Sipalay Beach, Negros Occidental


A small beach island in Negros with European settlers!


This is where we were literally, just hanging out in our room for five days! We were stuck in the island because of

1) heavy rain...


and 2) World Cup 2014...

Sugar Beach was unknown to many but a nice getaway place for Swiss and German people, until Lonely Planet mentioned this secret beach in their Philippine's guide. Now, each and every resort here is owned by a Swiss or German national (married to Filipinas).

We stayed in Bermuda Beach Resort. Frenchie befriended his fellow European, the resort owner-- that after talking in French, he got a good deal of Php 1,170/night and we were led to our cozy room...

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The time we stayed there, we only had one sunny afternoon which we spent relaxing by the hammock. 

We were hoping that every waking day, we can have a good sunny weather so we can finally do diving/snorkeling. Not too far from the beach was a wreckage of a World War II ship. Which was why we wanted to go there.

Instead, we were there to eat and play Pacman.

To read our books just like the other stuck couple or simply bored myself! haha

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And to wait for the French national team make it to World Cup finals!

After four days of realizing that we are just wasting our time and money we decided that we'd better head out and move forward. Well, the decision was made after team Les Bleus lost to Germany. :( Sugar Beach was very pricey for Philippine beach standard. They seem to have a Euro rate although we were there during the off and rainy season! We paid a total of Php 6,700 for our room + foods in our resort alone. We could have spent that amount to other beach resorts and enjoyed our time!


But the most priceless one we got from this beach, was meeting a Swiss couple (pictured here in their sweetness mode!), who has greatly inspired us with their life. They're in their 50's with three children, they sold their house in Switzerland and moved to the Philippines to help out with an NGO group in the north. She was helping in the medical field and he was helping in the business side. On their break time, they traveled around the country and expressed their love for the Filipino people. They love diving, reading, and walking hand in hand wherever they go. They were an epitome of a couple that their humility, love for each other, and passion towards the cause they do, was such a ray of light to whoever they met. We were certainly honored to have that ray of light for us. Our meeting was brief and short but they have deeply impacted us in such a huge way! I love it!


So if we had any advise for you when you go to this beach resort...on a budget:

#frenchieatpinay tips

1. Plan out your days. How many days and nights do you want to spend there? Personally, three days would've been enough.

2. The cheapest resort and has a friendly vibe is Driftwood Village. Their food is cheap and good as compared to any other resorts.

3. I made a mistake to buy a Php 600 unlimited wifi connection from Bermuda Resort, when the neighboring resort, Takatuka offers free wifi as long as you dine there.

4. Don't listen to the resort owner, that they are the best/ they have the best food/ they have the best island hopping package because 90% of the time they're lying. Don't hesitate to ask around what is really good for your budget and interest.

5. On average you'll be spending around 500 a day for your meals. So bring cup noodles perhaps? ;)

 

HOW TO GET THERE FROM DANJUGAN ISLAND (as of June 2014)

Take a Ceres bus from the main road to Hacienda Montella (Php 20.00/person)

Take a tricycle from Hacienda Montella to mini pier (Php 75.00/person)

Take a bangka to cross the beach (Php 20.00/person). The locals don't pay the fare, so they will never know when you asked.

If you take a tricycle from the mini pier to Sipalay central (Php75.00/person)


How did you stay on budget on your travel trips? Any suggestions?

Danjugan Island, Negros Occidental

 

A 43-hectare island situated in Bulata, Cuayan, Negros Occidental.

"The promising paradise sanctuary of Negros."

It is a marine and wildlife reserve, covered with a rain forest and has five lagoons, three of which are landlocked and two of which are flooded at high tide and colonized by coral and reef fish species. The island is fringed with beaches where turtles nest. It is also surrounded by diverse coral reefs.


It was my second favorite place on this backpacking trip!


I am in awe and inspired of the people working and behind the preservation of this island. Here's Tatay Ruben, 75 years old and has been working in the island for eight years! 


It's like your own Robinson Crusoe tropical island. Like seriously!


From Punta Bulata resort, we were picked up by a small boat to take us to the island. Punta Bulata arranges their own whole day activity in Danjugan island, but Frenchie and I decided to take their overnight package.


You can directly sign up for an overnight reservation on their website:

PRRCF.org


It's Php 2,750/person for one night of stay, including meals and uses of the island's amenities.

Here's our native sleeping area. The island is promoting an environment-friendly practice throughout this island. No electricity. Only generator to provide light in the night.


When we arrived, we were brief about the island, on how they continue to preserve it, and the things they can offer in their learning center. I love the peacefulness and calmness here.


After our briefing and introduction. We were off to our first agenda: snorkeling!


After snorkeling, we walked and explored the whole island with Tatay Ruben (who walked like a restless seven year old), passing through a bamboo bridge...


A bat cave...


lots of mangroves...


An island beach, with sightings of sharks and turtles sometimes...


We also had a good view of the sunset that afternoon.

A good 20 minutes rest was well deserved.


The island also have ecocabanas (made of soil/mud) for a more private accommodation.


When we came back to the restaurant lounge, our delicious dinner was waiting for us. It was the best fresh fish ever!

And since the island has no electricity, we were contented to sleep early and get ready for the next and last day...


Our agenda: kayaking!


Our last meal in the island was another hit to our belly! Sooo healthy and ohhh sooo good!

That's why it's understandable that this island stood out as one of my favorite! So please do me a favor, if you have the time-- visit this island. You can thank me later! ;)


#FrenchieatPinay Tips

1. Bring a bottle or two (!) of mosquito repellent lotion.

2. Make sure you have the contact number of the person when you booked your reservation online.

3. Make sure you have enough battery and you have charged all your electronics before coming to this island.

4. Make a conscious effort to contribute in preserving our environment. The picture below was a wake-up call for me that we are the cause of our own destruction of the world. Please, please lessen your use of plastics! Really!

 

Would you like to stay on this island?

Negros Occidental, Philippines

 

Where to go for old houses hunting in the Philippines?


It was my dream to do a backpacking around the Philippines.

I'm grateful that Frenchie made that possible. So for our #Pinas backpacking, we focused solely on Negros Occidental-- the neighbor island of Panay. We took the RORO from Dumangas to Bacolod. (Regular trips every hour from 5 AM. Php 60.00/person fare.)

Here was our tripline...


Our first stop was Silay and Talisay...


It was Frenchie's first experience to take a jeepney-- the major means of transportation around the country.


Silay City alone is an architectural haven. So if you're as culturally and historically interested like us of the Philippines, come and visit!


These cities are a haven for antique mansions and grand houses.

Dated way back in the 19th century when this island has lived in grandeur and class, even compared to the same lifestyle as that of the Europeans.

They have the sugar cane industry to thank for!

I admired the local government of Silay and Talisay for creating a government committee to be able to preserve these ancient houses. Way to go!!!

And they have also stood against strong typhoons for decades!


The most famous of these mansions...Bernard Jalandoni House Museum (The Pink House). (Php50.00/person for entrance and an English (moody) tour guide.) 


Balay Negrense Museum. (Php50.00/person entrance fee and English tour of the house.)


And the very famous-- The Ruins of Talisay (The Taj Mahal of Negros). (Php80.00/person entrance fee and funny tour guides.) The night view was such a delight to our eyes.


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Thanks to my cousin, Ranulfo and his lovely family in Silay City who hosted us. A sumptuous-all-seafood-dinner was a nice ending to this cultural trip.


#FRENCHIEATPINAY TIPS:


  1. Bring water and face towel. The heat can pretty much dehydrate you within hour.

  2. If you're being toured, don't hesitate to ask your questions and queries.

  3. Ask a local for a good place to eat and for directions. Make sure you interact to a local wherever you go.

  4. If you're shopping for souvenirs, make sure it's related to the place you went. Have a conscious effort that such souvenir will remind you after many years.

  5. Pay attention to details. Small details can already be a learning experience.


Have you been to any old houses tours?