Very few Filipinos have probably heard of this gorgeous and idyllic beach tucked somewhere south of Negros Occidental. But, for a number of foreign adventurers and divers (mostly Europeans), they have long discovered this paradise and some have even called this home.
Sipalay is a quiet seaside town in the southernmost part of Negros Occidental in the Visayas region. It boasts of unspoilt beaches and spectacular diving site where one can see a number of World War II sunken vessels and rich marine life. Only a number of Filipino tourists go here (most of them are from Negros province) but Westerners (mostly divers) are a common presence.
It was December when we visited the place. When people in their urban jungles were going nuts over shopping frenzy, endless traffic jams and incessant medleys of Christmas songs, ours were spent in a quiet and peaceful retreat away from all the mad rush of the holidays!
This beach town is just so serene that we almost forgot it's December! We were only reminded that it's the last month of the year by the cold breeze at night, some parols (Christmas lanterns) and the stories of some travellers we met.
Usually, if you meet a Westerner (mostly European) in a tropical country like the Philippines at this time of the year (December to February), you would most likely hear that the reason why they're spending the holidays here is because they want to escape the harsh winter season back in their respective countries. Well, I can only say that they've come to the perfect place -- a paradise where warm smiles and warm weather welcome each traveler!
(NOTE: Europeans mostly own the hotels/accommodations here. And these accommodations are very affordable! Their websites (written in foreign languages) give complete details on how to get here, what to see and do, etc. Just google Sipalay, Negros Occidental, diving in Sipalay).
|Good morning, Sipalay! A local family gathers on the shore...|
|Getting ready for another day at the sea...|
|Rock n Roll!|
|I want to have a house up there someday!|
|... nice parking space! Cars are sooo urban! Who needs one?|
|I was told by our boatman that these houses are mostly owned by foreigners.|
|Most hotels/accommodations are owned by Germans, Dutch and other Europeans. And each has diving facilities available, certified by PADI.|
|Divers getting ready for a night dive.|
|All in a day's work! A boatman parks his bangka...|
|... and in a few hours, the townsfolk of this idyllic barrio will call it a day too.|