Besides, a breathtaking beachfront, Sugar Beach is home to quirky and quaint resorts like the Driftwood Village and the Takatuka Lodge and Dive Resort.
At Driftwood Village, don’t expect a five-star accommodation. but rather a laid-back experience as they offer “bahay kubo” rooms equipped with mosquito nets, with open windows allowing the sea breeze to come in.
The nipa huts, named after endangered species in the country, are clustered on the beachfront amidst palm trees, hammocks and benches. Most of the decorations are made of seashells and driftwood.
From laid-back, the scene turned playful as we spent our last few hours in Sugar Beach at Takatuka Lodge Beach and Dive Resort, where we also enjoyed a sumptuous lunch.
Unlike the rustic feel of Driftwood, Takatuka is filledwith whimsical decor, inspired by the adventures of the red-haired girl named Pippi Longstocking.
A motley collection of found objects like used cooking pots, old phones, calculators and glass bottles were made into decor, a welcoming sight for guests at the receiving area.
Takatuka offers a unique experience to visitors with 12 individually themed rooms.
There is also a book gallery for those who want a quiet place to read and take a break from gadgets.
“Can we keep this place a secret?” said Miss Star, who isfrom BBC News as we sat at thelong table for lunch.
We all nod in agreement, while Miss Tin from the Negros Occidental tourismoffice breaks into a smile.
For someone who hasn’t been to Boracay yet, I can only imagine when the others compared Sugar Beach to Boracay many years ago—an idyllic retreat that’s known only to a few people.
Truly, how tempting it is to keep Sipalay a secret, lest it turns into a destination of mass tourism and commercialization.
It was an afternoon well spent at the 20-hectare Punta BulataResort and Spa, where we witnessed a magnificent sunset overlooking the Sulu Sea. Add to that a taste of the best banana cake in the world.
Our trip to this southern gem of Negros is as spectacular as Sipalay’s sunset. No matter how fleeting it was, all will be worth remembering and experiencing again.
How to get there:
From Cebu: A plane can take you to Bacolod City and there you begin the five-to six-hour drive to Sipalay. Cebu Pacific Air has an extensive network of inter-region and intra-regional routes, with 37 domestic destinations—spread across six hubs in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
From Bacolod: It’s a three-hour drive via private car, or take a bus at the Ceres South Terminal along Luzuriaga St. for Hinoba-an.
There is also a daily bus that plies between Cebu City and Sipalay City, according to the locals but it would take 12 long hours, a long haul definitely.
The bus departs 5 a.m. from either city.