The Art of Slow Living in Sipalay: A Diary Entry

Posted in Uncategorized
June 17, 2023 • By coladhc

In this time and age where modern technology prevails, it is no secret that the world has become fast-paced in almost…well, everything. While the hustle culture has its advantages of bringing me one step closer to my goals, looking after my well-being should also be a priority.

For instance, a nature getaway trip where time seemed to move slowly was what I needed for that much-needed relaxation.

And I’m glad I did. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Not long ago, I embarked on a perfect nature escape getaway. My feet took me on a trip to Sipalay, Negros Occidental. This hidden gem of the Philippines is best known for its breathtaking landscape and pristine beaches – a perfect destination to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature. 

For a trip like this, I came up with 5 goals, which I’m happy to share with you. Hopefully, this can serve as a guide for fellow travelers who are seeking to go on a nature retreat one of these days.

1: Have a rendezvous with nature

Because Sipalay offers some of nature’s best sceneries in the Philippines, why not have an up-close encounter with nature?  After all, it is home to some of the best diving spots in the country. I took my time to explore the diverse marine life underneath and the shipwreck sites surrounding it. I was captivated by the mesmerizing rock formations as well.

I also allotted some time to do a bit of hiking and spelunking, since there are also cave sites around Sipalay.

It was a nice rendezvous with nature. I highly recommend visiting these sites: Julian’s Wreck, Tinagong Dagat, and Matlag Cave.

2: Explore local craftmanship

I find myself getting drawn to destinations that have enriching stories to tell. Sipalay, for one, has a rich history and cultural heritage, where each thoughtfully crafted piece holds a significant story – one that I get to take home and share with my loved ones. 

One of my most treasured meaningful encounters was meeting with a few skilled local artisans and hearing the stories behind their craftsmanship and unique creations. 

Sipalay’s natural resources took over the spotlight as I learned about the intricate, fine details of crafting hand-woven baskets. I could tell that it was something you wouldn’t just find back in the big old city. No hi-tech visual effects could compare to the traditional art skill I had the pleasure of witnessing. It was like watching magic unfold right before my eyes. Intricate patterns and designs came to life as the basket maker skillfully moved his hands in and out, creating a local masterpiece that I purchased to take home. I was amazed at the various weaving techniques applied such as plaiting, coiling, and twining. That was certainly some new learning for me. 

I used to think baskets were simply made for decorative purposes. While that’s partially true, these local pieces could also be used for everyday purposes, such as carrying various produce (e.g. fish, fruits and vegetables). 

As I look at the Sipalay hand-woven basket on my kitchen countertop, my heart swells in warmth as I’m reminded of the time I spent there. It certainly added a special touch, because I was there when it was made and I could guarantee the special story it holds.

3: Go on a local cuisine trip

What’s a getaway trip without going on a food trip? For a foodie like me, this was something that I could not miss!

When I got to Sipalay, I took my time to savor the authentic flavors of Negrenese cuisine. From appetizers to main dishes to desserts, I was in for a rich culinary experience, and the flavors still lingered in my taste buds, even when I got back home.

Here is the list of some of the must-try Negrenese dishes served in Sipalay restaurants:

  • Kansi. A hearty sour soup with beef shank, jackfruit, lemongrass, and batwan (local sour fruit)
  • Batchoy. A savory soup consisting of pork innards, liver, egg, and chicharon (pork cracklings), topped with spring onions and fried garlic.
  • Chicken inasal. Skewered grilled chicken marinated in vinegar, calamansi, garlic, and basted in annatto oil. It is usually served with rice, chicken oil, and pickled papaya. Some prefer to dip it in spicy vinegar for some added flavorful kick. 
  • Kilawin. Also known as ceviche, it is made of fresh raw seafood marinated in vinegar, citrus juice, and various spices such as garlic, onion, and ginger. It sounds like a taste of the sea at first bite.
  • Piaya. A local dessert in the form of a flatbread filled with muscovado sugar and sprinkled with sesame seeds. 
  • Napoleones. This one is a layer of puff pastry and custard cream that’s glazed with sugar on top.

There were still a lot more local delicacies to try, but I’ll reserve those for another time when I go back.

4: Wellness Retreat

Ah! Here’s another immersive experience that became a part of my core memory.

With nature’s healing magic combined with the warmth of a genuine human touch, it didn’t sound like a typical spa day for me. 

There are indeed spas in the big cities, but a wellness retreat in Sipalay sounded like the perfect escape from the stress and noise of everyday life. With breathtaking views surrounding me, I took the opportunity to reconnect with myself and the wonders of Mother Nature.

I proudly ticked off yoga and meditation on my list. Traditional massage in Sipalay was also a must-try, and it was one of the most rejuvenating experiences I’ve had by far. I also went on therapeutic nature walks and explored nearby islands and caves.

After a day of exhilarating activities, I’d linger by the shores with a glass of refreshing beverage and catch the stunning sunset view over the Sulu Sea’s horizon. I did this on each day of my stay, and it was worth it. It was a great reminder of how beautiful endings could be, along with the refreshing hope it could give as we wait for a new day to unfold.

5: ‘Manami life’ at Manami Resort

A paradise for tourists and nature lovers, Sipalay offers a perfect balance of adventure and relaxation. I’m glad I found a serene sanctuary and surrendered to nature’s charm at Manami Resort. 

The luxury resort’s private villas and suites were carefully curated to offer a safe, tranquil space where travelers like me could embrace the art of slow living. 

One of the highlights of my stay was at Linong Spa, where I experienced their traditional massage services. My adrenaline rush coursed through me as I took on the exhilarating line-up of nature exploration activities. Memories of sailing through the Sipalay Sea and discovering stunning secret spots are still on a loop in my head.

Last but not least, I treated myself to delicious meals at Lingaw Restaurant where they served authentic Negrenese and Spanish-infused flavors. Their Kansi and Kinilaw de Negros stood out the best for their authentic flavors.

If there’s anything that my five-day stay at Manami Resort taught me, it’s the art of slow living. The best way to do that is to stay in the moment and savor each passing second.


Posted in Uncategorized
June 17, 2023 • By coladhc