January 14, 2019

“Sipalay” is said to come from “Si, paray” unveiling its kinaray-a provenance.  Yes, there is rice. And this is true Sipalay City has vast fields planted to the grain and nothing is as bucolic a Philippine scene as a carabao plowing a muddy field while migratory birds circle above, wade through the mud, and peck at their “lunch”.  Some fields are a lush verdant tone, others have turned golden and the farmers are in the midst bending at the waist to harvest.

The golden grains are ready for harvest

Rice fields may provide for Sipalay’s households, but the real crowd drawer is the beaches that fuel the Tourism industry of the city.  Proofs of the increasing number o f visitors are the revival of the airstrip of the Maricalum Mines into an airport to accommodate once-weekly flights from Cebu via Air Juan, and the new grand City Hall emerging from the earth like a white jewel.  In fact, this city is called the Jewel of the Sugar Island.  The glittering sands of its beaches made it so.

Sakay na!  A tourist tricycle takes me around safely 

Ask for these trained tourist tricycle drivers.

Sipalay’s lovely coast may not be made up of the powdery white sands of Boracay.  But then, why settle for “powdery” when you can have “gold-flecked”.  Sipalay was once known for its copper mines.  Little did I know that there is gold all around, too.  How rich! I liken the seemingly endless stretch of beach to the endless charms of a beguiling beauty.  The wide sweep of coast, the mountains and hills rising like emeralds from the mineral-rich earth, the lushly-forested dots of islands, the bountiful waters, the charm of the inhabitants, the healthy and thriving tourism industry, and the pleasant, promising vibe. 

Sipalay City’s Tourism Officer  Jerick Lacson
Leftmost is Jerick Lacson and rightmost is Mark Torillo who showed us around Sipalay’s attractions
Fishing boats moored between catches.  

The waters of Sipalay teem with barongoy, or the flying fish, 

No octopus was harmed in making this charming ceramic creature imbedded in one of
the floors of Takatuka Lodge  
The real thing: an octopus at the Sipalay market.  
Artistic Diving Resort’s healthy bruschetta
Artistic Diving’s Artistic Pizza
Welcome drinks at Driftwood Village
The artistic shabby-chic Takatuka Lodge and Dive Resort

If this mermaid at Takatuka Lodge can talk, oh, the stories she can tell!

A cleverly-stacked installation art of empty discarded bottles at Takatuka Lodge

After visiting Sipalay’s numerous resorts along Sugar Beach (formerly known as Langub), Punta Ballo, and the public beach Poblacion, one big question lurked in my mind all the while.  That question was:  As a Negrense, why seek sand and surf outside the island when Negros offers this piece of paradise?  Non-Negrenses may also ask themselves, “Why not Sipalay?” Imagine that the locals have the whole strips of beaches to frolic on.  Now, that’s a staycation!

One of the native cottages at Driftwood Village in Sugar Beach
It takes nipa huts to make a village
How rustic is this bedroom in Driftwood Village
C-View Resort offers this steamed vegetable salad.  Great for vegetarians.
“C” is for C-View. “C” is for “Call C-View”
A precious scene to take in at C-View Resort

Sipalay is an innocent toddler devoid of complexes and just contented to play quietly.  It is also a child, eager to please, proud to show off to guests his toys. The kind of kid you’d like to pat on the head because he had been a good boy who made an effort to store his toys and clean up afterwards.  Good job, Sipalay, for making environmentally-conscious efforts.  Sipalay can be the teenager discovering himself to be on the cusp of adulthood, who had a growth spurt and found out he is good-looking and people are taking notice.  Sipalay can be the blissful quiet retreat a busy executive needs;  Sipalay can be the exciting, but not raucous, adventure friends seek to seal their friendship;  and most of all, Sipalay is the beauty that can take one’s breath away. 

Serenity on Poblacion Beach

Sipalay City is 4 to 5 hours away from Bacolod City, the capital of Negros Occidental. One can go diving, island hopping, hiking or just plain loafing in this gorgeous city south of Bacolod.