Enriching slow travel, a jewel trove right at the southern corner of Negros Island takes its charm from its wealth of landscapes and seascapes. The promising city of Sipalay is set in a rural balance of seclusion and connectedness that brings a haven full of life and spark. This emerging destination will inspire and astonish every traveler looking to be blown away with the seams of people, culture, and nature.
The Precious City
Its name, Jewel of the Sugar Island, comes from a very rich history and background of the City of Sipalay, famous for the minerals beneath the natural beauty of the landscapes that cover the entire city.
Sipalay is a city in Negros Occidental surrounded by the prolific farmland of the whole Negros Island, with the Sulu Sea on its western horizon. The magic of the city begins at the start of the journey. From a plane ride to the provincial capital, Bacolod, or Dumaguete, it is a 4-5 hour bus ride with endless sprawling countryside views. Let the eyes wander on the splendor of life and creation wherever it sets.
With the essential minerals of the land, it once lived through a four-decade-long mining economy which played a vital role in the transformation of Sipalay into a city. Despite being a distant memory now, the city continues to recognize this being the foundation and recognition to be a settled place. Fueled by its nostalgia, this jewel also highlights the ultimate treasure it has, which is the bounty of expansive untouched land and aqua terrains, turning the spotlight to sustainable and slow travel and tourism.
Just as much as the jewels that lie in its foundation, Sipalay’s eco-rich resources make up an attraction of its own. These amusements are provided by the charm of nature–from land, water, and society–all integrated into one another.
Islets and Shipwrecks
Distinct to its nautical tourism in the locale is the hilly islets that can be found in many attractions in the city. The most famous are the 19 islets of Sambulawan. These lumps of land naturally float through the emerald green waters and mangrove trails. More clumps of islets together with limestone cliffs and pristine beaches are combined in Campomanes Bay. This bay is a protected marine sanctuary home to one of the 43 dive sites in the city, S/S Panay. Take a deep dive to Julien’s Wreck or MV Guimaras, and MS Jojo, some of the other famous dive sites in the city. Swim through shallower waters in pristine Sugar Beach and Punta Ballo Beach.
Explore the natural void underground with the city’s more than 60 caves, the most in the entire island of Negros. Two of the most remarkable caves are Tibiongan Cave and Matlag Cave. Both boast natural pools with dramatic limestone draperies and majestic structures of flowstone, stalactites, and stalagmites. Just a stone’s throw away is a sensational journey to Huyop Huyop Falls, the best of the city. Experience the beautiful wilderness en route to these magnificent waterfalls by trekking, passing through a hanging bridge, strolling along towering limestone cliffs and caves, and immersing in endemic wildlife.
As the city moves to safe and sustainable tourism, it commits itself to protect and conserve these resources. The Dul-ongan Mangrove Eco-park and Protected Area is a 35-hectare stretch that features pure trees and shrubs and a few islets, all helpful for stabilizing coastal ecosystems. Three upland forests are under the protection areas serving as shelter to endemic wildlife, with eight marine sanctuaries for coral reefs, mangrove forests, and seagrass ecosystems. Monthly and annual activities that support this advocacy are participated by the local government, residents, and associations. These include reforestation and coastal clean-ups. Sipalay Eco Center was built to house the entire city’s fully functional extensive waste management, with farming and livestock facilities. Growing and propagating seedlings for reforestation are done in the Sipalay City Botanical Nursery to make the foliage more flourished than they already are.