Sipaka or Sipaca (depending on the map you are opening on your smartphone) is a little known islet situated offshore from the municipality of Talisayan in Misamis Oriental. If you are on the Talisayan shore then you’ll see it is facing directly towards Camiguin Island. Being a land point, the islet is more of a tapering piece of land projecting into the body of water or sea.
This islet has been almost a virtual unknown, but thanks to word of mouth the number of Holy Week trekkers to the islet has been growing each year. Recently, the local government of Talisayan decided to launch its “Pamalandong with us at Sipaka” in order to attract people seeking a quiet and holy experience during the Holy Week. For this year the Pamalandong is set for March 23 – 27, 2016.
In contrast to other Holy Week trek sites that look more like resorts and tourist attractions, and thus, often become overcrowded (think Camiguin and Malasag), Sipaka simply caters to those who want to do penitence and praying by doing the Stations of the Cross while admiring the beauty of nature all around. There is a walkway all around the island where people can follow the Stations of the Cross, culminating at the highest peak on the islet with a large cross on top. The view on the peak is more than breathtaking and is definitely worth some photo shoot time after doing all those prayers and walking as part of the holy penitence and sacrifice.
The top of the peak has a viewing deck with a commanding view of Camiguin Island, the open sea, and offshore on Talisayan. And the sea wind is something to really feel on your face as it blows from the sea. To get to Sipaka, you need to ride a bus from the Agora Terminal (East side terminal). Take a Butuan or Gingoog bus. It’s around an hour and a half trip, but if you take a bus ride straight from the Laguindingan Airport, it’s an hour-long trip. Don’t get confused with Polo Islet at the Port of Balingoan that’s also facing directly towards Camiguin and alight at the port. Instead, ask the driver or the bus ticket vendor to stop at the crossroads of Talisayan marked by an arched welcome sign.
Sipaka islet however, is well-known among deep sea divers as Sipaka Point on diving maps. It has a natural undersea current that makes for good diving among experienced divers. Since the natural current feeds the marine ecosystem, this result in a majestic undersea garden filled with huge sea fans, basket sponges, hard and soft corals, and starfish, as well as the occasional stingrays and manta rays as well as schools of fish and groups of snappers. For this coming Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday, and even Easter Sunday, if you want to avoid all the unnecessary noise and unholy experiences on Holy Week, why not take a trek to Sipaka Islet.