Mambukal Resort, a perfect daytrip for the whole family
Once upon a time, a hill station was established in the area in 1923, through a provincial administrative order, to serve as a weekend getaway for the officials of the Negros Occidental provincial government and its guests. Now many years later it has became a tourist attraction mainly known for its Sulfur pools with a public sulfur pool, the Japanese-constructed rotenburo and the Ishiwata Bath. But there are also waterfalls, picnic spots, butterfly garden which attracts the visitors.
Mambukal is home to several rare bat species for example the endemic giant golden-crowned flying fox and the Philippine tube-nosed fruit bat can be seen in the area. These, along with other resident bat species, are estimated to number between 7,500 to 8,000.
From Bacolod, take the bus from Mambucal Bus Terminal 40 PHP person. The trip takes 45 to 60 minutes. The last stop is the Mambukal resort so no worries there. Entrance fee is 50 PHP per adult. There is a foodcourt with several restaurants. So no worries there either if you are hungry and thirsty. The food is fully recommendable. Some of the attractions cost additional, for example the sulfur pools. 50-100 PHP per person. You can hike to the waterfalls and swim and if you are really lucky you might see some of the mythical creatures of the forest as well. When you are done the bus is waiting for you. They are going every 10 minutes (or so, you are in the Philippines after all) back to Bacolod.
Come as guest leave as friend
Come as guest leave as friend, is Easy Diving's motto. And yes, I think so. I made some friends here. Easy Diving and Beach Resort is beautifully located on Punta Ballo Beach around 15 minutes from downtown Sipalay. Expect to pay around 200-250 PHP to the tricycle driver. The Resort has 20 air-conditioned bungalows plus 2 bungalows with fan.
The bungalow was very fresh
Since I don't like air-condition I booked my bungalow with fan instead, actually there were two fans. Everything was very fresh and clean. The bungalow had a nice little porch with two chairs and a table where you could sit in the evenings and enjoy the quietness and practice stargazing. A so called free WiFi was included as a pocket WiFi. As far as I remember you had 3 GB of load for free. When you had consumed that you had to pay extra to get an additional 3 GB load. I was told this was only temporary until they had fixed a more permanent WiFi solution. I hope they did.
The food heaven
In the restaurant they served excellent food, both Filipino and European style. The tuna steaks became quickly my favourites. Not to mention the delicious pancake with fresh mango and ice cream which was really addictive! In the evenings the atmosphere was really cozy in the restaurant. I was just sitting there inhaling the sea breeze and watched the sunset and contemplated about how good life was.
Easy Diving has lots to offer
Easy Diving offers a lot, specially for those who are divers and I was told there are some really good diving spots just near. But even snorkelling was good if you swam enough out from the shore line. All the staff, from the owner to the room service were all very friendly and helpful. My highlights were the food, the quietness and beautiful location by the sea and not to mention my stargazing moments from my porch.
The video shows a bit of what to expect from the stairs and the snorkeling near the beach.
Conclusions about Easy Diving Resort
I paid 2300 PHP per night for the bungalow with fan and breakfast included. That was competitive when I compared with other resorts in the same area at Punta Ballo Beach. The location of Easy Diving is more convenient than those resorts at the famous Sugar Beach which is only accessible by boat. But be aware of the stairs, if you can't or don't like to walk in stairs then Easy Diving might not be for you. There are many stairs to walk when moving around in the resort. Aside from that, the food, the friendliness of the staff, the cleanliness in the bungalow were excellent.
Going by scooter to Sipalay
We decided to make a road trip on the scooter to Sipalay. The distance is roughly 180 km from Dumaguete to Sipalay one way. Either you can go along the coast which is a little bit longer and with more traffic or you can take the way through the mountains and Pamplona. We decided for traversing the mountains. The road was in very good condition, incredible beautiful and not much traffic.
The video shows the first stretch going from Dumaguete to Bayawan. We ended up having a huge barbecue dinner at Maricel's place.
We stayed in Bayawan, coming halfway
On our way we were surprised by heavy rainfall so we decided to stay overnight in Bayawan. We arrived like drenched cats at the sleepy little C & L Top View Inn centrally located. It was a nice budget hotel with a simple filipino breakfast included.
The video shows glimpses on our way to Sipalay and from the Jamont hotel. We also tried to get to the Sugar Beach but instead we ended up in the beach next to it.
We stayed at Jamont hotel downtown. It was near to the market and near to the beach. We had a nice spacious room and they served good coffee in the restaurant. Later we went out to look for the Sugar Beach that we heard so much about. The road going there was a little bit tricky so eventually we ended up at the beach next to the Sugar Beach. It turned out we had to take a boat the last bit to get there. But time was late and it was beginning to be dark so we skipped it, for this time.
Tinagong Dagat Island Resort and Perth Beach Resort
The next day we went on beach resorts safari. First we visited Tinagong Dagat Island Resort and then Perth Beach Resort. Both are located south of Sipalay, easy accessible if you have a scooter. Perth Beach Resort is famous for its pool with an incredible beautiful view overlooking the archipelago of islands. Both of these resort offer nice and simple accommodation to very reasonable rates.
The video shows our beach resorts safari with clips from the beautiful Tinagong Dagat Island Resort and from the pool of Perth Beach Resort with the totally astonishing view (!) overlooking the whole archipelago of islands.
Downtown Sipalay. The Sugar Beach is located north and the resorts we visited are located south of downtown.
Apo island the pearl of the Visayas
Outing with the girls
Baslay Hot Spring in Dauin
A day of exercise
The fine art of eating an ice cream
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