Expat In Bacolod

Stephen Bentley - Writer

Takatuka, Sugar Beach – Heaven on Earth

Takatuka Lodge and Dive Resort

This resort is as close to heaven as you can get on this world. Seriously! I just love Sugar Beach and the Takatuka Lodge and Dive Resort.

I mentioned it before here following a trip there back in June earlier this year with Zabrina. I vowed to return and so we did, in November 2015. I intend to be a frequent visitor.

Expat in Bacolod at Sugar Beach

Me at Sugar Beach

I find the trouble with many reviews of tourist destinations and resorts are that I often ponder just how independent and therefore credible those reviews are. I have no angle in writing this review, in fact, I do not even consider it to be a review, simply a case of “I must share this.” However, keep it to yourselves as I don’t want Sugar Beach to become another Boracay! There are other bloggers who have also discovered the delights of Sugar Beach so the word is out!

Sugar Beach, Sipalay, Negros Island, Philippines

Gwapa Zabrina at Sugar Beach

So what is so good about Sugar Beach and the  Takatuka Lodge  and Dive Resort?

Firstly, the resort is set back just off the beautiful and secluded Sugar Beach. It is not possible to drive to this beach or any of the resorts as there are two rivers separating the beach from any concrete highway. This means to access the beach or any of the resorts you have to travel by ferry boat, a small banca designed to carry 6 – 8 people.

That is part of the enchantment of a trip to Sugar Beach especially if you are travelling from Bacolod like me and my party. I was able to drive as far as the Nua Hang Bridge after turning right off the national highway just before the Sipalay Government Building. There is enough room there to park 3 or 4 cars next to a few homes inhabited by the locals. Don’t forget to leave a small tip when you return to your car as a thank you for the locals keeping an eye on your transport.

Once you park up then in my case, I simply called the Takatuka to ask for a ferry to come and collect us. We had a short wait for the ferry to arrive and sat in the shade for some relief from the early afternoon sun. We were entertained by an inquisitive pig and a sand lizard who had popped up like a meerkat from behind a stone to peep at the strangers to his world.

We were now all on board the banca en route to Sugar Beach, the start of the short vacation. The whole trip takes some 15 – 20 minutes and it is fascinating to see how the scenery changes. The first part of the voyage is on the river passing through mangrove-like swamp terrain {how can terrain describe a water dominated environment?] and it never ceases to amaze me how vegetation adapts to its surroundings.

The karst rock formation then comes into view with a wide sandbar on the left (port) side. You know you are about to enter the ocean as the beautiful ozone fills your lungs and the sea breezes caress your hot, weary, perspiration soaked body!

This part of the voyage fills me with wonder at the skill of the boatmen as they navigate the last of the river passage seeking sufficient draft for their boat. The limestone rocks are within touching distance and offer a good view into the dark caves underneath the rock edifice. Finally, the banca tacks hard to starboard and heads into slightly  choppier waters of the Sulu Sea. Five minutes more and you are disembarking on to Sugar Beach.

Takatuka on Sugar beach

Takatuka Lodge looking out towards the beach

Oh! Sugar Beach I love you!

Calm, peaceful, secluded with waving coconut and palm trees and hot light brown sand. The sand is of a fine texture and is almost white in the parts with no shelter from the sun.

Our party walks the short distance from the water’s edge to Takatuka. Cathy, the owner, is there to welcome us with her beautiful smile and a hug. I feel like a long lost big brother returning home from far-flung foreign lands!

That for me is the secret of Takatuka. You are made to feel so welcome that it feels like home during your stay. I can’t think of a better compliment to pay Cathy. I know she is the same with all her guests.

Yes, Takatuka has its other ingredients of success –

  • wonderful individual quirky rooms
  • great food
  • pleasant local staff
  • great bar/resto area and communal space with a choice of games
  • beach dining and relaxing areas
  • fantastic sunsets
  • warm bathing waters
  • friendly dive instructors [I will try next time but thanks for the smile every time I saw you :)] NB the lady not the guy 🙂
  • island hopping trips

The list could easily be added to, but the essence of Takatuka is its sheer friendliness and the ambience of the location. Give me Takatuka and Sugar Beach every single time if there is a choice between there and Boracay or even Phuket [yes, I know that is a different country :)].

This was our second visit here and it will not be the last. One of the nicest things my family and friends from England (that was my party, plus me and Zabrina) said to me while we were there was, “Thank you for bringing us here. It is unforgettable!”

One of my blogging buddies, Carol Moulin, likes to write about “self-care.” She is right. Carol recently wrote, “I couldn’t tell you where this ‘ideal place’ is because I won’t know until I go there.” Carol was writing in her blog WritefulMind, and referring to the concept of “self-care” and her ideal home.

Hey, Carol! I have found it (for me). Although it will never be my home, Takatuka is close enough to me to be my home from home.

Care of oneself is vital, not only in body but also in mind. Takatuka and Sugar Beach has the sound of the ocean waves, the breezes cooling your face, the conviviality of being surrounded by good and gentle people. The seclusion to coax the mind into relaxation and a spiritual balm to feel in touch with ones’ innermost thoughts and soul.

Heaven on Earth? It has to be.

For full travel and accommodation details please check the Takatuka Lodge website available in both German and English versions as well as a PC version for full information and limited info on other devices.

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Steve,

    I can certainly see why you love this place; it IS beautiful there. You are living the life that many of us wish we could. One of these days, I’ll find wherever “home” is for me, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy traveling until I find it.

    Thanks for linking to me. {hugs}

    • Carol, it’s true that I love it here. Keep travelling and make sure you make us part of your itinerary and we can all go to Takatuka and Sugar Beach! Hugs to you too 🙂

  2. Frenchie Ganchoon

    December 1, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    Please bring me and Alexie there next time, Steve. It will be a delight. ♥

I would love to hear from you

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