After our quick tour around Bacolod, we took a long but fun road trip to the south to witness one of Negros Occidental’s best-kept secrets—Sipalay. An underrated and often overlooked destination, Sipalay is the most laid-back city that I’ve been to so far. It’s the kind that boasts of gorgeous greeneries instead of towering concretes, and chill corners instead of bustling streets. Sipalay simply emanates an endearing innocence, making it a treasured spot that’s worth-giving a shot.
With an incomparable array of natural wonders enveloping its humble territory, the so-called “Jewel of the Sugar Island” is a haven for wanderers of different types. Underwater enthusiasts can dive into its sea bursting with rich marine life and intriguing wrecks. Beach lovers, on the other hand, can soak up the sun while lying on its fine, sugary sand. Lastly, solitary sightseers can stay at its resorts offering views that are breathtaking in every hue.
Being the broken biyaheras that we are, we identify ourselves most with the third one. Hence, our Sipalay trip was more of a staycation experience than an adrenaline-pumping adventure. We went on resort-hopping just to relax, get to know the Sipalaynons more, and indulge in the beauty of nature—all while releasing our feels in life.
If you think you fall under this kind as well, then cheers! ‘Cause in this post, I’m featuring and reviewing the top three resorts in Sipalay where you can check in your feelings and stay even without a bae. 😉
When in Sipalay: Top 3 Resorts to Book Your Stay (and Feelings)
1. Tinagong Dagat Island Resort
Target Market: The coward. The torpe. The one with tinagong feelings. 😛
Overnight Stay Price Range: P1,200.00 to P1,650.00
Strengths: Tinagong Dagat’s best asset is its location. It’s nestled in the heart of a secluded cove, hemmed in by lush limestone hills, and backdropped by the seemingly infinite Sulu Sea. It consists of two islets that house the rooms, pool, viewdeck, and other resort facilities. A wooden footbridge connects these twin islets. If you want to run away from the person who’s supposed to run away with you (ouch!), then this place can serve as your ultimate escape.
Weaknesses: While Tinagong Dinagat is blessed with a glorious view, it still needs to improve on a lot of things, especially in terms of customer service. Let me break it down for you:
- Room. The room that we booked was spacious enough, but not aesthetically pleasing.
- Food. The resort didn’t have a restaurant/cook, only a dining area. And so we had to place our orders for the complimentary breakfast the night before since they still needed to coordinate these with an external food provider. However, despite placing our orders that early, our meals came in super late. What we had was a rushed brunch and not a hearty brekky anymore. 🙁
- Staff. The staff of Tinagong Dagat were not the best kind of nice. They lacked the warmth, enthusiasm, and sense of urgency. They were just, well, okay. Unfortunately, in the type of industry they’re in, “okay” won’t pass and last. They didn’t seem proud of their town either. When we asked them what places can we visit in the city proper, they just laughed and said, “Uhm… Wala. Palengke po.” 🙁 It’s not true because their city offers a couple of spots that tourists can check out such as the beautiful city hall and the strip of seafood restaurants by the beach. Another problem: They were not in uniforms which confused us as to who to approach whenever we have concerns.
Verdict: As guests, we felt that we only paid for Tinagong Dagat’s view. Will I visit it again? Well, I can’t tell yet. I’m a fan of Popoy and Basha, so I tend to always give second chances. 😛
2. Nataasan Beach Resort and Dive Center
Target Market: Those who think so lowly of themselves. 😉
Overnight Stay Price Range: P1,900.00 to P5,500.00
Strengths: Nataasan’s selling points are its facilities and service. The room we stayed in was clean and comfortable. There’s a restaurant that served good food. The staff were accommodating and attentive; plus, they wore uniforms! 😛 Location-wise, Nataasan is quite distinct as well for not being the usual beachfront resort. We loved that it’s perched on a hill, therefore allowing us guests to view the beach from a bird’s eye perspective. Now you know why it was named “Nataasan”. 😉
Weaknesses: The Punta Ballo Beach serves as the main attraction of Nataasan. This coast brags a long stretch of powdery white sand that’s reminiscent of Panglao’s. It’s a pretty known spot for sunset-watching, too. No question—it’s a beautiful scenery. There’s just nothing spectacular nor extraordinary about it.
Verdict: Nataasan is already considered a luxurious resort in Sipalay. This is where local celebrities usually check in. I guess, in order to attract new guests and keep the former ones returning, it had to really maintain its “high-end” image and double its service efforts since it doesn’t have that unique natural view to beat.
3. Perth Paradise Resort
Target Market: Those who can’t get over their Perth love. 😛
Overnight Stay Price Range: P1,300.00 to P4,500.00
Strengths: If Perth Paradise were a beauty pageant contestant, it would surely bag the “Miss Photogenic” award. I don’t mean to exaggerate, but the view that this resort offers looks magnificent at any time of the day. It is something that I will never get tired of staring at—may it be in real life or in photographs. Clearly, it is Perth Paradise’s major tourist magnet.
Of all the elements that make up this famed scenery, I’m most fascinated by the conical islets floating on the pristine emerald lagoon. Trivia: The first time I laid my eyes on them, bigla akong napakanta ng “Before Islet You Go”. Chos. But joking aside, these islets—which somewhat resemble the Chocolate Hills in Bohol—have given life and purpose to the resort’s mini infinity pool. Don’t you agree? 🙂
Weaknesses: Now, let’s tackle the downsides:
- Location. Perth Paradise’s location is great but not guest-friendly. Visitors had to climb more or less a hundred steps to access the rooms and witness the view. While the youngsters will deem this activity as a calorie-burning opportunity, our beloved seniors will surely curse this for being a pain in the ass. 😛 It’s also a hassle for the staff who carry luggage, deliver food, and attend to other guest needs from time to time. Pagod na nga sa pagmamahal, pagod pa sa pag-akyat-baba. 🙁
- Pool. Lower your expectations—Perth Paradise’s infinity pool is not as big as it is in pictures. If you want to swim and shoot photos sans the photobombers, you have to get out of bed as early as 5:00 AM. Swear, you’ll thank me for this tip. 😉
- Room. We were able to spot several cracks and greases on our room’s walls—signs that the resort already needs to undergo repairs.
- Food. The resort’s restaurant served us meals that were satisfying in both taste and size (we can’t get over that delicious huge grilled blue marlin!). However, ordering was difficult since food choices were limited.
- Staff. The staff of Perth Paradise passed my standards when it comes to hospitability. Although I would have appreciated them more if ALL of them had worn uniforms.
Verdict: Visiting the Perth Paradise Resort is a MUST when in Sipalay. But I don’t think spending a night there is necessary. A day tour can already suffice—after all, the main goal is to see the resort’s signature view before your very eyes. 🙂
Albeit their respective shortcomings, Tinagong Dagat, Nataasan, and Perth Paradise still gave us an enjoyable and eye-opening Sipalay staycation experience. It was enjoyable because we were able to de-stress and delight ourselves in remarkable views. It was eye-opening because we didn’t expect that there’s a simple yet striking place like Sipalay in the Philippines. Makes me wonder how many spots in the country are still awaiting to be discovered.
Sipalay will undoubtedly reach prime status in the future. But for now, let’s give this shy and silent city the time to break out of its shell and adjust to all the attention. We might as well take advantage of it while it’s still not as crowded, budget-busting, and widely publicized as the other Philippine tourist destinations. 😉
BANAT NG BIYAHE
Unlike that guy, Sipalay won’t make you cry. In fact, it may even have the answers to your whys. 😉
Would you also like to give Sipalay a try? Which of these resorts would you most likely to stay at? 🙂