TRAVEL: Sipalay, a hidden gem in Negros Island

When we hear the province Negros Occidental, it is always in connection to Bacolod City - its capital. Tasting their sweetest delicacies like piaya, napoleones and Calea's chocolate cakes is a heaven to us sweet-toothed travelers. And to top that, who can't resist the savory chicken inasal in every corner of the city? Add it up to the beauty of The Ruins to capture your Bacolod trip. But wait, there's more to explore the province.
Perth Paradise Resort in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental

1. Sipalay Public Beach

Sipalay City is a gem you can find after a 3-hour drive from Bacolod City. It boasts a long beach in the poblacion area where you can just go "lying on the sand, watching seabirds fly".

Sipalay Public Beach
Sipalay Public Beach

You can enjoy the beach with the luscious hills in the background, and wait until sunset to catch the golden hour. Simple joys with no money to spend since the public beach has no entrance fee, just walk in and enjoy. Located near the beach is the Sipalay Food Park where you can indulge with the local food, of course, chicken inasal can not be absent.

Golden hour at Sipalay Public Beach
Golden hour at Sipalay Public Beach

2. Perth Paradise Resort

Another majestic scenery in Sipalay can be seen in Perth Paradise Resort. This is a private resort where you can have your overnight accommodation (you can check the room rates in their website), or just have a day tour to maximize your Sipalay trip. Their pool is just a small pool, nothing fancy, but surely a good spot to have your picture taken with the hills sprawling in green leaves as your background. This spot is worth more than what you have paid for; just spend Php 80 day tour entrance fee plus Php 100 to have pool access.

Majestic view at Perth Paradise Resort
Majestic view at Perth Paradise Resort

3. Punta Ballo Beach

Next beach to explore in Sipalay is the Punta Ballo beach. It's sand is very comparable to the powdery sand of Boracay, but having a very laid back atmosphere from the locals and the tourists combined. There are also resorts in the area where you can have your accommodation, or just grab a mango shake in a nearby store, sit on the sand under a tree shade, and have a relaxed time. No entrance fees on the main beach, but there are boats for rent and have an island tour if you have more time. Aside from Punta Ballo, there is also Sugar Beach, Nataasan Beach, and Campoquino Bay, just to mention a few, if you are in need of more beach areas.

Afternoon siesta time at Punta Ballo Beach
Afternoon siesta time at Punta Ballo Beach

4. Matlag Cave

Aside from the beaches, you can have a walk around the islets of Latasan Island Resort and have a mini trekking with steps bringing you to the top of the hill. From there, you can enjoy sight-seeing the hills and have your exhaustion quenched by the fresh air.

If you want to do caving, there is Matlag cave. From the outside, there is nothing spectacular as you can only see a hole that seems like only a single person can enter. It is located along the road, and you can't expect anything - at first. Once you enter, pitch black will consume your vision, but don't worry because there are flashlights and safety helmets that will be provided. You will walk with just an ankle-high depth of water, but amazing stalactites and stalagmites can be seen, and these are still "growing."

Matlag Cave, outside entrance and inside exploration
Matlag Cave, outside entrance and inside exploration

With a lot of locations mentioned, don't worry about the schedule. All of these destinations can be done in a single day on which you can rent a tricycle ride for the whole day and have a tour. Every manong tricycle driver always knows the best spots, so just give them your trust. Best follow this sample itinerary on your Sipalay trip:

1. Tour in Perth Paradise Resort - do this in the early morning to avoid crowds. Mind you will have to spend an hour to enjoy the view, and have lots of pictorial sesh. :)

2. Go to the beaches of Nataasan and Campoquino Bay, just a few minutes of dipping will do to tick off the bucket list.

3. Do the caving at Matlag Cave before lunch.

4. Have a stop at FishTank Seafood Restaurant. Feast in their Boodle fight meals, and enjoy buttered shrimp and mud crabs! Plus, its ambience is very comparable to the Bohol Loboc River cruise, so don't miss this.

5. Enjoy the powdery sands of Punta Ballo. Though afternoon hits a low tide and not a good time for a dip, you can still enjoy having a walk in the white sand.

6. Have a trek in Latasan Island Resort to have a refresher walk.

7. As a finale, hit the waters of Sipalay public beach in the late afternoon and wait for the sunset! To tell you, this is my favorite portion. :) You can also opt for Sugar beach, but it is a longer tricycle ride.

8. Just a finishing touch to your day tour, complete your day with a meal in Sipalay food park and have some ice-cold beer, perfect with your cheeks kissed by the sun.

— RSS, The Summit Express

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