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Philippines Tour Part 2: Sipalay City und Snorkeling with Artistic Diving

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The next day we drove on rustic coastal roads to Sipalay City and a beach hotel with the Artistic Diving dive center. On the way, there was “all kinds of traffic”…

After traveling by way of Manila (Part 1) and Bacolod, Silay and Talisay we continued to the little village of Sipalay City on the west side of Negros.

The drive took us down picturesque coastal roads with views of palm fringed beaches and the ocean. The overland transport is handled roughly the same way every time: Pile on everything you can, so much so that the driver can even wind up sitting on the gas tank. The saddle may already have triple occupancy riding sidesaddle…

moterbike with triple occupation

Driver sits on the tank; the saddle is also triple occupied…

Farther up country, the seating availability is measured out a little more generously. Here the driver even has time to look at the camera before the next curve looms…

Traveling on picturesque coastal roads

Traveling on picturesque coastal roads

It sometimes does require that goats ride on the roof.

Transporting goats on the car roof

Transporting goats on the car roof

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But not everyone is comparably motorized. Rice planting is still done by hand.

Filipino rice farmers planting

Filipino rice farmers planting

No tractors to be seen for miles around either. Instead, from time to time, there is a water buffalo.

Farmer with water buffalo tilling his field

Farmer with water buffalo tilling his field

Once arrived in Sipalay City you can forget about the “city” part – but we, in any case, have booked a tour away from the tourist stream…

Still, the local fish market has something to offer visually. Whatever the ocean yields up is hacked and chopped up here.

Fish market in Sipalay City

Fish market in Sipalay City

Here, too, land transport is a very important consideration. This is what the delivery of a freshly caught frozen yellow fin tuna looks like, Filipino style.

Fresh fish delivered with elegantly extended pinky

Fresh fish delivered with elegantly extended pinky

It is only a short ride on side streets from the “city” to the sand and palm-fringed beaches of Punta Ballo. Passing by the locals’ raft houses and outrigger boats, we drive through dense rain forest toward the resorts.

Local raft house and outrigger boat

Local raft house and outrigger boat

The Artistic Diving Resort and the other hotels on the beach are nicely set back in the palm grove and feature various types of rooms and swimming pools, but overall they can be categorized as basic hotels. Fittingly, the crowd is rather young and the music inescapable.

Punta Ballo: The beach at Sipalay

Punta Ballo: The beach at Sipalay

Of course, the beach barbeque is an experience nonetheless, especially as it is prepared on a more or less improvised grill.

The local reef is also rather plain; besides the corals, there are sea slugs, crabs or morays at least. A bit farther out lie World War II vintage shipwrecks.

Snorkelers have the opportunity for enjoying coral banks close to the beach.

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In the third part in this article series we continue on to Dauin/Dumaguete, a marvelous resort! and a cockfight…

 

This trip was made possible by…

Sincere thanks to Stephan Roemer with the Asia specialist tourasia for the invitation to this inspiring tour of the Philippines that the German-speaking, local tour director Jerry organized perfectly!

Also, a big thanks to Nina Eberth with Singapore Airlines for the generous flight arrangements!

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About Author

Walter Schaerer’s extensive background in the travel industry, passionate enthusiasm for photography and a firm belief that luxury destinations can also be affordable; were some of the main factors that motivated him to create the travel blog travelmemo.com. In his day job Walter is an online marketing manager based out of Zurich, Switzerland.

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