Unspoiled beaches, pristine water, and a diverse marine life make Sipalay a must-go destination if you enjoy beaches and diving. The city is bound to become a top destination in the Philippines in the years to come.
The beaches are surprisingly clean and even with all the resorts that are spreading along the coast, the place is still super quiet with a laid-back atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to relax for a couple of days. Even the beach in the city proper is nice, it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset and eat barbecue. There’s also a lot of fresh seafood available.
Places to visit in Sipalay:
This beach definitely has made my top 5, Sugar beach is super nice, the sand is perfect and the water crystal clear. It is boarded by resorts but the atmosphere is still relaxed and chilled. It definitively has a laid-back vibe. The hotels there are pretty cheap but the food is expensive and once you’re there you’re pretty stuck. Sugar beach has no road access, to get there 3 options:
- Arrange for a boat transfer from Sipalay city with your hotel or with a fisherman if you just want to spend the day.
- Walk on the beach from Sipalay Proper, it should take about an hour. There are 2 rivers to cross on the way, you shouldn’t pay more than 10 pesos per crossing.
- Rent a scooter, you can ride almost all the way there. You’ll just have to park in the village and find a boat to cross the river, same here, 10 pesos maximum. You can also swim, maybe only 10 meters is too deep to walk.
Punta Ballo Beach
Punta Ballo Beach is pretty and clean, with plenty of shadows and a nice reef just in front for snorkeling.
This beach is more “high-end” in term of accommodations option. There’s also a lot of dive resorts there. To get to it from Sipalay, you should pay no more than 100 pesos, for one way, by tricycle. Just note that you might not easily find a tricycle to get back. It’s better to rent a motorbike or to hire the tricycle for the day.
The newly opened resort in Campomanes Bay is super nice but a bit snobbish to my taste. The beach is public and there’s a really nice reef just in front for snorkeling. You can rent snorkeling gear there and the resort has small paddle boats for rent with a glass bottom so you can see everything without getting wet.
The resort also offers nice but expensive food.
To get there you can ever walk from the beach in Punta Ballo, it takes about an hour. Ask people to show you the right direction. If you drive there, you’ll have to go back to the city proper, don’t take the shortcut, it’s not a road where you can drive. Use google map to get there, not maps.me, they have unexisting roads on it. The last 3 kilometers are terrible, even a bit dangerous at times, don’t go if you don’t feel confident enough. You can also hire a tricycle.
You don’t even have to go all the way to the resort, when you start seeing the sea, just park there and walk to the beach nearby, you’ll have a nice view from there also. Another way to go is by boat from Punta Ballo, but be ready to bargain hard.
Perth Paradise Resort
There’s no beach at this resort but the view is just breathtaking. On top they have an infinity pool, it’s the perfect place to chill with a few beers and watch the sunset.
The entrance fee is 80 pesos, 100 if you want to use the pool. Nearby there’s another resort, Tinagong Dagat Island Resort, with a nice view but not as spectacular.
Day trip to Danjugan Island
This privately owned island is a marine and wildlife sanctuary, a little paradise. Unfortunately, being too expansive for my budget (2000 pesos for a day trip per person and 3000 with an overnight) I didn’t go. But it’s worth a trip if you’re willing to pay for it. You can check out their website to see what they offer.
Where to stay in Sipalay:
There’s plenty of resorts to choose from, in Punta Ballo, the hotels are more high-end hence expansive, most resorts offer free pick up from the town proper. In Sugar Beach, the accommodations are cheaper, the easiest way to get there is by boat from Sipalay (300 pesos for the whole boat) or you can hire a tricycle, then take a boat to cross the river and walk to your resort (complicated if you have heavy bags). Know that once you’re there cheap food is not an option.
I decided to stay in Sipalay city, I paid 200 pesos for a bed in the dormitory in Sipalay Jewel Guesthouse, you can rent a scooter from there for 400 pesos but I would recommend renting a proper motorbike as the roads are super good. Across the plaza from the guesthouse there’s a snack “Hause”, at the angle with the main road, the guy there rents his motorbike.
For a list of accommodation, you can just contact the tourist office, and they will send you a list of hotels within your budget.
I didn’t do any island hopping because there’s no islands to hop on. They only take you along the coast, which you can easily see from the land. The price range varies a lot, depending on where you ask, at the tourist office they told me they could find a 3-hour boat trip for one person for 700 pesos. I don’t think you’ll find any cheaper.
Be careful with the tricycle there, there’s a weird thing going on with the way they set the prices. All I know is that the orange ones are way more expansive than the others. I took an orange one to go to a resort, I paid 160 pesos, the staff at the hotel confirmed it was correct but on my way back I simply stopped a non-orange tricycle down the road and only paid 25 pesos. So avoid the orange ones.
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