During our homecoming last February, Ed and I had an opportunity to travel to one of the best kept destinations of my home province; Sipalay. The laid back coastal town in Negros Occidental is slowly making a name in the tourism scene. It is now fondly called as the "Jewel of the Sugar Island" because of its unspoiled white sand beaches and islets.
Together with our family, we spent three days and two nights in Sipalay. Since the town boasts a scenic landscape, we decided to spend one night in an island resort, one night in a beachfront resort, and visited two other resorts which are known for stunning views.
Tinagong Dagat Resort
Tinagong Dagat means Hidden Sea. The island resort literally lived up to its name as it nestled in the midst of a secret bay. It is composed of two islets connected by a footbridge. The accommodations and facilities are located in the main island. The other island has a cottage for day trippers, a small pool, and an unfinished building which will be a venue for events according to the staff.
|Tinagong Dagat Resort|
|Laid back and Lush|
|the wooden footbridge that connects the islets|
Tinagong Dagat has rooms suitable for a family of four. Actually, some of the rooms can accommodate more, but I wouldn't recommend. Comfort would be at stake! Can you imagine a family of eight in one room sharing one bathroom? That would be pretty difficult especially in the morning.
Room Rates as of February 2016:
1,200 PHP: good for 4, maximum of 5
1,350 PHP: good for 4, maximum of 7
1,650 PHP: good for 4, maximum of 9
For a group of more than 4 people, additional fee of 200 PHP/person will be charged. Rooms aren't fancy, yet equipped with aircon, WiFi, TV, hot shower, and basic toiletries.
Resort amenities include two small pools overlooking the bay and a restaurant. There is a corkage fee for outside food. 100 PHP if I'm not mistaken. Service is okay. The staff were really accommodating, although we had to remind them for the toiletries in the bathroom.
I have to say, Tinagong Dagat is a simple island resort that you'll only get to appreciate if you don't expect fancy things and 5-star service. The stunning location is its remarkable feature, nothing else.
|Basic Accommodation: Room for 4 at Tinagong Dagat|
|swimming pool in Tinagong Dagat's main island|
|the "hidden sea" from the resort's viewing deck|
Latasan Island Resort
Just a hanging bridge away from Tinagong Dagat is Latasan Island Resort. We went there solely for sightseeing on our second day in Sipalay, before we checked-out from Tinagong Dagat. Visitors who don't intend to stay overnight have to pay an entrance fee. Gosh! I forgot how much exactly! Bad blogger! Anyhow, it was not expensive, 10 PHP/person I guess.
|from Tinagong Dagat to Latasan|
|The Parents and The Accommodation at Latasan|
|my lovely aunties relaxing in Latasan's humble amenities|
Since we were scheduled for island hopping that morning, we only got to explore Latasan Island Resort for an hour. It was just an ample time to hike to the viewing decks and back. It was an easy uphill trek as a staircase was built in the middle of the lush greenery.
Latasan's topmost deck offers an awesome view of what the Philippines is known for... dazzling blue waters and immaculate islands. Definitely a must-see when in Sipalay!
|staircase to the Latasan's viewing deck|
|What a view!|
|Another view from the deck: There's Latasan Island Resort's neighbor, Tinagong Dagat.|
Robinson @ Cruse White Beach Resort
Sipalay has a white sand beach that reminds me of Boracay. It is not as fine and definitely not as crowded, yet as white and as beautiful! Because of its coastal splendor, the town is dotted with beachfront resorts. The most recommended in Punta Ballo White Beach is Artistic Diving, but since it was fully booked during our trip, we settled with a resort located in the same area.
Robinson @ Cruse is a native beach resort. The resort's restaurant with a thatched roof is furnished with wooden tables and chairs and a duyan (Filipino hammock)! Perfect spot to laze around on a summer day!
|Robinson @ Cruse Resort|
|Summer in Sipalay!|
Our family of 8 occupied Robinson @ Cruse's big family room which is more like a home. It has a living room, dining area, kitchen, two small air-conditioned rooms, and sad to say, one bathroom. Some of the family members had to use the resort's common toilet and bath as the one in our accommodation couldn't suffice.
Room Rates as of February 2016:
1,000 PHP: Cabana Room for 2 (Nipa hut with fan)
1,800 PHP: Deluxe Aircon Room for 2 without TV
2,200 PHP: Deluxe Aircon Room for 2 with TV
2,500 PHP: Small Family Room for 4
3,000 PHP: Big Family Room for 4
Extra person has to pay 300 PHP.
Corkage Fee: 700 PHP/night/room
Robinson @ Cruse Resort has a swimming pool, a restaurant which serves delicious Halo-Halo, and pump boats for island hopping. The best part is, the long white sand beach is just outside the resort's gates.
|our home for a night in Sipalay|
|one of the rooms in the Family Accommodation|
|The Cabanas and Swimming Pool|
|Beach volley, anyone?|
Perth Paradise Resort
Now, here's the most popular, and probably the most photographed resort, in Sipalay - Perth Paradise Resort. The infinity edge pool overlooking the pristine islets made this resort very unique and well-loved by the camera lens!
I was actually hoping we could stay for night in Perth Paradise. We went there to inquire during our first day, but the Seniors gave it a no-go upon knowing that we need to endure hundreds of uphill steps to the accommodation. So, we decided not to book a stay, but rather a visit on our last day in Sipalay.
|accommodations at Perth Paradise Resort|
|the resort guard: Mr. Kangaroo|
|on the way up to the infinity pool|
Perth Paradise Resort is a paradise indeed. It is idyllic, but... Yes, there's a but! I think the fees are a bit unreasonable. Entrance fee is 80 PHP/person. Use of swimming pool is 100 PHP/person. So, that's 180 PHP for those who intend to swim. There is only one shower/changing room for day trippers and it is not as equipped as I was expecting it to be. Because of its popularity and influx of tourists, I really think that this resort can do better.
I guess things would be different if we stayed for a night and had our own room with an ensuite bathroom. I failed to check the tariff, but a standard room for two costs 2,500 PHP/night according to the staff at the reception.
Anyway, enough of the should have and could have. Let's talk about what matters most. The breathtaking view at Perth Paradise Resort is just a tiny proof of how lovely and how full of surprises the Philippines is. My country is utterly beautiful. I can't wait to see more of it!
|Ohana! Family at Perth Paradise Resort in Sipalay.|
|at Sipalay's most popular infinity pool|
|Floating all the worries away in Perth Paradise Resort|
Have you been to Sipalay? Which resort would you recommend?
How to get there?
Sipalay is around 4 hours away from Bacolod, hence we opted to hire a family van and a driver for 3,500 PHP/day. Alternative: There is a public bus from Bacolod to Sipalay, but I think having a private vehicle is more convenient as the resorts are far from the bus terminal and the town center.
Nothing to disclose. We paid for all the hotel stays and entrance fees. All opinions are my own.