There are several nice resorts near Sipalay - Easy Diving and Artistic Diving are two of them. These places are peaceful and serene - as good as any resort in the Philippines. This article does NOT pertain to resorts. It is about what it's like to live in the town of Sipalay.
Sipalay seemed to be heaven on Earth, especially after the stress and non-stop road rage of Cebu. We found a house for 10,000 pesos a month, and we were there. We were desperate for the peace we thought we would find. Instead we found boordom and some of the littlest people I have known, in my sixty-eight years on this planet.
After living in Sipalay for five months I must admit I really have it in for the place. The beach you see is so very fine but, in typical Filipino style, it is ruined by the raw sewage draining into it. Every time I swam I got walking pneumonia. Other beaches near Sipalay may not be infectious.
Swimming at the city's beach didn't seem to bother some people but several of the local expats would not enter the water there, nor were they kind enough to tell you why. We hoped to make friends of the local Joes; to live and love our days away, in paradise. That's not what happened.
The locals were not unfriendly and contemptuous, bordering on threatening, as they were on Bohol. They were more like neutral, or noncommittal. Maybe they had been told visitors were the only hope for the place in which they lived, etc. The town and the society were so foreign that it was obviously impossible to "fit in."
Once I was buying things to fix up the house when a man looked at me, saying, "America no!" then spitting on the ground, again and again. I smiled, talking to the owner of the little hardware store, "I'm sorry to have bothered you. It will not happen again, I promise." I left the things I was about to buy lying on his counter and him sputtering about how that man did not work there. I never went back, of course.
It's funny how they let you know. The houses to the west and east of ours had their garbage picked up every week. In all the time we lived there, our trash was never taken. It's all right. In front of our house was a box culvert. When it rained copious amounts of water flowed through it, heading down into the town proper. We expressed our appreciation by donating our garbage, to that town :)
Sipalay has but one bank and their ATM will not process Mastercard. There are no malls and no grocery stores an expat can use. You have to drive to Buyawan or Kabankalan - four hour runs, round trip. If you have no vehicle you ride a bus or buy what you need from places unclean... to put it mildly.
The local expats are drunken fools - so addled by their alcoholic haze they are unable to see their women are nasty (to the max) bitches. They are blissfully unaware of the rings in their noses or, more likely, too cowardly to admit there is a problem because that, would require action. These thoroughly disgusting, nearly sub-human people are what we had, as potential friends.
Being non-drinkers, my Lady and I did not "fit in" there. The inevitable trouble happened quickly. Vicious is a word that pales, pitifully, before the Joes in Sipalay.
The incident I describe at the end of my Philippine Primer involving a helpless kitten being fed to a mean dog as people pushed and shoved to attain a place from which they could see it took place in Sipalay. It made me sick in my stomach, my mind and my very spirit; ashamed, to be human, as that related me to the squirming little dirtbags that did it.
Fortunately, my Lady's immigration interview neared.
I am indebted to Sipalay for putting what it is to live in the Philippines in my face, in a manner I most certainly could not deny, even though I wanted to evade it, for all I was worth. Sipalay gave me some depth - something to which I could compare my home. Now I am thankful, to be here.
"It is the ability to turn adversity into advantage that makes one man a King, and another a fool." (King Daniel the Great, the Mighty, the Wise and the Kind)
The straw that broke this camel's back was a small, round reflector, made to be attached to the rear of a bicycle and worth 20 pesos (40 cents US money). I had to drive to Kabankalan to buy it.
We lived on the main road, going east, at the beginning of a sweeping left turn. Being Filipinos, the drivers coming around that turn from the east would not dim their lights at night. There was, after all, no one but them and their windows were tinted so black they still could not see, even with their bright lights.
I attached the little reflector to the front of our house, so I could see where to turn in while in the glare of some ass hole's bright lights. I came out one morning, and found it gone.
To the pathetic little piece of dogshit that would steal something worth 20 pesos, and to the entire town of Sepalai I say, What Comes Around, Goes Around.
I have no reason to believe Sepalai is different from any other small town in the Philippines. I certainly hope I am wrong, about that.