Siquijor island is an island in the province of central Visayas region. It is called Isla del Fuego by the Spaniards (aka Island of Fire) because back then, thousands of glowing fireflies would cluster on molave trees at night. It is also called the Mystic Island because of the famous healing traditions and myths on supernatural and sorcery that makes it mysterious.
lovely sunset in Siquijor <3
The next day we went ahead to Dumaguete port to sail our hearts to the beautiful island of Siquijor. By the time we reach the port, the white sand beach and clear water greeted us warmly. Looking at it, we knew Siquijor is something worth visiting.
white sand beach at Siquijor port
There are six municipalities in Siquijor, namely:
- Enrique Villanueva
- San Juan
The municipality of Siquijor is the provincial capital and port is also located in that municipality. If you are in Cebu or Dumaguete, it has direct roro/ferry to Siquijor port. On the other hand, San Juan municipality is where most of the resorts are located. But there are also available accommodations in Salagdoong Beach which is in Maria, the other side of the province.
Photo courtesy of The Lone Rider
I have to give credits to The Lone Rider for being my guide while doing research on this trip. His map and info on the province is by far, the best guide you could see over the net in my opinion.
Upon leaving the port, tricycle drivers talked to us and negotiate to tour us. We weren't able to make arrangements prior this trip. We just went ahead and avail one tricycle driver's service who was very persistent.
First Stop: St. Francis De Assisi Church and Bell Tower (Siquijor, Siquijor)
We're supposed to look for accommodations first but Kuya automatically brought us to St. Francis De Assisi Church in municipality of Siquijor as it is near the port and along the way. There's a beautiful signage just before the church which is a sign of a warm welcome to any tourist visiting the province. The stone church was built from 1793 to 1831. Its bell tower is located few meters away from the church built in 1891 to protect and forewarn the island folks of approaching pirates and other adversaries. It was still close during our visit, we only take photos of ourselves outside the church.
photo by Neil
Second Stop: JJ's Backpackers (San Juan, Siquijor)
Because we didn't have any reservations, we looked for an accommodation which will suit our budget. We had to add extra payment to our trike driver for his help. We managed to take a look at about 4-5 resorts around (including Coco Grove, as if kaya ng budget eh noh?!) and decided to stay in JJ's Backpackers. From the name itself, JJ's is more of a dorm-type accommodation. During our visit they only have 1 fan room with 1 toilet for 6 persons (2 double deck and 1 double bed in enclosed adjacent room). They also have available tents for camping and public toilets for shower. Most of the guests were already leaving the day we went. That is good! JJ's will be available for us.
beautiful scenery from JJ's Backpackers
Okay, so I forgot to take photos of the room but you may want to check this link for the photos of the resort by different guests from tripadvisor. :)
We went ahead to take our breakfast first before the start of our tour.
Third Stop: Old Enchanted Balete Tree (Lazi, Siquijor)
After breakfast we went to see the famous Balete Tree in the town of Lazi. The tree is said to be 400 years old more or less. I've seen the Balete tree in Baler but this one seems much scary fit for horror movies hehe. Our tricycle driver told us that it is still a mystery as no one know why there's water flowing beneath the huge Balete tree, but I don't know if I should believe it. There are small fishes in this pond which was used for fish spa to some tourists. Only I hope their government would take care of this enchanting place as I find the water becoming polluted due to different factors such as people washing their clothes here.
Fourth Stop: Overlooking Siquijor
Along the way, Kuya (our tricycle driver) brought us to a great spot to view the island.
Fifth Stop: St. Isidore de Labrador Church and Lazi Convent (Lazi, Siquijor)
Another famous spot in the town of Lazi is the St. Isidore Church. Built in 1884 through the supervision of Recollect Fray Toribio Sanchez, this is one of the oldest church in the Philippines. There's a construction/maintenance during our visit.
St. Isidore De Labrador Church
The wooden floor and its ceiling are all original. After hearing the huge earthquake in Visayas, I don't know what happen to the churches here, but I'm hoping it is okay.
underconstruction on going inside the church
The bell tower was constructed a year after the church was built. The green surroundings right outside the church is also noteworthy and I like how the trees were lined up across the street.
the bell tower and the surrounding view
pahinga pahinga din pag may time
Meanwhile, infront of the church is the Lazi Convent. Aside from being one of the oldest, it is also said to be the biggest convent in the Philippines. Convent is the place where priests reside, and even if it is more than hundred years since it was built (1887-1891), part of it is still being used as a Catholic elementary school. The second floor is open for public viewing where some old pieces are located.
Lazi Convent view from outside
The old wooden structure inside Lazi convent
We stayed for a while, taking pictures and we loved the old feel of this convent, haha!
anong drama ito?!
Sixth Stop: Cambughay Falls
My favorite part of the island is Cambughay falls. You know, everytime I travel I always check if the province has waterfalls to visit. Do not miss to visit this falls, because even if it is not as tall as other waterfalls, its clear turqoise blue-green water is so inviting you would probably go and take a dip.
TIP: Avoid staying under coconut trees, as coconut fruits tends to fall naturally from the tree. :)
What I noticed is that the locals here love adventures like jumping off to the sea (in Salagdoong beach), and swinging and jumping like Tarzan here in Cambughay falls. My friends did the swinging and throwing their bodies to the water effortlessly while I did it the funniest way, thanks to all the foreigners who cheered at me, I'm afraid of heights that's why (kahit hindi naman sobrang mataas).
Seventh Stop: Salagdoong Beach (Maria, Siquijor)
Salagdoong Beach is the cleanest public beach I've seen. There's a minimal entrance fee of Php 15 per person. You can have your lunch here, either you bring your own food, picnic type or dine at the eatery located inside the area called 'Yanz Kainan'.
people swimming at Salagdoong beach
The pool is well-maintained but no one's swimming at it.
What's very interesting here in Salagdoong beach aside from the beautiful beach is its jump off points to the sea. I've seen locals do cliff jumping as if it is their playground, doing different stunts every now and then. Envy me, I wish I knew how to swim. Matt bravely jump and I think he did it twice.
enjoy na enjoy ang Koreano
We stayed few more hours to enjoy the beach before going back to watch the sunset.
more and more accommodations in progress
Eighth Stop: Back in JJ's Backpackers for the Sunset
Yes, part of my gawa-gawa itinerary was to go back to JJ's Backpackers to catch the sunset and Angel, Neil and Matt played with it.
The Kamehameha Wave
The Indian Sit
Walang Humpay Na Videoke
We had our diner in JJ's backpacker's cafe because we barely see other food establishment near the area. Few meters away from the resort, we heard some local men singing in videoke. Neil insisted we sing in videoke too so here we were, the five-peso coin videoke under the moon.
suko na si ate, magsasara na siya!
It was a lovely trip to Siquijor but tomorrow is another day of adventure in this island. Awesome trip with awesome friends. :)
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
– Jawaharal Nehru
Check my Siquijor Travel Series!