Adventures and Sports

Philippine Disneyland

Negros Occidental

Belle Piccio
Belle Piccio | May 02, 2013
Philippine Disneyland

The beaches of Sipalay are white sand. And, more than 44 dive sites were already discovered in its waters.

Did you know that you can visit Disneyland without leaving the Philippines?

I had my first diving experience at Artistic Diving last 2008. The group I was in was personally taught by the resort owner, Arthur Mueller, a Swiss National who married a Filipina, Evalyn. I got also the chance to meet their son, Kevin, who was 8 years old at that time (I think). Arthur was the one who mostly named the reefs/dive sites around Sipalay as his family was the first one to operate a diving shop in Sipalay. And, yes, Kevin got a reef named after him (Kevin's Reef) and even his wife got two (Eva's Point and Eva's Point Extension).

What I like about their story is that, Arthur has taught plain fishermen to scuba dive and gave them an opportunity to work for him as his assistant when groups would like to dive. They also hire Sipalay natives to work at their resort. Arthur and his family have been living in Sipalay since 1998.

Because I already know how to swim, I didn't have a hard time with the lessons (Discover Scuba) and instructions. Actually, I was excited to deep into the ocean water right away but as a precautionary measure we were taught first the basics in a swimming pool. So this is the time where you familiarize yourself with the different equipment; how it feels like with the tank at your back (which I cannot carry on my own out of the water), swimming with fins, how to breathe underwater with an oxygen, the different hand signals when communicating underwater and etc.

WATCH: Underwater Video: Exploring Juliens Wreck

My first dive was in Disneyland. And, the first thing that popped in my mind was to find Nemo. (I want to meet the fish up-close.)

Disneyland is one of the diving spots in the waters of Sipalay, Negros Occidental. It is a very nice and easy diving ground where you can see lots of colorful corals and fishes. If you're a newbie in diving, this site is perfect for you. The current is gentle and the water is not too shallow or too deep. The reef ranges from 6-15 meters deep; it's up to you if you want to go the full 15 meters.

I always wonder what's in the water before. What's the world like down there? Growing up with Disney cartoons made me also think of what it's like living like Ariel, the Little Mermaid.

VIEW: Juliens Wreck: Sipalay's Diving Wonderland

So when I got the opportunity to learn the basics of scuba diving, I didn't let it slipped. Underwater, I feel like I was in a different world. It's like you're flying. A place where you can think freely... It's peaceful and quiet.

As I go around the reef and checked the corrals... circling the different underwater flora and its beautiful creatures, I found Nemo... and... Dory too! :)

Where to Stay:

Artistic Diving is located at Punta Ballo, Sipalay City. It offers air-conditioned and fan rooms located at the beachfront with WiFi. A restaurant is ready to serve their delicious meals and they got themed nights too (pizza night, Mongolian night, Thai, etc.)

For those who don't like to take a dip in the salty water but like the beach, you can have a swim at their pool. They have also have facilities for diving, snorkeling, billiards and beach volleyball. You can contact them at (+63) 0919-409-5594 or email them at [email protected] for inquiries.

How to Get There:

From Manila, you can fly to Bacolod (Php2500++, round trip, 45 minutes). From Bacolod-Silay Airport, you can take a shuttle (Php75-100 per head), or a cab and ask to be dropped off at the nearest bus station for Bacolod-Sipalay.

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