pool – PHP 100 (USD 2)
Kayak – PHP 250/pax (USD 5) (walk-in – 1 hour, check-in – unlimited)
Island Hopping – PHP 1,500 (USD 30) for 3 hours (max of 6 pax, additional PHP 150 per head)
Jetski – PHP 4,500/hr (USD 90) max of 2 pax
Snorkeling – PHP 250 (USD 5) for 1 hour
Floating Cottage – PHP 700 (USD 14)
After settling down in our room and resting for a while, we headed back on the road for a 10-minute drive to Punta Ballo Beach. Unfortunately, the beach was not swimmable on that afternoon due to low tide so we decided to go for island hopping instead. We were able to rent a boat for over 10 people at PHP 1,000 (USD 20) only. However, it is still best to do the island hopping in the morning as the sea is not so friendly in the afternoon.
For only PHP50 (USD 1), we got our snorkeling gear from our helmsman and experienced some underwater fun in Turtle island and Campomanes. For experienced divers who are looking for a deeper adventure, there are plenty of diving resorts as well in Sipalay along Punta Ballo Beach that you can also check out.
After that exhausting yet fun afternoon, we returned to Perth Paradise Resort to enjoy the rest of the night. We cooked and grilled our own food for dinner and spent the evening in the pool. The resort has a restaurant and a bar that serve food and drinks. The bar is located just beside the pool so you can actually sip your favorite drink and splash into the water.
The following day, we woke up really early to capture the beautiful sunrise as the sun touches the sea. We maximized our morning soaking in the infinity pool and swimming with the fishes in the green lagoon before we check out.
We planned to visit the nearby resort ‘Tinagong Dagat’ but decided not to proceed since it almost has a similar view to Perth Paradise Resort aside from their wooden and hanging bridge connecting to their island resort which is one of their highlights. So we ended up doing a side trip to Canlaon City in Negros Oriental to see the Century Tree before heading back to Bacolod.
Sipalay has various natural attractions that one can see and experience. It is blessed with natural terrains and underwater dive sites to explore. This trip to Sipalay will definitely not be the last one and we want to come back here again during summer time when the beach is as beautiful as Eden and the water is vaporously exhaling its mist and gently drenching the fine white sand to satisfy our need for a perfect summer holiday experience.