The direct bus to Sipalay may well exist but it didn’t materialise at any point during the two hours I waited at Dumaguete Bus Terminal. Instead, I had to take three buses which was fairly easy. You first take a bus from Dumaguete to Bayawan (2.5 hours, 100php) which depart constantly from the station. At the Bayawan terminal, it’s just a hop onto the next bus to Hinobaan (1.5 hours, 80php) and at the terminal there, ask the guy who’ll direct you to the next bus to Sipalay. I got the 5pm Bacolod bus which was going via Sipalay.
To save money going to Sugar Beach, when on the third bus, ask the driver/conductor to go to Montilla (45 minutes, 32php) which is a few kilometres north of Sipalay City. This is where my journey got complicated as the conductor was supposed to point out Montilla so I could get off. But he didn’t. So I ended up having to switch buses and get one heading in the other direction so I could alight at Montilla.
At Montilla, you’ll be greeted by a tricycle driver who will take you to the river. I paid 100php but you can probably get it for less – it’s only a 15 minute ride. By now it was pitch black and the headlight on the tricycle was terrible – my iPhone torch could do better – so it was a hair-raising ride. When you arrive at the river, you can take a paddle boat out to Sugar Beach. I paid 40php for this as it was late but you should pay between 10 and 20. It was a really nice ride though underneath the night sky.
I was finally at the beach and faced a walk in the dark to find my resort, Driftwood Village. I was awe-struck throughout the walk though due to one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen. Never in all my life have I seen so many stars. This topped the Jaisalmer desert big style. I was gutted I couldn’t get a picture as it was just incredible. They were bunched together in a huge cluster in a way I’d never seen before. I’ll never ever forget it.
After a delicious meal and an evening of beer and the most confusing dice game I’ve ever played (though I won both times!), I headed to my nipa hut for a good night’s sleep, praying the weather would be good the next day. I needn’t have worried.
The bluest blue skies greeted me the next morning and Sugar Beach dazzled in the sunlight. The whole beach was practically empty and, annoying kids at the resort aside, it was tranquil. I spent the whole day eating, drinking, swimming and lounging in hammocks. This was all topped off with a magical sunset. I’d really advise checking this beach out as it’s just stunning. If I wasn’t leaving the country in a couple of days, I could stay here forever. I couldn’t have asked for better weather or for a better way to round off my adventure in the Philippines.