Sipalay Beach, Negros Occidental

A small beach island in Negros with European settlers!

This is where we were literally, just hanging out in our room for five days! We were stuck in the island because of

1) heavy rain...

and 2) World Cup 2014...

Sugar Beach was unknown to many but a nice getaway place for Swiss and German people, until Lonely Planet mentioned this secret beach in their Philippine's guide. Now, each and every resort here is owned by a Swiss or German national (married to Filipinas).

We stayed in Bermuda Beach Resort. Frenchie befriended his fellow European, the resort owner-- that after talking in French, he got a good deal of Php 1,170/night and we were led to our cozy room...


The time we stayed there, we only had one sunny afternoon which we spent relaxing by the hammock. 

We were hoping that every waking day, we can have a good sunny weather so we can finally do diving/snorkeling. Not too far from the beach was a wreckage of a World War II ship. Which was why we wanted to go there.

Instead, we were there to eat and play Pacman.

To read our books just like the other stuck couple or simply bored myself! haha


And to wait for the French national team make it to World Cup finals!

After four days of realizing that we are just wasting our time and money we decided that we'd better head out and move forward. Well, the decision was made after team Les Bleus lost to Germany. :( Sugar Beach was very pricey for Philippine beach standard. They seem to have a Euro rate although we were there during the off and rainy season! We paid a total of Php 6,700 for our room + foods in our resort alone. We could have spent that amount to other beach resorts and enjoyed our time!

But the most priceless one we got from this beach, was meeting a Swiss couple (pictured here in their sweetness mode!), who has greatly inspired us with their life. They're in their 50's with three children, they sold their house in Switzerland and moved to the Philippines to help out with an NGO group in the north. She was helping in the medical field and he was helping in the business side. On their break time, they traveled around the country and expressed their love for the Filipino people. They love diving, reading, and walking hand in hand wherever they go. They were an epitome of a couple that their humility, love for each other, and passion towards the cause they do, was such a ray of light to whoever they met. We were certainly honored to have that ray of light for us. Our meeting was brief and short but they have deeply impacted us in such a huge way! I love it!

So if we had any advise for you when you go to this beach resort...on a budget:

#frenchieatpinay tips

1. Plan out your days. How many days and nights do you want to spend there? Personally, three days would've been enough.

2. The cheapest resort and has a friendly vibe is Driftwood Village. Their food is cheap and good as compared to any other resorts.

3. I made a mistake to buy a Php 600 unlimited wifi connection from Bermuda Resort, when the neighboring resort, Takatuka offers free wifi as long as you dine there.

4. Don't listen to the resort owner, that they are the best/ they have the best food/ they have the best island hopping package because 90% of the time they're lying. Don't hesitate to ask around what is really good for your budget and interest.

5. On average you'll be spending around 500 a day for your meals. So bring cup noodles perhaps? ;)



Take a Ceres bus from the main road to Hacienda Montella (Php 20.00/person)

Take a tricycle from Hacienda Montella to mini pier (Php 75.00/person)

Take a bangka to cross the beach (Php 20.00/person). The locals don't pay the fare, so they will never know when you asked.

If you take a tricycle from the mini pier to Sipalay central (Php75.00/person)

How did you stay on budget on your travel trips? Any suggestions?

Bais City, Negros Oriental


Where to go for dolphin watching in the Philippines?

Bais city’s attraction is the cute and lovable sea creatures that is slowly putting the city to a good travel spot. You are not allowed to swim with the dolphins. And that's a good thing.

When we arrived in the city after a long bus ride from Malatapay, we went directly to their tourism department, as suggested in our travel guides.

According to the city tourism officer, in order to see the dolphins we needed to sign up for their boat tour. But since we arrived on a Friday and we wanted to see the dolphins the very next day, we were unfortunate to be on a waiting list, as it was expected to be full with weekenders!

But the tourism officer was so gracious and helpful that he suggested us another way on how to see the dolphins and even led us to a cozy, Air BnB-style-home near the beach.

This was our breathtaking view from the beach at sunrise…

So without second thoughts, we stayed in this place and they arranged a small boat for us to see the dolphins. It was Php 3,000 to rent the whole thing. Luckily, two Swedish girls popped up, who coincidentally came from Apo Island as well who were also interested to see the dolphins. If you do the Math, we were to split the fee between our twosomes. ;) They were sisters by the way.

That night, Frenchie and I decided to at least see the center of the city and have dinner there. Well, lo and behold...Bais City has food stalls every night! You can choose from a wide selection of grilled foods. I love it!

I love the ambiance and the friendly people. (To eat at the food stalls was suggested by ladyboys who invited us to join them for some karaoke that Friday night!) A local also started talking and giving us advise that we need to swim/go to the sand bar, which was in fact part of the package of our boat getaway for the next day!

We had a very nice and homey accommodation. And if there is anything I love in every of our travel, it’s really the small (and big) interactions we had with the local people. We were treated to a nice breakfast and happy cheers. The very special trait of our Filipino hospitality!


After breakfast, we heard the roaring sound of our boat and we were literally picked up in front of our room because it was high tide! Very awesome!

Our whole day was spent in watching the happy dolphins swim

As we swim in the clearest and most beautiful sand bar beach…


And walked along the mangroves…


Our short but worthy stay in Bais City was truly magnificent!

And off we went on to Kanlaon City hoping to hike to only volcano in Negros!

 For our expenses:

Bus from Malatapay to Dumaguete-- Php 25 (each)

Bus from Dumaguete to Bais City-- Php 50 (each)

Tricycle ride to the house-hostel from Tourism office-- Php 50 (whole tricycle)

Boat to Dolphin sightseeing and Sandbar-- Php 1,500 (half of the whole boat rent fee)

One night of stay at the local's house-- Php 1,000 (including breakfast)

Dinner and other expenses-- Php 300

Have you seen lovely dolphins? How was your experience?

Apo Island, Negros Oriental


Where to swim with the turtles in the Philippines?

This is by far, our favorite island destination in the coconut republic!

We especially love the nice people and the quiet ambiance, and ohhh the beautiful, pristine beach!

When we planned this backpacking trip, Frenchie especially said his demands-- that he wanted to go to places that are less touristy. He doesn't like the crowd. That's all. ;)

Apo Island was suggested to us by my family relative, Anna who went there on an impulsive travel planning and left the island after one month of staying!

With that in mind, we were sure ready for an unexpected time of our lives!


We were also flexible of our time, so we can stay longer or shorter-- either way. And Apo Island was the best place to take a breather. Really!

We didn't book anything, we just simply went there and asked around. When we arrived, we saw this sign, and being totally exhausted from a long trip, we decided to stay there for a night...

We were the only guests there and we were frequently visited by these birds who made this hostel their home too!

The island people live a very modest life. Poverty is very visible but each and every person wakes up to make a living, so to speak. Most of the men are fishermen or diving instructors. The women make a living by renting some diving gears to tourists or minding a sari-sari store. Since the whole island lives in a scheduled generator-- all lights out at 9PM sharp, they share one TV screen!

Frenchie and I decided to explore the island after recharging from exhaustion. There were only three big resorts in Apo Island-- Liberty Lodge, Mario's Homestay, and the more private and pricey one, Apo Island Beach ResortWe went to ask around if they still have an available room for us. They said, they have and we were really lucky and grateful that we did the survey first and not booking anything online because we were able to get a "friendly" price. We paid for Php 550.00 for our (huge!) room in Liberty Lodge...

With an outside view like this...

There's so much beauty and nature in Apo Island. You can take a hike to the Lighthouse...

Or to the Apo Island Viewing Deck...

Or simply swim (and snorkel) with the turtles. Oh yes, we did! And yes, you can!

Or enjoy the romantic and lovely scenery of the whole island!

And of course, share a drink or two of beers with a local guide! If you're too nice, he'll even play a song for you with his Axl-like-voice!

If we only had a choice too, we would have wanted to stay a tiny bit longer!

#frenchieatpinay tips

1. We were lucky enough to go there on off season, but if you're going on a busy time, book ahead of your reservation. Both Liberty's and Mario's Places have very friendly and welcoming staffs. We love them!

2. For food variety, you can easily approach a local in the village and ask them to prepare a meal for you. They usually offer the fresh-picked-fish-of-the-day. Oh so good!

3. Rent your goggles and other swimming gears at the village association. This is their means of livelihood, so I encouraged you to support them while you're there. You can see the renting prices by the board. But if you plan on staying longer than a week, it's best to bring your own gears. ;)

4. Take a hike or a walk each day. Such a good place to do your morning run/swim! This is the warmest place we've been to, I mean with the people. They are so nice and helpful.

5.Oh lastly, a mosquito killer (with no scent) was our life saver on this trip. I bought a box at the sari-sari store! It was the first time Frenchie has ever saw such one. Oh, only in the Philippines (I guess!)


APO ISLAND is one of the best in the Philippines, come and experience it! 

Danjugan Island, Negros Occidental


A 43-hectare island situated in Bulata, Cuayan, Negros Occidental.

"The promising paradise sanctuary of Negros."

It is a marine and wildlife reserve, covered with a rain forest and has five lagoons, three of which are landlocked and two of which are flooded at high tide and colonized by coral and reef fish species. The island is fringed with beaches where turtles nest. It is also surrounded by diverse coral reefs.

It was my second favorite place on this backpacking trip!

I am in awe and inspired of the people working and behind the preservation of this island. Here's Tatay Ruben, 75 years old and has been working in the island for eight years! 

It's like your own Robinson Crusoe tropical island. Like seriously!

From Punta Bulata resort, we were picked up by a small boat to take us to the island. Punta Bulata arranges their own whole day activity in Danjugan island, but Frenchie and I decided to take their overnight package.

You can directly sign up for an overnight reservation on their website:

It's Php 2,750/person for one night of stay, including meals and uses of the island's amenities.

Here's our native sleeping area. The island is promoting an environment-friendly practice throughout this island. No electricity. Only generator to provide light in the night.

When we arrived, we were brief about the island, on how they continue to preserve it, and the things they can offer in their learning center. I love the peacefulness and calmness here.

After our briefing and introduction. We were off to our first agenda: snorkeling!

After snorkeling, we walked and explored the whole island with Tatay Ruben (who walked like a restless seven year old), passing through a bamboo bridge...

A bat cave...

lots of mangroves...

An island beach, with sightings of sharks and turtles sometimes...

We also had a good view of the sunset that afternoon.

A good 20 minutes rest was well deserved.

The island also have ecocabanas (made of soil/mud) for a more private accommodation.

When we came back to the restaurant lounge, our delicious dinner was waiting for us. It was the best fresh fish ever!

And since the island has no electricity, we were contented to sleep early and get ready for the next and last day...

Our agenda: kayaking!

Our last meal in the island was another hit to our belly! Sooo healthy and ohhh sooo good!

That's why it's understandable that this island stood out as one of my favorite! So please do me a favor, if you have the time-- visit this island. You can thank me later! ;)

#FrenchieatPinay Tips

1. Bring a bottle or two (!) of mosquito repellent lotion.

2. Make sure you have the contact number of the person when you booked your reservation online.

3. Make sure you have enough battery and you have charged all your electronics before coming to this island.

4. Make a conscious effort to contribute in preserving our environment. The picture below was a wake-up call for me that we are the cause of our own destruction of the world. Please, please lessen your use of plastics! Really!


Would you like to stay on this island?

Punta Bulata Resort Spa, Negros Island


Where to find a peaceful resort spa in the visayas?

Our ultimate goal for this backpacking trip was to go to the less touristy places, like Boracay, but still, be able to enjoy a pristine beach to ourselves. Hey, we have 7,000+ islands to choose from after all!

After many researches, we came across the 10 Philippine Gems.

Three of which is located in Negros island, and we went to see...

1. Danjugan Island in Barangay Bulata, Cuayan, Negros Occidental

2. Apo Island, few kilometers off Negros coast

3. Mount Kanlaon in Kanlaon City, Negros Oriental


In order to get to these places, we took few stops along the way. Our next stop was...

So from Bacolod City, we took a Ceres bus to Hinobao-an (Fare: Php 172.00/person). From the main road, we took a tricycle ride to take us to the resort. (Fare: Php 100.00/person)


This resort spa was actually beyond our needs, as we were budget traveling. For me, as long as I'll get a clean and working bathroom & toilet, I'm good. I'm soo easy to please. ;)

But Punta Bulata is our doorway going to Danjugan island. (More details about it on my next post.)


Here was our welcome drinks, as part of the package...

We had a good deal though, as we paid Php 1,900 for a Family Cabana that originally costs Php 4,100/night. Phew! What a huge difference no?! 


And yes, I was very happy and beyond satisfied of their bathroom and toilet!


We are too lucky to have this beach to ourselves. Off season in the Philippines is great, but occasional rain (with matching thunderstorm) can be a huge bummer! :P


And oh, they had the best native chocolate we've had!

I'll recommend Punta Bulata for the ones who are looking for a relaxing time. They have plenty of massages you can choose from. We especially liked their sauna room! If only we can bring it with us. ;)

#frenchieatpinah tips

1. Research! Research! In our case, it paid off because we found good deals online.

2. When taking a bus, make sure to be at the bus terminal early. Take a seat in the front as the road gets bumpy along the way.

3. Ask about the right fare. More often than not, some people tend to give us an outrageous price because I'm with a white guy.

Have you been to a resort spa before? did you have a good experience?

Negros Occidental, Philippines


Where to go for old houses hunting in the Philippines?

It was my dream to do a backpacking around the Philippines.

I'm grateful that Frenchie made that possible. So for our #Pinas backpacking, we focused solely on Negros Occidental-- the neighbor island of Panay. We took the RORO from Dumangas to Bacolod. (Regular trips every hour from 5 AM. Php 60.00/person fare.)

Here was our tripline...

Our first stop was Silay and Talisay...

It was Frenchie's first experience to take a jeepney-- the major means of transportation around the country.

Silay City alone is an architectural haven. So if you're as culturally and historically interested like us of the Philippines, come and visit!

These cities are a haven for antique mansions and grand houses.

Dated way back in the 19th century when this island has lived in grandeur and class, even compared to the same lifestyle as that of the Europeans.

They have the sugar cane industry to thank for!

I admired the local government of Silay and Talisay for creating a government committee to be able to preserve these ancient houses. Way to go!!!

And they have also stood against strong typhoons for decades!

The most famous of these mansions...Bernard Jalandoni House Museum (The Pink House). (Php50.00/person for entrance and an English (moody) tour guide.) 

Balay Negrense Museum. (Php50.00/person entrance fee and English tour of the house.)

And the very famous-- The Ruins of Talisay (The Taj Mahal of Negros). (Php80.00/person entrance fee and funny tour guides.) The night view was such a delight to our eyes.


Thanks to my cousin, Ranulfo and his lovely family in Silay City who hosted us. A sumptuous-all-seafood-dinner was a nice ending to this cultural trip.


  1. Bring water and face towel. The heat can pretty much dehydrate you within hour.

  2. If you're being toured, don't hesitate to ask your questions and queries.

  3. Ask a local for a good place to eat and for directions. Make sure you interact to a local wherever you go.

  4. If you're shopping for souvenirs, make sure it's related to the place you went. Have a conscious effort that such souvenir will remind you after many years.

  5. Pay attention to details. Small details can already be a learning experience.

Have you been to any old houses tours?