Would a beach by any other name be so sweet . . .

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Asia » Philippines » Negros » Sipalay City
February 17th 2013
Published: February 22nd 2013
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Sometimes the harder it is to get to a place, the better it is when you finally get there. Sweetly named Sugar Beach on the West coast of Negros was no different, and the long journey to find it was well worth the time and effort that it took. We made an early start at 8am and the 6 hour trip included a tricycle, three buses and a boat which was tiring, but after a lovely few days here we would do it all over again to spend some time in this special little retreat. We weren't sure if we would have time to make it here but we are so glad we did, even just for a few days, and as usual, we could have stayed longer and when the time came to leave we were both pretty sad.

We chose Driftwood Village to base ourselves in from the handful of places available on a pretty stretch of beach and this made our stay - the team of girls working here are amazing, so kind and funny, the feel of the place is very relaxed and there are hammocks everywhere just waiting for you to lay in them and soak up the sun. They kept you entertained with beach volleyball every afternoon and you just felt like you had found a little secret community a la 'The Beach'. Scott played every day along with a bunch of other people (staff and guests) but Vic only played once as sports is not her strong point! Some people were really keen but on the most part it was just a bit of fun and great to play as the sun was setting. The accomodation was somewhat primitive, in that our room was a nipa hut but with no fixed ceiling or real walls and just a mosquito net over the bed to keep us covered at night, but it was only added to the desert island vibe and we wouldn't have had it any other way. We didn't even see any bugs inside the room which was a surprise, although in the bathroom one night there was a HUGE lizard peering down from the ceiling! The manager was a bit moody but it didn't matter as everyone else was so friendly and we hardly saw him.

The beach had soft golden sand and the most swimmable water we have encountered so far - it was clear and calm and perfect for dipping into when it got too hot. Perhaps it wasn't the most stunning beach we have seen here but it was still great and we loved it. We spent our days reading and chilling out in the hammocks dotted between the palm trees, and our nights playing cards over delicious dinners. It was also Valentine's Day whilst we were here and we couldn't think of a more perfect setting for it, even though every day to us is special! We ate at a few different places during our stay, and the food at Driftwood was great but the food at nearby Takatuka resort was just incredible and we couldn't help but go back most nights! This resort has been created with obvious passion and the attention to detail for the furnishings was amazing - quirky touches like a wall built out of calculators, a briefcase as a sink and a car's headlights as lamps all made it very enjoyable to spend time in and the variety of food was vast - we tried lots of different dishes including a yummy Mexican style lasagne with tortilla's instead of pasta sheets, kidney beans and spicy pork, a delicious fish stew in a rich tomato sauce and a cajun spiced chicken and mango curry to name just a few, and all were really good. As we said before, we have eaten so well here and we definately won't be losing any weight in the Philippines! The only downside to staying somewhere isolated is that the prices for food and drink are quite high, but it was all so good and accomodation is cheap so it didn't matter for a few days. As you can tell we love our food, we have spoken about it a lot in these blogs and we know this will continue once we get back to Thailand!

Sugar Beach is a great place if you want some pure relaxation and we are sure that anyone who makes the effort to get there will fall in love with it too.

S&V's Travel Info & Tips:

General Info: Approx 65 Peso's to £1.

Transportation: To get to Sugar Beach from Dumaguete, we took a tricycle to the bus station (10 Peso's each), then a bus to Bayawan (2.5 hrs, 130 Peso's each), then changed to a bus bound for Hinoba-an (2 hrs, 80 Peso's), then finally a last bus to Sipalay (1hr, 35 Peso's). We then walked down to the beach for 5 minutes to Driftwood restaurant who organised for a boat to come and get us from the resort (300 Peso's for the boat).

Food: As we said all the food we had was great here, but Takatuka was by far our favourite, even though the pasta at Driftwood was delicious too. Bermuda resort does good breakfasts.

Accomodation: We got a nipa hut with fan and shared bathroom (one shower had hot water) for 500 Peso's a night. Driftwood also had dorm beds for 250 Peso's pp but it gets really busy so book in advance if you plan on staying here - we would reccomend this place for sure, it was great.

Other observations:

x) The handful of resorts along Sugar Beach were all German/Swiss owned with Filipino staff, so the people who we met here were mainly German/Swiss/French/Scandinavian.

xx) We found out that you can use student cards on the buses for a discount, you just need to show the conductor when you get your ticket - every little helps!

Additional photos below
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24th February 2013

The hammock awaits
It looks like you've discovered another piece of paradise. Beach volleyball will keep you in shape. Safe travels.

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