The breeze whispered my name. I could also hear the sea calling and the sun waving an invite.
The itchy sunburn from previous getaways instantly responded. It temporarily reduced the pain. It convinced me, as if it talked, “You can tolerate more.”
My adventurous self, who knows no restraint when it comes to travel—as long as I have extra budget to splurge—went out to search for another underrated destination. ‘Twas summer anyway!
My feet brought me to Sipaway, an island that floats off the coast of San Carlos City in Negros Occidental.
Finding travel information about Sipaway is a bit of a challenge. I could hardly find a decent blog that gives insider information, things to do, and travel tips. But still I went to the island to see what it has to offer.
I kept my expectations low and was open for possible misadventures.
However, when I was in the island, real fun became apparent.
Things to Do or See in Sipaway Island
For only 20 pesos, you may enjoy the fine, white strip of Barangay Ermita. The clear shallows is perfect for swimming, especially if you travel with your kids.
Paraiso De Antonio
The tall palm trees, short white strip, mangrove-clad seascape, and gentle summer breeze work perfectly to give you a relaxing, laid-back stay.
The overnight camping fee is 150 pesos, while the 30-minute visit for picture taking will cost you 10 pesos.
Sipaway has a wide conglomeration of mangroves. The marine trees paint the beaches green. Foot paths are installed in some areas for you to walk around conveniently.
Century-old Balete (Banyan) tree
The century-old Balete tree seat on the school grounds of San Juan Elementary School. The campus was open when I visited over the weekend. There was no guards, and I was able to get in without any issues.
I am not sure how the system works on weekday though.
Whispering Palms Tour
The resort is a destination on its own. If you cannot stay for a night, you can avail the day tour pass for only 200 pesos. However, you cannot access some facilities that are exclusive for overnight guests.
You can visit the resort’s sanctuary and see some endangered species, such the Visayan warty pig and the Philippine spotted deer.
The stilt cottages, mangrove park tower, and beach volley are all for free. You can also enjoy kayak, biking for a small fee.
Where to Stay in Sipaway
Whispering Palms Island Resort
I would suggest you stay at Whispering Palms Island Resort. The property is a destination on its own right. The fascinating, tall palms trees around the property makes a stunning backdrop for your photos. The also have two seawater pools. The stilt cabanas and massage huts also offers good vantage points of the ocean.
There is mangrove tower within the property as well. It offers a stunning view of Sipaway Island. You can also enjoy both the sunrise and the sunset at the view deck of the tower.
Bringing is food is not allowed when you stay at their Standard, Deluxe, Family Deluxe, and Bungalow accommodations. The food at their restaurant is a bit pricey though. Meals per person start at 200 pesos.
However, if you stay at their native huts, you are allowed to cook your own food.
Paraiso De Antonio
If you are game for camping, Paraiso De Antonio offers a nice camping ground. You can spend the night there for only 150 pesos per person.
You may contact the following home stays to book in advance:
- Edna Arañez Inn +63 948 525 7335
- Basilia White Beach Resort +63 916 461 1742
- Yulo Parana Beach (they don’t publish a contact number, you may visit then directly)
How to Get There
The three nearest airports are Bacolod, Dumaguete, and Cebu. Bacolod, however is the closest.
From either Dumaguete or Bacolod, hop on a Ceres Bus to San Carlos City. If you came from Bacolod, make sure sure that you choose a bus with via Don Salvador route. Other routes take much longer.
If you came from Cebu, take van to Toledo City, and then transfer to a ferry to San Carlos City.
If you visit Sipaway after your Manjuyod Sanbar adventure, return to Bais City, and then from the highway, hop on a bus to San Carlos.
If you came from Kansalakan Enchanted River or Hinakpan Mystical Hills, return to Guihulngan City proper, and then wait for a bus to San Carlos City.
From San Carlos City, take a passenger outrigger boat to Sipaway Island. The fare is only 15 pesos. Travel time is less than 15 to 20 minutes. The boat leaves every 15 or 30 minutes, depending on the season, from 06AM to 06PM.
Notes, Tips, and Reminders
- There’s no ATM in the island. Hotels don’t accept credit cards. Make sure that you bring enough cash. When we visited Sipaway, we stayed at Whispering Palms Island Resort. We booked and pre-paid our accommodation via Agoda.
- Though Bacolod is the nearest airport, you can also get to Sipaway via Cebu and Dumaguete.
- Areas of interest nearby are Kansalakan Enchanted River and Hinakpan Mystical Hills of Guihulngan, Bojo River and Hermit’s Cove of Aloguinsan, Campo Labo Sandbar (also in San Carlos City), Campalabo Sandbar in Pinamungajan, Mount Kanlaon, Mayana Peak, and many more.
- To move around the island, you can rent a motorbike or tricycle depending how many you are in the group. The short, one-way transfer will cost 15 pesos, while the long transfer, say you travel from the northern tip to the southern tip of the island, will cost you 25 pesos.
- Cellular signal is decent on the northwestern edge of the island, the section that faces San Carlos City. It is intermittent on the other side.
- BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER OR TOURIST. Always remember to internalize and follow the “traveler’s creed”: Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, and kill nothing but time.
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