February 21, 2014 by melcogger
We had stayed two too many days in Boracay and we have a tight schedule of getting back to Manila for a family picnic on 1 March. We had our hopes set on a remote and quiet beach in Sipalay, a far cry from the commercial business of Borocay’s main stretch. We decided to buy ourselves 2 extra days in Sipalay by taking a bus from Caticlan to Illoilo instead of cycling. This was decidedly a bitter sweet decision. Although it gave us more time, we were green with envy when Jonty spotted 2 other cycle tourers on our route. In addition to this, Jonty was also green with motion sickness. On arriving in Illoilo we were dumped about 15km from the port (although at the time we did not know this). After getting a bit annoyed by bystanders staring at us re-assemble our bikes we went off without a clue of where to go. After going around in circles and getting lost we just made it onto a boat to Bacolod on Negros Island with 5 minutes to spare.
We stayed one night in a decent guest house for P375(R93) and set off on our 178km ride towards Sipalay in the morning. Our first leg of 91km was pretty uneventful: beautiful scenery, small villages, food, beaches, oysters, rice fields and flat roads.
We are surprising ourselves with our growing levels of fitness. We have started to pick up the pace and rarely tire while riding. We almost decided to cycle straight to Sipalay because we felt strong enough and fit enough to do so. But we decided to take it easy and we were glad that we did. After stopping for lunch in Himalayan, we were informed that there was a beach 7km back from where we came. We were only 15km away from our planned stop over for the night so we took the risk and back tracked on our route. We arrived at a beach “resort” (if u could call it that) with cottages. We got slightly excited when we were told that they had cottages available for us, and hoped we could stay the night instead of a boring city. To our dismay, the cottages were actually just open gazebos. We paid P10 (R 2) each for a small plot of grass by the sea and a nap.
We had noticed oysters being sold in the villages on the side of the road and decided to give them a try as we had seen them being brought fresh by the bucket load when we arrived. We couldn’t believe that we were only charged P20 (R5) for 24 oysters. They were amazing and surprisingly did not make us sick!
We stopped over at Kabankalan for the night in a local guesthouse in a room that only closed by a wooden block that kept falling off the wall for P275 (R68). For some reason we decided that it was safe and took the room. Then we headed out for some local food. We felt slightly guilty for having an entirely fried dinner: 4 pieces of fried chicken (delicious); 3 fried boiled eggs in batter; French fries; and two waffles.
The next morning we headed off for what we thought would be an easy and beautiful 77km ride. It was beautiful, but the hills just kept on coming. Just as we climbed one steep hill, it would curve to a steeper one. But great climbs were rewarded with gorgeous views and steep downhills and it was an up and down day as we cycled through villages, sugar came fields and the coast. We finally made it to Sipalay by midday. After some more fried chicken (which we now regret as Jonty is ill) we loaded our bicycles onto a boat and headed to Driftwood Village on Sugar beach. We were met with a wonderfully quiet beach with palm trees for shade and hammocks scattered all around. The perfect plekkie that we desired, but could not quite find at Borocay. We are staying in a traditional Filipino nipa hut raised above the ground for P450 (R112.50). It’s light and airy and cool at night.
After discovering that there were no local restaurants at the beach we knew we were in for some relatively expensive meals, since the only restaurants belonged to the resorts. Town is an hours cycle away across a river with a paddle boat and not really an option for a quick meal or snack. We decided to find out for ourselves what else we could find further along the beach, and found a local kitchen that was willing to make us meals for P100 (R25) each. This is okay for the Philippines, but we have been eating for P60(R15) each for every meal. As we walked further along the beach we saw fisherman pulling in their catch for the day. After enquiring in Tagalog how much a fish cost, we were given a small tuna for mahala! The local kitchen agreed to cook it for us with rice and tomato salad for P40(R10) each. We will be here for 2 days before we continue south to an even more secluded beach on the island of Siquijour.