Monday, September 17, 2012

SIPALAY BEACH RESORTS


Had to be in Bacolod to attend the raffle draw of the fund raising project of the CLSP which coincided with the birthday celebration of Mons Vic Rivas. It was on a Saturday evening. Mons Vic had previously planned that the following day will be a tour for the visitors who will be coming from afar to attend the  raffle draw.  It turned out that everyone had to leave by Sunday and that left me alone there in Bacolod. Since the tour would no longer materialize, I decided that I will take a solo adventure to go to some beach in Negros since my trip back to Leyte was still late in the afternoon of Monday. The guide book that I had said that the white sand beaches in Negros Occidental could only be found in Sipalay which was 178 kilometers south of Bacolod.  One priest that I met in the  birthday party said that one beach resort worth visiting is the Punta Bulata and he said that the road going there is already cemented contrary to what the guide book said which was still rough over mountainous terrain. Since Msgr. Gamy, the administrator of Dumaguete was going home that Sunday morning, I hitched a ride from him to Kabankalan from Bacolod. We left at about 8:15 in the morning from Bacolod and arrived at ten o’clock in Kabankalan. Gamy dropped me off at the bus station in Kabankalan.  The Ceres bus that I would take would go to Hinobaan, the town after the city of Sipalay.  I asked the driver of the Ceres bus which left at 10:45 to dropped me off at Punta Bulata. It was about 65 kilometers from Kabankalan to Punta Bulata and it took two hours by bus since there were plenty of stops in between.  Punta Bulata, I discovered still belongs to Cauayan town, although the drop off point already belongs to Sipalay. It is still a 5 kilometer ride by a habal-habal to the resort over a rough terrain. There are actually two beach resorts in the area, the other one being El Tzino. The rates in Punta Bulata, the hotel of which is called Ayu Spa was quite high, the lowest being 3,500. So I decided that I will not be staying overnight there. I asked the lady at the front desk if I could just go around the resort and take pictures. She was hospitable enough to tour me around.  They had a small infinity pool  and the rooms were large enough.  The beach was not really white but more ivory colored.  It was low tide when I came, so it was not a good time for swimming.  After taking pictures, I took leave of the resort, the other guy at the front desk was kind enough to recommend the other beaches in Sipalay that I could go.  The other place in Sipalay that has some resorts he said is the Sugar Beach, a few kilometres before the city of Sipalay.  The only setback is that one has to take a banca to cross a river  and do some walking before reaching the beach.  So he said it’s not quite practical if you want to also explore the city of Sipalay or if one is in a hurry. So he suggested that I explore Punta Ballo which is outside the  city of Sipalay. 

The habal-habal one way ride to Punta Bulata cost one hundred pesos.  So it was already 200 hundred pesos back and forth. I asked the same driver if he could drive me to Punta Ballo, and he asked for another 400. And he would not settle for less, as he said that is the usual fare they ask.  Anyway so as not to lose time waiting for a bus and then looking again for another habal-habal ride to the beach, I took the habal-habal.  It was a 12 kilometer ride to Sipalay over some uphill climb and another 8 kilometer ride from the city proper to Punta Ballo. The guide book that I had said that the terrain was still rough. However, I was told that the road has been cemented four years ago.   

Punta Ballo
I got dismayed at first sight of the beach because there were plenty of debris.   Of course they were not human trash like plastics but from dead sea weeds and other trash from the sea and nearby trees. If they could be cleaned out, I imagined,  the fine white sand beach could just be like Boracay.  I was told later on that since it is the "habagat" season, plenty of debris would always wash ashore that they would just wait out till the waters would calm down by October and that’s the time they would clean the beach.

I billeted at the Artistic Dive Resort having the lowest rate among the resorts in the area.  For a fan room they charged 1,050, but the room was large with private bath.  Had a late lunch served by the resort, a Pasta Bolognese which I liked. The noodles were just right and not soggy. After a brief siesta I went out for a resort hopping. I visited 3 other resorts and one which had a house for rent.  The first one was the Nataasan Beach Resort and Dive Center which was to the right of  the Artistic Dive.  It was perched on top of a hill, hence the name. There were 71 steps leading to the resort from the beach below. The lowest rate they had for the low season was 1,700 and 2,700 for the suite room.  They also had a swimming pool in the middle of the resort. The resort was lined with a board walk connecting to the villas, restaurant and to the beach below.

The second resort in the area was the Robinson @ Cruse Beach Resort. Aircon rooms started at 1,500 and 1,800. They had a native cabana house with fan  for only 800 but it had no private bath.  They also had a pool in the middle. In fact since half of the pool was quite deep it was being rented by the Easy Diving Beach Resort for their scuba lessons.  At the farthest end from the Artistic was the Easy Diving & Beach Resort. It was already dark when I got there. But their restaurant had the best ambience. It was on the lowest portion of the resort facing the beach, while their rooms where situated behind it already going up the hilly terrain. Their lowest rate was 1,450 for a fan room and 1,800 for a standard aircon room.

I had my supper there with a pizza, in which you order the toppings you would like as additional to the mozzarella, onions and tomatoes as given.  There was a German speaking Swiss who oversaw the whole business.  Too bad I did not visit the place earlier as I could have gone scuba diving. There was none in the Artistic Resort in the afternoon when I arrived.  

Most of the tourists in Sipalay come from Europe as many of the resorts are co-owned by Europeans.  At the Artistic Resort about 15 Spanish tourists checked-in just a few minutes after I arrived.  Except for them, there were not many tourists this time. In the evening, it was only the waves that could be heard splashing on the shore. On that cloudless night with stars so bright, it was a perfect time for stargazing and meditation.

Scuba diving is the main attraction for the beach here in Sipalay. At the Easy Diving resort they listed 42 dive sites around the area. However, I was told that there are also some caves that are now opened for tourists around the area. 

The bus fare from Sipalay to Kabankalan on the Ceres Bus was 83 pesos for a distance of 80 kilometers.  It was a two and a half hours of ride as the bus would pick up passengers every few meters away. From Kabankalan to Bacolod taking an aircon bus with only two stops was 125 pesos for a distance of 90 kilometers in two hours.

Resorts in Punta Ballo, Sipalay

Artistic Diving Resort  -           Tel. (034) 453-2710/ Cel.  0919-409-5594
Easy Diving & Beach Resort   -           Tel (034) 476-3874 Cel. 0917-3000-381
                                                            Webpage: www.sipalay.com
Nataasan Beach Resort & Dive Center -  0999- 344-1113 /  0915-6705027 



The beach at the Punta Bulata


The signage at the highway for the resort.






 From the main gate going to the resort




The Ayu Spa Resort of Punta Bulata




The front porch of the rooms facing the swimming pool


The ivory colored sand of the Punta Bulata Resort















The infinity pool









One of the rooms of the Resort


Another room.




The toilet and bath.






The restaurant is found in another building of the resort.



















There are individual cottages also.







The new City Hall of Sipalay


City Hall of Sipalay




The parish church of the city of Sipalay


Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Sipalay,Negros Occidental






The altar of the Sipalay Parish Church.


The Public Market of Sipalay


The main boulevard of Sipalay


The new boulevard by the sea in Sipalay.





The beach found in the city proper of Sipalay












Signages of resorts found in Sipalay.


Eateries are found along the boulevard.

PUNTA BALLO

Found 8 kilometers from the city of Sipalay, Punta Ballo offers a kilometer long of fine white  sand beaches.








A young man skimboarding along the beach


A little boy trying also to learn the art of skimboarding















Sunset in Punta Ballo














It was just too bad that at this time of the year being habagat, plenty of debris from the sea destroyed the beauty of an otherwise paradise. 









The fine white sand is comparable to that of Boracay

 Artistic Diving Resort is one of the earliest resort to open in the area. 














My room at the Artistic Diving Resort




Nataasan Beach Resort and Dive Center. There are 71 steps up to the resort from the beach below.

























The view of the kilometer long beach of Punta Ballo from Nataasan Beach Resort.









The Restaurant Acuaria of the Easy Diving and Beach Resort is located at the lowest part of the resort just by the beach. 


The Bar of the Restaurant Acuaria









Some of the sights that can be seen in Sipalay as one drives from the city to the resorts in Punta Ballo.









Market Day in Sipalay


Sea weeds being sold in the open market

Thought they were delicacies, only to find out they were bagoong (sauteed shrimps) just shaped into triangles. 













Robinson @ Cruse Resort





The restaurant and lobby of Robinson @ Cruse







4 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow nice beaches! i like it

Anonymous said...

hello beachanatic, ang boring naman mag-isa ka lang. pero nice trip.

Cheastelle Aguilar said...

I've been to Danjugan Island before, all I can say is that it wa s way better than Boracay if it was fully developed.

Missy l Sole of Missy said...

I am looking for beaches in Bacolod where we can camp out for free or minimal fee and i was routed to your website. These places you featured are interesting, I just find them expensive. :(