Island Living | The Sipaway Island Way.

“Your life is an island separated from all other islands and continents. Regardless of how many boats you send to other shores or how many ships arrive your shores, you yourself are an island separated by its own pains, secluded in its happiness.” ~ Kahlil Gibram

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When people hear the word island, the image of a wide stretched beach, the turquoise water, and the fine white sand surely comes to our mind first. We forget that this is not what an island is all about.

The island is the people, their way of living and their laid-back life.

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A photo of a father and son from taking a dip in the beach.

Today, let us take you to Sipaway Island — a small island in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental. This is also geographically known as Refugio Island.

Sipaway can be reached by a bangka (an outriggered boat) from San Carlos City for about 10 minutes. The bangka will dock in any of the five ports in the island depending on the majority of the passengers’ destination. (Yes, you’ve read it right. The island has five ports in different area but the most used are the Dap-dap and Ermita ports.)

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Bangkas ready for a fluvial parade docked in Ermita Port.

Since the hubby’s relatives who are living in Negros wanted to meet me, we decided to pay them a short visit. When his family learned that we will be coming, they thought of having a mini-reunion in Sipaway.

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Sipaway Island

Hubby toured me around the place on our second day.

Sipaway Island has a land area that only stretches 7 kilometers in length and 1.5 kilometers wide. It only consists of two barangays (district), San Juan and Ermita. These two barangays are connected with well-paved concrete roads.

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A well-paved road connecting the two districts.

The mode of transportation in the area are tricycles and motorcycles. But there are private resorts in the area that offer bicycles for rent. Hubby and I rented a motorbike to tour the whole place because our body were not in good condition to cycle. I personally thought it was a good choice knowing that it was a Sunday and we will be going back to Cebu in the afternoon because we have to work on the next day. It really saved us time and energy. 😀

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Ace and Demi in Sipaway Island 2017

Our first stop was the oldest Balete Tree in the island. The last time Ace visited Sipaway was 10 years ago, so he was also surprised that the tree is now fenced inside San Juan Elementary School. The school was closed so we were not able to get inside.

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A 200-century old Balete Tree in Barangay San Juan.

As we continued our tour to the tip of the island, I chanced upon this couple who came from fishing something for lunch. How sweet is that?

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A husband and wife coming from a day of fishing.

Sipaway island has a population of about 4000 people. The primary source of living is fishing and extracting oil from coconut’s dried meat (locally called copra).

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Lush coconut vegetation in the area.

Recently, the place already have a 24-hour supply of electricity. They also have a supply of clean drinking water from the mainland San Carlos City, although not all households have their own faucets yet. So some have to wait in line to fetch water from a public faucet in designated areas. At least, now they don’t have to go to the mainland to fetch for water.

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Tatay waiting for his turn to fetch water from a public faucet.

We also learned that there is a resort in the island which is frequented by visitors. It is the Whispering Palms Island Resort. We dropped by here to supposedly just eat our lunch but we had to pay an entrance fee apart from our food. We were not going stay in the resort for long due to time constraints so we aborted our plan to have lunch inside.

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Whispering Palms Island Resort.

As we continued our tour, I saw the idyllic life of Sipawaynons. Actually, there was this part of me which envied their simple living. In every eyes of the people there, I saw contentment, I saw happiness.

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Priceless laughter from an old woman skinning firewoods to sell. Photo from Sipaway Divers.

I witnessed how peaceful this little community is. I saw how they do things that I’m pretty sure they’d been doing everyday but I did not see boredom.

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A little girl swimming with her pet. 

They don’t have the luxury to buy expensive things but they have time, precious time. Everybody knows almost everyone in this 7-kilometer community. I love that! I love how they know the people in the other side of the island contrary to not knowing your ‘roommate’ in city.

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That afternoon talk in the neighborhood. 

They have narrow streets but there is no traffic. The kids have no expensive gadgets but they’re happily playing hide and seek and other traditional games.

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Kids riding a pedal cab with their pet. 

Basically, the people in this island don’t have the modernities that we people in the big cities have. But, look how they are happy and contented with their laid back life.

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A traditional hut in the island.

Look how rich the kids with childhood fun, look how rich the people with peace and tranquility, look how rich they are with love and smiles.

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Tricycle — primary mode of transport. 

Our short sojourn in the island taught us to appreciate the life we have. It taught us contentment. It taught us to value our work, the people around us, the precious time we have for each other. 

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Treat yourself with the traditional coconut red wine locally called tuba

We may be a small island, but we are not a small people. ~Edward Heath

 

We hope you enjoyed our Sipaway Island venture.

‘Til next time.

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi.

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A Photo Diary | How Surigao Swept Off Our Feet.

Don’t listen to what they say. Go see it!!!

Our first week of May was worthily spent in SURIGAO along with new awesome friends. The place was in our bucket list but we did not expect to visit it it soon. Somehow, blessings made our way to the City of Island Adventures. (And this marked our first venture outside the Visayas region.)

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An old friend invited us to visit her hometown. It so happen that Ace and I had plans to go to Negros and Bantayan Islands but the enticing places in Surigao made us change our minds.

I must say, we had made the BEST decision ever.

Surigao swept us off our feet since the first day and all throughout our sojourn. From the amazing fjord of Bucas Grande and Sohoton Cove, the untouched islets of Dinagat Islands, the awe-inspiring sight of Tinuy-an Falls, to the beguiling beauty of Enchanted River — everything went beyond our expectations.

Here’s a photo diary that will show you how the City of Island Adventures made us fall inlove.

How would you like to build your house in an island overlooking other tiny islets and the cerulean sea?

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A stunning vista of the islets from an abandoned rest house in Dinagat Islands.

Or maybe have the island all by yourself?

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Another picturesque spot on the other side of the abandoned rest house.

When you have the fine sand, the calm sea and a wonderful… body? (Excuse me!)

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The fine sandbar in one of the islets of Dinagat Islands. (Duyos Beach)

That Palawan dream… Surigao made it happen. 😀

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A rock formation that serves as home of some Kalaw birds or the Philippine Hornbills in another Dinagat Islands’ islet. (Kabukungan Islet.)

Entered a new world through Bucas Grande and got lost with the confusing inlets. Explored the hidden gems of Sohoton from caves to coves.

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A fjord to Bucas Grande.

Saw amazing rock formations that we’ve never seen before and heard folklores from a local tourist guide.

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Unique rock wall in Sohoton Cove.

Plunged and communed with nature. Or chose to swim with thousands of stingless jellyfish.

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Dipping in the water surrounded by stingless jellyfish.

Ticked off the widest waterfall in the country from our bucket list.

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A fascinating sight of the country’s widest waterfall — Tinuy-an Falls. (The 2nd tier.)

Chased the cascades of this multi-tiered waterfalls. And treated ourselves with a massage from the water curtain.

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The cascades of Tinuy-an’s first tier.

Dabbed a ‘squadgoal pose’ with the gang.

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Squad goals? Yeah, not without this pose. 😀

And stroke more squadgoal poses…. 😀

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Squad pose with Tinuy-an Falls’ stamp.

Admired the mystifying beauty of Hinatuan’s Enchanted River.

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A vibrant scene of Hinatuan’s Enchanted River. Simply enchanting.

Repleted our eyes as we stared at the enchanting river to our hearts’ content. Also enjoyed swimming and going with the river flow.

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Staring at the water to her heart’s content.

Whilst our fleeting stay in Surigao we couldn’t help but  DECLARE to come back for more, soon. The city surely has more gems yet to be discovered.

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Thank you for the wonderful experience Surigao. ’til our next visit on your land.

Cheers!

With love, Ace and Demi

 

P.S A huge thanks to our friend Annel Hope Mayuga and to her wonderful family for adopting us during our four days stay in Surigao. Thank you for your warm welcome and for making this venture possible. ’til next time.

Why You Should Travel With Your Significant Other?

Traveling is one of the most amazing and coolest thing that Ace and I have done together. As much as our parents advice us to start saving for the future we can’t help put a trip on our weekend schedule. (Sorry, Ma.)

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Osmena Peak

Here are some reasons why you should travel with your partner in life base on our personal experience together:

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Chasing the rivers of Catmon, Cebu.
  • Learning to understand and adjust to each other’s limitations.

Traveling means getting out from our comfort zone. Every place we visit always offers something different — different people, different challenges. Some of these situations test us to our limits and unknowingly pushed that red button on our head. This is the time when we get to know each other beyond the corners of our bedroom. Ace knows just how to support me when I’m having a hard time carrying my backpack or when crossing the river becomes a struggle. I know just how to make him keep his composure when he gets mad over some mean staff at the tourism department. Basically, we learned the art of balancing each other’s limits.

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Mt. Naupa
  •  Traveling together is economical.

We have to admit it, the only thing that separates us and our destination is BUDGET. But, common… Paulo Coelho once said, “Travel is never a matter of money but of courage.” So, we have to learn to take risk. 😀  When we travel together, our expenses are halved making it economical. Better than traveling alone and paying the hotel all by myself.

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Sumilon Island, Oslob
  • Happiness is better shared.

Every place crashed on our list brings a rewarding feeling of happiness. And the feeling becomes double when we know we do it together. That fulfillment when you climbed the summit of a mountain alone is far compared to reaching the peak together. Jump shots are better done with him than doing it alone.

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Sumilon Island, Oslob
  • Improved intimacy.

Someone asked us if we still have time for sexual intimacy after a long week of working in the corporate world and then spending our weekends out of town. Yeah, the question is a bit off the limit but we’re aware many are wondering. :p (Of course, we do. Why not? We’re on the same roof people, in case you forget.) We know we’re both busy working on weekdays but we don’t consider our weekend getaways “busy days”. It’s a “getaway“. It’s our way of destressing and unwinding, in such way we improve our sexual relationship in the process. Spending a night in the mountain or in the beach? Why not? It’s a chance to get adventurous. :p

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Baywalk, Camotes Island
  • Waiting don’t get boring.

How could we tolerate falling in line to get our ticket, a 12-hour ride on the boat or delayed flights and etc.? Simple, we have each other’s company. And we know just how to entertain each other. Nothing beats his corny jokes and my never ending stories.

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Mining Demo, Coal Mountain Resort, Argao
  • Two heads are better than one.

Traveling together means sharing decisions. Sometimes it becomes complicated when our choices are different but we also learned to resolve it. It makes the work easier when one is thinking where to eat and the other is what to eat. 😀 Simple situation that requires decisio making could occur when traveling. And it is always better when you have someone with you who could make it when your head refuse to work.

 

We hope this inspires you to pack your bags, grab your partners hand and start going out of your bedroom. 😀

‘Til next time.

Keep safe.

Love, Ace and Demi.