Negros Occidental, Philippines · 28 hotels available
The City of Sipalay is becoming a tourist hotspot in Negros Oriental. It is located at the southern part of Negros Oriental, around four hours away from Dumaguete and Bacolod City.
Dubbed as the Jewel of the Sugar Island, it’s known for vast beaches and vibrant marine environment, perfect for divers and snorkelers. Around the area are several waterfalls and caves, with a few available to the public.
There are no international or local flights going to Sipalay City. From Manila or Clark, take a flight to Bacolod or Dumaguete.
If you are coming from Cebu, you can fly to Dumaguete. From either of these cities, you can take land transportation to Sipalay.
Currently, there are no ferry lines going to and from Sipalay.
The best way to get to Sipalay City is by bus. If you’re coming from Bacolod, look for the South Ceres Bus Terminal. Take the Hinoba-an or Sipalay bus route (you may choose between PHP209/person for non-air con; PHP253/person for air con bus). It will take four to five hours before you reach Sipalay.
If you’re coming from Dumaguete, you can also take Ceres Bus. However, there is no direct route to Sipalay. Look for the Hinoba-an route instead (it costs less than PHP300) and when you do reach Hinoba-an, switch to another bus going to Sipalay. Like Bacolod, it’s around a four-hour bus ride—transfer included.
Because Sipalay is a small city with paved roads, the best mode of transportation is the tricycle. Other, more adventurous travelers employ single motorcycles (habal-habal).
Fares depend on the distance and your negotiation skills, but if you want to get to your hotel from the bus station, it will cost you PHP150.00 per person.
The first place to explore in Sipalay City is Sugar Beach. It’s a little complicated to get there by land, but by sea, it only takes 15 minutes. Its name came from the brown sugar-like sand. It’s a great place for swimming because it doesn’t get too crowded. Other beaches to consider are Poblacion Beach and Punta Ballo.
Tinagong Dagat is another top tourist attraction. While it’s part of a resort, it’s still accessible to the public. On the base of one of the larger islands, you’ll find 100 steps. Climb them, and you’ll reach the peak of a small hill which still gives you a stunning view of the city and its environs.
If you’re staying near or in the Poblacion Area, be sure to go to the Sipalay Food Park. It’s a bit like Boracay’s Stations 1 and 2, where there are numerous restaurants and bars that are open night and day. There are, of course, other restaurants around Sipalay, but for beginners still feeling their way in this city’s vibe, the Food Park is the best place to start.
Because Sipalay City lies along the coastal area, the number one thing to do is go scuba diving. The city is known for having 42 diving spots that are teeming with marine life; one spot is also the resting place of the S/S Panay, a warship that sunk during World War II. There are several diving companies are located in many resorts, and prices vary.
If you’d simply like to get to know the area, you can avail of island hopping tours as well as visit several parts of the city. For around PHP1,500 per person, you can go to Punta Bulata, Turtle Island, and Julien’s Wreck. If you prefer something more affordable but just as comprehensive, you can choose to take the Punta Ballo Tour which takes you around Sugar Beach, Campomanes Beach, Tinagong Dagat, and Perth Paradise Resort. This tour costs PHP 550 per person.
Sipalay does not have a lot of restaurants. However, it has enough to add variety to Filipino food. At Mixed Food Restaurant, you can eat crepes to complement the salty savory main dishes. Takatuka Restaurant is known for having some of the best dishes at Sugar Beach—and it’s vegetarian-friendly. Finally, Buenaventura Beach Resort Restaurant has the best pizza in Sipalay.
Nightlife isn’t as big as it is in more popular areas like Puerto Princesa and Siargao, but the Sipalay Food Park is the place to be for some booze to end the night.
From budget and rustic to exclusive and modern, Sipalay City accommodates all kinds of travelers. You can book a stay at Taketuka Lodge for a budget stay. It has quirky interiors that are definitely Instagrammable.
On the other hand, if you prefer spending a bit more for a luxurious suite, find accommodations at the Punta Baluta Resort and Spa. It has stunning views of the sea and gives you that peace of mind you deserve.
• When you’re going to Sipalay City, be sure to withdraw money in bigger cities as there are no ATMs outside the city center, particularly in Sugar Beach.
• Don’t bother bringing work with you—cell signal can disappear depending on where you are.
• The best time to go to Sipalay City is early in the year, around February until early June.